This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.

You have heard the promises of other fur magnates, but I must now compel you to consider my heartfelt words. This is a sworn pledge to you, my customer, and I will bind myself to these words with my life and my honor.

The science of fur trapping cannot be learned with practice, experience nor scholarly pursuit. The true fur trapper is born with a mouthful of blood and hair! I was born in a hollow log and reared at the sour teat of a wild boar. As soon as my legs could bear my weight, I slew the bristly beast that mothered me and bit the skin from its body with my scarce infant teeth. Even to this day, I use the jawbone of this animal to kill any beast or man who looks me in the eyes.

I have entered the fur trade for two reasons only:

First: To satisfy my customers fully. I pledge to offer the finest traps at the lowest prices. I promise to pay the highest prices for even the most inferior of furs.

Second: To spill the blood of as many living creatures as I can.

My esteemed competitor, P.B. Fouke, cannot make the same claims. He is the pampered son of a poet and a schoolmarm, and his beardless foppery is a testament to the weak will which steers his business. I have the utmost respect for my friend and competitor, but I will say with truth and honesty that while he has a taste for blood, he has no thirst for it.

The passion for killing and skinning beasts courses through my veins, and I promise to use my considerable expertise to glorify myself and to make you, my customer, a rich man!

I will offer you premium dollars for your inferior furs! Send me your most soiled and mangy furs, send me your ripped and tattered pelts, because I will offer you more money than any other fur buyer.

How can I offer such astounding prices for my furs? Unlike my dear friend and rival P.B. Fouke (it pains me to even call him my competitor, so close is he to my heart), I sell my furs to only the most evil and nefarious buyers! My buyers have been cast aside by polite society, and no reputable businessman in America would dare to trade with their ilk. Swanton minks form the flowing stoles of America's prostitutes. Swanton elkhides are stitched together to create the garments of the nation's most violent pirates. I am proud to report that I sell more furs to scoundrels, rapists, murderers, thieves and perverts than any other fur company in the world.

Whether you hand me the finest beaver pelt or a barely identifiable hunk of gristle, I will offer you top dollar for your kill. In fact, do not hesitate to hand me pelts which most fur traders would have moral reservations in accepting, such as the furs of housecats and the scalps of women. I will take them without question and protect the anonymity of our dealings from all inquiring lawmen.

My traps are the cruelest traps known to man. I spare no expense in the development of my traps, and I put my full faith in the lethal abilities of my product. My Waccamaw Eyebleed trap can kill an elk more slowly than any other trap in the world, and I stake my reputation on the claim that the elk will be fully lucid and conscious of his plight until the very second he expires. The Carolina Razorframe trap can prolong the death of a boar for up to sixteen days; the beast will be in incomprehensible pain, and each second will feel like an eternity as it is slowly minced and destroyed by the fine wires that agonizingly collapse over its body- and yet its fur remains intact!

I offer you these traps at unprecedented discounts! Though I make no profit from their sale, the satisfaction I gain from the deaths of each of these animals is payment enough for me.

I trust no man with the operation of my business, and I will never name a successor. You have only my lifetime to deal with me, for when I am dead I shall take my business to my grave. I make every decision and mastermind every business policy. I hire only orphaned children, idiots, old men, cripples and men driven mad by syphilis. I pay these creatures a mere pittance, and many men have collapsed from overwork under my watchful eye. I pass these considerable monetary savings to you, my customer.

I hereby confirm in writing that I buy children from their parents and use them to test my traps. If this fact repulses you, I dare you to be swindled by the high prices of another trap & bait wholesaler. I dare you to accept the paltry sums offered by another fur buyer. I encourage you to fall into the perfumed arms of my lifelong friend and most esteemed colleague, P.B. Fouke.

I seek only to educate you, my prospective customer, about my history and methods. I am not a braggart, but I do not shrink from the truth for the purpose of humility. I am not a prideful or boastful man, but only by detailing the true and verifiable facts of myself and my business can I properly describe my methods. I will now lay out my list of feats, superior traits, and admirable deeds:

I can lift a fully-grown horse above my head, and I can hold my breath for ten minutes. To settle a wager, I once ate a pound of P.B. Fouke's strongest badger poison and then ran a mile in the nude. I cannot feel pain, and I can see for two miles unaided by a lens. No man can kill me. I have beaten a man of every race in formal combat, including a Turk, a Pygmy Negro Man and a rare Deepwater Jew. A medical doctor and two priests have written and signed a document confirming that I have no soul. There is no species of fauna in America which I have not personally killed and skinned. I will never sire a child because I loathe women. I bathe only once a year in an icy pond. I have burnt down one church per month for the last thirty years, and I will never be brought to justice because all lawmen fear me.

My loyal friend and most trusted associate in the fur trade, the honorable P.B. Fouke, has been my main source of competition for nearly two decades. Though Mr. Fouke is a kind, honest, and jolly man who has always maintained his business to a standard of excellence unattainable by lesser types, I must hereby offer a ransom for his skin. I will take no delight in the death of my great friend, but I am eager to take over his considerable fur empire and rule his inferior employees under the flesh-rending sting of my bullwhip. Happy hunting, dear customers!

I certify with my signature that the entire content of this letter is sworn and true. Although I do not deny that I am an evil man to my core, I am no liar and I would never cheat a customer.

Yours with high regard and gay spirits,

J.F. Swanton
President, Swanton Furs

– J.F. Swanton (@Arr)

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About this series

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.

Other articles in this series

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