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    • "Where would we put it?"  Emeline grinned as she started to sit beside him, but just at that moment the train's brakes engaged for the first time, sending her sprawling across Barnabas' lap.   "Goodness!"  She started laughing as she looked up at him.  "I'm afraid my husband isn't going to like this!" she giggled.  "He's very jealous, you know, so you'd best kiss me while you can!"   @Flip
    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!

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.  

 

@boshmi

 

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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!”

 

@boshmi @JulieS

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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."

@JulieS@Javia

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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."

 

@boshmi

 

 

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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."

@JulieS

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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."

 

@boshmi

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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."

@JulieS

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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?"

 

@boshmi

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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?

@Javia@JulieS

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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.

@JulieS

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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."

 

@boshmi

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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.

@JulieS

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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."

 

@boshmi

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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."

@Javia@JulieS

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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.

 

@JulieS @boshmi

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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?"

 

@Javia @boshmi

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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.

@JulieS@Javia

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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.

 

@JulieS @boshmi

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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."

 

@boshmi @Javia

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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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