By George R R Martin
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Additional resources for Fevre Dream (Fantasy Masterworks 13)
This is a for-mid-a-bul town,” Marsh said carefully, “and a formid-a-bul river, Mister York. Man’s got to keep his strength up. ” “I’m quite aware of that,” York said. “Well, I hope so, if you’re going into steamboatin’. ” “Shall we go directly to business, then? You own a packet line. I wish to buy a half-interest. ” “I’m considerable interested,” Marsh agreed, “and considerable puzzled, too. You look like a smart man. ” He tapped it with his finger. “You ought to know that this last winter just about ruined me.
There was an old, rotting wharf and a woodyard along the bayou for passing steamers, and behind the great house a row of slave shanties. But there were no slaves, and the fields had not been worked in some years. The house was not large as plantation houses go, nor particularly grand; it was a stolid, square structure of graying wood, paint flaking from its sides, its only striking aspect a high tower with a widow’s walk around it. “Home,” said Sour Billy. The girl asked if the plantation had a name.
Hell yes, but it’s not the wheel you got to learn. It’s the river, York, the river. The old Mississippi hisself. I was a pilot for eight years, before I got my own boats, licensed for the upper Mississippi and the Illinois. Never for the Ohio, though, or the lower Mississippi, and for all I knew about steamboatin’ I couldn’t have piloted no boat on those rivers to save my life—didn’t know ’em. Those I did know, it took me years to learn ’em, and the learnin’ never stopped. By now I been out of the pilot house for so long that I’d have to learn ’em all over again.