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    • F. Falmer Browne was as impressed with Addy’s barn and selection of transportation impedimenta, including the draught animals who pulled the things as he was with Addy herself.   “Splendid! Splendid!” was all he could say as he peered about the place with a quick and intelligent eye. “A veritable Aladdin’s Cave!”   "Wagon's there," she nodded, "an' once ya check that over, I'll introduce ya to th' horses.  Ya got a saddle mount'a yer own?"  If he didn't have a horse, she could just bring Arabesque, the mare was accustomed to being ponied behind wagons.   The slightly eccentric older gentleman approached the vehicle in question, hands clasped behind his back, head bent forward slightly, in a pose of complete and curious absorption – as if he was seeing, for the fist time, some fabulous beast of lore. He ducked down, quite lithely for his age, and came up again smiling broadly at Addy, a look of supreme satisfaction on his face at the condition of Miss Chappel’s springs.   “May I?” he asked, indicating that he would like to climb up onto the land ship.   Whilst happily bouncing there, he answered her question about the horses. “Yes, I would like you to take care of all the arrangements around horses, equipment, even hiring another hand if you think it meet, Miss Chappel. I leave all in your hands, no expense spared.”   He was clearly very pleased with the bounce on the wagon as well that of its driver.   “You know, I have many times observed you, reins in hand, piloting this very vehicle. If it is not too impertinent of me, may I ask from whence you obtained these skills, so unusual in an attractive young lady?” the old masher asked.  
    • "Yes, Miss Clara."  Grinning, Weedy handed her the bread.  She was at that awkward age for a boy, that she was too old to refer to by her given name, but really wasn't so old as to be a 'Ma'am'!   "Miz Addy sent some bread," he explained, holding out the package, then telling Clara what he'd told Wyatt.  "She got it from the Lickskillet, so she didn't cook it."  He grinned.  "She makes black bread!  And then the whole room smells burnt for a week!"  It was safe to say that, since she wasn't here!   @Wayfarer
    • As unorthodox as she was, Addy wasn't adverse to having her chair held, nor a door opened, and to that end she gave Mr. Browne a chance to open the saloon doors for her.  But the big doors to the front of the barn were something else, and she took it on herself to push one of the huge pair aside, flooding the open breezeway with light and eliciting eager nickers from the barn's occupants.   "Wagon's there," she nodded, "an' once ya check that over, I'll introduce ya to th' horses.  Ya got a saddle mount'a yer own?"  If he didn't have a horse, she could just bring Arabesque, the mare was accustomed to being ponied behind wagons.   @Javia
    • "Marshal Guyer?  Of course."  Emeline smiled as she poured coffee.  "I guess that means you can have whatever you'd like."  While it didn't happen often, it wasn't unheard of that someone was sent over from the jail for a meal, and they usually took full advantage, ordering a steak and potatoes, then pie.  She didn't mind, she was always paid.   "Oh and say.....could I have  Little Miss Pigtails wait on me? I'd like ta talk to her?"   "Oh, I'm sorry, there's no one here by that name."  Emeline smiled sweetly, really wanting to pour hot coffee in the boy's lap!  "So, what can I get for you?"  Mister No Manners, she added silently in her head.   @Wayfarer  
    • She stopped, a rider was coming, it only took a moment to see that it was her Pa, she lowered the Henry. That was a normal reaction for her to begin to shoulder the weapon. A woman on her own should take no chances.   She was anxious to hear all about Kalispell and the people he had met while he was there. It would be like him to stock up on goods while he was there, unless there was a problem with his getting paid, which happened time to time. Though she was not one to wear anything fancy, she did like to know about what the women he saw were wearing. She had trained him to notice.   He came into the yard with the pack horse in tow, obviously with a load of groceries. He paused a moment, as he usually always did before dismounting.   "Dang McClellan, ain't near a s comfortable as it once was." He complained as he usually did. "Might have ta get me one of them modern high backs. Might make this old man feel a sight better."   "I'll believe it when I see it, Amos Conroy." She had heard that one before.   "Lotsa calico, seen lotsa calico, but did see a couple ladies in their finery, Not like we saw in Denver, but purty high-falutin just the same." He reported.   "Thanks Pa." She smiled as she spoke.   "Saved the best fer last. Never guess who I run onto in town." He waited, but she didn't take the bait. He led the horses to the corral where he tied them.  Alice began unpacking the supplies, each taking part of them and starting for the house. At what they call the Municipal Bulidin' sittin' in his office was the town Marshal." He paused, she glared at him. "Speed Guyer, badge an' all." Still she said nothing but went about what she was doing.  "You remember Captain Guyer?"   "Thought you'd like to know." He said to her silence.
Caroline Mundee

Starting All Over Again

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Mature Content: No

With: Addy, Caroline
Location:  Swan Lake Stagecoach Station (30 something miles from Kalispell)
When: May 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

 

 

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  Station master Gus Bell smiled as the front door opened and in walked Addy, his latest driver was now present so it was time for the stage to be on it's way. Now Addy was the lone woman who drove for the stage company but despite that supposed disadvantage, the truth was she was one of the most dependable drivers they had and besides, Gus liked her. Well, after he got past the fact she was female. Though a doubter at first, he judged folks by their deeds not words or appearances.

 

"Mornin' !  You got fine weather, that's fer sure. Not a cloud in the sky," he greeted her with a grin.

 

****

 

Sitting at a long table with benches on both sides were four passengers waiting until their journey could continue. A man, woman, with their two children, a boy and girl neither more than ten or so at first glance at least. All were quite well dressed, they had the look about them of being if not well to do at least of sufficient means. Their eyes went to Addy when she had entered and the adults at least showed a bit of confusion at the words the station master was greeting her with. As if to say  'now who on earth is that?', they obviously had no idea they were looking at their driver for the next stage of their trip, the ride to Kalispell.

 

****

 

Meanwhile as that little scene played out, there was one other passenger waiting for the ride also but she was outside leaning against the corral fence and seemingly just watching the horses. She too was quite well dressed though in a gaudy fashion with a bright red dress as opposed to the passengers inside in their more somber black and brown outfits. She had her hair up in a sort of bun, revealing earrings. No hat, which women were supposed to wear in public. A closer look would also reveal she wore eyeshadow and lipstick, the sort of thing proper ladies did not. That was for East coast actresses or an even coarser sort of certain immoral women gussied themselves up with. Even her fingernails were painted a bright red.

 

As for her age, hard to tell but most likely late teens to early twenties, she was of average height petite build, not to be considered a classic beauty but pretty enough. As she watched the milling horses, she had a small tin flask in one hand and would occasionally take a small sip from it. She seemed to have no escort, she certainly did not match up with the quartet of passengers inside the station.

 

@Bongo

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"Mornin' !  You got fine weather, that's fer sure. Not a cloud in the sky,"

 

"Mornin', Gus."  Addy nodded to the man, grinning as she pulled off her hat and hung it on a peg by the door, then crossed into the room to pour herself a cup of Gus' strong, hot coffee.  "Ride out was nice, mite chilly, though."  She'd ridden in from Kalispell on one of the company horses, and it still been dark when she'd left a few hours earlier, but the sun was out now, and warming up the day.

 

With a glance at the folks at the table, she took a drink of the coffee, then shook her head.  "Lordy, Gus, I swear yer tryin' ta grow hair on my chest!"  Winking at the kids, she laughed, then headed outside.  The looks the adults had given her were familiar, but she didn't care...she had the upper hand...either they accepted her as the driver or sat at the station for two days, waiting for the next coach.

 

"Gimme ten minutes an' we'll be on our way."  She nodded to the passengers then stepped outside again.  The luggage should already be loaded and the horses were hitched, but as the driver she was responsible for the coach, and while she trusted Gus, she was still going to look everything over to make sure it was right.

 

"Mornin'," she greeted the young woman standing on the porch, "we'll be leavin' in a bit, if ya need ta use th' outhouse."  She seemed an odd match to the family inside, and Addy allowed that the trip must have been pretty interesting so far.

 

"I'm Addy Chappel, I'll be yer driver."

 

@Wayfarer

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Some woman dressed like a man had entered the station house, Caroline definitely noted that unusual sight not that it bothered her. She was about the last person to judge someone either by their looks or clothing. She also saw that the young man had finished with securing the horses at the stage. It shouldn't be long now and they'd be leaving. So she screwed the top tight on her tin flask and shoved it inside a dress pocket then headed back to the building. She was on the porch when the door opened and out stepped that very same woman.

 

"Mornin', we'll be leavin' in a bit, if ya need ta use th' outhouse." 

 

"Already did so, thanks," Caroline nodded. We? Another passenger? So where was their new driver then?

 

"I'm Addy Chappel, I'll be yer driver."

 

That brought a raised eyebrow, but also a big smile as Caroline replied, "You don't say!  The Emden family is not going to be happy."

 

"And I'm Caroline, nice ta meet ya," she quickly added.

 

No sooner had she got that out when the station manager joined them out on the porch and made a point of shutting the door behind him so they had the porch to themselves.

 

"Oh good, both of you, I need to talk with you for a moment," he announced looking very solemn.

 

His gaze was straight on Addy though, "There seems to be a problem which needs settling before the stage can leave, Addy."

 

Caroline sighed, "The answer is NO. I'm not waitin' for the next stage, they can wait for the next one if they don't like it. My money is as good as theirs and I paid for passage."

 

"Calm down, miss. I need to talk to my driver here please," Gus pointed out, "Give her the run down here."

 

@Bongo

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"You don't say!  The Emden family is not going to be happy."

 

Addy shrugged and chuckled.  "They ain't got much choice."  The coach wasn't getting back to Kalispell without her, so if they wanted to get there they were going to have to accept that she was driving.

 

"And I'm Caroline, nice ta meet ya," she quickly added.

 

"Miz Caroline."  Grinning, Addy gave the girl a nod, wondering what it was about her that had impinged on the sensitivities of the Emden family.  She glanced at Gus as he came out.

 

"Oh good, both of you, I need to talk with you for a moment," he announced looking very solemn.

 

"Aw'right."  With the harness checked over, Addy walked closer to the man.

 

"There seems to be a problem which needs settling before the stage can leave, Addy."

 

Caroline sighed, "The answer is NO. I'm not waitin' for the next stage, they can wait for the next one if they don't like it. My money is as good as theirs and I paid for passage."

 

"Calm down, miss. I need to talk to my driver here please," Gus pointed out, "Give her the run down here."

 

Ah, so there was something going on between the passengers, and Addy hoped it wasn't as dramatic as it sounded.  Nothing like passengers who didn't get along, not that she cared if they argued amongst themselves, but they tended to harp on her, too, and she could do without that!

 

"Whacha need, Gus?"  Hopefully, it was going to be something easy.  "Ya comin' ta tell me th' Missus sent somm'a her fruit tarts along?"

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Bongo (see edit history)

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"Whacha need, Gus? Ya comin' ta tell me th' Missus sent somm'a her fruit tarts along?"

 

"Wish I was and nope, sorry, she hasn't made any recently. I shall endeavor to point that out to her tonight too, prod her along some," Gus smiled but then had to get down to business again.

 

"It seems the couple inside are very unhappy with the presence of this young woman sharing the passengers cabin with them. They complained that she is a bad influence on their children. And they demand that she stay behind and wait for the next coach to come thru."

 

Caroline snorted, "I'm not waiting for any next coach, paid for this same as them."

 

Gus put up his hand up as if to stay 'hang on' then continued with Addy.

 

"It is within company policy to deny a seat to customers who cause trouble but I do not think this rises to that category. So the lady here is within her rights to refuse to wait for another coach. I wonder, Addy, if she might sit up with you then?"

 

 

@Bongo

 

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While she would have been just as inclined to leave the family to wait, but she reckoned they'd learn soon enough that if they were going to get by out here they'd have to get used to oddities.  And Gus' proposition seemed like a good one, so she grinned.

 

"If th' lady is inclined, I'd be more'n happy ta let her ride with me."  While, yes, it was allowed by the company, it wasn't something that was often done, and so a great privilege, even if Miss Caroline didn't know that.  "I'll give her th' coach gun, an' she can fend off any banditos, since I don't got a shotgun rider this run!"

 

Of course, she was teasing, this close to Kalispell was a fairly safe leg of the trip, but wouldn't it give the Emden clan an eyeful!

 

@Wayfarer

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It took Caroline all of her self-control, not one of her strengths truth be told, to just stand there quietly while the pair of stage employees discussed this unfortunate situation. At least the station manager seemed reasonably sympathetic to her side of the story and also offered a possible solution of sorts. She then looked to the driver, a woman driver at that. Certainly that should tilt the score in her favor then?

 

"If th' lady is inclined, I'd be more'n happy ta let her ride with me." 

 

Caroline shrugged, "Well as damn bouncy as it was inside that contraption, it couldn't be any worse on top I suppose. Sure I'll do it."

 

  "I'll give her th' coach gun, an' she can fend off any banditos, since I don't got a shotgun rider this run!"

 

The young woman blinked then smiled, "Actually I have fired a gun or two in my day. I even  have a gun on me. One of them little derringers."

 

She then nodded, "Fine but if I end up having to shoot it out with bandits, I sure am gonna demand I get paid for it like any other stage employee."

 

Gus chuckled, "Don't worry, this is a safe stretch right up to Kalispell. You should have a quiet ride of it."

 

He then glanced at Addy, "I reckon I should tell those folks in there it's time to be leaving. Expect a few sour looks, Addy."

 

He opened the door and went back in, leaving the two women standing there on the porch then.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

 

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"Thanks fer th' warnin'," Addy chuckled, "I'll try not ta stick my tongue out at them!"

 

Then she looked back at Caroline and nodded.  "We do got some civilization out in these parts, but it's always good ta have some sorta protection."  One thing that truly riled her was women that weren't taught to defend themselves, or worse, them that were told that they should submit and not fight back.  It was good that Caroline seemed prepared in that way, she'd do fine in Kalispell.

 

"Go ahead an' climb on up there," Addy told her, then waited by the door, smiling sweetly and nodding to the family as they got in.  Once the door was secured, she clamored up to the box and sat beside Caroline, then gathered the ribbons between her fingers.

 

"Nice day ta be up top," she commented, "an' you'll get a better view of th' scenery.  If ya get cold, there's a blanket under th' seat.  Them front two lead horses are Hermia an' Helena , an' th' wheelers are Lysander and Demetrius."  She snapped the lines and the coach started moving forward.

 

@Wayfarer

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"We do got some civilization out in these parts, but it's always good ta have some sorta protection." 

 

"Alrighty then but I should point out if I kill me a stage robber that will bring my grand total to............one," Caroline quipped.

 

"Go ahead an' climb on up there," Addy told her.

 

"Fine," there was no hesitation in the young woman as she clambered on up and seated herself then awaited the rest of the passengers who were now emerging from the station.

 

Mr. Emden spotted that awful jezebel right off, sitting on top of the stage. Well, he had asked she not be allowed to accompany them at all but at least he and his family would not have to sit inside with her. He still had a sour look on his face but his wife tightened her grip on his arm as a signal to get his attention.

 

Both adults were definitely stunned to see that woman in man's clothing holding the stage door and smiling at them. My goodness, she wasn't the....?  They hesitated.

 

Gus called out from the porch, "Addy there is your driver til you reach Kalispell. She is an excellent driver and a valued employee. Have a good trip!"

 

The Emdens were for once at a loss for words as they one by one filed up and into the coach, the woman in particular casting a stern glare at Addy then putting up her nose and disappearing into the vehicle. The children actually were nonplussed about the whole situation.

 

Caroline only smirked at the little procession, holding her tongue but not without difficulty. The driver then joined her up in the seat and reached for the leads.

 

"Nice day ta be up top," Addy commented, "an' you'll get a better view of th' scenery.  If ya get cold, there's a blanket under th' seat.  Them front two lead horses are Hermia an' Helena , an' th' wheelers are Lysander and Demetrius."  She snapped the lines and the coach started moving forward.

 

"Ummm, sure whatever you say. They look like they should do the job," Caroline nodded as she eyed the horses. Being a city girl all her life, she wasn't much for horses. Never owned one and only rode one once. She fell off that time.

 

As the coach headed onto the dirt trail of a road, the jostling started once more, Caroline would be glad when this damn journey was over. For a lot of reasons but chiefly because her butt was sore.

 

"So Addy, can I be nosey and ask how you came to be a stage driver? That's gotta be a tale worth telling and I'm more than ready to hear it," Caroline glanced over to the woman.

 

@Bongo

 

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"Don't mind'ja bein' nosy, just don't wanna put ya ta sleep!"  Addy chuckled, relaxing in the seat as they turned on to the main road, the horses moving at a fast walk.  "Was born in Tennessee...place called 'Pigeon Forge', 'though I don't know as anyone ever forged any pigeons there!"  She gave out a bright laugh before continuing.  "Ma died when I was but a tyke, an' Pa did th' best he could fer a girl-child...well, an' I had seven older brothers, too, worked with mules an' horses an' wagons an' whatnot, took to it natural."

 

For a moment, she looked around them, then down at the horses to make sure all was right then glanced at Caroline.  "I was drivin' deliveries around town when I was twelve or so, an' when th' war was goin' I started drivin' freight an' ambulance...like that a darned site better'n sewin' an' cookin' an' whatnot.  Come out here 'cause it's a right pretty place an' still not too civilized.  What 'bout you?  Just passin' through or plannin' ta stay a time?"

 

@Wayfarer

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Caroline had to chuckle too at that strange name for a town....Pigeon Forge. But then she settled in for the story as the woman driver recounted her past.  It was, as she had thought it would be, interesting.

 

"Seven brothers and a Pa, you sure were outnumbered there," she nodded even as Addy now explained how she got into this career.

 

"I was drivin' deliveries around town when I was twelve or so, an' when th' war was goin' I started drivin' freight an' ambulance...like that a darned site better'n sewin' an' cookin' an' whatnot. "

 

"Couldn't agree more there, I can neither sew or cook," Caroline threw in a quick comment.

 

"Come out here 'cause it's a right pretty place an' still not too civilized.  What 'bout you?  Just passin' through or plannin' ta stay a time?"

 

"Oh, well me.....I'm on my way to a new job. In Kalispell. An old ...business acquaintance of mine notified me of an opening in the saloon there. So bein' as I'm between jobs right now - last place I worked at burnt down and the owner didn't have the money to rebuild. Anyhow, spilt milk right?" she gave a big shrug.

 

"See I'm a saloon gal.....as if my appearance didn't give it away," Caroline grinned, "I'm a singer and dancer. Give the menfolk a show on stage. Most everyone sez I got a great voice. To be honest my dancing is ....adequate but you can always hold their interest by showing a little leg. I also been told I got nice legs."

 

@Bongo

 

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"Could do worse than Kalispell," Addy observed, "ain't th' most sophistocated a' places, but mostly folks is happy that way.  Not so big as ya get lost in th' streets nor th' properness ta make a body uncomfortable." 

 

She found the balance of wild and civilized about to her liking, and for the foreseeable future she was planning to stay...not to mention that she had Weedy to look after.   Oh, and there was Jay...

 

"Just lookin' ta buy me a house," she stated proudly, "got me a boy ta look after now...his ma died, so we can't be livin' in th' back of a barn no longer.  What establishment ya hirin' on with, if ya don't mind my askin'?"

 

@Wayfarer

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"Just lookin' ta buy me a house,"Addy stated proudly, "got me a boy ta look after now...his ma died, so we can't be livin' in th' back of a barn no longer.  What establishment ya hirin' on with, if ya don't mind my askin'?"

 

"A kid huh. No kids in my life, thank the lord. I'd probably be a godawful mother. Not to mention how would that go over with the crowd if I was up there performing with a swollen belly. Assuming I wasn't already fired before it got to that point," Caroline pondered aloud.

 

"Oh as for the saloon....it is the Star Dust. I was given to understand it's the only saloon in town," she replied.

 

"You know the place? Or been in it maybe?" 

 

Most womenfolk, especially the proper sort, would never think of setting foot within a saloon. But then Addy wasn't exactly the usual kind of woman. Although that didn't mean she still might not frown on such places. Either way still worth asking as she might learn something about the joint.

 

@Bongo

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"Stardust is a right nice place," Addy commented, "they don't water their drinks, leastways not as a body can tell.  Run by Mr. Flandry an' Miz Devereau."  With a nod, she looked over at the young woman.  "Don't see as it'd be a bad place ta work, Mr. Flandry seems ta be good enough, seems like most his employees stay around, that means somethin', right?"

 

She been to plenty of saloons where the girls only lasted a few weeks at best before moving on, mostly because they were mal-treated, or the owner was taking too much of the cut, whatever made life so miserable that they didn't want to stay. 

 

"Just be fair an' straight with him an' ya should do fine.  Any problems, I gotta nice hayloft ya can use!"  She laughed.

 

@Wayfarer

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Caroline took in the new information, eager to hear it. Interesting.

 

"Oh, I was informed that the place was owned by a woman. But  Flandry huh. Thanks," she nodded.

 

It was very encouraging that those in charge seemed fair minded employers, there were certainly a lot of saloons where it was just the opposite.  Saloons were rough places to carve out a career.

 

"Yeah it does," she agreed.

 

"Just be fair an' straight with him an' ya should do fine.  Any problems, I gotta nice hayloft ya can use!"  the driver laughed. "

 

"I ain't no crook, I do my job and I don't steal. I always try to get along with all the employees but I don't take any guff either," Caroline remarked.

 

"Now I make no claims to being high class but I have no desire to sleep on a pile of hay smelling of horses or cows, but appreciate  the offer, hon."

 

"One other thing, I heard the Stardust doesn't have hookers, I should tell you lest you think it, one thing I never do is whoring. Never have, never will. Though Mrs. Emden called me ...what was it? Oh yes, a 'painted whore of Babylon'."

 

 

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"Babylon?"  Addy laughed and shook her head.  "Well, unless ya been 'round th' World a time'er two, I much doubt ya been ta Babylon...poor woman got her own problems...Good Book says,  'Brothers an' sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother nor sister nor judges them speaks against th' law an' judges it. When ya judge th' law, yer not keepin' it, but sittin' in judgment on it. There's only one Lawgiver an' Judge, th' one who's able ta save an' destroy. But you—who're you ta judge yer neighbor?"

 

Addy wasn't much one for quoting Scripture, but Mrs. Emden had indirectly started it. 

 

"'Sides, ya got things better'm she does...wouldn't be surprised if she's jealous that ya got th' freedom ta go where ya want, do whacha want, be who ya want."  She glanced at Caroline and made a long face.  "She's gotta wake up next ta that man every day.  Bound ta make a woman a bit sour!"

 

@Wayfarer

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"Nope, I have no idea where Babylon even is," Caroline cheerfully admitted then listened in amazement as the woman proceeded to give quite the Biblical speech, leastwise she figured it was out of the Bible, not that she ever even read a page of it. But she had heard enough about it of course.

 

"Well now, if you get fired for givin' me a ride you could always try a new career, preacher. You'd be good at it from what I'm hearing. Granted I'm far from a church going sort. Last time I was even inside a church, it was for a friend's funeral and they threw me out. I got it though...I was drunk at the time. You know, drownin' one's sorrows," Caroline recalled with a smile, obviously not too bothered by the memory.

 

Addy made some good arguments why that Emden woman might be all upset and sour pussed too.

 

"Good point," Caroline chuckled.

 

"You're right too. You n' me, we both got it pretty good. We live the way we wanna live. I gotta say something else too. I think that boy you spoke of, he's pretty lucky to have you. I bet you'll raise him right."

 

@Bongo

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"Don't know how lucky he is," Addy observed with a chuckle, "I never did think I was much th' ma sorta person, but then, I pretty much been lookin' after th' boy since I got ta town a few years back."  Shrugging, she continued.  "His ma was...broken, I guess ya could say."  No sense disparaging the dead.  "He kept comin' by, little tow-headed sprout, was seven...eight.  I started feedin' him, give him a warm place ta sleep, an' he started helpin' with chores an' whatnot.  Most folks in town know him an' help him out, but since his ma was killed this Winter, his care come ta me."

 

It was something she whole-heartedly embraced, even if the arrangement was a bit unorthodox.  "Wasn't somethin' I planned on, but I reckon th' good Lord knows what he's doin'...hope so, leastways."

 

She glanced over at the young woman.  "Ya know readin' an' writin' an' whatnot?"

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

 

 

 

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Caroline listened to the boy's background story, she had seen enough broken women in her life to figure out it could have been for many reasons. Maybe a hooker or a drunkard. She did feel badly for the boy though. Life wasn't fair, god knows she learned that lesson some time back. Addy mentioned then the mother had been killed? Murdered? Or maybe Indians? She didn't add any detail and Caroline decided not to ask. What difference did it make anyhow, she was dead.

 

"Poor child. But like I said, he's lucky he has you. You're doin' a fine thing to raise him like you are. I couldn't do that," she commented.

 

"Wasn't somethin' I planned on, but I reckon th' good Lord knows what he's doin'...hope so, leastways," Addy stated.

 

Caroline shrugged, "Well if the good lord actually has plans, he's never let me in on any of 'em. But guess I've lived in blissful ignorance."

 

"Ya know readin' an' writin' an' whatnot?" the other woman now asked.

 

"Oh yeah, my mother taught me to read and to do arithmetic. Later on I helped her keep the books even when she got sick. We lived in a saloon, well actually above it but same thing. My father owned it. Truth of the matter I never was quite sure he was my real father but we all lived together and he treated me like a daughter.  He was a rough sort but never to me or Ma.  I grew up in that saloon and as I got older I served drinks and then started singing. People liked my voice. Not much of a story but that's mine," Caroline smiled, choosing to recall the good memories and not all the bad things. There had been plenty of both.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"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

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"If ec leck tic means interesting, you got that in spades," Caroline grinned, "I'm not complainin' though, I'm sure my life is worse than some but better than many. Play the hand yer dealt I guess."

 

Once more her sentiments were exactly like the stage driver's, a lot of folk lived dull boring lives and Caroline could never be one of those folks. She honestly doubted she would live to be an old woman but so be it. She was determined to live life on her terms.

 

"I'd not be able ta sleep with all th' noise, though," the driver 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!"

 

"When I was a kid I could pretty much sleep thru anything. Though I will never forget one night. Some jasper drew his pistol and fired a few shots into the saloon ceiling. One bullet went thru the floor where I was sleeping upstairs. Now that was a bit of a fright. My father threw the man out though," Caroline smiled at the incident now.

 

"Actually we do close down various times in the early morning and then we can sleep til close to noon when we open up again. That's pretty normal for saloons, not sure how the Star Dust does it. Guess I'll find out. Though I expect most all my performances will be in the evenin's,".

 

@Bongo

 

 

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"Yep, most folks'er workin' durin' th' daylight hours, come in after fer some libation an' relaxation before goin' home fer th' night ta start all over again."  She chuckled.  "Me, some mornin's I'm up before th Sun, right about th' time you'd be goin' ta bed.  Still an' all, ya work when's best, eh?  An' times I'd be more'n happy ta be out when most folks are in bed or bein' entertained in th' saloons...just somethin' nice about bein' on th' streets alone...'less, a'course, it's th' dead of Winter with twenty foot drifts an' everything froze!"

 

Laughing, she shook her head.  "I gotta notion that th' big ol' bears got things right, hunker down in a nice warm cave fer th' Winter, sleep th' cold away." 

 

There just weren't enough furs and mittens in the whole of the world to warm you on a bitter Montana night, but sometimes there was no avoiding it.  "Good, though, that ya already got arrangements made, so ya don't gotta ask around.  You'll like it there, I think, but just steer clear'a th' Steelegraves...bad news, that lot, 'cept maybe th' daughter, Miz Leah."

 

@Wayfarer

 

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"Well, being on the streets all by yer lonesome really depends on where those streets are. The part of Chicago I lived in, no sane woman wanted to be out there alone late at night or early in the mornin," Caroline pointed out.  She'd heard it was even more dangerous in places like New York.

 

"Ahh yeah, I never look forward to winter, part of me thinks I'd be happier in Texas or maybe California," she shrugged. If this job search worked out, she would actually like to settle in for a long spell though.

 

"Ohh, right, hibernation I think it's called. That's too much sleep for me though," she shook her head.

 

"Actually I don't have the job yet. An acquaintance of mine sent me a telegram saying the Stardust was looking for an entertainer and thought I would be a good fit. Hope yer right about the place but I try to be optimistic. I mean most people like me...well, cept for the Emdens of course," she grinned.

 

"Steelgraves huh? What do they do or own in town? Rival saloon or somethin'?"

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"Yer quite likable," Addy declared, "an' so long as ya can sing half-ways decent, I think ya'll do just fine.  There's always jobs ta be had, an' I don't think as how th' Stardust couldn't use another talented entertainer.  I attend fer th' drink on occasion, but a good song makes it more pleasant."  She chuckled.  "An' th' gents aren't obtuse ta a pretty face, makes 'em more liberal with th' drink!"

 

Then came the more serious business.  "Elias Steelgrave owns th' Evergreen Ranch, wants ta own most everything, I reckon.  Got him sons that hold th' same morals...Case was Marshal in Whitefish before a blizzard took it this past winter an' damaged him real bad."  There was a lot to the family that Addy wasn't complete on, she tried not to get too involved if she could help it.  "Do know that they got somethin' against Shade Thorton...he owns th' Lost Lake Ranch...dunno, just mind yerself around them Steelgraves."

 

Of course, if she could keep politics out of it, there could be good gain in catering to the likes of the Steelgraves, and she didn't see that Miz Caroline was an ignorant who would get herself into trouble.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Coming from someone like you, I gotta believe you mean it. I don't think yer one to varnish your opinions," Caroline appreciated Addy's validation.

 

Addy stated she did go into the saloon on occasion for a drink. Caroline was glad to hear it.

 

"Well then, next time you show up, first drink is on the house. I'll see to that," she had mentioned this promise earlier but just wanted to reinforce it so there would be no doubt.  If management objected to such gestures on her part, Caroline would just pay for it then herself. Cuz a promise was a promise. Well, actually it depended who you made the promise to. She'd lied to people before and not kept her word but there had always been good reasons, having to do with the individual promised. Some people were scum and she had no qualms about lying to that sort.

 

Since the driver made a point of warning her about some locals named Steelgrave, Caroline followed up with asking for a bit more about this possible issue. Addy named a few more names and indicated this family were a very greedy and ambitious lot.

 

"Good to know but I ain't much for local feuds, long as it doesn't involve the saloon. But if some Steelgraves wanna buy a drink or listen to my act, I will treat'em like any other valued customers.  I will also make it a point to ask the owners what they make of this bunch."

 

"Say, what's the local law like? As you might well imagine, I've had me a few run-ins with the authorities on occasion. I mean most lawmen are just tryin' to do their jobs but sometimes there a few who just like to lord it over ya or push folk around just because they can."

 

 

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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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Founders: Stormwolfe & Longshot

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