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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.

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Mature Content: No

With: Clara Redmond, Jacob Lutz, anyone in the diner
Location: Lick Skillet
When: May/1876
Time of Day: Late morning

 

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    Since the barn dance, and what a heady evening that had been, things had settled back down to normal again in Clara's world. Farm chores took up much of her time around home plus she tried to put in as many hours as she could at the town diner. She loved working for Emeline, from the very beginning they had hit it off so well. But one thing was proving to be an irritant for the young lady. She barely got to see much less talk with the young farm boy who had so impressed her at the dance. Why she even found herself thinking about him even as she did laundry or worked the vegetable patch.

 

They had, afterall, agreed to see each other again, as in spend time with each other. Oh, Jacob was at church services on Sundays with his grandmother even as Clara sat in a different pew flanked on one side by her father and the other, Wyatt. But that at best allowed them passing nods or simple hellos. To be sure, Clara did not much like Granny Miggins (well that would just be another name on what would be a huge list should she ever choose to make one) and imagined the woman did not like her either.

 

On occasion, Jacob stopped into the Lick Skillet to order a slice of pie and a cup of coffee. Clara made a point of course to wait on him but even then their conversation was quite limited, at least compared to what Clara desired. And his time there too short. Still, it was better than nothing she supposed.

 

But on this particular day, when her eye caught the diner front door opening and gangly farm boy enter and head for the same table he always went to, she was especially excited to see him. For she had excellent news, least she thought it was, to tell him.  She had just set down two cups and saucers before two older women and bade them enjoy their tea so that meant she could deal with the next customer. Jacob!

 

She needed to remain cool and collected though and first turned toward Emeline who was taking payment from another customer for his lunch, "Oh, I got this one."

 

Then it was off to march straight up to Jacob who was now comfortably seated and gazing up at the chalkboard menu on the wall. Naturally enough he spotted her arrival though. Clara actually smiled(!) as she greeted him.

 

"Good day, Jacob. What will you be having on this fine day?"

 

In reality  it was gloomy and drizzling outside, given the socked in cloud cover probably would be like that all day too. But for Clara, that was NOT why the day was fine!

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He nearly hadn’t gone. That first time.

 

He’d been broke, not a red cent to his name, Granny having spent all the ready cash on Barbed Wire and paying the feller who helped them put it up, Ryker. That’d left a couple of pennies that went into the Church collection box – the “widow’s mite”.

 

Granny’s eyes were sharp at Church that day.

 

“I seen ya making cow eyes at that Redmond girl!” she’d admonished him on the trap ride home “Gives herself airs, that one! Well, she’s no better than she ought to be. Don’t you go messin’ around with girls like that, goin’ getting her in trouble or what not, we don’t want no shot gun weddin’s round here!!” she had nagged at him all the way home and, strangely, he’d loved it. Any conversation about her was music to his ears, even Granny’s scurrilous nagging.

 

But being broke, well, you couldn’t just march into a place like the Lick Skillet and just sit there and not order something. Stopping by the saloon that day, to deliver produce, the Reb had teased him. “Goin’ of to see Clara now Hayseed?” she'd chuckled, only to be met by Jacob’s silent mummery, pulling out his empty pockets to show them bare of brass. He’d sat and ate and snatched a few words of conversation with Clara that first time on the strength of the Reb’s hard earned tip money.

 

Today was different only in that the pittance jangling loosely in the pockets of his homespun trousers was his own. He took off his hat as he entered the Diner and looked nervously about: what if he’d managed to pick a time when Clara wasn’t there? He’d have to either beat a hasty retreat or waste his money filling his stomach without satisfying his heart.

 

But, God, there she was! He gave a little smile of relief and, as his usual table was occupied, had the novelty of picking somewhere different. He usually sat by the window, but today went a little further back where it was a little darker, somehow more intimate. There was also less chance of a certain someone appearing at the window and pulling funny faces at him.

 

She needed to remain cool and collected though and first turned toward Emeline who was taking payment from another customer for his lunch, "Oh, I got this one."

 

"Good day, Jacob. What will you be having on this fine day?"

 

The pause before he answered was imperceptible, but it was there: he just wanted to drink her in before he could say anything.

 

“Hello, Clara.” He said quite formally - but smiling with an intimacy that spoke volumes “The usual please:  whatever’s cheapest.” he said, perforce to make a jest of necessity. He pulled out his pennies and made a little show of counting them. “I think I can afford a glass of water with that, too.” He added, pretending to be pleasantly surprised at the amount in his palm.

 

“I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.”

 

At least if he ever did get anywhere with the mousy haired little beauty, who was the light of his rough-hewn life, he’d know that she wasn’t interested in him for his money.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“Hello, Clara," Jacob replied, “The usual please:  whatever’s cheapest.”

 

 He then pulled out his pennies and made a little show of counting them. “I think I can afford a glass of water with that, too.”

 

"I believe the apple pie is on special, " she fibbed, it wasn't but she would give him a lower price then make up the difference from her own pocket, she didn't mind but she also was not going to cheat Emeline of her entitled profit either, "As for water, you know that is always free, silly."

 

“I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.”

 

" I do not need a tip," she calmly informed him, "And while I have no demand of you I do happen to have an offer to make and am hoping you can take advantage of it."

 

She was not one to make the poor lad pull the details out of her but got right to it.

 

"Tomorrow, my father is going to the Coltrane place to help Mr. Coltrane clear some stumps from a new field he wants to use this summer. He will no doubt be gone for the entire day. And my brother will be in school of course. So that means I have the farm to myself as I do not have a work shift tomorrow."

 

Actually she was going to ask for the day off, she had yet to do such a thing and was confident Emeline would not begrudge her the request.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped right there, now it was up to Jacob.

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 “I can’t manage a tip for the waitress, though” he said gloomily “I’ll have to owe her a favor instead. I’ll leave it up to her to make her demands known.” 

 

" I do not need a tip," she calmly informed him, "And while I have no demand of you I do happen to have an offer to make and am hoping you can take advantage of it."

 

Jacob’s ears pricked up: perhaps they were giving away a free blob of clotted cream with the apple pie today! He tipped his head curiously, even if it wasn’t a good an offer as that, he could listen to her talk all day.

 

"Tomorrow, my father is going to the Coltrane place to help Mr. Coltrane clear some stumps from a new field he wants to use this summer.”

 

Oh oh! Thought the farm lad, who had enough stumps of his own to dig up, did she want him to go and help her Pa with this odious task? How awful! He’d have to say yes to keep in Clara’s good books and… but there was more, and much better news it was, too.

 

“He will no doubt be gone for the entire day. And my brother will be in school of course. So that means I have the farm to myself as I do not have a work shift tomorrow."

 

Jacob Lutz might be off the cob in many ways, but he was not unduly stupid. The import of this fact entirely eluded him, however. After his failed attempt to kiss her, he’d really got it into his head that Clara Redmond simply tolerated him, despite his homely looks, his gangly gait, and his empty pockets, as someone who could hold a moderately intelligent conversation and who complimented her rather than insulted her every time he opened his mouth.

 

Maybe she wanted him to suggest something she could do while she was stuck on the farm in her lonely vigil on the morrow? The frown that furrowed his brow drew forth more concrete elucidation.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped right there, now it was up to Jacob.

 

Jacob stared at her for a fraction of a second and, without the frown leaving his brow, asked flatly: “What time does he leave?”

 

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Clara had explained all the pertinent facts and then got right to the matter.

 

"You could come over and visit me," she stopped, now it was up to Jacob.

 

Jacob stared at her for a fraction of a second and, without the frown leaving his brow, asked flatly: “What time does he leave?”

 

Well.... it was not an outright eager 'yes' but then it implied he was leaning that way she figured.

 

"Oh, he will get up around six and have a hearty breakfast to fortify him for the strenuous task ahead of him and Mr. Coltrane. I anticipate he will well on his way around seven. But I certainly am not saying you have to come right away. You probably have at least some chores to do, as do I. So...." she paused.

 

"Does that mean you are inclining toward accepting my proposal?" 

 

Wait! That was a poor choice of words!

 

"Offer, I mean offer," she hastily corrected herself.

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"Oh, he will get up around six and have a hearty breakfast to fortify him for the strenuous task ahead of him and Mr. Coltrane. I anticipate he will well on his way around seven. But I certainly am not saying you have to come right away. You probably have at least some chores to do, as do I. So...." she paused.

 

“Chores … sure…” muttered Jacob distractedly, more concerned with working out in his head which way Pa Redmond would be heading out from his homestead that morning if he was heading to old man Coltrane’s. He knew where Coltrane lived all right, he’d sparked a little last year with the feller’s daughter, Joanna. But Joanna was nothing like Clara, not by a mile. To be fair, last year Joanna had been something of an ugly duckling; this year she'd blossomed into an ugly duck.

 

"Does that mean you are inclining toward accepting my proposal?"

 

“Proposal?!” Jacob broke out of his reverie. “Gosh Clara, I know it’s a Leap Year and all, but…”  

 

Wait! That was a poor choice of words!

 

"Offer, I mean offer," she hastily corrected herself.

 

“You bet your life I’m inclined!” he said vigorously “I’m as inclined as a tree blown over by a storm!” In his excitement he’d raised his voice and the young lady who was sitting in his usual table turned around. Oh Lor’ it wasn’t Joanna Coltrane was it?! Phew, no, that could have been embarrassing. He remembered his sister’s stern command: ‘when you are with the girl, no other girls can exist in the world: you mustn’t talk about other girls, you mustn’t look at other girls; you should try not to even think of other girls! – she’ll know!!’ Old Sis hadn’t steered him wrong so far, that was for sure.

 

“What would you like to do?!” he asked, excited enough to want to jump out of his seat and do cartwheels around the diner. He knew what he’d like to do, but again, his sister’s sage advice about not rushing things put the brakes on some of his wilder imaginings.

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“You bet your life I’m inclined!” he said vigorously “I’m as inclined as a tree blown over by a storm!”

 

"I am pleased to hear it," Clara was indeed happy though outwardly remained calm and collected. Emotional demonstrations were just not her.

 

“What would you like to do?!” he suddenly asked.

 

Clara hesitated before replying, "Well....I was not even sure you would say 'yes' so it is not like I have a detailed intinerary  planned."

 

"I mean....we can talk about....things. And I can show you....things. Maybe some of my books and perhaps you might be curious and want to see something too?"

 

Specific it wasn't but it was all she could suddenly come up with. A part of her was now annoyed that this boy rattled her as easily as he obviously did.

 

 

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Clara hesitated before replying, "Well....I was not even sure you would say 'yes' so it is not like I have a detailed itinerary planned."

 

Clara’s almost shame that she didn’t have a complete list of activities mapped out made him smile: it was funny in a way, but it was one of the many things he found himself strangely loving her for.

 

"I mean....we can talk about....things. And I can show you....things. Maybe some of my books and perhaps you might be curious and want to see something too?"

 

 He knew exactly what he wanted to see, and what he’d like them to do together, but his sister’s words, and Clara’s own words on the night of the dance, kept him in check.

 

“’Things’ are a big favorite of mine!” he said nodding seriously, ribbing her only slightly. “And I’d really love to see what books you have!” he added more genuinely and enthusiastically. “Just make sure not to offer to lend any of them to me.” He added, remembering their earlier conversation about how fretful he got about having possession of other people’s things, especially sacred objects like books, always scared that something terrible would happen to them while they were in his possession.

 

In case she misread him, he added “This is going to be wonderful! I’m really looking forward to it!”

 

Just at that moment, God, or the Devil, or maybe some other mischievous deity, looked down and decided that this particular jar of ointment needed a fly or two flicking into it.

The girl who had been sitting at Jacob’s usual Stammtisch got up at last and came over to Clara. She was pretty, blonde, extremely well dressed, about Jacob’s age or maybe a little older, and just a tad taller than Clara.

 

“Here you are, girl, you may keep the change.” She said snootily. Most folks gave Clara a tip as a nice reward for good service, but this girl had the air of one who tips heavily to lord it over others.

 

“Oh, by the way, my name is Anaesthesia Orr, I understand that this place is baking my birthday cake. Please know that I only like Lemon Cake, and I only like it made with fresh lemons, not that cheap stuff from out of a can.”

 

It was almost as if she’d heard Em’ and Clara’s earlier conversation. To make things worse, she then looked down at Jacob, as if seeing him for the first time, and blurted “Why, Jacob Lutz! I haven’t seen you in an age! Fancy meeting you here!” she was all smiles for the homespun youth.

 

Jacob almost physically recoiled. So much for not talking to or looking at other girls when he was with Clara, this one was talking and looking at him!

 

“Oh. Hello Anaesthesia.” He said, trying to give an impression of supreme disinterest, treading a fine line between politeness and rudeness.

 

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“’Things’ are a big favorite of mine!” he said nodding seriously, ribbing her only slightly.

 

One eyebrow went up, he was mocking her but then she did deserve it for that opaque answer of hers, Clara conceded.

 

“And I’d really love to see what books you have!” he added, “Just make sure not to offer to lend any of them to me.”

 

"Oh I shall not, I well remember what your views are on borrowing," she nodded.

 

“This is going to be wonderful! I’m really looking forward to it!” he now gushed but before Clara could chime in with her agreement...........

 

“Here you are, girl, you may keep the change," it was an earlier customer who now was ready to leave, Clara had no idea who she was.

 

"Thank you," Clara nodded as she accepted the coins. So far so good, but the stranger was not finished.

 

“Oh, by the way, my name is Anaesthesia Orr, I understand that this place is baking my birthday cake. Please know that I only like Lemon Cake, and I only like it made with fresh lemons, not that cheap stuff from out of a can.”

 

Clara's eyes sparked but that was the only visible sign of her sudden annoyance. Fresh lemons were in California, possibly some of the southern states, and maybe Mexico. Definitely NOT Montana. This girl was an idiot. Well, she could hardly say that to a customer though.

 

"How do you do, miss.  But I must inform you that we do not have any fresh lemons. If we were living in a railroad town then we might be fortunate to have them but of course Kalispell is not," Clara kept her voice well under control.

 

It only got worse from there though as suddenly this overdressed snot seemed to notice Jacob.

 

 “Why, Jacob Lutz! I haven’t seen you in an age! Fancy meeting you here!”

 

"Oh. Hello Anaesthesia.” the boy said, trying to give an impression of supreme disinterest, treading a fine line between politeness and rudeness.

 

Clara could not help herself, she was not happy with this intrusion, well even more she was not happy that the two seemed to know each other. That wasn't fair of her and she instantly realized it but one could not control one's feelings sometimes.

 

"Did you two go to school together?" she ventured forth with a sudden question, torn between curiosity and not wanting to know.

 

 

 

 

 

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"Did you two go to school together?" she ventured forth with a sudden question, torn between curiosity and not wanting to know.

 

“Yep.” Answered Jacob, trying to make it sound like having to share a classroom with the sniffy blonde girl had been a hellish ordeal “When I was a kid, Mrs Orr used to teach school. Anaesthesia there used to sit in the desk in front of me.” He raised his eyebrows to Clara, trying to indicate a look of ‘you can imagine how awful that was!’ but such a face could be interpreted a number of ways.

 

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“Oh, Jacob was by far the cleverest boy in the class” the posh girl fluttered “He could still be ever so naughty though. I used to have these silly little schoolgirl pigtails and … oh! Sorry!” she pretended to only just notice Clara’s practical braids. “Well, anyway, he used to pull on them all the time. I used to think you hated me Jacob, but maybe you were just trying to get my attention.” She grinned down at him.

 

“Oh, don’t worry, Anaesthesia, I wasn’t trying to get your attention.” Jacob answered, pleasantly enough, but without admitting anything of the sort, especially in front of the petite brunette he'd set his cap on.

 

Well, maybe he hadn't been trying to get her attention then, but the way she staring at him, he had it now!

 

Miss Orr turned again to Clara, now, looking down her nose at her.

 

“Well anyway, see what you can do about those lemons, girl: after all, you wouldn’t want to spoil my Eighteenth Birthday party now would you?” she asked rhetorically. “Bye, Jacob.” She smiled one last time to the seated boy, before flouncing off.

 

Jacob forced himself not to follow her swaying bustle with his eyes but instead looked up to Clara with a scowl “Fresh Lemons?! Fresh arsenic would be a better ingredient!” he said with a vitriol he didn’t really feel. It was a sin how little most men cared that a girl had an unpleasant personality, as long as she had a pretty face. He was lucky to have found in Clara a young woman with the soul as well as the face of an angel.

 

He put Anaesthesia right out of his mind, and concentrated on Clara.

 

Yes, Anaesthesia had been a pretty little girl at school, but he wasn’t interested in such things then. Boy, had she grown up! And the way she sashayed that bustle. It was just like jelly on a….

 

He realised that he was staring vacantly at Clara.

 

“I was just thinking … I know where you can get fresh lemons – that’d show her!” he said the first thing that came into his head.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Ah, so her guess proved correct. They were in the same school. Also Jacob pulled on her pig tails too? Well, fortunately he had never tried that on her or Clara would have slapped him a good one. And yes, she just knew little Miss unpronounceable first name purposely said "silly little schoolgir" in front of "pig tails". If she was trying to provoke her, Clara would not take the bait. If she was trying to annoy her, oh yes, Clara was definitely annoyed. Fortunately she wasn't staying any longer. Good riddance.

 

"Well anyway, see what you can do about those lemons, girl: after all, you wouldn’t want to spoil my Eighteenth Birthday party now would you?” the girl asked rhetorically.

 

By this point, Clara did want to spoil her party but obviously did not voice that less than Christian remark, "Like I said, no fresh lemons, sorry."

 

“Bye, Jacob.” A.... smiled one last time to the seated boy, before flouncing off.

 

Jacob looked up at her "Fresh Lemons?! Fresh arsenic would be a better ingredient!” he said with some emphasis.

 

Clara gave him a look as if to say  "now, now that is a bit harsh" but inwardly was glad he didn't seem to like that girl much at all. So probably not competition then, she was relieved.

 

“I was just thinking … I know where you can get fresh lemons – that’d show her!” Jacob suddenly declared.

 

"And just where can you find fresh lemons locally?" Clara was dubious in the extreme. There was no part of Montana where lemons ever grew.

 

 

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"And just where can you find fresh lemons locally?" Clara was dubious in the extreme. There was no part of Montana where lemons ever grew.

 

Jacob’s face betrayed that certain narrow eyed look of mystery that people can’t help adopting when they know a big secret that no-one else knows, and they’re just about to spill it. He sort of beckoned Clara inward toward him, as if it were imperative that nobody else in the diner, or for miles around, should accidentally eavesdrop on the intelligence he was about to impart.

 

What he then said, in hushed and reverend tones, sounded very much like plain old “Farmer Brown”

 

 “Haven’t you ever heard of him? F. Falmer Browne, he’s that recluse who lives in the Residential District.” Revealed Jacob, referring to the mysterious streets of actual stone-built buildings beyond Main Street, where only the richest and most elite members of Kalispell ‘society’ (such as it was), like the Orrs and other members of the Town Council lived, and where the likes of Clara and Jacob were seldom likely to tread.

 

“He’s a… whatd’yacallem?... vegetarian, see? I have to deliver fresh produce to him once a week, you know, big stuff he can’t grow himself in his art-i-ficially heated greenhouse.” Jacob said the phrase like he’d learned it by rote, a scientific term you wouldn’t usually use in everyday talk.

 

“He’s got hydroponics, that’s plants just growing in water, no soil at all! And all sorts of things you just can’t grow up here, including lemons.” he said significantly. Then something else occurred to him that she would be interested in. “Oh, and Clara … the BOOKS! You’ve never seen so many books in one place, the whole house is like one great big library.”

 

“Still” said Jacob, getting the conversation back on track to what was really important, “I’d rather spend one hour on your Pa’s farm alone with you than a whole year in Professor Browne’s library.”

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Suddenly Jacob was acting all secretively, gesturing for her to come closer so he could whisper or something? Clara took one step in his direction and he would have to make due with that.

 

"Farmer Brown?"

 

“Haven’t you ever heard of him? F. Falmer Browne, he’s that recluse who lives in the Residential District.” revealed Jacob.

 

"Never heard of him," was her quick reply.

 

"He’s a… whatd’yacallem?... vegetarian, see? I have to deliver fresh produce to him once a week, you know, big stuff he can’t grow himself in his art-i-ficially heated greenhouse.”

 

"Yes, vegetarian....they refuse to eat meat," Clara pointed out even though it certainly seemed likely the boy already knew what that meant.

 

"So?"    He was talking about delivering vegetables, what did this have to do with fresh lemons?

 

"He’s got hydroponics, that’s plants just growing in water, no soil at all! And all sorts of things you just can’t grow up here, including lemons.” he said significantly.

 

"Lemons come from trees, you cannot simply grow them in water," Clara scoffed.

 

His next bit of information was more interesting though. “Oh, and Clara … the BOOKS! You’ve never seen so many books in one place, the whole house is like one great big library.”

 

"Oh? Well, good for him then. Pity he does not choose to share his treasures with others rather than hoard them in his house," Clara pointed out.

 

"If I had a library I would open it up to others to borrow my books. Rather a waste to just have them sit there collecting dust," she shrugged, "This town could use a library someday now that I think on it."

 

 

 

 

 

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"Never heard of him," was her quick reply.

 

Jacob couldn’t help feeling that Clara thought he was just making the eccentric sounding figure up! But that was the thing about recluses, he supposed, they were pretty reclusive.

 

"He’s got hydroponics, that’s plants just growing in water, no soil at all! And all sorts of things you just can’t grow up here, including lemons.” he said significantly. 

 

"Lemons come from trees, you cannot simply grow them in water," Clara scoffed.

 

“Hydroponics AND lemon trees, clever.” Jacob corrected, smiling with his eyes as they met hers. “I’ve seen them! And if you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself.”

 

His next bit of information was more interesting though. “Oh, and Clara … the BOOKS! You’ve never seen so many books in one place, the whole house is like one great big library.”

 

"Oh? Well, good for him then. Pity he does not choose to share his treasures with others rather than hoard them in his house," Clara pointed out. 

 

“Well…” Jacob started, but Clara was ‘off on one’.

 

"If I had a library I would open it up to others to borrow my books. Rather a waste to just have them sit there collecting dust," she shrugged, "This town could use a library someday now that I think on it."

 

“Oh, he’ll lend you all the books you like: he tried to foist his Gibbon on me, you know, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, three volumes." ." he added, in case she thought that 'Prof' Browne's offer had involved some sort of primate... "But you know me. Anyhow, I suppose a lot of his books are about how to grow lemons in Montana and that sort of subject, but you never know, he might have something you’d like.”

 

He then thought about the last thing she’d said and looked wonderingly off into the distance.

 

“But yes, you’re right. This town needs a library just as much as it needs a hospital or an orphanage or all those other things that everybody’s talking about. Maybe we could start one ourselves! Hmmm. Kalispell Public Library, founded anno domini 1876, by Miss Clara Anne Redmond and Mr Jacob Lukas Lutz, that sounds pretty fine doesn’t it?” he asked dreamily.

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"Well....I find it all difficult to believe but I do not think you to be a liar," Clara admitted. Not that it mattered, she was in no mood to go to this man's residence in pursuit of real lemons for that stuck up annoying girl. As for the books though - well that was certainly tempting so maybe someday but she had other things on her mind now. Jacob had agreed to show up at the farm.

 

Clara also remarked that one thing the town could certainly use in it's inexorable march to civilization would be a library. Jacob felt the same.

 

"But yes, you’re right. This town needs a library just as much as it needs a hospital or an orphanage or all those other things that everybody’s talking about. Maybe we could start one ourselves! Hmmm. Kalispell Public Library, founded anno domini 1876, by Miss Clara Anne Redmond and Mr Jacob Lukas Lutz, that sounds pretty fine doesn’t it?” he asked dreamily.

 

"Start one ourselves? Oh that is pure whimsy, Jacob. And....wait! How do you know my middle name is Anne? I never told you that," Clara now wanted an answer.

 

 

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So, Clara didn’t think he was a liar, huh? That comment stung his soul a little for, in all conscience, he knew he was as big a liar as anyone else. Most of the ones he told, to others or to himself, were of the little white, common or garden variety. But he’d also told a few whoppers in his time.

 

Well, haven’t we all?

 

There was one thing he couldn’t lie about, and never would, and that was his fascination and affection for the serious and sensible young woman with the dark brown hair and eyes. And said girl thought his library idea not serious or sensible at all.

 

"Start one ourselves? Oh that is pure whimsy, Jacob.”

 

He shrugged, imagining that the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Coliseum had probably started as a bit of pure whimsy, too: projects invented on the spot by an ancient Egyptian or Roman boy in some long ago, far away diner in Alexandria or Rome to impress a beautiful girl.

 

 And....wait! How do you know my middle name is Anne? I never told you that," Clara now wanted an answer.

 

Jacob chuckled.  “How do I know that your name is Clara Anne Redmond?” he repeated the question, saying her name in a high pitched, girlish, gossipy Southern accent. “Oh, I know all about Clara Anne Redmond! Why, did you know that Clara Anne Redmond has a great big scar where a Injun shot her? And Clara Anne Redmond’s favorite person from the olden days is Joan of Arc and I stayed in her house for a week when a house falled on mah head, and do you know what size boots Clara Anne Redmond takes? A short little person like that?...”

 

In his haste to amuse her with his accurate, if slightly cruel, impersonation of Arabella, he realised he might have accidently insulted Clara, and stumbled out an apology.

 

“Oh sorry, I mean, er, I think your feet are just right, not too big at all!” He said, glancing down, sort of relieved that yes, seeing the amount of her practical footwear that poked out from under the hem of her skirts, they weren’t toooo big. Sure, they were pretty big, but not really noticeably so.

 

“And whatever scars life has thrown at you, I reckon that your body’s as beautiful as I imagine it is, I mean, when I say I imagine your body…, er, I mean… well, you know what I mean!” he stumbled.

 

She’d complimented him on not being a liar, he could hardly claim out loud not to have spent many a happy hour imagining what treasures lay beneath her plain brown dress. He especially liked to think about what her nipples maybe looked like: small and brown was his guess, with that scar somewhere abouts, asking to be 'kissed better'. As for her… oh, oh. Things were getting uncomfortable downstairs again, and he tried to shift his mind back to Public Libraries and Apple Pie.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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 “How do I know that your name is Clara Anne Redmond?” Jacob repeated the question, saying her name in a high pitched, girlish, gossipy Southern accent. “Oh, I know all about Clara Anne Redmond! Why, did you know that Clara Anne Redmond has a great big scar where a Injun shot her? And Clara Anne Redmond’s favorite person from the olden days is Joan of Arc and I stayed in her house for a week when a house falled on mah head, and do you know what size boots Clara Anne Redmond takes? A short little person like that?...”

 

 As soon as Clara heard the faked southern accent she knew who that was alright - Arabella! She should have known. That girl could no more keep a confidence than a horse could recite the alphabet. Oh gosh, even the part about her scar? The Joan of Arc reference was fine, nothing embarrassing there but the shoe size? WAIT!

Did Arabella think she had big feet? She most certainly did not. Plus she was NOT short either.

 

"Oh sorry, I mean, er, I think your feet are just right, not too big at all!” He said, glancing down.

 

"Well, there is nothing wrong with them," Clara frowned.

 

“And whatever scars life has thrown at you, I reckon that your body’s as beautiful as I imagine it is, I mean, when I say I imagine your body…, er, I mean… well, you know what I mean!” he stumbled.

 

So he was thinking about her body? A part of her was angry about such a violation of her dignity but on second thought the whole concept was rather....exciting, intriguing that he had even been imagining such a thing. Yes...it was confusing, this jumble of thoughts in her head right about then.

 

"I do not know...I suppose I do get it," her answer sounded more like a question than a declaration.

 

"We best move on past such a ...topic," she suggested. Maybe save it for when they were in private was a followup thought but no way was she going to voice it.

 

"I really need to get back to work now, let me go get you that piece of pie ...oh, and a water too," with that she beat a hasty retreat.

 

 

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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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