Chapter 4 - 1
Everybody in the entire town knew that Kino was coming to sell his pearl today. Most importantly, the pearl buyers sat in their offices with the black velvet trays laid out in anticipation. Each knew how high to bid and the method each other buyer would use to entice Kino. They achieved excitement in the hunt, the pursuit of the best buy.
On this hot day, all of the canoes remained at port. This momentous day was too important to miss. All of the townspeople conversed regarding the question of the day: What would you do if you had found the great pearl? So many of these poor people vowed that they would take the pearl to the Pope in Rome, or distribute the profits among the impoverished families in town. All of the neighbors hoped that this new wealth would not change Kino into greedy miser. After all, Kino and his family were well-liked in the La Paz.
In their hut, Juana prepared for the exchange by dressing Coyotito in the fine baptismal garments she had made in hopes that some day the family could afford to baptize their baby. Juana donned her marriage skirt and carefully braided her hair, securing it with red ribbons. While Kino had no fancy clothes, he at least wore a clean shirt and fantasized that soon he could afford nicer garments. Juana wears her head shawl to make a hammock in which to cradle Coyotito. Kino adjusts his straw hat into position in order to emphasize his serious and aggressive emotion.
All of the neighbors gather to follow Kino into town for the historic moment. Among the followers was Juan Tomas. As the group approaches the pearl buyers, Juan Tomas cautions his brother to be careful that the buyers to not cheat him. No one knows how much the pearl is worth. Juan Tomas offers to act as an agent in the deal, claiming that in the past, men would sell the pearls in bulk to gain higher profits. Kino declines the offer stating a religious reference that each man and each woman must guard their own assets. Together the brothers walk up, the sun's glare obstructing their vision just as the it did for their ancestors.
The air is solemn, and the sun is high in the sky. Struggling children are silenced by their parents. Every person in the town looks out as the troop from the brush houses march up the street. The pearl buyers hide their pearls for it is not good business to let an inferior pearl be compared to a beauty. The windows of the buyers' offices have bars and wooden shutters, so the sun barely penetrates through small slats.
The first buyer, a portly man with kind eyes, calls out a morning greeting to the crowd. The man had placed a hibiscus flower in the vase on his desk, beside the velvet pearl tray. Kino enters the office while his neighbors crowd around the doorway and windows. Aware of the dramatic effect, Kino slowly reveals the leather bag, slowly pulls out the soft deerskin, carefully unpeels it, and gently drops the pearl onto the velvet tray. The buyer, a professional of dramatic effects, did not change his facial expression, did not give away any emotion. The man rolled the pearl back and forth on the tray with his forefinger, then picked it up to hold it to his eye. Kino and the entire group held their breath. The dealer dropped the pearl back onto the tray and poked at it. Finally, the man changed his facial expression. His mouth formed a sad yet insincere smile. The buyer says that he is sorry. Kino protests that the pearl is quite valuable. The buyer claims that the pearl is like fool's gold. It has no market; and it is only a curiosity. Kino continues to protest more vigorously. But the dealer offers only one thousand pesos. Kino's expression turns dark and he screams that the pearl is worth fifty thousand pesos. The dealer claims that he is not at fault and goes to gather other dealers to show that the appraisal will remain low.
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Chapter 4 - 1
Chapter 4 - 2