This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
When it comes to the greatest endeavors a man can undertake, the two most revered pursuits are without question the trapping and skinning animals and the taming the female heart. These two great passions may seem at odds, but they could not be more similar. The woman, like the wild beast, is guided by a stubborn sense of entitlement that is so easily overcome with simple traps, gasses and ploys.
I say without exaggeration that I have reveled in both of these enterprises to great excess. While it is my efforts in the field of fur trapping that have brought me the most success, comfort and satisfaction, my time with the fairer gender has also proven pleasant and worthwhile. I have learned many great lessons from women, from how best to manage their kaleidoscopic moods to what it truly means to be a man. They have been my stalwart companions and confidants and, at times, even my caretakers.
It is true that women have a way of softening a man, sanding down those sharp edges to reveal a more balanced and complete person. I owe a fair deal of debt to the women who helped shape me into the satisfied man I am today. I shall now document these great women, ranking them from most to least important.
The Fur Industry
I would be a dishonest man if I claimed a love greater than the fur industry. It is from nursing at her bosom that I gained purpose and strength. It is from striving always to warrant her affection that I earned my wealth and success. My greatest fear was always to disappoint her, followed closely by falling victim to a mermaid's evil charms. The Fur Industry transformed me into a captain of industry, and we became inseparable partners. I am proud to say that I have never disappointed her.
It is true that I have had to share her with many other men, but she has so much love to give. It is not boastful but certain fact when I state unequivocally: I was her finest lover.
My time with Abigail was rich and rewarding, but very short. Her moods seemed to change dramatically with the seasons. Docile in the spring, determined and distracted in the summer, horrifically violent in the fall and remarkably lethargic in the winter. In the end, it was those brutal fall seasons that proved her undoing, as I had no choice but to shoot her in self defense. She had the finest hair of any woman I ever loved, and I made sure to aim strategically so as not to diminish the value or quality of her pelt. I am pleased to say this very same pelt is warming me even now as I pen these words.
A. G. Fouke
I scarcely remember any of my time with A. G. Fouke, but I believe she proved an ample and qualified companion. Alas, our marriage was plagued by many hardships, and I am certain my overwhelming sense of integrity troubled her as it did my previous wife. That I was suffering the fits and pangs of my burden did not help matters. My poor A. G. lived in constant fear of either disappointing me or losing me to my ailments. I'm pleased to say that thanks to the Good Lord Above, it was the former that did her in.
I will always remember her scent, which, due to my advanced brain tumor, was not unlike that of rotting viscera.
M. V. Fouke
Ah, beloved M. V., mother of my greatest progeny. Without her there would be no heir to the throne of the Fouke Fur Co. She was a delicate woman ill-suited to marry a rugged man such as I. But, I could not deny that she had her magnificent beauty and I was most pleased she bore me a son. Her decision to commit suicide was regrettable, but shrewd and well thought out. I will always respect someone who knows when to cut their losses.
R. L. Wintersmoore
It brings me much melancholy to recollect on my time with this extraordinarily troubled woman. While she was beautiful and talented and full of life, she had very tiny hands and a peculiar sensitivity toward the plight of animals. She was a most remarkable woman in almost every regard save for those hands and that strange aversion to the slaughtering of savage creatures. I recall taking her to many medical doctors in hopes of finding a cure for these two conditions, which I believe were closely intertwined. When we exhausted our medical options I had no choice but to have her institutionalized.
Naturally, I have avoided any woman with small hands ever since. I advise you, dear reader, to do the same.
E. R. Bookingsworth
Ah, my first great love. She was a fiery and scornful woman I met in my university days. She had a commendable and infectious love for fur, and relished every pelt I brought her. My efforts to court her were for naught, as my good friend J. F. Swanton succeeded in kidnapping her during one of our many dates.
At the time Swanton was living in a bog outside the university grounds, and was well known to steal away women in the night. I shall have to ask him whatever became of E. R. and his many other conquests.
It goes without saying that a number of other lovers deserve mention here, but I shall refrain from naming them out of decency and modesty. Should you be one of these great women, I invite you to deduct ten per cent (10%) from the price of this autobiography.
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The esteemed P. B. Fouke, villainous J. F. Swanton and technocratic blowhard A. P. Brown battle for fur market supremacy in this series of old-timey dispatches.