Miriam listened to her employer and it is easy to detect a sort of nostalgia to his topic even sadness or at least, emotion. Perhaps it had not gone well with the man and his own father? And yes that would be sad. But she was not going to say anything aloud, not knowing the details she might just make a verbal blunder. Where her dear friend Arabella would simply plunge on into the water, the more retrospect Miriam simply paused at the shoreline.
"You have done very well today. Take the rest of the day off, Miss Kaufmann, go and spend some time with your Father. He will not be here forever!" he said, taking out a large hanky and blowing his nose upon it.
"Oh? Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Good day then, see you bright and early tomorrow," Miriam both nodded dutifully and flashed a genuine smile. She liked working for the man.
One outside though she did not exactly listen to his advice. Oh she loved her father but that did not mean she, as a teenager, was particularly enthusiastic to spend her free time with him. Papa was a stern man and a busy one, especially as every day's labor brought opening day that much closer for his new butcher shop business.
No, her decision was immediate, she would go to the saloon - the side entrance of course, she only had gone in the front ONCE and that had been quite the mistake. Then she would visit Arabella and maybe that girl would have some free time too. She did know it was too early for Ara to have to be playing the piano for 'the Mundee' as she had started to think of the saloon entertainer.
Miriam duly reported her sale of the pair of gloves so that her employer could put it down in the books, accurate accounting was important in any business such as this one. He seemed pleased but suddenly informed her he had a 'tip'.
"Oh? Of course, sir," she duly nodded.
"Whenever you sell kid gloves, ask the customer if they'd like to buy some special cleaning spirit of turpentine, special offer 50 cents!" He rummaged on a shelf and brought down a fancy bottle of blue glass.
"Fifty cents?" that seemed expensive to her reckoning, though she could hardly claim any expertise in such things.
"It' just ordinary turps, 10 cents a bucket from the general store, but some ladies'll buy anything as long as it comes in a pretty container."
"I see," she duly noted though to her it did seem a bit.......dishonest? Still he was the boss, far be it for her to challenge him, "I will remember that in the future, sir."
"Hmmm, Miss Lutz. Was she trying to get you to go to Church?"
Miriam had not seen that coming alright.
"She mentioned how active my friend, Arabella...you know...Miss Mudd...the one who came with Miss Mundee...........is in their church and encouraged me to come sometime to hear and see for myself'" Miriam dutifully answered.
"I told her Papa would not approve." And to her that settled the matter then and there.
Miriam felt bad for the woman as she related a sad memory of her now deceased father, "My condolences, miss. He sounds like he was a smart man."
As for Arabella, Miriam had to remark, "There is really very little that Ar..Miss Mudd does that surprises me." She meant that as a compliment.
After the light conversation, Miriam scored a sale on top of it as the woman purchased some gloves. Her employer should be pleased.
And then it was time for the women to leave the place and go on their way, Miss Lutz ending with a compliment about her and also mouthing a reminder to remember what she had said. No doubt regarding a church visit. Miriam nodded but already had made up her mind. She was not about to anger her father by doing such a thing.
Miriam would have been aghast to know she was now a 'project' but fortunately she was clueless on that subject. In fact she thought the woman took he revelation very calmly.
"Well..." she began, turning a sympathetic smile upon Miriam "Should you wish to accompany your friend Miss Mudd to Church on Sunday, under no compunction to join in Christian worship, of course, but merely to attend as a... a fellow member of the community, please do come and sit with me in our pew. You would be more than welcome." she gushed, giving Miriam a kindly touch to the arm.
"Oh, no thank you. It is kind of you to offer but I am certain my father would not want me to do any such thing. I am so glad though that Arabella is so devout, what with her organ playing and singing. She talks about it with such...enthusiasm."
Of course left unsaid, most subjects she talks about are with the same enthusiasm. Her sheer energy is one of the things Miriam liked about the girl.
Miriam shook her head in the negative, "No, I am afraid I do not. Papa would probably know of course." Not that she could ask him at that moment, the customer would have to make due with a nonanswer.
As to her answer about making friends, of course Miriam immediately gushed about Arabella, full of youthful enthusiasm and indeed, rose-colored glasses.
"Oh, you mean Miss Mudd!" the woman knew immediately.
"Why, yes I do," Miriam smiled.
"Yes, you are lucky to have a friend who is such a paragon of the Church," Miss Lutz stated then added, "I have not seen you at Church with her, though, Miss Kaufmann, perhaps you follow another denomination"
No sense lying about it, Miriam thought, eventually such things were bound to get out.
"Oh I...well my family have not gone to church here in Kalispell. You see we are Jewish and there is no synagogue around here of course," she could leave out her family also were not exactly fervent Jews.
"Really? It sounds almost German." replied Leonora, tipping her head curiously. "How brave of your Papa, and your whole family, to come out here, how do you like it?" she smiled, looking at one of the gloves and gauging whether it would fit.
"Oh it is. My grandparents came from Germany," Miriam informed her.
"Yes, we do....thus far. It was a hard journey but Papa believes it was for the best. This town is very....peaceful," Miriam nodded.
"Have you made any friends, yet?"
"Oh yes, I have indeed. One girl in particular, my own age too," Miriam beamed, "She is teaching me so much about the town and the people. We spend all our free time together, she works at the saloon you see. She is an orphan and the saloon owner agreed to take her in."
Now that is what out there aloud, Miriam wondered if perhaps she should not have included that part?
"Oh, Clara Anne, I'm just so relieved! I couldn't 'a looked Jacob in the eye if anything had happened to you after I promised him that 'Mima would stay over!" Arabella gushed, throwing her arms awkwardly around Clara while trying not to squash her tummy as they got ready to leave.
Clara tensed and stood there like a pillar, "Yes, of course you are."
Next to that pair, Jemima was giving Miriam a curt business-like nod "See you Wednesday."
"Yes, you will. You take care now," Miriam nodded with a smile.
Sniff. "I'll show you how to work the Willcox & Gibbs."
Miriam was familiar with that machine alright, as she told her employer but she had not gotten to try it. Least not so far. And in truth, she certainly did want to try it! What seamstress wouldn't?
"That would be wonderful........we need to get Mr. Pettigrew's permission though," Miriam pointed out, never one to rock the boat.
Miriam had told the customers she would go in back once more after notifying Mr. Pettigrew of the need to come out front and see them. But now her employer instructed her to tend to the remaining woman while he talked business with the other. So that left the young seamstress to stand there then with this customer. She gave her best smile.
"Well, this is a little embarrassing, having a whole person to 'attend to my needs' when all I really want is just to look at some gloves." the lady laughed nervously.
"Oh, well they are right over on that shelf, ma'am," Miriam helpfully pointed out.
"Are you new around here, Miss Kaufmann?" the customer asked, "You have a most intriguing accent, if it's not rude to mention it."
"It isn't rude, ma'am, it's fine. I have only been here for a few weeks, close to a month now. It is probably because I come from New York. I was born in New York and lived there with my family until Papa decided to move out west and set up his own business. "
She decided not to bring up the Jewish part of the accent, some people did not like Jews at all.
"Squirt?" Miriam raised one eyebrow. Well she supposed she could be called worse - like back in New York where she had heard 'dirty little Jew' more than once. And after Jemima had said nice things about Ara and her, she was not going to complain.
Jemima was as strong as she looked, maybe stronger and easily carried two pails. Miriam, not so much, struggled with hers and did spill some on the journey back, her dress was such that it looked like she had wet herself. But they got back and into the cabin once more.
"Here you go, Missus, three buckets' full. Well, two and a half, the Squirt spilled most of hers." Jemima announced gruffly to Clara as they entered.
"Thank you, Jemima, and please....call me Clara," the taller brunette replied also glancing at the new girl, "Oh, that is fine. It is near full and admittedly the journey to and fro is a long one."
Arabella joined Miriam with the pail heft and whispered, "She gave you a nickname, that means she really likes you!"
Miriam nodded and grinned then whispered, "She actually does. And...well, I will tell you something later."
And with fresh water for cleaning, all four girls tied into the difficult job of making this long abandoned wreck reasonably clean and liveable. Miriam hummed some little ditty to herself as she scrubbed one section of floor, Clara glancing at her for a second then shrugging and getting back her own efforts.
"Nahhhh, she ain't right. She likes girls in a 'wrong way' and I reckon you're the girl she likes."
"I have no idea what you mean, besides there is nothing wrong with a girl liking a girl, it is called friendship," Miriam continued to defend Ara.
"And what's more, I reckon you like her right on back. And if I'm right, well I only got one thing to say to you, Miss Miriam Kaufmann..." she dropped her buckets and put a hand on each of Miriam's shoulders, her piggy little eyes staring into the lustrous brown orbs of the Jewish girl.
Miriam tensed, so was this when the bigger girl was going to get physical with her? She just froze, too frightened to try and defend herself. Turned out nothing like that though.
"You'd better both just... well just don't go breaking each other's hearts, that's all. It's hard to find real love in this world, some of us've never found it and ain't ever likely to. Just you both take care of each other and if anybody ever gives you any trouble over it, you just tell me and I'll bash 'em up for yuh!"
"Oh....ummm, well....." Miriam had not expected that from Jemima, it was as if a completely different person suddenly took over the bigger older girl's body.
"That was kind of you to say," she paused to try and come up with something more but failed miserably. Jemima, for all her intimidating looks and usually words too, was acting very nice!
"Oh but please....don't bash anyone over us. I would hate to see anyone get hurt," she now pleaded.
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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