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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
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    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
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Posted (edited)

Mature Content: No.

With: Charles Wentworth Snr.
Location: Bank Manager's Office.
When: Day after Crabbe's Death, Summer 1876
Time of Day: Late Morning

 

content-divider.png

 

It was good of the owner and manager of the Kalispell Bank to see him at such short notice, and Mr. Lewis Cass Reeve, late of the Missouri Bar, late of Virginia City, and late of Mrs Richard Orr's breakfast table was inordinately grateful. Any delay in this matter would have made him.. well, late.

 

But he was not here to see Charles Wentworth Senior in his capacity as bank manager, although the young lady he was here to talk about was one of the bank's most frequent depositors. The fact that what she did deposit was usually a cent or two she'd found on the streets, or that some soul had given to her, was neither here nor there. 

 

Oh. And those souls who gave Miss Bridget Monahan pennies were not always kind souls, by the way. They were often cruel bullies who used to make sport of her by making her do and say things to earn the shiny coins she craved. Clara Lutz had saved her from such bullies on one occasion, but Bridget's friends couldn't be there all the time to look after her. 

 

This was all germane to Reeve's visit.

 

He was shown into Wentworth's office and beheld a man yes, white haired, but bluff and hale and hearty for all his 56 years. It might seem rather crass of Cass Reeve to take this into account, he even went so far in his head to calculate that that a man like that might live, what, another twenty years or more in relatively good health. Wentworth was certainly rich enough to look after himself, he'd heard. 

 

The young man held out his hand.

 

"It really is very good of you to see me at such short notice, Mr. Wentworth, I'm exceedingly grateful. My name is Lewis Cass Reeve and I represent the estate of Mr. Lorenzo Crabbe who sadly died last night." he said concisely. 

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Charles shook the man's hand and then showed him to a seat.  He then took his own seat on the opposite side of the desk.

 

Even though the tragic demise of Lorenzo Crabbe had only happened last night, the story and the ensuring rumours had gotten around like wildfire.  One thing he didn't expect was a visit from the young lawyer who was looking after the late Richard Orr's affairs.  Crabbe must have procured the man's services not long after he arrived as Orr's death had only happened a month or so ago.

 

As for the short notice, thankfully, it was a quiet day, and he was a little curious as to why the lawyer wanted to see him.  Now that he knew the man was representing Crabbe, it was a little more interesting.

 

"Yes, a tragic event.  I doubt we will ever really know the full truth of it, considering who the witnesses were."

 

@Javia

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"Yes, a tragic event.  I doubt we will ever really know the full truth of it, considering who the witnesses were."

 

Reeve gave a terse nod, one was mentally incapable and the other, Brendan Connelly, had a dim reputation in the town due to some previous unfortunate history. The rumour was that he had been involved in a gunfight and turned on a young lad called Billy who was ostensibly on the same side as himself. This was a drastic over-simplification of what had happened that tragic day, but it was what the hive-mind of the town thought had happened that mattered. 

 

The first Sunday of every month, flowers appeared on Billy's unmarked grave: some folk said, erroneously, that a guilt-ridden Connelly put them there.

 

"Had he not died, Mr. Crabbe might well have been sitting here himself, Sir." Reeve started, showing due deference for the older man. "He left a somewhat complicated will and a reasonably large amount of money and property. He seems to have imagined three possible scenarios at his death:"

 

Reeve glanced up, to see if Mr. Wentworth was happy for him to carry on.

 

"His first and main expectation was that he and Miss Monahan, his ward, would die at the same time, the bulk of the estate being left to a third party." He did not mention the large amounts of laudanum found on the premises which could have been used to humanely and painlessly put the crippled girl to sleep forever, or the name of the third person.

 

"Secondly that Miss Monahan would have married Mr. Connelly at the time of Crabbe's death. The bulk of the estate would then go to the girl with a regular stipend to Connelly. That did not happen."

 

"Thirdly, as has come to pass, an unmarried Miss Monahan is left with everything except the mental capacity to look after herself and no legal guardian. Mr. Crabbe's will names your good self as that guardian Mr. Wentworth, but my understanding is that he died before he was able to seek your agreement to such an undertaking."

 

He waited to see if 'his understanding' was correct.

 

@JulieS

 

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"You're right in stating that Mr. Crabbe didn't seek me.  In fact, this is the first I have heard about what any of his intentions were," Charles answered solemnly.

 

"As for Miss Monahan, it is indeed a tragedy that the young woman is now in need of help.  Before we continue, I think that my wife should be present as she will be the one who will be looking after the girl most of the time."

 

He was meeting Rebecca for lunch later and knowing where she would be now, he got up and went out of the office, "Luke, could you please go over to Wilson's store and ask my wife to join us.  Tell her that the matter is urgent."

 

Luke responded and left immediately.  Going back into the office, he looked at Reeve, "I hope you don't mind waiting for my wife to arrive so that she can hear about the request.  In the meantime, tell me more about what Crabbe's will says."

 

@Javia

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"You're right in stating that Mr. Crabbe didn't seek me.  In fact, this is the first I have heard about what any of his intentions were," Charles answered solemnly.

 

Reeve nodded but didn't say anything, he tried to avoid voicing suppositions and guesswork out-loud in his legal work: but he imagined that Crabbe had wanted to exhaust the Connelly marriage route before approaching the wealthy banker. Events had curtailed those plans. 

 

"As for Miss Monahan, it is indeed a tragedy that the young woman is now in need of help.  Before we continue, I think that my wife should be present as she will be the one who will be looking after the girl most of the time."

 

"I think that's a splendid idea, Sir." Cass concurred. Well, that was good: it showed that the head of the Wentworth family was at least taking the idea seriously. Had he known Mrs Wentworth's propensity for do-gooding, he would have entertained an even more sanguine outlook on his prospects of securing the agreement. 

 

Luke responded and left immediately.  Going back into the office, he looked at Reeve, "I hope you don't mind waiting for my wife to arrive so that she can hear about the request.  In the meantime, tell me more about what Crabbe's will says."

 

"That would be my pleasure, Sir." Said Reeve. Actually, he would normally reserve the right to keep the contents shady until the official reading, but in this case he was of the opinion that it was in the interests of Miss Monahan to disclose as much as possible to her would-be guardian.

 

"Well, there are a number of small bequests to specific individuals. Mostly, er, ladies. Apparently he also had a son by an Indian woman on the Agencies, he has a reasonable bequest, although tracking him down should be interesting. There's an inordinate amount of photographic equipment and costumery left to a certain young lady in this town. But the bulk of the property, including the Old Funeral Parlour, and his more liquid assets are left to Miss Monahan, to be administered by a named guardian."

 

A slight frown creased his smooth forehead.

 

"The only difficulty could come from the aforementioned son, who might claim a greater part of the estate, or anyone who wanted to make trouble by pointing out that the young lady has not actually be certified as incapable by any medical or civil authority. Connelly, for instance, once the extent of Mr. Crabbe's legacy becomes known, might decide to try and marry the girl after all. It seems certain, from the Marshall's report that he has already violated her. I'm sorry to use such terms, Mr. Wentworth, but you ought to know that before your good lady wife arrives." 

 

@JulieS

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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As Charles listened to the lawyer, one thing became clear. Protecting Miss Monahan and her interests were important as it seemed that there would be plenty of people who would take advantage of her.  As for this Connelly fellow, if he genuinely wanted to marry the girl then fine but he agreed with the lawyer that the money could influence his decision.

 

"I thank you for letting advising me on what the situation is.  I know that my wife has met the young lady in question, as well as several others in town.  Rebecca has been contemplating for some time about organising a young ladies group.  She's been waiting for my nephew to finish the renovations to his theatre, so that she can hold meetings there.  Maybe this tragedy will help galvanise her resolve."

 

Before he could say any more, there was a knock on the door.  Getting up from his seat, he went and opened it.  Seeing that it was his wife, he smiled and ushered her.  "Mr. Reeve, my wife, Rebecca Wentworth."

 

He turned to Rebecca, "Mr. Reeve has something he wants to put forward in regard to Miss Monahan."

 

@Javia

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Before he could say any more, there was a knock on the door.  Getting up from his seat, he went and opened it.  Seeing that it was his wife, he smiled and ushered her.

 

The slightest rustle of petticoats and crinoline had the tall young man on his feet. As he turned and beheld Mrs Wentworth he couldn't hide his surprise: he'd expected an old lady, not a woman in her prime, her looks still radiant despite the apparently fruitless attempts of Old Father Time to ravage them. 

 

"Mr. Reeve, my wife, Rebecca Wentworth."

 

The kiss to her hand was perfect, but the look into her sparkling blue eyes lasted perhaps a fraction longer than it ought to have. "May I observe that you bring a welcome taste of the sophistication of our great capital to this dusty frontier town, Ma'm." he heard himself say. 

 

He turned to Rebecca, "Mr. Reeve has something he wants to put forward in regard to Miss Monahan."

 

The lawyer dragged his gaze away from Rebecca for long enough to pull out a chair for her to sit upon before allowing himself the effrontery of being seated in her presence. Poor old Charles didn't get a look-in now as Reeve leaned forward in his chair in a confidential manner toward Rebecca.

 

"In short, Mrs Wentworth, the girl has been cast upon the world upon the death of her guardian Mr Crabbe last night. Marshall Guyer seems bent upon making her a ward of the County, and heaven knows what will become of the poor child then. Before he died, Mr. Crabbe was planning to ask your husband to become her Guardian and manage her financial affairs."

 

He looked a little abashed at his next words.

 

"I must admit, I had assumed that Crabbe chose your husband due to his financial acumen and the respect with which the whole town holds him. But now that I've had the honour of meeting you, Ma'm , I can't help wondering if he was more thinking of the care that you, a wonderful loving mother, even if still an extremely young one, could foster upon her."

 

@JulieS

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Rebecca listened carefully to what the young lawyer was saying.  She wasn't very impressed with the compliments he had been dishing out to her but didn't she show.  During her time, in Washington, she had seen and heard it many times by men who had far more experience at false flattery than the young man sitting near her.

 

"I have met Miss Monahan, on a number of occasions, mostly in passing or when we happened to here at the same time," she replied, "I found her to be agreeable and maybe with the right help, she might overcome some of her disadvantages."

 

She turned to her husband, who simply nodded.  If the girl truly had no-one to look after her, then it was the charitable thing to do.  Besides, she would feel bad leaving the girl alone in the house where her benefactor had died.

 

Looking back to Reeves, she smiled, "The least I can do for now is to check on the young lady to make sure that she is fine.  However, I would like to know if you require me to start taking care of her immediately or do we he have to wait until the will is read?"

 

@Javia

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"I have met Miss Monahan, on a number of occasions, mostly in passing or when we happened to here at the same time," she replied, "I found her to be agreeable and maybe with the right help, she might overcome some of her disadvantages."

 

That sounded positive to Reeve: from what little he knew of Crabbe's ward, that she was a grown up simple-minded cripple, she was not exactly an attractive prospect for a guardian. But Mrs Wentworth sounded like she was already planning the girl's new life. 

 

Looking back to Reeves, she smiled, "The least I can do for now is to check on the young lady to make sure that she is fine.  However, I would like to know if you require me to start taking care of her immediately or do we he have to wait until the will is read?"

 

Reeve produced the documents with an almost alarming rapidity. "Oh no, if Mr Wentworth were to sign the papers right now, er... you'll excuse the haste, I hope. Every minute Miss Monahan remains without a guardian she is in danger of being taken into the care of the county, probably put in an institution. I believe the Territorial Government is building such a hospital at Warm Springs and, well, even the most modern madhouse is still just that..." 

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Charles was mildly surprised at the speed of how Reeve presented the relevant documents.  Adding the fact that he had the documents ready made him a little cautious.  Why the haste?  Somehow, he didn't quite believe that Reeve was concerned with the welfare of Miss Monahan and that maybe something else was going on.

 

"Do you mind if I go through these before I sign them?, " Charles asked, "In the meantime, my wife will be happy to accompany you to check on Miss Monahan, so that she can better assess the situation and what needs to be done."

 

Rebecca nodded, "Yes. We're not quite prepared to have another person staying with us.  Also she would need a few things, so knowing what she has will help me out tremendously."

 

@Javia

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"Do you mind if I go through these before I sign them?, " Charles asked, "In the meantime, my wife will be happy to accompany you to check on Miss Monahan, so that she can better assess the situation and what needs to be done."

 

"Of course, I think you will find everything in order, Sir." he stood and gave the documents to the  Wentworth patriarch with a reverent bow. 

 

Rebecca nodded, "Yes. We're not quite prepared to have another person staying with us.  Also she would need a few things, so knowing what she has will help me out tremendously."

 

"Please, allow me to escort you, M'am." Reeve said, offering his arm courteously "I need to visit the place myself to make sure that what is in there matches what is manifested in the last will and testament". 

 

----

 

They were met at the door of the Old Funeral Parlour by Arabella Mudd, who had the look of someone who had been running around like a chicken with its head cut off - which indeed she had. The immediate shock and sorrow of Lorenzo's death had been quickly replaced by fear: fear that all the photographs he had taken of herself principally, but also of Miriam Kaufmann in 'Historical Tableaux' might be found. She'd spent all morning looking though Crabbe's albums for prints and hiding them. It would be a longer job to check through the glass negatives. 

 

"Howdy, Mrs Wentworth, Howdy Mr Reeve." she beamed, "Come on in, I 'spect you're here to see Bridget and offer your condolences." she presumed, understandably enough. 

 

"I need to look around in a legal capacity, Miss Mudd, I'm Mr Crabbe's executor." 

 

"Well you're too late to execute him, he's already up and died!" Arabella replied. 

 

"I need to check everything is here that should be, that nothing's been removed."

 

Arabella looked as guilty as sin. "Well, nobody's been hiding any of his photographs, if that's what you're saying!" she confirmed. 

 

Reeve shook his head. "Mrs Wentworth here would like to see Bridget, however." He turned to the gracious lady in question and stooped to take her hand. "Please let me know when you are leaving, Ma'am, and I will escort you back to the bank." he conjured her softly, his gaze lingering. When he had gone, and Rebecca was about to find her way to the newly bereft redhaired waif and stray, Arabella touched her on the arm. 

 

"Missus Dubble-yuh!" she gasped wide eyed "May I talk to you fer a second: woman to woman?!!"

 

@JulieS

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Rebecca watched as Reeve left the room.  She was still mildly surprised at the swiftness of how he was carrying out his business.  Most lawyers she knew took their time in working out the affairs of the deceased but Mr. Reeve was something else.

 

"Missus Dubble-yuh!" she gasped wide eyed "May I talk to you fer a second: woman to woman?!!"

 

She turned to Arabella and nodded.  Whatever she had to say might have relevance to Bridget, so she decided to listen to it, "All right, Arabella does it concern last night's incident?"

 

@Javia

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She turned to Arabella and nodded.  Whatever she had to say might have relevance to Bridget, so she decided to listen to it, "All right, Arabella does it concern last night's incident?"

 

Arabella screwed up her face and let out a rather ungainly "Uh?!" She shook her head and got all secretive again.

 

"No, it's about him!" she hissed, and shuffled closer to Mrs Wentworth so that she was within conspiring-distance. They were quite clearly alone now, but as the young Virginian whispered, her eyes kept darting about, lest her words be overheard. 

 

"Listen, see, you better watch out fer that Mr. Reeve. Me and Jemima Wigfall worked out that he's... well, let's put it this way, we all thought that he was all sweet and spoony over Anæsthesia Orr or at least sweet and spoony over her money, but she went over there the other day to 'range some spiritualist stuff with Mrs Orr and guess what? Well, I'll tell you what, she caught him and MISSUS Orr in what you might call a compromising combination, that's what the French call In Frangranty Derelicto!" 

 

There was more. 

 

"... and then the other day I bumped into him at the store, like the general store, and there was that there pretty new girl there what's called Anna Albrick, but he was just plain old ignorin' her and pitching woo at ol' Mrs Thingumyjig in there, the owner's wife and she's sixty if she's a day, and looks it too. You see what I'm gettin' at, Mrs Dubble-yuh? This feller likes his chicken well done! I mean, he goes fer the more experienced woman, even if she's married!!"

 

She had finished at last, and stood back a little. "I don't want you to think I'm just a gossip monger, Mrs Wentworth, just, well, us girls has gotta look out fer each other is all. You'd better watch yerself with that feller, pretty looking lady in her forties like yerself. I reckon he's a homewrecker!"

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Meanwhile, Reeve had found Caroline and Bridget. If he had been expecting to find the two ladies sitting in armchairs sedately sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches or deep in prayerful mourning, he was in for a surprise; they were both on the floor playing dollies. Bridget could be very persuasive and insistent when she wanted to do something and, despite not having had dollies herself as a kid, and perhaps not knowing quite what to do with them, Caroline had been accommodating. 

 

Reeve looked from one to the other: all he knew about this Bridget person was that she was a simple-minded cripple. Maybe it was the old trope about dumb blondes which swayed his judgement, but he looked at straight at Caroline and said "Miss Monahan, I presume?"

 

@Wayfarer

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Rebecca gave Arabella a reassuring smile, "I thank you for your concern but I have intention of succumbing to Mr. Reeve or any other man for that matter.  I've seen men like him before, especially in Washington.  Besides, if Mr. Reeve were to try anything, he would not only have my husband to answer to but my four sons as well."

 

She gently placed her hand on Arabella's arm, "As for Mrs. Orr, what she does is none of my concern and it shouldn't be yours either.  A young lady if she desires the respect of others, should refrain discussing matters that may embarrass others...even if she doesn't agree with what is going on."

 

Looking around the room, she began assessing the condition of it.  It was obvious that Lorenzo Crabbe had done little to make it a fit home for someone in Bridget's situation and if this was any indication of what the rest of the building was like, then the sooner she got Bridget out the better.

 

"Now, Miss Arabella Mudd, would you kindly show me the way to Miss Monahan's room so that I may see her?"

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Alright this was a first for Caroline, the almost life long saloon denizen had never before played with a doll even as a child. She had not a very child like upbringing but that said, she had been happy with her mother and probable father. So when Bridget wanted to play with the dolls of her collection, at first Caroline had considered just outright refusing but then she reconsidered. If it kept the girl's mind from dwelling on Lorenzo's death the day before then what was a little loss of dignity to the saloon girl?  So she soon was doing her very best and, after all, she did have a lot of experience as a performer on stage.

 

Both of them were on the floor, Bridget chattering away as if voicing what the doll she held was saying, Caroline with an amused grin when a somber well dressed young man entered.

She looked up and he looked directly down to her.

 

"Miss Monahan, I presume?" 

 

Caroline was a bit offended by that mistake but choose to ignore it as she had no idea who this was. Maybe Bridget knew him?

 

"No, I ain't. That's Miss Bridget Monahan. I'm her good friend, Caroline Mundee. And you are?"

 

@Javia  @JulieS

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Rebecca gave Arabella a reassuring smile, "I thank you for your concern but I have intention of succumbing to Mr. Reeve or any other man for that matter.  I've seen men like him before, especially in Washington."

 

Arabella's eyes went round, she wanted to ask Mrs Wentworth all about the scandalous doings in the nations' capital, but the experienced lady had moved on.

 

"Besides, if Mr. Reeve were to try anything, he would not only have my husband to answer to but my four sons as well."

 

The girl just nodded dumbly. It didn't sound like Mrs W. was up for any sort of tomfoolery in the 'younger man' department.

 

She gently placed her hand on Arabella's arm, "As for Mrs. Orr, what she does is none of my concern and it shouldn't be yours either.  A young lady if she desires the respect of others, should refrain discussing matters that may embarrass others...even if she doesn't agree with what is going on."

 

Well, that had Arabella really nonplussed; no gossip?! Well, what else was there to talk about in life apart from everybody else's business.

 

"Now, Miss Arabella Mudd, would you kindly show me the way to Miss Monahan's room so that I may see her?"

 

"Oh, she'll be up and downstairs by now, not sure about Caroline though, she usually sleeps in 'til noon..." Arabella opined as she led the banker's good lady wife to where Reeve was talking to the saloon singer and the waif in the main downstair room.

 

"Miss Monahan, I presume?" 

 

Caroline was a bit offended by that mistake but choose to ignore it as she had no idea who this was. Maybe Bridget knew him?

 

"No, I ain't. That's Miss Bridget Monahan. I'm her good friend, Caroline Mundee. And you are?"

 

"Oh, you're Miss Mundee?!" Reeve exclaimed, the name clearly meant something to him, even though they had never met. "I beg your pardon. My name is Lewis Cass Reeve, I'm a lawyer, I am the executor of Mr Crabbe's will. You must be Miss Monahan, please may I offer my condolences, Miss." he said formally, offering the ginger-haired girl his hand.  She replied by shoving one of the dollies into it. 

 

"Play dolls!" she exhorted him as he stood in some confusion. 

 

Arabella showed Rebecca Wentworth into the room right then and surveyed the scene of all three of them with dollies in their hands and laughed out loud "He he! Well, I seen everything now! Ain't ya got a dolly for me and Mrs Dubbyah to play with, too, Bridg'?!"

 

img_8100-2.jpg?w=217&h=290

 

@JulieS @Wayfarer

 

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"Oh, you're Miss Mundee?!" Reeve exclaimed.

 

"Yep, I'm pretty confident 'bout that," Caroline smirked.

 

"I beg your pardon. My name is Lewis Cass Reeve, I'm a lawyer, I am the executor of Mr Crabbe's will. You must be Miss Monahan, please may I offer my condolences, Miss." he said formally, offering the ginger-haired girl his hand.  She replied by shoving one of the dollies into it. 

 

"Play dolls!" she exhorted him as he stood in some confusion. 

 

"So now you've met Bridget, Mr. Reeve, lawyer," grinned Caroline amused mostly at the look on the man's face. This was classic Bridget though. Best the legal eagle know what sort of person he was now dealing with.

 

Arabella showed Rebecca Wentworth into the room right then and surveyed the scene of all three of them with dollies in their hands and laughed out loud "He he! Well, I seen everything now! Ain't ya got a dolly for me and Mrs Dubbyah to play with, too, Bridg'?!"

 

Caroline eyed the woman with Arabella, who the devil was this now?

 

"Careful what ya wish for, hon," Caroline smiled at Arabella, she missed the young miss despite all the constant aggravation she had brought to the saloon girl.

 

@Javia @JulieS

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Rebecca raised an eyebrow at the scene that confronted her when she entered the room.  She knew who Bridget was but the other girl was a bit of a mystery.  Going by the way she was dressed she could make a good guess at what she did for a living.  Since she was not one to judge about what people choose to do with their lives, Rebecca would treat her just like any other lady of her acquaintance.  Besides, it seemed that the girl had taken it upon herself to look after Bridget and anyone who showed compassion to those less than fortunate was worthy of respect in her books.

 

Turning her attention to the person she came here to see, Rebecca smiled warmly, " Hello, Bridget.  May I join you?"

 

@Javia @Wayfarer

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Posted (edited)

Bridget looked up at the new man, he was pretty and nice to look at, like Brendan. 

 

"Oh, you're Miss Mundee?!" Reeve exclaimed.

 

"Yep, I'm pretty confident 'bout that," Caroline smirked.

 

The crippled girl noticed a shift in Caroline when Reeve had entered, like she turned something on, her attitude, her whole centre changed: her unique brain couldn't put it into words but she was more than aware of it. She had a sort of extra sensitive peripheral vision when it came to people's moods and attitudes. 

 

"I beg your pardon. My name is Lewis Cass Reeve, I'm a lawyer, I am the executor of Mr Crabbe's will. You must be Miss Monahan, please may I offer my condolences, Miss." he said formally, offering the ginger-haired girl his hand.  She replied by shoving one of the dollies into it. 

 

"Play dolls!" she exhorted him as he stood in some confusion. 

 

He couldn't, of course: he was a pretty, clever man who used big words; people like that couldn't play dolls. She wasn't as dumb as her way of interacting with the world made her look, she was, in her own way, joking.

 

"So now you've met Bridget, Mr. Reeve, lawyer," grinned Caroline amused mostly at the look on the man's face. This was classic Bridget though. Best the legal eagle know what sort of person he was now dealing with.

 

She grinned broadly at Caroline, her eyes twinkling as brightly as blue stars in a midnight sky. 

 

Then Arabella came in with that lady she met at the hotel in May, Becca. RebeccaWentworth was too long and messy, so was MissusWentworth. 'Becca' she could manage, it suited her.

 

"He he! Well, I seen everything now! Ain't ya got a dolly for me and Mrs Dubbyah to play with, too, Bridg'?!"

 

"Careful what ya wish for, hon," Caroline smiled at Arabella.

 

Arabella was unlike Caroline, she 'presented' the same way to men as women, to young as to old, to self consciously 'intelligent' men as to 'idiots'. Whereas it had been novel, exciting and fun to play with Caroline, Arabella's presence was more like putting on a pair of old comfortable shoes, well, shoe, in her case. 

 

Turning her attention to the person she came here to see, Rebecca smiled warmly, " Hello, Bridget.  May I join you?"

 

Arabella took the pretty man away to look at Lorenzo's things and Bridget smiled up at Becca, who had been nice to her at the hotel and given her lots of cake to eat. She told Caroline "It's Becca!" because she could feel that the two didn't know each other, she sensed again, a slight shift in Caroline's demeanor; a sort of defensive projection, like she was arming herself to be attacked or insulted. She inadvertently tipped her head in wonderment: why would anyone want to hurt Caroline? She was lovely. 

 

To Mrs Wentworth she explained "It's Car-a-line." and to make it clear to Mrs Wentworth that she was lovely, she aded "I love Car-a-line"

 

"Friends can play!" she said hopefully, spreading her arms and inviting Mrs Wentworth into the game.

 

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Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Ah so Lorenzo got himself a lawyer and a fancy out of town one at that (granted there weren't a lot of local lawyers to choose from 'cept for that woman whose office was always closed), well it was probably a smart move on Crabbe's part. She had no doubt the man's main reason for doing so was to set things up to provide for Bridget.

 

"Hullo, nice ta meet ya," Caroline acknowledged the man with a nod of the head but not really her saloon girl friendliness, she wasn't working at this moment, she was being a friend.

 

Before she could more officially introduce herself to the fellow and the rather formal and surprised looking woman, Bridget basically did it for her, well at least first name. She wouldn't expect much more out of the girl really. Bridget knew the woman too, so it was Becca...something or other.

 

To Mrs Wentworth Bridget explained "It's Car-a-line." and to make it clear to Mrs Wentworth that she was lovely, she added "I love Car-a-line"

 

Caroline turned her head to the girl, "Love you too, hon."

 

"Friends can play!" Bridget spread her arms and inviting Mrs Wentworth into the game.

 

Caroline stepped forward toward the woman, "Name's Caroline Mundee, I work at the saloon. I'm the singer there. I was a friend of Lorenzo, we went way back. Pleasure ta meet ya, ma'am."

 

 

 

 

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"Miss Mundee, I'm Rebecca Wentworth. Nice to meet you despite the circumstances," was the reply as she looked around for a seat.  She was far too old to be sitting down on the floor anymore and besides her clothing made it a little difficult.   Whale bone corsets were not known for their flexibility.  Finding a chair in the far corner of the room, she brought it over to where Caroline and Bridget were playing.

 

"I hope you don't mind," she said warmly, "But I'm afraid getting up off the floor may prove to be a bit of a challenge."

 

For a moment, she took in Bridget's appearance.  The girl seemed to be unaffected by last night's incident, which in a way was good.  Hopefully, she would also be accepting of what was to come.

 

Turning to Caroline, she sighed, "I only met Mr. Crabbe on one occassion.  My nephew, Ben was more familiar with him than I was. Whatever type of man he was, there was one thing he made sure of and that was that Bridget would be well taken care of in the event of his untimely demise."

 

@Wayfarer @Javia

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Bridget played happily while Becca and Ca-ro-line talked grown up talk. Meanwhile Arabella showed Mr. Reeve around the place, being , with Fa gone and Crabbe dead, about the most qualified person in Kalispell to do so.

 

She showed him all the upstairs rooms, the storage room, even the outhouse. The only room she rushed through a little was the room Crabbe had used as a photographic studio with its little dark room and stacks of glass negatives. She still wasn't sure she'd found all the 'historical tableaux' she had posed for.

 

@Wayfarer @JulieS

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"Miss Mundee, I'm Rebecca Wentworth. Nice to meet you despite the circumstances," the lady introduced herself back.

 

Mrs. Wentworth excused her inability to sit on the floor for any doll playing, Caroline understood, it was a convenient excuse. Not everyone wanted to stoop to Bridget's childish level.

 

Turning to Caroline, she sighed, "I only met Mr. Crabbe on one occasion.  My nephew, Ben was more familiar with him than I was. Whatever type of man he was, there was one thing he made sure of and that was that Bridget would be well taken care of in the event of his untimely demise."

 

"He was a good friend of mine, helped me out on occasion. In fact he was the one who told me about the job opening here at the saloon which turned out good for me," Caroline declared.

 

"But yes, he rescued that girl from a real sonof....well, a bad man. And he has since taken care of her. I knew he wouldn't forget her in case he went...you know ...to his final end," she added.

 

"So...yer here as to why then - if I might ask?"  

 

@JulieS

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