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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
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • 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.

Quince Quarternight to Arabella Wentworth, 4. 24. 1924


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From: Arthur Quarternight

Quarternight Metals

160 North Stetson Avenue

Chicago, IL

24th April 1924

 

To: Miss Arabella Wentworth

c/o WIOD Radio

329 Old Fashioned Way

Coconut Grove

Miami, FLA

 

Dear Miss Wentworth

 

Please find enclosed the old photograph that you asked about. I am very glad to hear that you and your, as you call him, ‘ghost writer’ enjoyed the tale of how I earned the sobriquet of ‘Quince’ Quarternight. Apart from having no real place in your autobiography, I am afraid that it would not be believed by many of the younger ‘Charleston’ generation of today, who treat any reminiscences of a childhood spent in the ‘Wild West’ of the last century as a ‘tall tale’, as you yourself have probably discovered. I found your story of how you chose the stage name ‘Wentworth’ funny but, I am not ashamed to admit, also sad enough to bring a slight moistness to this sentimental old fool’s eye!

 

In your last you asked about the Wigfall Twins, which I will now try and answer, from what I recall of the events of the late 60s and early 70s when I attended Mrs Orr’s class in the little schoolhouse close by the bank and what was even then the ‘Stardust’. I must first say that it is still incredible to me that I left Kalispell, never to return, the fall of ’75 and that you arrived that winter. We knew exactly the same streets, the same houses, the same people, the same view of the mountains, yet were destined never to meet. I discount having seen you on stage in ‘Springtime’ on Broadway in ’97 as ‘having met’!

 

Anyway, to the Wigfalls. They were the most unlike pair of twins I ever encountered. Heck Wigfall was an unpleasant boy in many ways, with a caustic turn of phrase which was funny until it headed your way, but certainly intelligent and talented: he vied with my pal Jake Lutz for ‘top of the class’ whilst I languished in the doldrums. His sister though, whom you reminded me was called Jemima, was dull, morose, plain in looks and quite stupid, always bottom of the class, and bullied quite horribly, usually by a gang led by Heck. She also happened to occasion the only fight I ever had with Jake.

 

What happened was this, there was a nice pond or lake out near the Sidwell place, and the gang from school walked up there one Sunday after church to go swimming, they said. I can’t remember why I was late, but when I got there the sight that met my eyes was a far from edifying one. Somehow, they had tricked poor Jemima into getting undressed completely while they remained fully clothed. That girl had the most hirsute body I have ever seen on a human being, to my eyes at the time she seemed more primate than human, and the other kids were not only laughing and hollering names at her, but had started to pelt her with mud and even stones.

 

The thing had clearly been engineered by the odious Heck, for brother and sister hated each other vehemently, but what made me see red was that Jake had joined in, as I came into sight he picked up a stone and threw it at the poor creature. Possessed by a strange fury that comes back to me after all these years, and makes my hand tremble even as I write, I marched right over to my best friend  and ‘switched him a good one in the kisser’ as they say. I suffered a good deal of teasing afterward, of course, ‘Quince loves Jemima’ being a regular chant in the schoolyard for the next two years of school, but I never regretted the action; in fact, despite a few good success in many areas of business, it is probably the one thing I am most proud of doing in my life.

 

On the other hand, reflection upon what he had done, brought home to roost by the ‘furious flying fists’ of yours truly, threw Jake into a frenzy of depression. That is when he first became thoughtful and started writing the poetry you mentioned. We soon made up, as boys are wont to do, but his attention to Jemima after that was an odd and painful thing to behold. It was so awkward that even the usual bullies, Heck and the teacher’s daughter Anathesia [sic] left them both well enough alone. Everybody felt that if anyone was mean to the poor ‘ape girl’, Jake would literally tear them to pieces. Ah, Miss Wentworth, the power of guilt! She became an obsession and a torture to him.

 

I do not know if this helps any with your book, but perhaps it might go someway to explaining some of the events that you have described to me following Jake’s marriage to the young lady you mentioned in your last to me.  

 

I will close now in the hope of catching the post. Please let me know if you have any more questions about those times, and I will oil up the cogs of my memory.

 

Yours sincerely,

                                       Arthur Quarternight (‘Quince’!)

 

P.S. Good luck with the wireless programme.

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
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