"All the more reason to get to the ladies early," Jonah commented, "so they know where the ideas are coming from, and are in the groundwork, so they feel like they have a stake in things."
“Exactly Jonah! Pull them in to this like the partners they are, make them understand this was not some man’s idea, nor a woman’s for that matter. It was us, together, last winter, you and I, and then came Doc Boon to join in. It’s not Saint Steelgrave’s Hospital, it’s Kalispell Hospital.” She paused and took a sip of punch for more reasons than one. He voice had risen.
But this was a party, a time to have a good time and set that sort of thing aside. "Tell me, just how modern is Helena? In comparison to, say, St. Louis? I wouldn't mind getting away for a day or two, maybe see a play or an opera."
“Helena? Why Helena’s no Saint Louis, or Baltimore, or New York. On it’s way though. Montana’s a bit behind, but it’s got it’s comforts, it’s opera house, and fine dining. Might be dirt streets still and a great deal false fronts like we have right here.” She smiled then. “But it’s there, and we’re here, so point taken. She paused again, setting down the cup. “Wait for a stage, as unreliable as they can be, or hire a carriage?” She took a sip looking over the rim of the cup at him. “Perhaps a day to think on it?”
As much as Kallispell suited his needs, he was craving a little civilization!
"It's my good fortune, then, that he had the foresight to bring you here." He smiled, but then shook his head. "Detractors, still? "I'd have hoped that they would have given up by now. I'm sure they haven't counted on your tenacity."
“Tenacity is one thing, garnering support for the hospital, and the orphanage, may be a bit more than I had anticipated.” The she smiled. “However, it’s a simple land swap, and the construction and labor costs will affect the community not at all. That will be handled privately, and not out of the local bank. Oh, I still have my account there, but not as it was before Croft left and this Charles Wentworth bought his way in. I don’t trust him.
Slowly, he strolled with her toward the dance floor, although he intended to wait until the Gallop was done before stepping out. "The Ladies Society...smart. They may not have a direct say, or a vote, but they have husbands who want to keep them happy."
“It is a great opportunity to tell the ladies what the plans are, how it will affect the town, and that it was not conceived, nor was it arranged by anyone on the Town Council, which is what I believe their plan to be.” She paused s if to catch her breath. “I’m sorry, I am just ready to fight them for what they owe the town, and that has nothing to do with who arranged what or when.”
“Hello Jonah, of course not, it’s why we’re all here.” Speed said relinquishing the woman.
“Good evening Jonah, I thought perhaps you had abandoned me.” She chided. “The Marshal was kind enough to rescue me from the doldrums of reviewing the presentation for the Town Council meeting, and you’ll be pleased to know, I have been invited to speak at The Kalispell Ladies' Society tea at the hotel. That could well give us traction with our detractors.” A kind way of avoiding saying the name Town Council.
Leah sat at the only table in the small house she purchased after renting it for most of the winter months. It was comfortable for her, just enough, as she found out. Most of her things were stored for the time being until she decided what it was she was going to do going forward.
Going forward, that would be after the business with the hospital and orphanage was completed, which she believed would be soon. However, at the moment that seem far off in the future. First, the fight before her with the Town Council. The Right of Way deeds had been presented to Judge Ben Robertson with Marshal Speed Guyer as an unintentional witness. So far, that had proven to be a huge miscalculation on her part.
Now there was a battle for bragging rights as to who actually procured the Right of Way deeds. It was, she thought, small minded, crass, and deceitful. She had gifted the town with those deeds, not for accolades, but for trade consideration for the land that would be needed. And, she found herself up against the likes of Pastor Gideon Evans, proprietor Daniel Wilson, and Charles Wentworth Senior the new Bank owner and President, just to name a few. And then, there was her father.
As all this crept into her thinking she set he writing aside, it would take everything she had to combat the men she was up against. Somehow, this noble venture had turned ugly, at least for her, when there came a knock on the door, it wouldn’t be Jonah, she knew he had ventured to the dance, so she went to the door and opened it. Removing his hat, there stood Marshal Guyer.
"Hopefully, we won't have to run or fight." Jonah was fond of neither, he more preferred more subtle obfuscation, if such could be had. Of course, with this group heading things up, there was plenty of talent, and he had no doubt that they would prevail.
“I’ll not run, and if it’s a fight my father wants, then I’ll give him one.” Leah protested. There would be no running in her, but fight, there would be that a plenty.
"I'll speak to Miss Mercer, we can start planning the supplies we need...what about fundraising? Perhaps soliciting donations from the more well-to-do folks in town?" He glanced at Boone. "You may have the most credibility of the three of us..."
“I would be most happy to perform that duty. Yes, you are probably right about my having the most credibility with those folks. Again, who could possibly be against a hospital and an orphanage.” Boone interjected. Her difficulties with the Judge, whom he not only had heard of, but knew somewhat personally, confounded him.
After all, he was new, and Leah was, well, a Steelgrave...
"So, we'll have to be alert and prepared, and in the mean time, carry on with planning, take things as they come." Jonah was neither that optimistic nor charitable, but he had become invested enough in this to want to see it through, and it wasn't as if he was a stranger to hardship or opposition.
Both Leah and Doc Boone nodded I agreement with Jonah’s statement. Because it made perfect sense.
"I think it would be best to have our contingency plans in the works, too, so that anything they throw out to stop us will only be a minor delay." Being able to quickly regroup and move on would help advance the project, and show that they were determined in this.
“The hard part, waiting for spring to see which way the Town Council goes.’ Leah added soberly. “I agree, from here on we need to be prepared for just about anything, no matter the depth of the snow, or the cold, or what have you. I have two men in town who are reliable and have broken ties with my father, they are already on alert knowing that as far as Elias is concerned, they are the enemy.” It was the first time she had used her fathers Christian name, as if to distance herself from him. She smiled, but not a pleasant smile. “So, you may consider yourselves his enemy as well, once he gets wind you are a part of this.”
“I’m too old to run, an’ I got no place to go, so I reckon as I’ll just have to stand and fight if that’s what he has in store for us!” Boone stated. "Though all that was behind me after the war, guess not."
"When we speak to the man from the paper -- McVey, is it? -- we can also mention the economic advantage of a hospital here," Jonah suggested, "even just the building of it, not to mention the support we're going to need...nurses, cooks, maids, the supplies..."
“McVay.” Leah corrected.
Jonah wasn't too versed on economics, but he did understand how something as big as a hospital could bring a lot of business to the town, not to mention families of patients who would need a place to stay, food to eat, goods to buy, places to board their horses...that would certainly boost support from the people in town.
"Folks here might even put pressure on the town council, if they are reluctant to approve the land?"
“I will be talking with him on this situation.” She assured them.
“And your father and brothers?” Doc Boone asked.
“They are to be reckoned with, most certainly. We cannot discount them.” She responded. “There truly is nothing I would put past my father, much less my brothers, and that include Case healing up over in the County Sheriff’s office. To be honest I have no idea what he may or may not do.”
"I suppose we'll just take it as it comes," Jonah commented with a shrug, although he really would like for them to have a better handle on what the plan was. "I have the property here, I and Miss Mercer, not quite an acre, but we could look into buying up land around if we have to."
Leah’s facial express tightened at Jonah’s words. What he was saying was that the community was going to block their efforts, or at the very least the Town Council would somehow scuttle their plans because of her name.
While a challenge made things interesting, Jonah wanted to think that they had some sort of chance for success, and the best way to accomplish that was thorough planning, as well as back-up plans and more.
“I have real difficulty with such delay tactics, and petty politics. Perhaps our best ally is your editor and the paper.” Doc Boone stated.
"We'll get it figured out and have our hospital," he declared, "especially with what happened in Whitefish, the territory needs something, and we're going to be growing, making the need even more."
She looked to both men in turn. “If we have to move it to Columbia Falls, if not build it on the rubble of whitefish. A hospital is needed in this area, when it ends up, well, that would be up to the Town Council. I want it here, but I intend to make it clear there will be a hospital, if not here, somewhere else!”
It's good that you have the marshal informed and on our side," Jonah commented, nodding. "And we're aware going into it that there may be trouble, and you know your father best." He looked at Leah. "But from what I've heard, he isn't the sort to engage in a frontal assault, so we'll need to plan for underhanded attacks..."
He shrugged. While he wasn't familiar with those sorts of tactics, he could imagine that it would be difficult to fight, since it would be hard to see coming.
“Yes he is.” Leah agreed. “And I am glad that Marshal Guyer is who he is, and not what might have been put in office. Hannah Cory and her father made a good choice. But one man, I just don’t know. Even with a deputy.” Her voice trailed off
"Burning it down before it's complete," he murmured, partly just thinking to himself, then he looked at the others. "That's what I would do. Certainly, it could be rebuilt, but that would take all the more time and money."
Both Jonah and Josiah looked at her.
“That would be just the sort of thing he would try. And that could spell disaster for the whole blamed town! Of course that depends on where the Town Council allots the property, that is providing the dunderheads actually provide the land in the first place.” Boone theorized. “A lot’s riding on what the Council does or doesn’t do.” He shook his head, “We may have to purchase the property ourselves.”
Leah said nothing, simply fumed at the thought that the Town Council would do that to them.
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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