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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

Author: Javia

With: Matt Wentworth & Arabella Mudd
Location: Kalispell Main Street
When: Early Jan. 1876
Time of Day: Late morning

 

 

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She later recalled that she hadn’t been working at the saloon long when it had happened. Cookie had broken the handle on the middle-sized skillet, which was the most useful one, of course. The big one was far too big, and the little one was way too little. Arabella was always reminded of the story of Goldilocks and the three bears when she saw them hanging there on the kitchen wall, except in this case, it was the middle sized one that was “just right.”

 

“Now, you take them two parts along to Mr. Black down the street” cookie had told her “… he’s the Smith, you know child, the Blacksmith. He’ll fix ‘em together, here’s some money to pay him.” The rotund skillet wrangler got a couple of cents out of a jar on the shelf and closed them safe in Arabella’s hand. “Now, where you goin’ ‘Bella?” Cookie had soon learnt to get the dreamy girl to repeat any instructions to her out loud, to make sure that she had been listening properly.

 

“To Mr Smith the Blacksmith, to get the Skillet Fixed!” repeated Arabella in a strict metre, like she was learning a poem.

“Why child, not Mr Smith the Blacksmith, Mr Blacksmith the.. Mr… Oh, look now you got me all mixed up, too! What the Dickens IS that feller’s name?!” she cried, exasperated.

 

Then they both burst out laughing, and Arabella threw her arms around the woman, as was her wont.

 

“Oh Mammy Cookie, you’re so funny!” Arabella sighed contentedly, and in her turn she was given an indulgent series of back pats from Messalina, for such was the given name of the Cook: indicative of a taste for Tacitus and the Latin Classics – not the taste of Messalina’s parents, of course, but of her old Master back in Alabama.

 

Cookie peeled Arabella off of her. “Now you just run along and get that skillet fixed, pay Mr. ... erm,  the Blacksmith, and get back here as quick as you can. But if he’s busy, wait. I’ll need that thing tonight.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Thus is was that Arabella Mudd found herself skipping down the streets of Kalispell, skillet pan under her arm, skillet handle in her hand, when she saw the man. For a fraction of a second, she thought it might be THE man: looked a lot like him, but no. She would know HIM for sure when she came across the feller at long last. But the similarity was enough for her to cross the road, where it was dry-ish, and saunter ever so casually toward where the stranger stood.

 

Now she was close up, she could see the differences between this feller and her mysterious savior. It could be argued that this man was equally handsome, with the same strong build and dark, dark hair. Some might have even preferred his more open face and sparkling blue eyes, and his more civilized apparel; but for the love-struck girl, he just didn’t have that undefinable “it”. Still, maybe he was a relation: back home where she'd lived up on Clinch Mountain, almost everybody seemed to be inter-related.

 

She sauntered nonchalantly toward the man on the boardwalk, idly singing “I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets” or some other maudlin ballad of the day, with purposeful aimlessness, and stopped with a stage double-take.

 

🎶 I'll live yet to see him

Regret the dark hour

When he won, then neglected,

The frail wildwood flower 🎶.

OH!!”

 

The ‘oh’ was enough to get the tall man’s attention and, as he turned, Arabella managed a dainty, if skillet-laden curtsy.

 

“Please pardon my intrusion, Sir, but for a second I thought I recognized a familiar face, the face of my gallant rescuer!” Hopefully that was enough to grab his attention. “Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Arabella Mudd, the famous girl as was squashed by a house in Whitefish and then stored with all the dead folks in that there barn.” she was trying to sound sophisticated, but grammar was never her strong suit. “Perhaps you have heard of me, it was in all the papers!”

 

By ‘all’ she meant the Kalispell Union, the one existing newspaper in the town.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Gallant rescuer?  Matt turned to face the girl.  Looking at her, he figured that she was no more than about 13-14 years old and seemed to be in very high spirits.  Then she said something about being squashed, dead folks and Whitefish which made him realise that she was probably one of the survivors from the disaster that happened a few weeks ago.

 

Tipping his hat, he smiled, "Well, how do you do, Miss Mudd.

 

Not wanting to hurt her feelings by mentioning that he didn't know who she was and if he had read anything that was printed in the newspaper about her, he had long forgotten it, he decide to concentrate on what else she had said.  The young lady probably was indebted to her gallant rescuer, whoever he was and probably wanted to thank him, so the least he could do was help her out a little.

 

"Your rescuer certainly sounds like a man of mystery.  I own the St. Belle and know most people in town, so if you could tell me his name, I might be able to give you directions on how to find him."

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Tipping his hat, he smiled, "Well, how do you do, Miss Mudd.”

 

Arabella returned this with another curtsey. “Very well indeed, thank you, Mr… oh Sir! You have the advantage of me! I don’t know your name.” she smiled innocently.

 

"Your rescuer certainly sounds like a man of mystery.  I owned the St. Belle and know most people in town, so if you could tell me his name, I might be able to give you directions on how to find him."

 

“Oh, if only I knew it!” she shook her head sadly. She was trying her best not to appear overly keen to find The Man, after some of the Advice that Clara Redmond had given her. She might, indeed, be the biggest expert in affairs of the heart in Virginia, but she was always willing to take on new ideas on the subject.

 

“He looked very much like you, Sir, if you’ll pardon my observin’ it.  Both of you is tall and handsome with hair the color of midnite…” she dug her nails into the palm of her free hand. She had to calm that sort of talk down and sound a little more matter-of-fact and business like.

 

“Now, your eyes are a bonny blue, but his were, ooooh, browny-greeny-gray-iy. His face was a little narrower, but his accent was similar to yours. Why, he said he was from Washington! I remember that now. And I said that there place was in Maryland, and how he must be a Southern gentleman and he looked at me real curious – kinda like you’re looking at me right now.” She gabbled on.

 

“Sir, do I talk too much?” she pouted.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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23 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

“Now, your eyes are a bonny blue, but his were, ooooh, browny-greeny-gray-iy. His face was a little narrower, but his accent was similar to yours. Why, he said he was from Washington! I remember that now. And I said that there place was in Maryland, and how he must be a Southern gentleman and he looked at me real curious – kinda like you’re looking at me right now.” She gabbled on.

Matt frowned.  The only people he knew that were from Washington was him and his brothers and the only one who had browny, greeny, grayish eyes was Mike, which made sense since he and Sam were the only ones to be involved in the rescue at Whitefish.  He had stayed to help with the relief effort in Kalispell, while Charlie was at Lost Lake helping take care of the women and children who lived there.

 

As his remember her remark about how he must be a Southern gentleman, made him smile a little.  The girl seemed to be in too good of mood to burst her bubble by telling her that Mike fought for the north and had been mostly living in Wyoming since then.

 

23 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

“Sir, do I talk too much?” she pouted.

Looking down at the girl, he smiled again, "No, you don't talk too much but and if you haven't already want to make any man remember you, then as Robert Browning said in one of his poems, less is more."

 

"Now as to who I am, my name is Matthew Wentworth and as I said I own the St. Belle.  I have an idea who your gallant rescuer is but the question is, would he like me to tell you.  For all I know, he may want to remain your mysterious benefactor."

 

@Javia

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Looking down at the girl, he smiled again, "No, you don't talk too much but and if you haven't already want to make any man remember you, then as Robert Browning said in one of his poems, less is more."

 

Arabella hadn’t heard of this Bob Browning feller, Sir Walter Scott was about as sophisticated as her reading had ever gotten, but what he said tied in with the advice that her old aunt Rosie and her new bosom friend Clara Redmond had intimated: that in life, and especially in love, the wise girl kept her cards close to her chest.

 

"Now as to who I am, my name is Matthew Wentworth and as I said I own the St. Belle.  I have an idea who your gallant rescuer is but the question is, would he like me to tell you.  For all I know, he may want to remain your mysterious benefactor."

 

Arabella fought the urge to push the man over the balustrade and into the muddy street beyond, to jump up and down on his chest, to slap his face silly, to pull off his boots and socks and tickle his feet, in short, to commit any and every torture upon his person to make him loosen his tongue and tell her the name!

 

Instead, she dug her nails further into the palm of her hand and wrestled for self-control, nodding her head in comprehension to buy her time and think what her next move would be. She got it.

 

Narrowing her eyes, and leaning in a little toward this odiously tight-lipped critter, she nodded again.

 

“You know what, Mr. Wentworth, you’re right. In fact, don’t even mention my name to him, neither - he might get the wrong idea about me, think I’m all cow eyed about him, instead of just wanting to say a civilized, Christian ‘thank you.’ I mean, imagine what his wife will think if she hears that some silly little nearly-15-goin’-on-16 girl’s been running all over town askin’ after him. Marriages have broken up over less, an’ if there’s children involved, well … I don’t think I could live with myself if anything I did or said broke up their happy little home.” she expounded, looking a little misty-eyes over the imagined scene of domestic distress.

 

She managed to shove the skillet handle under her arm and hold out her right hand, knowing that in all politeness, he could scarcely leave her hanging.

 

“But may I please say a very sincere ‘thank you’ to you, Mr. Wentworth, for pointing out how powerful embarrassing it would have been for that gentleman, of whom we shall never mention again, if I had imposed my childish, if well meaning, intentions upon, er, him.” Boy, that sounded right fancy and pompous – she just had to imagine she was Clara saying it, and everything sort of magically came out that way.

 

She kept hold of his hand, and continued with her polite Southern Belle act that she had practiced with Melissa Cartlidge during a hundred make-believe play sessions.

 

“If there is anything that I can ever do to repay your kindness and sage advice, please, please do feel free to let me know, at the Stardust Saloon, where I am pleased to hold a position upon the staff.” She did yet another curtsy, just to kind of round the performance off.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Matt raised both of his eyebrows as he slowly extracted his hand from the child.  The last time he had seen a performance like this was when he was on assignment in New Orleans a few years ago.  She was a southern belle and prone to dramatics like this one but there was a difference.  While Miss Mudd was still young, the other woman had a good ten years on her and a lot more experience at getting what she wanted.

 

One thing he did know was that he couldn't let Mike go through the kind of pain he was starting to feel in Miss Mudd's presence.  Hopefully, there would be someone somewhere who could take the child on and teach her that playing the part of a spoilt southern belle was not the way to win friends.  However, he did feel sorry for her, so he decided to help out her.  If she was smart under all the dramatics and found out who rescuer was, she at least deserved her chance, no matter how futile it was.

 

After quickly bowing in response to her curtsy, Matt smiled warmly, "My apologies, Miss Mudd, if I have offended you in any way.  It's just that it isn't very good manners to divulge personal information on someone without first requesting their permission.  What I can do is as least steer you in the right direction.  If the man you are looking is the one I am thinking of, then he doesn't come into town that often.  When he does, he sometimes goes to the Stardust, so your best chance of seeing him will be there."

 

@Javia

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After quickly bowing in response to her curtsy, Matt smiled warmly, "My apologies, Miss Mudd, if I have offended you in any way.  It's just that it isn't very good manners to divulge personal information on someone without first requesting their permission.”

 

Arabella nodded sagely, as if in total agreement with this notion. In reality, she reckoned that if this madman’s ideas were put into motion, what in the Dickens would everybody have to talk about in the world?! Admittedly, Clara didn’t like to gossip about folk (which meant that Arabella herself had to do twice the amount of work when they were talking) but she was the exception that proved the rule: just about every woman and a good portion of the men she talked to or overheard were mainly concerned with jawin’ over the doings and, especially, the failings of their fellow human beings.

 

“Oh well” replied the girl, forcing a smile and shrugging as nonchalantly as she could manage with a skillet under her arm. “You must do as you see right, Mr. Wentworth.”

 

“What I can do is as least steer you in the right direction.  If the man you are looking is the one I am thinking of, then he doesn't come into town that often.  When he does, he sometimes goes to the Stardust, so your best chance of seeing him will be there."

 

This Mr. Wentworth feller was acting a mite overprotective, to Arabella’s mind, which made Arabella wonder if the man she was after was either in some sort of trouble, or the scenario that she had invented about the jealous wife might in fact be true! She’d only thrown that into the conversation in the hope that the man would either say “oh he ain’t married” or “oh his wife ain’t like that!” so at least she would know how doomed, or otherwise, her hopes were. But this old fox was evidently too wily to fall into that trap.

 

One thing she was sure of was that to try and get any more information out of Matthew would just be ‘flogging a dead horse.’ So she contented herself with a little nod, and moved onto something else that he had said, which had piqued her interest.

 

“Why, did you say that you owned that great big Hotel?!” she was genuinely impressed by that matter of fact. “Why, that’s just the most beautiful building I ever seen! Is it as beautiful inside as it is on the outside? I bet you get too meet an awful lot of fancy an’ interestin’ people in a place like that.” she mooned, then remembered his words about gossip, and to make sure he didn’t think she was after any information on his guests, gave him a broad wink and tapped her nose “Oh, not that you’d be divulgin’ on ‘em o’ course!”

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"Yes I do meet an awful lot of fancy and interesting people.  I can guarantee, Miss Mudd that if you ever want to stay at the hotel, there will be no divulging."

 

That statement, made Matt think about something he was planning to do in the spring in order to promote the hotel's restaurant.  One of his plans was to have a formal afternoon tea party and invite some of the town's citizens. It wouldn't hurt to invite the girl even if she probably wouldn't be able to make it.  She would get a thrill out of receiving a printed invitation.  "Miss Mudd, I am planning to have a social occasion in late April and I would like to ask to come.  It will be during the week, so you will need permission from Miss Devereau.  You will of course receive the formal invitation at the end of February."

 

Matt wasn't sure that he was doing the right thing or not but he was certain it would make her think of something else other than finding her rescuer.

 

@Javia

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Yes I do meet an awful lot of fancy and interesting people.  I can guarantee, Miss Mudd that if you ever want to stay at the hotel, there will be no divulging."

 

Arabella chuckled her gurgling chuckle at this. The man might be a tad over-secretive for her liking, but at least he could laugh at himself. “Oh, you can divulge all you like about me, Mr. Wentworth!” she informed him with mock bombast, tapping her chest with the skillet handle “I’m a good, church goin’ girl, an’ I ain’t got nothing to hide. I’m an open book, so I’m told, and wear my heart on m’sleeve to boot.” Now she wasn’t trying to impress the man and worm information out of him, her grammar went to pieces but her essentially good nature shone through a little brighter.

 

Even though she was warming to him a little now, and he seemed a bit less standoffish toward her, nothing could have prepared her for what he said next.

 

"Miss Mudd, I am planning to have a social occasion in late April and I would like to ask you to come.  It will be during the week, so you will need permission from Miss Devereau.  You will of course receive the formal invitation at the end of February."

 

Arabella’s mouth popped open even wider than her eyes at this news, and she audibly gasped.

 

“You’s havin’ a Occasion and you’s inviting ME?!!” she repeated in amazement. “At your Hotel? And I’ll get to see inside and everything?!!” she took a big gulp, and the inevitable tears started to well up in her eyes. Well, she had warned him that she wore her heart on her sleeve.

 

“Oh, that's just wonderful Mr. Wentworth, Sir, that’s just… just the nicest thing anybody’s ever done fer me” she sniffed back the mucus starting to come out of her nose and smiled happily through the tears of happy-sad emotion that streamed down her cheeks. “’Cept for maybe that feller who you ain’t divulgin’ on as pulled me out of the snow and nice Mr Redmond and Clara and Wyatt as nursed me through my sickness, but I guess they maybe felt obliged to do them things but you just did that for me and you didn’t have to and…” it was hard to talk, cry and breathe all at the same time.

 

“… and I’m gonna ask Ms Devereau, and try and get her to give me that dress that’s miles too small fer her, but don’t divulge I said so, so I can look presentable for your … ooooh! For your Occasion!!” it was all too much: she jumped up in the air waving the skillet handle and gave what could only be described as a ‘rebel yell’, which caused a number of passers by to turn their gaze upon the unlikely looking pair.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Matt grinned as he watched Arabella get excited over the invite.  He had done it in part to deter her from hunting down Mike.  Since she was a Whitefish survivor, it also felt right to give her something to look forward to instead of looking back on what had been a miserable time.  Seeing her reaction was proof that he had done the right thing.

 

"Well, Miss Mudd now that you have an event on your social calendar and will have plenty of time to get ready for it.  I know how important it is for a young lady to be well advised in advance of any occasion.  My sister would sometimes take the whole winter to arrange her wardrobe for spring gatherings."

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"Well, Miss Mudd now that you have an event on your social calendar and will have plenty of time to get ready for it.  I know how important it is for a young lady to be well advised in advance of any occasion.  My sister would sometimes take the whole winter to arrange her wardrobe for spring gatherings."

 

Arabella’s eyes brightened at the mention of the man’s sister.

 

“Aw, Mr. Wentworth, does your sister live local? Will she be at the Occasion?”

 

She shrugged. “I ain’t got a sister, or a brother now, or a Mammy or a Pappy. I think I got some kinfolk in Virginia, but I don’t know where exactly.” She stated matter-of-factly. “That’s where I’m from, proper Virginia, that is, not Occupied Virginia. I’m from the Old Dominion. That’s what we call it.”

 

She suddenly realized that she was holding the skillet parts and that she was running late for her errand to the blacksmith.

 

“O Lor’! I gotta get me to the smith! Now, Mr. Wentworth, don’t you forget me: Arabella Mudd, Miss Arabella Sumpter Mudd, care of The Kitchen, The Stardust Saloon, Kalispell, Montana Territories!” she informed him, like he didn’t know the name of the town which his own Hotel was situated in. Still, better safe than sorry.

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11 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

“Aw, Mr. Wentworth, does your sister live local? Will she be at the Occasion?”

"No, she won't.  She lives in Washington with her husband."  Matt said, with a hint of sadness in his voice.  It had been a long time since he had since his sister, Mary.  The last time was at her wedding just nearly two years ago.  The occasion was also the last time they had all been together as a family.

 

11 hours ago, Arabella Mudd said:

“O Lor’! I gotta get me to the smith! Now, Mr. Wentworth, don’t you forget me: Arabella Mudd, Miss Arabella Sumpter Mudd, care of The Kitchen, The Stardust Saloon, Kalispell, Montana Territories!” she informed him, like he didn’t know the name of the town which his own Hotel was situated in. Still, better safe than sorry.

"Duly noted, Miss Mudd.  It was lovely to make your acquaintance."  Matt tipped his hat, "I do hope that you have a good rest of the day."

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After she had bidden the nice Mr. Wentworth farewell, she had positively floated on air to the blacksmiths who, fortunately, wasn’t too busy and was able to fix the skillet handle pretty darn lickety-split. She had quizzed the somewhat sickly-looking old man about Mr. Wentworth and whether he had any brothers, cousins or friends who looked similar to him and were at the Whitefish disaster, but to little profit.

 

The Blacksmith - who had turned out to be called Mr. Black after all (or was it Mr. Smith? She had forgotten which about two seconds after leaving the place) – was too bothered to listen to her question or answer it properly, he was all het up about a rumor that someone had been spreading about the town that his horseshoes were below par and he had been ripping off his customers. It was true that he was finding the work difficult to manage, what with his recent serious illness, and his dearly beloved wife passing away just the previous Fall, and with his 20 twenty year old son, who was supposed to help him in the work, being a little simple and only having the mind of a five year old. And now this!

 

“My horseshoes ain’t too thick, and they ain’t too thin!” was about all that Arabella could get out of him.

 

Oh well, the morning so far had been far from a bust! She had met Mr. Wentworth, and now knew someone who knew who her rescuer was, looked mighty like him … and who had a sister who lived in the same city that her rescuer hailed from! That last little nugget of information had been pure gold.

 

Also, this same Mr. Wentworth was going to give her an invitation to an Occasion! She wasn’t quite sure what an Occasion consisted of, or what a body did exactly when they went to one, but if it was going to take place The Most Beautiful Building in the World, it should be pretty fancy, and she’d need some fancier duds than the smock she was wearing, if she didn’t want to fish up there looking like ‘Annie from the Pickle Boat’.

 

In fact, the only downside to the whole thing was that, on careful reflection and taking into account Mr. Wentworth’s attempts to thwart her finding the man she sought, contrasted with his overwhelming kindness in inviting her to his Occasion, well, it led to one, undeniable conclusion: the poor feller had clearly fallen head over heels in love with her!

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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