Not that our course lay wholly through unbroken solitude; but the men we for the most part encountered were of the strange sort who had pushed westward farther and farther to be alone to get away from their fellows. The axe to them did not signify the pearlash of commerce, but firewood and honey and coon-skins for their own personal wants.
At the same moment a chauffeur buried in coon-skins moved forward touching his cap: "Miss Erith's car is here, sir; Miss Erith expects you." McKay hesitated, scowling now in his perplexity; passed his quivering hand slowly across his face, then turned, and looked at the waiting car drawn up at the gutter. Behind the frosty window Miss Erith gave him a friendly smile.
Then began my knowledge of log-cabins, coon-skins, and of the name hard cider, the thump of drums, the crash of brass-bands, cockades, and torch-lights.
She said he would get in New Orleans thirty-five cents apiece for his coon-skins, one dollar for minks, and one dollar and a half each for beaver and otter skins. She informed me that the sunken country below Memphis, on the Arkansas side, was full of deer and bears. By rowing briskly I was able to pass Memphis, the principal river port of Tennessee, at five o'clock in the afternoon.
The coat and cap are like the ones we used to laugh at when we went up to Montreal for the tobogganing, in the days when I was young and foolish and willing to sacrifice comfort on the altar of outward appearances. The coon-skins make me look like a Laplander, but they'll be mighty comfy when the cold weather comes, for Dinky-Dunk says it drops to forty and fifty below, sometimes.
They came with log cabins drawn on wheels by oxen, and with coons, coon-skins, and hard cider. They came with music and banners; and thousands of them came from long distances. It was the first political meeting I had ever attended, and it made a very strong impression upon my youthful mind.
The pannier borne upon the back of the woman, containing fox and coon-skins, with little baskets of stained wicker and the bead-embroidered mocassins and wampum belts that appear in the hands of the girl bespeak a purposed visit to the settlement of Swampville.