Monday, July 29, 2019

Sick of Monkey, Taking Pills

Chapter 24 of 25 -- Head Hunters of the Amazon
The Crowning Folly

Up de Graff went through a lot but he still wasn't ready to go home. The spirit of the wilds had possession of him. Then he heard of a get-rich-quick scheme concerning the rubber trade, but the only crew he had left was Morse. And Morse was on his way out, leaving him with an Indian boy, Supaitranca. Still, his mind was made up, so they set off on the journey. He spent a few months wandering through swampy forests but didn't find the Indians he was seeking and very little rubber. Then the boy died of fever.

At that point Up de Graff had no living thing to keep him company, not even a parrot. It was a very lonely place. He walked through the forest, but all he saw was the same thing, forest and never-ending swamps. He lived like an animal from day to day and had a hard time finding enough food. My personal opinion, that would be terrible. No food, not even a parrot to keep me company with its meaningless chatter... "Rawk! Cannibals, I'd run if I were you!" Cannibals never eat parrots unless they're terribly hungry.

But he made it back to the town of Barranca, and in a few days Morse reappeared, having news of a "sure thing" concerning exploring. Up de Graff was skeptical, but Morse gave a glowing account of a possible cattle and cedar business in a particular place. He even had a bag of English gold which an Iquitos merchant had advanced him for the venture. This convinced Up de Graff. So off they went, confident of success. 

They had an Indian companion who fell ill of fever the first day, then he became weak and could do no work. They talked it over with him and he agreed to be put on a raft with provisions and to be shoved off toward Barranca. So he was gone.

A few more days and they were demoralized. Ahead was three long months of travel before they would reach a particular place on the river. They were depressed. Then as they happened to be looking out toward midstream they saw in amazement a young Indian girl, Breginia. They talked to her. She was alone. She decided to accompany them. And she was of great value to them, knowing the various dialects of the country, being a good lookout-person, etc. She even knew the arts of tracking and hunting animals, supplementing their dwindling food.

But as they went on at length, they were again out of food. They went on. Up de Graff got sick. But he was able to kill a monkey and eat it and take some Holloway's Vegetable Pills, which was restorative. As they were headed back toward civilization, Breginia departed, because there were guys ahead who would've enslaved her. Up de Graff recalled her fondly, that she saved their lives.

What do you think? Is this journey almost over? I'd say! The chances of finding another companion like Breginia weren't good. And Morse was gone again. And it was all wearing on Up de Graff. It's wearing on me and this is a 100+ years in the future. I'd be saying, "If I never see another drop of river water it'll be too soon! Monkey might be good for survival, but frankly it's making me sick. And Holloway's Vegetable Pills may make you feel better but ... Hmm, you're right, these really are good medicine! Pass me that box!

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