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    • As Weedy walked forward to see the fate of the cute little creature who had been temporarily entrusted to his care, Browne went with him, keeping a comforting hand on his shoulder. Little did he know that the poor lad had already seen much worse tragedy than this in his young life.   Sighing, Addy picked up the miniature gopher, cradling it in her hand as Weedy scaled the fence, looking eagerly from the other side.     "Sorry, Weedy."  Addy shrugged, looking past the boy to Browne...this would tell what sort of neighbors they would be, but the man didn't look at all angry.   Browne, indeed, managed a slightly sad but encouraging smile to the radiant young woman. “Nature’s way, Miss Chappel, nature’s way.” He intoned.   "I didn't mean for that to happen," the boy repeated, even though the Professor had assured him that the little critter was old and likely to die soon anyway.  "Can we bury him?"    “Er, yes, I dare say!” agreed Browne, hoping it would help ameliorate any guilty feelings the young chap might have about the tragic affair, although he knew that Buster would no doubt use any freshly turned earth as a toilet at the earliest possible convenience, thus adding insult to injury.   "I reckon..."  Addy looked to Browne again and shrugged.  "Maybe under a tree, an' you can say some words over him?"  Yes, it was absurd, but it would make Weedy feel better, and besides, it was absurd!   Just then, the Angel of Death herself appeared on the scene and came over from inside the house. “Oh Jemima, I’m afraid there has been a fatality, er, Montgomery escaped and the ginger gentleman from next door that we have seen, er, ‘Buster’ … I’m afraid.”   Jemima just uttered a flat “I’ll get the spade” and clomped off, soon returning with a shovel and a large cigar box.   Falmer Browne encouraged Weedy forward.   “Let us collect up the remains of the departed.” He said in a comforting voice.   Jemima approached Weedy and shoved the cigar box in his hand, it was a big one with ample room for poor Montgomery’s corpse.   “I’ll get diggin’.” She announced and looked at Addy “Where’d you want him plantin’?” she asked.     @Bongo
    • Mr. Smith knew a stacked deck against him when it was presented to him. He wasn't surprised really, the men were sticking up for the pretty gal instead of justice. It was the way of things. But he would try and get at least something out of his misery.   "Oh alright, I won't press charges but only if she pays whatever the doc here is gonna charge me for this here treatment," he answered.   "Of course, Miss Mundee here, well, she’ll have to wait on Anderson to decide her immediate fate.” Speed said. “With those others awaiting trial, have to take her to the County Sheriff’s lock up. Just about looking at a full house, well except for the basement cells.” He smiled at her.   "Fine! Not like I got any say in this do I?  Just a kindly young miss defendin' some poor innocent dog from mistreatment. Yeah, incar....incar..ser..?" Caroline was stumped.   "Throw me behind bars and lemme rot then," she shrugged.   "Hey Doc, you seem like a nice man? Can you let the saloon know where I am, please? Maybe my boss can post bail or somethin'? She is gonna need her singer/dancer tonight," she now addressed Danforth.   She pointed to herself, "That be me! You should come and hear me sometime. I admit my dancin' ain't the greatest but everyone sez I can sing real fine."   ooc: Forgot about this when I came home from my trip! We should be close to finishing it soon anyhow.   @Flip   @Bongo    
    • The good reverend had the kindness to offer to write down justwhat  it was the couple were going to have to recite from memory and scribbled the words down as he said them too. Clara was grateful for that much. Her dripping sarcasm seemingly had failed miserably on Jacob so she was stuck learning this. Fortunately it did not seem too long or so bad. That is if her nerves didn't fail her. Well, she would just have to find out. Besides, even if she bungled the vows, it could be easily sorted, nothing was going to stop them from getting married!   Hearing that all present would have to agree to the marriage gave Clara a bit of a new worry. Unanimous? So it would take only one to ....to scuttle the whole thing? A new thing to be nervous about. Afterall there would be Granny Miggins present.......oh and Arabella too. So far Arabella had been most supportive about the young couple but it was afterall Arabella. Mercurial described the child to a tee.   Clara took her copy, "Thank you, Reverend."   Then Jacob began to recite the whole thing. Now? Both Redmonds turned their gaze to watch and listen to the little performance. Strange.   When he had finished, Clara could only comment, "You are a bit early. This is not the ceremony yet."   Since Aurelian could not help with the ring, he then turned to the minister, "What is the cost of the marriage ceremony, use of the church and such? I will pay for it. It is tradition the father of the bride pay for the expenses."            
    • "Oh, really? Congratulations, then, Mrs. Soon-to-be Pike!" Lucinda smiled warmly, but her smile was tinged with sadness, as were her thoughts. This woman had found someone she liked enough to marry again, but Lucinda doubted that she ever would. Out here, anyway. Back east was a different story.   "I would be glad of the company if you could spare a few minutes," she answered. Now the question was...what would they talk about? All Lucinda wanted to know was news from the east, but it wasn't likely Emeline would know any more than she did. And as far as news went, living by yourself for six months didn't give you a lot of news-worthy things to talk about.   "Could I also have some water? I don't know about you, but stagecoaches make my throat terribly dry."
    • "White... fish?" José repeated, a little incredulous at such a name. Not that Kalispell was much better, but at least it was a name, rather than a color of aquatic creature. "No, I wasn't headed there. Why?"   "Uh, jest that it ain't there no more, an' you'd be wastin' your time huntin' her up.  Wasn't all that much anyway. I mean there was people what lived there, they had stores and all, but it jest never felt right. You know, somethin' off about the place." Carson explained as well as he could.   "Nest for outlaws mostly, a man had ta be careful what he said, an' such-like. But now Kalispell? That there's a growing concern. Most folks 'er friendly, Marshal seems to be a fair man. Yeah, a good place. So, what sortta work you looking for?" It was easy conversation for a lengthy ride across the range, pushing through the cattle when they crowded up.   "You might wanna douse that there lamp. Moon an' stars shed plenty of light out here." What he was thinking was, that a moving light crossing the Evergreen might bring on problems neither of them wanted, or needed.  @boshmi    

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“All right, but you come too. Don’t worry, it’ll be all right, we won’t go in the saloon, we’ll go round the back where I make the deliveries. I don’t think I’m in Arabella’s good books right now, but she’ll do anything for you.”  Jacob replied.

 

"Oh...alright," Clara seemed reluctant but not because of Arabella, she did actually like the girl, in small doses. But saloons were not the sort of places a proper young lady was to be seen in...of course to be blunt now she realized she actually wasn't a proper young lady anymore.

 

When the couple reached the back door and Jacob was about to open it, it suddenly opened before his hand could even touch the doorknob. There was Matilda Devereau who instantly recognized the lad at least, he delivered food stuffs on occasion from his farm, vegetables for Cookie's popular stew. The saloon made no real attempt to compete with the local diner establishment but they did at least serve a tasty stew that customers enjoyed. Personally Matilda thought Cookie added too much salt but one thing you never do was tell a cook how to do their job. That is if you wanted her to stay working for you. Now recognizing the lanky jasper and knowing his full name were two different things though.

 

"Oh....yer the ....Lutz boy, right? " as she asked she looked at the brunette practically glued to the lad's side and then past them both. No wagon in the alley. Hmmm.

 

"You got a delivery for us?" she then asked.

 

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Every single time Jacob had been to that back door it had been opened either by Arabella or the Saloon’s rotund cook, Messalina McMahon. Oh, and by Mr Flandry, the barman, once. But to be faced my Matilda Devereau, the owner of the place, was a bit of a shock, and Jacob was speechless for a moment.

 

"Oh....yer the ....Lutz boy, right? " as she asked she looked at the brunette practically glued to the lad's side and then past them both. No wagon in the alley. Hmmm.

 

“Yes Ma’m!” yelped the Lutz boy nervously and snatched off his hat in deference.

 

"You got a delivery for us?" she then asked.

 

For one horrible second Jacob thought she meant delivery as in a baby being delivered, but then realised that was ridiculous and the women had only ever seen him deliver farm produce. What an idiot he felt.

 

“Er, not today Ma’m, we were wondering if you could tell us if the Reverend Reed was at home to callers, or if he’s moved on to another abode.” God, why was he speaking so formally? It was nerves, he felt like the woman could see right through them and knew exactly what they’d been up to, what condition Clara was in, and why they desperately needed to see the man of God.

 

It didn't help that Arabella was always telling him stories about how cruel and heartless and terrifying an employer Matilda was.

 

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Matilda was actually quite a skillful liar and commenced to prove it.

 

"Rev. Reed? Ohhh, yes that new preacher in town. Who said he lived here? Nonsense. He's a man of God and this ain't a house of God," she declared, really to protect the clergyman's rep more than anything.

 

"He did come in here....once, when he first showed up in town. To ask directions and get the lay of the town. But he never lived here," she then smiled.

 

"One of my employees is an avid churchgoer, she might know where he lives now," she added.

 

"Yes, Arabella," Clara interjected since no either introduced her nor asked who she was.

 

"Yes, that's her in all her glory," smirked the woman.

 

Clara blinked, "If you say so, ma'am."

 

"Well come on in, get enough bugs in the place without holding the door wide open for more to sashshay in," Matilda now stepped back to allow entrance.

 

"Oh ...umm, " Clara began but Jacob went right on in so she figured she better follow. The saloon was open, one could easily hear the sound of customers' laughing and shouting, apparently having a good time.

 

"So....Mr. Lutz, I seem to recall you have an older sister, is this her?" Matilda asked.

 

"What?" Clara was pretty sure she had just been insulted, "No, I am not."

 

 

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"Rev. Reed? Ohhh, yes that new preacher in town. Who said he lived here? Nonsense. He's a man of God and this ain't a house of God," she declared, really to protect the clergyman's rep more than anything.

 

Jacob manfully resisted the urge to point at Clara and say “She did!” Instead he gave a nondescript shrug.

 

"He did come in here....once, when he first showed up in town. To ask directions and get the lay of the town. But he never lived here," she then smiled. 

 

Jacob thought he’d better make an effort to show he believed her, like it mattered if he’d lived there or not. Wasn’t Jesus friends with publicans? “Who knows how these rumours start, huh!?” he proffered, feeling like his words were strangely pompous somehow.

 

"One of my employees is an avid churchgoer, she might know where he lives now," she added.

 

"Yes, Arabella," Clara interjected since no either introduced her nor asked who she was.

 

"Yes, that's her in all her glory," smirked the woman.

 

Clara blinked, "If you say so, ma'am."

 

“Good old Reb!” chimed in Jacob, feeling he ought to chime in.

 

"Well come on in, get enough bugs in the place without holding the door wide open for more to sashshay in," Matilda now stepped back to allow entrance.

 

"Oh ...umm, " Clara began but Jacob went right on in so she figured she better follow. The saloon was open, one could easily hear the sound of customers' laughing and shouting, apparently having a good time.

 

"So....Mr. Lutz, I seem to recall you have an older sister, is this her?" Matilda asked.

 

Despite the strangeness of the situation, Jacob couldn’t help having to stifle a laugh at this. Lee would have been horizonal in a dead faint by this point in the proceedings, Clara was made of sterner stuff.

 

"What?" Clara was pretty sure she had just been insulted, "No, I am not."

 

“Just another pal of Arabella’s” explained Jacob, deciding not to bandy Clara’s still good name around.

 

Arabella, in a room just off the kitchen when the laundry got done, heard the familiar voices but it never occurred to her that the female one could be Clara Redmond, not here in this disgraceful den of iniquity. Jacob, on the other hand.

 

“Hey! Is that Hayseed?!!” she yelled with leather lungs. “Get in here, stranger, I need a hand pullin’ down ma bloomers!” she implored, for indeed, the annoying garment had got stuck in the mangle and needed a strong arm to pull them down and out.  

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Clara was not happy with being confused for Jacob's older sister, older indeed! She was actually younger than the boy.

 

"Just another pal of Arabella’s” explained Jacob.

 

Clara frowned, was he not going to even introduce her? Apparently not as the conversation took a new turn with a familiar voice bellowing from another room.

 

“Hey! Is that Hayseed?!!” the speaker yelled, oh yes, Clara knew that was indeed Arabella, “Get in here, stranger, I need a hand pullin’ down ma bloomers!”

 

Matilda pinched the top of her nose between two fingers, "Oh god."

 

"Go talk to her. I'm sure it's not what it sounds like," actually Matilda wasn't completely sure! But she had other things to do.

 

Jacob certainly knew the way into the kitchen, the lad had dropped produce in there more than once. So the two of them then entered the kitchen, Clara half wondering just what Arabella was doing this time? Jacob took the lead but Clara was on the alert right off behind his right side.

 

"Hello, Arabella," she left it at that.

 

 

 

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As Jacob and Clara entered the small and steamy laundry room Arabella was practically dangling off the legs of the pantalettes trying to pull them out of the mangle. That thing had never been the same since she’d tried to put one of Mammy Cookie’s corsets through it.

 

“Howdy Reb.” Proffered Jacob in greeting, relieved they’d lost the scary in-charge lady. Arabella didn’t flinch as she yelped “Gimmi a hand here, y’lunk!” But Clara’s voice made her let go of the bloomers with a yelp and spin round, positioning herself in front of the offending articles of underwear. It was odd that she didn’t mind Lutz seeing how shabby, patched and, frankly stained, her underthings were, but the thought of the wonderful Clara Anne Redmond seeing these awful exhibits? Lord no!

 

“Hello, Arabella,” she left it at that.

 

“Clara!” exclaimed Arabella, wide eyed in shock. She pointed dumbly at the tiled floor “In my laundry room!”

 

“Never mind her” Jacob hissed urgently “Where the heck can we get hold of that Father-Reverend-Pastor Reed feller, we need to see him!”

 

Arabella rolled her eyes. “Oh, Brother Thomas! is that all? That’s easy, he’s in his Love Shack Mr Ryker built him at the back of the church. It ain’t love like hearts and flowers, it’s like the love that Jesus Christ Our Saviour has for all of us, even Mrs Devereau. Course it’s only me what calls it that and…”

 

Suddenly the penny dropped. Arabella looked at Clara, then at Jacob, then back at Clara and her eyes narrowed and she pointed at Clara’s stomach and mouthed the words ARE YOU PREGNANT?

 

The reply was irrelevant. Arabella had already put one and one together and gotten three, which, in this case, was the correct answer.

 

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Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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How did she manage to get caught up like that? Honestly, that girl never failed to confuse Clara it certainly seemed anyhow. The girl was ordering Jacob to help her. Only then did she seem to notice Clara was standing there too.

 

“Clara!” exclaimed Arabella, wide eyed in shock. She pointed dumbly at the tiled floor “In my laundry room!” 

 

"To be more specific, I believe it is the saloon owner's laundry room," Clara calmly pointed out. No need to ask Arabella how she got in that predicament, it was Arabella, there was your answer.

 

Jacob annoyed her now, "Never mind her! Where the heck can we get hold of that Father-Reverend-Pastor Reed feller, we need to see him!”  

 

Well, husband to be, way to be nonchalant about it, Clara sighed. The girl did know and started telling them far more than just the needed specific location, something about a Love Shack? Only she did not finish. The look on her face changed too.

 

Arabella looked at Clara, then at Jacob, then back at Clara and her eyes narrowed and she pointed at Clara’s stomach and mouthed the words ARE YOU PREGNANT?

 

Clara let out a breath, denying it now would only bring out a torrent of questions and insistent declarations she was in the right. Clara was tiring of all these denials anyhow. She nodded very slowly then added.

 

"And keep quiet about it. I am asking you as a friend, Arabella. Please."

 

 

 

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Arabella looked at Clara, then at Jacob, then back at Clara and her eyes narrowed and she pointed at Clara’s stomach and mouthed the words ARE YOU PREGNANT?

 

Clara let out a breath, denying it now would only bring out a torrent of questions and insistent declarations she was in the right. Clara was tiring of all these denials anyhow. She nodded very slowly then added.

 

"And keep quiet about it. I am asking you as a friend, Arabella. Please."

 

Arabella’s mouth was so wide open you could see her tonsils and she went so lightheaded that she had to steady herself on the mangle. She had wondered, after that odd interlude in the vestry when she’d burst in on the two of them and instead of kissing and slobbering over each other, they’d been having a very, very serious talk indeed, but this confirmation rocked her world. It was a shock, to be sure, but she felt immensely privileged to be in on the secret – a secret which despite Clara’s misgivings, wild horses could not have dragged from her.

 

She turned to Jacob and gave him an eloquent look which said 'Oh, well done, you idiot!' and then tiptoed toward Clara, taking her request to keep quiet very literally, and whispered “Can I feel her?” She had already decided that the baby would be a girl.

 

The urgent need to find the Reverend Reed clunked into place like a jigsaw piece and begged another question. She looked at Jacob and then back to Clara. “I'll take you to Brother Thomas right now, but... do you need any money?” she whispered, biting her lip in shared angst about what clandestine ceremony needed now to be undertaken.

 

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Arabella seemed to be deep in thought regarding her request, Clara noted but slowly moved forward looking very solemn (plus she wasn't chattering away for once!). Stopping short Arabella then had a request of her own.

 

“Can I feel her?”  and said in a whisper too not her usual high volume.

 

"There is nothing to feel yet, it is far too early," Clara softly explained, "And we cannot be certain it will be a girl either. Or is that what you are hoping for?"

 

Honestly she had not really spent much time thinking about it, she would be happy with either as long as the baby was healthy.

 

She looked at Jacob and then back to Clara.

 

“I'll take you to Brother Thomas right now, but... do you need any money?” she whispered.

 

"No, I mean Jacob has some but the marriage should not cost us anything other than perhaps a dinner for the minister. We just need you to help us find the man for now, Arabella. One thing at a time," Clara was really a bundle of nerves but trying very hard to keep calm and focused.

 

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“Can I feel her?”  and said in a whisper too not her usual high volume.

 

"There is nothing to feel yet, it is far too early," Clara softly explained, "And we cannot be certain it will be a girl either. Or is that what you are hoping for?"

 

Arabella didn’t answer. She just put out her hand, ever so slowly, and lightly touched Clara’s still relatively flat looking tummy. She looked up with shining eyes from the sacred spot from whence new life miraculously sprang and gave Clara a small but encouraging smile.

 

She looked at Jacob and then back to Clara. 

 

“I'll take you to Brother Thomas right now, but... do you need any money?” she whispered.

 

"No, I mean Jacob has some but the marriage should not cost us anything other than perhaps a dinner for the minister. We just need you to help us find the man for now, Arabella. One thing at a time," Clara was really a bundle of nerves but trying very hard to keep calm and focused.

 

Arabella nodded and started to sneak to the door of the laundry room and looked about outside. “Come on!” she beckoned the other two to follow her. It wasn’t clear why all this cloak and dagger stuff was needed inside the Saloon, but once they had snuck though the kitchen, grabbing her bonnet and shawl on the way, and made it outside, Arabella started to act a bit more normally. Well, normal for her.

 

She led them a strange route to the Church which brought them to the back of the building where a peculiar sort of shanty had been constructed with no little skill, it had to be said, but peculiar all the same. At the door of this ‘Hermitage’ Arabella, who had been strangely silent and uninquisitive during their tramp, gave three stentorian knocks on the door and whispered at the crack “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” It was her own idea, the knocks and the codes, so that the tall Patriarch form the Desert would know it was his own little helpmeet who was asking for an audience.

 

She listened at the crack in the door, awaiting The Word to Come Forward.

 

@boshmi @Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Thomas had spent the past hour or so surrounded by the sulfuric smell of gun oil, his shotgun lying disassembled on a little wooden bench behind him. Though he had no need for self-defense or hunting these days, a prudent regimen of care was good for the soul, and of course, good for the equipment.

 

His newly-constructed abode, for it's part, served the purpose well; pot-belly stove, cot, and bench being all the spartan requirements he needed. Having a room to himself was good, for more than a few reasons. The few nights spent in the saloon with Arabella as a primary source of company had been a little trying, to say the least, and with Mr. Ryker's kind offer of help, producing a structure that was both comfortable and convenient had been fairly simple. Planks of wood were certainly more homely than the open forest and musky smell of horse.

 

He whistled a little song as he worked, tune to The Unquiet Grave punctuating the scratching of a ramrod against metal, and so engrossed was the priest in his task that he hardly noticed the silhouetted figures through the curtained window until there was an all-too familiar knock at the door. That Arabella had turned out to be quite the reverent saloon girl, spending enough time playing that harmonium that she'd up and established a secret code for her comings and goings.

 

“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” came the whisper at the door, and Thomas set down the bore of the weapon with a sigh, before sweeping it's deconstructed pieces to the side. Martin Luther's retelling of Psalm 46 was a bizarre choice, but arguing with Arabella would no doubt have been a pointless affair.

 

He stood and crossed to the door, mumbling a 'come forward' to indulge her, before opening it to not one, but three teenagers.

"Hello Arabella. Who've you brought with you?" he asked, as he gave a welcoming smile to the other two, though already he was wondering what antics the rest of the afternoon held in store.

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Clara stood behind Arabella as she approached a freshly built shack...well, it was nicer than a shack but it was certainly not up to the standards of a residence in her opinion. So the new clergyman was living in this place? They had not even thought to go around to the back of the church when the couple had first searched for the man. Still, what he did or how he chose to live was none of her business, as long as he married people.  Her mind was racing even now as the trio stood there waiting for some sort of response to Arabella's rather over complicated attempt at getting the attention of whoever was inside.

 

The door suddenly opened and a white haired old man greeted them as Clara straightened her posture and tensed up for this crucial conference of sorts.

 

"Hello Arabella. Who've you brought with you?" he asked, as he gave a welcoming smile to the other two.

 

Clara, at the best of times, was not much of a smiler and was now far too nervous to attempt it now. However she was determined to do the introductions rather than depend on Arabella to do them as that would be a meandering possibly incoherent rigamarole before she ever got to actual names.

 

"Good day, Reverend. I hope we did not catch you at an inconvenient time? I am Clara Redmond, daughter of Aurelian Redmond. We are regular attendees at Sunday services. And this is Jacob Lutz, he too is a member of the congregation," she spoke quickly before Arabella could get a word in edgewise, no mean  feat, that!

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"Good day, Reverend. I hope we did not catch you at an inconvenient time? I am Clara Redmond, daughter of Aurelian Redmond. We are regular attendees at Sunday services. And this is Jacob Lutz, he too is a member of the congregation," she spoke quickly before Arabella could get a word in edgewise, no mean feat, that!

 

Weirdly, instead of yapping incessantly, Arabella silently nodded at Jacob, as if prompting him to speak, like she fancied herself the major-domo of some great Priest King of the Old Testament, silently ushering others into the potentate’s presence.

 

“Er, that’s right, Sir!” Jacob nodded, gripping his hat which he had removed, of course, as soon as he entered the strange hermitage. Arabella nodded at him urgently, as if to say go on! And Jacob continued. “We were wondering if you would marry us… we want to get wed.” he announced, a little tautologously.

 

“They are both very good people, Brother Thomas!” Arabella confided to the white bearded holy man in a sort of hushed whisper. Well, apart from all the premarital sex, of course, but she didn’t mention that. God knew, that was enough.

 

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"Good day, Reverend. I hope we did not catch you at an inconvenient time? I am Clara Redmond, daughter of Aurelian Redmond. We are regular attendees at Sunday services. And this is Jacob Lutz, he too is a member of the congregation."

 

“Er, that’s right, Sir! We were wondering if you would marry us… we want to get wed.”

 

Well, wasn't this a surprise? A matrimonial union! It had certainly been a while since he'd conducted one, but such a joyous occasion would be good for the town. At such a young age, he could only assume it was one of love, which was the best kind of marriage. Unless, of course...

 

"Why, I can't say why I shouldn't." Thomas said, beaming. "I'd invite you in to discuss matters but, well, I'm afraid it's a little pokey in there. The church should be empty this time of day, if you'd like somewhere to sit?" he offered. "I could fix something to drink? Tea perhaps?"

 

Marriage was an elaborate and mostly-quite-subjective affair, dependent on the intentions of the couple - and at this age - their guardians. Deciding what exactly they wanted to happen could take all day, though of course, he'd probably need to visit the parents Lutz & Redmond at some stage.

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“Er, that’s right, Sir! We were wondering if you would marry us… we want to get wed.”

 

Clara blinked. Gosh, Jacob moved fast. She was going to ease into it but there it was now. She settled for a quick nod of agreement and waited, heart beating rapidly, for the clergyman's answer.

 

"Why, I can't say why I shouldn't." Thomas said, beaming. "I'd invite you in to discuss matters but, well, I'm afraid it's a little pokey in there. The church should be empty this time of day, if you'd like somewhere to sit?"

 

"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 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.

 

 

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"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.

 

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They entered the church, light filtering through the windows in a flickering pattern of shadow on stone, and Thomas made sure to shut the rear door, lest he forget to close it for the night.

"No thank you, we do not wish you to have to make a fuss on our account." Clara told him, at his offer of a drink.

“Ooh, It’s no fuss Clara! I’ll fix that, Brother.” interjected Arabella, ever eager. “You three will want to talk privately.”

 

"I... thank you, Arabella." Thomas said. No doubt she would go rooting around the office cabinets while she was in there, but it would at least keep her busy. He could restore the room to its original state after she left.

 

In the meantime, he rounded on the young couple, leaning nonchalantly against the lectern as he offered them a seat on the foremost pew.

"Now, Jacob, Clara, the first thing I should probably ask is what sort of ceremony you're after. We could, of course have an open reception, a private affair, or even something smaller." he said, fixing them with a look in turn. Something about their clandestine visit seemed peculiar to him, and he intended to step carefully in order to uncover it.

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Arabella was actually being really helpful (and that included not engaging in her usual non-stop chattering which Clara particularly appreciated on this occasion) as she offered to make the tea and let them have some privacy with the reverend. She and Jacob sat demurely in the first pew while the dignified old clergyman leaned against the lectern.

 

"Now, Jacob, Clara, the first thing I should probably ask is what sort of ceremony you're after. We could, of course have an open reception, a private affair, or even something smaller." he said, fixing them with a look in turn.

 

Clara glanced at Jacob who seemed to have been struck dumb since the introductions. If she was nervous perhaps he was scared speechless?  Well, Clara had a take charge personality so she decided to take the bull by the horns then in this matter. First she cleared her throat, her mouth was suddenly dry.

 

"Oh all we want is a very small very private affair. We are not ones for expense or ostentation. All that matters to the both of us is that we are married in the eyes of God," she answered him.

 

"Truth be told..." for she decided at least this part would certainly not be deception on her part, "we cannot afford a fancy wedding. We need to save every penny for setting up our lives after."    And raising a child but that part she definitely was NOT including aloud.

 

 

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"Oh all we want is a very small very private affair. We are not ones for expense or ostentation. All that matters to the both of us is that we are married in the eyes of God. Truth be told... we cannot afford a fancy wedding. We need to save every penny for setting up our lives after."

"A very sensible decision, Miss Redmond." Thomas said approvingly. "You have wisdom beyond your years."

 

He'd half expected friends of Arabella to be just as overeager and muddle-headed as she, but Clara had an authority and ambiance that was quite to the contrary. She carried herself with the wit of a woman, rather than a girl, and it was impressive. Still, there was something she was holding back...

 

"Well then, you'll no doubt want your immediate families in attendance." he continued. "Traditionally, Jacob, you'll take Clara's hand from her father, or guardian, after the groomsmen and bridesmaids have their procession, but if we are keeping the attendee number as low as possible, we could potentially do away with a procession. That would be for you two to decide."

@Wayfarer

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"A very sensible decision, Miss Redmond." Thomas said approvingly. "You have wisdom beyond your years."

 

This last comment made Jacob wince, neither of them had been very wise a couple of months ago and now they were in a pickle. That said, there was nothing more he wanted in the world than to marry the beautiful Clara and raise kids and crops together, but if only they had been able to do it at their own pace and without all this nerve wracking secrecy and haste. Still, it was good to be here now doing something toward sorting it all out.

 

"Well then, you'll no doubt want your immediate families in attendance." he continued.

 

Jacob’s stomach did a somersault at the mention of their families and he reached out for Clara’s hand: more to steady himself than her. She was like a rock in this stormy sea of troubles.

 

“Traditionally, Jacob, you’ll take Clara’s hand from her father, or guardian, after the groomsmen and bridesmaids have their procession, but if we are keeping the attendee number as low as possible, we could potentially do away with a procession. That would be for you two to decide.”

 

“Yeah, I don’t like the sound of a procession.” Jacob spoke at last, his words were a hasty blurt, unlike Clara’s measured responses to Father Thomas’ questions. And ‘groomsmen’? Nobody suitable came to mind. And, God!, Father of the Bride! The thought of telling Mr Redmond, or how he would find out if they didn’t tell him, made his palms sweat and his tummy start to dance inside him again, but he steeled himself to continue.

 

“Say, Father, is there any rule that says the person that gives Clara away has to be a man?” he was thinking of Mrs Blakesley, if, indeed, they didn’t tell Mr Redmond about it until it was all a done deal.

 

@Wayfarer @boshmi

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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The genial clergyman started his reply to her with some nice compliments. Clara nodded almost embarrassed by such praise but soaked up the praise nonetheless, who didn't like to be praised.

 

"I try but not always," Clara had that to say about her so-called 'wisdom'.

 

But then the man began bringing up possibilities and details of this upcoming nuptial and inwardly she blanched at all that was involved. No! It was way too much.

 

“Yeah, I don’t like the sound of a procession,” Jacob spoke at last, his words were a hasty blurt.

 

Clara nodded solemnly then reinforced that opinion with her own, "Oh yes, a procession is a frill we do not need at all. For one thing, as I stated, we want a very small private wedding. There will not even be enough people for a procession, Reverend."

 

"Say, Father, is there any rule that says the person that gives Clara away has to be a man?” 

 

It was a good question, Clara had been thinking along those same lines. But she had more to add on the matter now that she was started on this....almost a negotiation.

 

"As I understand it, when one comes right down to the bare necessities is it not true the only people needed for a marriage are the bride and groom, one witness, and then the man of God performing the ceremony of course," she stated in a measured tone of voice.

 

 

 

 

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“Yeah, I don’t like the sound of a procession."

"There will not even be enough people for a procession, Reverend."

"Say, Father, is there any rule that says the person that gives Clara away has to be a man?"

"As I understand it, when one comes right down to the bare necessities is it not true the only people needed for a marriage are the bride and groom, one witness, and then the man of God performing the ceremony of course."

 

Thomas glanced between the two, the rapidity of their exchange giving him food for thought. They seemed very eager not to draw anything out, giving new meaning to the suddenness of their appearance.

"Jacob. Clara." Thomas said, slowly. "Something is driving you to expedite this whole thing. Obviously you're uncomfortable talking about it, probably afraid of how you'll be perceived."

He moved from his position at the lectern, kneeling down to bring him level with the pair of teenagers. He wanted to speak with them disarmingly; as a confidant rather than authority.

 

"I'm going to take a leaf out of the Catholic book here, and say that if you tell me what it is now, I will not pass judgement. A marriage is an important thing, a-once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to to mention it's sanctity in the eyes of God, and though I will marry you - should your love for each other be genuine and you repent in your prayer - it should not be done on a white lie." he offered.

@Wayfarer@Javia

Edited by boshmi (see edit history)

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"Jacob. Clara." Thomas said, slowly. "Something is driving you to expedite this whole thing. Obviously you're uncomfortable talking about it, probably afraid of how you'll be perceived."

 

Clara realized he was right on the money with that assessment but simply sat there.

 

The reverend moved from his position at the lectern, kneeling down to bring him level with the pair of teenagers.

 

"I'm going to take a leaf out of the Catholic book here, and say that if you tell me what it is now, I will not pass judgement. A marriage is an important thing, a-once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to to mention it's sanctity in the eyes of God, and though I will marry you - should your love for each other be genuine and you repent in your prayer - it should not be done on a white lie."

 

Clara was of course hanging on each and every word of the man but especially latched onto 'I will marry you'. Did that mean what she thought it meant?

 

"Oh I agree, it is very important and never considered lightly. We certainly are genuine though. I do not know how we can prove it but we do love each other very much."

 

As for the repenting part, she very much repented about that afternoon act at the lake. But being sorrowful about it didn't change the reality. She was with child, Jacob's child, and they both wanted to make it right for the sake of the child too.

 

But she had to be sure of what exactly he just declared, she now had an offer of her own, "So you are saying that no matter what we tell you in confidence, you will still marry us? We tell you the whole story and you then keep your word on this?"

 

It wasn't like they hadn't told anyone about their secret, Jacob's sister and the awful Granny Miggins now knew. Clara had told Emeline who had been very supportive regardless of the circumstances. And even Arabella knew. It might almost be a comfort to be able to confide in this man of God too?

Clara-again.jpg

 

 

 

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"I'm going to take a leaf out of the Catholic book here, and say that if you tell me what it is now, I will not pass judgement. A marriage is an important thing, a-once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to to mention it's sanctity in the eyes of God, and though I will marry you - should your love for each other be genuine and you repent in your prayer - it should not be done on a white lie."

 

"Oh I agree, it is very important and never considered lightly. We certainly are genuine though. I do not know how we can prove it but we do love each other very much."

 

“That’s right.” Agreed Jacob “We’re going to be taking the most solemn vow of our entire lives. There is one thing that…” he looked at Clara, unsure if she wanted him to completely spill the beans about their ‘situation’.

 

But she had to be sure of what exactly he just declared, she now had an offer of her own, "So you are saying that no matter what we tell you in confidence, you will still marry us? We tell you the whole story and you then keep your word on this?"

 

Jacob looked at the man, and felt assured. No answer from that granite-like face was needed. One more glance at Clara and he said it out loud for the second time today. He didn’t expect that Father Thomas would faint like his sister had.

 

“Clara, if Father Thomas is taking a leaf out of the Catholic book, then he has to keep his peace, it’s the sanctity of the confessional. All right, the truth is that Clara and I are going to have a baby. It’s also the truth that even if we weren’t, it would still be our ardent wish to be wed.” he declared, looking fondly upon his little chestnut haired sweetheart and smiling gently at her.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Oh I agree, it is very important and never considered lightly. We certainly are genuine though. I do not know how we can prove it but we do love each other very much."

"We’re going to be taking the most solemn vow of our entire lives. There is one thing that…” Jacob trailed off, and Thomas remained quietly still, allowing him to consider it with his sweetheart.

 

"So you are saying that no matter what we tell you in confidence, you will still marry us? We tell you the whole story and you then keep your word on this?"

"On my word, and God's, child." he said firmly. Should they indeed tell him whatever they were hiding, it would at the least have proved they were willing to risk it's exposure for the sake of a marriage. That, in his eyes, was proof enough of love.

“Clara, if Father Thomas is taking a leaf out of the Catholic book, then he has to keep his peace, it’s the sanctity of the confessional. All right, the truth is that Clara and I are going to have a baby. It’s also the truth that even if we weren’t, it would still be our ardent wish to be wed.”

 

The grey-haired reverend did not seem alarmed, or even entirely surprised. To be frank, he'd sort of suspected, for the archetype of young lovers uniting under mysterious circumstances almost always involved some sort of lust. They seemed repentant as well, and clearly had respect for their faiths - for if not, why even bother with marriage?

Instead, he merely nodded, keeping an open expression.

 

"That must be frightening for you, Clara," he told the teenager softly. "and daunting for you, Jacob. A child is a responsibility like no other. I will not lie to you, it will be difficult, likely more so than anything either of you have faced, but if you support each other, and love each other, the reward will be worth it. Believe me, I know. You will care for your child more than anything, more than yourself, and their success with bring you... such... unimaginable joy..."

Thomas smiled as he trailed off, momentarily glancing down in abashment. Their admission had brought thoughts of his own family back to the surface, as this whole conversation inevitably would have. Though he had been several years older than either of these two when his own daughter was born, he knew something of the journey ahead of them.

 

"Like I said, I will marry you. I believe in your love, but I would strongly encourage you to talk to each other's parents. If you do this without telling them, you will likely lose that support and sever a connection. I know it may seem frightening, but like so many of the challenges ahead of you, it will be worth it." he advised, maintaining his kneeling position. "They'll find out eventually, and it will be better to hear it from you two. I'll even come with you, should you want me present."

@Javia@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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