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    • "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   Miss Grimes flicked her stick to the right and struck the package, bending down to retrieve it. "Oh, thank you, Mrs Pike, I have it." she smiled picking up the package and feeling it over for tears. "I hope none of it is peeping out, it is some undergarments and an old dress that needed repairs. I can sew but it's a laborious process for me, and we will be on our way to Kalispell tomorrow."   She managed to bundle up everything in one arm, packages, stick, and stuck out the other to somewhere near Emeline again.   "Goodbye, I hope to see you in Kalispell when you return" she did not shy away from using the 'S' word "And I shall certainly look up Mrs Connolly at the Diner."   @Bongo 
    • "Oh..."  Emeline gasped as the girl dropped her package, and started to bend down to get it, but then hesitated, wondering if perhaps she even wanted help, or might feel insulted at the offer, that it would imply that she couldn't do for herself.   "It's just to your right.  Would you like some help?"  There!  An offer, but Frances' choice.   @Javia        
    • He took Frances' hand and gently shook it, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Grimes."   "And you, Mr. Simons." she smiled sweetly.   "If you are interested in joining the ladies group my aunt Rebecca Wentworth will be running, I can get her to send you an invitation or she can personally come to see you."   "Oh, that sounds wonderful, I shall have to see if, er..." stammered the blind girl, and Crabbe could guess why.    "And it doesn't cost anything to join, does it, Ben?" Lorenzo put in.   "It sounds absolutely wonderful Mr. Simons" said Frances, now much more firmly "Please, just an invitation, I mean, just knowing when and when your Aunt would be holding the meetings would be all I need. I shall find it with no problem. What a kind thought, thank you, Mr. Simons."   At the sound of Ben munching, she decided that she had probably outstayed her welcome at his tableside and said "I shall leave you to your repast, Mr Simons, thank you again."   @JulieS    
    • "First off, proper grammar, it is 'like a blind person' not people," Clara pointed out , "And secondly we are here in this kitchen to cook proper meals for paying customers. That is a responsibility I take most seriously. Kindly be more....adult."   "Ain't it funny, Clara, I'm always makin' mistakes like that when I talk in my regular voice, but when I do 'personations of folk, I can speak right if I needs to. Listen to this:..." the gangly, scruffy teenager suddenly stood up ramrod straight at the frying pan and repositioned the spachelor in her hand like she was holding a dainty quill, then started to speak in a refined, maybe even pretentious voice, very unlike her own, with no trace of a southern accent:   "Arabella, would you please desist from precipitating those most distastful and less that utilitarian anecdotal confabulations. I find them most distressing!" All right, the words might not make sense, but anyone who knew Clara would have recognised the rhythm and tone of her voice.   @Wayfarer
    • "There ain't no 'we', Ara, this is between me n' the cowpoke here. You did not knock and I did not say you could come in," Caroline now pointed out as calmly as she could.   "I know..." replied Arabella sadly "An' I know I promised to do all them things but..." she shook her head a little "when I heard all them terrible horrible rotten things what happened to you, I was just so shocked and sad and angry that some low down bastard could do that to my sweet, pretty, lovely little Caroline, I just... well my soul kinda flew out to you, and my big ol' feet foller'd right along behind it."   She reached across and hugged her again and kissed her on top of her head again. Brendan then put in his two cents' worth.   From there, he looked down at Caroline. "Hey. What I was tryin' to say...goin' to say...is that...I understand."   "Good ta know, hon. Just wait a minute and we can continue this conversation once Ara leaves the room, shuts the door, and assures me she won't be listening in anymore. Got that?" Caroline eyed the teenager.   Arabella nodded compliantly enough, but then twisted in the bed so she was face to face with Brendan, whom she stared straight in the eye.   "But before I go, Brendan Connolly, you gotta tell me that you forgive me for all them silly things I said before and all them silly things I did cause even Caroline's forgiven me and she's the one I did and said them things to and we gettin' on all right now and I found out some stuff which made me change and I'm a better person now and it just ain't fair that you're still treatin' me so mean and, and..." she gulped down a sob and a lone tear appeared in the corner of her eye.   "... I really want you to be my friend again..." she wiped away the tear "... please."   @Bailey @Wayfarer
Arabella Mudd

Turn the Other Cheek

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Mature Content: Let us pray to God NO!

Author: Arabella Sumter Mudd

With: Father Thomas Reece, Pastor Gideon Evans, Mrs Evans.
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Late March 1876
Time of Day: 10.47am.

 

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“Now, o’ course, I’m a Southern Methodist and he’s a Northern Methodist, so we disagree on a few points, but even though we’re from different connexions, we seem to get along all right. Still and but, I think you should avoid talking about religion, if at all possible. And I might call you ‘Brother Thomas’ cause that’s more Method-y than Father Thomas, see?” Arabella was giving the grave looking Man of God a pep talk on how to get along with Pastor Evans as they trudged the streets of Kalispell toward that man’s neat if modest abode.

 

She had to skip forward of a sudden to catch up with the Reverend Reece, and try to match his long limbed strides, despite the heavy load he was carrying.

 

“It was mighty nice of you to offer to carry the harmonium!” she beamed up at him gratefully. “Brother Gideon’ll be tickled to death to hear some hymns played on that ol’ thing in his sick bed!”

 

Arabella then thought of another useful tip.

 

“Ooh, an’ another thing. Mrs Evans, that’s his wife, she’s a little cross-eyed so remember not to stare, an’ remember it’s the one on the right that a-lookin’ at you. And don’t make any funny jokes about it because I did onct and neither of ‘em laughed.” she advised him as she beetled along side him, directing the way: looking for all the world like a little old lady with her poke bonnet, shawl and basket.  

 

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"Now, o’ course, I’m a Southern Methodist and he’s a Northern Methodist, so we disagree on a few points, but even though we’re from different connexions, we seem to get along all right. Still and but, I think you should avoid talking about religion, if at all possible. And I might call you ‘Brother Thomas’ cause that’s more Method-y than Father Thomas, see?”

"Yes, well, if you think it best, Arabella." Thomas replied, grunting under the harmonium's weight. In truth, it had been a fair time since he'd been in any true house of God, and no doubt his more blasé approach to differing schools of Christianity would not fly. It had been a while too since he was 'Reverend Thomas', and longer still since 'Brother Thomas', but the ambivalence worked both ways. If he could take on the Catholic mantle, he could take on the Methodist, so long as he could do what he enjoyed doing. It might actually be best to let the girl take most of the talking, for the Lord knew she was good at it.

 

“It was mighty nice of you to offer to carry the harmonium!” she beamed up at him. “Brother Gideon’ll be tickled to death to hear some hymns played on that ol’ thing in his sick bed!”

"I'm sure he will." Thomas reinforced, though if the previous comments of Ralph and Matilda were anything to go by, there may have been more fiction than fact in her words. He was inclined to trust their judgement too, by way of how kind they had been with their spare room. His stay in Kalispell thus far had been the most comfortable he had been for a time, and the ebbing patrons that crossed the threshold of the Stardust were never in truly poor spirits, a hopeful portent of the townsfolk's demeanor.

 

“Ooh, an’ another thing. Mrs Evans, that’s his wife, she’s a little cross-eyed so remember not to stare, an’ remember it’s the one on the right that a-lookin’ at you. And don’t make any funny jokes about it because I did once and neither of ‘em laughed.”

Thomas winced a little, imagining the overexciteable Arabella poking fun at Mrs. Evans' disfigurement, but nodded along as though she had imparted some unknowable token of information.

"I'll certainly keep that in mind, thank you."

 

With the morning sun, Thomas had little need for a coat, a thankful fact that had made the harmonium's transport a far less awkward affair. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled to his elbows, and his waistcoat was presented neatly, all ready for a meeting with the pastor. He'd left his things in the saloon, so as not to appear overeager (and indeed, so as not to go sporting a firearm in someone's church), and so carried himself with nothing but a friendly face. Oh, and Arabella's harmonium, of course.

@Javia

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The Evans’ abode had a neat front door at street-level, with only the smallest of steps, so Father Thomas wouldn’t have to lug the bulky instrument up too many stairs until they were inside. Arabella rapped on the door, but didn’t really give anyone a chance to answer it before boldly opening it herself and marching in, explaining to her porter “She must be givin’ him his chill tonic!”

 

She held the door open for Father Thomas in order for him to enter the hallway carrying the bulky and awkward harmonium in and called out “Ooooo-eeee! Ooooo-eeee! Missus Eeeeeevans?!”

 

The woman in question appeared from a side door to a parlour and gave a look of horror at the sight of the girl from church and the man carrying a large boxlike object: she thought for a second that Arabella was intending to move in with them, and this was her luggage. “Howdy Mrs E.! This here’s F… er, Brother Thomas Reece, come to visit with the Pastor. And we brung the harmonium to cheer him up!” she explained brightly, as she went to mount the stairs to the second floor of the house.

 

“He’s in the Parlour, convalescing.” Explained the poor woman in question, trying to do three things at once: relieve the tall, distinguished looking man of his terrible burthen; stop Arabella poking about upstairs and warn her husband that she was here, the probable cause of his nervous collapse.

 

“Do go through, Brother Thomas. My husband will be pleased to see you, if not that which you carry. Miss Mudd, perhaps you will join me in the kitchen to prepare some refreshments for the gentlemen.”

 

“Right you are Missus!” agreed Arabella sadly, taking one last nosy look up those intriguing stairs, thwarted in her quest to explore the unknown and see the no-doubt amusing sight of Brother Gideon in his nightgown and night cap.

 

Before she followed Mrs Evans into the kitchen, she gave Thomas a reassuring slap on the back. “Good luck! And remember, don’t mention the Baptists!”

 

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Thomas followed Arabella through the doorway, trying his best not to seem all too complicit in her loud 'ooo-ing.' With the appearance of Mrs. Evans at the side door, he gave a bashful smile, reluctant to draw attention to himself when there was such an embodiment of attention attempting to clatter her way up the stairs.

“Howdy Mrs E.! This here’s F… er, Brother Thomas Reece, come to visit with the Pastor. And we brung the harmonium to cheer him up!” she declared excitedly.

“He’s in the Parlour, convalescing. Do go through, Brother Thomas. My husband will be pleased to see you, if not that which you carry."

"Right you are, ma'am, thank you for your hospitality." he said quickly, for a moment considering if he should correct Arabella, though deciding to merely let it lie. The lady's comment about the harmonium did confirm his suspicions, however, and to that end he slyly placed the instrument to the side of the door, to be 'forgotten.'

 

With Arabella cordoned off into some kitchen task, Thomas moved to the parlour entrance, though not before a jarring clap on the back reminded him of the girl's presence.

“Good luck! And remember, don’t mention the Baptists!”

Thomas nodded, flashing a look of thanks for her sake, before swinging the door wide. He entered the room slowly, so as not to cause any undue stress to the Reverend before Arabella inevitably did.

 

"Pastor? I hope I'm not intruding."

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Pastor Evans looked up from the book he had been reading.  The man standing before him was a stranger and one that seem to have some bearing.  He wasn't surprised at having a stranger in his home as Kalispell had seen a lot of them during his time as pastor of the community church.  Thankfully most of them proved to be harmless and he knew somehow that this man was one of them.

 

"Normally, I would get up to greet you but Doctor Danforth says I must not exert myself too much.  I hope you don't mind.  Please take a seat and tell me what brings you here."

 

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"Normally, I would get up to greet you but Doctor Danforth says I must not exert myself too much.  I hope you don't mind.  Please take a seat and tell me what brings you here."

"Of course, thank you." Thomas replied. "I wouldn't want to cause any undue fuss, especially to one under doctor's orders."

He moved to a chair opposite the pastor, easing himself into it and leaning forward. To be fair, the man was well composed, with a stranger in his parlour, though Thomas knew all too well that one quickly learned to be comfortable around guests, as a priest.

"My apologies, where are my manners? I'm Reverend Thomas Reed, formerly of Pembina." he introduced himself, holding out a hand. "...and I don't mean to alarm you, especially considering your condition, but, well, I've come here with Arabella, from the saloon. She was rather adamant."

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Gideon Evans raised an eyebrow when he heard what the man called himself.  Maybe this was the answer to his prayers.  After shaking the man's hand, he straightened up in his chair and fixed the blanket around his lap.

 

He smiled, "I have no doubt Arabella embellished my condition somewhat...the girl has the tendency to do that.  My condition is not as dire as some may think, it's more a case of getting old.  Being the only pastor around for miles, my job involves a lot of travelling to outlying ranches and farms to perform services and whatever else is needed as it is often difficult to get into town.  I'm expected to start my rounds as soon as the winter snows start melting but it can still be a very cold trip and I'm afraid that my body has seen fit to let me know that it's time to slow down."

 

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"I'm expected to start my rounds as soon as the winter snows start melting but it can still be a very cold trip and I'm afraid that my body has seen fit to let me know that it's time to slow down."

Thomas shook his head. "I'm sorry to hear that. It happens to the best of us, and of course, at the most inopportune times."

Traveling the countryside seemed an awfully draining task too, for someone of the pastor's age. No doubt he was a very driven man, or perhaps particularly caring. Either of the two were good qualities in a Reverend.

"Of course, that brings us to the subject of my visit." Thomas began. "I've had my few years of training, held a congregation for some decades, and, if you'll pardon my boldness, I would be more than happy to help, to any degree you see fit."

He paused for a moment, placing his hands together idly. "Kalispell seems a nice place, with good people, and... well... I should like to stay here, for a time."

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Gideon smiled.  This was indeed an answer to prayer.  "I thank you for your kind offer, Reverend and I will take you up on it.  I think I can manage to do services here in town, so we can work out some sort of schedule where we can share that duty.  My main concern is the parishioners in the remote areas.  Would you be all right with taking on those duties."

 

He paused for a moment.  Maybe he was asking too much of the man who had only just arrived, "I do understand that you might want to learn more about the town and the surroundings before you accept.  Is there anything in particular you would like know?"

 

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"I thank you for your kind offer, Reverend and I will take you up on it.  I think I can manage to do services here in town, so we can work out some sort of schedule where we can share that duty.  My main concern is the parishioners in the remote areas.  Would you be all right with taking on those duties?"

The priest's smile was more of a positive reaction that Thomas could have ever expected. It seemed that the Lord had seen fit to draw him unto Kalispell at just the right time, a fact for which he was grateful.

"By all means, it would be my pleasure." Thomas declared jovially. "I've always had a soft spot for the countryside anyway."

"I do understand that you might want to learn more about the town and the surroundings before you accept.  Is there anything in particular you would like know?"

"Oh, I imagine it'll come to me quickly. Not the least by way of Arabella. She's a, er... talkative girl to say the least." he replied, but his voice quickly took on a more serious tone. "Though if I may ask, pastor, what was it that drew you personally to Kalispell? It's certainly an out-of-the-way sort of place."

With a position all but secured, Thomas was now interested to see just what made the pastor tick. He suspected that it might afford some insight into Kalispell itself, for who best to know of the townspeople's troubles than their good reverend?

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Gideon smiled, "I was asked to come here when the town was just starting by the then owner of Lost Lake Ranch, John Thornton.  I had known him for years and when the town's founders decided that they needed a good Godly influence, I came at his request.  I've been here since."

 

He sighed, "There's something you need to know.  The two biggest landowners in the area are the Thorntons, who own Lost Lake and the Steelgraves who own Evergreen and let's just say they aren't friends.  Thankfully, things are relatively quiet at the moment but every now and then there will be a fight or argument of some sort between the two ranches.  Their most recent altercation, that I know of, was a fight back in the summer during the town fair.  However, that doesn't mean there hasn't been any other incidents out on the range.  The tension is always there and I'm afraid that someday something big will happen."

 

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Pastor Evans gave a sigh. "There's something you need to know.  The two biggest landowners in the area are the Thorntons, who own Lost Lake and the Steelgraves who own Evergreen and let's just say they aren't friends.  Thankfully, things are relatively quiet at the moment but every now and then there will be a fight or argument of some sort between the two ranches.  Their most recent altercation, that I know of, was a fight back in the summer during the town fair.  However, that doesn't mean there hasn't been any other incidents out on the range.  The tension is always there and I'm afraid that someday something big will happen."

"The Thorntons and the Steelgraves eh?" Thomas repeated. Two rival families, the makings of an epic play. Every town had it's drama, he supposed, and not the least out on the frontier.

 

"How serious is their feud?" he asked slowly. "Have there been any... casualties?"

 

He'd heard of a fair bit of blood spilled over land, and there were plenty of rough-and-tumble men working the local ranches. Violence was probably to be expected, but knowing how far either side was willing to go would lend him an idea of where to push reconciliation. There would be no point trying to talk down a man who was dead set on drawing his gun.

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"How serious is their feud?" he asked slowly. "Have there been any... casualties?"

 

Gideon nodded, "Yes there's been one major one.  Shade Thornton killed one of the Steelgraves...Calvin who was one of Elias Steelgrave's sons.  It happened a long time ago, just before the war, but Elias has never forgiven or forgotten.  The Steelgraves aren't a very popular family in the area and there have been lots of accusations of wrongdoings which no-one has successfully proven.  Most people who have tried have either disappeared or been paid off but a lot of that is heresay."

 

He paused for a moment as he thought about what to say next.  "You'll probably hear a lot of talk about a hospital and orphanage for the town.  While most people are in favour of it, they have a problem with who is behind the proposal...a young woman called Leah Steelgrave.  People are wary of anything a Steelgrave does and I have to say that I am a little bit concerned as well.  Leah seems to be genuine but not many people are totally convinced and think that her father is pulling the strings.  It's that sort of thing the town is dealing with and sometimes it's hard to stay partial considering the Steelgrave reputation."

 

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So there had been a death, a son too. Bad blood between families was bad for any town, even if it had occurred some decades past. Live by the sword, die by the sword, as Jesus once said.

"People are wary of anything a Steelgrave does and I have to say that I am a little bit concerned as well. Leah seems to be genuine but not many people are totally convinced and think that her father is pulling the stings. It's that sort of thing the town is dealing with and sometimes it's hard to stay partial considering the Steelgrave reputation."

"...and what do you think, pastor? Is Leah Steelgrave spearheading the family's agenda?" he asked. If visiting ranches was to be the majority of this work, then he'd certainly need to know who the 'top dog' was out on the range. Typically, the most powerful families were also the most skittish, and would never react well to being spooked.

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Gideon shook his head slightly, "To tell you the truth, I don't know.  As a man of God, I would like to believe that she is doing something good out of the kindness of her heart but another part is me is wary.  I've had numerous dealings with Elias Steelgrave over the years and it isn't beyond him to use his daughter to get what he wants."

 

He leaned back in his chair, "There's something you have to be aware of when you meet Elias.  The one thing he wants is to own everything in this part of Montana including Kalispell.  A while back, he was aiming to make something of Whitefish but that all went when the town burned down last December.  The Whitefish citizens who didn't leave are settling down here and a lot of them are might partial to Case Steelgrave, Elias' son, who helped them out during the rescue.  What Case plans to do is anybody's guess but rumour has it that he plans to run for county Sheriff.  All in all, you've found yourself in a town that may look calm on the surface but there's a lot of underlying tension."

 

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"All in all, you've found yourself in a town that may look calm on the surface but there's a lot of underlying tension."

"That I certainly have," Thomas accorded. "and I thank you for your introduction to the town. Your wisdom'll see plenty of use out in the field, I'm sure."

 

There was plenty of room for thought here. Whitefish burning down was probably a contentious subject, especially so recently in the public memory. Perhaps those that leaned more by the way of Thornton affairs would be less sympathetic, and vice versa. Then there was Elias, Case, and Leah; well-to-do personalities, well-established in the town. All likely commanding a degree of respect.

 

"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."

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"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.

 

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Gideon leaned further back into his chair.  Even though he was unwell, he didn't want to listen to Arabella playing the harmonium...at church on Sunday was enough.  Unfortunately, most times when Arabella had called by wanting to cheer him up, she usually came alone and he had no choice but to let her.  As a pastor, it was his Christian duty, to be pleasant and tolerate those who meant well, like Arabella.  He also didn't want to be seen discouraging her as all of God's children had the potential to be much more than they were currently.

 

Thankfully, his wife was well aware of how taxing Arabella could be, replied, "Why do we all sit down first, I'm sure our visitor must require some refreshments.  Arabella would do the honour of serving Brother Thomas?"

 

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Ever the showgirl, Arabella burst onto the scene with that energy that, at this stage might have seemed alarming in absence.

“Now, how are you two boys getting along?”

She asked on entry, no doubt having just caused Mrs. Evans an afternoon's worth of cleaning in the other room, and followed it with a suggestion that she might begin a tune for all parties present.

Judging by the expression of displeasure that the Pastor wore, he would have preferred none at all, and thankfully, his wife moved to interdict before it was too late.

 

"Why don't we all sit down first, I'm sure our visitor must require some refreshments. Arabella, would you do the honour of serving Brother Thomas?"

 

"Ah, yes, I wouldn't want to let your work go to waste, Mrs. Evans. That cake looks very impressive." Thomas added, shooting the poor woman a look of understanding.

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"Why don't we all sit down first, I'm sure our visitor must require some refreshments. Arabella, would you do the honour of serving Brother Thomas?"

 

"Ah, yes, I wouldn't want to let your work go to waste, Mrs. Evans. That cake looks very impressive." Thomas added, shooting the poor woman a look of understanding.

 

Arabella got busy serving out coffee and cake and making sure that everybody had what cutlery and crockery and napkinery they required, like a regular whirlwind. Then, just as everybody was about to tuck into their first bite of cake or slurp their first mouthful of piping hot coffee she clapped her hands together and closed her eyes and barked out the Wesleyan grace:

 

“Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in fellowship with Thee. Amen.”

 

Now they could start.

 

“Oh, this cake’s yummy Mrs Evans!” she declared with her mouth full. She ate the first piece as quickly as possible, so that she could get a second before it all went.

 

“Brother Thomas is looking for somewhere to live” Arabella piped up “Looks like you folks got plenty of room here!” she said looking around.

 

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Gideon briefly smiled at Arabella, "It may look like plenty of rooms but it is only three and one of them is occupied by the school teacher, Miss Bowen."

 

He turned to Thomas, "Even though I can't offer you accommodation, what I can offer you is dinner every night.  Mrs. Evans loves to have people around."

 

Jemima Evans nodded in response, "You'll be able to meet Miss Bowen, as well as other members of the community.  We usually have an extra guest or two most nights."

 

After taking a couple of sips of coffee, Gideon smiled, "You will be looking for somewhere permanent to live.  The church sits on a substantial piece of land that has room to build a small cottage.  Since you will be helping to run the church, I'm sure the church board will have no problems giving you the funds to do so."

 

He thought for a moment, "There's a young carpenter called Jay Ryker living here in town.  He's done a few repairs on the church and is always looking for work, I'm sure he will be able to help you out."

 

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“Oh, this cake’s yummy Mrs Evans! Brother Thomas is looking for somewhere to live. Looks like you folks got plenty of room here!” Arabella declared, to Thomas' dismay. Temporarily staying in a spare room was one thing, moving in with a family unit was quite another. One of these days, that girl's overzealousness would cause some serious problems.

 

"Er... I wouldn't want to impose." Thomas clarified. "I'm sure I'll find suitable accommodation for the time being."

 

"It may look like plenty of rooms but it is only three and one of them is occupied by the school teacher, Miss Bowen." said the pastor in agreement. "Even though I can't offer you accommodation, what I can offer you is dinner every night. Mrs. Evans loves to have people around."

 

"Oh, well, as I said; I wouldn't want to impose, though I'm sure the occasional shared meal would be wonderful." Thomas said, giving a nod of appreciation to Mrs. Evans

 

"You will be looking for somewhere permanent to live. The church sits on a substantial piece of land that has room to build a small cottage.  Since you will be helping to run the church, I'm sure the church board will have no problems giving you the funds to do so."

The old priest's ears perked up at this. Seemingly the best outcome possible; a house - however small - to himself, situated close to the church... it was perfect. As a board-funded project too, it could be used by any future preachers who may succeed him. It would affirm Kalispell as his home for some time yet, but that idea seemed all the more agreeable by the hour.

 

"There's a young carpenter called Jay Ryker living here in town.  He's done a few repairs on the church and is always looking for work, I'm sure he will be able to help you out."

"Why, that sounds perfect." Thomas said, good-naturedly. "I'll pay Mister Ryker a call soon, and of course, get started on visiting those outlying ranches."

The securing of employment and housing in such a short period of time left Thomas feeling high-spirited indeed, and he took a spoonful of cake with a smile. The taste was functionally alien to him, having not eaten cake in probably a decade now, but it's soft sweetness was pleasant, in a sort of homely, domestic way.

 

"I concur with Arabella." he declared, pointing a spoon her way. "My compliments, Mrs. Evans."

@JulieS@Javia

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Gideon briefly smiled at Arabella, "It may look like plenty of rooms but it is only three and one of them is occupied by the school teacher, Miss Bowen." 

 

Arabella gave a gasp of horror! “SHE lives here?!” she cried, obviously not approving of the woman, despite the fact they had never met. She leaned into Father Thomas in full gossip mode. “I heard she stole Clara Redmond’s fiancé away from her! Some shady feller called Thornton. I reckon she’s better off without him.”  

 

Oh! The thought of that jezebel living under the Pastor’s roof! The Reverend Reed was probably much better off keeping away from such women. 

 

He turned to Thomas, "Even though I can't offer you accommodation, what I can offer you is dinner every night.  Mrs. Evans loves to have people around." 

 

"Oh, well, as I said; I wouldn't want to impose, though I'm sure the occasional shared meal would be wonderful." Thomas said, giving a nod of appreciation to Mrs. Evans

 

“That’s funny, Mrs E., you never invite me around. Oh well, I guess we see a lot of each other at Church and I suppose you can have too much of a good thing.” decided Arabella as she reached for another piece of cake. Why did Mrs Evans cut the slices so doggone thin? She’d have just divided the whole darn thing into four quarters and shared it out between them all. 

 

Jemima Evans nodded in response, "You'll be able to meet Miss Bowen...” 

 

Arabella made a rather rude ‘ugh’ noise at the mention of the scarlet woman’s name, which Mrs. Evans pretended not to notice. 

 

..., as well as other members of the community.  We usually have an extra guest or two most nights." 

 

After taking a couple of sips of coffee, Gideon smiled, "You will be looking for somewhere permanent to live.  The church sits on a substantial piece of land that has room to build a small cottage.  Since you will be helping to run the church, I'm sure the church board will have no problems giving you the funds to do so." 

 

That was an exciting idea, making a little holy hermitage hideaway hut for Thomas, he looked a bit like a hermit with his white beard. She’d read about them fellers in olden times, hermits who sat up on high flagpoles all their lives, contemplating God. Maybe they could build him a little flagpole to sit on, too. 

 

He thought for a moment, "There's a young carpenter called Jay Ryker living here in town.  He's done a few repairs on the church and is always looking for work, I'm sure he will be able to help you out."

 

"Why, that sounds perfect." Thomas said, good-naturedly. "I'll pay Mister Ryker a call soon, and of course, get started on visiting those outlying ranches."

 

“Oooh! I know Mr. Ryker! I can ask him!” Arabella said enthusiastically. “I accidently falsely accused him of trying to...” she leaned forward conspiratorially and whispered “...molest me...” and then leaned back. “But it all turned out to be a misunderstanding. He was trying to waltz with me, but when he asked me if we were all alone, I got the wrong idea and screamed blue murder and Mr. Flandy nearly blew that feller’s head off.” she chuckled to herself “Oh well, we can look back and laugh about it now. Well, least I can.”  

 

She then stared longingly at the near empty plate before them.

 

"That cake sure was nice! Anybody want that last slice?" she asked, hoping the answer was 'no'.

 

"I concur with Arabella." he declared, pointing a spoon her way. "My compliments, Mrs. Evans."

 

@JulieS @boshmi

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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For the next thirty minutes or so, Pastor and Mrs. Evan told Thomas about the church and it's flock.  They also told him more about the town and what was available in the terms of where to buy food and other essentials.

 

Seeing that her husband was starting to wane, Jemima Evans stood up, "I hope you don't mind but my husband needs his rest.  If you would like we can talk further in the kitchen."

 

Gideon nodded, "Yes, I think the excitement of having finally found someone who can help me, is beginning to take hold.  Perhaps, Thomas you can come another day and we can discuss the duties we will be sharing.  When you've been here for a few days you might have some questions."

 

@boshmi @Javia

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The Evanses were very knowledgeable about the town, and chatting with them proved to be a most useful venture. Though he had a ways to go until he truly understood everyone in town, Thomas at least felt he knew a little more about Kalispell's inhabitants and their motivations by the end. When they had drunk their drinks and had their cake (mostly thanks to Arabella), and Mrs. Evans suggested that her husband may need some rest, Thomas felt all the wiser for time spent.

"Yes, I think the excitement of having finally found someone who can help me, is beginning to take hold.  Perhaps, Thomas you can come another day and we can discuss the duties we will be sharing.  When you've been here for a few days you might have some questions."

 

"Oh, worry not Mrs. Evans. I shan't trouble you any longer this day." Thomas said, rising from his chair. "Thank you both for your words, and your hospitality. I should hope that we see a happy future for this town together."

He crossed to shake the pastor's hand once again, before moving back to the door, so he could collect Arabella's as-yet-unused harmonium.

@Javia@JulieS

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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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