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I walked up to her trailer and a man appeared out of the shadows in a way that suggested he had been watching me. He looked about sixty, with a scared face and old, tired eyes. The floor was littered with discarded clothes and so many foil take-away trays they were ankle-deep like silver ingots on the floor of a vault. On one wall was a makeshift dressing-table before a mirror with a halo of light bulbs set around it. That done, Bass handed the warm clay stem to his wife. Surely what is important is not how much you take in, but that you did pray with the smoke. This she quickly expelled in one direction. Then followed suit with three more short puffs to finish her circuit of the directions as the child in her lap began to fuss. With the fingertips of his right hand, he gently caressed her forehead, cheeks, and under her chin, slowly soothing the fussy child, quieting her. So Bass remained confident he could rebuild the pieces of their life together. Daniel Potts, and even Jim Beckwith. It troubled him to think back on how fewer and fewer showed up come rendezvous with the arrival of each summer. Every summer at least a couple dozen more admitted they were throwing in and giving up. Titus felt sorry for those who decided to flee back east to what was, back to who they had been. There among the pacified Sauk and Fox, among the Osage or those other bands Andy Jackson had driven west, such an old trapper and his family might better mix in with the life of hardworking folks scratching out an existence along that border of the wilderness.

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