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    • “Hotel’s over there!” she pointed in the general direction of the Belle-St. Regis before folding her arms and frowning .    "I know, I can read signs, child," Caroline smirked.   Child?! Hmph!   “You can read?” asked Arabella, sounding surprised. But the woman dodged the potgirl with all the skill of a Yale football player, and  had moved toward Mr Flandry at the bar.   Arabella gave a hard stare at all of the fellers staring at this up-town fancy girl, some of them looked like they’d about twist their own heads off, the way they were craning their necks around. Arabella waved her hands at them, teacher like, to indicate that they should get back to their drinks and cards, and followed after the interloper.   "Excuse me, mister but is the owner of this fine establishment present? I am eager to tell her the good news," she smiled confidently.   Ralph paused then replied, "She is upstairs. Good news you say, miss?"    "Oh indeed, I can't wait to meet her. Her search for an entertainer is over. I'm here! " Caroline announced.    Ralph had to break into a bit of a smile himself at this bubbly and bold young woman, "You don't say? And you would be....?"    "I am Caroline....Caroline Mundee, and if I wasn't so modest I would add 'simply the finest saloon singer west of the Mississippi.' And if you don't believe me, you will once you hear me sing."   There wasn’t much room between Caroline and the bar, but Arabella managed to somehow sidle into it and get between the hussy and poor innocent Ralph, who, not seeming to have much to do with women, in her opinion, might be taken in by this painted lady.   “Not today, thank you!” she announced brightly. “We already have an entertainer, and that’s called me!” she told Caroline, jerking a thumb at her flat chest. “Singin’, Dancin’, Piannerin’ Cartwheels and telling funny jokes. And also, I’m an orphan, so the management don’t have to pay me one red cent!” she explained. "You look kinda pricy!"   “But don’t give up.” she continued, in mock helpful tones “There’s a town called Whitefish, just down the road, I hear the saloon there is looking for some…” she looked the curvaceous bimbo up and down “… ‘ singer’s there.”   Then she turned and shook a warning head vigorously at Mr. Flandry, as if to say Don’t be tempted by the pleasures of the flesh my son, even if there is a good deal of it on show!   But he wasn’t even looking at Arabella, he was staring at the demi-monde, polishing the same glass, with a stupid silly grin on his bearded face the like of which she’d never seen before. Maybe this entertainer did hypnotism, too, she thought; that’d explain it.  
    • "No judgin' our stories," Addy commented, "we all got our different experiences, an' reckon livin' in a saloon was...eclectic...lots'a interestin' characters, I reckon, give ya a chance ta learn different ideas."  She shrugged, chuckling.  "Most folks just hunker down in their house, go ta th' same church with th' same people, see th' same folks in town, then when they step out, it's a surprise ta them."    So many people, in her experience, never ventured more than a few miles beyond their home, not sought out experiences or people outside of their small circle.  But even if Miz Caroline hadn't been much past her saloon, the people coming and going likely provided a good array of experiences.    "I'd not be able ta sleep with all th' noise, though," she added, "one thing listenin' ta horses munchin' an' stompin' now an' then, but shoutin' an' chairs movin' an' boots stompin'...that'd keep me awake all night!"   @Wayfarer
    • [Clara and Jacob, under the Moon]   "Roughing It? I will remember that if ever I should spot it someplace," Clara declared. Then at his mention of her employer she had an idea.    Jacob shrugged. “Well, we might have very different tastes, but I don’t think you know if you’ll like something unless you try it one time.” He was presumably talking about literature.   "Say, I will ask her if she would mind if you borrow a few of her books, that is if you interested. I am quite confident she would not refuse, she is most generous that way. Just make sure you are responsible enough to return them once you have finished them."   The rustic lad shook his head almost dolefully. “No need to worry there, I do hate to borrow anything.” He revealed. “Be it as small as a tack, it sort of weighs heavy on my soul until it’s returned to its rightful owner. It’s like old adage: ‘Never a lender nor borrower be’. I’ll never be a debtor if I can help it, that’s one good thing.” The very idea of being in debt seemed to revolt his very soul. “New books to read are the one exception, that’s the one forbidden fruit that I’m tempted enough to borrow.”   His early listing of activities sounded very much like some typical boy, Wyatt would approve of any of them. Well, until he got to the part about being enthralled by staring up into the stars.  And he expressed it quite elegantly too.   "Well said, Jacob," she sincerely complimented him.    He shook his head a little in surprise at the compliment. When you talked about something as beautiful as the night sky, or the majestic scenery of Northern Montana, or a girl like Clara Redmond, well, it was hard not to wax poetical.   "So, Jacob Lutz, a poet? You are quite the unique young fellow I must say. Although it does seem rather a waste of time and effort if you simply destroy them rather than share with a reader. Perhaps they are quite good, people might just enjoy them?"   He frowned a little at that idea. “I doubt that. And I certainly wouldn't enjoy anyone reading them. It’d be like …” he searched for a suitable embarrassing simile “… being stripped naked and paraded down Main Street!” He smiled at that. “No, I think the hogs enjoy them more than any potential reader of the things, anyway.”   "Well, we do not have hogs although Father has expressed an interest someday in purchasing a few. And no, I have never attempted to write poetry. I do not think I would be very good at it anyhow. Although...."she paused then continued, "I would someday like to read at least one of yours. Perhaps you might wrote a poem about me? I would be honored of course."   “What makes you think that I haven’t already?” he grinned sheepishly, before adding “I didn’t feed those ones to the hogs. I can assure you. Mind you, though, they’re pretty well hid!”   He quickly moved on from the subject, feeling a little exposed.   “And how about you, Clara?  I know that you like to read, too. But, well, if you had a whole day off of work, how would you spend it?” he asked by way of enquiry about her pastimes.   @Wayfarer
    • Caroline took in the place, noting the long bar with a not to be scoffed at selection of bottled liquors displayed on the shelves behind it then the dozen or so tables scattered about.  Ahh yes, and even more crucial at least regarding her future employment, there was a piano in the far corner and a small stage too. Perfect! She liked it already.   Now there were a few customers within. At one table two old men were playing cards, half drained beer glasses keeping them company as they studied their cards. Another man, a cowpoke, leaned up against the bar, conversing with a bearded bartender. Could that be Mr.....Mr...Flandry, yes she was pretty sure that was the name. As for the woman owner, no woman was currently in sight.   Not quite true, there was a girl now eying her, she had paused in scrubbing the floor. At least the business tried to keep their place cleaner than some joints she had been in.  The young missie did not look pleased for some reason.   “Hotel’s over there!” she pointed in the general direction of the Belle-St. Regis before folding her arms and frowning .   "I know, I can read signs, child," Caroline smirked.   She then turned to address the bartender who by then was aware of her presence as apparently were all the men in the place. She was used to be gawked it, didn't bother her none.   "Excuse me, mister but is the owner of this fine establishment present? I am eager to tell her the good news," she smiled confidently.     Ralph paused then replied, "She is upstairs. Good news you say, miss?"   "Oh indeed, I can't wait to meet her. Her search for an entertainer is over. I'm here! " Caroline announced.   Ralph had to break into a bit of a smile himself at this bubbly and bold young woman, "You don't say? And you would be....?"   "I am Caroline....Caroline Mundee, and if I wasn't so modest I would add 'simply the finest saloon singer west of the Mississippi.' And if you don't believe me, you will once you hear me sing."  
    • [Clara and Jacob, under the Moon]   The boy certainly seemed quite sincere and enthusiastic about books and reading. Clara was impressed. It also proved something. City folk sometimes seemed to think farm people were ignorant rustics and she never liked that attitude.   "Roughing It? I will remember that if ever I should spot it someplace," Clara declared. Then at his mention of her employer she had an idea.   "Say, I will ask her if she would mind if you borrow a few of her books, that is if you interested. I am quite confident she would not refuse, she is most generous that way. Just make sure you are responsible enough to return them once you have finished them."   Clara of course had been diligent and punctual about a quick turnaround when she borrowed volumes from the kindly woman.   She then inquired about the sort of things he did for what bits of leisure time he might have between farm work, fun activities as it were. Yes, even she had occasions where she indulged in a bit of fun. Life did not have to be all work.   His early listing of activities sounded very much like some typical boy, Wyatt would approve of any of them. Well, until he got to the part about being enthralled by staring up into the stars.  And he expressed it quite elegantly too.   "Well said, Jacob," she sincerely complimented him.   But then he added a revelation she would never have guessed. Poetry. He wrote poetry?! At first it sounded hard to believe but on second thought what with all his love of books and his suprisingly impressive way of speaking, it did make sense.   "So, Jacob Lutz, a poet? You are quite the unique young fellow I must say. Although it does seem rather a waste of time and effort if you simply destroy them rather than share with a reader. Perhaps they are quite good, people might just enjoy them?"   The reality was, in fact she had declared such to Miss Emeline when they discussed books and yes, poetry, that she personally did not like poetry. It seemed foolish and held no interest for her. Still, she was not about to admit that to Jacob. In this particular case just MAYBE, she might peruse his work and approve.  Now her own favorite pastime, though granted she seldom got to do it, now seemed much more mundane. She liked to swim in the small lake just off their farm property. Nothing was more refreshing after a stretch of hard labor on a hot summer day.   "Well, we do not have hogs although Father has expressed an interest someday in purchasing a few. And no, I have never attempted to write poetry. I do not think I would be very good at it anyhow. Although...."she paused then continued, "I would someday like to read at least one of yours. Perhaps you might wrote a poem about me? I would be honored of course."        

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[Captain Barlow & Bridget Monahan]

 

The young woman was obviously a mix of  nervousness and happiness. The best Benjamin figured he could do was dance with her and try and put her at ease, let her enjoy herself. He wondered if she had family in attendance this night and if perhaps her parents or siblings might be keeping a watch over her from a distance. As they began to dance, those thoughts drifted off and he concentrated on the simple steps involved in this basic waltz. She had no trouble with it so it must have been slow enough to fit her request. Good.

 

She suddenly inquired in almost a whisper, “You fight injuns?”  

 

"Yes, on occasion. It is part of the job, miss," he nodded but kept his answer simple enough.

 

He decided to ask her a question then and hope she did not think him prying, "So do you live in town or on one of the ranches, farms?"

 

She looked like a town person if he had to guess.

 

 

 

 

 

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[Bridget and Benjamin]

 

She suddenly inquired in almost a whisper, “You fight injuns?”  

 

"Yes, on occasion. It is part of the job, miss," he nodded but kept his answer simple enough.

 

Bridget stared up at him in wonderment. Brendan was handsome and fun, but this man was a hero! Fought Injuns, he did. Probably killed them and everything! She tightened her hold on him slightly, got a little closer. There was something safe and dependable about his big strong arms around her as they danced.

 

He decided to ask her a question then and hope she did not think him prying, "So do you live in town or on one of the ranches, farms?"

 

She understood the question. She knew what a ranch was. It was where they kept lots of cows and horses and cowboys. She just had to get over her speech impediment. It took her a couple of gulps to get those ever-elusive words to the front of her mouth.

 

“Live in old … funeral parlor.” She eventually managed to get out. It was hardly the acme of sparkling conversation.

 

After a few more one-two-three-one-two-threes she stammered out “You at fort?” She took a deep breath, all this talking was a bit exhausting.

 

Actually, all of a sudden, she felt a little light headed, but she fought through it; she was tough, in her own frilly, lacey way: and this was wonderful, she wouldn't let it end. 

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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[Clara Redmond, Jacob Lutz and Arabella Mudd]

 

"Enjoy standin' around, then!"

 

Brendan’s parting words, probably spoken more in frustration than real malice, had died away as Arabella ran up to Clara dragging behind her a gangly looking youth who was clearly straight off of the farm. Oh sure, he’d managed to fashion some kind of semi-respectable rig-out from his Sunday best and his sister had even managed to fix him up a necker-tie out of some ribbon; and the slickum on his hair made his cow-lick stay in place so firm that even a hurricane would be hard pressed to  budge it.

 

“Clara! Clara!” puffed the Virginian girl as she led in the lugubrious stringbean of a youth.

 

“Clara! Keep this’n warm fer me will ya?! He don’t say much but he dances like the Devil!” she beamed excitedly “I gotta go pee…owder ma nose!” she explained breathlessly, giving the impression that, if it hadn’t been for so pressing a concern, she would have carried on dancing with lad all night.

 

She span as she left them, though, remembering Clara’s taste for following the strict punctilios of society; in other words, she thought she’d better introduce them. She pointed at each of them, and carried on walking backwards, announcing: “Clara – Hayseed; Hayseed – Clara. See ya!” She giggled as she turned and hot footed it to the makeshift ‘powder room’.

 

The boy looked at Clara with an open smile, and why wouldn’t he: she was beautiful! He held out his hand by way of invitation to dance.

 

“Lutz, Miss Redmond, Jacob Lutz. May I … beg the pleasure of the next dance?” he asked simply and with the kind of slow drawl that gave the impression that he didn’t do anything in a rush.

 

But he knew her name already.  Course he did. Clara Redmond, the sensible and pretty girl who worked at the pie shop and whose Pa owned that homestead slap bang in the middle of the two biggest, fussinest, feudinist ranches in the area.

 

It was the sensible and pretty bit that was the important part, though.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Charlie and Brendan at the Beer Tent...

 

Charlie was already on to his second beer by the time Brendan showed up.  After a quick search, he had found two of his fellow Lost Lake co-workers on their way to the tent.  Each of them were ruminating about how fickled women could be and he couldn't agree more.  His brothers Mike and Matt were having no problems with the opposite sex tonight, so he couldn't go and complain to them, so these were it.

 

The three of them were discussing how women could say one thing and mean another when they were interrupted.  Charlie turned to Brendan and smiled.  In a way he was glad to hear that Brendan had lucked out with Clara as well.  "Sorry to hear that but I could've told you that from experience.  She's a hard girl to get know and you've got to be extra careful what you say around her.  It's a guessing game all the time where she's concerned."

 

@Bailey

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[Bridget and Benjamin]

 

She seemed to have to gather herself before answering his question, “Live in old … funeral parlor.”

 

Alright so the veteran officer hadn't expected that answer but sure, maybe her family, took advantage of a good price on the building and made it a residence as opposed to a business. Still, he wouldn't push that topic for details. She did not seem to be the 'details' sort.

 

"Ah, interesting," he nodded with a smile.

 

A moment later into the dance steps, she decided on a quick question, "You at fort?"

 

"Yes I do, I live wherever the army assigns me and for now it is at the fort," he immediately answered then thought he would amplify the reply, "You see when you sign on to the army, you can expect to move around an awful lot. I have been in many forts and outposts in my military life. You certainly do get to see the country in this career. Though you don't get any choices of destination, you go where they tell you to. It is not a good situation if one has a family especially children which is why many  soldiers are not married."

 

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[Clara and Jacob Lutz, quick appearance by Arabella]

 

Clara heard Brendan's parting rejoinder, she supposed he expected she would regret leaving the young man's company as if he was so entertaining. He was certainly handsome, she would give him that. But there was far more than good looks in her opinion.

She did not call back a response but returned to the bakery table, it was by then sorely depleted, most of the goods having been eaten. That was a good thing, it meant Emeline and her had done well, people liked their efforts.  For a moment she considered partaking of one the last slices of pie remaining. But that was before Arabella showed up.

 

“Clara! Clara!” puffed the Virginian girl as she led in the lugubrious stringbean of a youth.

 

She turned to see her friend with a tall young fellow she did not know. Being he was seemingly at least around her age, Clara felt sure she would have remembered it had she seen him around town?  But as she eyed the boy, nope!

 

“Clara! Keep this’n warm fer me will ya?! He don’t say much but he dances like the Devil!” she beamed excitedly “I gotta go pee…owder ma nose!”

 

Keep him warm? What on earth?  But it was Arabella and that could mean anything at all, she was used to the other girl's eccentricities by now.

 

"Alright," she nodded a bit confused and by then the other girl was heading off to do her necessaries. Well almost, she spun about.

 

“Clara – Hayseed; Hayseed – Clara. See ya!” She giggled as she turned and hot footed it away.

 

Clara now turned to the boy, "I highly doubt your actual name is Hayseed."  He wasn't exactly the classic sort of handsome but he did have a nice smile.

 

“Lutz, Miss Redmond, Jacob Lutz. May I … beg the pleasure of the next dance?” he asked simply and with a kind of slow drawl.

 

He knew her last name? Well, Arabella probably told him that much. Still it was nice.

 

"Jacob Lutz, then. I like the name Jacob, quite Biblical," Clara declared then realized he had made a request of her and she needed to answer.

 

The dance had already started, it was a nice sedate waltz. Well, she had came here to this social to dance so she was certainly inclined to accept his offer but..............she did not wish to offend Arabella. Still, by the time the girl was done with her...well..and then came back, the dance would already be mostly finished.

 

"Why yes, Jacob, I would like that. Thank you for asking," the brunette nodded as she agreed with her own rather reserved smile.

 

clara-all-dressed-up.gif

 

 

 

 

 

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[Bridget and Benjamin]

 

She seemed to have to gather herself before answering his question, “Live in old … funeral parlor.”

 

“Ah, interesting," he nodded with a smile.

 

Bridget nodded, wide eyed and enthusiastically at this observation.

 

“Still got coffins!” she confided in his ear. It was true: amongst the other bric-a-brac in the abandoned premises there were two coffins, one very large and one very small, that had never found suitable occupants. As a body who many times during her vagrant childhood, had spent a lot of time feeling empty in side, both emotionally and in purely gastric terms, she had sot of sympathised with them. Mr Fa had made a great fuss about the bad luck that would ensue if they broke them up like Lorenzo wanted to, so they’d kept them. The big one acted as a sort of bench to sit on, and the little one Mr Fa kept the fresh veg in.

 

A moment later into the dance steps, she decided on a quick question, "You at fort?"

 

"Yes I do, I live wherever the army assigns me and for now it is at the fort," he immediately answered then thought he would amplify the reply.

 

Bridget tipped her head with interest. That’s how she felt. Wherever the men in her life had wanted her to go, she had to go with them.

 

"You see when you sign on to the army, you can expect to move around an awful lot. I have been in many forts and outposts in my military life. You certainly do get to see the country in this career. Though you don't get any choices of destination, you go where they tell you to. It is not a good situation if one has a family especially children which is why many soldiers are not married."

 

The girl didn’t know much about soldiers, only that they fought Injuns and in some olden days they used to fight each other, and in those days some wore grey uniforms and some wore blue ones and the blue ones won. And what if a soldier did get married; would the Mrs. soldier have to wear a uniform too? She had seen Arabella wearing an army uniform that she had made herself. Maybe she was intending to wed a General.

 

Well, maybe marrying a soldier wouldn’t be too bad; she wouldn’t mind having to wear a uniform if her husband was as big and handsome as this Captain. Ooops! She’d forgotten all about Brendan for a while there. She felt sort of guilty, even though any loyalty towards the handsome cowboy was completely in her own head ... or heart. She was already finding that Romance was quite a complicated affair when you started paddling in its murky waters: she’d have to ask Arabella for advice on it all: apparently, Ara’ was the biggest expert on affairs of the heart in the whole of unoccupied Virginia.

 

She swayed happily with the music and enjoyed the strong arms holding her and beamed a pretty smile.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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[Clara and Lutz]

 

"Jacob Lutz, then. I like the name Jacob, quite Biblical," Clara declared then realized he had made a request of her and she needed to answer.

 

Lutz nodded in agreement. He almost made a quip about that being the ‘genesis’ of the name: but figured she would only get it if she was the religious type, and if she was the religious type, she might approve of quips. As in most situations in life, nothing was just about the best thing for a body to say at this particular juncture.

 

"Why yes, Jacob, I would like that. Thank you for asking," the brunette nodded as she agreed with her own rather reserved smile.

 

The gangly seventeen year old smiled that toothy but genuine smile again and proffered an arm whose sleeve was a little too short and showed a mite more of his wrist and even his lower arm than it ought. Oh well, at least his jacket matched his pants, which a growth spurt two years ago had rendered into either long shorts or perhaps short longs. Arabella had laughed her hat off when she’d first seen them that night, ‘Say Hayseed, who’s died? Yer trousers are flyin’ at half-mast!’ was her less than kind comment.

 

Yep, he knew he looked as ridiculous and bumpkinesque as Clara looked beautiful and sophisticated: but he reckoned if they were dancing close, she couldn’t see a great deal of him anyway. He couldn’t see much of her either, of course, but if there was one thing finer than looking a pretty girl, it was holding one in your arms.

 

The music was already underway, but Arabella’s promise vis-a-vis Jacob's dancing prowess held true, and the rustic Romeo gently but firmly led the lovely Miss Redmond into the waltz with no mean amount of panache – many years spent as his older sisters’ captive parlor dancing partner paying bigger dividends tonight than those doled out by the Comstock silver mine.

 

He waited until they’d done a once-around before he ventured to make conversation.

 

“You certainly are a beautiful dancer, Miss Redmond.” He intoned casually, almost like he was speaking to himself and had just accidentally let slip out what he was thinking.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Brendan and Charlie

 

Brendan had interrupted Charlie and the two Lost Lake hands, but they had just been talking about the same thing he had experienced - the fickleness of women. Charlie seemed sympathetic, but not overly so. 

 

"Sorry to hear that but I could've told you that from experience.  She's a hard girl to get know and you've got to be extra careful what you say around her.  It's a guessing game all the time where she's concerned."

 

"I don't like guessin' games," he muttered, taking a swig of his beer. "And it doesn't help that I'm...well..." He glanced at the other two Lost Lake hands, weighed the odds that the men weren't drunk enough yet to take his next words as a challenge, and went on. "...that I'm with Evergreen."

 

He probably shouldn't have said that, but he had said it and what was done was done. He tipped the beer toward his lips again. If he was going to get into a fight, he wanted get as much beer in him as he could before the fight started.

 

It didn't occur to him to look around to see if any other Evergreen hands were within hollering distance if a fight did start. Being just a cowhand rather than a gunhand made him something of an outsider on the ranch, but there was a good chance the other hands would be more than happy to come to his aid if something did get started. But like most men, and young men, Brendan wasn't thinking about calling for help unless he absolutely needed it.

 

@JulieS

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Leah & Jonah

 

“The point is, it’s progress. Of course who knows how long it will take the railroad to come through here, it might be years off, but the need for a hospital, that will be the sooner the better. People just don’t realize that as yet, but, they will. That, my dear Jonah, is why we will build it first.”

 

"We should try to figure out where the tracks will run and start buying up land," Jonah suggested with a chuckle, then shrugged.  "Pity we can't see into the future."  They could make a killing, but then, he figured they wouldn't be the only ones speculating, and if you didn't have the funds for a little bribe, then the tracks very well may bypass you completely.

 

“Now, since we’ve solved the town’s problems, perhaps we should go back inside and join the festivities. You know, wives to meet, others to socialize with, that sort of thing.”

 

"Of course."  Grinning, Jonah raised his voice a couple octaves.  "We must play nice with the Wednesday Afternoon Tea Clutch to win their favor."  He laughed.  "I'll make my best tea biscuits and lace them with just a little rum!"

 

While conning and conniving were needed to achieve great success in business, Jonah had neither taste nor aptitude for politics, even at a local level. 

 

"I'd be more than happy to play the roguish, mysterious doctor for you, and I will stay prudently silent."

 

@Flip

 

 

 

 

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[Bridget and Benjamin]

 

"Still got coffins," she informed him.

 

"Is that so," Benjamin had no idea what to say about that little detail.

 

He tried to hopefully give her a glimpse into the army life at least when it came to moving a lot and going wherever they were sent. She seemed an eager listener.  And she definitely was enjoying the dance by the look on her face. He was making her very happy it seemed and he was glad of it. So for the moment Benjamin did not try and push the conversation but merely settled for the silent enjoyment of the dance.  It was relaxing and he had this feeling soon enough as campaign season got underway, this summer's operations might well result in some fighting. So he might as well enjoy himself while he could.

 

 

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Brendan and Charlie

 

Under normal circumstances, someone mentioning that they worked for Evergreen would have riled most Lost Lake hands but not tonight.  At the mention of Evergreen, Charlie could see that one of his co-workers wanted to say something but a tap on the shoulder from the other hand stopped him.

 

Charlie nodded and turned to Brendan, "Well, you're in luck.  Ordinarily my friends would take offence at the mere mention of Evergreen but we have a more important reason that requires us to be on our best behaviour.  So you won't be getting any arguments from us."

 

"Sounds good to me and by my reckoning you haven't got much time left to cash in Charlie."

 

Looking at the newcomer, he smiled,  "No, I guess not.  Mike was right, I was too optimistic."  Once again he turned to address Brendan, "This here is Marty Smith. Marty this is Brendan"

 

Marty held out his hand to Brendan, "Can't say it's a pleasure meeting an Evergreen hand, so I'll let it pass for now."

 

One of the other hands left to go and get some more beer for the group.  When he returned he handed out a beer to each of the other three. Lifting up his glass, he smiled, "Here's to the temporary truce between Evergreen and Lost Lake."

 

"Hear, hear," Charlie answered before taking another drink.  There was something he wanted to ask the Evergreen man and so after taking another sip of his beer he did.  "Say Brendan, how did you come to meet Clara anyway?"

 

@Bailey

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[Clara and Jacob]

 

The gangly seventeen year old smiled that toothy but genuine smile again and proffered an arm whose sleeve was a little too short and showed a mite more of his wrist and even his lower arm than it ought.

 

Clara let him escort her out to the dance floor, not going too deeply though since the dance was already in progress. On most times Clara would have noticed his ill fitting wardrobe but not this evening. Instead she was studying the lad himself. Arabella had called him 'hayseed' which only added to her own assumption the boy was a farmer.  So they had that in common. Truthfully she had about quite enough of know it all cowboys.

 

Once out onto the floor they quickly assumed the proper positions and joined on in, blending in without any issues. He knew what he was doing alright. Arabella had said he could dance 'like the devil' was it? Nothing devilish about it, to her mind. She was quite pleased.

 

He waited until they’d done a once-around before he ventured to make conversation.

 

“You certainly are a beautiful dancer, Miss Redmond.” He intoned casually.

 

"Why thank you," she was glad to hear it and returned the compliment, "You are too."

 

Wait! That needed a bit of fixing she suddenly realized, "I do not mean beautiful. But....elegant. You dance superbly. " She was quite certain boys did not want to be called 'beautiful'.

 

"Oh and please call me Clara....Jacob," she added - Miss and Mister sounded so formal. This was just supposed to be fun.

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Leah & Jonah

 

“The point is, it’s progress. Of course who knows how long it will take the railroad to come through here, it might be years off, but the need for a hospital, that will be the sooner the better. People just don’t realize that as yet, but, they will. That, my dear Jonah, is why we will build it first.”

 

"We should try to figure out where the tracks will run and start buying up land," Jonah suggested with a chuckle, then shrugged.  "Pity we can't see into the future."  They could make a killing, but then, he figured they wouldn't be the only ones speculating, and if you didn't have the funds for a little bribe, then the tracks very well may bypass you completely.


“Jonah, the right of ways have already been purchased and are what has been gifted to Kalispell, although I’m thinking it’s the Town Council, or rather, certain members who believe they were gifted to them personally.” She reminded him. “Though, I might say, there is prime property that can be had at the right of ways edge.”


This had gone so badly with the judge and perhaps others on the council, so far, that she could see buying up the land that would best serve for the depot, warehousing and such. She would hold onto those thoughts.
 

“Now, since we’ve solved the town’s problems, perhaps we should go back inside and join the festivities. You know, wives to meet, others to socialize with, that sort of thing.”

 

"Of course."  Grinning, Jonah raised his voice a couple octaves.  "We must play nice with the Wednesday Afternoon Tea Clutch to win their favor."  He laughed.  "I'll make my best tea biscuits and lace them with just a little rum!"


Leah laughed at the thought. “I’m quite sure that would never do, though I do appreciate the offer, Sir.
 

While conning and conniving were needed to achieve great success in business, Jonah had neither taste nor aptitude for politics, even at a local level.

 

"I'd be more than happy to play the roguish, mysterious doctor for you, and I will stay prudently silent."


“I believe the town is well aware of who and what you are Jonah Danforth, there’ll be no need of playing at it.” She offered her hand, “Come, let’s see what mischief we can create.”

 

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As he walked away, trying not to look like he was in a huge rush, he thought about Crabs offer. Greed had gotten him in this tight spot in the first place. He should never accept dodgy offers again. If only he had searched for honest work, instead of hoping to make a quick dollar by taking it from others. It had always felt wrong but not wrong enough to stay away from it and now he was paying for it. Jay deserved it. He didn't deserve Addy or a happy life with her.

 

His thoughts darkened as his steps became quicker. At his small place he unlocked the door and then started gathering his few belongings to throw them all in the canvas bag, that he had used to bring them from Addy's place to his own. There wasn't much, just some clothes, some tools, his blanket and pillow, a book and some soap and a brush and tooth brush.

 

Then he sat down on his bed, staring at the bag.

He wished he had never gone to that darn dance and the old lady hadn't seen him. Perhaps she was already telling the good town folks, what he had done. And then Addy would know it's true because she had seen his bullet wound.

In despair he put his head in his hands.

 

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[Clara and Jacob]

 

“You certainly are a beautiful dancer, Miss Redmond.” He intoned casually.

 

"Why thank you," she was glad to hear it and returned the compliment, "You are too."

 

“Oh, I don’t know about that.” He smiled modestly and perhaps a little shyly.

 

Wait! That needed a bit of fixing she suddenly realized, "I do not mean beautiful. But....elegant. You dance superbly. " She was quite certain boys did not want to be called 'beautiful'.

 

“Having two sisters who are crazy about the pastime will do that to a feller, Miss Redmond.” he explained, and indeed he had spent many an evening waltzing and polka-ing with his sisters, him as their unwilling partner. It had seemed like an ungodly waste of his time when he was younger; but, by crikey, it was sure paying dividends now!

 

"Oh and please call me Clara....Jacob," she added - Miss and Mister sounded so formal. This was just supposed to be fun.

 

“All right… Clara.” He said, a little self-consciously, then laughed a little. “Clara, Clara, Clara. That’s certainly a pretty name. Like Clara Barton! Except she isn’t pretty like you; she’s more … ‘admirable’.”

 

Oh, oh, that sounded like she wasn’t! “Course, you’re pretty and admirable!” he added, then shook his head, laughing at his own embarrassment.

 

“Sorry Miss R... Clara, I’m talking too much; just nervous I guess!”

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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 [Bridget and Benjamin and Arabella]

 

Bridget basked in the sensation of being waltzed around the dance floor by the big strong Army Captain with the black moustache and the fascinatingly changeable hazel eyes. They didn’t speak much: he was the strong, silent type, and she was the type who has a speech disorder, to put it bluntly. But it was wonderful and, sadly, over all too soon. The band was displaying a pattern: they’d play a slow waltz, a fast polka and then a country style dance with a caller: the next dance would be out of her league.

 

No matter, as the dance drew to a close, and Bridget stammered an assurance in the Captain’s ear that  “it was nice”, a somewhat more loquacious and insistent voice sounded right beside them.

 

“She can’t dance the next ‘un 'cause it’s too fast, so how about takin’ me for a spin, Cap’n?!” grinned Arabella, looking up at the Cavalry officer. She was back from the improvised ‘powder room’ outside the barn, and she was looking for a new partner. Bridget looked pleased to see her, even if she was ‘cutting in’.

 

“Come on Cap, be a sport – there’s a feller here I’m all besotted over, and I wanna make him jealous. Seein’ me being thrown around the hall by a big ol’ handsome brute like you ought to do the trick!” she reasoned. If this wasn’t enough of an enticement, she informed him that “An’ ‘sides, I’m well known to be the best dancer in all unoccupied Virginia, ain’t I Bridg’?” and Bridget looked at Captain Barlow and nodded, in her usual wide eyed way. She happened to know that that assertion was true: Arabella had told her so herself.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
  • Made Me Laugh! 1

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In despair he put his head in his hands.

 

Perhaps, in that moment of deep, dark despair, one of God’s Angels in Heaven, might have looked down and taken pity on the poor Englishman: a man trying so hard to turn his life around; to steer his once crooked path onto the straight and narrow; to atone for past wrongs.

 

No such luck.

 

There was a sharp rap on the window, and the screeching voice of a harpy, spawned from the depths of some hellish pit.

 

“Ryker! Jay Ryker!! I know your name now and I know exactly who you are! Let me in! Let me in do you hear? Or I’m a headin’ straight to the Sheriff’s office ‘n tell him exactly who and WHAT you are my fancy English friend. Come on! Chop, chop! Nellie Miggins don’t repeat herself twice for any man, especially no low down dirty bank robber and murderer and arsonist and whatever the Dickens other sinful wickedness you been up to! And don’t try anything fancy, I’m armed!”

 

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Brendan and Charlie

 

So it looked like his admission of being an Evergreen hand wasn't quite as incendiary as he thought it would be...but Charlie made it clear that there was some reason that he and the other Lost Lake hands weren't ready to jump him just because he rode for the Steelgraves.

 

Then Charlie introduced him to one of the other hands. Brendan was curious as to what the Lost Lake hands were cashing in on (and if he could cash in, too), and why they were on their best behavior, but he didn't have a chance to ask as Marty held out his hand to Brendan. "Can't say it's a pleasure meeting an Evergreen hand, so I'll let it pass for now."

 

Brendan grinned and shook Marty's hand. At least he seemed to have a sense of humor. "What's that saying? Better the devil you know? Well, now you know me."

 

One of the other Lost Lake hands came back with another round of beers for them. Brendan accepted the beer and the toast: "Here's to the temporary truce between Evergreen and Lost Lake."

 

"Hear, hear," he echoed Charlie, raising his glass and taking a large swig from it.

 

But then Charlie asked how he had met Clara. Well, that was one story he didn't want to repeat tonight. He didn't know quite what sort of relationship the Redmonds had with Lost Lake, but if Clara had danced with Charlie it couldn't be too bad. And in that case he didn't want to admit that he had been involved - sort of - in Clara's almost getting shot.

 

"Well...it's a long story..." he took a drink before continuing. "Really not worth tellin'. But what's this here thing you're cashin' in on? Can I get in on it?" He leaned closer. If the story had to come out, it had to come out. But if he could distract Charlie from his goal, then he would.

 

@JulieS

 

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[Clara and Jacob]

 

Ahh, so he had sisters, yes that might make sense then he was an accomplished dancer. Clara nodded comprehension then suggested they call each other by their Christian names. He was happy to oblige.

 

“All right… Clara.” He said, a little self-consciously, then laughed a little. “Clara, Clara, Clara. That’s certainly a pretty name. Like Clara Barton! Except she isn’t pretty like you; she’s more … ‘admirable’.”

 

"Well, I could hardly hope to compete with such a wonderful heroic woman as Miss Barton. I also had no real say in my name, that was my mother's decision but I am content with it," Clara opined.

 

He must have suddenly worried he had said the wrong thing, “Course, you’re pretty and admirable!”  then shook his head, laughing at his own embarrassment.

 

“Sorry Miss R... Clara, I’m talking too much; just nervous I guess!”

 

"Please do not be nervous. I think you are doing just splendidly if perhaps a tad too enthusiastic on the compliments but I have to admire your effort," Clara smiled.

 

"Thank you for the 'pretty'...but you do not really know me to decide I am 'admirable' though I appreciate the sentiment."

 

Suddenly the girl decided to be pro-active and made a quick request, "Say, when the dance is finished would you like to talk? Nothing special just a nice conversation?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[Bridget, Benjamin, and Arabella]

 

The two finished up the stately waltz with Bridget declaring in that soft voice of hers  "It was nice." Benjamin nodded in agreement, "It was. I enjoyed it, thank you for allowing me the dance."

 

That was barely out when another young female voice piped up though this one was far more audible and confident sounding.

 

"She can’t dance the next ‘un 'cause it’s too fast, so how about takin’ me for a spin, Cap’n?!”

 

Benjamin glanced at the new speaker, "Oh, are you her sister?"   They certainly did not look like sisters but then that did not play out in many families. But he was still curious about poor Bridget's family, one that lived in a home with coffins.

 

"Come on Cap, be a sport – there’s a feller here I’m all besotted over, and I wanna make him jealous. Seein’ me being thrown around the hall by a big ol’ handsome brute like you ought to do the trick!” the girl reasoned. If this wasn’t enough of an enticement, she informed him that “An’ ‘sides, I’m well known to be the best dancer in all unoccupied Virginia, ain’t I Bridg’?”

 

Well, this was a bold one, full of schemes and confidence. How old was this girl anyhow? She looked twelve, not that he was any expert on young people. He had once complimented another officer on his 'wife' only to have the man frown and state the lady spoken of was in fact his daughter. Guesses ages of women was tricky.

 

"Well, does this so called 'feller' have a strong temper for I would not like to be a participant in some sort of disturbance?" he cautioned but with a smile, "Jealousy can be a strong emotion you know, miss."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The rap on the window made him spin around and almost scream. His heart lept in his throat as he expected the sheriff at his door step. Instinctively he opened the drawer of the kitchen cup board and reached for the gun in there.

When he heard the old high pitched screechy voice throwing out threads he suddenly had all the more reason for the weapon in his hand.

She knew much more than he initially thought she did. How on earth did she know about the bank?

 

And she said she was armed. That part Jay didn't doubt for a second. After all the last time he saw her she had left him with a memorable scar.

He snuk to the door and decided to open it. Standing with his shoulder at the wall next to it, he let her in but was sure to point his gun at her head.

"I don't know who you think I am but you got me mixed up with someone else."

He got very nervous now that she was so close. With one bullet he could end that problem, that was about to end his new life here in town.

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On 1/11/2021 at 1:47 PM, Brendan Connolly said:

"Well...it's a long story..." he took a drink before continuing. "Really not worth tellin'. But what's this here thing you're cashin' in on? Can I get in on it?" He leaned closer. If the story had to come out, it had to come out. But if he could distract Charlie from his goal, then he would.

Charlie was about to tell Brendan when one of the other Lost Lake hands came rushing over.  Taking a breath, he quickly said, "There's a bit ruckus over on the other side of the barn.  Jeb Maxwell and Shorty Tate are going at it over some woman."

 

Quickly pulling out his watch, Charlie took a look and a big grin came on his face, "I do believe that makes me the winner."

 

"Hang on a minute.  A ruckus and a fight aren't necessarily the same thing," Marty said,  "We got to get this confirmed."

 

"Well, you go get it confirmed and be ready with my money when you come back," Charlie replied, "I'll stay here with my friend, Brendan."

 

Marty nodded and motioned to the other three. "Let's go check this out."

 

After they had left, Charlie turned to Brendan, "While we wait I'd like to hear this long story of yours about Clara.  I get the feeling it wasn't a pleasant experience."

 

@Bailey

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[Granny Miggins and Jay Ryker]

 

He snuk to the door and decided to open it. Standing with his shoulder at the wall next to it, he let her in but was sure to point his gun at her head.

 

"I don't know who you think I am but you got me mixed up with someone else."

 

There was an almost maniacal cackle as she walked in from outside.

 

“D’ya think I was born’d yesterday, sonny?” the old crone asked as she walked through the door, pointing an ancient pistol out in front of her: she always carried one on her trips into Town and out again; injuns, you know. "How's your friend Curly, by the way?" she asked accusingly as she peered round. Then she caught sight of him: aiming a gun straight at her.

 

“Oooh, trying to bushwack me, eh?!” she accused, narrow eyed, before quickly turning her own gun in his direction with a triumphant shout of “Ah-ha! No one gets the drop on Granny!”

 

He could still easily have shot her in that instant, but she cackled again and lowering the pistol, shoved it in her apron pocket and helping herself to a chair. “Ah ha ha! You won’t shoot me! You haven’t got it in ya.” She almost chided him for not blowing her superannuated head off there and then. “I knew’d that when you broke into old Widow Jarvis's place back in Whitefish. You’re soft. Got no business being a bank robber in the first place.” She held up a hand before he denied that.

 

“Oh, don’t bother … I worked that out from the newspaper report … Tom Love’s Gang had an Englishman in it. Report said he was the one as shot that poor feller in cold blood, but I thought to m'self  ‘Nellie, that’s the boy you winged at Whitefish, an’ he couldn’t a shot a rabbit, let alone a human bean.'”

 

She cackled again, pleased with her own powers of deduction.

 

“Well, d’ya deny it?!” she demanded. “Or shall we go and ask the Sheriff if he thinks it adds up?”

 

@Jack

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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[Clara and Jacob]

 

“Sorry Miss R... Clara, I’m talking too much; just nervous I guess!”

 

"Please do not be nervous. I think you are doing just splendidly if perhaps a tad too enthusiastic on the compliments but I have to admire your effort," Clara smiled.

 

“I’ll try and put a damper on the compliments” he laughed “But when a feller’s dancing with the prettiest and most admirable woman in the room, it’s hard not to let a couple of them slip out, at least.” He said, promising not to compliment her in the most complimentary way he could think of. He hoped that his sister’s advice on how to impress a girl were as spot on as her dancing lessons. She had been pretty clear on the matter: compliment, compliment, compliment.

 

"Thank you for the 'pretty'...but you do not really know me to decide I am 'admirable' though I appreciate the sentiment."

 

He shrugged a little (a tricky operation, in the middle of a waltz) “Well now, everyone I know speaks so highly of  your manners and your accomplishments, and if I ever met anybody who didn’t, well, I wouldn’t want to know them anyway!” he philosophized.

 

Suddenly the girl decided to be pro-active and made a quick request, "Say, when the dance is finished would you like to talk? Nothing special just a nice conversation?"

 

“That’d be wonderful! If you can bear to talk to a feller that doesn’t know much about anything except raising crops and hunting.” He accepted with self-depreciating alacrity. “The only thing I know about besides that is the bible and a little astronomy.”

 

This was going somewhere.

 

“Did you notice the way the Moon is outside this evening?” he asked innocently.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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