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    • 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
    • "That goes both ways, Barnabas," Emeline countered, "I finally found something good, and I don't want to lose it."  Although it dawned on her that if he was distracted worrying about her, that put him at more risk.   "I didn't count on the man that I fell in love with becoming a deputy, and I don't know how to reconcile that, except that I know that anything can happen to anyone at any time, and there is no way to predict that or stop it."   Of course, law enforcement put a man at higher risk, but she wasn't a widow because of that.   "I'll try to use discretion, that is the most I can promise."  He'd have to accept that as much as she accepted his choice of professions.   @Flip

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Mature Content: No

With: Rebecca Wentworth; Arabella Mudd and Bridget Monahan (and Matt Wentworth and Ben Simons)
Location: Dining Room
When: First Week of May, 1876
Time of Day: Sometime between 11am and 11.30am

 

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“You wouldn’t believe how much money she’s got in her account now, thanks to them little visits!” she added, informatively.

 

Rebecca did all she could to keep a straight face as Arabella enthusiastically told her about her sons and husband.  This girl certainly had a lively imagination even though some of what she was saying was grounded in truth.  She knew husband very well and knew those visits weren't that libidinous as Arabella was making it out to be.  The colourful descriptions however did bring a smile to her face.

 

"Well, Miss Mudd, I thank for letting me know about my sons," Rebecca leaned forward a little and said in a sotto voce tone, "They can be very secretive at times."

 

She looked at Bridget and gave her a warm smile, "It's a pleasure to meet you Miss Monahan."

 

Turning to Ben, she looked at him a little impatiently, "Would you please kindly, seat the young ladies so that we can get better acquainted."

 

Ben who had been trying to school his own features as he listened to Arabella, nodded once and promptly help the girls to their seats.  After they had been seated, Rebecca smiled again, "Now, would you both like to join in a cup of tea?  I find the brew my son has selected to serve here, very palatable."

 

@Javia

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"Well, Miss Mudd, I thank for letting me know about my sons," Rebecca leaned forward a little and said in a sotto voce tone, "They can be very secretive at times."

 

“Not surprised!” shrugged Arabella.

 

She looked at Bridget and gave her a warm smile, "It's a pleasure to meet you Miss Monahan." 

 

Bridget smiled back, vaguely wondered what they were doing here exactly and who this lady was.

 

“Who’s she?” she asked Arabella in a loud voice, pointing at Rebecca.

 

Arabella pushed her hand down “That’s Mr Wentworth’s Good Lady Missus, silly. You know, Mr Wentworth in the bank as has all your pennies.” Bridget looked amazed. She sort of assumed that Charles Senior lived there in his office all the time, and she’d never seen this lady hanging around.

 

Turning to Ben, she looked at him a little impatiently, "Would you please kindly, seat the young ladies so that we can get better acquainted."

 

“Yes, kindly seat us!” chided Arabella pertly, smiling sarcastically up at Ben.

 

Ben who had been trying to school his own features as he listened to Arabella, nodded once and promptly help the girls to their seats.  After they had been seated, Rebecca smiled again, "Now, would you both like to join in a cup of tea?  I find the brew my son has selected to serve here, very palatable."

 

“Beef tea would be just divine! Most very palatable indeed.” answered the girl from Virginia, trying to match Rebecca’s refined diction and looking forward to the meaty, salty brew. “And some biscuits to dip in would be just divine!”

 

Bridget nodded that she would like some, too.

 

“So, how come we ain’t never seen you before, Mrs Double-yuh?” enquired Arabella politely “Your old man been keepin’ you shut in?”

 

Screen_Shot_2019-11-26_at_6.15.41_AM_gra

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Rebecca raised an eyebrow at Arabella's question.  The girl was very straight forward and not very discrete.  Shaking her head slightly, she replied, "No my husband does not keep me locked up.  I only arrived here a few days ago and it is Mrs. Wentworth not Mrs. Double-yuh"

 

She motioned for a waitress, who promptly appeared.  After requesting two more cups and a fresh pot of tea, Rebecca turned to Arabella, "We won't be having beef tea as that isn't really tea but a very good quality loose leaf tea from China."

 

As they waited for the tea to arrive, Rebecca wondered why both of the girls had ended up in Ben's company.  She wanted to ask Ben, but he had gone over to talk to Matthew, so she had no choice but to ask Arabella, as Bridget, the poor thing, seem to be incapable of speaking for any length, which in itself was a good thing.  Hopefully, Arabella would show some constraint in replying but somehow Rebecca knew this wouldn't happen.

 

Upon further reflection, Rebecca decided not to find out how they came to meet Ben, instead she opted to ask Arabella and Bridget about their families.  Maybe she could meet each of the girl's mothers and find out what type of homes they came from.  "While we wait, perhaps you could both tell me how you came to be Kalispell?"

 

@Javia

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At the mention of tea from China, Bridget shouted “Cha!” loud enough to draw curious and disapproving looks from the smattering of other people in the dining room. Mr Crabbe and Bridget had slowly but surely become tea addicts. Mr Fa, their Chinese friend, was always drinking the stuff: hot, black or green, un-sugared and un-milked. At first, the slippery pimp and the addled girl had turned their noses up at the stuff, but then eventually tried it, and hated it. But somehow, when the oriental man prepared himself a pot, they didn’t want to miss out and forced down a cup. After a while, they’d started to crave a cup of cha as much as Fa himself, even though they still screwed up their faces as they drank it down.

 

Arabella, on the other hand, screwed up her face at the idea. Drinking tea was unpatriotic! What would her ancestor Richard ‘Big Dick’ Mudd, hero of the battles of Camden, Cowpens and Guiford Courthouse, think of her drinking British-style TEA?! She decided not to say anything, but just not let the tainted unamerican brew touch her Virginian lips.

 

“While we wait, perhaps you could both tell me how you came to be in Kalispell?”

 

“After you Bridg’!” said Arabella politely. “Arabella tell!” counted the ginger girl, knowing that her friend was somewhat more loquacious than herself. “All righty!” Arabella looked at Mrs W. “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin…”

 

“Onct upon a time, there was this beautiful little girl with amazing red hair called Bridget Monahan, and she was travelling west with her mommy and daddy and all her brothers and sisters. An’ one day she was skipping along, just as happy as can be, and this very bad man in a wagon ran her over and squashed her real bad with the wheels of the wagon, and Bridget’s mommy ran up and said ‘Oh no, oh no, this bad man has squished my child real bad, won’t someone save her?’ And this bad doctor came along and said ‘I shall save your child, but I shall have to chop off her leg and it will cost you all your money!’ An’ the mommy said ‘Oh, do anything to save her!’ and he did, but they didn’t have no money to pay him, so they snuck off and left her there. You followin’ this?” she asked Rebecca. Bridget was sitting there enthralled at hearing her life story acted out like this, pulling faces of fear and excitement as the story unfolded.

 

“Anyhow, this mean doctor, he was real cruel to the little crippled ginger girl, making her go out to beg and whatnot to earn her keep. And she grew up and she grew into a beautiful young woman, despite her deformity and being a little slow due to the whole getting’ squashed by the wagon kerfuffle. An’ one day Mr Crabbe come along, an’ he was lookin’ to kill this man what molested his wife, and happen he find this feller molestin’ Bridget. This feller was mighty partial to molestin’ ladies, you understand. Anyhow, Mr Crabbe sees this feller all busy molestin’ Bridg’ and he say ‘I caught you, you…” Arabella’s voice dropped to a whisper and she leaned forward “… bastard…” she sat back up “… now you gonna eat lead!”

Suddenly Bridget, carried back to the moment, joined in, jutting her fingers forward like a gun and screwing her face up into a mask of hate “BANG!, BANG!, BANG!, BANG!, BANG!, BANG! Kill six times!”

 

“That’s right, killed him six times. No more molestin’ fer that feller. An then after that Bridg’ went to live with Mr Crabbe, and when that old Doctor feller said ‘Hey, speccy four-eyes, you owe me the money for her medical bills’, well Mr Crabbe, he just beat that old man half to death with his walking cane.”

 

Again, Bridget relived the scene, which she had clearly witnessed, by making a couple of hitting motions downwards and growling “WHACK! WHACK!!”

 

[Sorry, got carried away!]

 

@JulieS

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As soon as Arabella began telling Bridget's story, Rebecca regretted asking.  Even though it was amusing in one way, in another it was very long winded.  It was obvious that Arabella had no idea of the concept of less is more.  She wondered how much the child's mother had neglected to teach her.

 

Bridget, however, was a different matter.  No matter how Arabella had embellished the story, there was truth behind it .  Whoever was looking after Bridget was also neglecting to teach her how to behave in public.  Even though she wasn't a stickler for proper behaviour, Rebecca knew that if both girls were going to get along in the world, they needed to learn the rules.  She made a mental note to make sure she talked to both Arabella's mother, and Bridget's guardian.

 

Remembering that Arabella had mentioned the name of Bridget's rescuer (Was he now her guardian?), she  mentally braced herself for another verbal onslaught, before asking both girls, "And what did Mr. Crabbe do after that?"

 

@Javia

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Remembering that Arabella had mentioned the name of Bridget's rescuer (Was he now her guardian?), she  mentally braced herself for another verbal onslaught, before asking both girls, "And what did Mr. Crabbe do after that?"

 

“Come HERE!” pronounced Bridget.

 

“Yeah, he came here.” Echoed Arabella.

 

Mrs Wentworth had, what?, about two thirds of a second to cut her off there; but as a learner, of course, she missed her chance. Arabella quickly filled the nice lady in with tales of Lorenzo’s subsequent career since arriving at Kalispell.

 

“Oh, he’s real respectable now, on account he couldn’t open a hothouse in…, no that ain’t right, what’d he call it, oh, a cat-house in these here parts due to what he calls ‘lack of local talent’. I think he means…” again, she leaned forward to whisper “… Ladies of the Evening. Anyhow, he runs a pho-tography business now, live folks, dead folks, scenes of hysterical interest and what not. Don’t tell no one, cause my folks don’t know I go round there on account of they think he was wantin’ to make me a [whisper] Lady of the Evening, but I done some modellin’ for him, you wanna lookee at my portly folio?” she offered, pulling a couple of prints out of her apron pocket: she always carried them with her in case Mrs Devereau found them in her room.

 

The first was innocuous, she was just dressed in a strange military uniform, a Vivandière from the Civil War, the  next was more questionable, Arabella was dressed up as Joan of Arc, tied to a stake with cardboard flames licking at her feet. The last picture, though, was the most disturbing of all: it was a double exposure of a dead body in a coffin, an old man, and a ghostly figure of Arabella standing next to him, dressed in a nightie with cardboard angel wings and a cleverly contrived halo, adopting an histrionic pose of, well, welcome was the best word for it. “Ain’t that clever how he made me see thru?” the girl said proudly. Bridget had seen them all before, but still looked on the daguerreotypes enthralled.

 

“Mr Crabbe says when I’m sixteen, I can go round there and work for him full time!” she announced happily, omitting to mention that he wanted her for her piano playing skills as well as her talent with the bereaved when taking the lucrative memento mori photographs.

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Rebecca raised an eyebrow and looked over at Ben and Matt who had come over during Arabella's second speech.  Ben was amused to find that Crabbe had even though he had tried to start up a whore house he had been thwarted.  Personally, he had never had to pay but he knew men that would and Crabbe had always sought to find a way to make them.

 

Meanwhile, Matt just shook his head slightly and roll his eyes as he listened.  Since he was used to Arabella's ramblings, he just enjoyed them for what they were...colourful story-telling.  A part of him thought that he should have warned his mother about Arabella but then he didn't expect them to meet so soon.

 

As she looked through the photographs, Rebecca frowned.  What sort of man was Crabbe to exploit two innocent girls like Bridget and Arabella.  Bridget, the poor thing, saw it as probably a kindness since he did save her life in a way but as for Arabella, the child acted like she knew everything but in reality knew very little at all.  Again, she made a mental note to address this when she spoke to Arabella's mother.

 

Handing the photographs back to Arabella, she decided to ask her about her family.  Even though it would probably come with another long speech, Rebecca wanted to know who they were and why they would let their child pose for somebody like Mr. Crabbe.  "How about you, Arabella?  How long have you been in Kalispell?"

 

@Javia

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"How about you, Arabella?  How long have you been in Kalispell?"

 

“Oh, I been here since December, except I was dead when I come here then. But they brought me back here again in January, and I was alive then.” She explained, badly, as she put away the photographic prints.

 

“See, I got half killed in this place called Whitefish when a house fell on my head and by the time they brung us here they thought I was completely dead and they put me in this freezing cold barn with all these dead folks, and I woke up and I reached over to this old lady next to me, and I says…” at this point she reached over to Bridget to act it all out. “… ‘Say, Missius Lady, why don’t they bring us no blankets, are you as cold as me?’ and this old lady’s head kinda lolled toward me like this:” she made her own head loll loosely on her neck and tipped it so she was facing Bridget with a slack open mouth and a blank dead stare. Bridget gave a little yelp.

 

“And you can believe me, Aunt Becky, I never got up and run so fast outta anywhere in my life, an I was trudging around in the snow and the streets was all empty and I thought I’d died an gone to H.E.L.!”

 

She remembered something else important about that whole incident, which seemed like a lifetime ago now.

 

“And you know what, Aunt Becky? It was your son big Mike as pulled me out o’ that house what fell on me. I think that’s why I got all mushy about him and fell all in love with him for a spell.” Ah, she remembered the happy, simpler times of suffering with that crush. “But then he broke my heart and ruined me for other men. I ain’t never fallin’ in love again with any man!” she said firmly. She looked up at Ben and Matt. “Sorry fellers!” she told them, sympathetically.   

 

@JulieS

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After a brief sideways glance at Ben who had muttered something about thanking Mike the next time he saw him, Matt took a step forward.  His mother was getting nowhere fast where Arabella was concerned and it was time to save her any more of Arabella's lively story telling.

 

"Mother," he said in a warm tone, "Miss Mudd, unfortunately lost her own family some time ago and she is under the care of her employer, Miss Matilda Devereau, who owns the Stardust Saloon.  I can vouch for Miss Deveareau and tell you that she is a respectable woman who is more than capable in making sure that Arabella is kept safe and sound."

 

He then looked at Arabella's tea cup and smiled, "I think Miss Mudd, that your tea would be too cold to drink, which may be a good thing as I think Miss Devereau might be wondering where you are right now."

 

Knowing that Arabella might be concerned about Bridget, he continued, "Miss Monahan will be all right with my mother and Mr. Simons while she waits for Mr. Crabbe."

 

@Javia

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"Mother," he said in a warm tone, "Miss Mudd, unfortunately lost her own family some time ago and she is under the care of her employer, Miss Matilda Devereau, who owns the Stardust Saloon.  I can vouch for Miss Deveareau and tell you that she is a respectable woman who is more than capable in making sure that Arabella is kept safe and sound."

 

Arabella turned in her chair and gave Matt an evil glare. “Well, thanks fer ruinin’ my story!” she said sarcastically. She turned back to Mrs Wentworth. “Yeah, like he says, my Mammy and my Pappy and my little brother is all dead now, but…” she brightened, realised that Matt’s blundering hadn’t totally ruined her chances of recounting a long, long story starring herself “… what’s funny is the way they all died…”

 

He then looked at Arabella's tea cup and smiled, "I think Miss Mudd, that your tea would be too cold to drink, which may be a good thing as I think Miss Devereau might be wondering where you are right now."

 

Again, she swivelled in her chair. “Are you trying to get rid of me?!” she asked, candidly enough. “Hmph!” She stood up in righteous indignation. “Well, I know when I’m not wanted! And I wouldn’t drink your silly old tea anyway, who knows what amount of demon licker you’ve spiked it with Mr Wentworth. I’m high-tailing it outta this den of iniquity before you start shootin’ the ceiling in agin! You comin’ Bridg’?” she asked the ginger girl who shook her head. She was enjoying the tea, if slurping it rather loudly.

 

Knowing that Arabella might be concerned about Bridget, he continued, “Miss Monahan will be all right with my mother and Mr. Simons while she waits for Mr. Crabbe.”

 

“Well, so long, Auntie Becky, it’s been nice keepin’ company with you, if not with this rude son, o’ yours. So long, Fancy Pants!” she gave Ben a more cheerful farewell and stomped off muttering something like “Well, I like that!! Miss Devereau might be wondering where you are! Huh!”

 

Bridget just sat through it all drinking her tea. She put the cup back on the saucer with a clatter and informed the remaining trio “Arabella’s angry!” with a broad, incongruous smile on her face, and followed this up with a demand, or request, or was it a question? 

 

"Cake?!"

 

4a8a1f262a5ce54ab4b5b74c05eda9e7.jpg

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Rebecca sighed as she watched Arabella go off in a huff.  The girl needed help and so did Bridget, who was now asking about some cake.

 

Matt smiled and went off to get some for her and that only left Rebecca and Ben to look after Bridget.  Seeing no real chance for escape, Ben sat down in the chair that had been vacated by Arabella.  "Well, Aunt Rebecca now you've met two of Kalispell's young ladies, what do you think?"

 

Looking over to Bridget, she smiled, "Mr. Wentworth is getting your cake...it won't be too long."  She then turned to Ben, "What I think is that some young ladies in Kalispell need help."

 

"Help in what way," Ben asked, partially suspecting what the answer would be.

 

"Oh, in just the rudimentary things such as social etiquette," she mused, "I have feeling that Arabella is only the tip of the iceberg."  She neglected to mention Bridget as she didn't want to alarm the poor girl who seemed content waiting for her cake to come.

 

@Javia

 

OOC: MIght be a good time for Crabbe to turn up to collect Bridget...or soon after she has had her cake ;)

OOC: Like I'd let you off that easily!

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Arabella stormed out of the hotel shaking her head at Matt Wentworth’s rude behavior. What did he have against her?! Mrs Wentworth seemed nice, but the lady needed help with sorting out her unruly sons.

 

Rebecca sighed as she watched Arabella go off in a huff.  The girl needed help and so did Bridget, who was now asking about some cake. 

 

“Cake!” repeated Bridget, smiling. Smiling always seemed to make people do exactly what she wanted them to. The big man with the patent leather hair and the nice suit seemed to respond suitably. She marked him down as a soft touch, like she'd done with people when she'd been a beggar. Not in so many words in her head; but he would be a good person to approach for anything, like Lorenzo. The one called ‘Fancy Pants’ by Arabella looked a little harder.

 

Matt smiled and went off to get some for her and that only left Rebecca and Ben to look after Bridget.  Seeing no real chance for escape, Ben sat down in the chair that had been vacated by Arabella.  "Well, Aunt Rebecca now you've met two of Kalispell's young ladies, what do you think?"

 

Looking over to Bridget, she smiled, "Mr. Wentworth is getting your cake...it won't be too long." 

 

Bridget smiled and nodded. She knew that, she wasn’t stupid. Those who knew her best knew that she was, well, not exactly clever or intelligent, but sort of sly in a fox-like instinctive way. In fact, Mr Fa sometimes called her a ‘Fox Spirit’, and the notoriously tight-fisted and money mad Lorenzo Crabbe somehow found himself shelling out fistfuls of gold dollars on hats, dresses, dolls, even a pony and trap for the manipulative girl. Well, technically Janella was a mule but Bridget didn’t know the difference and everybody else that knew her had been sworn to secrecy on the matter.

 

 She then turned to Ben, "What I think is that some young ladies in Kalispell need help."

 

"Help in what way," Ben asked, partially suspecting what the answer would be.

 

Bridget tipped her head, listening too.

 

"Oh, in just the rudimentary things such as social etiquette," she mused, "I have feeling that Arabella is only the tip of the iceberg."  She neglected to mention Bridget as she didn't want to alarm the poor girl who seemed content waiting for her cake to come.

 

When they looked at her, she smiled. She tried to remember these words, but they were hard. “Ettyket” “Eyesburg” “Ettyket” “Eyesburg” “Ettyket” “Eyesburg” She’d try and get Arabella or Mr Fa to explain them later. They were good at explaining, they would act out the meaning for her. For instance, Arabella would say, ‘Well this is drinkin’ yer coffee without Ettyket”… and act like a barbarian quaffing down his beer, “… and this is WITH Ettyket, and then act like a princess taking the minutest sips of a miniscule china cup with her pinky finger pointed directly outward, and she would get it.

 

On the other hand, if she asked Lorenzo the same question, he would inevitably reply “I’ll tell you what Ettiquette is, Bridg’, it’s a pile of horseshit!” Which seemed to be his dictionary definition of most things in life.

 

Matt brought the cake, she did that pathetic sort of grateful and delighted smile that seemed to melt most people’s hearts.

 

Then Crabbe appeared.

 

“Howdy folks!” he beamed, taking off his hat and bowing a little to Mrs Wentworth. “Hope this young lady ain’t been eatin’ you all out of house and home!”

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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"No she hasn't, " Ben said in a slightly amused tone.  "In fact the cake has only just arrived.  Bridget's friend Arabella was here for a while telling us her's and Bridget's stories."

 

He looked at his aunt briefly, before turning back to to Crabbe, "May I introduce to my aunt, Mrs. Rebecca Wentworth.  Aunt Rebecca, Mr. Lorenzo Crabbe."

 

After the introductions had been made, Ben sat down again.  It was going to be an interesting conversation, especially since they had been informed by Arabella about Crabbe's current endeavours.  Thankfully, he didn't have to wait long.

 

Rebecca nodded, "Mr. Crabbe, I hear you saved Bridget from a terrible misfortune and that you have been taking care of her since then.  I also was told that you are now a photographer here in Kalispell."

 

@Javia

 

 

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"No she hasn't, " Ben said in a slightly amused tone.  "In fact the cake has only just arrived.  Bridget's friend Arabella was here for a while telling us her's and Bridget's stories.

 

“Mudd? I need to see that girl. Got a little job she can help me with. Might have to risk sticking my head into that saloon.” Crabbe ruminated out loud.

 

He looked at his aunt briefly, before turning back to to Crabbe, "May I introduce to my aunt, Mrs. Rebecca Wentworth.  Aunt Rebecca, Mr. Lorenzo Crabbe."

 

The older lady didn’t offer a hand to shake, kiss or arm-wrestle with, so Crabbe contented himself with an ingratiating bow and a surprised “Aunt? Why Simons, I assumed this was your younger sister! Well it’s a pleasure Mam, a real pleasure.” He murmured, oozing unctuous and unconvincing charm.

 

Rebecca nodded, "Mr. Crabbe, I hear you saved Bridget from a terrible misfortune and that you have been taking care of her since then.  I also was told that you are now a photographer here in Kalispell."

 

“Well, Ma’m…” Crabbe spoke in intimate tones as he took a seat next to the Matriarch of the Clan Wentworth “… people will tell you a lot of things about me, many of them quite untrue or wildly exaggerated, especially a certain imaginative little girl called Arabella Mudd, but it is true I saved this here waif and stray from the hands of a most vile molester and took the burden of her care onto my own already careworn shoulders. But how could I not, just look at her! That simple, angelic face.” He looked up to see Bridget trying to cram an enormous piece of cake into her mouth in one go.

 

@JulieS

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"I certainly agree that Miss Arabella Mudd has a lively imaginative.  I have no doubt what she says has an element of truth but the need to exaggerate could be very worrying for her guardians.  If she's not careful, her stories might get her into trouble one day."

 

Rebecca watched in mild surprise as Bridget ate her cake.  It was all right to do that sort of thing in private if you wish to do so but in public it was not appropriate.  An idea had begun formulating in her head but she needed to think it about more before she divulged it to a total stranger.  She had to find out what type of man and what his exact living conditions where Bridget was concern before she could approach him.

 

"Mr. Crabbe, am I right in guessing that you are the sole income earner and if this is case, how does Bridget fare when you are at work?  Does she go to school?"

 

@Javia

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"Mr. Crabbe, am I right in guessing that you are the sole income earner and if this is case, how does Bridget fare when you are at work?  Does she go to school?"

 

Crabbe listened carefully to the questions that Rebecca was asking, as much the tone as the words themselves. This old bat was after something, but what? The last one made him laugh, despite himself.

 

“School? Well…” he looked at Bridget, who was masticating the cake even as she was still shoving it into her mouth, getting crumbs everywhere, and then turned his magnified eyes back to the proper-looking lady on the other side of the table “… you do realise that the girl is a complete cretin, don’t you? I mean, we only just got her to be able to talk out loud, before that she’d just whisper in people’s ears. It was kinda un-nerving, you know?”

 

To be honest, that was Charlie Fa and Arabella’s doing, that therapy, he’d have been content for the ginger sponger to keep her trap shut forever.

 

“Besides, we don’t rightly know how old she is, but I worked out she must be about, ohhh… nineteen years of age or so, she’d kinda stick out in a school room.” He wondered what the hell the teacher and the other kids in the class would make of her. Probably just use the big dummy as a door stop. What had Mrs Wentworth’s other question been? Oh, money and who looked after Bridget. Well, actually the three of them were pretty well set up moneywise and any girl who could survive as a one legged cripple on the streets of Helena didn’t need him to look after her. However, he decided to go with the flow and see where the Wentworth Matriarch was trying to steer this boat to.

 

“I’m the sole breadwinner, Mrs Wentworth, and I don’t mind telling you it’s been hard this last year, trying to take care of Bridget. Many’s a time I’ve had to go out to find a hard earned crust and had to leave this poor simple minded soul to her own devices. Then sometimes I’d come home and find she’d escaped and gone wanderin’ off, into heavens knows what dangers.” He shook his head sadly “It’s been a worry and a strain, I don’t mind telling you, Ma’m. You know there’s some pretty nasty characters out there in the big wide world’d take advantage of a pretty girl like that, that don’t have much brains.”

 

Bridget looked at Crabbe with interest, as she always did when he was lying, wondering what he was up to, she also glanced at the person being lied to, sometimes they looked suspicious, sometimes they looked believing, especially if the lie was to their taste.

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Rebecca thought about what Crabbe had told her.  She couldn't tell if he was lying or not but what he said had an element of truth, but she did find out something.  Bridget was another young lady that was left to her devices and had no real guidance in social manners.  There were times she wished having the right social manners didn't matter but unfortunately if you wanted to be accepted by the general population you had to know them.

 

As for Crabbe, she would quiz Ben about him later when they were in private.  Her nephew might be able to tell her more about his character so that the next time she encountered Crabbe, she would be able to distinguish the truth from the lies.

 

Seeing that there was no more to be said until she had more information and was able to work out a plan, she decided that it was time go.  "Well, thank you Mr. Crabbe for enlightening me about Bridget's situation but I must be going, I promised to visit the president of the ladies society and have lunch at her home."

 

She turned to Bridget, "It was lovely meeting and I do hope we can get to know each other better."

 

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Seeing that there was no more to be said until she had more information and was able to work out a plan, she decided that it was time go.  "Well, thank you Mr. Crabbe for enlightening me about Bridget's situation but I must be going, I promised to visit the president of the ladies society and have lunch at her home."

 

Crabbe stood and holding his hat in his hand gave another little bow, he knew when he was being told to scram, if in the politest of terms. “Must be goin’ myself Mam, but it was such a darlin’ pleasure to meet you today.” He smarmed. To bridget, he gave a curt “Come on you. You’ve eaten all the cake, might as well get you home and brush all them crumbs off of your dress.”

 

The ginger girl managed to get up off her seat on her one good leg, shoving the penultimate piece of Victoria sponge into her maw with one hand, and grabbing the last piece with the other, a truly spectacular and acrobatic feat.

 

She turned to Bridget, "It was lovely meeting and I do hope we can get to know each other better."

 

“MMM MM” replied the girl, through a mouthful of half chewed cake. Crabbe gave them all an ingratiating smile and dragged her off by the arm.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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As if waiting for the retreat of the oily Mr. Crabbe and the imbecilic Miss Monahan, a tall distinguished gentleman sporting a neatly trimmed beard now appeared at the table trailed by a demure looking girl of angelic aspect. He clearly knew and was well known by Matt, if not the other two.

 

“Mr Wentworth, Sir, Madam.” He nodded to each in turn, while his daughter stood politely back, whist watching the retreating Bridget’s back with that icy glance that girls reserve for potential love rivals.

 

“Please forgive this unwarranted intrusion, Madam, but my name is Richard Orr, the Postmaster of this town and a business acquaintance of your husband, and I hope he would say a warm acquaintance.” He explained, handing her his card. “This is my daughter, Anaesthesia.” The girl mentioned gave a textbook curtsey and looked modestly down when Matt and Ben turned to her.

 

“Your husband was kind enough to encourage me to ask a small favor of you, Mrs Wentworth, er, my daughter here is to celebrate her eighteenth birthday soon and we are throwing a small party, oh nothing ostentatious of course, just a small tasteful gathering. Well, er, Anaesthesia has got it into her head that she would like some young people there.” He said this as if the girl had demanded something outlandish, like circus performers or a choir of Swiss yodellers, to be present.

 

He held out his hands a little, imploringly. “Unfortunately, the only young people she knows are, well, not quite suitable, you understand. Her school friends were, I’m afraid, from rather the low end of the social scale, the Lutzes and Wigfalls and Fitzherberts of the town. Oh, good people in their way, I suppose, but lacking a certain social polish.”

 

He finally got around to what he wanted to say.

 

“Well, er, Charles, er, Mr. Wentworth mentioned that you have a son not too much older than Anaesthesia, Mr. Charles Wentworth Junior, who might be willing to grace the event with his very welcome presence, I have the invitation here, er, somewhere…” he felt about himself for the thing, a little flustered.

 

The birthday girl herself stepped neatly forward and handed him the thing. She said nothing though, of course, children were to be seen and not heard.

 

“… ah, yes, thank you dear” He handed the rather fancy looking envelope, white tipped with silver, over to Rebecca.

 

“I realise that the young man might feel rather shy to visit with complete strangers, but I am hoping that a mother’s influence might help smooth things along.” He added, hopefully.

 

Haende_voller_Blut_2.png

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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Rebecca took the invitation and acknowledged both people, "Mister Orr, Miss Orr."

 

Having listened to what the man had said, Rebecca smiled, "I believe my husband has mentioned you."  She didn't need to tell him that it was only in regards to who ran the post office while Charles had been telling her who's was who and what was what in Kalispell.  There was no other mention of the man or his family, so the request of her son Charlie to attend a birthday party came as a surprise.

 

"Thank you for the invitation.  Although I can't speak for my son as I am not sure if he will be in town on the day as he works at Lost Lake Ranch.  As you would know that is some distance from town but I will be sure to give it to him the next time I see him which should be in a day or two."

 

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Having listened to what the man had said, Rebecca smiled, "I believe my husband has mentioned you."

 

“Favourably, I can only hope!” smiled the man, who seemed well versed in etiquette but a little stiff in having to exercise it. Indeed, Mr Orr was in a powerful position in the town and used to minions bowing and scraping to him, not the other way round. However, his demure and sweet looking young daughter had him well and truly wrapped around her little finger, and he would have turned cartwheels in front of Mrs Wentworth had Anaesthesia desired it.

 

“Thank you for the invitation.  Although I can’t speak for my son as I am not sure if he will be in town on the day as he works at Lost Lake Ranch.  As you would know that is some distance from town but I will be sure to give it to him the next time I see him which should be in a day or two.”

 

“Of course” bowed Richard Orr politely, though he had to wonder at three of the sons of the respectable and well-heeled Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth working at, not owning, but working at a ranch as common hands. At least their fine son Matt, standing by here, held a respectable position.

 

“Well, I will leave you in peace, Mrs. Wentworth. Thank you so much for your time and kind attention.” He bade her farewell. “Mr. Wentworth, Sir.” He nodded to Matt and Ben.

 

Anaesthesia curtsied to the Grande Dame and glanced a polite smile to Matt and Ben. The glance and the smile she rationed out to Ben was just a fraction tooooo long, according to the guidelines laid out in a recent article she had read in The Young Lady. Anaesthesia mentally corrected herself on that point, she mustn’t let her raging interest in romance encourage her to go wild.

 

@JulieS

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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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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