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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
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • 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.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: No

With: Josh, Jemima,
Location: F. Falmer Browne's House
When: Sept / 01 / 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

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Ever since Uncle Josh had arrived, and he had met his 'cousin' and heard about the boy's mother, Weedy had been toying with the idea of going to Miss Jemima for help.  After all, she knew how to communicate with people in Heaven, so maybe she could help Josh talk to his Ma, or at least maybe let them know for sure that God wasn't mad at Uncle Isiah for being mad at God, or if He was, what they could do to make things better.

 

And, there was the perfect excuse, since there was the pan from supper last night to take back.

 

"Hey, Josh, c'mon, let's take this here pan back to Miss Jemima.  Her house is just out the back yard."  Well, it wasn't 'her' house, it was Professor Brown's, but close enough, and it was a simple enough task to slip through the fence.

 

@MD; @Javia

 

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As it happened, Jemima was out back, sleeves rolled up, hanging Falmer Browne's washing out on the line when the two boys made their furtive appearance through a gap in the fence where part of it had come loose behind a bush. To Jemima, her mouth holding a number of dolly-pegs, it looked like they were two fairies appearing out of nowhere at the bottom of the garden. 

 

She wanted to warn Weedy that their use of this shortcut was making the fence worse, but a surfeit of pegs made proper discourse impossible at the moment and she had to content herself with a grunt that was meant to translate as 'Hello, what the Dickens do you two want?'

 

She liked Weedy, Josh she didn't know yet, really, but seeing them approach, the idle idea crossed her mind that if Isiah one day saw sense and asked her to marry him, this little feller would be her stepson, so she was inclined to look kindly upon the little lad. 

 

@MD @Bongo 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Josh pretty much did anything Weedy asked of him, so when he suggested they go together to take the pan back to Jemima from dinner last night he set foot right behind Weedy, squeezing easily through the fence since he was smaller.

 

Once he made it through he walked up beside Weedy, stating the obvious, and answering Jemima's question without knowing he was answering it since he couldn't understand her jumbled up question.


"Hi, Jemima!" He waved to her and looked over at his cousin. "Weedy 'n me was bringing back yer pan from dinner last night.  Pa cleaned it up real nice!"  He smiled big and then tilted his head to the side and squinted his eyes. "What'cha doing eatin' those there pegs?  I can go fetch ya an apple from the house if yer hungry.  That'll sure taste a lot nicer'n those things!" He declared.

 

@Bongo @Javia

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Weedy chuckled at Josh's comment -- he knew what Jemima was doing, he'd seen it before, but it hadn't occurred to him that it really did look like she was eating the pins.

 

"Yeah, Miss Jemima," Weedy played along, grinning, as much as he tried not to.  "We're sorry we ate all the food, but we can make more?"  Then he had a brilliant idea, better then apples!  "Hey, you have any cookies left?  We can get some for you!"  And more for them!

 

@Javia; @MD

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"Hi, Jemima!" He waved to her and looked over at his cousin. "Weedy 'n me was bringing back yer pan from dinner last night.  Pa cleaned it up real nice!"  He smiled big and then tilted his head to the side and squinted his eyes. "What'cha doing eatin' those there pegs?  I can go fetch ya an apple from the house if yer hungry.  That'll sure taste a lot nicer'n those things!" He declared.

 

"Yeah, Miss Jemima," Weedy played along, grinning, as much as he tried not to.  "We're sorry we ate all the food, but we can make more?"  Then he had a brilliant idea, better then apples!  "Hey, you have any cookies left?  We can get some for you!"  And more for them!

 

Jemima rolled her eyes and gave it up, pulling the pegs out of her mouth and throwing them back into the peg bag. She took the pan off of the boys. "That was very nice of your Pa" she said, looking forlornly at the dull reflection of her own homely face in the scrubbed metal "But he shouldn't have to do that, that's woman's work." she ruminated. Then remembering why Isiah hadn't got a woman to scrub pans for him, absently reached for little Josh's head and ruffled his hair. 

 

"We'd better take this to the kitchen where it belongs. We might even round up some stray cookies while we're there, and put our brand on them." she said. As they walked into the house, she remembered to ask after Miss Chapel.

 

"How's your Aunt Addy this morning?" she asked Josh.

 

@MD @Bongo

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Josh didn't think too much about the comment on his Pa doing woman's work, because he thought maybe she meant Addy shoulda done it.

 

"Well he wanted Aunt Addy ta go to bed so he cleaned up all tha dishes.  Me 'n Weedy helped him!" He had been proud of helping clear up the kitchen so that Addy could rest.  

 

His eyes lit up at the mention of cookies! That was even better'n apples! 

 

Josh skipped up ahead of them as they walked in, but waited for Jemima before he entered.  He'd never been here before so he wasn't sure what to do.  

 

"Oh she's doing just fine!" At least to his 6 year old eyes she seemed to be OK!  "She gave those Indians a lickin' they won't ever forget!" Oh how he wished he could have been there!  Fightin' those Indians with her!  One day he would.  He already told his Pa when he grew up he was going to be a Sheriff!

 

@Bongo @Javia

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"Yes, ma'am, Miss Jemima, Addy's a Chappel!"  Weedy grinned widely, even if he wasn't technically a 'Chappel', Addy was his ma now, and that was good enough for him!  Then he shrugged a little meekly, at least he thought so!  "I guess we can have some cookies, it's early enough it won't spoil supper."

 

Not that cookies would ever spoil any meal, after all, they were just snacks, right?

 

"Yeah, she shown them Indians, and even took a horse from one of them!  A real pretty paint!"  He had just caught a glimpse of the animal, but it seemed like a fine horse, once it got cleaned up some.

 

"Hey, does Professor Browne have any new snakes or spiders or anything?"  Josh would surely like to see those, what kid wouldn't?

 

@Javia; @MD

 

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Jemima took the two boys' tales of Addy's heroism with a pinch of salt but allowed herself to believe, and embroider even, on their tale of the noble Isiah having to stoop to woman's work in the stead of his sister, exhausted from her ordeal. She then extrapolated to a scene, in her mind, of the widowed Mr Chappel, having buried his wife and trying to do the household chores and raise little Josh with manly clumsiness.

 

Oh how that man needed a woman! 

 

Weedy's voice brought her wandering mind back into the room.

 

"I guess we can have some cookies, it's early enough it won't spoil supper."

 

"I eat them all day long AND finish my supper!" agreed Jemima as they reached the kitchen.

 

"Yeah, she shown them Indians, and even took a horse from one of them!  A real pretty paint!"  He had just caught a glimpse of the animal, but it seemed like a fine horse, once it got cleaned up some.

 

Were they still going on about Addy's supposed heroics. Maybe she was influenced by Arabella's criticisms of the cross-dressing waggoneer, but she had never really thought a great deal of the woman. However, if she was going to one day be her sister-in-law, maybe she should get on side.

 

"Ha, that's Addy!" she agreed, and then felt a bit of a fraud. Oh well. 'All's fair in love and war', as they say.

 

"Hey, does Professor Browne have any new snakes or spiders or anything?"  Josh would surely like to see those, what kid wouldn't?

 

"You mean apart from the grizzly bear locked in the broom cupboard and the cutthroat trout in the bath?" she asked.

 

Before the two boys got too excited, she quickly added "I'm joking!"

 

"No, he brought back a tick, which I had to pull out, not telling you from where, and a... oh, what'd he call it? A northern scorpion. We can play with her if you like. He brought back two..." she pointed an open cookie jar in reach of their small hands "... but they had a fight and one ate up the other. That's what northern scorpions do for snacks, instead of baking a tray of cookies."

 

She got a slight look of mischief on her usually inert features and her little piggy black eyes sparkled "Hey, Porter, maybe I should try eating you up for a snack, like those scorpions do!" and she put the cookie jar slowly back on the side, as if she were planning to pounce on him. 

 

She would never have done this to her future step-child Josh, he was only young and might be frightened.

 

@Bongo @MD

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Josh was playing over the whole scene in his head of his Aunt Addy fighting off those Indians and taking their horse from 'em too!  Of course his 6 year old imagination didn't play out at all the way it really happened.  

 

When Weedy mentioned the snakes and spiders his eyes grew a bit wide and he look at Jemima for the answer and at first she sure had him when she said there was a bear and a trout in the house!  His eyes got even wider at the mention of them, but then quickly he realized he fell victim to her sarcasm and was kinda disappointed there really wasn't a bear.

 

"I ain't never seen a scorpion!" Josh said as he followed them into the house, looking forward to her cookies and seeing this new creature.  "I don't know if I want to play with it though if they eat each other.  I don't want it to eat me!" He was picturing something big, not the small creature that it was.  Since he'd never seen one his imagination was again going wild.  

 

@Bongo

@Javia

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Weedy's nose wrinkled up and he stuck his tongue out at Jemima.  "I won't be a good snack," he declared, "I'm all sour and tough!"  He knew the young woman was just needling him, and he wasn't put off.  He'd been over here enough now that there wasn't much to bother him.

 

But still, scorpions...

 

"Those can sting you, can't they?"  Then he had a thought as he reached for a cookie.  "Was it a girl that ate the boy?"  Yet another reason not to ever get married!  "Maybe we can show Josh some of the Professor's experiments?"  Something he'd never get tired of!

 

He turned to his cousin.  "There was a mouse-thing here, but it got loose and Buster ate him!  He's buried in the back if you want to see!"

 

@Javia; @MD

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"I ain't never seen a scorpion!" Josh said as he followed them into the house, looking forward to her cookies and seeing this new creature.  "I don't know if I want to play with it though if they eat each other.  I don't want it to eat me!"  

 

"Oh, it's just a diddy thing, it can't eat you." Jemima assured Josh. She was less concerned about Porter though, actually threatening to eat him up herself.

 

Weedy's nose wrinkled up and he stuck his tongue out at Jemima.  "I won't be a good snack," he declared, "I'm all sour and tough!"  He knew the young woman was just needling him, and he wasn't put off.  He'd been over here enough now that there wasn't much to bother him.

 

"Oh yeah, I forgot you're a tough feller." she nodded.

 

"Those can sting you, can't they?" Then he had a thought as he reached for a cookie. "Was it a girl that ate the boy?" Yet another reason not to ever get married! 


"Yep, he thought he was pretty tough, too; till his girlfriend ate him up for supper!" Jemima explained with some relish. "Come on, let's have a look at her." she said and led them from the kitchen and through the hall to the parlour, where all sorts of curios were on offer to the eye.

 

 "Maybe we can show Josh some of the Professor's experiments?"  Something he'd never get tired of!

 

Jemima shrugged. "The ones he's doing at the moment aren't real interesting. He's sort of separating out the mud samples he brought home in water, seeing what's in the soil for some reason. The animals are more interesting..."

 

He turned to his cousin.  "There was a mouse-thing here, but it got loose and Buster ate him!  He's buried in the back if you want to see!"

 

"That was a gopher, and his name was Montgomery. But he's in Heaven now. Chloé told me." she casually named the Spirit Guide from the seances she attended at Mrs Orr's house. She lifted the lid on a large glass jar and put her hand in, gently lifting out a small, semitransparent eight legged creature with the distinctive curved tail of a scorpion. 

 

The Wigfall girl gazed at the small animal with a dreamy look in her eyes, stroking it's laminated back like it was a pet cat . 

 

"I wouldn't care if this was the most poisonous critter in the world: death has no fear for those who have seen what lies beyond the veil." she said n a quiet, almost mystic voice. 

 

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Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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