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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Grin and Bear It


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Mature Content: No

With: F. Falmer Browne, Esq/Dame Addy, Bar Killer
Location: The street
When: April/ 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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“My apologies, Miss Chappel, if my appearance alarmed you, I had supposed that you, of all people, would not be alarmed by my unconventional garb … it is just, the young lady whom you escorted from the building, our absent poetess, had informed me that this occasion was to be a ‘fancy dress party’ and I must confide, I am most exceeding partial to ‘fancy dress parties’.”

 

"Why don't that surprise me?"  Shaking her head, Addy muttered, "Reckon it likely was in that child's head."  It was no mystery that Arabella was subject to flights of fantasy, and it was no surprise that she preferred a 'fancy dress party' to a dull meeting.

 

“F. Falmer Browne, at your service, Miss Chappel” he tried the bow again “I believe that we are new neighbors. My card…” he went to fetch out his carte de visite from his vest pocket, but found a layer of dead bear in the way. “Oh, I shall ‘pop’ my card around later. Ahem! It is also my intention to avail myself of your very particular services at some time in the very near future, Miss Chappel. Perhaps we can arrange a time to meet and ‘talk it through’ at your convenience, of course.” He proffered.

 

As she continued to watch him skeptically, Addy speculated that it was not a problem that he didn't have a card, since she couldn't much read anyway, and when he declared that he wanted her services, she frowned, wondering what, exactly, he meant, and still not convinced that he wasn't here to take Weedy.

 

"Can do that now, if you've a mind," she muttered, then shrugged.  "Can just head over to th' saloon an' you can buy me a beer."[/b]  Not offering to give him time to get out of the absurd costume he had on...good to keep him a bit off balance, wasn't it?

 

@Javia

 

 

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Can do that now, if you've a mind," she muttered, then shrugged.  "Can just head over to th' saloon an' you can buy me a beer."  Not offering to give him time to get out of the absurd costume he had on...good to keep him a bit off balance, wasn't it?

 

However, Falmer Browne looked delighted by the idea, only pausing to shout to the page inside the hotel lobby “Boy! My head, if you please!”

 

The bell boy ran out, carrying the disembodied ursine noggin, handing it over with an optimistic “Will that be all, Sir?” which was the internationally recognised bell boy or hotel porter argot for Now where the hell’s my tip?

 

Again, the gentleman in the costume found himself embarrassed at his inability to get to his pockets. “Thank you boy, er, I shall send you a tip over presently!” he tried cheerfully, although the lad would have none of it, giving Browne a look of vitriolic disgust and muttering “I bet!” as he turned on his heel and marched away, cursing.

 

“Oh dear, I believe I have quite made an enemy there!” he chuckled sheepishly as he escorted the equally surly seeming Miss Chappel to the saloon. It was rather improper for a lady to enter such a place, he had to admit, but, dressed in a bearskin, he could hardly cast aspersions upon her unconventional ways.

 

As the swing doors opened, there was a high pitched scream, and a shout of “She’s come t’ break my other arm!!!” followed by the sound of boots running at top speed along the wooden floor of the place and a blur of blue as a female in a Zouave uniform disappeared out of a far doorway, leading to the back of the place.

 

Falmer Browne beamed at the bearded barman as he started to divest himself of the bear outfit (he was fully clothed beneath, of course!), who didn’t bat an eye at the unconventional sight of a beautiful and refined lady like Miss Chappel entering such a common and low dive as a public bar.

 

“Barman!” he addressed the man “A glass of your finest Sarsaparilla cordial for myself, and whatever my fair guest would like to imbibe. I’m sure that they have a number of beverages suitable for as refined and delicate a palate as yours, Miss Chappel.” He smiled, this time able to reach for his pocket book.

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"I'll take a whisky," Addy declared, watching in amusement as the bear skin spit out its victim, rather reminding her of the tale of 'Jonah and the Whale'.  

 

And as the man made himself whole again, she took the opportunity to go to the back door and yank it open.  "I done broke yer arm, Missy!" she called out, "so ya best mind yerself that I don't actually hunt ya down an' break it fer real!"

 

That done, she returned to the bear-man and smiled sweetly.  "So, what's this business proposition ya got?"

 

@Javia

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"I'll take a whisky," Addy declared, watching in amusement as the bear skin spit out its victim, rather reminding her of the tale of 'Jonah and the Whale'. 

 

“A whiskey?!” Browne repeated, agog, but recovered himself quickly “… and a … a whiskey for the lady, please. Neat?” he looked at Addy “Er, yes, neat please … and in a lady’s glass, of course!” he added, in an effort to ameliorate his shock at the woman’s hard drinking ways.

 

And as the man made himself whole again, she took the opportunity to go to the back door and yank it open.  "I done broke yer arm, Missy!" she called out, "so ya best mind yerself that I don't actually hunt ya down an' break it fer real!"

 

There was another scream from upstairs and the sound of a door being slammed shut.

 

Falmer Brown was busy paying for the drinks with an enormous golden ‘Double Eagle’ $20 piece, the change from which completely decimated the barkeeper’s float of smaller coins, even after the moustachioed man had added “And one for yourself, of course!”

 

That done, she returned to the bear-man and smiled sweetly.  "So, what's this business proposition ya got?"

 

“Oh please, let us sit.” Said the now fully human Browne, carrying their drinks to a table not too near the bar. Once seated, he took sip of his sarsaparilla and leaned in closer to Addy over the table.

 

“Well Miss Chappel” he half whispered “I am willing to pay whatever it takes to complete this deal, but before we proceed too far into things, I should like to examine your undercarriage.”

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Addy might be just a little on the 'uncouth' side, but she knew to let the man hold the chair for her, and she settled across from him, taking a sip of the whisky rather than just swigging it at once.

 

“Well Miss Chappel” he half whispered “I am willing to pay whatever it takes to complete this deal, but before we proceed too far into things, I should like to examine your undercarriage.”

 

"Oh, well, see here, Mr. Browne Bear," Addy was actually on the verge of chuckling, understanding, she thought, what he was asking, but hearing the double entendre.  "I made th' last man that wanted ta inspect my undercarriage marry me...an' that didn't last but fer th' night, 'til th' likker wore off."

 

Throwing back the rest of the whisky, she set the glass on the table and looked the man straight in the eye, her expression serious.  "So, Mr. Browne, what are ya prepared ta offer me fer a gander at my undercarriage?  Make it good..."

 

@Javia

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"Oh, well, see here, Mr. Browne Bear," Addy was actually on the verge of chuckling, understanding, she thought, what he was asking, but hearing the double entendre.

 

“Oh, ‘Brown Bear’ ha ha! Very good, Miss Chappel, very good!” the man chortled, appreciating her quick, rapier-like wit. Clever as well as radiantly beautiful, he thought.

 

"I made th' last man that wanted ta inspect my undercarriage marry me...an' that didn't last but fer th' night, 'til th' likker wore off."

 

Falmer Browne suddenly stood up, the scraping of his chair drawing a few gazes, and gave a slight bow. “To unfortunate man who allowed you to slip through his fingers, I offer my sincere condolences; speaking on behalf of the bachelors of the world, I offer him my thanks.”

 

He suddenly looked sheepish, got a grip of himself and sat back down This was one of the reasons he lived as a virtual recluse; he couldn’t afford to get distracted from his important work. And women, especially extremely attractive ones like Miss Adelaide Chappel, were a distraction sans pair.

 

Throwing back the rest of the whisky, she set the glass on the table and looked the man straight in the eye, her expression serious.  "So, Mr. Browne, what are ya prepared ta offer me fer a gander at my undercarriage?  Make it good..."

 

“Ah, that is a mere preliminary, my good lady, to see how well your springs are loaded. You see, I have some very delicate items which I need to be transported from Helena to Kalispell. Now, I am prepared to pay double the usual amount for such a service, IF, you can guarantee that the items can be delivered unharmed.”

 

He sat back and took her in, resisting the urge to fall on his knees and ask the beautiful creature to marry him there and then. To be fair to the other ladies of Kalispell, he felt the same way about most of them, too, when he passed them on the street - or sat disguised amongst them disguised as a big old grizzly bear..

 

“What, Miss Chappel, do you think of my proposal… er… offer?

 

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Well now, a challenge and a handsome reward...what more could a teamster want?  Still, there seemed to be a bit of a mystery about the cargo, and Addy would have to know specifics on that before she made any commitment.

 

Still and away, she was relieved that the man wasn't after Weedy, and she could use a good job. 

 

"Well, sir, I got a right fine rig, I keep 'er in top shape," she declared proudly, "an' fine springs...not as smooth as th' thoroughbraces on a coach, but as good as ya'd find on a wagon.  An' I can give ya two-up or four," she continued, referring to the horses on the team, "dependin' on weight.  Ya know it's a good eight ta ten days, right?"

 

Which meant she'd need to plan for meals and camping, but that would be fairly easy. 

 

"So, ya wanna go take a gander at my underpinnin's?"

 

@Javia

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"Well, sir, I got a right fine rig, I keep 'er in top shape," she declared proudly, "an' fine springs...not as smooth as th' thoroughbraces on a coach, but as good as ya'd find on a wagon.  An' I can give ya two-up or four," she continued, referring to the horses on the team, "dependin' on weight.  Ya know it's a good eight ta ten days, right?"

 

“It will be well worth the journey if these items can be brought safely to Kalispell.” Said Falmer Browne.

 

"So, ya wanna go take a gander at my underpinnin's?"

 

“Of course, but there is something else, Miss Chappel, before we go … I shall need to supervise the operation, be there to take care of the … items.” he said mysteriously. “Would that be a difficulty? If I were to ride ‘shotgun’ as they say? Or alongside on horseback, if that is more to your liking.” He asked.

 

“I certainly do not wish, in any way, for you to feel that I am ‘looking over your shoulder’ all the way there and back. You are the professional and I trust to your judgement implicitly. It is more the nature of the cargo requires my careful attention.”

 

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"I don't mind."  Addy shrugged, looking the man over, wondering if he was actually up to the trip, but she knew full well that appearances didn't count for naught when it came to the measure of a person.  Still, she allowed as how it would be interesting.  "Just need a few more supplies is all."  And maybe more comfort, as the gentleman might prefer indoor accommodations to camping when it presented.

 

"Might be best we at least have a saddle mount along, just in case we have need."  She was already planning the logistics in her head, but first things first.

 

"So, shall we go check my underpinnin's?"  She stood.  "When ya wanna get this done?"  She'd have to arrange for another driver for the stage, but that wouldn't be hard.

 

@Javia

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"I don't mind."  Addy shrugged, looking the man over, wondering if he was actually up to the trip, but she knew full well that appearances didn't count for naught when it came to the measure of a person.  Still, she allowed as how it would be interesting.  "Just need a few more supplies is all."  And maybe more comfort, as the gentleman might prefer indoor accommodations to camping when it presented.

 

“Oh Spendid! Splendid indeed! I am so glad that you are interested in my proposition!” he beamed, holding up his glass in salute and taking a swig.

 

"Might be best we at least have a saddle mount along, just in case we have need."  She was already planning the logistics in her head, but first things first.

 

He nodded, looking serious. “As you suggest, Miss Chappel, as you suggest. I am completely in your expert hands, my very good woman.” Addy was filling him with more and more confidence that the journey of his special items was actually feasible and doable.

 

"So, shall we go check my underpinnin's?"  She stood.  "When ya wanna get this done?"  She'd have to arrange for another driver for the stage, but that wouldn't be hard.

 

“Oooh, well, er. ‘As soon as humanly possible’ to coin a phrase, but to tell the truth, whenever possible is better than never!” he said, a little confusingly. “My items are quite safe in Helena, as we speak, but I am most anxious to be reunited with them at the earliest possible convenience!” he enthused.

 

“But yes, please, let us away! I can hardly wait to test your springs!” he smiled, standing and helping her out of her chair like a true gent.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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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

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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.

 

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Attractive?  Well, there was something odd about the man, and this just proved it! 

 

Grinning, Addy shrugged, not finding it too odd that he'd seen her, in particular, around town, after all, she stood out, there was no doubt on that.

 

"Oh, I grew up around critters," she explained, "my pa an' brothers worked with mules, an' I just took right to it!"  She shrugged as she reached to stroke a big, fuzzy nose that poked over a stall gate.  "'Course, now, I was th' little one, an' seven brothers...was just a natural thing ta do."

 

Looking up at the man, she added, "Started drivin' ambulance durin' th' war, fer th' Confederacy," she wanted that clear, not that it made a difference then, nor now, "an' after that come here from Tennessee ta drive stage."

 

So, there was her part of it, now for his.  "What's this tender cargo yer wantin' ta get?  Won't engage in nothin' unlawful, just so ya know."

 

@Javia

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"Oh, I grew up around critters," she explained, "my pa an' brothers worked with mules, an' I just took right to it!"  She shrugged as she reached to stroke a big, fuzzy nose that poked over a stall gate.  "'Course, now, I was th' little one, an' seven brothers...was just a natural thing ta do."

 

Falmer Browne smiled wistfully at Addy’s reminiscences of her early, happy-sounding childhood. It made him think of a time, a magical time in his own early youth, a Christmas morn in the old family place in Amherst about 1822. Five or six years old, ripping open the wrapping paper on his present, a little whip and spinning top, while his mother fussed about the place tidying away the paper and his father sat jovially in his armchair, pulling on a long briar pipe. It fair brought a twinkle of a nostalgic tear to his eye and a maudlin smile to his lips beneath his grey moustache.

 

But Addy’s life story was moving on…

 

Looking up at the man, she added, "Started drivin' ambulance durin' th' war, fer th' Confederacy," she wanted that clear, not that it made a difference then, nor now, "an' after that come here from Tennessee ta drive stage."

 

She had driven an ambulance, in the war?! He gave a thoughtful frown and jumped down from the wagon.

 

So, there was her part of it, now for his.  "What's this tender cargo yer wantin' ta get?  Won't engage in nothin' unlawful, just so ya know."

 

He shook his head pensively, and murmured “No, no, it is just some rather delicate scientific instruments.” But it was clear that there was something on his mind.

 

“Miss Chappel, you have seen the full horrors of war. It matters not which side of that dreadful conflict you served on: all did their duty gallantly, as they saw fit. Well, almost all.” He jerked his head in a sort of nervous twitch, as if he was steeling himself to reveal something awful.

 

“Some people did not do any sort of duty, except to themselves. I was one of those. I was rich Miss Chappel, as rich as Croesus, I might add. I didn’t need more money, but I took it. I invested in steel, iron, armaments, black powder, even uniform cloth… death, injury, destruction! The more bloody the battles became, the more gold poured into my coffers.” He stood, shame faced, staring at the ground. Then he looked up at her, there were tears starting to brim in his old eyes.

 

 “I was on the docks in New York, Miss Chappel, at the end of the war, watching the unloading of some cargo that would bring me in even more filthy lucre, when I saw the first steamboat bringing back the prisoners from Andersonville. Human skeletons, starved almost to nothing, mere … rags and tatters of men. Most had died on the steamer, killed by the shock of being fed properly for the first time in years. They blamed the Confederate commander of the camp, Wirz. They hanged him for it. I watched it. They should have hanged ME, Miss Chappel. Jesus forgive me, they should have hanged me!!” he sobbed, his shoulders shaking, pulling out a hanky and squeezing it to his eyes.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Reckon we all did what we thought we had to."  Addy shrugged, watching the man, seeing the guilt.  "Sometimes it's better ya not engage in somethin' ya've not go a aptitude for...ya go out playin' soldier when yer heart ain't in it, yer as like ta get folks killed as not."

 

She stepped forward and put a hand on his arm...awkwardly.  "Can't change what's past, Mister Browne, only can do yer best goin' forward, right?"

 

She wasn't much one for philosophy, but her pa had imparted a good deal of practical wisdom that had been reinforced by life.  Besides, she just wasn't one to overly fret on what couldn't be changed.

 

@Javia

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She stepped forward and put a hand on his arm...awkwardly.  "Can't change what's past, Mister Browne, only can do yer best goin' forward, right?"

 

Falmer Browne blew his nose with a loud rasp. “Quite right, Miss Chappel, quite right.” He patted her hand with his own. “After I saw Wirtz hanged, I returned home and considered doing the very same to myself for, indeed, I deserved such a fate as much as he. But what good would that do? It was the coward’s way out of my misery." he stood in contemplation for a second, recalling that darkest of dark moments in his life. Then he sighed.

 

"Instead I considered the money I possessed, my early training in the sciences, and determined to dedicate all of my considerable resources, and the remainder of my life, to putting things right: to try and ensure that men on this continent would never starve as those poor wretches in Andersonville had starved!”

 

As he spoke, he kept his hand upon hers, resting on his arm.

 

He patted it again and let it go.

 

“You are a very wise woman, Miss Chappel.” He said, considering her.

 

“Now, about that young lad who lives with you…”

 

@Bongo

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"Well, it's good yer usin' yer money an' talents ta make things better fer folks."  She wasn't really sure how he might accomplish his goals, but they were, indeed, lofty and honorable.  "Might could be why th' good Lord spared ya, no matter how th' means."

 

But then, the question...

 

“Now, about that young lad who lives with you…”

 

"What of him?"  Her demeanor had changed in an instant, and she regretted that she didn't have her pistol on her!  "He ain't none'a yer concern, ya wanna do business'er not?"  She was starting to have second thoughts...

 

@Javia

 

 

 

 

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 “Now, about that young lad who lives with you…”

 

"What of him?"  Her demeanor had changed in an instant, and she regretted that she didn't have her pistol on her!  "He ain't none'a yer concern, ya wanna do business'er not?"  She was starting to have second thoughts...

 

Falmer Browne gave an audible “Whaaa!” and jumped back, thinking the formidable, if beautiful, young woman was about to deck him. “Please, let me explain…” he stammered, startled at Addy’s reaction to his innocent introduction of the subject of his new neighbor’s young ward, Weedy.

 

“Our gardens conjoin, you see” he realised that in his voice sounded nervous, like he was trying to hide something, but pushed on. “Your young fellow was looking in at my greenhouse windows, no doubt intrigued by the exotic flora I have growing there, lemon trees and what have you. I’m afraid that my sudden appearance there rather alarmed him and he ran away. I only wished to say…” in his haste to explain everything to the amazonian woman before him, he had rather forgotten to breath, and had to stop to take in some air.

 

“I only wished to say that you and your young friend are very welcome to visit at any time and look around my collection of herbalia. You could, perhaps, come around for High Tea one evening around Five O'Clock, should we say?” he invited them cordially. Young friend. He didn’t make a guess at the unmarried young woman’s relationship with the lad, in case it was an embarrassing one, … such as son.

 

@Bongo

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Addy relaxed ever so slightly, still glaring at the man as she tried to assess Mr. Browne's intentions...and translate what all he'd just yammered on about.

 

"Flowers?  He did come in one afternoon, all excited 'bout flowers, but I didn't pay him much mind."  After all, Weedy was a boy, he got all worked up over guns and horses and the like, not flowers.  And truth be told, she'd noticed the odd house of glass on the next property, but had been far too busy to pay it much mind.

 

"Tea, ya say?"  Why in a ground hog's belly button anyone would have tea was beyond her, but the man had asked politely, and it didn't seem neighborly to turn him down.  "I reckon we might could do that.  This before 'er after ya wanna go ta Helena?"  Either would give her some time to figure out just what he was up to, and if Mexico was in her future!

 

@Javia

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"Tea, ya say?"  Why in a ground hog's belly button anyone would have tea was beyond her, but the man had asked politely, and it didn't seem neighborly to turn him down.  "I reckon we might could do that.  This before 'er after ya wanna go ta Helena?"  Either would give her some time to figure out just what he was up to, and if Mexico was in her future!

 

“Oh, I should say the sooner the better! As soon as humanly possible. This afternoon, if you like. It will be an opportunity to get to know each other a little better before embarking upon so potentially egregious and exhausting an expedition.” He smiled, happy that she seemed willing at least to visit him in his ramshackle nursery-cum-laboratory-cum-bachelor’s household. “We usually take high tea around 4pm, tea, cakes, fancies, the usual sort of thing. My housekeeper, Mrs O’Houlighan, is an excellent baker.”

 

He was curious as to why Miss Chappel was so very guarded at any mention of the young lad who lived with her. Perhaps he was indeed the fruit of some ill famed past liaison, and the father or father’s family wanted custody of the little b… boy. In his experience, the opposite was usually true, and the farmer who had sown the seed wanted nothing to do with the resultant crop. But still, none  of his business, and a topic he would steer well clear of from hereon in.

 

@Bailey

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Far be it for Miss Addy Chappel to turn down free food, especially baked goods, so she may as well appease the man and take him up on his offer.  Besides, he was right, they could discuss specifics of the trip.

 

"Reckon I could do that," she finally agreed.  "Four o'clock, ya say?  That ain't too far off, not sure if I can find th' boy, never quite sure where he's at."  Well, she could find him if she wanted to, and chances were good he was home now anyway, working on his homework so his evenings would be free.  Still, she was wary of the man's motives.

 

"I'll give ya a list then, on whatcher gonna need fer th' trip, an' you can think on when ya wanna leave."

 

@Javia

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Falmer Browne had been very enthusiastic about Addy’s willingness to call on her new neighbour that very tea-time (alien concept though that may be) and he had seemed suitably unconcerned as to whether Weedy, too, could come along or not. It had to be said, though, that the scientist took that delight in children so natural to those who did not have to keep any themselves. He would have a wonderful time showing the curious lad around his collection of exotic flora and scientific curiosities, and then be able to hand him back to his mother at the end of the adventure.

 

At 4.30 prompt, It was the housekeeper, Mrs O’Houlighan who answered the ting-a-ling of the bell on the shiny painted front door, a woman whose redoubtable frame was as wide as her Irish brogue.

 

“And if it isn’t Miss Chappel, come from next door!” she boomed with hearty cheer “The Professor’s been expectin’ yuh, so he has! Come in, come in! No strangers here, just friends we've yet to meet!” she said, ushering the Wagoneer into the house.

 

Angela Baddeley, older sister of Hermione (England). Adored for her Upstairs  Downstairs role as Mrs. Bri… | Upstairs downstairs, Upstairs downstairs  1971, Upstairs

 

[OOC: Didn't go any further - depends on if Weedy is along or not!]

 

 

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There hadn't been much changing to do, since Addy had been wearing her 'go-to-meetin'' clothes to the Ladies Society, but she had taken some time to redo her hair so that the braid was neat and the stray wisps were tucked away.  As for Weedy, the boy had on a clean shirt, a contrast to his dusty bitches that showed he'd been playing some rough boy-games after school.

 

And the lad's expression showed that he was less than thrilled to be here, and was really expecting something exciting to make it all worth while, but he doubted it!

 

The enthusiastic greeting put Addy at ease -- mostly -- and she couldn't help but smile.  She'd seen the woman over the fence and they'd exchanged simple greetings, but had never formally met.  And surely no one so seemingly kind could work for someone evil.

 

"Afternoon."  Addy stuck her hand out to shake.  "An' it's Addy, please, an' this here is Weedy." 

 

@Javia

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"Afternoon."  Addy stuck her hand out to shake.  "An' it's Addy, please, an' this here is Weedy."

 

“Oooh, a woman after me own heart!” beamed Mrs O’Houlighan “An’ you must call me Kathleen! And this young gentleman is Mr Weedy is it?” She beamed down at him “And what’ll be beein’ yer first name, Mr Weedy?”

 

At that point a frowsy looking maid joined the throng at the door way. This unfortunate girl’s very plainness was a condition of her employment: ‘Professor’ Browne had insisted to Mrs O’Houlighan that the maid she employed must in no way tempt him away from his concentration on his work, given his weakness for the fairer sex. In finding Jemima Wigfall, Mrs O’Houlighan had fulfilled this condition to the enth degree.

 

RUBY FROM UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS. | Upstairs downstairs, Upstairs downstairs  1971, Downstairs

 

“Mrs O, Mrs O, come quick! The snake’s got the Professor again!” screamed Jemima and they all ran through to the Drawing Room where F. Falmer Browne stood staggering, wrapped in the coils of an enormous boa constrictor! His face was an interesting color of puce as he pawed impotently at the thick body of his serpentine assailant. Looking like they had done this a million times before, Mrs O’Houlighan and Jemima sprang forward and started to prize the creature from their employers struggling frame, one unpeeling it from the head the other from the tip of its tail.

 

“Don’t worry, Addy, the Professor’ll be right with yous presently! Mr James, would you be a dear and remove the lid from yonder glass tank!” the grandmotherly Irishwoman boomed, nodding with her head toward an extremely large vivarium in the corner of the room.

 

skynews-boa-constrictor-essex_4409897.jp

 

@Bongo

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“Oooh, a woman after me own heart!” beamed Mrs O’Houlighan “An’ you must call me Kathleen! And this young gentleman is Mr Weedy is it?” She beamed down at him “And what’ll be beein’ yer first name, Mr Weedy?”

 

Addy grinned...she liked the woman, she was practical and down-to-earth, didn't seem to have any pretentions. 

 

As for Weedy, he wasn't too sure yet, and his nose wrinkled up.  "Folks call me Weedy, ma'am.  My given name's Porter James."   There was no time for further explanation as they were interrupted by yet another maid.

 

“Mrs O, Mrs O, come quick! The snake’s got the Professor again!”

 

What in Jee-hosephat's name did that mean?  Addy looked at Weedy, who was looking up at her, and the pair shrugged then gave chase to the maids, curious as to what 'the snake's got the Professor' was!

 

"What in th' name'a Diedrich Knickerbocker!?"  Stopping in the doorway, Addy grabbed Weedy by the shoulder and pulled a sgian dubh from her boot, ready to do battle with the scaly beast and free the Professor!

 

“Don’t worry, Addy, the Professor’ll be right with yous presently! Mr Weedy, would you be a dear and remove the lid from yonder glass tank!”

 

For a second, Addy kept her grip on Weedy, but finally nodded and let him go, although she kept the knife in hand, calculating how long it might take to saw the head off the snake, if that was what it really was...she'd never seen anything the like in all her years!

 

Mindful to keep a fair distance between himself and the drama, Weedy shuffled over to the tank in question, then pushed the lid aside, his eyes wide and mouth agape!

 

@Javia

 

 

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