Her personality might be large but her build is petite. A bundle of energy, she seldom sits still. She has dirty blonde hair, usually put up though it is shoulder length. It takes a special occasion to get her to wear a hat, she would rather go without one. They say the eyes are a window to the soul - her deep brown ones are a perfect mirror of her moods be it charming, happy or angry and some might say murderous. She dresses well, orders her dresses from back east and likes folk to know it.
Traits & Characteristics
Single-minded in pursuit of her dreams (+-)
Care-free outgoing personality (+)
Temper and a tendency toward violence (-)
Loyalty to those she considers 'hers', ambivalence to all others (+-)
Matilda is larger than life with a vibrant outgoing personality who is a normally pleasant in her dealings with a great sense of humor. She is one of those people who is fun to be around and in the saloon, she is popular with both customers and employees all of whom she attempts to treat with respect and kindness. However, cross her and watch out. To say she has temper issues is putting it mildly. She has led a violent life and it shows, for her violence is permissible even expected as a way to deal with problems.
Matilda likes men, despite having had some very bad experiences with them in her personal life. Her saloon co-owner, Ralph Flandry, is her best friend. But the two of them are not romantically entwined, there is respect there and loyalty but that's where it stops.
Current: Stardust Saloon
Details: She fronted much of the money to buy the place, she handles the finances and most of the mundane business matters such as ordering, hiring, and such. She can bartend on occasion but mostly she just hangs around the saloon doing as little as she pleases.
She can read and write, she knows basic numbers, she can do accounting.
She can be very charming to aid in negotiations and has the acumen to make the right business deals.
Self Defense: She knows how to use a gun, as in both pistols and shotguns. She has used a revolver and derringer on occasion. While she would be unlikely to win, she would certainly be spitfire enough to fight with fists, fingernails, teeth if she had to if someone made it in close.
Hobbies & Interests: She does like fashion, nice dresses, shoes, and such. Other than that she is singleminded in her devotion to the running of her little kingdom, the Stardust Saloon.
Aliases / Nicknames
Tildy or Mattie to those she allows familiarity, anyone else don't try it.
Place of Birth
Cincinnati orphanage, other than that she has no idea.
Kith & Kin
Late Husband: Taylor Osgood. Mattie shot her husband in a violent confrontation bringing their poisoned relationship to an abrupt end.
Children: She did have one baby girl but she died after only a few months.
Parents & Family: No idea, an orphan at a very young age.
| CHILDHOOD 1851-1865 |
Matilda is an orphan, all she knows about her early years was she was in an orphanage in Cincinnati run by an order of nuns of
the Catholic Church. When she was old enough to be more aware, she did ask about her parents but was told she was found as an infant, maybe a few months old at best, on the steps of a church one morning. Nothing at all was known past that - either that or the nun had been lying.
Her years in the orphanage were not grim ones, she was clothed, fed, and given a basic education so she could at least read, write, and do arithmetic. She was a well behaved child, she remembered being content enough. The nuns were strict but they did not mistreat the children. However at age 14, she did rebuff their efforts to get her to join their order. Matilda wanted to see that huge world out there and decide for herself what she wanted to be and do.
| EARLY ADULTHOOD 1865-1870 |
At age 15, she was allowed to leave the orphanage, the place was always crowded and they needed the space, she was deemed to be old enough then to hopefully find a decent life and happy future. She was given an extra set of clothing, a Catholic Bible, and off she went. The change was overwhelming to the girl once the reality set in. She was young, naive, and pretty and that's all she had going for her. Naturally people took advantage of her. She tried to find regular work without luck and fell in with the wrong sorts. Like so many other unfortunate girls, she seemed doomed to fall into the life of a prostitute by the time she was 17.
Then she finally caught a lucky break. A saloon gal noticed how similar Matilda looked to her own now deceased younger sister and took pity on her, securing her a kitchen job in the place she worked. It was the girl's introduction to saloon life. Matilda left that job only once her mentor died of a sudden unknown illness as she suspected poisoning but had no proof. Now 19 she headed west with a vague sort of dream about maybe getting as far as California though she knew nothing about it.
| LAST FIVE YEARS 1870-1875 |
She got as far as Chicago when what little money she had ran out so she had to find some way to get some more. Going to one of the local saloons, she figured that was the sort of thing she knew best and asked about possible employment. Taylor Osgood, the owner, a dashing young man with the most impressive handlebar mustache and such manners too, took a shine to her from the very first. He gave her a job of sorts, calling her his personal assistant. She really had to do very little though but accompany him on his arm for socials and dinners. She wanted more though and pestered him for more responsibility in the saloon daily business. He reluctantly granted it - at first- until he saw how capable she was. He soon realized he could do even less and let her run things, an arrangement that pleased both.
One day he stunned her by proposing marriage, a part of her felt that might well be a mistake, but she agreed. It proved to be a very unhappy coupling. She did give birth to a baby girl, he had hoped for a boy, but sadly the infant died only a couple months later. Matilda took it hard, Osgood seemed almost relieved for the babe had taken away Matilda from spending as much time running his saloon. The couple began to squabble about almost every little thing.
It was during this time that Matilda hired on an experienced saloon man, Ralph Flandry, and, unlike her husband, he proved competent at this sort of thing and very helpful to her. His strengths were her weaknesses and besides he was a male in what was mostly a male world, the saloon trade. This time though Matilda had learned to stay away from any romantic developments, it was a business partnership instead. That seemed to be fine with Ralph too.
A few years passed and Ralph was entrenched in his position, trusted and relied upon by Matilda and at least tolerated by Taylor who often neglected the day to day humdrum anyhow. Matilda and Ralph talked one night very seriously while they split a bottle of Irish whiskey. Matilda wanted to have her own saloon but such a concept was a bit overreaching as far as society was concerned. But if Ralph would go in with her, as co-owner, they could make it work. Ralph jumped at the idea. There remained one obstacle, Taylor Osgood. Matilda decided she would ask for a divorce and work out a private deal with Taylor to get a sizeable share of the money in the current saloon. Why not, she deserved it as she did all the work.
Well, that did not turn out well at all, maybe the pair expected it would not. Osgood refused and their relationship was now poisoned beyond repair. Very soon after Osgood made his own move. He brought in a good friend of his, an off duty constable of the Chicago police known for his rough ways and attempted to throw Matilda out of the place, his life, everything.
It descended into violence quickly, as usual Matilda fought back like the spitfire she was even against two larger men and the fight spilled out into the saloon's main room itself, scattering stunned customers. Ralph now intervened. Osgood drew a pistol and fired, narrowly missing Ralph who dove for cover. The constable drew his own weapon and blazed away. Ralph withstood the quick volley then calmly popped up and shot first the constable then Osgood. The off duty policeman died instantly, Osgood remained standing and still armed. But only for seconds as Matilda had reached the bar and pulled a revolver behind the shelf then aimed it right at her despised husband. Her shot took the man right in the chest and he collapsed. He would finally expire the next day in his own bed.
This entire bloody confrontation had taken place with close to twenty customers and when the inevitable investigation opened up, even the police department could not avenge their now deceased officer as it was stated by the witnesses the dead men had drawn weapons and fired first. Ralph was never charged, Matilda was for some reason brought to an actual trial where a jury quickly found her not guilty.
Matilda had her money now, all of it even. But staying in Chicago seemed a bad bet, Osgood had other friends, a few in high places and then there was the police who never took well to one of their own dying regardless of the reasons. No, it was time to go west and start over. Soon after their search turned up an available saloon in some backwater little Montana town, Kalispell.
| The Present: 1875 |
Negotiations were done by mail and it went quite smoothly. The saloon changed hands soon after and the old sign went down, replaced by a freshly painted one. The Stardust Saloon was now open for business!
Education Details: Orphanage taught her basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. She picked up other knowledge on her own.
Animals & Pets: The saloon has a dog named Bruno and a couple of cats to tend to the mice, unnamed.
Matilda was actually quite a skillful liar and commenced to prove it.
"Rev. Reed? Ohhh, yes that new preacher in town. Who said he lived here? Nonsense. He's a man of God and this ain't a house of God," she declared, really to protect the clergyman's rep more than anything.
"He did come in here....once, when he first showed up in town. To ask directions and get the lay of the town. But he never lived here," she then smiled.
"One of my employees is an avid churchgoer, she might know where he lives now," she added.
"Yes, Arabella," Clara interjected since no either introduced her nor asked who she was.
"Yes, that's her in all her glory," smirked the woman.
Clara blinked, "If you say so, ma'am."
"Well come on in, get enough bugs in the place without holding the door wide open for more to sashshay in," Matilda now stepped back to allow entrance.
"Oh ...umm, " Clara began but Jacob went right on in so she figured she better follow. The saloon was open, one could easily hear the sound of customers' laughing and shouting, apparently having a good time.
"So....Mr. Lutz, I seem to recall you have an older sister, is this her?" Matilda asked.
"What?" Clara was pretty sure she had just been insulted, "No, I am not."
The conversation turned to where the newcomer might stay for a night. There were choices of course. The hotel but that was in truth rather expensive. Then there were a few boarding houses but Matilda was not familiar with any of them or their owners.
Ooh! Ohhh!” Arabella cried, jumping up and down with her hand in the air “We could be like good Samaritans and let him stay here for the night, till he finds a cheap place to stay. He could sleep in my bed and I could sleep on the spare room floor!!”
"Oh, Arabella, that's very kind of you, but I wouldn't want to impose." Thomas quickly said.
"We do have a spare room. So certainly you could have the use of that til you get settled in. There is no bed set up in it currently but we also have a cot and extra blankets. Arabella, you just stay in your own room," Matilda offered, she was supposed to be the girl's guardian.
"The only thing is it might do you any favors with the local church going community to find out their new minister was staying in a saloon? Perhaps not the best way to start your career here? Pastor Evans and a sizeable number of the community would prefer this place be shut down."
"That sonofabitch," muttered Ralph, Peabody had bought an expensive bourbon and paid only a nickel for it.
"Last time he ever gets a drink from here without FIRST paying for it," he added, mostly to himself.
Matilda just shrugged, "Smooth talkin' lawyer. I think I like him better when he's drunk."
But it did not poison their doings with the new preacher as the woman smiled at the fellow.
"Don't mind us, Reverend. This happens on occasion. Hazards of the trade," she shrugged.
"Please don't mind Arabella, she gets carried away on occasion in her zeal. She did not learn her hatred of Catholics from us, I assure you," she continued.
"Now, as far as a place to stay. Yep, we got a hotel but it's not cheap. Just right down the Main street, you can't miss it. There are a few boarding houses too but not sure of the people's names who run them as we live here on the premises, on the second floor."
Her goodwill gesture was not accepted and Matilda was then given twenty cents. If the man thought that covered the drink, it certainly did not but she and Ralph refrained from informing him of that fact. As for giving it to charity, Matilda never went to church to put it in a box for such things. Yes, Arabella could take the coins then and do her Christian duty this coming Sunday.
"Very well," Matilda nodded graciously.
"Apologies, Ms. Devereau, I did not mean to preach. I'm sure you'd rather not have a sermon this early in the morning."
Actually she would rather not have a sermon at any time of the day or night but she certainly wasn't going to admit to that, Matilda was not a religious person. Nor was Ralph. Their careers were ones which did not foster a sense of piety or deep seated belief. But in no way did that make her hostile to those who did choose to believe and practice.
"No apologies needed," she waved it off.
Ralph then brought up some rumor he had heard about the current minister. Ralph heard rumors all the time. One learned not to put much faith in them.
Thomas tilted his head with mild surprise,"Whatever for?"
"I have no idea, I never spoke with the man in my life. Just what I heard," Ralph shrugged.
"Would you perhaps entertain any thought on staying in Kalispell then and perhaps replacing him? I mean should it be true," Matilda had to be curious.
The man was drinking liquor in her saloon, at least he wouldn't be against the saloon. Parson Evans made no secret of his distaste for the Star Dust as a den of iniquity.
Matilda fully realized much of Arabella's saintly act was just that but then the girl did attend Sunday services so that did make her more religious than either she or Ralph. Still, the child was laying it on a bit thick. Oh well.
"Ah, no offense taken. I understand completely." the minister reassured her. "Young Arabella merely seemed quite... enthused."
"Yes, she is most often....quite enthused," Matilda shrugged then went on to introductions for the newcomer's edification. In return they got one back.
"A pleasure to make your acquaintances." he replied. "My name is Father Thomas, a simple servant of the Lord, though recent events have left me without a congregation to speak of- ah, how much do I owe you?"
Now Matilda had to wonder. Was that the man's Christian name or family name? She wouldn't pursue it though as he asked a question.
"Ahhh, I see....well, not that it will make a bit of difference to saving my soul when it's my time to meet your God, I'm gonna do you a little act of charity. The drink is on the house," she smiled.
"Ain't there been rumors our current parson might be up and leavin'?" Ralph heard lots of things like that in his job as bartender, some of it gossip, some of it fact.
Matilda just shook her head, "I haven't heard that."
The newcomer hung up his coat, he showcased a most presentable wardrobe, especially if he had traveled far. It was the wrong time for a stagecoach arrival so most likely by horse then. Or he showed up last night and slept in the hotel. No matter, he was here, in their place.
"Only if you are so inclined, madam."
"As for the drink, I'll take a gill of bourbon, should you have any."
The bartender nodded, "We got bourbon, it ain't cheap though." He then turned to find the appropriate bottle from the maze of bottles on the shelf behind him.
Matilda was about to introduce herself when Arabella came racing in. Actually the girl never simply walked anywhere, she was always running hither and yon, as if everything in life was one big drama. By now Matilda was fond enough of the girl but she could be a bit.....wearing. Oh great, now she offered to play hymns? Before Matilda could shut that idea down, the minister found the offer to his taste and even gave her a few pennies.
"Very well, Arabella, but play just two at the most and play them softly," she addressed the girl first.
Then turned to the minister, "I'm afraid most of our customers don't really want to hear hymns in here, no offense. But right now you're the lone customer so..."
"By the way, I feel a few introductions are in order. This here is Ralph, bartender, part-owner, bouncer, and long time friend of mine."
Ralph nodded even as he poured a glass of bourbon for the customer.
"And I am Matilda Devereau, owner of this here place. You already met Arabella."
The place had just opened at 11:00, while there were no signs telling of the operating hours the locals just knew. It also stayed up til all hours of the morning, not unusual to finally turn out the lights at 2 or 3 AM. So the newcomer pretty much had the place to himself for now at least.
There behind the bar, manning his usual spot, was a fully bearded man dressed in his usual garb with grey suit and a rather loosely arranged black neck tie. And leaning up against the bar was a petite young woman in a fine dress. Both of them glanced over as the doors swung open and a customer entered.
"Good timing! We just opened," Matilda smiled at the fellow, Ralph just gave a nod of acknowledgement.
Letting the newcomer reach the bar, Ralph then spoke up, "What can we get for ya, mister?"
Matilda blinked, "Or should we say, Reverend?"
She'd never had a man of the cloth step thru those doors, this one was the not local pastor, she had seen before at socials and funerals and such. Not like she ever went to church.
"Yes, that's the plan...it's in the works." Jonah smiled, "Especially since Whitefish is no longer habitable, some of the citizens think a hospital is a good idea, and I do as well, after all, we're a long way from anything like that."
"Oh, I think so too, it is a capital idea," Matilda nodded.
He shrugged. "I use rooms at my house as a clinic and for overnight patients, but I don't really have the proper means for that." Then he added, "There is an orphanage in the works, too, if we can get the approval and support we need."
"An orphanage? Do we really need one of those, the town is not that big?" Matilda was puzzled, big cities had orphanages in her mind.
The dance was now over so the couple joined the rest in retiring off the floor. It had been fun, refreshing even. The doctor was a better class of man than most of her saloon customers, who were more rough and tumble and certainly less educated, proper. No matter though, the saloon was her world and she loved it.
"I do suppose we have more children than normal right now who lost people in the Whitefish disaster. I have taken in a young girl of ....I think 14 or 15 though she doesn't look it. She is quite the handful and here I thought I was a firecracker at that age. She came from Whitefish," Matilda revealed.
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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