In these pages you will encounter gamblers and adventurers, conmen and conwomen, rodomontades and ragamuffins, outright fools and outrageous liars. Scalawags, the lot of them.
But you can be an adventurer, a conman or conwoman, a fool, liar, gambler, rodomontade or ragamuffin and not be a scalawag. Many adventurers are not even interesting, come to think of it, let alone scalawags. There is an ineffable quality, an indefinable something or other that sets some people apart, places them in the special category that Jim Christy calls “scalawag.” You might call them something else; nuts, perhaps. And quite frankly in many instances—George Francis Train, for instance, or Louis De Rougemont—you’d probably be right. But likewise you don’t have to be a crackpot to be a scalawag: Two Gun Cohen, for instance, or Lady Jane Digby.
What you have to be is outrageous with a bit of what Andre Malraux, an adventurer and liar, perhaps—but not a scalawag—designated, in reviving an old French word, farfelu. It means that you are willing to risk everything, whether on a grand or small scale, on the craziest of schemes, the wildest of notions. Search for the source of the Nile, you’re an adventurer. Convince the locals in the jungles of Sumatra to worship you as a king because you’re an albino, you’re a scalawag.ISBN 1895636949
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