The last few lines are great. Tobin spent a whole chapter talking about the judge, but the kid asks a question and he says they best not talk about him. So... what's his deal? Is he trying to get out of the question, "What's he a judge of?" And I get the feeling it's like a blind contradiction of himself too. I don't think Tobin was being funny. I think he seriously meant what he said. Odd. And as for the name, "the judge," can a guy not just be called "judge" every now and then? I call people doctor every now and then but most of them aren't even doctors. Different times.
I was looking forward to a better slaughter scene, but wow. I think I speak for everyone when I say it took me by surprise. My favorite part is "They slid down the slope like chaff down a hopper." This is describing the falling Apache and it reminds me of the term "canon fodder." The Apaches are just dropping; they have no effect on their opposition. And I think the judge should change his name to MacGyver (that is for Andrew). "Everybody pee in this mess and we'll shoot injuns with it!" The judge is basically a wizard. I'm excited to see him inevitably turn whale droppings into gold. It will happen.
Saltpetre (more commonly known as Saltpeter). The first time I heard about saltpeter was in an episode of Beavis and Butthead. The two go to Dr. Lebowitz's impotence clinic so they can finally "score." Dr. Lebowitz quickly realizes the two are not at all impotent, but they are sex crazed morons. He gives them saltpeter and they stop getting... wood. As it turns out, that is NOT how it is used in this book. I search-engineered saltpeter, and turns out it's some natural occurring mineral, Potassium Nitrate, which is used in gunpowder production. The first one was funnier.
Apparently, being skinned to the nasty tissue and whatnot "does very little for a man's appearance." An understatement if there ever was one. We've all seen "Predator," right? Would you say skinning "does little for appearance?" Ah, but it's great how it's used here. "Understatement" was a term on that list of rhetorical devices we had earlier in the semester. It works because we all know how serious skinning is (on a scale of 1-10 it resides in the high 8 range). By saying something as vague as "does little for appearance," it actually emphasizes it all the more I think. And with something so terrible as skinning, there's no way to show just how terrible it is being serious. Skinning sucks.
Which brings us back to the beginning of the chapter. "There's little equity in the Lord's gifts," says Tobin, expriest extraordinaire. I've heard the word equity thrown around in finances and insurance or something like that, but here it means: something that is just and fair. The Lord's gifts are not fair! And it's true. Life isn't fair. Some folk get all the good fortune; some folk get all the not good fortune. But, what are you gonna do, right?