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Things mundane end and so did Jim Britt’s dinner. There struck an hour when the last song was sung, the last jest was made, and the last guest departed away. The Statesman from Tupelo superintended the transportation of Jim Britt to his room, and having made him safe, He of Tupelo went also out into the morning, and that famous banquet was of the perfumed past.“While our friend, the Sioux Gentleman,” responded the Sour Gentleman, “was unfolding his interesting fable, my thoughts—albeit I listened to him and lost never a word—were to the rear with the old days which came on the back of that catastrophe of tobacco. They come to me most clearly as I sit here smoking and listening, and with your permission I’ll relate the story of The Smuggled Silk.”But now you grow impatient; you would hear in more of detail concerning what went forward behind the curtains of Customs in those later ’60’s. For myself, I may tell of no great personal exploits. I did not remain long in revenue service; fear, rather than honesty, forced me to resign; and throughout that brief period of my office holding, youth and a lack of talent for practical iniquity prevented my main employment in those swart transactions which from time to time took place. I was liked, I was trusted; I knew what went forward and in the end I had my share of the ill profits; but the plans and, usually, the work came from others of a more subtile and experienced venality.“You need a partner!”There shall be little more related on this point of dypsomania and its remedy. I took the prescription for a trio of days. At the expiration I sate me solemnly down and debated within myself whether or no I craved strong drink, with the full purpose of calling for it if I did. Absolutely, the anxiety was absent; and since I had resolved not to force the bottle upon myself, but to give the Jolly Doctor and his drug all proper show to gain a victory, I made no alcohol demands. All this was years ago, and from that hour until now, when I write these lines, I’ve neither taken nor wanted alcohol. I’ve gone freely where it was, and abode for hours at tables when others poured and tossed it off; for myself I’ve craved none and taken none. canada goose ski jacket uk

When the joobilant Texans set down to kyarve out the destinies of that empire they wrests from the feeble paws of the Mexicans an’ Santa Anna, they decides on Austin for the Capitol an’ Old Houston to be President. An’ I’ll say right yere, Old Houston, by all roomer an’ tradition, is mighty likely the most presidential president that ever keeps a republic guessin’ as to whatever is he goin’ to do next. Which he’s as full of surprises as a night in Red Dog. canada goose ski jacket uk That’s the last of the battle Bill remembers. All is whirl an’ smoke an’ curse an’ stagger an’ cut an’ stab after that, with tables crashin’ an’ the wreck an’ jangle of glass.Despite the gloomy prophecies of Samantha, whom Jim Britt looked on as a kind of Cassandra without having heard of Cassandra, our would-be railroad builder wound up the threads and loose ends of his Last Chance businesses, and having, as he described it, “fixed things so they would run themselves for a month,” struck out for Washington. Jim Britt carried twenty-five hundred dollars in his pocket, confidence in his heart, and Samantha’s forebode of darkling failure in his ears.“Now I’ll wager,” spoke up the Red Nosed Gentleman, “now I’ll wager a bottle of burgundy—and that reminds me I must send for another, since this one by me is empty—that your experiences are quite as glorious as my own; and yet, sir,”—here the Red Nosed Gentleman looked hard at the Sour Gentleman as though defying him to the tiltyard—“should you favor us, I’ll even follow you, and forage in the pages of my own heretofore and give you a story myself.”But the Feather will not leave Strike Axe an’ go with Yellow Face, for Strike Axe is a big fighter; an’ moreover, he kills many elk an’ buffalo, an’ his lodge is full of beef an’ robes, an’ the Feather is no fool. Besides, at this time her heart is not bad, but only restless. canada goose ski jacket uk As corollary of this particular informality of The Emperor’s Cigars, there occurred an incident which while grievous to the victims, made no little fun for us; its relation here may entertain you, and because of its natural connection with the main story, will come properly enough. At set intervals, the government held an auction of all confiscated goods. At these markets to which the public was invited to appear and bid, the government asserted nothing, guaranteed nothing. In disposing of such gear as these cigars, no box was opened; no goods displayed. One saw nothing but the cover, heard nothing but the surmise of an auctioneer, and thereupon, if impulse urged, bid what he pleased for a pig in a poke.It’s the widow who rescoos Bill; she emerges outen her cyclone cellar an’ saves Bill from drownin’. An’ he lives, too; lives to be downed years afterward when up at Deadwood a timid party who don’t dare come ’round in front, drills Bill from the r’ar. But what can you look for? Folks who lives by the sword will perish by the sword as the scripters sets forth, an’ I reckons now them warnin’s likewise covers guns.This grows so manifest that even Old Stewart’s most locoed supporters concedes that he’s gone; an’ money is offered at three to one that the better element’s entry will go over Old Stewart like a Joone rise over a tow-head. Old Stewart hears these yere misgivin’s an’ bids his folks be of good cheer.“It is not the first time,” said the Wise Bear, “that the hunter has made his trap of love.”Following my chief’s departure, I continued in idle contemplation of the shadows. This occupation did not forbid a mental looking up and down of what would be my next day’s work. The prospect was far from refreshing. When one is under thirty, a proposal to plunder a girl—a beautiful girl, doubtless—of her diamonds, does not appeal to one. There would be woe, tears, lamentations, misery with much wringing of hands. I began to call myself a villain.Outside the lodge they met the little Feather-foot who cried, “Where is the big elk, Moh-Kwa, that I killed?” An’ the Blossom showed him his father, Strongarm, where he slept, an’ said, “There is your big elk, Feather-foot; an’ this will ever be your best hunting for it found you your father again.”When I was in my room that night, making ready for bed, I could still hear the soft, cold fingers of the snow upon the pane. What a storm was that! Our landlord who had been boy and man and was now gray in that old inn, declared how he had never witnessed the smothering fellow to it. canada goose ski jacket uk “It looks like you’ll have a weddin’ on your hands,” I says to the padre, indicatin’ where the two is courtin’.“It is the Widow,” said Moh-Kwa, “who was the wife of the Great Rattlesnake of the Rocks; she will go to your tepee to be close to the heart of her husband. In her mouth the Widow will bring a message from Yellow Face to the Feather for whom he died an’ was hid beneath the careless brook.”“It will be remarkable,” returned the Sour Gentleman, “when any arm of government is exerted with entire integrity and no purpose save public good, and every thought of private gain eliminated. The world never has been so virtuous, nor is it like to become so in your time or mine. Government and those offices which, like the works of a watch, are made to constitute it, are the production of politics, and politics, mind you, is nothing save the collected and harmonised selfishness of men. The fruit is seldom better than the tree, and when a source is foul the stream will wear a stain.” Here the Sour Gentleman sighed as though over the baseness of the human race.“Have you killed an’ cooked the deer which was sent you by the Ugly Elk?” An’ the hunters laugh an’ say: “Yes; he is killed an’ cooked.” Then they take him to the peeled pine tree, an’ tell him of Forked Tongue an’ his fate; an’ after cooling a great shin-bone in the river, they wrap it in bark an’ grass an’ say:Are races ever crooked? Man! I whiles wonder at the age’s ignorance! Crooked? Indubitably crooked. There was never rascal like your rascal of sport; there’s that in the word to disintegrate integrity. I make no doubt it was thus in every time and clime and that even the Olympian games themselves were honeycombed with fraud, and the sacred Altis wherein they were celebrated a mere hotbed of robbery. However, to regather with the doubtful though sapient Coburn.During those five red years of war, throughout the tobacco regions of the south, planting and harvesting, though crippled, had still gone forward. The fires of battle and the moving lines of troops had only streaked those regions; they never wholly covered or consumed them. And wherever peace prevailed, the growing of tobacco went on. The harvests had been stored; there was no market—no method of getting the tobacco out. To be brief, as I read the internal revenue decision above quoted, on that Astor House morning, I knew that scattered up and down Virginia and throughout the rest of the kindom of tobacco, the crops of full five years were lying housed, mouldy and mildewed, for the most part, and therefore cheap to whoever came with money in his hands. For an hour I sat over my coffee and made a plan.That he might be certainly present on the arrival of the first guest—for Jim Britt knew and felt his duties as a host—Jim Britt lay down upon a lounge which, to one side, was deeply, sweetly bowered beneath the overhanging palms. Then Jim Britt went earnestly to sleep and was no more to be aroused than a dead man.“Which your offer shore makes a hit with me,” murmured Deadwood Maggie. Then, when a moment later, her head lay on Pike’s Peak Martin’s shoulder like some tired flower at rest, Deadwood Maggie gave a sigh, and lifting her eyes to the deep inquiring gaze of Pike’s Peak Martin, she whispered: “You’re the only gent I ever loved.” canada goose ski jacket uk This business of superstition—a weakness for the supernatural—belongs with our bone and blood. Reason is no shield from its assaults. Look at Sir Thomas More; chopped on Tower Hill because he would believe that the blessed wafers became of the Savior’s actual flesh and blood! And yet, Sir Thomas wrote that most thoughtful of works, “Utopia,” and was cunning enough of a hard-headed politics to succeed Wolsey as Chancellor.Discussion rambled to and fro for a time, and led to a learned disquisition on fables from the Jolly Doctor, they being, he said, the original literature of the world. With the end of it, however, there arose a request that the Sour Gentleman follow the excellent examples of the Jolly Doctor and Sioux Sam.It’s the Norse instinct to hate Spain; and I was blood and lineage, decisively Norse. That affair of instinct is a mighty matter. It is curious to note how one’s partisanship will back-track one’s racial trail and pick up old race feuds and friendships; hating where one’s forbears hated, loving where they loved. Even as a child, being then a devourer of history, I well recall how—while loathing England as the foe of this country—I still went with her in sympathy was she warring with France or Spain. I remember, too, that, in England’s civil wars, I was ever for the Roundhead and against the King. This, you say, sounds strangely for my theory, coming as I do from Virginia, that state of the Cavalier. One should reflect that Cavalierism—to invent a word—is naught save a Southern boast. Virginia, like most seaboard Southern states, was in its time a sort of Botany Bay whereunto, with other delinquents, political prisoners were condemned; my own ancestors coming, in good truth! by edict of the Bloody Jeffreys for the hand they took in Monmouth’s rebellion. It is true as I state, even as a child, too young for emotions save emotions of instinct, I was ever the friend, as I read history, first of my own country; and next of England, Germany, Holland, Denmark and Sweden-Nor-way—old race-camps of my forefathers, these—and like those same forefathers the uncompromising foe of France, Spain, Italy, and the entire Latin tribe, as soon as ever my reading taught me their existence.The words were emphasized with a click of teeth that would have done credit to a rat-trap.This query was put by the Red Nosed Gentleman. The information thrown out would seem to hearten the Sour Gentleman not a little.It had origin with one to be repeated by twenty.Old Houston’s home-camp, that a-way, is at a hamlet named Washin’ton down on the Brazos. It’s thar he squanders the heft of his leesure when not back of the game as President over to Austin. Thar’s a clause in the constitootion which, while pitchin’ onto Austin as the public’s home-ranche or capitol, permits the President in the event of perils onforeseen or invasions or sech, to round up the archives an’ move the capitol camp a whole lot. Old Houston, eager to be great, seizes onto this yere tenet.The End

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As already stated, my father was of Welsh extraction. It was no less the fact, however, that his original stock was Irish; his grandfather—I believe it to have been that venerable and I trust respected gentleman—coming to Wales from somewhere on the banks of the Blackwater. And my father, excellent man! had vast pride in his Irish lineage and grew never so angry, particularly if a bit heated of his Saturday evening cups, as when one spoke of him as offshoot of the rocky land of leeks and saintly David.As leadin’ up to this atrocity an’ to come within the constitootion, Old Houston allows that Austin is menaced by Comanches. Shore, it ain’t menaced none; Austin would esteem the cleanin’ out of that entire Comanche tribe as the labors of a holiday. But it fills into Old Houston’s hand to make this bluff as a excuse. An’ with that, he issues the order to bring the whole gov’ment layout down to where he lives. canada goose ski jacket uk “Which I don’t note nothin’ onusual, Gov’nor, about that mouth,” says the Doc, “except it’s a heap voloominous.”CHAPTER XXI.—THE LUCK OF COLD-SOBER SIMMS.

When the Widow’s sleep was out, Moh-Kwa sent her to hide in the lodge of Coldheart to hear what next he would plan. The Widow went gladly, for Moh-Kwa promised four more small young owls just out of the egg. The Widow lay under the buffalo robe an’ heard the words of Coldheart. In a week, she came back to Moh-Kwa an’ told him what Coldheart planned.“He’s ahead at the half mile.”“How many?” said Chamberlin’s steward, when he received the orders of Jim Britt.It was a bright October afternoon. My cometlike career had subsisted for something like a year and a half; and I, the comet, was growing in size and brilliancy as time fled by. My tobacco works proper were over towards the East River in a brick warehouse I had leased; to these, which were under the superintendence of a trusty and expert adherent whom I had brought north from Richmond, I seldom repaired. My offices—five rooms, fitted and furnished to the last limit of rosewood and Russia leather magnificence—were down-town. canada goose ski jacket uk “Is it not strange,” said the Jolly Doctor, when the Red Nosed Gentleman had finished, “that I who never cared to gamble, should listen with delight to a story of gamblers and gambling? But so it is; I’ve heard scores such in my time and always with utmost zest. I’ll even tell one myself—as it was told me—when it again becomes my duty to furnish this good company entertainment. Meanwhile, unless my memory fails, it should be the task of our descendant of Hiawatha”—here the Jolly Doctor turned smilingly to Sioux Sam—“to take up the burden of the evening.”While Jim Britt was now sensibly cast down and pressed upon by despair, within him the eagerness for triumph grew taller with each day. For one daunting matter, should he return empty of hand, Samantha would wear the fact fresh and new upon her tongue’s end to the last closing of his eyes. It would become a daily illustration—an hourly argument in her practiced mouth.“Can he race?” I said, with a gingerly air of merest curiosity. canada goose ski jacket uk Betelnut Jack received Lorns and myself in his dingy small coop of a parlor. He was unmarried—a popular theory in accounting for this being that he’d been crossed in love in his youth. Besides the parlor, Jack’s establishment contained only one room, a bedroom it was, a shadow larger than the bed.Then Moh-Kwa thought an’ thought, an’ at last he said to the Big Medicine Elk:These or their money equivalent—six hundred dollars—Bill knows to be a fat figure. He believes Gray Wolf will yield.Conversation fluttered from one topic to another for a brief space, but dealt mainly with those divers superstitions that folk affect. When signs and omens were worn out, the Jolly Doctor turned upon the Old Cattleman as though to remind that ancient practitioner of cows how it would be now his right to uplift us with a reminiscence. canada goose ski jacket uk As the band halts, Bill hears McCandlas say:Also, as I pried about the smuggling industry, I came across more than one interesting bit of knowledge. I found a French firm making rubies—actual rubies. It was a great secret in my time, though more is known of it now. The ruby was real; stood every test save the one test—a hard one to enforce—of specific gravity. The made ruby was a shadow lighter, bulk for bulk, than the true ruby of the mines. This made ruby was called the “scientific ruby;” and indeed! it was scientific to such a degree of delusion that the best experts were for long deceived and rubies which cost no more than two hundred dollars to make, were sold for ten thousand dollars.There came a time when The Flim Flam Murphy salted to the last degree of salt was as perfect a trap for a tenderfoot as any ever set. And as though luck were seeking Chicken Bill, a probable prey stepped from the stage next day.When I was in my room that night, making ready for bed, I could still hear the soft, cold fingers of the snow upon the pane. What a storm was that! Our landlord who had been boy and man and was now gray in that old inn, declared how he had never witnessed the smothering fellow to it.But the dinner was not to flag. The Statesman from Tupelo took the head of the table and the chairman of the steering committee the foot, the repast proceeded while wine and humor flowed.“You are not in error,” returned the Red Nosed Gentleman, “and I did refer to gambling. Casino, however, when played by Casino Joe was no game of chance, but of science; his secret, he said in explanation, lay in ‘How to Tell the Last Four.’”“But how did you come to do it, Mike?” asks the good-natured baker, as Mike lingers over a midnight porterhouse at the latter’s restaurant.One morning down by the Yellowstone, Moh-Kwa met Strongarm, the young Sioux, an’ Strongarm had a buffalo fish which he had speared in the river. An’ because Moh-Kwa looked at the fish hungrily an’ with water in his mouth, Strongarm gave him the buffalo fish. Also he asked Moh-Kwa why he did not catch fish since he liked them so well an’ the pool in his cavern was the camp of many fish. An’ Moh-Kwa said it was because the fish were cowards an’ would not stay an’ fight with him, but ran away.That day Mike, in passing through the Bowery, read the two hundred dollars offer of the selfconfident Terror. At that time Mike felt nothing save wonder that so great a fortune might be the reward of so small an effort. But it did not occur to him that he should try a tilt with the Terror. In his present stress, however, and with the woe upon him of a bad Christmas to dawn for little Davy, the notion marches slowly into Mike’s intelligence. And it seems simple enough, too, now Mike has thought of it; and with nothing further of pro or con, he prepares himself for the enterprise.There arose no little approbative comment on the folk-lore tales of Sioux Sam, and it was common opinion that his were by odds and away the best stories to be told among us. These hearty plaudits were not without pleasant effect on Sioux Sam, and one might see his dark cheek flush to a color darker still with the joy he felt.The Captain bowed. We dropped down to the Narrows as the night fell black as pitch. The Captain and I cracked a bottle. As we toasted each other, our suspect crept out through the Sound, and by sunrise had long cleared Montauk and far and away was southward bound and safe on the open ocean. canada goose ski jacket uk But why waste time with that hustling hue and cry? It was futile for all its indignant energy; I promise you, I made good my distance. Young, strung like a harp, with a third of a mile start and able to speed like a deer, I ran the hunt out of sight in the first ten minutes. It was all earnestness, that flight of mine. I fled through three villages and a puny little river that fell across my path. I welcomed the river, for I knew it would cool the quest.Even at the unripe age of twelve I could tell how the subject was unpleasant to my parent and did not press it. I saved my curiosity until evening when my mother and I were alone. My mother, to whom I re-put the query, informed me in whispers how she had been told—for she never met him, he being dead and gone before her day—my grandsire threw away his existence upon the bottle.An’ now Wah-bee-noh made a plan an’ gave it to his daughter who was called Oh-pee-chee, the Robin, to carry out; for the Robin was full of craft an’ cunning, an’ moreover, beautiful among the young girls of the Sioux.Mike, with folded arms and stripped to ring costume—his official robes—is looking on, a smile lighting his pleasant face. Mike is ever interested and ever silent.The same day, Moh-Kwa brings the Firelight to the lodge of Ugly Elk, an’ she an’ Running Water are wed; an’ from that time she dwells in the tepee of Running Water, even unto the day when he is named Kill-Bear an’ made chief after Ugly Elk is no more.“There will be less for the lover!” I thought.