Monday, January 01, 2007

Chapter 25: Dallying Around in Telluride

In Chapter 25, Frank ascends to the Little Hellkite Mine via Tomboy Road, entering a haunted, even supernatural mining area where he meets the ultimate tomboy, Dally. She is busy “poring what could only be nitro into holes drilled into these living mountain depths” (298).

Dally leads him to Merle, who informs him that the mine owners want him dispensed with, and he learns that last-night’s friend, Bob Meldrum, is hunting him. Dally takes him back to town, via an underground passageway haunted by dwarfs, tommyknockers, who appear to be the same creatures encountered by the Chums of Chance during their foray through the center of the Earth. Once again, the fantasy world and the real world have a strange intersection. Dally takes him to stay in a safe house, the Silver Orchid whorehouse.

There is also a conversation with Merle about a kind of alchemist in New York, Dr. Emmons, who has discovered a process to transform silver into gold. Merle has him view some of Emmon’s “argentaurum” through a piece of Icelandic Spar calcite, which reveals to Frank the transmutation of silver into gold.

Franks suspects Merle is a conman, trying to get money out of Frank for the secret of Emmon’s process, but Merle says no—like his father, Frank isn’t searching for wealth—he craves some kind of secret knowledge.

Frank is still searching for Deuce and Sloat, and Merle refers him to Dr. Turnstone, who confesses he was in love with Frank’s sister Lake, but lets slip that Lake has run off with Deuce Kindred.

A stunned Frank is shocked and angry. “When I find her, I will kill the bitch” (312). This is getting very Shakespearean now.

In search of Deuce and Lake, Frank talks to an old gambling partner of Reef. Jimmy Drop. Jimmy tells him a story of 11-year-old Lake skating with a mysterious partner, “some kid from town, management kid, not much older than she was, and Webb Traverse came in saw it and just pitched a fit” (314). Who was her mysterious partner—one of the Vibe boys?

Elmore Disco helps Frank escape Telluride by helping disguise him as “Pancho, the Bassoon Player” (315).

There is a Shakespearean soliloquy at Webb’s grave: “It’s like we specialized Pa. Reef is runnin on nerve, Kit’s gonna figure it all out scientifically, I’m the one who just has to keep poundin at it day after day, like that fell back east tryin to turn silver into gold” (316).

Speaking of back east, with Merle, Frank watches Dally board the train to New York to find her mother. Frank tells her to contact his brother Kit, “cause you and Kit are two of a kind” (317).


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