Teixiera rode back to his farm, very puzzled by Henry’s arrival. Never before had any merchant or trader ridden all the way from the Cape to do business in such a god-forsaken place as Schoemansdal, and certainly not with a farmer as pathetic as Van Troncken. When he got
of a clear liquid from a dark green bottle, and as he swallowed small mouthfuls of the fiery drink, he tried to make sense of it.
Van Troncken could not even begin to be able to pay for
machinery from Prussia, and, even if he could, what use would it be to that simpleton? He could not distinguish a fly-wheel from a fly-swatter. He took a pipe from his pocket. After using a stained yellow finger to press some
merchant paid him a visit. Then, he would ply him with
alcohol. That loosens tongues soon enough, he thought,
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