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Sagas of the Wild West

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Christmas Cheer 1875


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Mature Content: No

With: Emeline/Barnabas
Location: Emeline's residence above the Lickskillet
When: Dec/25 / 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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After only a few hours of sleep, Emeline was up and working in the kitchen.  While she could use more sleep, she wanted to get as much done as she could before Barnabas arrived so she wouldn't have to spend all day in the kitchen.  Most of the food she'd planned was prepared, with just a few finishing touches remaining that could be taken care of on the small stove in her rooms above the cafe. 

 

Her apartment was decorated with boughs and garlands, and there was a small pine tree on a table that was festooned with strung cranberries, popcorn and holly leaves, and a few genuine German glass ornaments.  She was festooned as well...at least dressed in a new gown she had bought and altered just for the day, with her hair pulled up and back in soft ringlets.  She wanted everything to be as perfect as she could get it without being so formal as to be uncomfortable.

 

As she put the finishing touches on breakfast, she would occasionally peer out the window, telling herself that she was looking at the pristine snow-blanketed landscape, and not watching for her guest!

 

@FlipFbIanY.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Barnabas was up at the break of day, which was usual for him. He stood before the frost edged glass of the window in his room at the boarding house, staring out on the blanketed main street of Kalispell Montana. Not a soul in sight, no marks in the pure white covering, a heavy leaden sky overhead promising more snow as the dawn brought light and little else to the scene before him.

 

One often thought of Christmas being bright and beautiful, the sun overhead, nary a cloud in the sky, but, this morning proved otherwise and most common for that part of the country. It was time then, to prepare himself for the day ahead, not that it was to be a difficult day by any means, just that he wished to make it as perfect as he could.

 

From his trunk in the shed out back, which had arrived from Nevada months ago, he retrieved his suit of clothes that he had worn on the Comstock, brushed them out in preparation for this morning. Blackened boots, a low crown top hat, clean white shirt and ribbon tie, He would look quite the gentleman when he arrived at the diner.

 

He dressed quickly, a rush of excitement filled him as he slipped into the frock coat. Taking up a sheaf of folded papers and securing them in his inside pocket. He was ready. It was getting on eight o’clock and time to fishing dressing with the Buffalo coat and gloves.

 

The walk to the diner took only minutes, and when he reached her door he rapped on it and waited.

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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It was a little odd, having to come through the cafe to essentially open her front door, but that was just a fact of operating a cafe, and Emeline felt even more odd being in the fancy dress.  It had been a long time since she'd had occasion to dress this finely, and the bustle, certainly, was a reminder that she was all fancied up...well, except for her shoes...after all, she wasn't going out, so she had her slippers on under her skirt.

 

As she opened the door, she broke into a wide grin, even though she knew who was going to be there.  But just seeing him made the burst of cold that accompanied him seem almost warm.

 

"Merry Christmas!  Come in, please."  Standing back, she let him in.  "I have things set up in my rooms for today."  Most of the time they just used the cafe's kitchen, although he had been up there a couple times, briefly, especially after the older couple from Whitefish had been brought here.  Now, they were in the hotel, recovered and in their own room.  But this was Christmas, a special occasion that required home.  "You can leave your coat down here."

 

Why did she feel so awkward?  Maybe because this was more than just a casual day at work?  Well, she'd set that aside, they were friends, and awkward just wasn't necessary.

 

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“Merry Christmas.” He all but stammered as he stood staring at the sight before him awkwardly. She was beautiful, even more so that he knew her to be.. He broke his stare,  hanging his coat and hat in pegs in the wall for that purpose. “You are a vision, Em, I declare. A vision. Ain’t been no shovlin’ an’ the snow’s some deep. Not sure as there’ll be church ta’day without here bein’ an army of folks shovlin’ the way. Ruin thet dress, was you ta go out.”


The words came almost too fast, but it was true. In spots it was almost to his knees, his tall boots saved his trousers from saturation, requiring his stamping them on the threshold before he entered, and rendering his feet and calves cold. “Dangest weather, no break, clouds look dark n’ heavy. Reckon we’ll get more afore the day’s out.” Yet after saying all of that, there was no way that he would have failed to appear at her door this day. No way at all.

 

Tag @Bongo

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“You are a vision, Em, I declare. A vision. Ain’t been no shovlin’ an’ the snow’s some deep. Not sure as there’ll be church ta’day without here bein’ an army of folks shovlin’ the way. Ruin thet dress, was you ta go out.”

 

A blush touched Emeline's cheeks at the compliment.  "We can look down the street and see if anyone is going to church," she commented, although he was right, it was snowing pretty well still, and there were no signs that the streets were being cleared.  "Fancy dresses are nice," she observed, "but not terribly practical."


The words came almost too fast, but it was true. In spots it was almost to his knees, his tall boots saved his trousers from saturation, requiring his stamping them on the threshold before he entered, and rendering his feet and calves cold. “Dangest weather, no break, clouds look dark n’ heavy. Reckon we’ll get more afore the day’s out.”

 

"It just adds to the day."  Emeline glanced out the windows as she led the way through the cafe and kitchen to the stairs that led up to her apartment.  One good thing about living above a kitchen was that the heat from the stove left it nice and cozy during the winter.

 

"Please, come in and have a seat.  Coffee?"  The small table was already set with real china, plain, but more formal than what was used downstairs, There was a platter with blintzes sprinkled with powdered sugar, and small containers of cream, strawberry and blackberry preserves.

 

@Flip

 

 

 

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“Thank ye’, coffee’d be jest fine..” He was beginning to get nervous, and he was unsure how to handle that. Not in this particular situation. It was Em, not no Indians or bandidos. He looked up suddenly, “Em, some things I need ta say an’ if I don’t git to it I might not be able to spit ‘em all out like I’d like.”


He smiled, nervously. “Some things I want ya to know about me first. Well, that jest sounded down right terrible. Shucks.” It was about to get worse, “Look, what you know about me, wall, alla thet’s true, ‘cept I left out some from my time in Nevada.”


He took a sip of the coffee and cleared his throat. There was no need to even talk about Julia Dey, that was in the past, so he plunged right into it. “Folks about wonder about me, and how I get along as I do. I was part owner with a one third share in the Yellow Jacket mine up there. Now, now, hang on. Afore you git all flustered, Captain T.G. Taylor, the mine superintendent, he up and left, takin’ my shares and investin' in the United Comstock, consolidated ownership of the entire Gold Hill section of the Comstock Lode. He called it deversyfyin’. I call it shrewd. Trouble is, this Texas child’s sittin’ real good, ‘cept the most important thing.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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“Thank ye’, coffee’d be jest fine..”

 

Emeline poured them both steaming mugs of coffee then settled at the table across from him, smiling, noting how handsome he was all gussied up.

 

“Em, some things I need ta say an’ if I don’t git to it I might not be able to spit ‘em all out like I’d like.”

 

"All right..."  While she hadn't planned on anything serious today, she certainly wasn't going to refuse him whatever he wanted, although his earnest tone concerned her, because, honestly, she was getting to like him...a lot.


He smiled, nervously. “Some things I want ya to know about me first. Well, that jest sounded down right terrible. Shucks.”

 

Laughing lightly, she shrugged.  "I don't suppose it's so bad."  Although, truth be told, she really didn't know a lot about him, it seemed that she had done most of the talking, but that was fine with her.

 

It was about to get worse, “Look, what you know about me, wall, alla thet’s true, ‘cept I left out some from my time in Nevada.”

 

"All right..."  The coffee was left untouched now, and her heart was starting to race a little.  How bad could it be?


“Folks about wonder about me, and how I get along as I do. I was part owner with a one third share in the Yellow Jacket mine up there. Now, now, hang on. Afore you git all flustered, Captain T.G. Taylor, the mine superintendent, he up and left, takin’ my shares and investin' in the United Comstock, consolidated ownership of the entire Gold Hill section of the Comstock Lode. He called it deversyfyin’. I call it shrewd. Trouble is, this Texas child’s sittin’ real good, ‘cept the most important thing.”

 

"So..."  Well, she had been expecting a confession to murder, or bank robbery or...not that.  "You made money in a mining operation and then your partner stole your shares?"  That didn't explain how he could be 'sitting good', whatever that meant, nor what might be most important.  "Do you know where he is now?  Can you recover your shares?"

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

 

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That didn't explain how he could be 'sitting good', whatever that meant, nor what might be most important.  "Do you know where he is now?  Can you recover your shares?"

 

He all but laughed at her statement. “A’feared I didn’t git thet out right. Cap didn’t take my shares fer hisself, he reinvested them fer me in the United Comstock venture. Whot thet means is, my one third share in one mine has become a piece of an empire, not hardly a third, but an eighth share in several mines and a mill.” He stopped. “Thet’s all bidness most a which I don’t understand but the Captain does.”

 

He took a deep breath, reached inside his coat and withdrew an envelope. “You an’ me we had this conversation some months back up to the falls, all about a ranch.” He opened the envelope and produced the paper inside. “This here’s the deed to fifteen hundred acres, which includes the falls, thet surrounds that hill whar the house’ll set. Problem is,” he handed the deed to her, “ might oughtta change yer last name on it.”  He simply smiled. “That is, if you’ll have me.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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Barnabas explained, making it clear that he had holdings in mines in Nevada, and that those were profitable, and Emeline felt a little foolish not understanding that the first time, but shares and holdings and whatnot were not concepts she was familiar with. 

 

But then he was continuing on, taking out a paper and handing it to her -- a deed?  And to that same land that had so captivated her...

 

"You bought that land for me?"  No, it was too much.  Certainly, she appreciated the gesture, but the horse was quite enough...a gift of land was just more than was proper...

 

"Change my name..?"

 

No, no, no, she was misreading what he just said!  She had to be, otherwise, that meant he was proposing?

 

Hardly able to breathe, she looked into his face and there was no doubting the truth of it.  At once, a dozen things flooded her mind.  What about the cafe, did she really want to live outside town, what, exactly, were the plans, was she ready for this, could she be the companion he wanted...

 

A split second later she smiled and nodded.  "All right, then, but it's Christmas...but the next opportunity, I can see to that.  You'll be there, of course?"  Then she started to laugh!

 

@Flip

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“Oh, I’ll be there. I reckon I ain’t been makin’ ma self real clear here.” He took another drink of coffee., cleared his throat and then said, “I been mullin’ over what I might say, what I want to say, but ya know, it just ain’t come the way I wanted.  That there deed is about the plans we made back there. Things you said you wanted to do, aside from this here diner.”

 

“The horse was for Christmas, the land, well, that’d be for the future. I think you an’ me, well, we sortta fit. Yer worried some thet I’m proposin’, an’ you’d be right about thet. I am. I’m askin’ you here an’ now to marry me. But, I ain’t askin’ you to give up this here diner, not at all. I am askin’ come spring we get that ranch started, thet you get the horses you were talkin’ about raisin’.”

 

“Fer a galoot whot’s havin’ trouble sayin’ what he means, I figger I’ve made my intentions purdy clear.” He paused for another drink of coffee, as if to bolster himself. “Em, I jest want ya to be happy, an' I’d like thet to be with me.”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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