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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.

Checking in at the Belle


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Mature Content: No

With: Sarah Thornton-Carlton, Matt Wentworth, and maybe Elinor Steelgrave + anybody else who wants to join in.
Location: Belle-St. Regis Hotel
When: September 1875
Time of Day: Evening

 

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As Sarah approached the front desk of the hotel, she wondered if she had made her exit too quickly.  At first, she had gotten the impression that the meeting between Elinor and her daughter was not going to be pleasant but now she had her doubts.

 

When she got to the desk, she noticed that no-one was around.  She spun around to see if there was anybody who looked like a desk clerk in the lobby.  There was only a young couple standing talking near the door.  Most of the people in the hotel were congregated in the dining room.  For a moment, she contemplated going back there to see if anybody could help but instead she opted to ring the bell.

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As he walked down the stairs to the lobby, Walter adjusted his coat and looked over to the desk to see who had rung the bell.  He had been upstairs, helping Widow Jenkins who claimed that her window was stuck and wouldn't come down.  By the time he realised that this had been a ruse to get him to come into the room, he was at her mercy.  Widow Jenkins was a woman, in her late fifties, who travelled to Kalispell a few times a year to visit her daughter, who was married to a local farmer.  The problem was that every time she came to town, she would try her hardest to get him into a compromising situation and he was having none of that.  Thankfully, the bell on the desk ringing was the excuse he needed to make a quick exit.  There was no way he was going to lose his job on the account of an overly amorous guest.

 

Seeing no-one at the desk, he scanned the room and saw a dark-haired, young woman standing looking a bit lost.  Now, she was more his type.  Putting on his best smile, he walked behind her the desk and greeted her.

 

As soon as he had finished, the woman was joined by someone else he didn't expect to see here.  Not knowing what to make of the situation, he turned to her, "Good evening, Mrs. Steelgrave."

 

@Flip

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpg

"Good evening, Mrs. Steelgrave."

 

Elinor paused, “Good evening. I’ll need a room for the night, no sense in trying to get to the Evergreen tonight. My daughter, as you know, is in our suite, so anything will suffice.” She deplored night travel through open country, especially if there was another option. And the Belle S. Regis was a perfect option, even if she did not have the suite, all the other amenities were available.

 

"So I would assume there is still plenty of time to be seated for supper? She asked, the pangs of hunger evident as she asked the question. The food at the hotel was always superb, Missus Thornton-Carlton and I will be having dinner as soon as our check in is complete."

 

Tag  @JulieS

 

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As Sarah watched the desk clerk deal with Elinor's requests, she got the impression that the man was a little bit intimidated.  She didn't quite understand why Elinor would make the feel this way but she did remember what Elinor had told her about her family.  Maybe that had something to do with it.

 

She heard Elinor say the man's name during their conversation, so when it was her to sign the ledger, she smiled at him, hoping that he would feel more at ease.  After signing, the ledger, she wanted to get some help with her luggage, "Mr. Simpson, my luggage is outside on the landing where the stagecoach driver left, could you please get someone to take it up to my room."

 

As soon as she had described what her trunk looked like, Simpson smiled and said that it would be taken care off.  He seems to be more than eager to help her in any way that he could and remarked upon this.  Sarah smiled in return and thanked him, before turning her attention back to Elinor.

 

"I suppose we may as well go in and find a place to sit.  The desk clerk said that there would be plenty to choose from."

 

@Flip

 

(OOC: I'm bring Matt in as my next post.  Either Elinor can ask him over or he will approach the table on his own accord.)

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpg“Yes, I had seen that we al most have our choice of tables this evening.” Elinor agreed. “There are times like this where the dinner hour finds the place al but empty. It is a fair bit above what most locals can afford, at least on a regular basis.” She sped a table away from Leah and the doctor.  “How about that one?”

 

There seemed no sense in engaging with her daughter who could be bull headed and argumentative, a gift from Elias.  There seemed no reason to subject Sarah to the family dis-function, not that she wouldn't learn about it soon enough. Actually, she liked the woman and was  regretful at the dynamics between the two families which would eventually impact any friendship that might be forged. Although Elinor realized she would not be long for Evergreen or the area.

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Matt had been in the bar area talking to one of the local townsman, when the front desk bell rang.  After making his excuses, he had gone over but stopped short when he saw Walter arrive to take care of whoever had rang it.  When he saw that it woman, and a very beautiful one at,  he became he intrigued.  He became even more interested when the woman was joined by Elinor Steelgrave.  The two of them seemed to be familiar with each other.  The mystery woman was either a friend of the family or a relative and that in itself gave him just cause to go and introduce himself.  Anyone associated with the Steelgraves might be prove to be useful.

 

When the two ladies had finished checking, they began to make their way to the restaurant.  Seeing Elinor pointing out a table and the mystery woman agreeing to the choice, he decided to make his move.

 

Going up to the ladies, he smiled, "Good evening, Mrs. Steelgrave."

 

@Flip

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpg“Good evening Mister Wentworth, may I present a recent acquaintance, Missus Sarah Thornton-Carlton, this is Mister Matthew Wentworth, the owner of this hotel.” Elinor introduced. "She’s here from San Francisco to visit Shade.”

 

It just seemed so easy to be pleasant instead of her usual curt behavior. In fact she was beginning to enjoy it. The idea that within days she would be free of this place, of the Evergreen, Elias and even her children, gave her cause to be elated. Elation changes ones outlook to be sure.

 

Tag @JulieS

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"A pleasure to meet you Mrs. Thornton-Carlton."  Matt smiled, "I welcome you to the Belle-St. Regis.  If you have need of anything just let me know."

 

Sarah nodded, "Thank you, Mr. Wentworth.  At the moment, our need is to have a good meal.  The trip here was long and it's been some time since we've had something to eat."

 

"Well, then by all means.  I'll will escort you both to the best table in the house, which by chance happens to be free."   Matt offered both of his arms to the ladies and escorted them both to the table.

 

After they were seated, he motioned to one of the waiters.  "May, I recommended the roast chicken.  Our chef has outdone himself tonight.  I will also like to offer you both a complimentary glass of our house wine."

 

"I think that will be fine, don't you Elinor?"  Sarah asked her new friend.

 

As Matt waited for Elinor to answer, he wondered how on earth a Thornton and Steelgrave seemed to be at ease with each other considering the bad blood between.  Either Mrs. Thornton-Carlton didn't know the full story or she didn't care.  However, it was not his place to tell her truth, her cousin Shade would have that honour.

 

@Flip

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpgElinor smiled,”Yes, yes it does, and it’s been far too long since we had decent meals or accommodations.” Adding, “You’re too kind Mister Wentworth. Your hospitality is most appreciated. A glass of good wine will be wonderful.” 

 

It was so close now, freedom and a new life were just within reach. A few  things to tie up and she would be on her way, far from the Evergreen, out of reach to Elias Steelgrave, there was a sense of re\lief even if she was not yet removed from Montana, soon it would be an unpleasant memory .

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Sarah stifled a yawn as she listened to Elinor's remarks.  Her yawn had not gone unnoticed by Mr. Wentworth and she quickly apologised, "I'm sorry. It's been a long trip and I'm starting to feel it."

 

Matt nodded, "That's understandable.  Kalispell is not an easy place to get to."

 

"I agree but this was a trip I had to make."  She was beginning to think that she should rest up for a day or two before going to visit her cousin.  A thought then struck her that she should first let Shade know that she was here before turning up unannounced at his home.

 

"Could you tell me how far away is Lost Lake Ranch is?  I can't even remember if the town was here the last time I came as it has been over 16 years, so I am a bit confused."

 

Matt told her how far it was, and she sighed.  It was indeed some distance and it could take some time to send word.  There was nothing for it but to go there tomorrow or the day after and hope for the best.  She looked at both Elinor and Matt.  "Will either of you be able to recommend someone that I can buy or rent a buggy from?"

 

@Flip

 

 

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpg"I would think the livery would have something to rent." Elinor suggested. The she looked to Matt, "Mister Wentworth, couldn't a rider be sent to Lost Lake, I would be sure the ranch has a buggy they could send, if not Shade himself for her."

 

It seemed to her the best avenue to pursue, and there would be not need of renting and having to return a rig. She also felt that Shade would much rather come for her than to have her drive all that way by herself.

 

"You do drive do you not? I mean, short of having Shade or one of his hand come to town to fetch you." She asked. "It certainly is your decision to make.

 

Tag @JulieS

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Matt was a bit perplexed at what was happening.  A Steelgrave being pleasant to a Thornton, let alone helping one was a rarity around here.  He wondered if Elinor had some ulterior motive.  Maybe the Steelgraves were on some sort of campaign to ingratiate themselves here in Kalispell.  It was only just yesterday, he had met a young couple from Whitefish who had told him that things there weren't that pleasant for any upstanding members of the community.  More acquaintances of the Steelgrave sons had been arriving in town and along with the lack of maintenance on public buildings and homes were beginning to have an effect.

 

The couple told Matt, that people had started to think about leaving and they had taken the option to go now instead of sticking it out for another winter.  There was even talk of a mass exodus occurring if things didn't improve in the spring.  If that was the case, then the Steelgraves would be looking at establishing themselves here in Kalispell and being friendly to a Thornton would be one way to go about it.

 

However, this was all just speculation and for all he knew, Elinor could be genuine in her concern for her travelling companion.  So instead, he decided to address Sarah's dilemma by suggesting he could send someone out to Lost Lake tomorrow with a hand-written note from her to Shade.  After she had accepted his offer of assistance, the wine arrived and he ordered dinner for the two ladies.

 

For the next couple of minutes, he behaved like any other hotel owner telling them that if they needed any assistance just to let the front desk know.  The meals soon came out and he recommended that if they enjoyed the meal to let a waiter know.

 

"Now, ladies I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening. I have other guests that I need to tend to."  He turned Sarah and smiled, "Good evening, Mrs Thornton-Carlton."

 

Facing Elinor, he continued, "And to you Mrs. Steelgrave.  If I don't see you before you leave for your home, please give my kind regards to your husband."

 

@Flip

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Facing Elinor, he continued, "And to you Mrs. Steelgrave.  If I don't see you before you leave for your home, please give my kind regards to your husband."

 

Elinor fought to display a smile when Wentworth mentioned Elias. “I certainly will do that, you’ve been most kind Mister Wentworth. Most kind.” And that was sincere as he had been the perfect gentleman, considering who she was and what the sentiments about her family were.

 

“Excuse me but I am wondering,” She began, “Has my daughter been seeing Doctor Danforth with any regularity, or is this a chance sort of meeting?” She was well aware of Leah’s reputation with men.

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"I don't know much about that at all," Matt answered, "All I can say is that this isn't the first time they have dinner here together.  Other than that, you will probably have to ask your daughter."

 

He looked over to where Leah and Dr. Danforth were sitting.  They seemed to be having a lively conversation and it made Matt wonder what was going on.  He hadn't taken any notice of what was going on between the two of them.  Since Leah was a Steelgrave, poor Dr. Danforth would have to watch his step.  The stories about men who had fallen under Leah's spell were plentiful.  Matt knew that some were lies and the others were true but as to which was which he couldn't say.  Hopefully, Dr. Danforth was well aware of them.

 

Once again, he said good night to both ladies and then made his way to the bar to talk to one of the local townsman who had just turned up.

 

@Flip

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“Well now, perhaps she is changing her choices.” Elinor said. “Doctor Danforth is such a nice man, and he has a real future in this country, so I’m happy she is keeping company with him.”


What she had just said was true enough, and even though she had other plans for herself, seeing that perhaps for once Leah was making a good choice for herself that makes her happy.


“You know how children can be, even if they are adults.” She offered.

 

Tag @JulieS

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Sarah nodded, not quite knowing what to say as she didn't really know how children could be.

 

For the next minutes, she concentrated on her meal as she was hungry.  The wait for the meal had only increased her appetite.  To her surprise, she found the food tasted very good.  She didn't expect quality cooking to be in a place so far away from the nearest city that had a first class restaurant.  Whoever the cook was, he needed to be commended.  After making a mental note to do send a message to him in the morning, she took a sip of wine, before stifling another yawn.

 

Now that she was full, she feel really tired.  Turning to Eleanor, she smiled, "Please forgive me, but I'm afraid everything has finally caught up to me and I need to turn in before I fall asleep right here.  Thank you for your company tonight over the last two days.  I am glad that we met."

 

@Flip

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large.1elinor-steelgrave.jpg.2578a739dffca5d8bf87523dc110b7fc.jpg“And here I thought I would be the one to to be calling a day first.” Elinor said with a smile. “If they would ever get that train through, as they keep promising, that trip would be a matter of hours, compared, and much more comfortable.”

 

She rose slowly, the meal had been delicious, but she too was tired and ached from head to toe. She extended her hand, “Sarah, it has been a pleasure. The rest of your trip should be short and sweet."

 

Tag @JulieS

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