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Leaving Montana

Rory is nervous about meeting warriors. I tell him that there is nothing to worry about, the Blackfeet People are fierce in combat, and as dangerous and unpredictable as angry wolves, evil-tempered and trigger-happy, in peacetime, and that's just the children. Blackfeet braves will launch a deadly attack with no warning and for the slightest reason, against their friends, people they don't like, they attack for absolutely no reason at all. Rory says that he doesn't want to say or do anything that would make them angry. I tell him not to worry about making them angry, they are always angry, they only really enjoy themselves in battle, but they have slaughtered all their enemies, so they attack trains instead, or random strangers, just for something to do. Rory says that he is a stranger. It is true that Rory is stranger than most people, but I remind Rory that he is with us, which, I admit, won't help, but, I explain, the Blackfeet People will see him as less than a dog, a weak, sickly, cowardly, pale-faced, half-witted, pathetic, dog, not worth kicking, certainly not worth slaying, so he will be perfectly safe from harm. Rory does not seem sure about this. Juan tells Rory that Blackfeet women are the most beautiful women in the world, so, instead of worrying, he should be excited.

We find our Aamsskáápipikani friends, taking a break between raids. It is very nice to see them. I pass out the brass objects and ceremonial tobacco-pipes that I have been carrying. Seeing the pipes, Rory says that, perhaps, we can share a pipe of peace. I tell Rory that, these are peace-pipes when smoked as part of a part of a peace ceremony, by the nicotine-addicted head-chiefs of Central Cameroon, however, because the Blackfeet People are not peacefully inclined and, as they always keep themselves in top, battle-ready, physical condition, they do not smoke tobacco, and we don't smoke tobacco because it dulls the taste buds, and anything that harms the sublime taste of single malt is to be avoided at all costs. These items, I explain, are specially made by in Bagam by our Eyāp colleagues as gifts to the Blackfeet People, however the health-conscious Blackfeet don't smoke with them, they use them as clubs and daggers, which, after Juan, stupidly, passes around hip-flasks of Vintage Duff's Defiance Founder's Reserve, they proceed to enthusiastically demonstrate..

While everyone puts their peace-pipes to good use by using them as lethal close-quarter weapons, I introduce Rory to Katie Good Quiver. I tell Rory that Katie is an expert on feathers, and I tell Katie that Rory is looking for a big feather, preferably from the plumage of a giant bird that doesn't exist. Katie asks me if Rory is insane. I tell Katie that he is very strange, but he is friendly, and, in some ways he is almost a dog. Katie tickles Rory's ear and says that he is a good boy and, if he wants a big plume, she is sure he will find one. Rory says, crossly, that I have got it entirely wrong, he is not interested in birds that don't exist or big plumes. I tap my my head and whirl my finger around my temple, silently indicating to Katie that Rory is barking mad. Katie tells Rory, encouragingly, that a big plume is not hard to find and, she predicts, that if he looks out for one, he might find the feather of a thunder-bird, and they don't exist, or, at least, there are very few of them. Rory, looking agitated, starts to explain, again, whatever it is that tries to explain, but I don't care and Katie doesn't care, so, before he can explain it, I knock him out with a heavy brass Adamawanese vase, which is ideal for such purposes, and Katie and I have a very nice time catching up on the gossip while we watch our friends, with their brains on fire from the effects of Duff's Defiance, trying to slaughter each other with ceremonial peace-pipes.

When everyone has fought themselves into a standstill, but before they can refresh themselves with more Duff's Defiance, and start fighting again, I tell our Blackfeet friends that, although we would like to stay, we are on an vitally urgent mission and, owing to Juan's stupidity, we are rimpishly behind schedule, therefore, unfortunately, we have to leave immediately. Fatty says he wants to stay to try out the Blackfoot version of Cherokee preserve; Blackfoot preserve, he informs us, is the same as Cherokee preserve, except that it's strained through the kidneys of a live wolf, this gives it a salty, tangy, flavour, but we have to catch a wolf, which may take some time.

Juan says that he wants to go on a train raid, I tell him that we don't want a train, we want an aeroplane. Juan, childishly, says that, if we have to have an aeroplane, he wants a fast aeroplane, one that's exciting to fly. Fatty says that we need a big aeroplane, with a lounge and a promenade and a first class chef. Juan says that we should get a sea-plane because a sea-plane can float, then, when we run out of fuel over the sea, we can paddle the rest of the way. Albert says that this won't work if we aren't over the sea, but I ignore him and, kicking Rory awake, I tell him that he will be paddling a sea-plane around the world, so he better do some exercises, to warm up.

Katie shows us a map and points out that we are near Almost-a-Dog Mountain, which is close to an air-shipping lane, and suggests that the best thing to do borrow the first aeroplane we find, fly out to sea and catch up with an airship. Fatty says that this is a very good idea because airships are famous for their wonderful dining facilities and excellent promenades. Juan says it's a good idea because the airship will have bars and women. Rory wants to know how we will find an airship. Katie, remembering Rory's bizarre interest in big feathers, pats him on the head and tells him that he shouldn't worry, when we are over the sea, all he needs to do is look out for a big plume. Rory asks me why it is that, when people talk to him, they treat him like a dog, and the only thing they ever talk about is finding a big plume. George shows us his latest picture and asks Katie if she means a plume as big as the white tail-feather of a sea-eagle. Katie says that the plume she is talking about is black, and much bigger than a sea-eagle's tail-feather. Rory wants to ask Katie something else, but I tell Rory to shut up and stop bothering people with stupid questions. Juan asks Katie if she would like to keep Rory as a pet.

Beaumont Crazy Lost Bear kindly offers to guide us to the nearest airfield. We leave our Blackfoot friends in a hail of farewell bullets, wishing them the best of luck in the next train raid, and promising to come back soon. Beaumont leads us through freezing, treacherous, mountains for several days before admitting that he doesn't know where we are. This is irritating, but, fortunately, knowing we were likely to be lost, Katie turns up and leads directly to a small airfield. As a parting gift, I give a compass to Beaumont, Rory gives Katie his painting of an eagle and Juan gives her a set of diamond encrusted throwing-dirks, then, quickly fortifying ourselves with Vintage Glenfarclas, Duftown, Mortlach, and Cardhu Private Reserve, we borrow the first aeroplane we see and, shouting, cheering, and hitting each other with excitement, we fly up over the jagged, rocky, peaks, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink's Diary

Cherokee (preserve)

Ingredients. 1 quart of best malt vinegar, 8 tablespoonfuls of walnut ketchup, 4 tablespoonfuls of soy, 1 ounce of cayenne, 3 cloves of garlic finely-minced.

Method. Put these ingredients into a large bottle, cork tightly, and let them remain undisturbed for 1 month. At the end of this time, strain the liquid into small bottles, keep them well corked, and store in a dry, cool place.

Recipe by Isabella Beeton, 1861