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
New York 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.
The man was very pleased with the invitation, Matilda noted with satisfaction.
"I can assure I have never felt that way about our gallant men in blue. Nor do I expect any trouble between the community and you soldier boys. We want this to be good time for all in attendance," she assured the man.
"Who you choose in the end is of course your call, Colonel. I do not intend to tell you how to run your army any more than I would like being told how to run my business. And I think a dozen is quite fair number. Thank you for being so understanding," Matilda smiled graciously.
"One of the advantages of being a widow is I can dance with whoever I please. I hope you might give it some consideration to ask me for a dance, colonel," she was nothing if not bold, it came with her business.
"Well, colonel, sadly it is not really as much for your men as for you and your officers. Kalispell is holding a spring dance, it's held in a barn just outside of town. There will be food and drinks of course in addition to music and dancing. I told the committee this would be a great opportunity to reach out to our gallant military and break the ice as it were. Get to mingle and know each other a bit. "
"But there is no way we can take in a whole garrison of soldiery, your fine fellows would pack the barn simply by themselves. I hope you understand?"
The man's response was measured but delighted the woman as he showed himself to be amenable to light hearted banter and was not just some military martinet. He proved to be a gentleman too, presenting her with a seat before then taking one of his own.
"Ahh, so Canada is safe then, I am relieved," she quipped as she sat down facing him.
"Oh excuse me, Colonel, I am not familiar with the complexities of military ranks," she acknowledged her mistake first off then introduced herself.
"Name's Matilda Devereau, I own the saloon in town, the Stardust. I was once a Mrs. but my husband is dead. I shot him," she stated calmly enough, "All quite legal I assure you."
"And this isn't a social call I'm afraid but a business one. I've come with an invitation to present if you would hear me out."
Mature Content: No
Author: Matilda Devereau
With: Col. MacKenzie Location: Fort Somers When: April 15, 1876 Time of Day: Just past noon.
This was a first for Matilda to be setting foot within an army fort, not that she was nervous about it. This was all about business, in this case not her own but the town's. As first time member of the Spring Dance committee, she had convinced the other committee members to reach out to the local military garrison, a goodwill gesture. After all it was these very men who protected the town and local farms and ranches from the Indians.
So it was that Matilda, clad in a fancy freshly shipped in from the East maroon dress, waltzed confidently into the office of the fort commandant after being ushered in by an orderly. Men were men, whether they had uniforms on or not, and one thing Matilda was comfortable around it was menfolk. They were the livelihood of her business.
"Good day, general, hope I'm not interrupting anything....like planning an invasion of Canada or something," she flashed a mix between a smirk and a grin.
Time to find it if this one had a sense of humor or not.
"Yes Mam” the girl nodded, without looking up, there were tears and sniffling.
Matilda wasn't telling her this to have her cry but to make a point and to once more clarify the expectations the woman had for Arabella if she was going to stay under this roof. But she also wanted to stress that now that the girl was a part of this, she would be safe and protected. Neither Matilda nor Ralph would allow anyone to harm that child.
The girl standing on top of the box lifted her red, tear-filled eyes, looked at the two adults and dragged a worn-out sleeve across her face. “You mean … I don’t have to pack my things and leave?” she asked incredulously.
"No of course not! I promised to keep you and take care of you and I keep my promises. You are staying until you are old enough to make your own decisions and then you are free to go whenever you decide, Arabella," Matilda declared forcefully.
"Now, stop your crying, you're too old for that," she directed, "And go to the kitchen and find something useful to do. Scoot!"
Matilda watched the man walk out, waited til he was gone then turned to the girl and Ralph. She sighed then addressed the child.
"Arabella, did I not tell you may not mingle with the customers. If you are to be my employee then I expect you to do as you're told. This is precisely why I gave you such orders. Look what almost happened to that man because you got scared."
"I know you think I am stern, hard on you even but I have my reasons. I have a responsibility as owner of this business but I also have a responsibility to protect you. Ralph and I will never allow you to be harmed by anyone. I want you safe. Do you understand, child?" she talked to the girl but not in harsh tones.
Ralph wasn't worried about the damn drinks, he only wanted to know one thing and asked the blubbering child a very specific question to find out. He got his answer.
"No. I think I just got scared," was her simple and brief (especially for her) answer.
"Dammit then," Ralph lowered the gun.
The man was still plenty nervous and considering the situation he had just been put in, it was understandable. He was now offering to pay for the drinks he apparently snuck only wanted to lower his hands so he could reach his money.
Matilda spoke for Ralph then, "You can put your hands down. I admittedly came to this dance late but it sounds like no harm was done. Just some child's foolishness."
This was EXACTLY why she had not wanted Arabella mixing with the clientele, saloons could be rough places not fit for children.
She stepped closer to the man, clearly unafraid, "Call those drinks on the house. All even then, mister?"
It did not do to have unhappy customers and word of mouth might only make it worse. She had a business to run.
The child was more than happy to do the sweeping and mopping. Matilda was a bit surprised but pleasantly so. She was coming around. Ralph had questioned taking the kid in, saying it could be a mistake and trouble in the long run. But of course when it came to final decisions, there was never a doubt. Matilda won out, as she always did. And in truth, Ralph was fine with it. They worked well together.
Being in a good mood now, Matilda offered the child a couple of her old dresses, saying they could do some alterations to make them fit the young miss. However she did not expect the gush of emotion by Arabella, though her cook seemed to have seen it coming. Matilda let the kid go on with all the dramatics though.
“Lord Ms. Tildy, now you know you can’t do nice things like that for this child, she’s only happy when you gives her ornery chores to do like mop floors an’ peel taters!”
"So it seems," Matilda replied calmly.
“Why am I this way, Ms. Devereau? Will I get better soon?” the girl queried.
"Arabella, grow up. You're a young lady now, not a baby," Matilda now declared then turned about and left the pair to themselves and their chores. She had book keeping to do.
“Oh, He’s not just my God, Ms. Devereau, He’s everybody’s God.”
"In your opinion, don't think it's everyone's, child," Matilda smiled. Neither she nor Ralph were religious.
“Beggin’ your pardon, Ma’m.”
"No matter," Matilda waved it off, the girl was entitled to her opinions and beliefs, she just hoped that as Arabella grew up she would learn tolerance amongst other things. Messalina announced that the child had just about finished her kitchen duties (and no doubt, worn out the woman's patience).
“Oh yes, if there’s anything I could be doin’ out front, I’d be surely pleased to! I could mop the floors or polish Mr. Flandry's knobs” (the barman did have an impressive array of shiny golden colored brass beer pulls and other paraphernalia about the bar) “or if I can do any sewing or ladies maid work for you Ms Devereau, oh you do wear such beautiful clothes and things, I would so dearly love to help you with those sorts of things!” Arabella gushed
Matilda just about burst out laughing at the girl's turn of phrase regarding Ralph, she'd have to tell him that one later.
"Leave everything behind the bar alone, including Ralph, Arabella. However ...yes, if you want to mop up the floors, that sounds like a good idea. But first take a broom and sweep it then mop it," Matilda directed.
"And thank you for your compliments. You know...I have a couple of dresses I no longer wear and with a few alterations, we could have them fit you. That is if you would want them?" she offered, she was quite certain she knew the answer already.
All seemed to be in proper order in the kitchen, as usual really, her cook was conscientious and made good food, Matilda was pleased to employ the woman who spoke up.
"Can we do anything for you, Ms. Tildy” the Cook asked as she continued stirring: she didn’t want this to curdle.
"No, seems like things are well in hand here - as usual might I add," the woman replied.
Then the cook gently prodded her newest and definitely youngest employee, the orphan girl, about some question she apparently wish to ask. Fair enough.
"Oh what is it then, girl?" Matilda was not hard to approach.
Arabella gave another bob and still head down in due deference, squeaked “Please Ms. Deveraux, would I be permitted time off to attend church on Sunday morning?”
Matilda blinked, "Why certainly, child. Who am I to get between you and your God. You may go. Besides we are not even open on Sundays."
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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