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    • "Yes, water. You are buying my land so you can control the water when the railroad shows up. I know you think I'm stupid...think what you will, I am not," he replied then.   Crabbe held up his hands.   “Hey, I never said you were stupid, friend!” he said quickly, like he thought Robert was going to thump him. “I never said friend Bob here was stupid, did I Charlie?”   Charlie shook his head. “No, you just say he illiterate and ignorant, that all.” Said the Chinaman, unhelpfully.   "So how much you offering me?" actually Robert thought the man a bit foolish to reveal this because it seemed he could now ask for a much higher price than he would have just a minute earlier.   “I’m offering the man who owns this land…” because that was the rub, wasn’t it? Who legally owned this muddy patch of Montana. “… $300 down for a 25% share, Charlie there and our lawyer friend the same, so that’s $900 clear for you, with an option to join in any mining and/or water supply developments on consideration of payment of a directly correlating percentage of any development costs. Costs of reclaiming the claim in your name to be undertaken solely by the three new partners. Now… you must admit, that’s a pretty good deal considering, at the moment, you technically own jack shit of a non-paying claim.”   Charle Fa shook his head: Crabbe was making this sound too complicated for the young Irishman, and the boy was starting to look irritated.   “He mean, we get you land back, we give nine hundred dollar, we all invest in mining or water supply, make lot of money, all happy!” he explained to Robert.   @Wayfarer
    • "Well, now Dutton Peabody ain't no judge. Damn fine lawyer, 'scuse me, fergot myself there. But there's ol' Ben Robinson, he's a judge, but I' m thinkin' the pastor'll do, er priest, 'er whatever he likes ta be called. We'll be good." Barnabas commented with confidence, "An' the buggy, not even anythin' ta be worryin' about. Ever'thing's gonna be perfect."   "Best we start thinkin' about headin' back. Not that Speed cain't hold his own, but I like to check in time ta time, jest in case." The he laughed, thouuh he was serious. There was never any telling of what might happen at any given time. Mostly nothing. "Before you start ta thinkin' we could move in taday." @Bongo
    • "Guess if we don't go in they'll get suspicious, and we don't want anyone coming out to see what we're doing."  It was pretty obvious Weedy was not willing to share, Wyatt noted. In all fairness, his sister and that boy of hers found the chest. At times Wyatt could be pretty defensive about his sister, they were family after all.   The boys raced into the farm cabin but Clara never even let them get to the kitchen table.   "Ahhh, ahh ahh! You two wash your hands first. Wyatt you know better," she chided.   As the pair turned back then to go to the well to the side of the building, she loudly added.   "And Wyatt!  Will you kindly put your shirt back on, you are not some Indian savage!"   Wyatt rolled his eyes and glanced at Weedy, "Girls."
    • Suddenly the Reverend was speaking. he had been locked into the eyes of his bride to be, feeling the love that was between them. Their fingers intertwined, their eyes shining, and even he had a mist in his eyes. It was happening right then, at that moment, the words were being said, what they were for a moment, he did not know, but then, he understood.   "... in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"   He heard her say "I will," and he smiled. There were a thousand other agreements pushing through his brain when he heard himself say, "I will." Like there had been a better one? Not hardly. Both had tightened their grip on one another slightly as they made their intentions know. A thought passed through his mind, 'might not be long enough.' @boshmi@Bongo@Wayfarer@Javia  
    • Now that the man explained it that way, Robert could get past in his mind this was not about any gold but water. Water rights. He slowly nodded but the man wanted him to say it aloud it seemed.   "Yes, water. You are buying my land so you can control the water when the railroad shows up. I know you think I'm stupid...think what you will, I am not," he replied then.   "So how much you offering me?" actually Robert thought the man a bit foolish to reveal this because it seemed he could now ask for a much higher price than he would have just a minute earlier.

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Posted (edited)

Mature Content: No

With: Emeline and anyone else who happens to be around at the time
Location: Main Street and Lickskillet Diner
When: June 19, 1875
Time of Day: Mid-afternoon

 

content-divider.png

 

If Lucinda tilted her head up and looked cross-eyed at her nose, she could see where the sunlight made tiny golden freckles through her straw hat. But that was unladylike, so she contented herself doing it just the once and took comfort in the knowledge that they weren't real freckles.

 

She hefted her carpetbag in one hand and her small suitcase in the other, and then had no hands left for her slightly larger and heavier trunk filled books. She had known it would be difficult to manage three cases, but couldn't stand to leave her books behind.

 

Well, she would have to leave them behind temporarily until she could find someone willing to move the trunk for her. For now, she shoved the trunk with her foot to get it as much under a porch as she could. When she looked up, she saw a sign that read, "Lickskillet Diner."

 

Her stomach rumbled in a most unladylike manner and reminded her that she'd not eaten since the stage left the station early in the morning. She pushed open the door and took a seat at one of the tables. It had been a while since she had eaten in a restaurant. Did restaurants out here have waiters? She took off her hat, set it on the back of her chair, and then sat ramrod straight in her chair to wait and see what happened.

 

@Bongo (Can't believe this is our first thread together!)

Edited by Bailey (see edit history)

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It was the 'slow' hours between lunch and dinner, so Emeline was in the kitchen, cleaning up from one meal and starting to prepare the next, and the tinkling of the little bell over the front door alerted her to a new customer. 

 

After wiping her hands free of flour, she grabbed the pot of fresh coffee and headed to the dining room.  It was easy to spot the newcomer, since there were only a handful of other customers at the moment, and they were already eating their meals.

 

"Good afternoon," she greeted with a smile, trying to decide if she'd seen the young woman around town before, "welcome to the Lickskillet.  Would you like some coffee?  Or I can get you some tea."

 

@Bailey

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Lucinda looked up as a pleasant-looking woman approached her. So places out west did have waiters and waitresses after all. She returned the woman's smile and was surprised to find that her lips and cheeks still remembered how to express happiness.

 

"You have tea?" She put a hand to her mouth in surprise and pleasure. It had been a long time since she had used up her precious supply of tea leaves from back east and she had never come to really enjoy coffee. The thought of having tea was almost overwhelming, but she swallowed down her excitement and answered the woman.

 

"Oh, tea would be lovely. I will take it however you would make it for yourself. And...I know it's not lunch or dinner time, but would you happen to have a small meal I could eat? Some potatoes or vegetables...anything, really."

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"Yes, I keep tea," Emeline commented, smiling.  "It's a bit harder to get out here, but the advantage is that I can make it by the cup, so there isn't any waste."  While she was primarily a coffee drinker, there were times that the lightness of tea 'hit the spot'.  Not only that, but she did keep some specific teas for medicinal use.

 

"I have the makings for shepherd's pie, there's some beef stew, and chicken and dumplings."  There as always something ready, even if it varied from day to day.  "And I have pie...apple, peach and rhubarb, if you'd like, for later."  Then she shrugged and laughed.  "Or for first, there's no rule that says you can't have your dessert before dinner, right?"

 

@Bailey

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"I'm so glad you have tea. I've been so long without it that it'll be like Christmas to get to have it again." Lucinda was sure that her happiness showed on her face, but she didn't mind right now. She was too tired and hungry to care about being serene at the moment.

 

"May I please have chicken and dumplings and a slice of rhubarb pie? The pie can wait until a bit later, though. I know there's no rule about it, but I always eat dessert last." She quirked one eyebrow and stretched her lips in something that was similar to the smile from the woman in front of her. "Thank you so much...Miss?..."

 

There was no way to tell for sure whether this pleasant woman was a Miss or a Mrs. She did seem old enough that it would be strange if she wasn't married, but it was always better to assume the innocence and youth of a woman.

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"Mrs. Blakesley...Emeline."  She smiled brightly as she added, "Soon to be Mrs. Barnabas Pike.  I own the place and do most of the cooking myself.  There's a young woman, Clara, who works with me as well."

 

Before going to get the order, she asked, "Are you new to town?  I'm not terribly busy right now, I could join you for a few minutes if you'd like?"  Emeline enjoyed getting to know folks, and especially a young woman alone and new to town could use some information on what to expect in Kalispell.

 

@Bailey

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"Oh, really? Congratulations, then, Mrs. Soon-to-be Pike!" Lucinda smiled warmly, but her smile was tinged with sadness, as were her thoughts. This woman had found someone she liked enough to marry again, but Lucinda doubted that she ever would. Out here, anyway. Back east was a different story.

 

"I would be glad of the company if you could spare a few minutes," she answered. Now the question was...what would they talk about? All Lucinda wanted to know was news from the east, but it wasn't likely Emeline would know any more than she did. And as far as news went, living by yourself for six months didn't give you a lot of news-worthy things to talk about.

 

"Could I also have some water? I don't know about you, but stagecoaches make my throat terribly dry."

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"Oh, certainly, just give me a moment."  She was efficient from her years of experience, and the food was already prepared, so all she had to do was plate it, set everything on a tray and carried it back to the table.

 

"Here we go...let me know when you're ready for pie and I'll get that for you."  Settling across from Lucinda, she sipped her coffee then explained, "I've been here for a couple years, so I know some of the comings and goings, if you have any questions."  She wasn't one to gossip, but there were things that were general knowledge, so speaking of them wouldn't be considered rumor.

 

"I started a cafe in a tent in Dakota territory to support myself after my husband died, then moved here and bought this place...I live upstairs, so it's convenient, but Mr. Pike is building a ranch outside town, so I'm not certain yet how we'll work that out."

 

Chuckling, she shook her head.  "Sorry, I guess I got a little carried away!"

 

@Bailey

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Lucinda took a bite of the chicken and dumplings and sighed contentedly. It wasn't that the food she'd had at the stations between Spokane and Kalispell had been bad, but this was so much better. She took a tentative sip of her tea and nodded appreciatively. Honestly, it was almost like Christmas.

 

She continued eating and listening to Emeline. After a winter completely alone, it was surprising to hear one person talk so much.

 

"No, please don't apologize," she said quickly, realizing that she'd been staring at Emeline. "My conversation skills just need some dusting off, that's all. I think it's wonderful that you've been able to support yourself this whole time. Did you have any cooking experience before you started the cafe?"

 

She wondered if she might be able to start some business to support herself, but then laughed inwardly. What a ridiculous idea. Once she made it back home, she wouldn't have to support herself any more. But would she be able to make it back home?

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"Oh, well, I was cooking with Mama since I was little, then for my husband, of course, but no, I'd never even considered it as a way to make a living."  She smiled a bit sadly, then shrugged.  "But after I lost Andrew, I really didn't want to go home, and even before he had died I found that ladies are revered in a mining camp...we're so few, and the men are so homesick."  She laughed.  "My food could have tasted like sawdust for all that they'd cherish a home-cooked meal and a chance for a feminine smile."

 

It had been a bit of a humbling experience for her, but for the most part she had been treated with respect.  "It was like having dozens of brothers, but then, there were also dozens of proposals every day!"  She laughed at that.  "Anyway, they liked my cooking and my pies, paid well, and gave me the chance to move here and buy a place that wasn't a tent.  And now it's really becoming a home.  It has its faults, but everywhere does, and the scenery isn't nearly so beautiful."

 

@Bailey

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Lucinda nodded and smiled as she continued eating, although she hadn't been around enough miners to experience men's adoration in quite the same way Emeline had. Francis had always tried to keep her away from that sort of thing.

 

She couldn't imagine cooking for a bunch of dirty miners...and them proposing to her! The thought made her skin crawl! But even though she didn't find Emeline's statement quite as humorous as Emeline did, she could relate to one thing.

 

"You...you lost your husband, too? My Francis died last fall. I had to winter alone on our homestead. That's why I'm just starting to head back east."

 

As she spoke, Lucinda realized that she felt a connection with Emeline, the first one she'd felt with anyone in a very long time. Losing a spouse was a commonplace occurrence, even back east, but it was still a painful one, and she and Emeline were united in that pain.

 

She was seized with a strong reluctance to leave the diner and the town where this kind woman stayed. And she was also seized with the sudden need for advice. "Emeline...may I call you Emeline? Well...my husband had run up debts when he died. I paid them off, but I'm not sure I can get back home. You made yourself a new life here. Do you think I could, too?"

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"It's been four years since I lost Andrew," Emeline explained, "we grew up together, been married four years when there was an accident at the mine he was working in."  She hadn't really discussed this with anyone, it was still too raw, and honestly, she wasn't sure how to talk about it.  Somehow, the pain was personal, and she didn't want to put anyone in that awkward position of thinking of what to say or how to react.

 

"It caught me off guard, as you can imagine.  I'd never thought I'd have to make my own way, it can be daunting, but there wasn't time to think about it, really."  They'd had a little savings, but she'd realized that she needed to start earning her own way before it was gone, and the best way to do that was to invest in a business.

 

"It wasn't easy, but at least a few of the men in the camp knew about my cooking, so it went pretty smoothly." 

 

She felt sympathy and a kinship to the other young woman, she couldn't imagine being stranded here without at least a little foundation in the territory. 

 

"Certainly, I'm sure you'd do fine in town, as long as you have a skill.  Or you could see if anyone needs some help...a clerk at the mercantile, I could even use a little help around here, once I get married and move out to the ranch...my current waitress is newly married herself."  She smiled and nodded.  "You'll be just fine, and you may even find that you like it here."

 

@Bailey

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Lucinda knew how painful losing her husband had been, but Emeline's loss, so much more sudden and presumably horrible, must have been worse. "I'm sure. With Francis it was consumption. I saw it coming and just had to watch him waste away. I don't know how I would have coped if it had been...sudden."

 

She sipped her tea, trying to avoid steering the conversation into more sensitive territory. It wouldn't do to ruin the beginning of her friendship with Emeline by making her relive her pain. Thankfully, Emeline was able to move on from the subject easily to one of more importance: employment, food, and the slew of marriages happening in Kalispell. Well, not a slew. Just Emeline and her waitress, but still that was a lot.

 

"Gracious, are you sure you don't put anything special in your food that lures men in? If both you and your waitress are getting married you must have some secret." Lucinda laughed and relished the feeling that the laughter awoke in her. It had been a long time since she had laughed.

 

Emeline's reassurance helped, but it also brought up a new problem. What skills did she have that would make her worth hiring? She was afraid the answer out west would be none.

 

"I'm afraid the only thing I might be good for is a clerk at the mercantile. I don't know anything about waitressing, but if you need the help and I need the job..." she paused, then shrugged and set her fork down on her now-empty plate. "I'll see what comes up." She looked around the diner with new eyes.

 

"In the meantime, is there a cheap place I could stay until I figure something out? I'm afraid a hotel is beyond my means at the moment, but a boarding house would do nicely."

 

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"Of course, do come back here if you can't find any other employment."  That might just solve her problem of what to do with the cafe.  Clara could stick to the cooking and Lucinda could wait tables.

 

"There is a boarding house, run by the Wigfalls, just up the street.  I've heard it's clean and the meals are good."  There were other whisperings, but she refused to pass on rumor.  "I believe Dr. Danforth's new nurse stays there."

 

@Bailey

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"I believe I will walk up there later and see if they have a room free, then." Lucinda drank the last of her tea and sighed. She felt much better; a little rested and a little less like a maple leaf in an autumn breeze. She had a direction to go with her life now and a suggestion for a place to stay.

 

"Now, how much do I owe you for the meal? And are you short on help today? I could...well, wash dishes if you could use the help."

 

The diner was nearly empty and it seemed like business was slow at the moment, but there was no telling what was going on behind the scenes in the kitchen. Washing dishes wasn't the most ideal way to spend her time, but she would be helping Emeline and, to tell the truth, she wanted spend more time with just Emeline before going and meeting other new people.

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"Oh, the meal is on the house for a newcomer, and for good conversation!" Emeline answered, and then she added, "I'd certainly be glad for help, Mr. Pike has been my dishwasher, but his heart is in his job as deputy, so he isn't here as much."

 

Standing, she started to gather the plates.  "I'll be starting dinner soon, too, and would not turn down the company.  Can you cook?  Or wait tables?"

 

Emeline could put her to work for the evening, and pay her...anything was better than nothing!

 

@boshmi

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Lucinda's first thought was that she couldn't accept Emeline's generosity. It had been drilled into her that she should never take charity from anyone and that she would never need to accept charity. But the thing was, no one who taught at finishing school had ever been stranded, practically penniless, out on the fringes of civilization.

 

"Oh, are you...well...thank you." She got up and watched Emeline gather the plates, in awe at her good fortune. "I'm sure I could wait tables passably...as long as no one proposes to me!" she added suddenly with a bright smile. "As for cooking, well, I can keep myself alive but I don't know that anyone else would want to eat what I cook!"

 

She unbuttoned the cuffs of her sleeves and started to roll them up. "Let me take the dishes. I know I can do that."

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"Oh, of course!"  Emeline stepped back to let Lucinda gather the dishes, then led the way to the kitchen, separated from the dining room by a swinging door that could be pushed open with a hip if one's hands were full of dishes.  The kitchen was larger than a home kitchen, of course, since there were large meals prepared here, and even with signs of bread, pies and vegetables being prepared, it was neat and orderly.

 

"The sink is there," she nodded to the far wall, where there was a pump for water installed over the sink, and a window that looked out over the herb garden and trees, a peaceful view for whoever was relegated to washing.

 

"And that," she indicated the one-eyed ginger cat curled on a chair in the corner, "is Buster.  He's harmless, unless you're a rat!"

 

@Bailey

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Lucinda felt for the first time in over a year that she was somewhere where she belonged. She hadn't been raised to work in a kitchen, or even to be in a kitchen at all, but this just felt right. set the dishes in the sink, then primed the pump and started running water in the sink so she could begin washing the dishes.

 

Before she started, she went over to the corner to say hello to Buster, looking back at Emeline as she moved. "Oh, we used to have cats in the barn when I was younger. They were big mean tomcats, not like...oh!" She finally got a good look at Buster and made a surprised and slightly disgusted face.

 

It wasn't that the deformity was horrible, it was just unexpected. Her world had been perfect until she had come west and she was still shocked by her new world sometimes. "He only has one eye!" She looked back at Emeline worriedly. "What happened to him?"

 

 

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"No one knows," Emeline answered, shrugging, "he''s just an old stray who doesn't exactly belong to anyone.  I know he spends a lot of time at the Millegan Stage barn."  She laughed.  "I'm sure if you asked him, he'd tell you he lost it in a fight with a grizzly...and you ought to see the grizzly!"

 

Laughing again, she gave the cat a scratch on the ears.  "It's amazing, though, I've heard of cats chasing off bears, wolves, cougars, even wolverines."

 

She moved to the sink to wash her hands, commenting, "Sprinkle some soap flakes into the water, then you can wash the dishes, just set them to the side until you're done, then you can rinse them...that's how I prefer it."  She hoped she didn't sound bossy, she was just giving instruction, in case Lucinda didn't know the process.

 

"Anyway, it doesn't work every time."  She started chopping carrots.  "But attitude counts for a lot.  Sometimes you just have to push back, yell and advance...it catches the other person off guard, and often they'll back down."

 

Then she wondered if the young woman knew anything of defending herself.  She seemed a bit like a lost lamb, and this could be a rough place for an 'innocent'.

 

"Do you carry a weapon?  A derringer, or something like that?"


@Bailey

 

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Lucinda laughed a little bit at Emeline's joke, but it was a sort of humor that she didn't quite understand. Wouldn't the grizzly come out of the fight looking less hurt? Emeline's laughter and attitude was contagious, though, and Lucinda found her spirits brightened considerably more than they had been in a long time.

 

And speaking of attitude, Emeline had a set way she preferred to do the dishes, so Lucinda though she should try it that way. Personally she would have rinsed off each dish as she went, but it never hurt to try something new.

 

As she sprinkled the soap flakes in the water and swished them around with her hand to make the most of the bubbles, she marveled at how much Emeline seemed to know about animals and how they defended themselves...or was she talking about people? Maybe it worked the same way for both people and animals.

 

Emeline's question startled her slightly, but she looked up from the dish she was washing and shook her head. "Good heavens, no. I sold Francis's rifle and pistol this spring, having used neither of them the whole winter." She could hear the pride in her voice and remembered that she would not have been quite as hungry during the winter if she had used the rifle to try to go hunting.

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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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