"No, no, no..." Jonah reacted first to the easiest of the list, shaking his head. "It's only two dollars for the visit." He offered an uncertain smile, dismayed now that any means of stalling on the confessions was spent, and that he'd have to address the child's concerns.
Where to start? Of course, her primary worry was the perceived attraction to women, and that was something that Jonah very much doubted was covered in medical school, should one make it all the way through. It was considered a psychological aberrancy, something wrong in the brain, or just a mistaken impression by the sufferer...something that they could 'teach' themselves to stop.
But...Jonah wasn't ready to quite address that just yet (ever!), so he instead reverted to her first confession.
"So, you say you 'sinned' with a boy? Could you be more specific on that? What exactly did you do? Besides kissing, I mean?"
Oh, dear God, could the child be pregnant? Did she even know what caused pregnancy, or of she had had intercourse (EW!) with the boy, that a child could result? And where the hell was her mother?!
"Yes, Hannah isn't someone to cross, although she's as sweet a lady as you could hope to meet. Same with Addy, not the most sophisticated of folks, but genuinely good people. Most folks in town are good." Yes, Kalispell had its issues, but overall, it was a decent place to live.
"Oh, and before I forget - Doctor Danforth said he wanted chocolate, for Briton. Do we have any or should I fetch some?"
"He's going to give some of his 'secret' stash away?" Chuckling, the woman glanced at Aoife. "I didn't tell you, but it's in the cabinet there over the basin, in the back, in a cracker tin. He sure does love his chocolate! He even imports it from England, quality stuff!"
She gave the young woman a quick wink. "And I'm sure he'd never miss it if you wanted to try a quick sample, you know, to be certain that it hasn't spoiled or anything!"
"Oh, heavens, no. There haven't been any problems in town since...I didn't mean to give you the impression that this is a lawless place..." Mrs. Towberman smiled. "It's just to caution you not to become too complacent, just pay attention to what is going on around you, that's all."
Then she chuckled and shook her head, debating on whether or not she should continue with her thoughts, but she'd come this far...
"At least you don't need to worry too much, I very much doubt anyone is going to cause trouble at that boarding house...no one is addled enough to take on Miss Jemima." Then, to gloss over any insult to that woman, she added,"The same can be said for Miss Chappel and Miss Cory...she's a deputy, and Addy drives stage."
Heck, most of the women who had made it this far were pretty tough!
Jonah tried to keep a straight face as he nodded somberly. "Yes, we take the Hippocratic Oath at the end of our training, and part of that involves the privacy of our patients and their ailments." He offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "I'm not in the habit of discussing my patients anyway, so you needn't fear that anything will go beyond us."
Well, unless it was something that he needed advice on, since there were a slew of ladies problems that were still a mystery to him, and that, frankly, he preferred to remain so for all time!
"By cowards who shot an unarmed man!" the woman declared vehemently, laying into the biscuit dough passionately, "and held a pistol on poor Mrs. Blakesley, who owns the Lickskillet. I even heard that one of the brigands tried to take two young boys hostage as he was fleeing out the back!"
She shook her head, finally letting up on the dough. "It was only by the grace of God, and our own lawmen that no other townsfolk were injured, and now the two surviving bandits are in jail waiting to hang!"
It was clearly evident that the woman believed in justice and meting out punishment! "People need to know that Kalispell is not a place to defame with crime! Of course, once God destroyed the den of outlaws that was Whitefish, those men have to go somewhere!"
Jonah had to wonder why a young woman would want to see him specifically, since most ladies seemed to be more at ease with another female, but then, some felt that a nurse was 'just' a nurse, and not qualified to deal with even the most minor of complaints.
Oh, well, it was what he was here for, and how bad could it be?
Then he entered the exam room and just about ran for St. Louis, slamming the door behind him! That Arabella! Good lord, what was in the child's craw now?
But she looked so earnest and serious, so he pushed aside his thoughts and nodded to Arabella, keeping some distance for now. "Miss Mudd, isn't it? What's the problem today?"
He sat in a chair across from her to feel a little less threatening, and smiled, trying not to speculate on what her current ailment might be.
"Well, I can't say as I blame you," Mrs. Towberman agreed with the girl, after all, she was a mother, had her own girls close Arabella's age, and despite her opinions on the child's dramatics, her motherly instincts were strong. "Nurses are quite knowledgeable, Miss Leane is an excellent nurse, but I'll let the doctor know you are waiting. I don't think it will be any more than ten minutes or so."
As she headed back to the kitchen, Mrs. Towberman had to wonder what had the normally anxious and over-the-top girl so sober and serious, and while she was speculating, she would leave it at just that.
When she saw Aoife, she asked the young woman to watch for Dr. Danforth and let him know the girl was waiting for him in the parlor.
(Feel free to have Jonah finish with his current patient!
"Wigfalls?" Partway through the single word, Mrs. Towberman managed to catch her reaction, so that the tone was partly startled/dismayed and partly disingenuous recovery as the woman tried to plaster on a smile. "Oh, well...'vexing' is an interesting term, although I do hear that Mrs. Wigfall maintains a meticulously clean establishment."
There as certainly more she could say, but it would be neither charitable nor Christian, nor, in truth, based in anything but rumor, although rumor about the Wigfalls ran rampant in town. Of course, such things happened when you were different, and there was quite a bit different about that family!
"I'm sure you'll like it here, the town is growing, but it's still small enough and wild enough that people don't pry too much into your business." The woman smiled, sliding a small bowl of melted butter to Aoife. "Brush some of that on and we'll let it rise by the stove. As I said, Kalispell is a decent enough place, and surrounded by the most amazing scenery on God's Earth, if I do say so myself."
With a wistful grin, she started to roll out the dough for the biscuits. "Just keep in mind that it is still wild, there are Indians, bears, men who think it is far enough from civilization to make a safe place to hide...Why, the bank was just recently robbed, but the Marshal and some of the townsfolk put a stop to that."
"He's with a patient right now," the woman commented, standing back to let the girl in, "but you can wait in the parlor. It should just be a few minutes."
She glanced to see that Arabella was following as she led the way to the room that served as home parlor, clinic waiting area and library. "You may have a seat," she nodded to one of the red padded velveteen chairs, then continued, "would you like some tea or milk while you wait? Dr. Danforth has a new nurse working for him, she's quite smart, if you'd like to talk to her instead?"
If Arabella agreed to that, she'd have to warn Aoife, but then, the nurse lived with the Wigfalls, and they and Arabella could be written by the same hand, were they fictional characters!
It was little busy this morning, so at the knock, the only person available to answer was the cook, Mrs. Towberman, and she readily wiped her hands and set aside her task, heading for the door, relieved that it was just a knock that summoned her, and not the frantic pounding that accompanied emergencies.
When she answered, the woman managed to maintain her composure while she wondered what perceived excitement brought the child here.
"Good morning," she greeted with a smile, for the over-zealous girl reminded her of her sister when they were children, "what do you need?"
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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