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    • Justus kept a close eye on the man as he approached, reassured by the fact that he was being allowed to approach, and that there was no sign of aggression.  He stopped a few feet away.   "Evenin', sir."  Justus nodded with an easy grin, relieved that it seemed this was a friendly bunch.  Most men on drives were, but Justus had learned young that it was best to assume the worst, then be happily surprised.   "Just what are you up too?" It was Dallas, and he was one to ask questions first, rather than just shoot a fellow. "You might oughtta ride on in like a man. There'll be plenty of grub, and you'll be welcome to it." He smiled.   "Thank ya, sir, I might do just that."  While he didn't want to seem too eager, there was no denying that he was grateful for the offer.   "You out here on yer own? Mount up an' I'll ride in with ya jest so's you don't get shot er nuthin'!" The he laughed.   "Yes, sir, I'm alone."  Swinging into the saddle, Justus patted Mule on the neck, then fell into pace beside the man.  "I do appreciate this, sir, I'll work for it, sir, help th' cookie with dishes or some'at."  A thankless job, but it wouldn't do him any harm, and he wouldn't feel so much like mooching.   "Oh, m' name's Justus Wheeler, sir.  I'm headed north, nowhere in particular."   @Flip
    • Mature Content:  Might well be violence.   With: Turk Flagg, Caroline, and who knows else Location: Star Dust Saloon When: Sept/ 1876 Time of Day: Early evening     Now Turk had never been to this part of Montana previously but  seemed like a nice enough quiet town. Actually peaceful towns were not exactly good for his sort of occupation but then he had not ridden in with any specific job in mind.  He was between jobs, just last week he'd delivered a prisoner to a small town south of Kalispell, the man had been a wanted rustler. Fellow whined the whole way back right up to jail that he was innocent. Turk then just pointed out he was neither judge nor jury, tell it to someone who cared. Least he had some cash in his pocket. And where better to spend a bit of it then in the town's only saloon apparently. Least only one he could spot.   Entering into the place thru the swinging bat doors, he took in the joint. Decent enough, he'd seen many worse, some better. On this weekday night it was not crowded but there were a few folks at the bar and some others gathered around tables, most tables holding card games. He didn't go for cards though and on those rare occasions when he had, he usually lost money. Nope, keep it simple, get a drink or two or four.   As he sidled up to the bar, the bartender was presently occupied with another customer so he paused to take a second scan of the place. And who should he see but...................   "Caroline?  Caroline Mundee," he made sure he said those words loud enough the woman could hear him as she  a good distance away, holding a tray of drinks.   Caroline not only picked up on her name but recognized the voice and turned to see just to make certain. The look on her face made it plain she knew the speaker alright as she broke out into a wide smile.   "Well, I'll be !  Gimme a minute," she called back then hurried to finish her on duty errand, duly placing the tray in front of four card players, "Here ya are, boys. Enjoy!"    Turk nodded and just leaned with his back against the bar, watching her every move. She sure was as pretty as the last time they'd seen each other. He never took his eyes off her as she then approached and in a few seconds the two embraced in a quick but heartfelt hug.   "Turk! I had heard rumors you were dead," Caroline declared when they broke it up.   "Nope, I can truly assure you that I am not. Yer lookin' fine as always," he grinned.   Caroline looked past him for a moment, "Ralph, break out one of the good bottles and pour us two shots, will ya, hon?"    "Shit! How much that gonna cost me now?"  Turk knew her routine alright, they'd become friends in Helena when she worked a saloon there.   "Nah! On the house! I'm real glad ta see you again," Caroline then leaned into the bar next to him, they had some catching up to do alright.              
    • Four good men was all he needed, and Granger knew just the men for the job. Men that would kill anyone that threatened the ranch in any way, shape, or form. Of course, that went doe any number of of the Evergreen hands, the men he wanted would be the worst, and most dangerous of the hands Elias Steelgrave employed   The first one he ran on to was the stocky built Dutch, the only name they knew him by, but that was enough. He rode up next to the man, "Dutch, Mister Steelgrave has a job for you."   Dutch looked to him, knowing if the old man wanted him for a job it wouldn't be nurse maiding no cows. "Sure Granger, what's he got in mind?"   "Might be some Lost Lake men trailing Carson, they need to be stopped." It was quick and blunt.   "Right up my alley, Granger. Start now?" Dutch asked.   "I'll Get Treach, Watts, and Deckerd. Mister Steelgrave wants you boys to be sure they start it."    "Easy as pie. If you want I'll go for 'em, know right where they are and well just head that way." Dutch offered with a grin that was far from friendly.   "Sure Dutch, go ahead. Anything happens, you hightail it back here." Granger  replied to which Dutch nodded and spurred his horse.           Dutch                                      Treach                             Watts                       Deckerd
    • The conversation with Misses Thornton-Carlton had been informative, though she had not said when these hands from the Lost Lake would be in town for supplies. In New Mexico Territory they generally went once a month, unless they were in need of something or they got word an order had come in, which was rare, the Apaches saw to that. No one was willing to take the chance . But this here might be different. The Lost Lake was not so far from town as the Lazy S was to Lordsburg, nor as dangerous.   So, the hotel looked to be the place he'd stay until these hands rode in, and it would certainly give him a chance to meet some folks, like she said, see who his allies were. And from, what he had learned so far, the trouble ran deep between the Lost Lake and this Evergreen Ranch, and then toss in the son and his pack of animals. Things could get terminal real quick. This was shaping up to be far more than he had bargained for when he left New Mexico. But he was there now, so he could run, or stay, and Tyrell Thornton was not much for running.
    • Speed took the time to let Alice and her father know where he was going, and why, then mounted up and started out for the fort. He'd not been there, he had seen it in passing, and it was a welcome sight with the Indians out. He understood that the Military had no jurisdiction in town, and likely they might not be willing to help, yet, then again, they might. Protecting citizens was their job. And just because the ones Speed was asking them to protect were in town with active lawmen, A large contingent of outlaws  posed a significant threat.   The outlaws, be it Cases' gang or Elias' riders, or both together, it would be more than a handful lawmen could handle, even with the townsfolk defending their town. True, most had served in the War Between the States, but that had been over ten years ago, and true they had fought Indians and outlaws, yet these men were settled down now and past getting into gun trouble. And maybe it wouldn't come. Maybe Neither Steelgrave wanted to tangle with the town and it's people. Yet going to talk with the Army made sense, even if they couldn't really help out right then.

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It was good to get out into the fresh air of the street, although Arabella couldn't help noticing the journalist shift the weight of the trunk to his shoulder to save his arms being dragged out of his sockets.

 

"Oh, I'm sorry, Mr McVey, it's that great big bible in there that's makin' it so heavy." she told him "Course, the Word of The Lord weighs heavily on my shoulders, too."

 

"So you never said where the two of you would be staying." Addressing Arabella as the stepped out onto the boardwalk. Not that it was any of his business, but he had shouldered her trunk, and he was not a young as he once was, no invalid Phin McVay, but the thing was beginning to show it's weight.

 

"Well, since Lorenzo, er, Mr. Crabbe up and died, ol' Bridget owns that Old Funeral Parlour, all fair and square and legal like; 'cept me and Frances Grimes are gonna move in and we're gonna rename it to "The Kalispell Refuge for Young Christian Women". We're gonna make Crabby's photography studio into two more bedrooms and then we'll have room to take in three more girls, you know..."

 

She looked around to make sure nobody was listening, as she thought Mr. McVey might be embarrassed by the subject she needed to touch upon. 

 

"... for girls that are orphaned and got no place to stay or ones who are in trouble. You know, got their roof rusted. My friend Mrs Adams, well, I don't know if you realise this Mr McVey, but she herself is a... a soiled dove, I'm afraid. She told me that how most girls end up as fallen women: either they have to do it cause they got no home and no work to feed 'emselves or some boy gets 'em in the family way and then don't wanna know. Y'get my drift?"

 

"I told Mr Pettigrew about it and he was so nice about it and says he'll help pay for the little bit of building work downstairs and we think we might be able to get Miss Chappel's brother to do the work cheap. Me and him's like that!" she added, trying to indicate her crossed fingers while still carrying all her her impedimenta. 

 

"Now about Pettigrew, I had assured him that what he had said in anger, would not be part of the column." Phin said. "He has his position, and I applaud that. It does not align with mine, and that too is fine. He may well be one Kalispell's favorite entrepreneurs, and I believe rightly so, a Mayor? Perhaps not. Then again young lady, I could be wrong about that."

 

"Oh, are you still jawin' on about that silly old Mayor business?" Arabella complained, shaking her bonneted head. For her butterfly mind the subject was now well past its sell-by date.

 

"Now, you wanna be writing a nice little story about our refuge, instead. But don't mention anything about Bridget, cause everybody knows she's a imbecile; and don't mention me, cause folks round here don't think a lot of me fer some reason, but say Frances is openin' it: she's... well, you know what Mr McVey, she might be just as poor as the rest of us and be as blind as a bat, and keep bumpin' into things and have them sorta scary googly eyes and all, but she's... she's a real, proper lady, you know what I mean?

 

@Flip

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"No, no just telling you I intend on keeping my promise to Mister Pettigrew. And without mention of Mister Reeve." He explained, the trunk more comfortable on his shoulder, a bit easier to manage. Mention of the good book answered that question for him. "Yes, it can, and does weigh heavy on many of us."

 

"Now this project of yours, the Refuge, I like the idea, the name, everything about your plans. This is certainly something that is needed, and, unlike the hospital and orphanage, does not have to be built. You young ladies are to be applauded for this effort." He affirmed. He could see the need, now and in the future, he was trying to recall the layout of the place, knowing it was two stories, he could not quite recall what was on the second floor, most likely bedrooms, or perhaps storage.

 

"I suppose that your plans are written down?" Of course he was thinking as a man, and for all he knew it was currently just being discussed among themselves and not quite ready to start upgrades. "I can see an article about this plan of yours, yes I can. With it we can raise awareness to it, and Arabella, who knows where it will go from there. Honestly, there is no telling." An idea was forming.

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"Now this project of yours, the Refuge, I like the idea, the name, everything about your plans. This is certainly something that is needed, and, unlike the hospital and orphanage, does not have to be built. You young ladies are to be applauded for this effort." He affirmed.

 

"Oh, we're just three simple young spinsters of the parish with room to spare, wantin' to do the Lord's Work." she shrugged airily. 

 

"I suppose that your plans are written down?" Of course he was thinking as a man, and for all he knew it was currently just being discussed among themselves and not quite ready to start upgrades.

 

"Uh? Written down?" frowned Arabella "Well, Frances is blind, Bridget cain't read nor write and I'm... well, I ain't made o' pencils and paper y'know! Written down, huh?" She didn't really see why it needed writing down. It was just something they were going to do. Why, at a push, they could take someone in right now. 

 

"I can see an article about this plan of yours, yes I can. With it we can raise awareness to it, and Arabella, who knows where it will go from there. Honestly, there is no telling." An idea was forming.

 

"Well, now, don't you go gettin' over excited about this here thing, Mr. McVey, it's just a little refuge for a couple of needy girls who might need it. Don't go blowin' it up outta all propulsion!" 

 

She looked at him seriously from somewhere inside the recesses of that poke bonnet.

 

"This is it with folks, everybody gets carried away, get so busy makin' highfalutin plans ambitions and discussin' things in meetin's and councils and committees and tryin' to make a mountain out of a moleskin, that nuthin' never gets done. Look at Miss Steelgrave and her hospital. If'n she'd just opened a little one to start with, maybe a couple o' beds, a roll of bandages and a bottle of snake oil liniment, why, she'd be sittin' pretty right now: stead of sittin' on a pile planks and bricks that ain't no use to nobody." Arabella informed him. She admired Miss Steelgrave immensely, but the pretty young woman's ambitions would be of little use if one of them were to collapse in the street right now. 

 

"It's the good deed I do today that matters, not the good deed I hope to do next week" she finished her homily, with words that sounded like they had been lifted off the kind of religious pamphlets she delighted in handing out around the bar. 

 

@Flip

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Ahem, Yes young lady you do have a point about Miss Steelgrave and the problems with getting her project underway, but I have to say that it is not the normal  way things are done. She has one big factor that she's fighting and that would be her father Elias Steelgrave who has connections that make things as difficult as possible for her/" He explained.

 

Of course, yes, she could start with little to nothing except good will and a bandage, however, that is not what she wants to do, far from it. A hospital in this territory would almost be a Godsend. It is needed. Now, about your plan, and believe me when I say that it too would be a Godsend, because it will be. Regardless, Arabella, of what anyone would say, help for those who are in need is always welcome."

 

"Now then, about what I might put in the Union regarding your project. You want folks to know it is there, and will soon be available, don't you?" He asked, "Well, advertising at no cost to you would, I believe, be most helpful to your particular cause."

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"Now then, about what I might put in the Union regarding your project. You want folks to know it is there, and will soon be available, don't you?" He asked, "Well, advertising at no cost to you would, I believe, be most helpful to your particular cause."

 

Arabella stopped walking for second and looked up the hard-bitten, grizzled face of the newspaper man. "You know what, Mr Phinias G. McVey" she said seriously "You're actually a pretty nice feller, aren't you?" As they started walking again, she began composing the notice for the paper.

 

"How 'bout: 'Miss F. Grimes is pleased to announce that henceforth, the Old Funeral Parlour, Kalispell, will be called The Kalispell Refuge for Young Christian Women. Any girl who would otherwise find herself on the streets is requested to apply for a bed..."

 

They were passing Wigfall's Boarding house and she noticed Mrs Wigfall's sign in the window "No Blacks or Irish" Arabella immediately turned to Mr McVey again, as he struggled under her trunk.

 

"And can we add at the end: Applications from Black, Jewish and Irish girls especially welcome'?" Her abolitionist Father would have been proud of her, her cracker Mother would be spinning in her grave: both ideas made her smile. Then she laughed "Let's hope we don't actually get any Irish ones though, huh?!"

 

@Flip

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"Why Miss Mudd, I believe you have a winner. better than even I could have composed. That is exactly what needs to be said, and believe me, I did not miss Misses Wigfall's sign in the window, not for a moment."

 

He had fought for the south, but not about slavery, or anything like that, it had been about northern aggression that threatened his home. "Now don't get me wrong, I rode with Forest's Third Virginia Cavalry, and Forrest's Cavalry Corps right to the end. But end it did, and now, well I don't see the need to be discriminating out here in the west."

 

He grinned at the reference to his being, as she put it, 'You're actually a pretty nice feller, aren't you?' "Well thank you Arabella, what a kind thing to say. I'll be starting the edition the minute I get back to the office."

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He had fought for the south, but not about slavery, or anything like that, it had been about northern aggression that threatened his home. "Now don't get me wrong, I rode with Forest's Third Virginia Cavalry, and Forrest's Cavalry Corps right to the end. But end it did, and now, well I don't see the need to be discriminating out here in the west."

 

"Oh, Mr McVey! Even though you're a Georgian, you fought for The Old Dominion! I should marry you!!" beamed the native Virginian. 

 

He grinned at the reference to his being, as she put it, 'You're actually a pretty nice feller, aren't you?' "Well thank you Arabella, what a kind thing to say. I'll be starting the edition the minute I get back to the office."

 

"Well, you'll let us girls give you a slice of cake and a nice cup of coffee or something stronger before you go I hope! I wanna say a big Virginian 'thank you!' fer totin' that there case fer me. I'd ha' been worn slap out if'n I'd had to carry it."

 

They got to the Old Funeral Parlour Young Women's Refuge and went in to be met by the sight of Frances Grimes, who, without her dark glasses or eye bandages on, was very deftly making up a pot of coffee while her sightless eyes wandered meaninglessly, and Bridget Monahan, who watched her open mouthed and fascinated, sometimes following Frances' gaze, as if wondering what she was looking at. Bridget grinned like mad when Arabella came in. 

 

"Hello, Miss Mudd, whom have you brought to see us?" Frances asked, hearing Arabella's tread. 

 

"Well Hello, Miss Grimes, I have brought Mr McVey: a gentleman of the press, who carries ladies' luggage for them and has promised to advertise the existence of our little refuge in his wonderful journal!" answered Arabella, employing her best diction and grammar, showing exactly how high brow she could sound when she felt the need. 

 

"How kind, and what a pleasure to meet a literary gentleman." smiled Frances, holding out her hand in the general direction of the two newcomers. 

 

"Oh, just shove that ol' trunk down anywhere!" Arabella told Phin, although she had to learn to be more careful where she put things about the shared house, lest the blind girl take a tumble or get confused negotiating the new living space. 

 

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"And I am please to meet you as will, Miss Grimes. This idea of yours is wonderful. It will mean a lot to the community" He sett down the down to take her hand. "This will be an excellent use of this facility, by the way. You do have a good deal of usable space in here, beside what is upstairs."

 

As he looked over the interior of the building it was clear that they could add rooms with no problem. It would work well for them, what he had a hard time figuring was how they would make the ongoing expenses, which they would need to do for food and other ancillary expenses that were always a part of daily life.

 

"If you don't mind my asking, how do you ladies plan to make expenses?" He asked as politely as possible, not to embarrass them, but in order to see what might be done to help out, specifically him.

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"And I am please to meet you as will, Miss Grimes. This idea of yours is wonderful. It will mean a lot to the community" He sett down the down to take her hand. "This will be an excellent use of this facility, by the way. You do have a good deal of usable space in here, beside what is upstairs."

 

Frances smiled. "It is our sincere wish, Mr. McVey, that none of this 'facility' ever has to be used for the purpose to which we have pledged it. But yes, we can fit three girls in very comfortably. 

 

"If you don't mind my asking, how do you ladies plan to make expenses?" He asked as politely as possible, not to embarrass them, but in order to see what might be done to help out, specifically him.

 

"Mr. McVey's big on planning." explained Arabella. "He's a man."

 

"I understand your fiscal concerns Mr McVey; but Miss Mudd and I are of a single mind on this and while there may be some monetary bumps along the way, and we may find that the old adage that 'two can live as cheaply as one' may prove to be little more than a myth, we have one great factor on our side:..." said the blind girl, as she and Arabella both said in union: "... We Trust in God." 

 

Even Bridget reached her hands to the ceiling and laughed "God!!"

 

Yes, in Frances Grimes, Arabella had found somebody who was as much of a 'God-botherer' as herself and the two of them were giving new meaning to the phrase 'Blind Faith'.

 

@Flip

 

 

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"Well Ladies, you may rely on me in support of your 'Young Women's Refuge.' I believe that it is certainly something which is needed, perhaps not all of the time, nor regularly, but often as that need presents itself." He said in praise of the idea."

 

"Unfortunately I have an appointment to interview one of the men running for mayor of this fine town. But if you don't mind I shall drop by from time to time, at appropriate hours, of course."

 

For the most part, Phinias McVay was one to doubt that which he saw as untenable, and certainly these three waifs had what certainly appeared as a most untenable situation, unless there were those in town that might wish to help, and that was where Phin McVay came in, as he saw it, he could get out and about, speak to business owners on their behalf, quietly of course. Plans were forming in his head, why he felt instantly involved, he had no idea.

 

"So ladies, the very best of luck, and I shall see you from time to time." He said cheerfully as he stepped toward the door.

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"Well Ladies, you may rely on me in support of your 'Young Women's Refuge.' I believe that it is certainly something which is needed, perhaps not all of the time, nor regularly, but often as that need presents itself." He said in praise of the idea.

 

Frances and Arabella both gave an appreciative "Awwww" "Won't you stay for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, Mr. McVey?" asked Frances.

 

"Unfortunately I have an appointment to interview one of the men running for mayor of this fine town. But if you don't mind I shall drop by from time to time, at appropriate hours, of course."

 

"Well, I hope it goes all right!" yelped Arabella, before leaning in to Frances and loudly whispering "I don't reckon his talk with Mr. Pettigrew went too good!"

 

"Well, thanks fer carryin' mah junk here, Mr. McVey!" she said with more volume. 

 

"So ladies, the very best of luck, and I shall see you from time to time." He said cheerfully as he stepped toward the door.

 

"Oh good luck with your interview!" "See you later!" "Come on in any time!" "Bye Bye!".... their various good wishes and farewells seemed to intermix as he was shown to the door by Arabella. 

 

Once he had gone, Arabella turned to Frances and Bridget: "D'ya reckon we shoulda made a plan?!"

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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It was a pleasant visit with the ladies of the 'Young Woman's Refuge' although brief. He marveled how these three had decided to do something that would benefit others in need, as they themselves were.  That some good could come of the tragedy was a welcome thing. Too often misery and pain of losing a loved one leads to sorrow and despair, but evidently not there.

 

What he had left to do was to meet with Cole Latham, the last of those running for Mayor of Kalispell, and from his biased opinion, the worst. Yet in fairness, he was obligated to listen to his self-aggrandizing if not his plans for the town. Or would they be Elias Steelgrave's plans for Kalispell? He tended to believe the latter. A den of vipers, Elias and his cronies, and he believed firmly that Judge Ben Robertson was firmly in cahoots with whatever these plans might be.

 

He marched over to the Municipal Building where Latham had his office. Not the towns lawyer, but sequestered in a spot in the the towns offices. A very nice spot at that. Only City Attorney Harriet Gene Mercer had a larger office, and Phin, for one, wished she was back in it! He had a feeling she might be needed in the very near future.

 

Phin climbed the stairs slowly, not really looking forward to Latham's verbal barrage about how great he was, and how the town owed it to him to elect him to the post of Mayor. He stopped in front of the door, grimaced, and then knocked.

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"It's open." Came Latham's response to the rap on his door. As Phin opened the door and stepped inside, "Well, Phinias McVay, to what do I owe the honor of you visit, sir?"

 

"I understand you are in the running for Mayor and thought to do an article on the candidates, more or less in their own words." Phin replied.

 

"Fine, fine. Have a seat. Care for a drink?" Latham offered.

 

"A bit early yet Cole. Perhaps later. So, why are you running for the office of mayor? Seems to me you have a lucrative business, what with Miss Mercer away. You are the only attorney in town."

 

"Yes, that's true, her absence has increased my business and my profits. I owe her a debt of gratitude, however should she never return, well, that would be just fine with me, and keep that jackal, Dutton Peabody out of town!" He cleared his throat. "So I suppose you'll want to know what I would do if elected. Simple, see to it that Kalispell is run correctly."

 

"First, I would remove the Town Marshal, nothing against Guyer, but we need a real police force. Such as they have in some of the larger towns and most all of the cities out here in the west. And to do that, among other improvements I have in mind, we'll need a tax base to support it. It may not be popular at first, well, until the citizens see the benefits of the changes and improvements that will result."

 

"Excuse me? What improvements are you referring to? And why a police force, I mean frankly, how do you justify that?" Phin asked in surprise.

 

"Phin, a police force only makes sense in the town our size, considering the lawlessness and incoming mining prospects. Why, two or three men can't possibly deal with all of that. Good as they might be, I'm afraid they would be over matched. And you know as well as I, with mining comes the dregs of society, card sharps, prostitution, opium dens, all manner of crime. Far too much for Guyer and his two deputies to deal with."

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TBC

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"Just what the Sam Hell are you going on about?" Phin asked, "There ain't no opium dens in Kalispell, and ain't likely to be, unless you were thinking of bringing them in. Hell we got whores, always have had. And yes, mining seems to be on the uptick, but I don't see a rush like they had in the south, Virginia City, down that way. Crime, sure as hell we got that, but no where near the scale you're talking about. Of course you may know something I don't."

 

"I'm talking about growth, the uncontrolled growth of this town where they just build willy-nilly wherever they're a mind too. We can't have that. There needs to be control, permits need to be issued at a reasonable cost before the plans can be approved. And plans have to be submitted, which will require a building department." Cole Latham explained.

 

"Balderdash! This isn't New York, or Philadelphia for Christs sake. Not even Helena! My God man, we're still a small town, and having growing pains while we're at it!"

 

"Phin, times are changing, and they're changing fast! Why before the Governors intrusion into our affairs, we had everything under control, everything just the way it should be for a growing  town. Then, he leaves his regulators here to enforce the will of the Helena elite!"

 

"So your answer is to create taxes and levy fees, which begets fines, if they aren't paid promptly." Phin retorted, "And creating a whole new department which will have to be paid for by people who don't need it or want to use it."

 

"They'll be required to use it or face possible arrest. That's just one more reason we will need to have a police department. Not violent crime, but crime none the less." Latham responded, "And don't give me that 'we already have enough law' business, because we don't, not to enforce the laws that will be necessary as we move forward."

 

Phin shook his head, "And you believe folks will buy into this rhetoric of yours? And where do you see all of this crime coming from? One attempted bank robbery in all the time the town has had a bank. Oh, I agree, there have been shootings, but they've been the exceptions rather than the rule."

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TBC

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"Exceptions, yes, and we'd rather not see them as the rule. We are not Dodge City for Gods sake! And we won't be. We'll ban guns from town, only the police will carry firearms. That Phin, will put a quick end to shootings in Kalispell." Latham expounded, "And with a regular police force patrolling the streets, everyone will be all that much safer."

 

"So what you are saying is that the populace is currently unsafe, and unprotected?" Phin asked, "That Guyer and his deputies have somehow failed to provide the expected protection to the towns folk?"

 

"What I am saying is it is eighteen and seventy-six, it is time, high time, that Kalispell moved forward as a town with it's aspirations of becoming a city in short order. McVay, you a stumbling block in the way of progress in our fair town. We'll not have it, do you understand, we will simply not have it." The veins were protruding from Latham's neck, and his face reddened. "People like you, and Guyer, and Leah Steelgrave, are holding us back! Standing in the way of real progress, and we will put an end to that, do you hear me? The rest of the mealy-mouth citizens hereabouts can either get used to the new age in Kalispell or move on!"

 

"Cole Latham, you sound a whole lot like your master, Elias Steelgrave. Pity you and he have no understanding of the very men and women you intend to subjugate. Kalispell will fight you Latham, you and the Evergreen.  These are free people here, not subjects, and you sir, need to understand that. For you will have a fight on your hands, whether you like it or not. So it is you and the old man out there that needs to understand this, Kalispell will not kowtow to you or anyone else!" He leapt to his feet fully intending to strike the first blow against this insanity, but restrained himself, taking a step back. "I believe this concludes the interview, Mister Latham." He turned and left the office slamming the door, and with it the frosted glass panel, which shattered.

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So, sitting there Phin considered the next issue of the Union. The headline, well Crabbe's demise, of course. That would be the lead story which presented something of a problem as far as what to say. Phin did not like the charlatan, so that would be a problem, though he had managed to say some nice things about Richard Orr whom he actually despised. This would be a bit more difficult to accomplish.

 

Then the interviews, and they alone would be something of a challenge. He had one more to conduct with Matthew Wentworth whom the Union would support, hands down, speaking of, there was a Town Council meeting in the morning about the hospital and that would likely overshadow Crabbe's demise. But the other men had a right  to a spot explaining their platforms and he would see too it that they each had ample coverage. Which brought him to Mister Worchester Pettigrew.

 

The milliner had no business being on anyone's ballot. Oh, he was a nice enough fellow, and he seemed to have his heart in the right place, but as far as Phin knew, the man had no practical experience in so far as the running of a town, which brought into view young Mister Lewis Cass Reeve. What was his interest in Pettigrew and was it his idea for the man to be on the ballot?

 

He would scald Cole Latham without mercy. As far as Phin was concerned Cole Latham was simply the mouthpiece for Elias Steelgrave, and he was having none of it! Other than those represented by him, it was abundantly clear no one in town liked him besides Postmaster Nolan Ashworth, another Steelgrave man.

 

Of politics Phin was something of an independent voter, not a member of either party, seeing the good and bad in both and voting for what he believed was good for the country or the town for that matter. He registered to vote of course, using whichever of the two parties met more along the lines of his own politic. But supposedly town officials were non-partisan, not aligned with a particular party, but that was not always, wait, never the case.

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So, like he often did, Phin stepped out of the office for a breath of fresh air, such as it was. Leaning against the awning post often gave him a somewhat fresh perspective o matters of concern to him. What to say about not just Lorenzo Crabbe, but two of the three interviewees, though Worchester Pettigrew, would be no real problem.

 

Latham? It was not like anyone in town had much of an opinion of the man, that was well known, and yes he would simply attack the mans lack of character and suspected alliances, which were actually well known, or, the thought came to him, he could write an article on Leah Steelgrave and her hospital project. Not the first by any means and it likely would not be the last in the woman's struggle to do something extraordinary for the community.

 

He would consider another interview with her, but to what end? He knew all there was to know about the struggles with the town, as well as her father over this hospital-orphanage project. And the Good Lord knew that this situation could be quite volatile where Elias Steelgrave was concerned. An expose on him at this point would do her no good, whether the Matthew Wentworth led Town Council approved the project or not. 

 

He shook his head as he reentered the newspaper office.

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He walked to the type cases and looked at the choices available to him. He picked up his composing stick, which meant he would begin setting type as soon as the headline came to him. Not that it was a given, or even that it would be appropriate, yet a man had passed on, one known to most of the towns people, even if he was disliked by a majority of them.

 

But what to say about Lorenzo Crabbe? It wasn't as if some redeeming facts immediately came to mind, hardly. Then too, the upcoming elections would be the talk of the town in spite of the man's passing. The candidates, only one measured up as far as Phin was concerned and the paper would back him going forward. So far, no one was after either of the lawman positions, either Town Marshal or County Sheriff which had been vacant for sometime.

 

Tommy Lane burst in through the side door, "Sorry to be late, Mister McVay, Miss Bowen held me after class."

 

Phinn stopped what e was doing to look to the lad, "And what were you guilty of Tommy?" He asked, a raised eyebrow.

 

"I, uh, well, I dipped Milley Murphy's pig tail in my ink well. I didn't think it would ruin her dress, and well, I should have known the ink would run, which it did and ruined her dress." He admitted.

I promised I would pay for a new one."

 

"Mister Lane, you will immediately go down to the mercantile, or the General Store, do you know her size?"

 

"No." Tommy said looking at his shoes.

 

"Well, you ask them, they may know. You have them put that on my account, and after you deliver this dress to the Murphy household, you bring me the receipt. Am I clear?" Phin demanded.

 

"Yes sir." Tommy responded.

 

"Go!" He ordered, and watch the boy dart out the front door at a dead run. Then Phin smiled, dealing with Millie's parents would be punishment enough, and the loss of wages. Well, that would be over time, his mother needed what he could bring home.

 

'DEAD BEAT DEAD' He liked it, but perhaps it was a bit strong.

image.jpeg.70205ec339bf3fffd257ed76b56811a8.jpeg

 

 

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Morning had come, as expected. Phin was at his desk, a cup of coffee close to hand and the remains of his bacon and biscuit breakfast sitting on his desk as he reviewed the latest issue with a certain amount of pride.

 

He had printed what he had to say on those he interviewed, he had been kind to Mister Pettigrew, glowing in his remarks about Matthew Wentworth, and ruthless  about  Cole Latham. His remarks about Lorenzo Crabbe had been his honest opinions, and after all, it was his newspaper and he could print what he wanted, or believed  was aligned with the beliefs of the customers that shelled out the two cents for it.

 

Of course, there may well be a problem with Latham, or even Elias Steelgrave over his remakes about the two. But they were honest and forthright, at least as far as he was concerned. Now, now he would be heading over to the Municipal Building and the Town Council Meeting that was slated to be held with but one topic on the agenda, Miss Steelgrave's property agreement with the town. A long time coming, and hopefully concluded on the morning. It need be delayed no further.

 

He took up his coffee and had a swallow. Things were actually looking up.

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Turned out Phineas was quite wrong about 'things looking up' because it was right about that time when his front door opened up and two women....alright one woman and one teenage girl stormed on in. It would only take one glance at their angry faces to see they were plainly not happy. He knew them both -  Caroline Mundee, saloon singer, and Arabella Mudd, a young miss the newspaperman had more than one encounter with in the past.

 

Caroline was just two steps ahead of Ara as she wasted no time marching straight up to the editor's desk, maybe it was a fortunate thing there was a desk between them. She had one of his newspapers in her left hand. Well if only for an instant as she now threw it down onto his desktop.

 

"Saw this piece of trash this mornin'. You are a cowardly vulture, picking on a man's reputation when he's dead and gone so he can't defend himself!"

 

"Lorenzo Crabbe was my good friend. I am relieved at least that his ward, simple young Bridget Monahan, who got rescued by Lorenzo from a fate worse than death and then cared for by him since, can't read. So she wouldn't have to see him slandered like this."

 

"Yer disgusting!" Caroline snarled in barely held back fury.

 

imageedit-7-6865110494.jpg

 

@Flip @Javia

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"Saw this piece of trash this mornin'. You are a cowardly vulture, picking on a man's reputation when he's dead and gone so he can't defend himself!"

 

"Yeah, you wouldn't a dared to print that when he was alive an' kickin', or else he'd a been kickin' you - right in your pants!" added Arabella, determined to get her two cents in, too.

 

"Lorenzo Crabbe was my good friend. I am relieved at least that his ward, simple young Bridget Monahan, who got rescued by Lorenzo from a fate worse than death and then cared for since, can't read. So she wouldn't have to see him slandered like this."

 

"Yeah, he was the kindest, sweetest man in this town. And he give me a chance and a big break, lettin' me help him with his photographs. What'd he ever do to you, Mr McVey? What'd he ever do to anyone in this town!? You just name one single thing he ever did wrong! I bet you can't, can ya?!" shouted Arabella, an angry frown screwing up her pinched little face.  

 

"Yer disgusting!" Caroline snarled in barely held back fury.

 

"Yeah, I was startin' to think that maybe you was O.K., but you're a nasty man, Mr McVey! You already printed bad things about me in that horrible newspaper of yours and now poor old Lorenzo. You... you oughta be tarred and feathered and horsewhipped outta town!!" Arabella yelled. 

 

margaret-obrien-foto.jpg

 

@Flip @Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Turned out Phineas was quite wrong about 'things looking up' because it was right about that time when his front door opened up and two women....alright one woman and one teenage girl stormed on in. It would only take one glance at their angry faces to see they were plainly not happy. He knew them both -  Caroline Mundee, saloon singer, and Arabella Mudd, a young miss the newspaperman had more than one encounter with in the past.

 

Phin sat bolt upright, "What the Sam Hell do you think your doing?" He shouted at the pair coming into his shop.

 

Caroline was just two steps ahead of Ara as she wasted no time marching straight up to the editor's desk, maybe it was a fortunate thing there was a desk between them. She had one of his newspapers in her left hand. Well if only for an instant as she now threw it down onto his desktop.

 

"Saw this piece of trash this mornin'. You are a cowardly vulture, picking on a man's reputation when he's dead and gone so he can't defend himself!"

 

Phin grinned, "Didn't know you could read Miss songbird."

 

"Yeah, you wouldn't a dared to print that when he was alive an' kickin', or else he'd a been kickin' you - right in your pants!" added Arabella, determined to get her two cents in, too.

 

"Lorenzo Crabbe was my good friend. I am relieved at least that his ward, simple young Bridget Monahan, who got rescued by Lorenzo from a fate worse than death and then cared for since, can't read. So she wouldn't have to see him slandered like this."

 

"Miss Mundee, Miss Mudd, I can, and will print whatever I please, whenever I please about anyone I please. In case you are not aware this is freedom of the press in this country, and all have a right to their opinion." Came the retort

 

"Yeah, he was the kindest, sweetest man in this town. And he give me a chance and a big break, lettin' me help him with his photographs. What'd he ever do to you, Mr McVey? What'd he ever do to anyone in this town!? You just name one single thing he ever did wrong! I bet you can't, can ya?!" shouted Arabella, an angry frown screwing up her pinched little face.  

 

"Yer disgusting!" Caroline snarled in barely held back fury.

 

"I am, which changes nothing. And I beg to differ ladies, he was not the kindest, sweetest man in this town, not at all. In fact he was a swindler and he preyed on those he could. As for poor Miss Monahan, well, I'd say he took advantage of her condition and hoped to profit from it, as he did in every endeavor of his. My opinion is mine, not yours, and to be more than honest with you, I have no need to buy into the drivel you have expressed here this morning!" A hash answer to be sure.

 

"Yeah, I was startin' to think that maybe you was O.K., but you're a nasty man, Mr McVey! You already printed bad things about me in that horrible newspaper of yours and now poor old Lorenzo. You... you oughta be tarred and feathered and horsewhipped outta town!!" Arabella yelled. 

 

"Is that so? For printing the truth? I find that hard to believe, but then I am not a gullible, fractious, female either." Phin said evenly. "You may leave this establishment, safe in the knowledge that you do not have to buy my paper, nor read a procured copy of it. Good day  to you, ladies. And please, be so good as to close the door behind you."

@JulieS@Wayfarer @Javia

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Phin grinned, "Didn't know you could read Miss songbird."

 

The nerve of that bastard! But Caroline wasn't done with her message yet.

 

"Miss Mundee, Miss Mudd, I can, and will print whatever I please, whenever I please about anyone I please. In case you are not aware this is freedom of the press in this country, and all have a right to their opinion."  

 

"I also know newspapers can get hit for slander," Caroline was no expert on the law, far from it but she was wholly ignorant on some of the details. 

 

The editor was firm in his stand, almost relishing this confrontation with two females he obviously had no respect for.

 

"I am, which changes nothing. And I beg to differ ladies, he was not the kindest, sweetest man in this town, not at all. In fact he was a swindler and he preyed on those he could. As for poor Miss Monahan, well, I'd say he took advantage of her condition and hoped to profit from it, as he did in every endeavor of his. My opinion is mine, not yours, and to be more than honest with you, I have no need to buy into the drivel you have expressed here this morning!"

 

It certainly was his opinion but when it came to Crabbe in Kalispell it was quite wrong. The fact of the matter was Lorenzo had swindled nobody here in town since his arrival. Everything he had done was above board. And further, everything he had done with Bridget was done out of kindness, far from making any profit at all on the lassie, it had cost him both time and money just to keep caring for her. Though Caroline doubted Lorenzo was in any way religious, in her opinion what he had done for the damaged child was the most Christian act she'd ever seen.

 

And for that he was now being slandered. Caroline, already angry when she arrived, was now absolutely livid as Arabella now lit into this arrogant coward some more.

 

"Is that so? For printing the truth? I find that hard to believe, but then I am not a gullible, fractious, female either." Phin said evenly. 

 

And now he was pouring lamp oil on the fire with his contemptuous comeback, sitting there so smug.

 

"You may leave this establishment, safe in the knowledge that you do not have to buy my paper, nor read a procured copy of it. Good day  to you, ladies. And please, be so good as to close the door behind you."

 

Caroline had enough, most people in Kalispell only saw the smiling friendly saloon entertainer who aimed to please (customers especially). But there was another Caroline too, one who had lived her whole life in an often violent brutal world, who had been raped as a girl, had seen her father gunned down by a man who got away with it as far as the law cared, and had actually killed that bastard one night in an alley with a bullet to the head. Caroline had been in plenty of fights and knew how to handle herself.  Only a few months ago she had taken an axe handle to a man who had kicked an old dog and beat the tar out of him. No, she was not the woman you wanted to make an enemy of.

 

"Fuck you!" and with that unpleasantry, the young woman struck like lightning, punching the fellow right in the face with a hard right. 

@Javia

 

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"Fuck you!" and with that unpleasantry, the young woman struck like lightning, punching the fellow right in the face with a hard right. 

 

Although Arabella was full of big talk and threats, she didn't expect the bad swear word to be yelled from her companion's mouth or for the punch to be thrown, and she gasped as she heard the latter land: how effectively she could not tell from where she was standing behind Caroline. McVey had thrown up his hand to protect himself, how successfully, she did not know.

 

Her instinct bade her dart forward and try and pull back Caroline, rather than join in the attack on McVey "Don't, he ain't worth it!" she pleaded with the riled up Saloon singer. 

 

"He'll just write some horrible story about us or get the Marshall to arrest us like he did you that time with Old Smokey!" she warned. 

 

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As she stepped inside the Union's office, Sarah was surprised to see two women there giving their opinions on the latest edition of the newspaper.  She had never met Lorenzo Crabbe but she had heard the stories about him.  The town was in two camps about the man, he was either a scoundrel or a good-hearted man.  It seemed that the two young ladies confronting Phinn, were in the latter.

 

Her entrance had gone unnoticed and so she waited to see if her help was required.  The blonde woman was very angry and to a degree so what the dark-haired one.  The dark-haired seemed to be showing some constraint but unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

 

"Fuck you!" and with that unpleasantry, the young woman struck like lightning, punching the fellow right in the face with a hard right.

 

Sarah's eyes widened in partial shock.  This was totally unexpected and in her opinion a bit of an over-reaction.  Making her way over, she briefly looked over at Phin to see if was all right before turning to the ladies.  The dark-haired one, who she could now see was Arabella Mudd, was doing her best to placate the blonde woman.

 

Her instinct bade her dart forward and try and pull back Caroline, rather than join in the attack on McVey "Don't, he ain't worth it!" she pleaded with the riled up Saloon singer.

 

"He'll just write some horrible story about us or get the Marshall to arrest us like he did you that time with Old Smokey!" she warned. 

 

"Miss Mudd, you have a point.  Perhaps we should give Mr. McVay a moment and in the meantime we can sit over there," she said, pointing to three chairs that were lined up along the front wall, "and you can tell me about your grievances."

 

@Flip @Javia @Wayfarer

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About Sagas

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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