Summer 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 3 FictionJuly 1, 1960 |

The Swift River People

In central Africa there is a tract of country which is called Swift River, after its only notable feature. It was in the heart of my District—the District where they left me alone and unpromoted for twenty-seven years, until my retirement from the Service one year ago. I had made the mistake of over-specialization, always fatal to an administrative career, and that is why—they said—they left me there so long. But also I happened to be a bachelor, and that suited them, for they well knew that no family man could serve for long in Swift River. No woman would tolerate that place for more than a little while. Be that as it may, I became known throughout the Service as Bardac of Swift River, notwithstanding the fact that my District far exceeded that tract of land. The name stuck, and I stuck, and we saw the end of each other, Swift River and I. The river, a distant tributary of the Congo, hurls itself down from the bare red mountains of Triassic rock and zigzags furiously

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