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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 “… ‘ singers'.”   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."        
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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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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