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Wentworth Family Dinner

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Mature Content: No

With: The Wentworth Family and Ben Simons
Location: The home of Charles Wentworth Sr.
When: Saturday, 21 July 1876
Time of Day: Evening




Charles looked up at the clock and noted the time.  It was nearly six o'clock and Rebecca was adamant that the meal start at seven, so Charles expected his guests arrive at any time.  He smiled, they weren't exactly guests, they were all members of his family.  Charlie was already here as he had moved in shortly after becoming a deputy.  Right now he was helping his mother set the table, along with Natosi, the girl Mike and Sam had found a couple of months ago.


Tonight would be the first time that all of them would be together.  It was hard getting Mike and Sam in town at the same as they took turns coming in, so the date had to be set well in advance, so that Mike could make the necessary arrangements he needed to at Lost Lake.  Matt was always busy with the hotel or some business with the town council.  The meeting that had been held earlier in the month to discuss the hospital and orphanage had been a tumultuous one.  The fallout from that meeting was still being felt around town.


The last guest, was Ben, who was always welcome, even if he didn't quite approve of the man's activities.  Surprisingly, Ben had managed to stay out of any trouble since his arrival and was becoming somewhat of an entrepeneur with his plans to start a theatre.  Maybe there was some hope for his wayward nephew after all.


With nothing much else to do but sit and wait, Charles took a seat by the fireplace and started to read the newspaper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sam and Mike had been the first to arrive, followed not long after by Ben and Matt.  Now that they were seated at the table and eating, Sam's mind drifted to the sight he had seen a few days ago.


He had been on the part of the Lost Lake Ranch that was farthest south.  Well, to be more precise, south-east, mending fences when he heard a strange sound.  In that part of the range there were fewer trees compare to the mountains on the northside, so he didn't have far to ride to find out what it was.  Heading towards Smith Lake, he crossed the border of the land owned by the Thorntons and into, what he had been told was an abandoned farm.


From what he knew about this part of the land, was it was owned by some farmer who had tried growing crops and failed.  As far as he knew there was no-one there now, but he soon found out that he was wrong.


As he rode closer to the lake, the noise became louder and started to become more familiar.  It had been a while since he had heard it but he recognised what it was.  What it was and meant was trouble.


Soon he came upon the sight.  The herd was small, but it was significant enough to worry a lot of people, especially the ranchers.  Looking around, he couldn't see anybody which in a way was a good thing.  Turning his horse, he had headed back to Lost Lake.  Thankfully, he had been on his own or the whole territory would know by now that there were sheep.


Looking around at his family, Sam decided not to mention anything to them.  In fact, he hadn't bothered saying anything to his bosses at Lost Lake.  He wanted to find out more about the sheep and those who owned them.  Maybe he could work out something with them first and then present it his boss, to see what they do.  It was better than going off half-cocked and starting some sort of war.



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  • 3 weeks later...

As the meal progressed, Charlie would gaze around the table occasionally.  There was the usual talk about what everybody had been up to since they had last seen one or more of the family.  He didn't want to breach the subject of the upcoming fight which was now only one week away.  If someone asked him about it, he would say something then, but it didn't seem likely as it was a topic that didn't interest his mother.  No doubt after the meal there would be some talk about it when she wasn't around.  Even though she was the only female at the table, she still stuck to the rules of society and leave the men alone to talk.  His mother would probably go upstairs to check on Natosi and Ruth.


He didn't know much about the two women residing in the house.  Ruth was still recovering from the wounds she had received.  According to both Mike and Sam it was some sort of miracle that she had survived so long.  Natosi spent most of her time with her mother but would come down to help every now and then, like earlier this evening.  When the food was ready, Natosi had gone back upstairs with meals for both her and her mother.


A snippet of conversation caught his attention.  His father was asking Matt about how things were going with the town council.  This reminded him about the horrible death of Richard Orr.  He had been only on the job as a deputy for a few days when the tragedy occurred.   There was nothing like been thrown in the deep end but he knew that he would have to handle stuff like this if he wanted to make being a lawman a lifelong career.


Orr's death was followed a week or so later by the death of Frank Grimes.  That was no great loss as far as he was concerned and all part of learning the job.  Being a deputy was something he was determined to succeed at.  Thankfully, he had a good Marshall like Speed Guyer to train him and the support of his family.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Rebecca looked around the table and she smiled.  Her four sons and nephew, Ben (who she considered a son in some ways) were all settled here and none of them looked like they had any plans to move on.  The only ones missing were her daughter and her family.  Maybe one day they would come out for a visit once her husband's position in Washington was more secure.


It had taken her a month or two to learn about Kalispell, the surrounding area, and the people who lived.  Mostly, she had found that the town was well set up with a good variety of things to do.  There were still people needing help after the disaster at Whitefish and she was happy to do what she could.  One thing of concern she did find was that the young ladies in town were sometimes left to their own devices, which on occasion had proved disastrous.  When she had heard about the tabloid that a group of young women had presented at the town meeting a couple of weeks ago, she was determine to do something about.


A week or so, later Ben had told her about his plans to buy the White Rose and convert it to a small theatre.  This got her thinking and when she approached Ben about her idea, she was surprised to find that he was entertaining the same idea.  Now, all they needed to was to get Charles to approve of it...not that she really needed but it would be still nice to have.


Her family had always had leanings to towards more theatrical things than her husband's.  Ben's showed up in his flair for playing cards and some of the schemes he got involved in.  There were some cousins who were actors and there was even one who was a singer somewhere in New York.  As, for herself, it tended to show up more in the way she planned parties and family gatherings.  Even tonight had taken some time and effort to get everything and everyone there at the same time.


After taking a sip of her wine, she smiled again, "I want everyone to know how glad I am to see that you could all make it here.  I'm especially glad that Ben is here as we both have something to announce.  Would you like to tell everyone about it, or shall I?"



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  • 4 weeks later...

Ben looked at his aunt and swallowed hard.  It wasn't from the piece of roast meat he had just eaten but from the position Rebecca had put him in.  It wasn't any secret that he was starting a small theater.  He had already bought the White Rose Inn from the bank and so his uncle already knew of his plans.  It was the newest plan that would surprise him and the others seated at the table.


After the delaying tactic of dabbing his mouth with his napkin and taking a sip of his wine, he cleared his thought, "Well, as you know Kalispell is a town with many opportunities and our family hasn't knocked many off them back when they have come our way."


He paused for a moment to take a look around the table and he could see that he had everybody's attention.  Maybe what he had to say wouldn't be seen as all that bad but it would certainly be a cause for some interesting discussions afterwards especially between his aunt and uncle.


"As you all probably know about the debacle of the town meeting a few weeks ago and the display put on by some young ladies in this town, we've decided to do something about it.  Aunt Rebecca feels that the young ladies in this town need a guiding hand, especially if they wish to continue to put on theatrical displays and I agree with her."


Smiling at his aunt, he decided he wasn't going to mention the fact he had suggested the idea to others before he had asked her.  Thankfully, his aunt still had some of the Martin family's unique eccentricities that sometimes lead them to do the unexpected and this was certainly one of those times.


Standing up, he half bowed at his aunt and picked up his wine glass, "Gentlemen, I have pleasure in introducing the founder and manager of the Kalispell Young Ladies Theatrical Society."



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  • 4 weeks later...

After a few minutes of discussing his mother's plans for taking care of the young ladies in town and giving them something to do, Mike glanced upstairs.  Ruth was still recovering from her injuries and even though there wasn't many outside signs of the trauma she had been through, it was what could happening on the inside that was more of a concern.


From what he knew and from what Doctor Danforth had said, it was harder to determine how bad her injuries were on the inside with no way of knowing for sure.  Even if she felt pain each time she was examined, she refused to show it.  He surmised that she was being brave for the sake of her daughter.


During the last couple of months, while Ruth was still recovering, he had tried to find out if Ruth still had any family.  With the help of his father, Mike had sent telegrams to almost every town looking for anybody who knew any Masters family that had a daughter or relative called Ruth.  So far, there was nothing and the search would have to be widen.  It could be months or years before he could find her family, if at all.  That, then raised the next question...if Ruth died, what would become of Natosi.


Natosi's future was something the family would have to discuss before the end of the summer, especially with the new school year starting.  Natosi could read and write a little but nowhere near where other children her age were at.  The child also needed to get used to being around other people and not just his family. As it was now, Natosi only spent short periods of time away from her mother.


As he remembered one of many conversations he had with Ruth when he was trying to find out information about her family, she had told him that Natosi needed to learn "the white man's ways".  Ruth had said other things as well about how she would like Natosi to be taken care off, just in case.


A tapping of a spoon on a wine glass, bought his attention back to the dinner...



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  • 3 weeks later...

Matt stood up.  What he had to say would surprise some of the family but not all of them.  After thanking his mother for the dinner, he turned to the rest of them.


"I have an announcement to make, and I wanted you all to know it before I make it public," he said in an almost light-hearted tone, "and no it's not that I'm getting married...at least not in the foreseeable future."


There was a few laughs and sighs of relief from his family.  Most of them knew that their parents would like to see them all settle down but were content with waiting till they were ready.  The problem was the same ones as there was in most towns out west, the lack of choice.  The men outnumbered women here in Kalispell at least two or more to one.  Even though he was interested in courting Sarah Thornton-Carlton, there hadn't been much time to do so due to her living so far away from town.  He had the hotel which kept him busy but now what little time he did have was going to be taken up.


"As you know, the town council meeting the other week was a bit of a shambles.  After the meeting, Judge Robertson approached me and asked if I would run for mayor at the upcoming election.  I told him that I would think about it but then the tragedy of Mr. Orr's death delayed my decision."


He paused to take a sip of his wine, "The main reason, Judge Robertson wanted to me run was to stop Richard Orr from becoming mayor but the man's death, well ended that train of thought.  There was no real reason for me to run as far as the Judge was concerned.  However, the more I thought about it the more I warmed to the idea and so, on Monday morning, I intend to go the courthouse and make my nomination to run for mayor, official."

For a moment, there was a pause, before the family started congratulating him.  Ben even mentioned something about him needing a good campaign manager.  No doubt, his cousin would elaborate on that further.


The rest of the evening was uneventful compared to the two announcements made at dinner.  The family talked about these and other things before they all departed to their various lodgings and rooms.  Each one of them would remember this night as one of the many good times they had together.

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