Inside at the cattle auction, the atmosphere was more charged. David Williams, an auctioneer in a white coat, stood on a grandstand overlooking a large pen; an audience of farmers, butchers, and wholesalers crowded around and also looked on keenly from a row of risers. One by one, cows were released into the pen snorting and stomping, and the auctioneer called steadily in his velvety BBC radio announcer-ish voice. "Good bullock here weighing 660. Start at 30. 31, 32, 33—come again—33." Read pointed out to me the subtle signals the bidders were making, sometimes nothing more than a wink, or a lift of a finger; I couldn't imagine how the auctioneer could possibly keep track. "58, 58, 58. 60, then? Oh, I thought you would with a heifer like that."