Wiry frame, fast runner. Good looking, and knows it, in stark contrast to his twin sister Jemima.
Traits & Characteristics
Something of a know all. Hates his twin sister but will knock the block of any man that insults her. Ambitious.
Started as a telegraph operator at his father's Western Union telegraph office when he was 15, is now one of the fastest despatchers and receivers on the line. Does occasional work for the Kalispell Union as a compositor, especially when hot news comes in on the wire and a special edition has to be put out quickly. As a child he and Jemima had fiddle and mandolin lessons respectively, he excelled, she was tone deaf, now he plays both with enough skill to pick up extra cash as a musician on occasion.
Single finger Morse operation, 26 Key Hughes Printing Telegraph, would also be able to send and receive using the new Baudot code if only his Father and Western Union would adopt it.
News print composition.
Fiddle and 'tater bug mandolin.
Aliases / Nicknames
Wiggy (to old school pals) Heck.
Mrs Wigfall's Boarding House, Kalispell.
Kith & Kin
Father George Wigfall, Western Union Office Manager.
Mother Mary Wigfall, Boarding House Mistress.
Younger Sister (by five minutes) Jemima Andrea Wigfall, Scrubber and cleaner.
Born: Hector Lupin Wigfall, Christmas Day 1856, Kalispell, Montana
Work for Western Union, 1870-Present, 'Fastest Finger in the West'
Fill in Compositor for Kalispell Union 1873-
Plays fiddle and mandolin for local frolics for extra cash
If the news was just getting to them Isiah knew it would be a while before they got back to town. He walked after Weedy who went to the door checking for them. "They ain't here just yet, bud." Isiah spoke to him, putting a hand on Weedy's shoulder and looking back at Hector.
Jemima had started to clean up the dinner things, un-noteworthy little drudge that she was.
Arabella jumped up and started to do a little jig around the place with joy that Caroline was all right.
"How close are they? Do you know if they're injured? Are they close enough I can go to them?" He'd do anything he could to help get his sister, Carolina, anyone else involved back here safely!
Hector could understand the man's impatience: despite their arguments and teasing and sometimes downright physical fights, which Jemima always won, deep down he loved his twin sister and, despite being somewhat allergic to danger, would wade through Hell or high water to rescue her.
"I'm not sure, Mr. Chappel, but I reckon they'll take the two of them back to the Fort in the first instance: the trooper said that an officer and some of the men were wounded in the rescue so they'll take them there for treatment, they've got medical orderlies and such. He said the women were all right, I think he'd have mentioned if either were wounded or..." he frowned down at Weedy, not wanting to mention the notion of rape in front of the stripling "... anything."
"I bet Caroline fought them injuns off - she keeps a derringer in her knickers!" Arabella yelped.
Hector just shook his head with a grin and rolled his eyes at Isiah.
"I personally wouldn't approach that Fort 'til daybreak, Mr. Chappel, their sentries are kinda trigger happy. Friend of mine, Lutz, had to deliver a message there one night and some darn soldier boy nearly parted his hair for him." The telegraph operator warned. "Up to you, though." he shrugged. Unlike Jemima, who wanted to protect the handsome Mr. Chappel from harm, Hector knew that 'a man had to do what a man had to do' - as long as it was some other feller doin' the doin', he didn't care.
"You should meet Miss Orr, Mr Chappel, she's just about the prettiest girl in the whole territories!" gushed Arabella, who had a bit of a crush on the aloof blonde.
"Oh I've had the pleasure. She sure seems to have led a sheltered life." He admitted.
"You have?! Oh, isn't she wonderful?" gushed Arabella "I saw her with her glove off once, her hands were just marble white, like she'd never done a days work with them in her life!" This seemed to be an impressive feat to the mountain girl, but Jemima sneered.
"That's nothing to be proud of!" the frowsy girl grumped, examining her own calloused hands "And she ain't so ladylike. I remember one time at school, I caught her..." But then there was a thump at the door which made Arabella jump, if not the more stolid Jemima, and the end of the story was never heard.
"Jemima? You in there?" a young man's voice could be heard without. Ignoring the strange looks it might garner from Mr Chappel, Weedy and young Josh, Arabella, who had known the twins for half a year now, deftly put her fingers in her ears.
"COME IN!!! I TOLD YOU WE'D BE HERE!!!!" Jemima shouted with such hair raising volume that the very rafters in the roof seemed to shake. Arabella, looking smug, removed her fingers and smiled at Isiah. "You should be round at their house when the two of 'em are there with their Mother, the three of 'em shouting from three different rooms. I call it the Wigfall telegraph!"
Hector let himself in and popped his head round the corner, taking in the strangely cosy domestic scene. "Howdy Weedy." he nodded to the lad, then looked at Isiah.
"You must be Mister Chappel" he nodded to Isiah "Good news, your sister's all right Sir. So's Caroline." he added quickly, looking over at Arabella, who suddenly burst into tears and collapsed face down onto the table sobbing with relief and joy.
"Mrs Honeycutt and Bucky're dead." he went on, not that they were particular friends of anyone present: Hector just liked showing off that he got all the news first in in this town, thanks to his position in the telegraph office. "And old Ross Hampton bit the dust trying to defend them. Sorry Sis, looks like the wedding's off."
Good old Hector Wigfall: no moment too sombre or too touching for him not to make an awful joke in the middle of it. Jemima scowled "I don't like him!! He's a horrible old man!!" while Hector tut tutted "No way to speak of the dead, Sis!"
Arabella raised her head from the table, half crying and half laughing. This was such a relief.
"Ah yes, Arabella, now there's a young lady that makes one scratch their head."
"Yeah, especially when she starts going on about that nit shampoo of hers!" agreed Hector, inadvertently lifting his hand to scratch his own head.
"Actually, at this point, there's no sense trying to understand what they are doing, or trying to do. But I'd appreciate your help with this Reeve business. I guess it's a wait and see situation." Phin supposed.
Hector shrugged his assent. He couldn't care less about Reeve and would divvy up any dirt he could find on the suspicious fellow.
"Anyway, anything more you can dredge up on this Reeve character, I'd be most grateful to learn, maybe derail whatever his plan is. But, I need to get over to the Municipal Building and see if I can interview the last of the Mayoral Candidates, Cole Latham. If he'll allow it." Then Phin laughed. "Should be an interesting rest of the day!"
"What, Steelgrave's lawyer?" asked the telegraph operator saucer-eyed. "You're a braver man than me!" Hector didn't mind admitting it, he wouldn't go anywhere near any of the dread ranch boss's cronies even if you paid him to. Actually, he had taken telegrams there on occasion, but always with a sickly sinking feeling in his stomach.
As Mr McVey left though, Hector had to allow himself a wry smile: Mr McVey had the guts to go poking around in Cole Latham's affairs, but had come up with a feeble excuse to avoid getting entangled with Arabella Mudd. Yeah, the editor of the Union was brave in the pursuit of a story, but he wasn't that brave.
"Representative Martin Maginnis, a scoundral to be sure, owned the Red Wing Sentinel at one point. Published the Helena Daily Gazette after the war, oh I know who he is alright. And yes, he is the territory's non-voting representative, I'll grant you that. But what I don't get is what he and this Reeve are trying to achieve. What is it they are really after?" Phin put forward.
Hector shrugged and shook his head, indicating he hadn't a clue. Apart from the gossip he'd passed on, politics was a closed door to him: he couldn't fathom why men got involved in it: sure, it gave some power, temporarily it seemed to him, which maybe they could exploit. But it seemed a precarious game at best. Much better to apply oneself to a good honest trade or, for the more ambitious, try and expand human knowledge and ability in some area and make a living at that along the way. He himself was hoping to do something big in telegraphy one day.
Mr McVey seemed to find the machinations of the various regional dabblers in politics a fascinating knot to unravel.
"I can see them attempting to wrest control of the territory politically, but to what end? I mean we have no idea when Montana will join the Union. It's still a pipe dream that at some point will become reality I suppose." He mused. "The man has been a bit of everything, and done quite well at most all of it, politician, soldier, publisher, editor and miner to date, but there is an end result they are after, that is what I'd like to know."
Hector nodded, assuming a look of concerned concentration, but was unable to add much to Mr McVey's store of knowledge. "You could ask Arabella, er, Miss Mudd. She's kinda talkative, and knows more about politics that you'd expect, for a girl. Like I say, though, she's a red-hot Democrat, if she thinks you're pumping her for information... well, even Arabella can keep her mouth shut sometimes."
"Damned if you don't take all, Hector Wigfall. I haven't heard the term 'Copperhead' since the war. But, being a territory, actually being in a territory just since 'sixty-four, a scant two years, means we don't have a vote. So why is Reeve a political agent out here?" That was confounding, Montana would be of little use in the National elections.
Hector looked a little baffled by McVey's arithmetic, probably just a slip of the tongue, Montana had been a Territory for twelve years, not two. The telegraph operator would have been equally bamboozled by McVey's point about the lack of a vote, but his contact in Virginia City had filled him in on that.
"Listen..." he said, leaning forward even more and tapping his finger on the table "We do have a vote, it's just that our Representative doesn't have a vote in congress. And Martin Maginnis is a Democrat, even if he did fight for the Union in the war. Sure, his re-election won't affect the overall result, but he's not going to give that position up easily. It might not give him too much influence in Washington, but it gives him a lot of influence 'round here."
"Reeve reports directly to Maginnis".
"Perhaps the idea is to influence the Territorial Elections with an eye to statehood and having the Democrat Party in place when that happens, depending on how the National election goes, of course. Who is it? Tilden and Hayes?"
"That's right" confirmed the well-informed key-tapper "You know, Arabella Mudd has a picture of Governor Tilden pinned on the wall above her bed and says prayers for him before she goes to sleep every night." he laughed "... er, so my sister tells me!" he added quickly, he didn't want to give the impression he'd ever been in there to see it for himself.
"Ah yes, Colorado, beat us into the Union." He acknowledged. "Not why I'm here, actually, I like to send a wire down to Virginia City, our Virginia City.
"Oh sure!" beamed Hector excitedly "We can wire direct to there now, no need to route through Helena!" Hector always got quite excited about new developments in the Western Union's service or in electro-telegraphy generally.
Maybe that was he had gone wrong with Miriam. After making love with her in the back of her father's butcher store, he should have talked to her about her, about him, about their future together; not described to her the workings of the new teleprinters using the five-bit sequential binary Baudot code. She hadn't even seemed interested in his detailed description of the special five-key keyboard that had been developed along with the system. Huh. Girls!
"Need for it to go to Mister James of the Virginia City Montanian newspaper. I'm after some information on a Mister Lewis Cass Reeve of that fair town. He is here, quite the young dandy but I suspect there's more to him that fine clothes and manners." He instructed, then though to add, "Seems to have an interest in Miss Anæsthesia Orr, anyway We best get on with this."
Hector looked around, even though he knew the two of them were alone in the office.
"Listen, Mr McVey, I can save you the cost of a telegram, I know all about that feller." he said, leaning forward conspiratorially. "Take a seat." He clearly had a lot of details to impart.
"He was at the reading of Mr Orr's will..." McVey already knew that part from the lad's twin sister "... I thought it was odd how he was left a lot of money and property by Orr an started chatting to the late evening operator at Virginia City. We kinda do that sometimes if the traffic's light. Anyhow, he knew an awful lot about Reeve: said he's a lawyer there and that Reeve was his mother's name, but she was never married, and how Orr used to visit her a lot when he was in the vicinity and, well, someone must've been paying the bills!"
The implication was clear: Hector, or at least his source, was implying that Reeve was Richard Orr's illegitimate son.
"Now listen, Mr McVey: I know Mr Orr was no saint, and not exactly top of your Christmas List when he was alive, but he was always pretty nice to me and I don't like to speak ill of the dead anyhow. But he was kinda slippery in his business dealings and in his politics. He had to be or he'd have never become Postmaster here under a Republican Governor. But his son's a dyed in the wool copper-headed Democrat: he's basically their political agent in this part of the Territories. And with the next presidential election expected to be so close, well, he's a pretty powerful man for the time being, at least for those who like to hedge their bets."
It was pretty quiet in the telegraph office. Hector had just finished sending off Lieutenant Greene's latest weather readings to Washington: they were usually his toughest job of the week because they were just meaningless letters and numbers, a little like the odd times he'd had to send off messages in cypher for Colonel MacKenzie. It was easy to keep a sentence, even a staccato one, in your head to translate into Morse, but hard to do something meaningless.
He'd just got off the last set of numbers when Mr. McVey came in. He sometimes leaked news to Mr. McVey so he could get a story printed off before it became common knowledge, although he hadn't been able to resist being the first to blurt out the news of the Custer massacre when he'd gotten that over the wires. He had, rather ludicrously, In retrospect, stumbled into the Stardust and demanded a stiff drink and then gasped out the news to all the drinkers there, almost as if he were a survivor of the battle itself.
He wondered if the newspaper man had come in to gather any interesting stories that had come in to fill a few columns in tomorrow's Union.
"Howdy, Mr McVey. Slim pickin's today, I'm afraid. Everybody's still just talking about Colorado. It' been a state for a week now, you'd think people'd be bored of it by now."
"Three hours. We weren't even in the hotel fer three hours and she was in there with us for part of it. She even took a bite of my gentleman's dinner when he was not at the table," Caroline wondered what it was with all these young gals in Kalispells and their exaggerations.
Jemima looked at the blonde floozy with distain: she was either crazy or drunk, both probably: for all the praise Arabella heaped upon her, to Jemima's mind she was still just a slutty saloon singer. The lowly but respectable floor scrubber and general dogsbody realised her mistake in lowering herself to talk to the jade.
"Frances Grimes? Wait......isn't that the town's blind girl?" Caroline wondered aloud.
"Yeah, but what'dya mean, you're gonna yell at her?" Jemima asked.
"That's between Ara and me. I don't need to tell you a damn thing. Now you gave me your message, I'll thank ya to leave me be so I can get back for my work shift," Caroline was blunt and in no mood for all this.
Jemima just looked at the rude woman with her black piggy little eyes: she had a pretty slow burn, but once a hatred was planted in her heart, the fuse would creep along at its own pace and in a few days, or a few weeks or even a few years, she would get her revenge. The Wigfall girl was like an elephant: she never forgot.
The frowsy girl put her nose in the air, like she was trying to raise it above a bad smell, and walked on.
_ _ _
When Caroline got into the saloon, all was bedlam: apart from it being a busy evening anyway: with Ralph hard at work supplying the liquid refreshment needs of a number of impatient customers, Mammy McMahon of all people was front of house: a very rare occurrence! Her eyes rolled gratefully heavenward when Caroline trooped in.
"Oh thank the Lawd!" she hollered, and bustled up to the blonde singer "Now don't you fret Miss Caroline; we got Mr Hector here and Miss Frances to do your music, and Miss Bridget's upstairs now with that poor child. It's the Brain Fever, again. Doctor Danforth says the next few hours'll be critical but there's nothing we can do but wait and pray!!" she waved her hands in the air and looked like she was about to cry.
Although Arabella could be a pest: Mr Fortner had sent for a doctor immediately, no matter what the expense.
Hector Wigfall came over, holding his fiddle and bow in one hand and quite attentively put the other hand on the plump older lady's shoulder.
"Don't you worry Mrs McMahon, we'll take care of things with Miss Mundee, you get back to your cooking and another of Arabella's friends is going to be coming over in an hour to spell Miss Monahan." He glanced at Caroline. "My sister's gone to tell Miriam Kaufmann, she'll probably want to come over and sit up all night with her." he explained, inexplicably going rather rosy cheeked at having to say the name of the young Jewish girl.
"Frances and I are pretty sure we can play all of your usual numbers, we'll just make sure we get the right key for you. I know Arabella would have wanted the show to go on." he said, sniffing back a manly tear himself now. "Do you know Frances?" he asked and turned to see Miss Grimes sitting at Arabella's piano stool, waving in almost the right direction toward them with a sympathetic smile on her face.
"Oh? I did not see that coming," she lied expertly, Ara was a bad influence there.
"Sorry, I... I didn't mean to be forward!" Hector stuttered. Had he gone and blown it?
"I suppose you have kissed quite a few girls before, as handsome as you are?"
"Kissed girls? Well sure I have, I..." His head drooped and he waggled it from side to side. "No, not really, except Arabella Mudd, and she doesn't count, that was just a... that was just a dare. My sister made me do it. And she didn't like it, Arabella. Guess I'm a just a lousy kisser." he sighed.
"Well, I have an admission to make, I have never been kissed by a boy ," Miriam revealed.
That brought a sort of smile back to Hector's glum features "You haven't? I'm kinda glad" he admitted "Even though that makes us a plum pair of kissing virgins. I bet if we tried it, we'd probably miss and end up on other sides of the room." he joked, not realising that because Miriam hadn't kissed any boys, that in no way made her unpractised in the art. hector felt a little bit of confidence returning.
"However that said, I am more than willing to experience new things....with boys," she added, maybe she shouldn't have tossed in the last two words.
Hector had a look of determination about him now. This wasn't how it went in his fantasies, be they romantic ones or sexual ones, but he saw the route ahead clearly now. "Listen Miriam: you wanna try new things with boys and, well, I wanna try new things with girls, I mean, with you... sorta specifically. I'm just scared I... well, I might do it wrong or things might not work exactly right..." his big fear was that when push came to shove, he might not be able to rise to the occasion. "... but if we try it, just nice and slow and gentle and if there's anything we don't like, well, we just tell each other and... you know... we'll stop doing that thing."
It sounded more like a business negotiation than making love, but it would have to do.
"I... I'm gonna try and kiss you right now... just on the cheek... that all right?" he asked and hesitantly moved slowly forward on his hands and knees "Just... just tell me to stop if you don't like it!" he advised her seriously, like he was about to pull a painful thorn out of her flesh.
"Yes, we have privacy in here and while it doesn't look like rain, even if it does we will be fine in here. I can just spread this blanket on the floor," Miriam answered.
This might, indeed, be all his dreams come true, but it was moving pretty fast for Hector. He had sort of imagined a walk around the town, a halting chat, and maybe a tentative attempt at a peck on the cheek at the end... if he was feeling brave enough! His usual bravado had deserted him and he was scrambling around the unexplored depths of his soul to find out what had always lurked behind it.
"Is all this good with you, I don't want to do anything you do not wish to do," she added.
"Oh, I wish to!" he nodded and reached for blanket "Here, let me!" Not that he thought he would be a superior blanket-spreader than the surprisingly confident Miss Kaufmann, he just wanted to indicate how keen he was on this idea.
Soon they were nicely situated on the blanket, on the floor, and Hector considered the next hour. The prospect was actually pretty daunting: small talk, trying to eat without getting food all down his front, trying to say the right thing, always wondering just how far he might get.... it was all too much: he suddenly heard himself say something which would probably ruin everything:
"Miss Kaufmann, er, Miriam, listen... you... you look so beautiful today that... well.... can I give you a little kiss?? See, then I won't have to worry about if you're ever going to let me kiss you, and, well, I can get on enjoying talking to you and, er, eating this nice picnic you brought along!" he kicked himself even as he said it, impatient fool!
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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