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.
The fellow was fine with her request about the employees. Granted she knew he could change his mind about that once she left town but she was doing all she could for them.
"Absolutely, Miss Devereau," he answered. "They've done good by you, and I can only hope that they will feel the same loyalty to me, in time."
It didn't take the two long to draw up a short but clear document putting on paper their business agreement, she would hand over the actual deed to the property upon receipt of the remaining money. He then produced the down payment he had promised.
"Three Hundred," he said. "And, if you'll excuse me, I will secure the balance."
"Thank you," she slid the cash into a desk drawer, she'd deposit it in the safe shortly.
He rose and held out his hand.
Matilda shook it as she now stood up to see him out the door, "A pleasure doing business with you. If you run this place right, it should certainly turn a fine profit. I like dealing with a decisive man."
Well her blunt delivery had not scared the man off at least, he barely hesitated.
"I agree to your amount and terms. I will have the funds by midnight tonight. To hold this deal solid, I will pay you $300 now, and the balance later this evening. If that is satisfactory with you, we can sign a preliminary document right now. I would think that we can make the transfer date a couple of weeks out because you will probably want to settle matters and tie up loose ends. "
Matilda was surprised, that was fast. The fact he could come up with the money within 24 hours, even she had not expected that.
"This evening? I mean ............sure, you got a deal then. In fact I can give you a longer time than that to come up with the funds though if you need it, " she responded.
"Do you want a lawyer to write this up? I understand that the old gent downstairs is a lawyer. Or we can scratch out the deal between the two of us. "
"What do you say?"
Matilda did not know that so called old gent from Adam so no, that would not do.
"I am not a big believer in lawyers, if you come up with the money, I will sign a bill of sale we can write up ourselves. However, if you'd rather have a lawyer involved, I can get a local one for the documentation though, one that is well known in town."
"And yes I am hardly prepared to leave in the next couple of days, I'd like some time to settle things on my end and make preparations to go elsewhere. I do have a destination in mind, this is no sudden flight of fancy on my part," she added.
"Speaking of details, there is one other thing I want agreed to on your part. My employees, I want them to keep their jobs if they agree to stay. My bartender is a long time associate and friend of mine, he likes it here. He's good at what he does and he can handle himself in the event of trouble, you know what I mean."
"Then there is Miss Mundee, you'd be a fool to let her go. You've already met her so you must know what I mean. I also have a cook, she does laundry too. Negro woman, that shouldn't matter because she is a hard worker. And the piano player is young but Caroline needs the musical accompaniment."
"Now I realize you have every right to bring in your own people but it would be to your benefit to retain these folks."
He remained nonplussed as Matilda went about her brusque style of business talk. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and always felt she had to be hard and clear about it, too many men were dismissive of women in careers especially something like saloons.
"I don't want to insult your intelligence, Miss Devereau. Why don't you throw an number at me, and we can work around it? "
She nodded, "Very well as long as 'work around it' doesn't mean try to bargain down the price to something I will not agree to. I know what I bought this place for and I know I've made it more profitable than the previous owner did. I will not be low balled," she asserted.
Matilda seemed to think for a moment as if tossing figures about in her head then suddenly came up with a lump sum number. As prices go it was a fair one, while she would not be cheated she also was not out to take advantage of Fortner either.
"Oh and that is only marginally higher than what I paid for it - just so you know," she added.
"And you are? " asked Matilda, "You obviously already know my name."
Frank held his bowler with both hands, pressed against his stomach, and exhibited straight posture.
"My name is Frank Fortner, new to Kalispell, and looking to settled down. I admire what you've done with the Stardust, ... it reminds me of an establishment I owned in the past. I would like you to know that if you ever wanted to part with this saloon, I would be honored to offer you a generous price. So, please keep me in mind if that day ever comes."
"Really, Mr. Fortner?" the woman was obviously surprised but hard to tell if it was 'pleasantly' surprised or what?
He smiled courteously, and executed a slight bow.
"Oh. Sorry about the fracas downstairs. Gun play is always my last resort, but the man couldn't be stopped."
"I heard the entire exchange but I did not see the actual shooting. No need to apologize, we have had trouble with the now 'late' Mr. Grimes in the past. He was asking for it as far as I'm concerned," there did not sound like an ounce of pity in that voice of hers.
"Sit down, Mr. Fortner, I'd offer you a drink but what I would like to do is engage in a very serious conversation about business. I'd like you sober afterall I don't know how many drinks you've had already," Matilda gestured toward the sturdy wooden chair opposite her desk.
"Now, I don't want to insult your intelligence because you look like quite the competent fellow but you realize the purchase of a saloon, especially a successful one like mine is would cost a lot of money? And you can afford it? I'm not talking promises - I will want the money upfront and it would be up to do to deal with a bank then regarding such things as loans."
"Let me say this. If you hear that Miss Devereau ever wants to lay down the burden of running a place like this, tell her Franklin Fortner is interested in taking it off her hands. In fact, if I ever get a chance to visit with her, I can do it myself."
Caroline nodded but then offered, "You know she is upstairs right now, she has got an office up there. Truth be told she spends most of her time up there, she keeps the books, does all the buying, you know all that boring business stuff. Anyhow I could take ya up there."
He mentioned land deals and purchases too outside of town but that all was boring to a gal who almost never left the saloon let alone the confines of the town.
Fortner then changed the subject, "So, enough about me. Did you grow up around here or did some westward wind blow you into Kalispell?"
Caroline smiled, "Nah, you don't get my life story so easily less you buy me another drink. I'm on the job now you realize."
Matilda had watched from the top of the stairs as the marshal had come into the place to check on the shooting and the corpse on the floor. Unknown to most there was a vent just above the bar which was always kept open, this allowed her to listen in to much that went on downstairs most times and in fact though she was not an eyewitness to the shooting, she heard it and the conversation which brought it on. Had it sounded like Ralph needed help, she would have rushed down there gun in hand. Yes, she was quite capable of using a revolver, she had done it a few times in her life including the night she killed her husband with one.
But the death of that useless Frank Grimes was nothing to bring her downstairs, not like she cared about the man. Now she was back in her office poring over some - of all things - newspapers from San Francisco. She had a few delivered to her last month.
There was a soft knock on the door then followed by a most familiar voice.
"Miss Devereau, excuse me but I got someone who wants to see ya for a minute. It's business regardin' the saloon," Caroline explained.
Matilda closed the vent to the first floor so whatever conversation would now occur in her office would not be audible to anyone in the saloon itself. Then sat back in her cushioned chair, "Door's open."
With a turn of the knob, the saloon girl then led in some man she had never seen before. He had the look of an Easterner perhaps and very much that of a businessman sort.
"Thanks, you can head back down then, Caroline. I got it from here," as usual Matilda was no nonsense direct. Caroline was used to such an abrupt dismissal, in fact she expected it and left without a word.
"And you are? " asked Matilda, "You obviously already know my name."
Matilda sighed at the board's manuverings, they would make corrupt Chicago ward bosses proud. She stood up and eyed Orr especially.
"Peabody is right. This little stunt is going to backfire on you. I and many others are going to do all we can to see you lose the next election which is coming up this fall. This isn't over yet, you slimy bastard."
Then she was about to turn and leave but paused to then glare at the rest of the lot, "And as for you gentlemen, especially you Mr. Wentworth, if you simply are gonna sit here and let Orr get away with this then I was wrong about you, I thought you an upright honorable man. "
Matilda had been quiet a while now but inwardly she seethed. Who the hell made up these council rules. For she did have some experience with other town councils - Chicago, Helena being two. All votes were public, the council members had to reveal their stands to all who wished to know. Somehow, this method was a travesty which could allow an unpopular councilman to get away with his outrageous votes.
Still not like she could do a damn thing about it.
Matilda was far too jaded to think the governor's arrival here out of all places in Montana was no mere coincidence, she didn't believe it that sort of coincidence. Apparently the old guv liked the pretty young Leah, well it wouldn't be the first political alliance based on sexual favors. Frankly she didn't care either. The point was to get this town a damn hospital.
Matilda had all she could do to not interrupt that old fossil droning on about......the past, it was the future that was supposed be discussed. That bastard Orr was letting the man blather on to use up precious time. Finally the town doctor had the balls - glad someone did - to call out.
"Take a vote! Previous efforts to establish a hospital have no bearing on the current issue. As for a 'hotbed of disease', you do realize that there is disease here regardless. At least a hospital will help us contain it and treat it, rather than having to take care of the ill at homes scattered around the town."
"Well amen to that, doc! Take a vote! I second that.....stop the stalling and take a vote," Matilda didn't bother to get up but her saloon volume voice was clear enough thru the whole room.
ooc: Just throwing this quick comment by Matilda in here.
The saloon owner seethed as this Mr. Orr not only refused to give in but even insulted them with his snide remarks. Matilda regretted not sending Caroline here to this meeting because by now the high strung entertainer would have already stood up and punched the fellow right in the face.
Three girls including Arabella who was her ward now attempted some sort of recital or poem or whatever only to have Orr demand the lead girl's arrest by the local lawmen. Seriously?
"So now you are going to throw children in jail? That is simply outrageous, you are a brute!" she snapped.
Fortunately the marshal was having none of it. This drama was then interrupted by the sudden arrival of none other than some real territorial big shot, the governor even! Seemed everyone in Montana had gotten wind of this town council meeting?
Matilda had been sitting listening to everyone else talk, it was so obvious that the public - leastwise those who were in attendance - were all for the hospital but that the stumbling block was this imperious Orr. Arrogant bastard.
"You know, yer majesty, I mean Mr. Orr, you might want to give a think on how you got this here position? You got elected and it seems to me going against the will of the people of the town is a surefire way of getting you voted right out next election. I can pretty much promise you if you don't decide on constructing this hospital there are going to be a whole hell of a lot of us who will do everything we can to see you lose this election," she pointed out in a clear loud voice.
"It takes a mighty bold man and a very stupid politician to go against the tide of public opinion," she added with a smirk.
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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