Mystery solved -- though the problems are not.

I loaded a backup copy of my Maverick system onto another partition. I then did -- and only did -- the compilation for wacom.ko, copied into the relevant spot, did the depmod -a, and rebooted. Well, that worked. Indeed, I had to remove the underscores from the device name in .xsetwacom.sh, and once I did that, it ran just fine. The values are setting and returning for PressCurve, etc. Still can't set button4 to the escape key, nohow, but that's probably something else.

Then I remembered what I did. I followed the instructions on linuxwacomproject, before I ever saw your howto, which included building and installing their utilities, including their version of xsetwacom. I didn't do that on the new system, and the new system works fine. I copied xsetwacom from the new to the old system, and it still doesn't work there.

I suspect that I did some damage somewhere by installing that stuff, and I don't know if I'll ever figure out how to remove it, as it overwrote some files on the system. Well, the backup is only a week old, so I probably won't lose much by just whacking it.

What's that about too many chefs...

Anyway, at long last, I have a functional, and configurable bamboo. Thanks so much for your help.