"Well, I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to keep,--just a little, you know, to swear by, as 't were," said the trader, jocularly; "and, then, I'm ready to do anything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yer, you see, is a leetle too hard on a fellow--a leetle too hard." The trader sighed contemplatively, and poured out some more brandy.
Her dress was of the neatest possible fit, and set off to advantage her finely moulded shape;--a delicately formed hand and a trim foot and ankle were items of appearance that did not escape the quick eye of the trader, well used to run up at a glance the points of a fine female article.
"By Jupiter," said the trader, turning to him in admiration, "there's an article, now!
"Capital, sir,--first chop!" said the trader; then turning, and slapping his hand familiarly on Shelby's shoulder, he added--
The consequence is that the Rocky Mountains and the ulterior regions, from the Russian possessions in the north down to the Spanish settlements of California, have been traversed and ransacked in every direction by bands of hunters and Indian traders; so that there is scarcely a mountain pass, or defile, that is not known and threaded in their restless migrations, nor a nameless stream that is not haunted by the lonely trapper.
The introduction of firearms has rendered them more successful hunters, but at the same time, more formidable foes; some of them, incorrigibly savage and warlike in their nature, have found the expeditions of the fur traders grand objects of profitable adventure.
A new order of trappers and traders, also, has grown out of this system of things.
A totally different class has now sprung up:--"the Mountaineers," the traders and trappers that scale the vast mountain chains, and pursue their hazardous vocations amidst their wild recesses.
The schooner went on, but the Moongleam trader ashore offered a thousand sticks, and to him Mauki was brought by the bushmen with a year and eight months tacked on to his account.
"That'll teach you that back talk don't go with me," the trader shouted, purple with rage, peering down at him over the broken railing.
One of the trader's favorite tricks was to catch Mauki's kinky locks and bat his head against the wall.
They explained in one voice that they liked the trader not at all.
At last the muleteer was tired, and the traders continued their journey, taking with them matter for talk about the poor fellow who had been cudgelled.
And so saying, he charged with levelled lance against the one who had spoken, with such fury and fierceness that, if luck had not contrived that Rocinante should stumble midway and come down, it would have gone hard with the rash trader. Down went Rocinante, and over went his master, rolling along the ground for some distance; and when he tried to rise he was unable, so encumbered was he with lance, buckler, spurs, helmet, and the weight of his old armour; and all the while he was struggling to get up he kept saying, "Fly not, cowards and caitiffs!
Let there the trader
rule, where all that still glittereth is--traders' gold.