Jump to content
Sagas of the Wild West
  • Forum Statistics

    192
    Total Topics
    5,801
    Total Posts

Not to Worry


 Share

Recommended Posts

Mature Content: No

With: Weedy, F. Falmer Browne
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Aug 30, 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

content-divider.png

 

 

While it wasn't particularly unusual that Addy didn't come back from a run, it still didn't happen often, and although he wasn't really worried -- yet -- Weedy was feeling a bit unsettled.  The stage was supposed to be back yesterday evening, and still there was no sign of her when he got home from school.

Still not to worry on, any number of things could have delayed her, most of them annoying more than anything, but as much as he tried to convince himself that it was all right, Weedy was starting to get a little antsy, and he finally decided to go talk to Professor Browne...not about Addy, necessarily, no, he probably had some arithmetic he could use some help with, and maybe he could mooch a good meal...and not have to stay alone in the big house, or retreat to the barn, where he might feel more comfortable...

Math book tucked under his arm and Buster trotting beside him, the boy clamored over the back fence, then up to Professor Browne's door, knocking firmly, then taking a step back and waiting.

 

  1.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They say that while the cats away, the mice will play. Not that Jemima Wigfall wanted to play, she wanted to get on with her work at the Professor's house: there were bell jars doming over strange exhibits to dust, exotic Persian carpets to beat, mundane laundry to mangle: all the labour-intensive tasks of a nineteenth century home to complete. She had hoped that the old gent being out on one of his 'field trips' collecting geological samples and Mrs O'Houligan being down with the croup would give her a chance to actually get on with things.

 

However, nature abhors a vacuum, and the empty house seemed to be sucking in all the waifs and strays of the neighborhood. Now there was someone knocking at the door again. As footsteps approached to answer it, said waif (or was he a stray?) could hear through the door the distinctive husky voice of Jemima Wigfall yelling to someone in another part of the house "No, it isn't spirit rappings, it's just the door again!"

 

The door opened and Jemima looked out, blinked, and then looked down.

 

"Oh it's you!" she said, then pulled a concerned face "You'd better come in." she said, and then quickly added "Have you seen Miss Chappel today?" 

 

She was still trying to work out if what she had just been hearing was true, or the product of a perpetually feverish imagination of one of Kalispell's residents. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"BoooOOOOoooooOOOO!"  Giggling, Weedy waved his arms around in his best imitation of an spirit, not that he had any idea what one would look like.  Then he shook his head, looking quite serious.  "It's just me, Weedy, Miz Jemima.  I haven't seen Miz Addy today, that's why I'm here, I need help with my homework."

 

As if Addy could accommodate that, and as if anyone thought she could!  But it was an obvious excuse.

 

"Is Perfessor Browne in, please?  Oh, and I didn't mean to scare you!"

 

@Javia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"BoooOOOOoooooOOOO!"  Giggling, Weedy waved his arms around in his best imitation of an spirit, not that he had any idea what one would look like.  Then he shook his head, looking quite serious.  "It's just me, Weedy, Miz Jemima."

 

"Oh it's you!" she said, then pulled a concerned face "You'd better come in." she said, and then quickly added "Have you seen Miss Chappel today?"

 

"I haven't seen Miz Addy today, that's why I'm here, I need help with my homework."

 

Jemima followed behind the short boy as he traipsed down the hall toward the parlour, a route he knew well enough by now. 

 

"Is Perfessor Browne in, please?  Oh, and I didn't mean to scare you!"

 

As they reached the door to the parlour, Jemima replied "You didn't scare me, she did." There inside, instead of the Professor was Arabella Mudd, and she looked as serious as the Wigfall girl. She stood up as soon as Weedy walked in with her friend, as if expecting some bad news. To an extent, that is what they were bringing. 

 

Arabella and Weedy's orbits didn't usually coincide, except perhaps at Church on Sundays, so the saloon worker gave him a nod and called him by his real name "Porter James!" and then looked at Jemima "Is there news about Miss Chappel?!" Jemima frowned at her to shut up. This could be delicate. 

 

"Take a seat Weedy" said Jemima "And you!" That was directed at Arabella, who was standing up still, nervously fidgeting with her fingers. She herself put a surprisingly gentle hand on Weedy's shoulder.

 

"Listen, Arabella here's had what we spiritualists call a presentiment - that's like a premonition but it's something that's happening right now. It doesn't usually happen to people who aren't naturally clairvoyant unless something very..." no, don't say bad "... unless something important happens. Arabella saw something happen to the stagecoach, but that Addy is all right. Her friend Miss Mundee was on board this morning, and she is all right, too. Now, I'm going to go and see my brother Hector at the telegraph office and find out if there's any news about exactly what's going on, all right? I want you to stay here with Arabella."

 

She then did something that surprised Arabella, at least. Jemima knelt down and gave Weedy a big hug. Then she stood and told them. "Now, you two try and distract yourselves" to Arabella, she added "Help him with his Math homework." 

 

In a flash she was gone, leaving Arabella complaining "Huh, I didn't get a hug!"

 

The Southern girl stood and took up Weedy's maths book. "Don't you worry, Mister Jeems, I was best at sums in the whole of unoccupied Virginia, I'll answer these questions for ya!" she said, trying to sound buoyant and not worry about Caroline. 

 

"Let's see... oh these is easy questions! 'What is a Hypotenuse?' Well that's just a big ol' animal that lives in rivers in Africa!" she announced. "'Define Pi'... hmmm, Pi is vittles with a crust on top!" She looked down at him. "why ain't ya writing this down?"

 

ARA.jpg.5acc12dea3e37383c185e6ebcadc7c75.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weedy frowned, a little discombobulated (OMG, spell check knew that!) at Miz Jemima leaving him alone with Miz Arabella, who started going on about animals and crusts, and he had  no idea how that related to math, not that he particularly cared.  He was distracted, worrying about Miz Addy, and he was hungry, and he didn't like homework anyway...what boy did?

 

"Africa?  Isn't that...near Alabama or something?"  At least he thought so.  "But what does an animal there have to do with math?"  He grinned.  "Do they count with their toes so they know how many pies they ate?"  Kinda made sense, but not really.  Maybe the teacher was just testing how gullible they were, making things up to give them a laugh?

 

"Hey, is there some milk for Buster?  He likes Miz Jemima's cookies, too!"  Right!

 

@Javia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Africa?  Isn't that...near Alabama or something?"

 

Arabella nodded "That's right, just a little further South. Pity this ain't geography homework, looks like you're pretty good at that." 

 

At least he thought so.  "But what does an animal there have to do with math?"  He grinned.  "Do they count with their toes so they know how many pies they ate?"  

 

"I dunno." Arabella frowned and turned the exercise book over "Says Math Homework on the cover. It'll be that Miss Bowen, too busy stealin' other gal's beaus instead of writin' the homework questions right. Hmm, this one looks more like it... John has 231 apples, he eats 109 of them, what does he now have?" she thought for a second, looking up to the ceiling for the answer:

 

"... write 'Tummy Ache'!" 

 

This clever answer clearly put Weedy in mind of food.

 

"Hey, is there some milk for Buster?  He likes Miz Jemima's cookies, too!"  Right!

 

"Oooh, hello pussy!" cooed Arabella, bending down to tickle Buster just below the ear where he liked it. The large Tom emitted a number of resonant throaty purrs. "Yeah, we're too distraught to eat but I'll get something for this big boy." she said and hustled off to the kitchen, returning amazingly quickly with a large tray piled with drinks for them, a saucer of milk for Buster and a capacious cookie jar. Arabella put the saucer down for Buster and pulled off the cookie jar lid.

 

"Let's try and keep up our strength, we'll eat 'em straight from the jar to save Jeima any washing up!" she announced thoughtfully, grabbing a large cookie and shoving it whole into her mouth.

 

@Bongo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weedy chuckled at her answers to the questions, scribbling them down, since he was pretty sure he could make a good argument for them!  Besides, it sure made math a whole lot more fun!

 

Buster was happy enough with his saucer of milk, but he enjoyed the occasional cookie crumb that Weedy tossed him as well.  And Weedy was happy to gobble up cookies, too, to keep up his strength (wink wink!).

 

"How did you get to be so smart?" he asked his companion.  After all, the way Miss Arabella was answering questions wasn't what he was being taught in school, so she must have been trained by some genius, maybe even F. Falmer himself!  "I don't think I ever met someone so smart, except for the Perfessor!  I bet you could be a perfessor, too, someday!"

 

@Javia

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"How did you get to be so smart?" he asked his companion.  After all, the way Miss Arabella was answering questions wasn't what he was being taught in school, so she must have been trained by some genius, maybe even F. Falmer himself!  "I don't think I ever met someone so smart, except for the Perfessor!  I bet you could be a perfessor, too, someday!"

 

"I reckon you're right!" Arabella nodded. "But that's the one thing I don't know - how I ever got this smart. See, I never went to no school house, I just growed up on a mountainside. And for years and years I was just as dumb as a stump. Then one mornin' I woke up, oh I must've been about twelve or thirteen I reckon, and, well, you know what, Porter Jeems? I was just the smartest person I knew!"

 

She thought back on that miraculous event with a frown and a shake of her head.

 

"At first I just thought my Mammy and Pappy suddenly went stupid or something, cause they was just talking hogwash morning, noon an' night. But then I met lots of other grow'd ups and guess what: I was cleverer than them, too! I think it's a gift from God and Jesus, because I'm a good Methodist girl and I try and do at least one thing every day just like Jesus would. "

 

She looked at Weedy carefully.

 

"What's your demon-a-nation?"

 

@Bongo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weedy didn't think it worked like that, getting smart took a lot learning and study over time, you didn't just get that way.  But then, here she was, pretty clever.

 

"Demon-a-nation?"  He wasn't sure what she meant, so he shrugged.  "The nation is the United States of America, right?  No demons, I don't think, 'cause I go to church, too."

 

He thought for a minute, then shook his head.  "Angels aren't demons, so no, I don't have any of those.  Do you?"  Maybe that's hpw she got smart so fast?  She was possessed!

 

@Javia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Demon-a-nation?"  He wasn't sure what she meant, so he shrugged.  "The nation is the United States of America, right?  No demons, I don't think, 'cause I go to church, too."

 

"Well, that's just what I'm jawin' on. What's yer demonanation. Like I'm part of the Connexion, Methodist." she explained. 

 

He thought for a minute, then shook his head.  "Angels aren't demons, so no, I don't have any of those.  Do you?"  Maybe that's hpw she got smart so fast?  She was possessed!

 

"Listen, Porter Jeems, we ALL got demons and devils and imps and even Old Nick himself gambollin' around: they are peeping out of just about every little hidey hole there is in our lives, trying to trick us into making mistakes and committing sins!" This might sound dire but it seemed there was a sunny side:

 

"That's why it ain't really our fault if we does bad things sometimes: it's just one of them there little devils a-temptin' and a trickin' us to do awful stuff. Like t'other week I..." she looked around, to make sure the Professor's geological rock samples weren't listening.

 

"... well, I did somethin' real awful. You know that feller as runs the General store? Well, he was sorta rude to me, so what I did, I got this right fancy little carboard box, all tied up nice and fancy with ribbons and everything, and I left it on the counter for him when he weren't looking. An in it, I went and put the nastiest, smelliest, most maggot crawlin' dog doin's I could find on the street - 'n believe me, there was quite the choice. An' I put a note on that there box as said 'Dear Mr Clarkson, I saw this gift and thought of you. Signed, an admirer' And me and Bridget watched though the winder when he opened it and you outta seen that feller's face!! He he he!!!" she started to laugh at the memory of it. "And the smell darn near cleared the store!! He he he!!!" 

 

She had to have a good laugh then, holding her sides while she chuckled, and then eventually wiped the tears from her eyes and sniffing her nose added.

 

"Ohhhhh, well, that was an awful sin, but a devil tempted me and when I asked Jesus his forgiveness afterwards, he was right understandin'. I reckon he used to play tricks like that, you know, on the Twelve Disciples." Then she started laughing again and muttering you should ha' seen his face! 

 

Then she grew a little more serious all of a sudden as she wiped her nose.

 

"Course, there's other sorts of demons: but they're just more like sad things in life you just have to live with. You're a orphan like me, so I know you know what I mean." she said, giving him a sympathetic and quite un-Arabella-ish little smile. She might not be the genius she thought she was, but she was possessed of a certain native emotional intelligence.

 

@Bongo

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...