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    • Montgomery the Pocket Gopher had proven to be lots of fun. Once out of his cage he had proceeded to run up Jemima’s arm and onto her head, and the homely looking girl had had to bend forward to allow Weedy to lift him off and give him a cuddle. Despite his vicious looking incisors, he never nipped at his human overlords, they who knew where the peanuts were kept!   Jemima had something else she wanted to show the diminutive lad, and beckoned him over to a glass tank, a miniature version of the one that Lamia slept in. She pointed to a small, anonymous looking spider in there, sitting grumpily under a bit of decorative tree bark.   “See that, that’s a fiddleback spider: they’re the most poisonous spiders ever. And if it bites you a great big ulcer grows on you and you die a horrible screaming death, foamin' at the mouth and blood spurtin' out of your ears and nose!" she said proudly, as if she were personally responsible for the tiny animal’s toxicity.   “And one time she escaped and we had to look all over for her, and eventually we saw her on the back of the Professor’s neck! And Mrs O’ screamed and near fainted, but I got a jam jar and coaxed it on in there and the Professor said I was the bravest girl he’d ever met!”     @Bongo
    • Her smile was a bit wistful as she added, "There's times I wonder if I wasn't born in th' wrong time an' th' wrong britches."   F. Falmer Browne gave an indulgent smile to this but said nothing. He would have to admit to himself that when he had first lain eyes on Miss Adelaide Chappell, now sat before him in all the becoming trappings of a woman, virtually dressed as a man on her wagon-driving expeditions in and out of town, he had wondered. True, male attire was handier for her trade, but she seemed to go that way at most hours of the day, except for very formal functions like the Ladies (so called!) Society Meeting of this morning.   When he had lived in the vast metropolis of New York, that Sodom and Gomorrah of these disunited United States, he had seen two types of women dressed as men: the first were demimondes of the stage, who dressed as ‘boys’ in fanciful tights to merely titillate their audiences (usually successfully, Browne had to admit) with a well-shaped leg, and secondly, some women of the more bohemian quarters who dressed as men because, apart from their physical form, they were men, in their own minds.   Walking with a friend down Broadway, he had seen two such women, walking arm in arm, and his friend had remarked “See those creatures, Browne? Disgusting! God must weep when He sees such sinful animals on parade. The police should arrest them and some Judge put the filthy animals to hard labor on the treadmill.” Browne had, cowardly he now knew, consented, but really wondered if it was not God Himself who had played such a rotten trick on them. At least in New York, teeming with every nation and type under the Sun, two such ‘creatures’ might find each other. For any man or woman ‘that way inclined’ out here in a small town like Kalispell, such proclivities must result in a lonely and loveless life indeed.   Addy’s talk of Jay Ryker and their evident love for one another did Browne good to hear, despite a slight pang of jealousy: it meant that this lovely woman was not destined for a life of loneliness. There must be others in town, though, hidden and trapped in their unusual sexuality, who were destined to ever drink from the well of loneliness.
    • "Oh, well certainly. If you would rather talk there. Anyplace is fine with us," Clara would have agreed to discuss it even if he had suggested the middle of a river. She just wanted to get it done!   The four of them shuffled back to the rear of the church and through the little-used back door, into the main part of the building where the pews were neatly rowed and the pulpit stood empty at the far end.   The man then offered, "I could fix something to drink? Tea perhaps?"    "No thank you, we do not wish you to have to make a fuss on our account," she gently shook her head in the negative.   “Ooh, It’s no fuss Clara! I’ll fix that, Brother.” Arabella gushed obsequiously “You three will want to talk privately.”   She would also, perhaps a little too optimistically at this point, fetch out a blank marriage certificate, for she knew where Pastor Evans stored them. In fact, she’d had a good root through most of the drawers and cupboards in his little office, off the vestry, and found some amazing and interesting stuff. Her favourites were a collection of pictures in a little book which, she assumed, the good Pastor must have confiscated off some sinful parishioner in the past.   @boshmi @Wayfarer
    • "All right, if this has anything to do with getting rid of ol' Klutz, then I'll do it," he said in a slightly slurred tone.  The whiskey was now starting to affect his speech, "Clara's gotta see that I'm the better man."   Crabbe nodded. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was hoping to get out of this situation, but he had made a living, the last six years of his life, by exploiting other men’s passions, and this young feller had passion in spades. Lorenzo recognised it for the sort of dangerous, jealous, twisted, brooding passion that so often haunts the hearts of men where women are concerned, and knew it would have to be handled with kid gloves to benefit himself any.   “Problem is, he’s ensorcelled her with these here love poems.” Lorenzo slyly took up a theme that Charlie himself had mentioned. “You attack him, she’ll just cleave tighter to the stupid lookin’ bastard.” He’d never seen this Klutz feller, but it didn’t harm to insult him in Charlie’s presence.   “We gotta work on her.” He said, thinking fast. “First of all, we gotta make you a more attractive proposition, er, make her kinda jealous of you, see? Make ol' Clara see you in a better light. Hmmm, you know any girls? I mean, not like Arabella, pretty girls.”   @JulieS
    • "Well." Thomas declared, sitting upwards in his chair. "I wonder what Arabella has gotten up to. I do hope I haven't complicated anything by bringing her along. Your wife seemed... er... unenthusiastic about her presence."   As if on cue, there was a crashing noise from the distant kitchen and Arabella’s voice sounded an “Ooops!”, but nonetheless, the two women presently appeared, carrying coffee and cake.   “Now, how are you two boys getting along?” asked Arabella, as if Thomas and Gideon were two five-year olds on their first playdate. Mrs Evans attended to the domestic stuff while Arabella jumped up and down, plexing her fingertips together with excitement.   “What do you want me to play on the harmonium, fellers?!” she asked excitedly, just hoping it wasn’t that well-known mondegreen “Bringing in the Sheep” which required notes that the poor old instrument could no longer sound. Arabella always had to substitute other notes in the same chord which made her playing sound like she’d invented jazz forty years too early.   @JulieS @boshmi
Clara Redmond

"I Will Understand..."

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Mature Content: Yes but not in action only talk

 

With: Clara and Emeline
Location: Lickskillet
When: Early June /1876
Time of Day: Morning just before opening hours

 

content-divider.png

 

Clara had dreaded this but she simply could not keep putting it off any longer. Emeline had to know the truth, the whole sordid truth even if the woman then reacted very badly to it. In fact, Clara steeled herself to the distinct possibility Emeline would end their friendship or whatever it was they now had. Certainly it would mean the end of her working for the woman. She knew many customers would be appalled, even angry if Emeline let someone of such 'loose morals' work there. It would hurt the business and Clara would not allow that to happen to this wonderful caring woman.

 

As she opened the back door to the place and stepped into the kitchen, there was the woman she rather thought of as a mother, busy already preparing for another long day. Clara was going to miss this so much too, not just because of the money, but she so enjoyed their time together, why it almost didn't even seem like work.

 

"Morning," Clara addressed her, her youthful face looking most solemn, for indeed she was.

 

"I ....well, I hate to interrupt the work but could I speak to you? It is of utmost importance and it is not going to be easy for me to ...tell you but I simply must," she moved right up to the woman, plainly nervous.

 

@Bongo

 

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"Good morning, Clara."  Emeline smiled brightly as the girl came in, it was always good to see her, she enjoyed the companionship, and even appreciated Clara's droll demeanor.  But as soon as she really looked at the girl, it was apparent that she had something serious on her mind.

 

"I ....well, I hate to interrupt the work but could I speak to you? It is of utmost importance and it is not going to be easy for me to ...tell you but I simply must," she moved right up to the woman, plainly nervous.

 

"Yes, of course."  Setting aside the batter she was working on, she wiped her hands on her apron, then leaned back against the counter, a dozen possibilities going through her head, and she fervently hoped the girl wasn't going to quit, she'd miss her, and she's have to start looking for someone she trusted to keep the place, if she decided that was what she wanted to do.

 

"What is it, Clara?"

 

@Wayfarer

 

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Emeline of course agreed to stop what she was doing and give her full attention to what the girl wanted...make that needed to say. There was no avoiding it now, Clara knew she had to go thru with it however unpleasant.

 

"What is it, Clara?"

 

"This is not going to be easy but I must tell something about me, something that happened. Well, that I let happen. I have only myself to blame," Clara sighed.

 

"I am not the person you think I am. I am .... well, a hypocrite I suppose. I have done something sinful and now I cannot undo it."

 

Her eyes were tearing up as she got right to the heart of the matter.

 

"I am going to have a baby."

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There was a growing sense of dread as Clara started to lay out her case, not so much as to what the transgression might be, but how she was going to respond to allay the girl's misgivings.

 

But then came the conclusion, and Emeline was at a loss for a very long moment.  There were so many thoughts, that trying to sort and organize them was daunting, but they always came back to two that were outstanding.

 

"Oh, Clara..."  Moving forward, Emeline wrapped the girl in a gentle hug.  "What happened?"  Well, of course she knew what happened, it was more a matter of what happened, and that made a difference.  "Were you attacked?"  Had Billy or one of his friends gone after her?  "We'll figure this out...does your father know?"  She didn't know the man well enough to be able to predict how he might react.

 

@Wayfarer

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Though normally not one for hugs, this time Clara melted into the woman's kind gesture, maybe Jacob had taught her that human contact wasn't so bad. Of course, on the other hand, the two of them had certainly overdone it! And of course the woman had questions, inevitable and fully expected questions. Clara had to answer them. It was why she came to Emeline even.

 

"Oh no! Not attacked, nothing like that," Clara quickly quashed that worry as they separated then to better talk to each other.

 

"It was my doing...well and Jacob too of course. But I swear to you, he did not force himself upon me. We were swimming at the lake  by the farm and we were .......well, without clothing. We started kissing and then one thing led to another and both of us knew it was wrong but neither of us had the self control to stop until...." she paused.

 

"Well, you know," Clara gave a sad shrug, she figured Emeline knew how it worked. She had been married once and even had a child too. Til tragedy.

 

"And now a little more than a month and a week, I have missed my bleed," she announced glumly.

 

"And no my father does not know yet. I have not been able to force myself to tell him. He is going to be angry with me but even more so, so disappointed in me. It is a serious sin I have committed," a tear was trickling down one cheek by now.

 

hailee-steinfeld-gif-hunt-gifs-58d4e7a62

 

@Bongo

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Swimming naked?  How had that happened, especially with as guarded as Clara was?  And why had she not realized that one thing led to another?

 

"Oh, dear..."  Well, at least she hadn't been assaulted, although that might have given her a better 'excuse', but that was the sort of trauma that no woman should have to live with. 

 

Of course, Clara was right, it was indeed a serious sin, one that would likely effect the rest of her life. 

 

"Oh, dear..."  What more was there to say?  Disappear somewhere for a few months?  But she didn't think that Clara was the sort that would give up a child just for the convenience of it, and that would likely haunt her forever.

 

"Well, what's done is done...what about the young man?  Jacob...have you told him yet?  He should do right by you and the child..."  And if they were married quickly enough, then timing might be excused.  That plan hid its own difficulties, they'd have to act in the next couple of days, so without telling her father until it was done, and they might not be compatible partners, much the less in love, but those were consequences of indiscretions.

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

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"Oh dear."

 

Emeline said that not once but twice. Yet Clara supposed that was mild compared to what the woman might have expressed on hearing what she was being told. Though - at least so far- Emeline had not outright said how disappointed she must be with her doing such a thing, Clara was certain it was in her thoughts. But Clara had laid it out on the table and wanted to hear more from her mother-figure than  'oh dear'.

 

Fortunately Emeline continued, "Well, what's done is done...what about the young man?  Jacob...have you told him yet?  He should do right by you and the child..." 

 

"Yes, I told him as soon as I suspected it. And he immediately said he wanted to marry me. It is almost as if he is looking forward to it, he seemed happy more so than shocked," Clara replied.

 

"I am not certain he has thought it through yet though, how we are going to be perceived by many people. Despised I imagine as the sinners we are, I guess," she sighed.

 

"And I will understand if you need to dismiss me here at the diner. You can hardly afford to alienate customers with your continued employment of someone like....me," Clara stiffened even as she said it.

 

This was her fault and Emeline's business and reputation should not suffer for her weakness.

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Well, if there was any good in this, it was that Jacob was willing to take responsibility.  After all, he could turned his back on her and denied it, calling her all manner of things in the process.  But that he seemed eager to marry her, that was a good count in his favor.

 

"No, no, don't worry about me dismissing you."  The poor girl had so much else to think about, and there was no reason to let her go.

 

"Oh, Clara...there isn't time to contemplate anything...you gave away your options when you..."  She took a breath and shook her head.  Clara knew what she'd done, no need to drive that home.  "If you marry now you can explain the child as just being a little early."  Well, a lot early, but who was counting?  "The longer you wait, the harder it will be."

 

Good advisor she was, telling the girl to lie!  And to betray her father and just elope...not a great way to start a marriage, but that was lost a few weeks ago.

 

@Wayfarer

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"No, no, don't worry about me dismissing you."

 

Her unwavering support, well at least kindness, was touching, it truly was but probably not the smart business thing to do.

 

"But you may well lose customers on my account," Clara stressed but on her other options she really did want to hear what the woman had to say.

 

"Oh, Clara...there isn't time to contemplate anything...you gave away your options when you..."  She took a breath and shook her head,  "If you marry now you can explain the child as just being a little early. The longer you wait, the harder it will be."

 

"Yes, I agree. Time is against us. Jacob knows that too," Clara nodded, "But I think you are right, we need to marry and do it quickly. And then deal with the consequences."

 

"Oh god....I wonder what my mother thinks of me right now? " there was a tear coursing down one cheek now from the normally unemotional young woman.

 

claragif2.gif

 

 

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"I'm sure she's thinking that you'll be a wonderful mother."  Using her apron, Emeline wiped away tears, wondering if she would be this calm should the situation arise with her own child.  But then she thought that she'd be so grateful to have a child live to adulthood that she wouldn't care...it would take something far more than this to alienate her.

 

"And I'm sure you'll love being a mother, but you can't take this guilt into it, Clara.  I can't say for certain, of course, but if you always think of the baby as a sin, it might interfere with your feelings."  Well, 'interfere' wasn't exactly the word Emeline was looking for, but it conveyed the idea...Clara and Jacob both needed to embrace this.

 

@Wayfarer

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"I'm sure she's thinking that you'll be a wonderful mother."  Using her apron, Emeline wiped away tears.

 

Surprisingly Clara did not recoil from the kindly gesture despite her usual aversion to close contact with other people. She was getting better about that issue, at least with a few select individuals such as Jacob and Emeline.

 

"You think so?" Clara sniffled.

 

Emeline continued, "And I'm sure you'll love being a mother, but you can't take this guilt into it, Clara.  I can't say for certain, of course, but if you always think of the baby as a sin, it might interfere with your feelings."

 

"Oh no, I get what you mean. But I would never blame the baby, the fault...the sin is mine. And Jacob's too but I should not have allowed him ...I just wanted.....I ...." Clara stopped midsentence and spent a few seconds composing herself before continuing.

 

"Jacob and I both want this baby. We talked about it, we both agreed. I assure you."

 

 

 

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"Oh, I do know what a powerful draw that passion is."  Emeline's cheeks turned bright red at the confession.  She had loved Andrew, and the physical connection had been strong, so much that they had almost given in to the temptation before they married.  And with Barnabas, the draw was even stronger, and it was the knowledge that there wasn't much longer to wait...and maybe because they were more mature, it was easier.

 

"You're fortunate that Jacob will stand by you, many young men would betray you."  She sighed.  "I know this is a lot for you to have to face, but I'll help you in any way I can.  And if you need to go talk to your father, I can handle things here for the day."  The implication being that maybe that was just what she needed to do.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Oh, I do know what a powerful draw that passion is."  Emeline's cheeks turned bright red at the confession. 

 

Clara was all ears.

 

"You're fortunate that Jacob will stand by you, many young men would betray you."  

 

Clara nodded, "I believe that and if Jacob were like many young men, I would have never consented to let him....you know."

 

Emeline sighed.  "I know this is a lot for you to have to face, but I'll help you in any way I can.  And if you need to go talk to your father, I can handle things here for the day." 

 

"Oh, I thank you so much. You are the kindest person I know," Clara reached out to touch one of the woman's hands, that was about as intimate a gesture as the girl allowed herself.

 

"But if customers start complaining, you should let me go. You do not want to harm your business over my mistake," she reminded the woman.

 

 

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"We'll deal with that if it happens," Emeline declared.  "When you start to show, we can just switch positions and you can work the kitchen, then no one needs to be any the wiser." 

 

It wasn't really anyone's business, although Clara was right, there were plenty of self-righteous people who would raise a fuss at having a girl who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock working here.  But maybe if that did become an issue, by then Emeline would be happy just selling the place and only selling pies.

 

"You'll need to start saving, too.  Children take a lot of money, and in a few months you may not be able to work as much."  Then something occurred to her.  "Has anyone ever told you what to expect?  With the pregnancy, I mean."

 

She rather doubted that Aurelian had imparted any wisdom in that area, and really, a man couldn't explain it nearly was well as a woman who had given birth!

 

@Wayfarer

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"We'll deal with that if it happens," Emeline declared.  "When you start to show, we can just switch positions and you can work the kitchen, then no one needs to be any the wiser."   

 

That might work, Clara had not thought of that idea.  Emeline moved on then to other very important stuff.

 

"You'll need to start saving, too.  Children take a lot of money, and in a few months you may not be able to work as much."  

 

"Oh yes!  Excellent point. I have been giving all my wages and tips to my father for the farm," Clara had yet another worry to consider now. It was all piling up!

 

Emeline added, "Has anyone ever told you what to expect?  With the pregnancy, I mean."  

 

"Why no, not really. I mean I do recall somewhat when Mother had Wyatt but just bits of it. I know when the time came a local woman came over to help her have it and the woman would let me or my father into the room. In fact I seem to remember Father and I on the front porch. He walked back and forth while I sat there," Clara answered, "I was going on five then."

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"You'll have plenty of help when the time comes, so long as you stay in the area, no worry about that."  Of course, she didn't know that 'Granny' Miggins might be involved, and more help than a body could ever want!  "It's the other things...the morning sickness, mood swings, swollen ankles..."  Emeline chuckled.  "There is a lot before the delivery, but we can sit and talk that over later."

 

It made sense that these things hadn't been discussed, her own mother hadn't even talked to her about it until she was pregnant with her first child. 

 

"But first things first.  Do you feel that you can talk to your father?  Or would you rather work the day and plan things out a little?"  In a way, it seemed that the quicker she got it done, the better, it would be so easy to procrastinate forever!  But that was up to Clara.

 

@Wayfarer

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Clara was dubious she would have plenty of help when that time came but she was certain of one thing, she could trust Emeline. She trusted the woman like she had relied upon her own mother. And Emeline had experience, she knew things about this whole process that Clara had no idea about it. So it made sense to listen and learn from her.

 

"It's the other things...the morning sickness, mood swings, swollen ankles..."  Emeline chuckled.  "There is a lot before the delivery, but we can sit and talk that over later."

 

Oh gosh!  Clara was not looking forward to all that but yes, it might help to discuss in more detail later.

 

"Yes, hopefully I will not have all of those symptoms too early into my pregnancy. I have got time I guess," she nodded.

 

"But first things first.  Do you feel that you can talk to your father?  Or would you rather work the day and plan things out a little?"  

 

"Well, if we elope, I guess I will not be talking with him until after we have already tied the knot," Clara reasoned, "But, of course, at some time I need to tell him everything. We have always been very close and my father is a good man. I do not think he will reject me and certainly he would never do anything to physically harm me."

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"He may be disappointed, but once he looks into his grandchild's eyes, he'll turn to mush!"  While Emeline didn't know Aurelian well, she did know that he was a good and fair man, and yes, he'd be upset at what had happened, but if Clara and Jacob worked out, he'd be proud.

 

She laughed.  "He may resent being a grandfather, I know that Papa did!  He blamed me for making him old, I just wish...he could have actually seen her."  Her smile was bittersweet.  "I know he would have doted on her..."

 

Taking a breath, she looked at Clara.  "Savor every instant, every pain and pleasure...and watch Jacob's face the first time you hand him that baby."

 

@Wayfarer

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Clara nodded, Emeline probably was right on the money with the statement about how her father would melt at the sight of the baby. No matter how angry he might get, Clara was totally positive he would never transfer that anger to an innocent baby.

 

"I think that quite possible," she said softly.

 

Emeline added something else,  "He may resent being a grandfather, I know that Papa did!  He blamed me for making him old, I just wish...he could have actually seen her."  Her smile was bittersweet.  "I know he would have doted on her..."

 

Clara couldn't help but feel badly once more for the woman, she had lost her baby and that had obviously caused her so much pain, she still had not gotten over it, probably never would. Clara prayed that her baby would be healthy. That God would not take it out on the infant for the sins of the mother and father. They always say 'God is just', 'all kind'. But yet so many bad things happen to babies, their lives seem so fragile.

 

Taking a breath, Emeline looked at her.  "Savor every instant, every pain and pleasure...and watch Jacob's face the first time you hand him that baby."

 

"Not sure how well I will do on savoring the pain parts but yes, I understand your point. And I just know Jacob is going to be a devoted father, he is already so excited about it rather than fearful," Clara could just picture that moment. Hopefully it would all come true.

 

claragif2.gif

 

 

 

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"I think you're both going to be just fine," Emeline observed.  "Yes, you are young, and there is a lot to learn along the way, but that's half the fun, and you'll have plenty of people to give you advice, even your father."

 

After all, Aurellian had had to deal with the children while tending a farm, and he'd managed to do a fine job, so there was no need to count him out as a source of help.

 

"I'm excited for you, Clara, and I have no doubt this will all work out, even though the situation isn't ideal."

 

@Wayfarer

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Emeline was so optimistic. Clara liked to hear it but it was hard to go along with the idea. But she certainly hoped the woman was right and her own fears for the worst were wrong. And it did no good to give in to one's fears. She had to be better than that, stronger than that.

 

"Oh, thank you for this encouragement. I so want you to be right," Clara declared.

 

"I'm excited for you, Clara, and I have no doubt this will all work out, even though the situation isn't ideal," Emeline added more words of comfort or at least encouragement.

 

Clara swallowed back emotion and tried to compose herself again.

 

"If the baby is a girl, I am going to ask Jacob if we can name her after you," she announced solemnly.

 

 

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"Oh, well..."  That caught Emeline off guard, but in a good way.  "Of course, if you'd like...that would be an honor."  She smiled widely, moving in to give Clara a quick hug again, even though she would really have liked to smother her in a hug.  "Just keep in mind that you aren't obligated, of course.  There may be someone in Jacob's family you'd prefer to call her after."

 

Or perhaps Clara's own mother would be a worthy namesake.

 

She chuckled, then, and added, "Or, there is always Miss Arabella...if she is in town when the baby comes, I'm sure she'll be happy to name it for you, whether you like it or not!"

 

@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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