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.
He was complimentary right back and then professed his curiosity about how she ended up here in this town, in this place. Fair enough questions, Matilda supposed even though the actual answer was rather.....complex. She smiled.
"You know, Jack, if you had asked that in your capacity as a Pinkerton I would have told you none of your business but since you are asking nicely and out of simple curiosity...I will tell you. Would you like to hear me tell you the story of my life here and now or wait til you come in next time. I do not want to keep you from your business of running down miscreants," she smiled demurely.
"Oh that's fine about the beer, take your time," Matilda was never one to pressure a customer.
"A few of our local drunks should practice what you preach on the quantity of drinks," she smiled, pleased with his compliment then also, who didn't like to be complimented after all. Yes, he was a smooth one alright.
"And I will look forward to more such visits. If I'm not down here when you come next time, tell Ralph and he'll let me know upstairs. I always try and make time for proper gentlemen, it is a rare breed indeed in these parts," she tossed him a compliment back.
The man, much more sophisticated than she would have expected a bountyhunter to be, then produced a badge. Matilda glanced at it. A Pinkerton. He then followed that gesture up by pinning it to his vest. He continued then to state his case and she listened. People always said that much about her, she was a good listener. It was a helpful trait to have when you worked in a saloon after all.
"Well, as you have made clear already, a Pinkerton is not a lawman. So you're chasing this woman for a bank not the state of Texas. Given what you've said about her former partners, Bob being hung, I'd say she would be highly unlikely to get off with a light sentence. However, if you are telling the truth here - and let's face it, people can be great liars - and you might just let her go if you get the bank's money back, well then this Dotty woman might well be one lucky gal. Doesn't change anything in the here and now though," Matilda gave a shrug of narrow shoulders.
"I never saw any such woman....Ralph?" she glanced at the bearded man next to her.
"Nope, me either," Ralph then noticed the two Evergreen hands were leaving the saloon after just one shot each. Maybe they had someplace important to go. No skin off his nose either way.
"So like I said, Jack, I wish you well on your search. But none of my affair," she couched the words with a pleasant smile.
Turned out Jack liked the stew, which she figured he would, almost every single customer who tried it said the same.
"Excellent, glad to hear it. I will certainly pass on your kind compliment to the cook. Might you be interested in a second bowl or another shot?"
(ooc: I'm assuming he probably hadn't drained the beer glass yet.)
Matilda definitely was impressed with his manners, a cut above some of the customers they got in the place on occasion. She might work in a saloon but she still expected to be treated like a lady. She noted he was freshly bathed and shaved too, a quite handsome looking fellow at that. It was always easier to chat with a customer who didn't reek of cow dung or lord only knew what else. So she listened dutifully as he then talked a bit about himself. Rather he danced around it some in her opinion. He moved smoothly into why he was actually in town or at least in this part of Montana. Seemed he was on the trail of a woman, a woman outlaw at that. Now that was different alright. While he did make it sound like he meant the best for this fugitive she was realist enough to know that wasn't necessarily true. It was plain enough what he was, even if he didn't outright come out and say it.
"Well, Jack, very well spoken of you. Seems this lady miscreant should be glad you are chasing her down instead of some other bounty hunter. That's what you are isn't it? A bounty hunter not a lawman. Otherwise you'd have showed me a badge," Matilda smiled.
"First off, I haven't seen anyone who looks like that. Secondly, while I wish you luck in your endeavor to catch this ....person...you'll have to do so without any help from me. I mind my own business and my customers like it that way. Try not to play any favorites," she then chuckled a bit, "You know when I was a child I was told....no one likes a tattle tale.....I still remember that advice today."
"Have to agree with you about the wimmenfolk. You should see the co-owner of this place. Smart as a whip and don't scare none either," the bartender then extended his hand to shake with the newcomer.
"Jack.....I'm Ralph, Ralph Flandry," they exchanged a vigorous handshake.
Two new customers came in about then, Ralph knew them to be cowpokes for the Steelgraves though rumor had it many of his so-called ranch hands might be better described as gun hands. These two sure looked like it. However it was none of his business, long as they didn't make trouble in the saloon.
"Couple a whiskeys comin' up," Ralph took his attention off Jack for an instant to address the latest customer request.
"Lemme get these two gents their drinks then I'll go in the back and get you that beef stew," he went back to talking to Jack.
Just then a feminine voice called out from in back, "Don't bother, Ralph. I can bring it out long as I'm here."
Ralph then served the Evergreen men their drinks while less than a minute later a petite blonde woman in a fancy back East dress emerged from the back carrying a tray with a bowl and spoon upon it. She eyed Asher and correctly guessed this was the man with the order so placed it right in front of him.
"There you go, mister. Enjoy it. If you need some salt, I can bring you some too, better taste it first," Matilda declared with a warm grin.
"Oh in my line of work, I'm pretty much used to it. I trust your performance will improve the next time we meet. Good day to you, Mr. Wentworth," Matilda gave him one last smile and spun about to head across the wide street, watching for a carriage crossing the path of ahead of her.
She wondered if he would actually come into the saloon on Monday? Time would tell.
"I agree, fights are never good for business," Matilda nodded.
The man finally got up off his chair, she had wondered if he had forgotten his manners that way also but had already chafed the man for his lack of introduction, no sense being too hard on the fellow. He was rather handsome and, while that shouldn't enter into the occasion, it did. Unfortunately she was not going to be able to take him up on his invite to sit and chat further. She had work to do.
"Oh I'm sorry but I really should get going. I have a lot more to do inside the saloon than merely sweep the boardwalk on the outside," she smiled, "I must get back and help my partner. Nice meeting you though, Mr. Wentworth, and thank you for the information about the current hotel situation. Tell you what though, stop on into the saloon Monday and your first drink is on the house."
"Ahh yes, the talk of the dance actually - that brawl. I did not witness it but I heard that a couple of the Steelgate hands were confronted by a farm girl. She was 13, 14, something like that and accused them of stealing from her. Apparently one of them then punched the girl in the face. That started up the whole thing, quite a few men got involved," Matilda was willing to engage in some local gossip. Why not, the lifeblood of a small town afterall.
"Being a saloon owner, I've seen more than my share of fights and have on a rare occasion took a punch too so I was more than content to miss that brawl," she smiled, "Of course my partner, Ralph, is the one who then is expected to handle such things. And he does too. Trust me, Mr. Wentworth, you do not ever want to get into a fight with Ralph Flandry."
She acknowledged his introduction with a nod, "Mr. Wentworth then."
Now the man was forthcoming with some useful information regarding the hotel and it's owner. Apparently it was about to have a new one?
"Now that is interesting indeed. Thank you for the information, I appreciate it. So it seems then I need to wait for a bit and make an appointment with this....Elias Steelgate then?"
The name stuck in her memory...........ahh, from the town festival. The Steelgates owned one of the biggest spreads in Montana it sounded like. And now it seemed they wanted to branch out into owning a business in town. Steelgate might be a useful man to know.
"Unless there is more than one Steelgate, I believe him to be a rancher, a big rich one too," she gave him some info then.
TAG: @Matt Wentworth
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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