A True Tale
Peter Biggs is the only barber in town. He’s more than happy to introduce a stranger to female society. Afterwards and during the war between the states, he’s known as the Black Democrat. He comes here as a servant of Captain A.J. Smith, of the dragoons, then makes a ton of spondulix in various speculations,and marries a Spanish lady, in all the glory of a swallow-tailed coat with brass buttons, white vest, and gloves, redolent in all the perfume of “Araby the Blest.” Mr. Biggs makes a “corner” shipping cats to San Francisco as a remedy to their rat problem. Los Angeles is over-run with cats, and it is left to the fertile brain of this distinguished Virginian to equalize this great seeming inequality in the nature of things by gathering up all the cats he can get, either by hook or crook, to be sold up north, at prices from $16 to $100 apiece. Two coops of cats are left exposed to the wind and weather on the vessel, and some 100 cats are drowned. He sues the shipping company and wins, yet like all great men of the period, Mr. Biggs is addicted to gambling, and the pay from his magnicent enterprise helps the coffers of the casino princes of the Bay City, before the crest fallen forestaller of the San Francisco cat market returns to the bosom of his beloved angel, a wiser if not richer man.

© 2017 Ivan Morley