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    • Barnabas listened, understanding the young mans desire to venture out, and also his hesitance to leave his sister behind. Life has those twists and turns that are possible blocks to what feels like their calling. "Well, you know, there are ways that you could manage that education, and there are ways that Lillian here could go with you." Then he cautioned, "I would certainly hesitate to travel to the Dakotas until the Indians are pacified. I'm sure they are filled with the power of their defeat of George Custer."   "Then again, should you attend the university, things could be settled before you graduated and ventured out. Education is a fine thing, Tom, whether you use it here, or the Dakotas, or wherever  you might venture forth. I only wished I had had the luxury of education beyond what I managed at my mothers knee and that one room school house in Texas." But fortune had smiled on him, the poker hand and what he had brought him, and then Em. His life was good, all things considered.
    • Their cab driver was waiting for them, he'd stayed close, alert to when they would return, and he was content, having had a wonderful lunch that Mrs. Pike had had packed for him.  Now, he helped get the remains of their picnic loaded, then made sure everyone was settled, with blankets in case they needed them, and started back for town.   "That was a wonderful outing!" Emeline declared, chuckling.  "Although I think I ended up with half the beach in my shoes!"  That had been something she hadn't thought about when going barefoot...putting the shoes and socks back on had been a challenge, especially with no way to keep the sand out!   She settled in, wrapping a blanket around her knees, since the hem of her skirt was damp, then rested her head against Barnabas' shoulder and was soon asleep.  Across from them, Lillian was also dozing.   "Thank you for letting us come with you, sir," Tom murmured quietly, "my sister works too hard and it's good for her to have some fun.  And I appreciate the advice.  College sounds like a good plan, if we can afford it.  I'd love to go to Montana or the Dakotas, but I don't want to leave Lillian."   @Flip
    • "Guess you're right about just showin' up at the ranch like that." He agree, and that is kind of you, but I've cash put by for this trip I've made. The hotel does sound good. And the local fare? Which is the best place to eat. Lookin' for big steak dinner I am. Been sometime since I was able to get somethin' like that. It was a trip to remember, long, hard, and with every temperature you could imagine."   It had been that and a bit more. There had been Molly McGuire, he was missing her, but Kalispell would not be the place for her if all that had been said came to fruition between Lost Lake and the Evergreen. He had waltzed in on what could be a real corpse and cartridge affair, and one that went on an on til they forgot what it was about, or who started it.   "I appreciate your offer, and your council about town and holdin' off till the ranch hands were in town. I'll do just that. @JulieS    
    • Benjamin gave up on the fruitless pursuit of the surviving war party, they were down a six or so anyhow and more than likely just heading back to their home village. If it was one thing the US cavalry learned about chasing Indians, you didn't catch 'em.  Best horsemen in the world maybe. So he ordered his scouts and troopers to turn back and then spent the better part of a few hours just getting back to the rest of his command. It being dark did not help at all but the scouts were up to the task.   Once back he found out that a lot had happened - almost all good too, well except another trooper had been killed. But Lt. Greene found (had lucked into it really but no criticism there - it was the great Napoleon who had said  'better a lucky general than a good one') the women and they were alive. Looking a bit worse for wear but no dangerous wounds, the saloon girl was already wearing trousers and a bluecoat lent her by eager troopers. And Greene had a face to face encounter with an Arapaho brave looking to kill the ladies. That Indian was dead. Barlow didn't press the young officer on the details, that he could read in the report Greene would have to write out later back in the fort, for the young man was wounded and in considerable discomfort. They didn't have a doctor with this detachment but one of the troopers who knew something about wound treatment assured Benjamin the boy would live and keep his leg. Well unless he didn't take care of it properly and get gangrene.   The stage driver was quite the tough gal too. She was sporting a large bruise from where the Arapaho had belted her with his gun butt but in good humor and even told him that the two women had killed their guard and escaped on their own.  Barlow was impressed.   "Well, it's a pity we don't allow women in the army, we could use a couple more like you and your friend," Benjamin remarked to Addy.   It was a tough call to make - normally traveling at night was not the wise thing to do but they had the wounded to think of and the sooner they got them back to better medical care at the fort or even town, the better. He decided darkness or not, they would head back and issued the appropriate orders.   They kept the pace deliberately slow but steady. He wasn't worried about Indian attack - Plains Indians did not attack at night and besides that war party was good as destroyed and definitely dispersed.  No, the bigger danger was loss of a horse or horses to prairie dog holes or god knows what else whilst traveling in the darkness.   Then there was a holler from ahead.   @MD  @Bongo @Flip @Javia
    • Both men had agreed, it had been a hell of a day. That Bannister came to them had been unexpected, but welcomed.  As they walked to the hotel after stabling their mounts they paused on the porch, taking up seats on the porch. Both men silent as they turned over the events of the day. Neither weary as they should be after a long hard ride back to Kalispell.   "This shapes up different than I was thinking it would. I mean hell, this is father against daughter." Cook said, "Seen a few that was father-son, never father-daughter."   "Odd one, that's fer shore. Now This Elias Steelgrave, you know much about him?" McNue asked, wonder what type of man is a threat to his own flesh and blood.   "Some, none of it good, and none of it arrestable, if that's even a word. The man skirts the law in a way he gets what he's after without consequence. Though I've heard there's a dark past with some bodies, but again, no real proof. Well, we'll check in with Guyer in the morning, see what we can do."   "Sounds to be a good idea, as dos gettin' our fair share 'o shuteye." McNue agreed. Both men got to their feet and entered the hotel. On this night their prospective of what was happening had changed.

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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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Posted (edited)

"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

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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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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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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