Mason sees it first,— then tipp’d by his frozen silence, Dixon. Catfish is packing a Lancaster Rifle, slung in Scabbard upon his Saddle, with an inverted Pentacle upon the Stock, unmistakable in the Moon-Light. Mason looks over, on the possibility that Dixon has a Plan, and sees Dixon already looking back at him, upon the same deluded Hope.
“Acutally,” says Dixon, “we only just arriv’d, so it isn’t as if we’ve ‘seen’ the River, if that poses any sort of problem,—”
“— and it certainly isn’t as if we’re planning to settle here,—”
Catfish with one huge hand slides the Rifle out and holds it up before him, noticing the Sterloop as if for the first time. He smiles without mirth at the Surveyors. “You think this is my Rifle? No! I took this Rifle! From a White Man I have wish’d to meet for a long time. He was a very bad man. Even White People hated him. Beautiful piece, isn’t it?”
“The Sign on it has evil Powers,” Mason warns. “You should take a Knife or something, and pry it out.”
“What happened to it’s owner?” Dixon with a look of unsuccessfully feign’d innocence.
The Delaware is delighted to share that information with them, pulling from a Bag he carries a long Lock of fair European Hair so freshly taken, ‘tis yet darkly a-drip, at one end, with Blood. “This very day, Milords. Had you been earlier, you might have met.”
Either Mason or Dixon might reply, “We’ve met,”— yet neither does. “It didn’t feel complete to me,” Mason admits later, “I expected he yet liv’d, screaming about the Woods, driven to revenge at any price, a Monomaniack with a Hole in the Top of his Head,—”
“— looking for that Rifle back,” adds Dixon.
—Mason & Dixon, by Thomas Pynchon (pp 680-81).