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    • "Well thank you Walter." He looked to Bradley Fairchild. "Interesting. Shall we put pour bags in the room and perhaps catch a bite and a drink or two? I have no idea what this could be but we'll know soon enough."   "Yes, let's, I could use a drink after that ride out here, maybe a couple, and something to eat, that sounds about right to me." The two men headed to their respective rooms to drop off their bags, then each headed toward the dining room, Tyndall clutching the mysterious envelope.   Each placed his order for an early dinner, and ordered drinks at the same time, those would be served right off so, without further ado, Carson Tydall opened the envelope and removed it's contents. A number of papers, on top a note of explanation. 'Mister Tyndall, Enclosed you will find a copy of a contract between the town of Kalispell and Leah Steelgrave. We believe that due to that absence of the signatures of myself, and Judge Benjamin Robertson there was no legal quorum, and therefor this contract is not valid. C. Latham'   There was the contract, a list of the council members and a copy of the minutes of the meeting where the contract was approved and a bank draft for five hundred dollars.   "Latham, he can be such a pain in the rump!" Tyndall stated.  
    • Rating: PG-14 Content: N/A With: Tully, Clara, maybe more? Location: Lickskillet Cafe When: September/ 1876 Time of Day: Night Tully had a good deal of patience, and could sit very still for hours, it was a skill she had learned at a young age, to stay hidden and unobserved.  Tonight, as she had a few times before, she was crouched at the end of the alley near the cafe, waiting for the last of the customers to leave.  After that, there was a short time when the young woman running the place would leave the kitchen to clean the dining area, and that was when Tully could sneak in the back and grab something...anything, she didn't care, so long as it was edible.   Finally, that last group left, and Tully quietly moved closer to the back door, waiting, listening, and when the lady left the kitchen, she slipped in the back door, grabbing a biscuit and stuffing it in her mouth, then reaching for more that disappeared into pockets.  There was some stew on the stove, but that would have to be put into something easier to carry than the large, hot kettle.   In her haste to pour the stew into a ceramic pitcher, Tully didn't consider that the kettle would still be as hot as it was, and as she picked it up, she let out a yelp, dropping the kettle as well as the pitcher.    Panicked, she looked toward the dining area as she scrambled for the back door, only managing to slip on the stew, tangle in a chair and fall to the floor...   @Wayfarer
    • "Well next time you're 'helpin' a friend', move the bed away from the wall: I had to darn near stuff cotton wool in my ears when I was sleeping next door!"   "You are being overly dramatic....as usual.....that was ONE time and one time only. It just happened, we are not in any sort of a romance," Caroline was annoyed at the very idea of that.   That's when Arabella informed her that Brendan had picked up a job.......at the town butcher shop recently opened by that Jewish man from the East. Very welcome news, that!   "Say, I'm just running to the stores now, look, I got my little basket with me - why don't you come with me and we can call in on him and say Howdy and have a good look at his meat."    Caroline made a face, "I do not cook, you know who does at the saloon by now. She also does the shopping for groceries. I have never been in a butcher shop in my life."   She had other plans in mind, she wanted to head over to the Wigfalls and see Lt. Greene.   Suddenly she had an idea, "But I'll make you a deal. I will accompany you there but in return you must promise me that you will not show up while Lt. Greene and I are dining. Like last time."
    • A perplexed look appeared on Walter's face. Even though he had been looking at the envelope, he hadn't bothered checking out who it was addressed to.  It had been in the slot where mail was dropped off for guests who hadn't checked in yet.  The hotel was busy at this time of year, that the mail slots were only for use for guests who were currently staying at the hotel.  The former occupants of the rooms where Mr. Tyndall and his friend were staying, had left only a few hours ago.  Thankfully, Mr. Wentworth had a hired maids who did their jobs well enough to have the room ready in time.   Reading the name on the envelope, he saw that it was indeed address to Tyndall.  Smiling sheepishly, he handed over to the man.   He hefted the envelope wondering what was inside, but there was time to look at it when he was in his room. "Who dropped this off for me? Mister Latham perhaps?"   "Sorry, Mr. Tyndall I have no idea.  It was probably dropped off some time during the night.  You could ask the night clerk when he comes on duty at 8 o'clock."   @Flip
    • They returned to the Marshal's office which doubled as the Copper Queen's office for the time being. And, as Town Marshal, he needed to be in town as much as possible, which was not fair either Alice or Amos, at least as far as Speed was concerned. Yes, there was Charlie, but heaping too much on him was not fair either. He was hired to protect the town, no his own personal interests, although that was common in some parts of the country.   But with Alice for company, that made sitting at his desk a whole lot more pleasant. Waiting for Amos, who might be days getting back to Kalispell, would be worry enough for the pair of them.   As Speed was about to ask Alice about the wedding plans a man stepped through the door. A man he had seen, and possibly talked to, wearing two guns.   "'scuse me Marshal, I can come back." He said.   "No, it's alright. What can I do for you?" Speed asked.   "I was wondering, could you use some help, or know where a man short on cash might find work?" Speed looked at the man, "Names Thornton, Tyrell Thornton."

The Healing Process


Benjamin Barlow
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Rating: PG-14
Content: N/A

 

With: Captain Barlow and Lt. Greene
Location: Inside Fort Somers
When: Aug 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

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They had just dismissed the company and now the sergeants would be assigning the various duties for the day to the troopers. The Army believed very strongly in the old saying 'idle hands are the devil's workshop'. Benjamin then turned to Lt. Greene. The young officer was still limping from the effects of his gunshot wound back during the rescue operation to save the two local women. But he was making steady progress and had resumed at least basic duties. No patrols or anything too strenuous yet though. None of that silly (to Benjamin's thinking) weather balloon detail either.

 

"Lieutenant, a moment please. I was in discussion with the colonel and we have a very specific assignment for you that -on the surface - might sound strange. But you know the brass is always right," Benjamin voiced that last part with not a hint of sarcasm or humor even if he did not believe that himself. 

 

"Despite your gallant attempt to appear to be completely on the mend, it is our decision that you would be better off if you were to take a short medical leave - in Kalispell. No bothersome duties, simply rest and relax while you heal completely. Get a room...boarding house, hotel, whatever. The Army will pay for it. The colonel will decide when you have properly recovered from your wound."

 

"Questions?"  Benjamin was positive the young man had some. Who wouldn't, the whole thing seemed quite irregular.

 

@Javia

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"Lieutenant, a moment please."

 

"Sir!" Greene was all ears. Maybe he was to be returned to full duty! There had been an unbearable break in the atmospheric measurements, the sooner he could get back to making them and reporting the results back to Washington, the better. Blast this wounded leg!

 

"I was in discussion with the colonel and we have a very specific assignment for you that -on the surface - might sound strange. But you know the brass is always right," Benjamin voiced that last part with not a hint of sarcasm or humor even if he did not believe that himself. 

 

"That's good news, Sir. I'm ready to resume my full duties. I've been inspecting the balloons, and..." he started, but Barlow interrupted with different news.

 

"Despite your gallant attempt to appear to be completely on the mend, it is our decision that you would be better off if you were to take a short medical leave - in Kalispell. No bothersome duties, simply rest and relax while you heal completely. Get a room...boarding house, hotel, whatever. The Army will pay for it. The colonel will decide when you have properly recovered from your wound."

 

Greene could not erase the frown of confusion and disappointment from his face. What the hell was this all about: certainly not compassion, not from the likes of Barlow and Wellington! And Barlow was being coy. Barlow was never Coy: this was something he might not like.

 

"Questions?"  Benjamin was positive the young man had some. Who wouldn't, the whole thing seemed quite irregular.

 

Just one, Sir." he answered dryly. "Why?"

 

@Wayfarer

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Well, the young shavetail's face certainly did not hide his disappointment. And as expected he did have a question, a simple and obvious one.

 

"Just one, sir, why?"

 

"Fair question, Lt. Greene," Benjamin nodded then proceeded to answer.

 

"I am not sure how aware you are of the civil goings on in Kalispell. It seems there is to be the construction of a hospital for the town, a most worthy project and one that should help the town grow. However, there are some who are dead set against it, I won't bore you with all the local politics and rivalries right now. And the Marshal came to the colonel to discuss enlisting soldiers to help prevent such an attack."

 

"Now Army policy is quite clear, the military is not to interfere in civilian affairs unless the governor requests such intervention and the proper federal authorities agree. However, should our garrison have wounded within the town, we would merely be responding to possible danger to our own men. And we could dispatch a reaction force without waiting on governor or Washington or whoever."

 

"You're it, lieutenant, you're our wounded. You don't have to do anything but stay in town and that gives us our perfect excuse for intervention should trouble develop," Barlow actually smiled!

 

"Understand now?" 

 

@Javia

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The Captain explained to the junior officer about the new hospital and the Colonel's promise to help protect it from 'some people' who wanted to stop its constriction. All sounded a bit odd, but certainly not any of their business.  

 

"Now Army policy is quite clear, the military is not to interfere in civilian affairs unless the governor requests such intervention and the proper federal authorities agree. However, should our garrison have wounded within the town, we would merely be responding to possible danger to our own men. And we could dispatch a reaction force without waiting on governor or Washington or whoever."

 

"Lord, sounds like the Colonel's bending over backwards to help the Marshal, Sir. But, well, we don't really have any wounded that bad: not that need hospitalisation." Greene wondered out loud.

 

"You're it, lieutenant, you're our wounded. You don't have to do anything but stay in town and that gives us our perfect excuse for intervention should trouble develop," Barlow actually smiled!

 

Green opened his mouth but nothing came out, and it wasn't just the novel sight of Barlow grinning that robbed him of his words.

 

"Understand now?" 

 

He frowned. "Sorry if I sound stupid, sir, but when you say 'stay in town'... you mean 'stay in the hospital'?" If he was supposed to be 'hospitalised',he could hardly go galivanting around town, even with a bit of a limp. 

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Understand now?" 

 

Greene frowned. "Sorry if I sound stupid, sir, but when you say 'stay in town'... you mean 'stay in the hospital'?"

 

Benjamin smirked, "What hospital? The town doesn't have one, doctor's office at best. However someday they hope to have one. Some rich lady is sponsoring the construction of one but there are those in powerful places that don't want it.........or maybe it's because it's her project they don't want it."

 

"And yes, we are bending over backwards to help. Why not? Sounds like the sort of civilizing the army is out here for to protect. What with Private Whitcomb having passed with gangrene recently, you are the only wounded we got. So you'll do," he further explained. Actually he did not owe the lieutenant a damn bit of explanation, an order was an order and should be obeyed.

 

"Also, Lt. Greene, you need to listen better when a superior officer is briefing you. I already stated you can get a room at a boarding house or in the hotel. The army will pay for it. I'm not in the habit of repeating myself," he added.

 

@Javia

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Greene tried not to frown as his superior officer skirted around the identity of this Mystery Man who hated his daughter so much that he would try and stop her building a hospital. Well, if go he must, he would find that out soon enough: if the Captain thought he was going to sit around reading novels waiting for trouble to happen to him, he had another thing coming.

 

"And yes, we are bending over backwards to help. Why not? Sounds like the sort of civilizing the army is out here for to protect. What with Private Whitcomb having passed with gangrene recently, you are the only wounded we got. So you'll do," he further explained. Actually he did not owe the lieutenant a damn bit of explanation, an order was an order and should be obeyed.

 

"Yes Sir." responded Greene, but thinking that the Captain's slightly more aggressive tone probably indicated he knew that there was a certain basic illogic to the whole charade. For instance, if he was was staying in the boarding house, how did that give the hospital the right to be defended. Oh well, Mrs Wigfall might appreciate the army protection for her establishment. Also, if the hospital construction site was attacked, how as he to summon the troops from the Fort in time to save it?

 

These doubts he did not voice; he just gave silent thanks to God that Barlow had stopped with that whole disturbing smiling thing, and was back to his usual grumpy self.

 

"Also, Lt. Greene, you need to listen better when a superior officer is briefing you. I already stated you can get a room at a boarding house or in the hotel. The army will pay for it. I'm not in the habit of repeating myself," he added.

 

"Er, yes Sir. I'm happy with the Boarding House, Sir. Prefer to save Army expenses if that's all right, Sir. And if the Hospital site is where I think it is, I can probably get a room that overlooks it at Mrs Wigfall's" he said. Well, if he was going to do this strange job, he might as well do it efficiently. 

 

@Wayfarer

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That's better, he got an enthusiastic 'yes sir'. More like the sort of response he expected from an eager young shavetail officer.  Benjamin nodded but there was one more thing.

 

"Also, Lt. Greene, you need to listen better when a superior officer is briefing you. I already stated you can get a room at a boarding house or in the hotel. The army will pay for it. I'm not in the habit of repeating myself."

 

"Er, yes Sir. I'm happy with the Boarding House, Sir. Prefer to save Army expenses if that's all right, Sir. And if the Hospital site is where I think it is, I can probably get a room that overlooks it at Mrs Wigfall's" responded Greene.

 

"Fine, boarding house then. The colonel is going to have at least a small unit ready to respond at the first sign or sound of shooting in the town. The marshal has said he would also send out a rider as fast as possible. No heroics needed on your part. We will come boiling into town fast and hard as we can," Benjamin continued.

 

"Honestly I doubt there is going to be such an attack. More likely something sneaky like a fire or some sort of sabotage. Something we are going to be helpless to stop. But there it is, lieutenant. Pack your stuff and move into town. We will know when you have recovered from your injuries, until then do what you want there. Well, long as it's legal."

 

The last bit was just a touch of humor on the veteran captain's part, well he wasn't known for such a thing so one could not expect much.

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"Fine, boarding house then. The colonel is going to have at least a small unit ready to respond at the first sign or sound of shooting in the town. The marshal has said he would also send out a rider as fast as possible. No heroics needed on your part. We will come boiling into town fast and hard as we can," Benjamin continued.

 

"Maybe I could send up one of my balloons if there's an attack, Sir?" suggested Greene, not quite realising the contempt which the man with two silver bars held for his inflatables. 

 

"Honestly I doubt there is going to be such an attack. More likely something sneaky like a fire or some sort of sabotage. Something we are going to be helpless to stop. But there it is, lieutenant. Pack your stuff and move into town. We will know when you have recovered from your injuries, until then do what you want there. Well, long as it's legal."

 

"Yes Sir, I'll read up on what's authorised for an officer on sick leave to do, Sir." Greene answered seriously. He did suspect that the dour Captain might have been jesting, but really it was best not to risk it. 

 

"Very good, sir!" he snapped a salute and went to pack his belongings. As he did so, he could not but reflect on this odd assignment that had befallen him. 

 

.............

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"I gotta letter for ya!" 

 

It was just like the good old days; Arabella had walked straight into Caroline's bedroom without even knocking.

 

"And I think it might be from a certain wounded hero of a Army Lootenant!" she smirked as the black clad girl held out the missive just out of Caroline's reach. 

 

She had resisted the temptation to steam the letter open and read it, but in fact the contents were hardly a page of passion filled prose, merely stating, in a terse, telegraphic military style: 

 

Dearest Caroline - Am billeted at Wigfall's for foreseeable future - request pleasure of your company at  Hotel Restaurant tonight - pls reply via bearer, am guarded here day and night by over-attentive nurse! - Yrs Joseph.

 

"What's it say? What's it say?!" asked Arabella breathlessly when Caroline eventually got to read it. 

 

@Wayfarer

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Caroline was mostly undressed and preparing to put on one of her work dresses for her upcoming shift. A low cut bright red gown with bare shoulders and tantalizing almost views of her breasts. She had just earlier struggled into her corset which had had to be laced up by Messalina, the saloon cook and laundress now that Arabella no longer worked in the place.

 

But suddenly the door burst open and there was the young miss, clad in that ridiculous black of funeral fashion, about the only color she seemed to wear anymore.

 

"I gotta letter for ya!" announced the girl waving the missive about.

 

"You coulda knocked, I mighta been naked," Caroline pointed out, by now she should have realized the utter futility of that advice.

 

"And I think it might be from a certain wounded hero of a Army Lootenant!" Ara smirked as the black clad girl held out the missive just out of Caroline's reach. 

 

"Oh yeah? Well....gimme it and let's see," Caroline held out her hand but then had to step closer to the girl and snatch it away...."thankya."

 

Opening it Caroline turned in such a way the girl was not behind her where she could peek about but rather facing Ara. 

 

"What's it say? What's it say?!" the girl was more excited than Caroline.

 

"Well...it starts by saying hopefully a certain Miss Mudd did not open this letter and read it because that would be tampering with federal mail and a hanging offense in Montana," Caroline made all that part up but pretended to read it. 

 

Letting that sink in for just a few seconds, she then grinned, "Not really but it is from Lt. Greene alright. He's in town and wants to dine with me....sometime."

 

She did not read aloud everything on the page...quite deliberately. It was Arabella after all standing right there. The girl had barged in on the last date she had been with Greene and Caroline loathed a repeat of that sort of thing.

@Javia

 

 

 

 

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"What's it say? What's it say?!" the girl was more excited than Caroline.

 

"Well...it starts by saying hopefully a certain Miss Mudd did not open this letter and read it because that would be tampering with federal mail and a hanging offense in Montana," Caroline made all that part up but pretended to read it. 

 

"Ooh, really?" grinned Arabella evilly "Just imagine that, Caroline, me bein' put on a gallows and hanged in front of everybody, an' Marshal Guyer 'd probably botch it and it wouldn't break my neck and I'd be danglin' there being strangulated with my legs kickin' all over the place and all them folks lookin' up my skirts and me gurglin' and goin' like this..." she put one hand to her throat and one holding an imaginary rope above her head, tipped her head and pulled out her tongue and crossed her eyes and made a horrible noise in her throat like Ung-ung-ung!!

 

When she had finished this horrible pantomime, she rubbed the front of her dress in a not altogether pleasant way and asked "The though of being 'sphixiated like that, makes a body feel kind funny don't it?" 

 

"Not really but it is from Lt. Greene alright. He's in town and wants to dine with me....sometime."

 

"Oh, well, that 'splains it. He's staying at Wigfall's and and he give that note to Jemima to give to me to give to you, secret like. Mrs Wigfall's keepin' him under lock and key and won't let anyone visit him. Say's he's too sick. 'Mima said her Ma's gone awful strange ever since Mr Orr died: kinda man mad! She's even chasing after your friend Mr Flagg, and let's face it, he ain't no oil painting, bless him. Yep, that old bat's gotten hornier than a billy goat with two diddlers." she surmised. 

 

@Wayfarer

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Caroline watched the girl talk about being hung herself and well........it was both funny and disturbing. That girl certainly was a strange one but then Caroline had come to that conclusion a long time ago.

 

"The thought of being 'sphixiated like that, makes a body feel kind funny don't it?"  was Ara's conclusion.

 

That was an easy one to answer, Caroline went, "No."  Then moved on with the conversation explaining that the handsome and charming cavalry officer wanted to dine with her.

 

"Oh, well, that 'splains it. He's staying at Wigfall's and and he give that note to Jemima to give to me to give to you, secret like. Mrs Wigfall's keepin' him under lock and key and won't let anyone visit him. Say's he's too sick. 'Mima said her Ma's gone awful strange ever since Mr Orr died: kinda man mad! She's even chasing after your friend Mr Flagg, and let's face it, he ain't no oil painting, bless him. Yep, that old bat's gotten hornier than a billy goat with two diddlers."  

 

"Too sick? I highly doubt that. He wouldn'ta wrote me this letter then," Caroline actually was tending to believe Ara's assessment of the boarding house owner.

 

"Anyhow thank ya for deliverin' this here letter. It's always good ta see you around. Hope yer enjoyin' your caring for dead people job," Caroline smiled. 

 

@Javia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Too sick? I highly doubt that. He wouldn'ta wrote me this letter then," Caroline actually was tending to believe Ara's assessment of the boarding house owner.

 

"Exactly!" agreed the young undertakeress. "Jemima says he's got nothin' worse than a little limp" (a little limp what? might have been an apposite question, but Caroline instead thanked the messenger).

 

"Anyhow thank ya for deliverin' this here letter. It's always good ta see you around. Hope yer enjoyin' your caring for dead people job," Caroline smiled. 

 

Arabella shrugged.

 

"Business is pretty slow at the moment. People just ain't dyin' like they used to. Oh well, cold weather's comin' on, we're hoping a few of the old and weak might up and die of the double-ammonia." she said hopefully. 

 

"How's it goin' here? How's Frances doin' at the piana playin'?" Arabella returned the compliment "Are the fellers used to havin' a blind girl around the place? You know, when she first came to town, some folks was actually scared of her! Like they could actually catch bein' blind off of her, ain't that the silliest thing you ever heard?"

 

@Wayfarer

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Caroline and Arabella

 

 

"A little limp? Hardly surprising, he got shot in the thigh rescuing us ladies. Very brave of him. Sadly one of his men died," Caroline frowned at that last memory.

 

She did ask the girl how she was doing in her new job and got a typical...oddly twisted sort of answer. Like Ara was hoping folks would die.

 

"How's it goin' here? How's Frances doin' at the piana playin'?" Arabella returned the compliment .

 

"It's fine. The boss has been rather quiet lately...least no schemes that I know of. He probably ain't gonna confide in me much anymore, he knows how disgusted I was over cheatin' that man in cards and then his wife up and hangin' herself," Caroline sighed.

 

"As for Frances, she's doin a great job. She don't sing like you did on occasion but she don't miss a note either."

 

"Are the fellers used to havin' a blind girl around the place? You know, when she first came to town, some folks was actually scared of her! Like they could actually catch bein' blind off of her, ain't that the silliest thing you ever heard?"

 

Caroline smirked, "Only person who behaved like that was you. I haven't seen anyone else spooked by a blind girl."

 

"I do have to keep close watch though lest one of the customers start to get a little too fresh with the poor thing. I only need mention that Ralph will gouge their eyeballs out if they so much as harm a hair on Frances head. It's worked so far."

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"It's fine. The boss has been rather quiet lately...least no schemes that I know of. He probably ain't gonna confide in me much anymore, he knows how disgusted I was over cheatin' that man in cards and then his wife up and hangin' herself," Caroline sighed.

 

"Oh Lor', you's sure in a morbid mood today, Cara': first of all jawin' on about that sojer boy what got himself shot, and now about poor Mrs Potee, a dinglin' and a danglin' at the end of that rope, a swingin' and a swayin' with her tongue stickin out all blue coloured and her eyes 'bout poppin' out of her head!" Arabella shook her head "You should try and be more jolly and carefree, like me!" she admonished.

 

"As for Frances, she's doin a great job. She don't sing like you did on occasion but she don't miss a note either."

 

Arabella nodded "Yep. There's something about Frances: she's sort of got class, not like me and you."

 

"Are the fellers used to havin' a blind girl around the place? You know, when she first came to town, some folks was actually scared of her! Like they could actually catch bein' blind off of her, ain't that the silliest thing you ever heard?"

 

Caroline smirked, "Only person who behaved like that was you. I haven't seen anyone else spooked by a blind girl."

 

"Huh! ME?!! You're all mixed up. I think it was Bridget what was spooked by her... how silly!" Arabella misremembered. 

 

"I do have to keep close watch though lest one of the customers start to get a little too fresh with the poor thing. I only need mention that Ralph will gouge their eyeballs out if they so much as harm a hair on Frances head. It's worked so far."

 

"Oh! He would?" asked Arabella with a hint of the sort of jealousy possessed of a middle daughter whose place in a father's affections is replaced by a younger sister. "Well... well he used to be even more protective of me when I was here!" she pouted. 

 

"So, you gonna walk out with the Lootenent, well, limp out? Or are you still seein' Mississippi on the sly?" the black clad, black haired girl asked impishly. "Or both?" she giggled. "You know Brendan's got himself a position at Dolly's Pap's place: if you play your cards right, he could slip you a sausage on the sly!"

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Only Arabella could be jolly and carefree whilst talking about the gruesome details of Mrs. Potee's hanging herself. Caroline was not going to engage but moved the conversation on.

As for Ralph being protective of the ladies, on that topic they both could agree. Mess with the ladies and expect to deal with the grim and ...yes, dangerous bartender. Caroline truly appreciated the man for it too.

 

"So, you gonna walk out with the Lootenent, well, limp out? Or are you still seein' Mississippi on the sly?" the black clad, black haired girl asked impishly. "Or both?" she giggled.

 

"I was never 'seein' Brendan for yer information. He was stayin' in my room because he needed a place ta stay. We are friends and friends help friends," Caroline countered.

 

"You know Brendan's got himself a position at Dolly's Pap's place: if you play your cards right, he could slip you a sausage on the sly!"

 

Now that was news, welcome news!

 

"He is now, huh? Well good fer the cowpoke. And as for the rest, you have a dirty mind, girl," Caroline said it with a smile though, happy Brendan had actually listened to her.

 

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"I was never 'seein' Brendan for yer information. He was stayin' in my room because he needed a place ta stay. We are friends and friends help friends," Caroline countered.

 

Arabella treated that spurious claim with the contempt it deserved.

 

"Well next time you're 'helpin' a friend', move the bed away from the wall: I had to darn near stuff cotton wool in my ears when I was sleeping next door!" she remembered. Oh, she did miss her old bedroom in the Saloon, but times had changed and she'd moved on, she guessed. These days, she slept in Mr Crabbe's old bed, and Frances slept in Bridget's. Both of them gone from her world now, in different ways. 

 

"You know Brendan's got himself a position at Dolly's Pap's place: if you play your cards right, he could slip you a sausage on the sly!"

 

"He is now, huh? Well good fer the cowpoke. And as for the rest, you have a dirty mind, girl," 

 

"Huh?" Arabella had meant the sausage part literally - that Caroline just had a dirty mind - in fact, this conversation gave Arabella an idea.

 

"Say, I'm just running to the stores now, look, I got my little basket with me - why don't you come with me and we can call in on him and say Howdy and have a good look at his meat." 

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"Well next time you're 'helpin' a friend', move the bed away from the wall: I had to darn near stuff cotton wool in my ears when I was sleeping next door!"

 

"You are being overly dramatic....as usual.....that was ONE time and one time only. It just happened, we are not in any sort of a romance," Caroline was annoyed at the very idea of that.

 

That's when Arabella informed her that Brendan had picked up a job.......at the town butcher shop recently opened by that Jewish man from the East. Very welcome news, that!

 

"Say, I'm just running to the stores now, look, I got my little basket with me - why don't you come with me and we can call in on him and say Howdy and have a good look at his meat." 

 

Caroline made a face, "I do not cook, you know who does at the saloon by now. She also does the shopping for groceries. I have never been in a butcher shop in my life."

 

She had other plans in mind, she wanted to head over to the Wigfalls and see Lt. Greene.

 

Suddenly she had an idea, "But I'll make you a deal. I will accompany you there but in return you must promise me that you will not show up while Lt. Greene and I are dining. Like last time."

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