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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
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    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Shacknasty


Charlie Fa
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Mature Content: No.

Author: Charlie Fa

With: Robert Cullen, Lorenzo Crabbe.
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Early June 1876
Time of Day: Late Morning.

 

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Bao-yu wasn’t used to seeing Crabbe dressed in what would generally pass for ‘working clothes’ these days: lately he was all about the fancy suits (all the better for impressing the gulls with)  and the heavy ended walking canes (all the better for stoving somebody’s skull in with) and the derringer hidden in his derby hat (all the better for … well, that one was obvious). Then again, today Bao-yu wasn’t wearing his usual ‘Chinese’ outfit either: both of them were togged out for field operations in boots, slickers, and broad-brimmed slouch hat, all the better to keep off  the rain that was helpfully pouring down, making their job in the muddy bank all that much easier.

 

He’d sloshed around in the stream long enough, just at the bend where the deposits tended to form. Nearby was the roughhewn wooden sluice of the poor placer miner who was wasting his time here. The man from Xiangxiang reached up his hand and the man from Bowling Green reached down and pulled him up the bank.

 

“Washed out?” asked Crabbe as he hefted the short stout man up. The latter nodded.

“I tol’ you: claim salted!” he pronounced.

 

In other words, the man who had tried to sell the literal ‘gold mine’ of a claim to them had planted some gold ore fragments to fool them into thinking the place was worth paying the exorbitant price he wanted for it. Crabbe had been suspicious of the feller in the first place. When they’d been shown the claim documents in the lawyer’s office, it seemed that some idiot had signed the land over to him without any form of recompense whatsoever! That was odd. Said idiot, the one who had built the sluices and was even yet working the claim for someone else to reap the profits, that was who they needed to find now: for Lorenzo Crabbe, Bao-yu 'Chinese Charlie' Fa and the lawyer Tubb had a plan to reverse not only his fortunes, but their own.

 

Half an hour later, boots caked in the rich alluvial loam of Northern Montana, and rain dripping from the brims of their hats and the bottom of their slickers, they found the shack. Crabbe had seen nastier looking shacks out in the rough and ready claims out side Deadwood, but only usually after some kind of accident involving the dynamite store and a stray match.

 

“Jesus, d’ya think it’s collapsed an’ killed him?!” quipped Crabbe looking at the ‘structure’. But a weak peaty sort of smoke was rising from its rudimentary chimney, so somebody must be home and alive and kicking.

 

The Kentucky half of the duo knew better than to bang on the door and get a chest full of buckshot, so stood well back and hollered at the rude hut from a safe distance.

 

“Cullen? Bob Cullen! You in there? Wanna talk some business with you!”

 

The pair of them kept their hands well in sight, held out in front of them, like they were surrendering to some imagined gunman who held a bead on them. There was complete silence, apart from the patter of the rain on their waterproofs.

 

@Wayfarer

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It took a couple minutes but then a reply came back from within that makeshift structure.

 

"What sort of business? And you know my name, but I don't know yers!"

 

Inside Robert was watching and assessing the unlikely pair, a tweedy businessman sort and a chinaman, from a useful peephole, he was armed just in case. Though neither his revolver or his aged rifle were exactly top line nor was he any good as a marksman. Actually though he wasn't too worried, these two hardly looked the dangerous types either. And unless they had been given wrong information, they had no reason to think this empty mine and well panned over stream held any riches. If it had, he wouldn't still be stuck out here.

 

 

 

 

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It took a couple minutes but then a reply came back from within that makeshift structure.

"What sort of business? And you know my name, but I don't know yers!"

 

The taller of the men nodded.

 

“My name’s Crabbe! Lorenzo Crabbe. This here’s Charlie Fa. He’s a Chinaman!” he added, just in case the Irish-sounding lad had never seen one before and, mistaking him for a short fat bear, shot him.

 

“We want to buy your claim off of you, or at least a part share!” he added.

 

“If we don’t drown first!”

 

He’d wait until they were somewhere they could talk properly, and in a dryer environment, before he would try to explain that, at the moment, Robert didn’t actually have a claim to sell. Not yet.

 

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“My name’s Crabbe! Lorenzo Crabbe. This here’s Charlie Fa. He’s a Chinaman!”

 

Robert frowned, "Me eyesight's good, Mr.Crabbe, I can see that. I can see the both of you.

 

“We want to buy your claim off of you, or at least a part share!” he added.

 

Robert blinked. What was up with the man? This claim was worthless, he'd given up on the shaft and had resorted to panning the stream next to it. No real luck there either.

 

“If we don’t drown first!” 

 

"I canna control the weather, you'd have to take that up with the good lord," Robert retorted.

 

But he had to ask, "How much ye willin' to offer for it.....me claim?" he called out.

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“If we don’t drown first!” 

 

"I canna control the weather, you'd have to take that up with the good lord," Robert retorted.

 

“Yeah, but you can control your hospitality!” shouted Crabbe through the pouring rain. “How ‘bout lettin’ us in? It’s kinda… kinda soggy out here! You can probably see that too.”

 

Beside him Charlie Fa muttered “Urgh, it go down my neck now!”

 

But he had to ask, "How much ye willin' to offer for it.....me claim?" he called out.

 

“It’s a little more complicated than that!” yelled Crabbe, getting a bit hoarse now. “You ever had any dealings with a feller called…” he could hardly say it, of all the names for a con-man to use “John Smith?!”

 

There was a palpable silence as they waited for the answer. The rain pattered on their hats and slickers, a bird tweeted in the distance, the boards of Robert’s tumbledown shack creaked in the wind.

 

“That’s made him fuckin’ think.” murmered Crabbe.

 

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“Yeah, but you can control your hospitality!” shouted Crabbe through the pouring rain. “How ‘bout lettin’ us in? It’s kinda… kinda soggy out here! You can probably see that too.”

 

"I din' invite ya ta come, did I now?" Robert smirked, he was suspicious about this whole thing. And also, it must be said, reluctant to let any outsiders see his primitive living conditions. It's not like this was his first choice anyhow.

 

"How much ye willin' to offer for it.....me claim?" he called out.

 

"It’s a little more complicated than that!” yelled Crabbe, getting a bit hoarse now. “You ever had any dealings with a feller called…John Smith?!”

 

Robert frowned, "I may have...indeed. So....make it less complicated for me then."

 

 

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"It’s a little more complicated than that!” yelled Crabbe, getting a bit hoarse now. “You ever had any dealings with a feller called…John Smith?!”

 

Robert frowned, "I may have...indeed. So....make it less complicated for me then."

 

“John Smith ain’t his real name!” shouted Crabbe “His real name is Marian Q. Benton, he’s a con-merchant from Bentonville, Arkansas. He specialises in swindling unlettered, but otherwise highly intelligent, miners out of their claims with promises of ‘investment’ for ‘deeper excavations’. He’s also a well known salter. We know him from Deadwood. You signed away your whole claim to him!”

 

The rain pitter pattered in the silence.

 

“That uncomplicated enough for you?!” Crabbe finished.

 

It was all true enough. They had seen him in action two years ago when he’d swindled Gus Knight out his Big Gulch claim and sold a worthless piece of sod to Butch Miller for $500 after hiring a man to play-act having found a good deal of dust in his pan, but having to ‘sell up’ to return to his fictitious ailing mother back East.  

 

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Well, he had asked for clarification and as the man shouted his revelations toward the cabin, Robert listened with some momentary alarm. Cushioning the blow though was the sad fact this claim was pretty much worthless in the first place. So that John Smith was pretty much a crook. Jeezus!

 

“That uncomplicated enough for you?!” Crabbe finished.

 

With a low muttering of Irish curse words, Robert then opened the door and called back to the pair.

 

"Come on in then, lest ye drown though in my experience a little water never hurt anyone none."

 

There had been many a time when he worked for long periods in rain. But the man with the thick glasses did not look the laborer type. He kept the gun in his hand but lowered it so it did not appear threatening. By now he doubted they meant any harm but it never hurt to be careful. Then he stepped back so they could enter. There was a fire crackling but no chairs of any sort, just two wood crates he used to sit on. He didn't have a third crate. There wasn't a hell of a lot of room in the place.

 

 

 

 

 

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"Come on in then, lest ye drown though in my experience a little water never hurt anyone none."

 

“You just said a mouthful of truth there, Bob.” Said Crabbe as he entered the rude cabin and removed his hat, revealing his nice neat hair. Bao-yu took his hat off, too.

 

“Don’t mind me calling you, Bob, do you? I’d like us to get nice and friendly right from the get-go, see? Now, like I say, this here’s Charlie and I’m Lorenzo. ‘Cept he calls me Crabbe cause he can’t say Lorenzo properly.”

 

“Rolenzo, he exaggerate!” countered the Chinese man good naturedly.

 

There had been many a time when he worked for long periods in rain. But the man with the thick glasses did not look the laborer type. He kept the gun in his hand but lowered it so it did not appear threatening. By now he doubted they meant any harm but it never hurt to be careful. Then he stepped back so they could enter. There was a fire crackling but no chairs of any sort, just two wood crates he used to sit on. He didn’t have a third crate. There wasn’t a hell of a lot of room in the place.

 

Both newcomers instinctively went over and warmed their hands at the fire. Lorenzo turned to Robert. “I got a nice bottle of whiskey in my coat pocket under this slicker, mind if I fetch it out? It’s kinda cold out.” He asked. The young man looked a little jittery and ha didn’t want to alarm him by suddenly reaching under his rainproof covering.

 

Apart from the whiskey, which the Chinaman took and enjoyed a good slug thereof, Crabbe brought forth a document of some sort.

 

“This is a fair copy of the bill of transfer you signed for Benton, or Smith or whatever he was calling himself that day. I take it you can’t read, brother.” He asked, although, judging by the unfair content of the document, that was almost a given.

 

“Know anybody in town who could read this for you? Someone you can trust?” he asked, examining the raw Irish youth through the enormous goggle lenses.

 

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"I prefer Robert or Robbie or Bobbie, Bob's me least favorite," the young man shrugged. This jasper wasn't the first person to ever refer to him as Bob.

 

Both newcomers instinctively went over and warmed their hands at the fire. Lorenzo turned to Robert. “I got a nice bottle of whiskey in my coat pocket under this slicker, mind if I fetch it out? It’s kinda cold out.”

 

"Sure nuff, tis fine," Robert gestured with the wave of one hand to let him know he could pull the bottle.

"Tis plain you ain't been thru a Montana winter, huh."

 

The man also produced some sort of paper.

 

“This is a fair copy of the bill of transfer you signed for Benton, or Smith or whatever he was calling himself that day. I take it you can’t read, brother.”

 

"Never learned, no chance to," Robert shrugged. Not everyone got to go to a school.

 

“Know anybody in town who could read this for you? Someone you can trust?” Crabbe asked.

 

"Just so happens I do. Not back when I signed that though," he informed the fellow. His signature had been nothing more than a big   X  that time.

 

 

 

 

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"Tis plain you ain't been thru a Montana winter, huh."

 

This observation made Fa and Crabbe laugh. They’d been through a humdinger one year that nearly killed the two of them: they’d since learned to sit in nice warm houses and to be the fellers taking the money off the fellers trying to survive through the winters in barely standing huts like this one.

 

They brought out the paper and asked if Bob had any friends who could read it for him.

 

"Just so happens I do. Not back when I signed that though," he informed the fellow. His signature had been nothing more than a big X that time.

 

Crabbe nodded.

 

“Good, here’s the deal. We get the agreement you were tricked into signing annulled for you, if you agree to sell us a seventy five percent interest in your claim. We’ve got a fancy lawyer who can fix it for us but obviously it’s up to you, and you need someone to help you, you know, not get tricked by us!”

 

“He get conscience!” commented Fa, shaking his head at Robert “It scary!”

 

Lorenzo shrugged, looking a little embarrassed. 

 

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Good, here’s the deal. We get the agreement you were tricked into signing annulled for you, if you agree to sell us a seventy five percent interest in your claim. We’ve got a fancy lawyer who can fix it for us but obviously it’s up to you, and you need someone to help you, you know, not get tricked by us!”

 

“He get conscience!” commented Fa, shaking his head at Robert “It scary!”

 

Well these two might consider their offer a good deal but the one who had the final say in it was less than enthusiastic. Robert frowned.

 

"Look now, I did not sign anything where I was to be giving any gold I found to anybody but keepin' it for meself. That paper was just something to show I bought the claim," he started.

 

"So now why should I give you seventy five percent then? I am out here doin' all the damned hard labor," he pointed out.

 

"But here is the really important bit here now boys...... there ain't no profits, I have been havin' me no luck whatsoever findin' any gold. So right now you'd be gettin' seventy-five per cent of nothin'," he had to laugh, it really was funny in a grim sort of way.

 

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"Look now, I did not sign anything where I was to be giving any gold I found to anybody but keepin' it for meself. That paper was just something to show I bought the claim," he started.

 

“And you’d swear that’s what the man said to you… to a judge?” asked Crabbe quickly. That alone wouldn’t be enough, but Crabbe’s lawyer thought if they could assemble some other evidence against ‘John Smith’ that could swing it, if the Judge was in the right mood, and the stars were in the proper alignment, or whatever.

 

"So now why should I give you seventy five percent then? I am out here doin' all the damned hard labor," he pointed out.

 

“NO, you ain’t givin’ us seventy five percent, you’re selling it to us, and boy, even twenty five percent of this land, if used right, will keep you in funds enough to… well, not live like this anyhow.” Crabbe said, looking around the leaky shack.

 

"But here is the really important bit here now boys...... there ain't no profits, I have been havin' me no luck whatsoever findin' any gold. So right now you'd be gettin' seventy-five per cent of nothin'," he had to laugh, it really was funny in a grim sort of way.

 

“Oh, there gold here all right. Gold quartz anyhow.” Chimed in Bao-yu, professionally. “But you have to sink shaft further back from bank, but shaft very deep, use up too much timber, too much labour, too much need machine to grind quartz. That mine not pay out.”

 

“Well, maybe so, but if you sell out to us, you can afford to sink a dozen shafts if you so please, my friend” smiled Crabbe “Makes not difference to us. We don’t want this land to mine it. Not for gold anyways.”

 

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"A judge? I need ta go some court for this?" Robert didn't like that bit of news, no, not at all. He firmly believed an impoverished Irishman would have no chance in an American court.

 

He also did not want to hand over 75% of any profits, not there were any so far and the odds were unlikely there ever would be. And he told them so too.

 

"NO, you ain’t givin’ us seventy five percent, you’re selling it to us, and boy, even twenty five percent of this land, if used right, will keep you in funds enough to… well, not live like this anyhow.”

 

So they were gonna pay him then? For this plot of worthless land? It sounded suspicious. There had to be a catch.

 

“Oh, there gold here all right. Gold quartz anyhow.” Chimed in Bao-yu, professionally.

 

And how did this Chinaman know? Like he was some kind of mining expert?

 

“But you have to sink shaft further back from bank, but shaft very deep, use up too much timber, too much labour, too much need machine to grind quartz. That mine not pay out.”

 

“Well, maybe so, but if you sell out to us, you can afford to sink a dozen shafts if you so please, my friend” smiled Crabbe “Makes not difference to us. We don’t want this land to mine it. Not for gold anyways.”

 

"So you don't want it for gold then? What else do ye be thinkin' this small plot of land is good fer?  No one but a desperate crazy Irishman is gonna want to live out here," Robert wanted to know.

 

 

 

 

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"A judge? I need ta go some court for this?" Robert didn't like that bit of news, no, not at all. He firmly believed an impoverished Irishman would have no chance in an American court.

 

“Well, it ain’t like a trial with a jury and some poor bastard getting his neck stretched at the end of it.” sighed Crabbe. This mick’s suspicious and tremulous nature was getting his goat. Pity he hadn’t been this suspicious the day he’d signed away his claim.

 

“We just go see the judge, explain the justice of our cause, give him his cut and get the old contract tore up. And if this feller Bennett wants to make a fuss about it, we shoot him.”

 

Fa and Crabbe tried their best to explain their interest in Bob’s soggy, muddy little plot in the middle of big, wide Montana.

 

“So you don’t want it for gold then? What else do ye be thinkin’ this small plot of land is good fer?  No one but a desperate crazy Irishman is gonna want to live out here,” Robert wanted to know.

 

“Yeah, we noticed that.” Mused Crabbe. “Listen son, do you know how steam engines work; or them new fangled chain pull commodes?” he asked.

 

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We just go see the judge, explain the justice of our cause, give him his cut and get the old contract tore up. And if this feller Bennett wants to make a fuss about it, we shoot him.”

 

That was supposed to ease his mind on this new twist to the claim? Another one wanting a cut (again of something making no profits) and a possible murder in the bargain. He wasn't a killer, he wasn't going to become one. Robert settled for a frown.

 

 “Listen son, do you know how steam engines work; or them new fangled chain pull commodes?” the bespectacled man asked.

 

"Like on trains and steamers, of course," Robert nodded though he never truly considered the specific details.

 

As for chain pull commodes, he did not get that one. But wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of showing how more knowledgeable they were.

 

 

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“Listen son, do you know how steam engines work; or them new fangled chain pull commodes?” the bespectacled man asked.

 

"Like on trains and steamers, of course," Robert nodded though he never truly considered the specific details.

 

 “Uh-huh. Well listen, Bob, those contraptions and a whole lot of other things in civilised life, they all  rely on something we all take for granted…” Crabbe said and held out a hand, palm upwards. A large drop of rain dripped down from Robert’s leaky roof and splashed onto it. “Water.”

 

He wiped the wetness off onto his trousers.

 

“Now when the railroad comes … and it’s coming … water's going to be in bigger and bigger demand, see? And who owns the land through which the main tributary stream runs? Who’s the feller who could cut off that water supply with a hastily built dam or even poison it with mine workings if he wanted? Well, who do you think that is?” he asked, leadingly.

 

Fa put his hand up excitedly, like the know-all kid in a school room, but Crabbe waved him down.

 

“No, Charlie, Bob’s gonna answer this one all on his own!”

 

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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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"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.

 

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The fancy jasper with the thick glasses filled him in then on the details which Robert mostly followed but then to make it even clearer, the Chinaman added.

 

“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!”

 

"I don't know....water rights for a whole town and then throw in this railroad you say is comin' our way...........nine hundred dollars don't seem like much. Think I'd like more than that," Robert now smiled, he had them over a barrel it seemed to him.

 

Still they themselves had said he should get someone he trusted to read over the papers so that he could be sure it was satisfactory. It also would be a great excuse to see that pretty young Irish lass in town.

 

"But, like a wise man once pointed out ta me, I am gonna take the papers and let someone else read'em. See what she thinks of 'em. Then give ye my decision," he announced.

 

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"I don't know....water rights for a whole town and then throw in this railroad you say is comin' our way...........nine hundred dollars don't seem like much. Think I'd like more than that," Robert now smiled, he had them over a barrel it seemed to him.

 

“Oh well, nobody can say I didn’t try.” Announced Crabbe with an air of finality, clapping his hat to his head. “Come on Charlie, we’ll just have to pay Bennett the thousand he wanted. Good day to you, Mr. Cullen."

 

"But, like a wise man once pointed out ta me, I am gonna take the papers and let someone else read 'em. See what she thinks of 'em. Then give ye my decision," he announced.

 

Crabbe pulled a pained expression. “Well…” he made out like he was struggling between an innate angelic kindness and what he knew were his own best interests. “I dunno. Say, Charlie, wasn’t  Benton heading back to Helena tomorrow? See, son, we kinda need to close this deal as soon as we can.” He rubbed his chin, as if trying his very best to try and help Robert.

 

“Listen, I want to give you an even break, Bobby, I mean, I was a struggling placer miner myself once, you know? How would you be fixed to come back to town with us right now, look up this here lady, and we can settle this one way or another before nightfall? And if we don’t happen to agree on the thing, then we’ll just buy from Benton and no hard feelings, huh?”

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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Robert decided to try and hold out for a better deal - seemed like he was holding the hand with more aces but the man abruptly decided to give up.

 

"You told me I should get someone I trust to look over the papers earlier, now you changin' yer mind then, boyo?" Robert frowned.

 

“I dunno. Say, Charlie, wasn’t  Benton heading back to Helena tomorrow? See, son, we kinda need to close this deal as soon as we can.”

 

Now the man was in a big hurry, damned convenient.

 

“Listen, I want to give you an even break, Bobby, I mean, I was a struggling placer miner myself once, you know? How would you be fixed to come back to town with us right now, look up this here lady, and we can settle this one way or another before nightfall? And if we don’t happen to agree on the thing, then we’ll just buy from Benton and no hard feelings, huh?”

 

Now that wasn't a bad idea.

 

"Now? You mean when I'm right in the middle of shovelin' up all that gold I pulled out the river today?" Robert waxed sarcastically.

 

Then more seriously, "Alright, mister and whatever they address chinamen, I'll go with ye.  How'd you get here anyhow? I'm gonna need to saddle my mule."

 

 

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"Now? You mean when I'm right in the middle of shovelin' up all that gold I pulled out the river today?" Robert waxed sarcastically.

 

Crabbe gave a faint laugh. “Ha ha, now don’t forget ‘sarcasm is the lowest form of wit’!” he reminded him.

 

“Yeh, it real low” agreed Fa.

 

Then more seriously, "Alright, mister and whatever they address chinamen, I'll go with ye.  How'd you get here anyhow? I'm gonna need to saddle my mule."

 

“Oh, we call Mister, too.” Bao-yu illuminated him “Unless woman, but they not allowed in country. We got spare horse, no need mule.”

 

Yeah, Crabbe for one had had his fill of dealing with stubborn mules for one day.

 

“Sure, use our remuda.” offered Crabbe, his short time as a cowpoke colouring his language. “Especially if you’re gonna be calling on a lady, looks a whole lot more impressive than riding up to her front porch sittin’ on some ornery mule with your feet draggin’ on the ground.” He reckoned.

 

“Who is the lucky damsel, anyway?” He’d rather jumped to the conclusion that it was a pretty little sweetheart that Robert must know, not some crabby old dame.

 

@Wayfarer

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The two didn't like his sarcasm? Oh well, not like he cared. He didn't much care for either of them anyhow. Despite that Robert had then agreed to go with them into town so that someone he trusted (obviously not these two) could take a look at the papers. Someone who could read. Aoife had offered to do that very sort of thing earlier so why not take advantage of her kindness.

 

“Sure, use our remuda.” offered Crabbe, his short time as a cowpoke colouring his language. “Especially if you’re gonna be calling on a lady, looks a whole lot more impressive than riding up to her front porch sittin’ on some ornery mule with your feet draggin’ on the ground.” He reckoned.

 

"I'll have you know the young missy rode inta town on my mule and she liked ol'Abraham just fine. I'll take my mule, you keep yer horse," he countered with a grin.

 

The man asked then who this particular woman was. Robert paused. Damn! He could not even remember her last name then, even those her Christian name came easily and he could picture her pretty face of course.

 

"Well now, if she wants you to know her name, that'd be fine but I will let her make that decision when we get there," he decided to play it close to the vest.

 

 

 

 

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Both Crabbe and Fa were surprised that Robert preferred to ride his mule, Abraham, instead of a proper horse; they could only hope the critter did not, like its namesake, up and die before it could enter the promised land of Kalispell. Or was that Moses? Crabbe's knowledge of the bible was a little rusty.

 

They were even more surprised that the young Irishman was so reticent about providing the name of his Lady Friend, they would be seeing her soon enough anyway:

 

"Well now, if she wants you to know her name, that'd be fine but I will let her make that decision when we get there," he decided to play it close to the vest.

 

The oddly assorted pair frowned, but then a synchronous light of realisation illuminated their faces and they looked at each other. “Aaaaahhh!” they exclaimed in unison and Lorenzo clapped Cullen on the back.

 

“Married lady is she? Don’t worry, I understand, son, been there m’self more’n one time. Yeah, we’ll be discrete!” he assured him, but then couldn’t help wondering which of the respectable married women of Kalispell ol’ Bob had hit the motherlode with. He had his money on Mrs Wentworth, she was the charitable type.

 

“Well, let’s hitch up old Abraham and shift our sorry hides then!” cried Lorenzo, briskly, “Fortunes don't make themselves!”

 

@Wayfarer

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