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Sunday, December 29, 2013

RANCHO REYES Chapter 15 Plantation Owner “John”

Coffee Plantation
The three of them were at sea two days when then finally eased into the dock that Mr. Mandrel had constructed to protect the boat when they had heavy storms.  
John commented that it was worse than being in the saddle for thirty hours with out of having a break.

Since they left in a hurry they didn’t have much time to pack and left behind many of the things they had bought.  Mandrel’s daughter was named Lorry and John had got to know her on the trip home.

Mandrel told John that he now owned a large part of the Island that was tillable.  He said the house was still his for it was not part of the property he had wagered.  He said he would help John get acquainted with the workings of the estate.  He also said John was welcome to stay in his house for it was the best place to stay on the Island.

John said I hope we are close to eating for I’m getting hungrier by the minute.  After dinner he said I want you to know you still own half of the estate for you were being cheated but I feel I earned the other half.

Mandrel could hardly speak for the land had been in the family for several generations. John asked if there any horses here on the island and Mandrel said yes we have some of the finest from Europe.  John said that’s good for I have been in need of a good ride.

Lorry took John down to the stables where he said, “Your father wasn’t kidding these are fine stock.  Which one is yours Lorry?”

She said, “I just ride the first one I can get a bridal on.”

After looking them over John said, “This one is mine from now on.  It will take him a while to adjust to me but he will learn.”

She said, “Tomorrow we will look the place over and see how the horse handles for you.”

When they returned Mandrel asked, “Is everything alright?”

John said, “Yes it’s fine.  Actually I would like a western saddle but I’ll get used to the English saddle for I learned to ride bareback.

Mandrel said, “There is a saddle maker in the next Island over.  We could have him make a custom saddle for you.  He is an expert in making gear for horses and ships it all over the world.”

John said, “We will have to visit him after I get settled and understand the workings of the plantation.”
The plantation kids were fascinated by the six guns John wore and how fast he could draw them out of his holsters.  They would hang around him whenever they could and their parents would have to make them get back to their duties.

On occasion he would let one of the children ride with him through the plantation and that was their greatest desire.  They felt like they were something special.  Of course when one of the girls got to ride, the boys were pretty unhappy about that for girls were equal to the boys.

The news from the states wasn’t good for the war had started.  

The crop of coffee beans was ready to be picked.  One of the buyers from Florida came down and wanted to buy the whole crop and Mandrel sat down with him and after some back and forth they agreed on the price.

The buyer produced a contract with the conditions and price on it which satisfied Mandrel but John said I would like to read it before we sign it.

Everything seemed alright except the method of payment.  

John asked, “How do you intend to pay for the merchandise?”

The buyer said, “What do you mean how we are going to pay for it?”

John said. “What are you going to use for money?”

The buyer said, “We will pay in good confederate dollars.”

John said, “We don’t take either confederate dollars or greenbacks the only thing we accept is gold.”

This led to a heated discussion where John said, “It’s either gold or no deal.”

The buyer said, “You will accept good confederate money like everyone else or you won’t sell to anyone.”

John informed the buyer that he would escort him and his party to the dock and they could leave.  The man tried to argue further but John said, “There will be no more talk so get on you boat and leave.”

Mandrel didn’t know what to say for he had done business with the man’s company for many years.

John said if he can’t pay in gold that means they don’t have any money and once they get the coffee there is no way we can get our money.

John said tomorrow we go to New Orleans where I know some honest men that are buyers.  The next day they went to New Orleans and met with friends of John and after an afternoon of haggling over price they made a deal.

The buyer said, “I don’t know how much the war will affect us but in any case we need some coffee.”  John had left instructions for the men to start loading the ship and set sail for New Orleans as soon as they were loaded.

A couple days later the ship arrived with a full load and the unloading began.

While they were unloading a customs officer came with the buyer from Florida with the contract he tried to use to buy the crop.  It was all signed and a receipt was produced showing payment had been made.  
The man told a fanciful story and John and Mandrel just listened.  When he finished the customs officer asked for Mandrel’s version of what happened.

When Mandrel finished the officer said he couldn’t decide who was telling the truth and the Buyer from Florida had the paper work.  

John suddenly grabbed the buyer’s hand and drove a knife through it fastening it to the table where they were sitting.  As he moved his arm around with the man screaming, John asked if he would like to tell the truth about the matter.

The man gushed out, “I lied about everything.”

John said as he twisted the man’s arm, “That’s not good enough we need the whole truth and who is behind this.”

The man said alright I’ll tell you. John pulled the knife out and said, “Okay let’s have it.”

The man was holding his hand and for a moment it looked like he might change his mind when John said, “I see you have another hand shall I - - the man cut him off and gave out all the details and who was involved.

The customs officer said, “I know some of these crooks and if they ever come here again they will go to jail.”

To be Continued

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