Business: Brighter Leaf

The great, wooden-floored warehouse is neatly piled with bunches of tobacco leaves. Buyers inspect them, fingering them, and measuring them with their eyes. The auctioneer, at one end of the room, starts to chant. Coat off, hat on the back of his head, hands on his hips, he sways to the rhythmic rise and fall of his cry. "Hobben-dobben-hobben-dobben-hobben-dobben," is the way it sounds if you have never heard it, "Hobben-dobben, ay-ay-ay-ay -ay -ni -ni -ni -ni-ni-ten-ten-ten-ten-SOLD." By crooks of fingers, nods of heads, distention of nostrils, the buyers make their bids...

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