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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.
Jonah Danforth

Voices are Calling From Far Away

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Mature Content: I hope not!

With: Pettigrew, Arabella
Location: Dr. Danforth's Office/Home
When: Mid-July / 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

content-divider.png

 

Word had been sent to Miss Arabella Mudd to make her aware of her appointment in the morning, and she'd sent word back that she would be there.  Jonah had made sure that there was a room set aside at the rear of the building, where it would be quieter.  The windows were covered to block most of the light, and candles were providing flickering light.

 

The aroma of fresh baking bread wafted from the kitchen, and Mrs. Towberman had some small cakes and cookies set out.

 

Now it was a matter of awaiting the other players in the drama!

 

@Javia; @boshmi

 

 

 

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Worchester Pettigrew prided himself on his promptitude and at 8:55am precisely rapped on the good doctor's front door with his walking cane. The young nurse that answered it, he gave the usual once over. He was really looking for some good, properly plump, curvaceous models to show off his latest creations: but all the young women around here were positively emaciated looking. Unfortunately this one was was cut from the same meagre pattern as the rest. 

 

"Mr. Pettigrew, Doctor Danforth is expecting me!" he announced himself tersely. He wanted to get in and settled to this operation so he could put down the heavy carpet bag he held in his other hand.

 

Her clothes, he noted, were neat and adequately hand sewn; she was probably too poor to buy a dress from his store.

 

@boshmi

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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If there was ever so unsettling a sensation as that of being regarded by an almost-stranger, Aoife had yet to discover what it could possibly have been. Worchester Pettigrew, the town's authority on the arcane would have not ordinarily have had a place within the Kalispell Doctor's Office, but she had been informed that these were not ordinary circumstances. The whole Arabella affair seemed so far removed from medical practice that she found herself beginning to wonder if it might be a more spiritual than physical ailment.

Ah well, don't ask, don't tell.

 

"Mr. Pettigrew, Doctor Danforth is expecting me!" announced the stumpy man after an excruciating few moments of ogling, during which time Aoife leaned against the doorframe in exasperation. She had grown used to the overtly sexual nature of the male gaze, especially sharing the same four walls with Hector Wigfall, but Mr. Pettigrew's wandering eyes seemed almost mercenary. Somehow, it was worse.

 

"Of course. This way please." she replied politely, as she pushed the door wide for him to enter. "The doctor is just in the back, if you'll follow me..."

@Bongo@Javia

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Less than five minutes later, there was a less strident, weedy little knock at the door: perhaps Aoife should have swapped her Nurse’s garb for that of a Doorman! Outside was Arabella, dressed in her usual black, although the once perfect dress was starting to become a little worn. It was supposed to be just for her funerary photography work, but the Clinch Mountain girl now wore it every time she went out, having decided that the colour, or rather tone suited her. It didn’t: it made her pale skin look even more corpse-like than usual. But when your fashion advisers were Bridget Monahan and Jemima Wigfall, well, God help you!

 

If Arabella had been standoffish toward Aoife yesterday, when she had virtually ignored the Irish girl as she hurried into and out of Doctor Danforth’s office, today she was more effusive, even going so far as to apologise for her previous rude behaviour.

 

“Hello, it’s me. I’m here for my operation. Sorry if I was rude and didn’t say much yesterday, I was just worried out of my mind with something, but I’m going to get it fixed today with Doctor Danforth’s help, and then I’ll be all right. Say, you live at the Wigfall’s don’t you? I’m pals with Jemima Wigfall.” She seemed much cheerier than yesterday, even if dark circles around her eyes indicated that she had either been too excited or too worried about this ‘operation’ to get much sleep last night.

 

@Bongo @boshmi

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Jonah was waiting in the room, and thanked Aoife for her help.  He knew the young woman was curious, but also that she'd not intrude or mention anything, even as much as he was itching to talk about it to someone!

 

"Mr. Pettigrew, thank you for coming."  Jonah smiled as he let the man into the room, quietly closing the door behind them.  "I have everything ready, the young lady should be here shortly."  Letting out a breath, he added, "If I can help..?"  He wouldn't mind seeing what the process was all about, but he wasn't sure the man would want to reveal his secrets.

 

@Javia; @boshmi

 

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No sooner had Aoife returned to the frontmost rooms of the practice than the second knock sounded at the door. She opened it with her usual propensity, to reveal little Miss Mudd; dressed in the trappings of a widow.

“Hello, it’s me. I’m here for my operation. Sorry if I was rude and didn’t say much yesterday, I was just worried out of my mind with something, but I’m going to get it fixed today with Doctor Danforth’s help, and then I’ll be all right."

Aoife begun to say something dismissive like 'don't worry about it' but Arabella continued on, with that unending run-on-sentence in which she spoke.

"Say, you live at the Wigfall’s don’t you? I’m pals with Jemima Wigfall.”

 

"Oh?" Aoife said, coercing a look of fraternity onto her face. "She's... a character."

She might have had more to say on the matter, but decided to let it lie, given that Arabella was in fact here to have an operation of some kind. It wouldn't have been very professional to chase her away at the door with commentary on her cohorts.

"Mr. Pettigrew and Doctor Danforth are waiting for you in the back." she told Arabella quickly, so as not to elaborate any further on the exact characteristics of Jemima Wigfall. Once more she opened the door wide and led the girl inside, to where a procedure of some unknown importance awaited.

@Javia@Bongo

Edited by boshmi (see edit history)

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Pettigrew was affable enough with Dr. Danforth but somewhat dismissive of his well meaning efforts at providing a suitable ambience in the room. He immediately threw open the drapes and pinched out the candles with his bare fingers: an easy enough feat for the resolute.

 

“Oh, we shall not require the mummeries of the Séance, Doctor, no indeed. The pure light of science will illuminate our operations this morning.” He declaimed “And please do stay, I hope you will find the procedure interesting, if we are successful. In fact, if she is willing…”

The Door opened and a slightly frightened looking Arabella entered, clutching her purse for dear life, followed by nurse Leane.

 

“… ah yes, if your charming nurse would stay also, for reasons of propriety. Miss Mudd, if we succeed, will be quite insensible for much of the time; with two gentlemen present I believe the presence of a chaperone would be meet.” Said the man who spent a great deal of his working life alone with his hands all over half naked women!

 

“Hello Mr Pettigrew, is you the feller that knows how to do the mesmerizin’?” Arabella asked amazed.

 

“I have that honour, Miss Mudd.” Replied Pettigrew in his light Louisiana accent “And have no fear, the process will not impair your remarkable abilities on the pianoforte and neither shall I implant any notions in your head to spend more than your customary few cents a week in my store!” he jested lightly, in order to put her at ease.

 

“Oooh, what’s that?” she asked nervously, pointing at the Zoescope on the table.

 

“Oh, just a little toy to amuse you and make you feel at ease before we get down to business.” Worchester explained gently. “Do take a seat here next to me and I shall show the thing, it really is quite amusing.”

 

As Arabella sat, he shot Danforth and Aoife a look which said, in no uncertain terms, Don’t believe a word of it, the game is now officially ON. 

 

220px-Zoetrope.jpg

 

@Bongo @boshmi

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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"Miss Mudd, I hope you are feeling well."  Jonah smiled to the young girl, sincerely hoping that when she left today, she would be free of her affliction.  He held a chair for her, then one for Aoife, near the table where the contraption was sitting, but at as discrete a distance as could be achieved in the small room, and finally he sank into the chair next to his nurse.

 

This was no doubt going to be very interesting, if not educational, and he was curious to see what part the Zoescope had to play in it .

 

@boshmi; @Javia

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"Miss Mudd, I hope you are feeling well."  Jonah smiled to the young girl, sincerely hoping that when she left today, she would be free of her affliction. 

 

Arabella gave him the quickest of nervous smiles and then was all eyes for the odd squat cylinder with the slits in the side and little pictures within, all similar but each one just a little bit different from the last.

 

“Now, you just look through that lil’ peephole in the side there, Miss Mudd and tell me what you see.” She did as she was bidden and Worchester started to turn a little handle at the side of the contraption which made the thing start to turn around like a carousel. Arabella gasped!

 

tumblr_mq96r5W3Gb1r9jbwno1_500.gif

 

“What the Dickens! The little man and horse inside’s all come alive!!” she yelped delightedly and jumped up to peer into the thing from above, expecting to see a tiny little horse and rider in there. “Now it’s just pictures again!” she said, more intrigued than disappointed. “Well, ain’t this the darndest thing?! You seen this?” she asked Danforth and Nurse Leane. “I never seen nuthin’ like this in my entire life and I’ve lived some!” she chattered on in her usual garrulous way.

 

Pettigrew got her sitting down again and looking back through the little gap in the metal.

 

“Let’s try it again, Miss, and this time I want you to count how many times the man jumps his horse over the fence, can you do that for me?” Arabella nodded and Pettigrew started the machine spinning again.

 

“One, Two, three…” as she counted quietly to herself, Pettigrew stretched and yawned (as you, gentle reader, are no doubt yawning now) and spoke.

 

“Oh, watching that man jumping that horse makes a body so tired and sleepy… yawn … oh, I imagine you’re feeling sleepy too, Arabella, watching him jump and jump and jump…. When he makes jump number twenty, you’re going to fall asleep, quite asleep, and when I snap my fingers you will wake up and listen to me … only to me … eighteen, nineteen, twenty!” his voice joined in with Arabella’s on the last few numbers, as he let the machine trickle to a halt.

 

Arabella’s eyes had closed but opened again when he snapped his fingers.

“What’s your name?” asked Pettigrew.

 

The girl turned in her seat and looked at him quite normally, just not her usual excitable self. “Arabella Mudd.” She replied. Again, there was no fake stage trance or staring into space. But there was also no ‘Arabellaisms’ she failed to give her middle name or ramble on gregariously about the history of the illustrious Mudd family in Virginia.

 

“And where are we?” he asked, evidently trying to gauge whether she was in a trance or just pretending.

 

“Doctor Danforth’s” she replied, quite normally, but probably more tersely and to the point than she had ever spoken in her entire life. Pettigrew looked satisfied, but glanced down nervously at an open hunter watch, as if he needed to keep an eye on the time, perhaps the mesmerised state could only last so long.

 

@Bongo @boshmi

Edited by Javia (see edit history)

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“… ah yes, if your charming nurse would stay also, for reasons of propriety. Miss Mudd, if we succeed, will be quite insensible for much of the time; with two gentlemen present I believe the presence of a chaperone would be meet.”

Aoife nodded confirmation at Mr. Pettigrew's suggestion, if only out of curiosity. She didn't imagine that Doctor Danforth was capable of such advances, but at the same time, she could hardly presume that an undergarment salesman knew even the first thing about the medical profession. It would probably be good to remain present and able to intervene, lest he begin waving snake oil under her nose or some other such nonsense.

 

The doctor offered a chair and she sat, tucking her skirt beneath her and crossing her arms over her chest. With no idea as to what ailed Miss Mudd or what was going to be attempted here today, she could do nothing but look on with a skeptic's eye.

 

“Do take a seat here next to me and I shall show the thing, it really is quite amusing.” Pettigrew told the girl, and the look that he subsequently sent in the direction of the doctor and herself was enough to contemplate an outward roll of the eyes. It was all she could manage, to hold her tongue for Jonah's sake.

The following performance stank so heavily of a charlatan's magic show that any open-mindedness that she might have harbored was diminishing by the second. That was, until the Mudd girl - a walking paragraph - was suddenly quiet.

 

“What’s your name?” asked Mr. Pettigrew.

“Arabella Mudd.” she replied.

The nurse sat forward in her chair, suddenly all eyes and ears.

“And where are we?”

“Doctor Danforth’s”

 

Aoife turned her head to shoot a look at Jonah, one that seemed to ask; 'Is this really happening?'

@Bongo@Javia

Edited by boshmi (see edit history)
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Even seated a few feet back, Jonah could see the moving figures through the slits in the contraption, and it was, indeed, mesmerizing, more for the wonder of it than the actual repetitive movements.  He'd seen similar contraptions in bigger cities and they'd always fascinated him.  Seemed like there was more that could be done with them besides children's amusements and hypnotizing subjects.

 

Unbidden, he started counting jumps along with Arabella, listening to the man's voice, relaxing, not really closing his eyes, but neither really aware of anything but the jumping horses and the low voice...

 

The slight movement beside him as Aoife glanced his way roused him, and he looked at the nurse, belatedly registering that Miss Mudd wasn't rambling on incessantly about...well, anything!  Could it possibly be that the child was truly in a trance?  Something had quieted her, that was certain.

 

He glanced at Pettigrew and frowned, wanting to ask questions, but knowing better...and wanting to ask the man to make this Miss Mudd's normal demeanor, and knowing better!

 

@Javia; @boshmi

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Pettigrew’s next series of questions were more to the point, but all of a nature that could be answered simply, yes and no in most cases. Dr. Danforth had explained the perceived problems in language the girl might not understand, the questions had to be a lot more prosaic, with no room for misinterpretation.

 

“Arabella, do you like Doctor Danforth?” She looked at him, focused enough, but po-faced.

“Yes.”

“Would you like to kiss Doctor Danforth?”

“No”

 

Pettigrew was careful not to react in the slightest to this, no approval or disapproval toward the answers, nothing to sway the girl or even rouse her from her waking slumber, just uttering the questions in the same solid, boring, murmur.

 

“Look at Nurse Leane, do you like her?”

“No”

“Would you like to kiss her?”

“Yes”

 

He ran through a few more people she knew; invariably the men fell into the “Yes/No” category; interestingly, her friends Jemima Wigfall and Bridget Monahan were “Yes/No” too. Caroline Mundee and Miriam Kaufman were “Yes/Yes”.

 

At last the hypnotist felt satisfied and moved on to the final stage of this impromptu treatment. Parlour trick mesmerists usually stuck to making people parade around the room pretending to be chickens or some other mildly humiliating antics. To try and permanently change a core facet of somebody’s personality: well, that was something else.

 

But Pettigrew seemed willing to try.

 

“Arabella. The next time you want to kiss a lady, or a girl, you will suddenly think that it is a very silly thing to want to do. Kissing another girl is silly.

Repeat what I say. Kissing another girl is silly.”

 

Arabella duly repeated.

 

“You will want to laugh when you think of kissing a girl. It is a silly thing, You will laugh. Silly. Laugh. Silly. Laugh. Repeat!”

 

A smile formed and faded around the girl’s mouth. Then the smile returned. “It’s silly!” she laughed: but there was something horrible and hollow about her laugh. It wasn’t her usual low gurgling chuckle. It was a hard, false laugh that somehow made your skin crawl.

 

“When you want to kiss a girl you will think it is a very silly thing to do; you will laugh; instead, you will want to help the girl; offer her some help. You will laugh, it is silly, you offer her some help. Repeat!” The mild-mannered dressmaker was now speaking in an insistent, almost frightening, commanding voice.

 

“Repeat!”

 

He made her repeat the mantra several times until she started to seem a little confused and look about the room, a frightened look in her eyes. Pettigrew held up a hand, lest the Doctor try to interfere.

 

“Now, now, Arabella. In a few seconds I will snap my fingers and you will wake up. You won’t remember what happened when you were asleep, but inside, you will remember my commands. You will remember my commands.

 

“I will remember.” She repeated.

 

Pettigrew snapped his fingers and flopped back in his chair: the strain of the thing had quite taken it out of him!

 

@boshmi @Bongo

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“Look at Nurse Leane, do you like her?”

“No”

“Would you like to kiss her?”

“Yes”

Aoife's first reaction was to bristle with indignation (although she was a mite confused as to what she would be bristling). Considering that no one had told her what this was about, and how it flew in the face of any practical medicine, she was inclined to think it was some sort of elaborate prank.

But the moment that Arabella spoke that final syllable, everything fell into place. The secrecy, the unwillingness to see her yesterday, and the incredibly non-medical medical procedure.

The nurse relaxed, words disappearing in her mouth. It wasn't a prank, it was just very very strange.

 

The subsequent... er... hypnosis continued very much in the sort of way you saw in books, with a 'repeat after me' and a 'you will want to _____ when you _____' and for once, Aoife didn't feel as though she had any authority on the matter, because five minutes ago she would have laughed at anyone who told her that mesmerism could cure homosexuality.

 

"You will remember my commands.”

“I will remember.”

...and the undergarment salesman snapped his fingers again, supposedly breaking the trance. Aoife watched sternly, ready to pounce on any indication that Pettigrew had fried the brain of that poor child in some way.

@Bongo@Javia

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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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