…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…
Given that the man was on the run and seemingly out of funds with the Poyais scandal having a real sting in the tail, they did not expect him to be living it such plush surroundings. The apartment was just off the Champs Elysee and boasted five rooms in all, excluding the kitchen. More than ample space for any family. MacGregor had certainly landed on his feet, even if the so called hireling press were out for his blood.
When the group arrived in Gustavus tow, MacGregor was alone. His family were out for the day exploring Paris on a beautiful day. Unbeknownst as always about the full extent of their patriarch’s dealings. MacGregor did not sit at a desk as most of the group had expected him to, working away to hatch his next Poyais scheme. Rather he sat on his sofa, lounging with a cognac. As Gustavus entered, MacGregor immediately began barking orders in his own charming way, “excellent Gustavus, I have been doing a mighty bit of thinking here and need your assistance with some writing. Letters to the King of Spain and a constitution.”
It took him several moments of walking back and forth in the sitting room to realise that Gustavus was not, in fact, alone. He stopped in his tracks as soon as he did realise and began questioning immediately, “who are these people Gustavus? Why on earth have you brought them to my home?”
Gustavus did not see it playing out quite in this manner, so he momentarily froze allowing a thick blanket of awkwardness to fall over the room and all contained. The moment was long and most arduous for Gustavus, then for Jose, Noemi and Emma. MacGregor was seemingly impervious to awkwardness, no doubt a skill honed through many interactions where he forced people’s hands into trusting him through sheer mental force. All he was waiting for was an explanation and he exclaimed as much.
Shaking out of his awkward fog, Gustavus finally responded, “these fine people are from British Honduras, Sir, and they come seeking employment. I’ve only done as we agreed, Sir.”
“Ah, Yes, very good! Show them in then Gustavus. Don’t let them just stand there awkwardly while we speak,” MacGregor beamed.
Showing them in, Gustavus got them seated on the sofas and chairs in the sitting room which weren’t occupied by MacGregor and then signalled the servant to come assist them with refreshments. It was all otherworldly for Noemi, Emma and Jose who sat dumbfounded requesting tea and wine from the servant as if they had never left the cafe. When everyone had something to drink and was seated, Jose made an attempt to ask a question, but was quickly and sharply cut off by MacGregor who expounded on his current vision, “I will assume you know very little of my current venture, but have heard of me previously. Many people have. You can’t believe all that you hear in the press, though, so let me make some quick corrections. I am a veteran of the Latin Foreign legions and have spent much of my life living and fighting the just cause in Latin America. In my travels I came across a land called Poyais, which is claimed to be a false land. I assure you that it is not.”
Emma seethed at the mention of Poyais and the mans arrogance’s. Though, she kept her cool with a calming hand on her knee from Jose. They would make the scam artist pay where it mattered most to him.
Continuing his monologue, MacGregor said, “my agents mis-sold the nature of Poyais and lead the settlers astray. There is a lovely land there, I assure you. A land of milk and honey ripe for the right settlers. Perhaps the French will find the opportunity much more attractive. I have always said that they are a singularly wonderful people. Intelligent and adventurous. I just need the right agents this time.”
“Here here,” chimed in Gustavus to the displeasure of all concerned.
“Are you those agents?” MacGregor asked and then promptly answered himself, “No, we need Frenchmen to front an adventure for the French. Do you have ships? I think not, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting here. Money to fund our activities? Absolutely not. What then, can you bring to the table?”
Finally he sat silently and waited for a response rather than answering his own questions.
Emma entered the fray, “we can offer much in terms of local knowledge to aid your sales efforts.”
“But you are not a local of Poyais. You are English. What use is that?”
“We are close enough,” said Noemi,” being from British Honduras. From Belize Town. We know much of Poyais.”
“I see,” said MacGregor pensively, “and then what does the English woman bring? Is it a package deal?”
Before Emma could respond indignantly, Jose stepped in and said, “we are a package deal. I imagine that you could do with just one person to aid you in your narrow request for a ‘local’ but we think there is much for us to bring to the table collectively.”
“We have connections in banking who owe us favours and ideas on how to make this plan, well, successful. Profitable too. With minimum risk.”
“Interesting indeed,” said MacGregor as he stood up and wandered to his desk. He flipped through a stack of papers and then put some in w bundle. Turning back towards Jose, he said, “very interesting. I won’t employ you on the spot, but I’m happy to consider it further. Please do stay and enjoy some more drinks with me.”
Then, turning to Gustavus and handing him the bundle, he ordered, “could you be so kind as to bring these to Mr. Irving. He needs to tidy some of these letters up and work on the Sketch booklet.”
Without question, Gustavus took the bundle and went on his way, leaving MacGregor alone with his three prospective partners. He surveyed them before making his final judgement. When he was satisfied with his assessment he said, “So, tell me how you would improve the scheme.”