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    • "I'm sorry Clara.  Maybe I should have made my intentions more clearer but I thought you were and are still too young.  To say that I am pleased about your marriage would be a lie."   Clara frowned but that sounded turned into a glare. And after she had just told him she wished for the very best for his new law career.   "The only thing I can offer you is that I hope that your husband will do his best when the future comes and that you won't suffer if he doesn't."   She was not going to stand here and be hurt like this. Oh, she wanted to say more but what good would it do and what difference would it make? None.   "We are done here. I will never make the same mistake again of trying to talk to you. We have nothing further to say. Good day to you, Deputy," she said thru gritted teeth then stepped to one side of him and kept on walking.  
    • Brendan flew over the crest of the rise on Fiona with the rest of the riders and tried to pick out the rustlers from where their gunshots were coming from. It was hard, with the intermittent flashes from the gunfire giving only a little clarity to their attacker's figures. He rode bent low on Fiona's neck and stretched his pistol out in front of him. Somewhere on the way to the paddocks he had lost track of José, but there was no time to worry about him now.   A spattering of gunfire came from ahead and in the resulting light, he caught sight of a fellow on a horse across the paddock. He pointed his pistol and squeezed the trigger once. In the dark, with the motion of his horse, and the uncertainty of the whole situation, there was no way of knowing if his shot would even hit. He shot again in hopes that he would at least hit something.   Shooting in the dark was a lot different than shooting at rattlesnakes or beer bottles in the daytime, and neither of those things he'd practiced on ever shot back. These men would shoot back.
    • Brendan chuckled. "Dream? Nah, my dream is to lay around all day with nothin' to do. But this ain't so bad." Now that he thought about it, he didn't really have a dream. Besides being rich someday. There wasn't anything wrong with drifting, but it certainly wasn't the dream.   He led the way into the stable and pointed to an empty stall. "That one can be hers. Oats are in the corner over there if she wants any." He pointed this time to a large sack labeled "oats" stacked on several others like it.   Then he went over to his horse's stall. "This here's Fiona. She's mine." He patted her chestnut nose fondly and entered the stall to start putting her tack on. He was in no hurry to get out on the range, and José's horse needed some time to be fed and watered, so he took his time and even brushed Fiona's coat a bit before putting the saddle on.   "You ever ridden for a place this big before?" he asked, glancing back at the Mexican. It was highly unlikely. Steelgrave had one of the biggest places in Montana and probably in the whole of the territories. Probably.
    • Jay was listening, Addy was pleased with that, and he seemed to understand what she was trying to say, and that made her happy, but then he hesitated and she tried to explain a bit more.   "Yer different, Jay, I didn't never think any man could..."   But then he took her hand and was kneeling in front of her, and her head started screaming, 'No, no, no...don't...'  But her heart was soaring, and her head eagerly followed...   "Addy, do you want to become my wife?"   "I do that."  Grinning, she nodded and squeezed his hands, then pulling him up into a hug.  As much as she had resisted, she'd been wanting this for some time, and she knew he had too, so as quiet and simple as this was, it was all she'd ever hoped for.   And since the words had already been said, it was time to kiss, so she did!   @Jack        
    • Miriam duly reported her sale of the pair of gloves so that her employer could put it down in the books, accurate accounting was important in any business such as this one. He seemed pleased but suddenly informed her he had a 'tip'.   "Oh? Of course, sir," she duly nodded.   "Whenever you sell kid gloves, ask the customer if they'd like to buy some special cleaning spirit of  turpentine, special offer 50 cents!" He rummaged on a shelf and brought down a fancy bottle of blue glass.   "Fifty cents?" that seemed expensive to her reckoning, though she could hardly claim any expertise in such things.   "It' just ordinary turps, 10 cents a bucket from the general store, but some ladies'll buy anything as long as it comes in a pretty container."   "I see," she duly noted though to her it did seem a bit.......dishonest? Still he was the boss, far be it for her to challenge him, "I will remember that in the future, sir."   "Hmmm, Miss Lutz. Was she trying to get you to go to Church?"   Miriam had not seen that coming alright.   "She mentioned how active my friend, Arabella...you know...Miss Mudd...the one who came with Miss Mundee...........is in their church and encouraged me to come sometime to hear and see for myself'" Miriam dutifully answered.   "I told her Papa would not approve."  And to her that settled the matter then and there.  

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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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"Oh, well, it might be something to look into."  Emeline didn't want to alarm the other young woman, but holding back on the truth could spell undue trouble for her.  "It's a good idea to have some sort of protection."  She briefly pulled her own derringer from her pocket, then slipped it back.  "You just never know when you might need something.  There are Indians, wild animals, bandits...you know the bank was robbed a couple months ago, I might have lost my future husband if I hadn't had had my pistol."

 

She didn't explain that further, although she would if asked.

 

"There's a shotgun by the door and one up in my apartment...I'm sure Mr. Pike, or even Marshal Guyer, would be happy to show you how to use a gun, and help you choose one.  And Heavens, I don't mean to frighten you, and pray God you never need to defend yourself, but if you do, it's best to know how."

 

She just didn't buy into the notion that ladies were helpless, and should just faint away at the first sign of danger.

 

@Bailey

 

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Lucinda's eyes bulged when she saw Emeline's derringer, even though it wasn't that intimidating as far as guns went. Emeline clearly knew how to use it and even had a story to prove her point.

 

Lucinda shuddered as she scrubbed at a particularly stubborn spot on a dish. "Gracious, that sounds horrid." She didn't want to know what had happened that Emeline had had to use - or at least brandish - her pistol.

 

"I have the general idea. Francis did show me how to shoot, but I'm sure it's more difficult in practice. But the thing is, I don't want to ever have to use a gun. The whole idea of it is abhorrent to me. But..." she set another dish to the side to be rinsed later and shook the water off of her hands so she could rest them on the edge of the sink as she thought. "...I suppose that...in certain situations...shooting someone might be a preferable alternative to...well...unpleasant things."

 

She had always had Francis and so had never really worried about bandits or animals. But now that she was on her own, maybe...just maybe...she should look in to getting a gun.

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"Exactly," Emeline agreed, "none of us are itching to harm someone, but I know if I had to chose between doing harm or allowing harm, whether to myself or someone else, I'd rue not knowing or having the tools to do what I had to."

 

She smiled and shrugged.  "I certainly don't mean to frighten you, and for the most part the people here are good, but...even if you don't plan to stray past the town limits, there is enough potential for trouble.  It was just in April that the bank was robbed, and had it not been for people who were prepared, it just may have been successful.  I'm grateful that it wasn't my shot that killed the man, but I'm also grateful I was able to make a shot that distracted him so that someone else could keep him from shooting Barnabas."

 

It sounded a bit convoluted, but it was a practical way to look at things, and ignoring the possibility could lead to tragedy. 

 

Again, she shrugged.  "If you'd like to learn, I can speak to Barnabas.  In the mean time, I do appreciate the help here, and if you find yourself in need, you have only to ask."  She grinned.  "I don't offer charity, just a helping hand to a neighbor, and I'm sure you will find many good folk who will offer the same."

 

@Bailey

 

 

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"I suppose that's true," Lucinda conceded. "I just...it's very different than the way I was brought up. I was taught not to be cruel to any animal or person and I assumed that included not killing people."

 

She glanced back at Emeline as she told more about the bank robbery. Weren't banks supposed to be where you kept your money so it didn't get stolen? "That sounds so dreadful. I would have been terrified, especially if I someone I cared about was in danger."

 

She set the last dish to the side and began rinsing the dishes. "I think that for now I will not need to learn to shoot. But if I decide to leave Kalispell and go back east I may take you up on your offer. I have a feeling the journey might not go as smoothly without my husband." She shrugged wryly.

 

"Emeline, do you have social events in Kalispell? I've not been to a dance in so long and I miss being around other people. I miss being around people besides farmers and prospectors."

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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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