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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.

Alice The Rafter A & The Copper Queen


Alice Fletcher
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Mature Content: Hardly

Author: Flip

With: Dunno Yet...
Location: Rafter A Ranch - Kalispell, Marshals Office
When: July 1876
Time of Day:  Afternoon

 

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Standing in the doorway looking out over the land that comprised a portion of the Rafter A, Alice Fletcher was lost in thought. She was now unsure what the future held as far as her and Speed Guyer were concerned, she had certainly wanted there to be a future, and the ride to the ranch would have provided her with the opportunity to see where his heart was in the matter.

 

They had been comfortable with one another at the Lickskillet, that was a positive sign. That some fool had waylaid him interrupted what could have been perhaps the beginning for both of them. But he was the Marshal, and he had been the one that not only was attacked, but had his horse stolen, so he was out for the man, and that stood to reason. The fact is, she would like to find the no account, what she'd do with him aside from shooting him, she didn't know, but shooting seemed fair!

 

She stepped inside and closed the door, bolting it as she always did. She was, after all, a woman alone on the prairie and though she would stand up to whatever came her way, inviting trouble was not an option. She closed the wooden window covers with the cut out rifle ports. She appreciated them because she knew they were there for Indian trouble. She lay the wooden bar in place to prevent them from being pushed open and went to the stove, stirring the coals and putting on a couple of pieces of wood to get a cooking fire going.

TBC

 

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What does a woman alone do out on the open land? Tends to the chores that need to be done, fixing what needs repairing, and watching out for the red man as well as any other man that might be out there roaming the land. Probably not the smartest thing a white man could do in those troubled times.

 

For Alice Fletcher, it was a normal life out on the prairie if that was what one might call it, despite all the trees that surrounded and open land in Montana. Clearing the land? Well, if need be, but generally speaking that was man's work, though it was clear that many a woman fell trees, used horses, or mules, or oxen to pull stumps. She could do it, she was practiced at it due to what needed doing and the support from he late husband, which had been non-existent.

 

As she stood at the stove, coffee about to boil she thought about what it might be like if Speed was the man that actually wanted to be a part of her life. He had seemed interested, truly interested over lunch. It was at that moment that she decided to simply ask him the next time she saw him, well, once this Caleb Barnes business was finished.

TBC

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The day was slipping quickly into sunset and the following twilight, and no Speed Guyer coming out as he had said he might. Might, not exactly how she had hoped this day would turn out. And just how long would it take him to catch this ne're do well, as determined as he appeared to be. A man on foot would be easy to apprehend, or so it seemed.

 

She caught herself  deriding a man that she cared about, because he had not lived up to her immediate expectations. That forced her to smile at herself for judging what was not judge-able. There was no way to know what the man he was chasing would do or not do.

 

She poured a cup the freshly brewed coffee and sat at the table to sip at. She needed to go out and unsaddle her horse, then put it in the corral, rub it down, and feed it. But for the moment as the purple hues of dusk filled the sky, she was content to sit and sip her coffee. Not the usual behavior of Alice Fletcher, who got things done when they should be.  No, it was this situation with Speed that had her confused.

 

It was not so much Speed Guyer as it was Alice Fletcher. It was that she was prepared for something completely different than what had actually happened. She admitted to herself that the apprehension of the man that hit him and stole his horse had to be the priority. A lawbreaker, and an assailant on top of that! Speed could not allow the man to escape the consequences of what he had done.

 

Did she hear something outside? She grabbed her Henry and peered through the rifle port, but there was nothing but falling shadows. She stepped to the door and pulled it open.

TBC

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  • 2 weeks later...

Easing the door opened she suddenly confronted either someone at her horse. She levered in a shell and started to raise the rifle.

 

"Need to put yer animal away. Some feller 'er another come a long an' steal 'er, all saddled an everything." He had loosened the cinch, and the saddled fell to the ground. "Thought I raise you better'n that."

 

"Pa? What are you doing out there?" She asked.

 

"At the moment tendin' to yer horse. An' last I knew girl, I live here!" Amos Stated. "I could eat if ya got anything ta hand in there."

 

"I'll get it goin', won't be much, but enough to stop the gnawin'." Alice said as she turned and went back inside, leaving the door open, eased the hammer down, then setting aside the Henry in it's usual place by the door. She went to the stove and started something for her father to eat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amos Conroy was a man that had worked dangerous, if not hard the better part of his life. He had done the best he could to raise Alice after er mother, his wife Marie had passed of consumption when she was by eight or none, dates escaped him mostly. But his was honest.

 

The Army had been a good life, while it lasted, but after the war well, there just was not a lot of choices left to a man. Most of those separated that chose to continue the Army life were pushed west. Little did Conroy know that the west was to be his future. Hunting men.

 

Now he stood where he had set the saddles and tack on the fence rail, turning the horses out into the corral. Digging out a pair of rocks from his sale bags, he marched back to the house. Be ridin' in ta see Speed come the mornin'. Got him a surprise." He held out the odd looking ore samples.

 

"And those are, besides strange looking?" Alice asked setting a bowl of stew on the table for him.

 

"Porphyry copper deposits. Copper. Fella had no idea what he had, offered up four hundred acres at near a dollar an acre." Amos explained. "Now was Speed smart, he'd buy the land and build himself a copper mine. Be set fer life, he would. And, I run onta other spots as well. Got it all writ down for him."

 

"He was supposed to ride out here, but I'll get old waiting on Speed Guyer, that's a fact." She stated.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"You realize now thet Speed's the Town Marshal, an' jest maybe he's got bidness ta attend to over't Kalispell?" Amos asked.

 

"Yes I understand the mans job, and that he may or may not ever ride out here to see me, or you." She fired back, irritated that it had not been Speed but her father who had ridden up. to the place. And she understood that there were certain priorities that the man had, things which came first, whether either of them liked or not. "I'm sorry Dad, I'd just looked forward to him coming out. Seems it's just getting harder for him to make the ride out."

 

"Maybe it ain't no harder than before, but harder to accept the job takes priority. Ever think of it thet way? Ever think maybe he feels the same as you about all this?" Amos asked. " We'll get him pinned down either here 'er back in town. This copper bidness could be what he's been lookin' for. "

 

"Okay, so maybe it is, what is this stuff good for?" Was her question.

 

"Hell daughter, the telegraph fer one thing. They're making what they call cables out of it, an' then singin' wires, that's copper. Reckon as how they need lots of it fer lotsa stuff they're buildin'. I just know that I'm holding the paper ta get this here property dirt cheap!"

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  • 2 months later...

"So what you're telling me is that you have hold of four hundred acres of land with these, these copper deposits and he can grab them up for four hundred dollars?" She asked, still a bit unsure of what the big deal was, yet she understood what he was saying about the wires. She had thought that what was needed to make the wire was where the wire was made. Obviously not. It was like gold and silver, it had to be mined where it was found and transported to where it was needed.

 

"Yes Ma'am, an' I'm ridin' to town and shake him loose from whatever he's doin' to get this done. He'll know, it's his bidness ta know. Now you kin ride on in with me, 'er sit here a waitin' on him ta ride  up. Yer choice, daughter."

 

"I'll get my hat!" She stated with a bit of sarcasm. In minutes they were on the trail at a canter. Copper. What would that mean to Speed and his plans already made? She intended to find out.

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This new discovery had the prospect of changing things. A copper mine, or mines, as four hundred acres could host any number of mines depending on the deposits. If they were as rich as her father portrayed them to be, well, yes, any number of things could change, and change rather quickly. But that too would depend on Speed Guyer, yet she knew he was not foolish about prospects, and, from what she gathered, he trusted his men to find property, minerals, timber and the like that would be of profit to his company.

 

But it was as clear as day, her father was looking to have Speed consider buying the ground himself to develop it. What would that mean to the Marshal of Kalispell? If he purchased the land for himself, what would happen then? Would he give up the badge? The walking target, as her father called it. How would he handle this new find? If it was all her father said it was, it seemed it would make Speed very rich, if that was what he wanted.

 

What did he want? That was the question. As they rode toward town she realized, she might just get the answers to her questions, and, she may or may not like them. To her, the risk was there, and it was worth taking.

 

Amos looked at his daughter and sensed her turmoil about his friend. He was wise enough to realize that was nothing he could do about the situation between her and Speed. It had been a hard one for him to read, but then reading what people wanted was hardly his forte.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

It was getting to mid-afternoon when Amos and Alice rode into town, and a meeting with Speed Guyer was about to take shape, first would be the mining question, what was it he would do? Keep the mine property, or, as with every other piece of property he had come his way, sell it off at a profit to share with his New York partner.

 

Second would be the personal  piece of the meeting, between her and him, hopefully in private, but whichever, it would happen, there was just no way that it wouldn't. She suspected that Henry S. Guyer had feelings for her, perhaps deep feelings, yet every time he might want to divulge them to her, something always intervened. Yet she had to admire his devotion to Marshaling and to his company, which did not mean that she was happy about it.

 

Father and daughter reined in at the Municipal Building and stepped down, tying their horses to the hitch rail and stepping up on the boardwalk. Each stretching a bit before they entered the building. All of the county and city offices, including the court rooms were there. The burned out offices of the postmaster were well under construction for repairs from the recent, tragic, fire, and the Marshal's Office.

 

Amos opened the door and said, "Got some powerful good news!" Following him was Alice who got a long look from Speed. Amos drew out the papers, bill of sale and such, "Bought up for hunder'd acres south a' here. Copper, Speed, copper! Got one mine opened, some out buildin's, nobody workin' it, but it's there, an' sure as shootin' there's more ta be found."

 

"Copper you say, how much did you have to pay?" Speed responded.

 

"Doller an acre. Four hunder'd. Question is Mister Guyer, jest whot'er yer plans fer this un?"

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Speed sat back in the chair as he looked to Amos, then to Alice, and back again. He exhaled sharply, pondering the question posed. "Well now, that's quite the question, isn't it. I mean to say that of the properties that have come through the office, this one is far more intriguing that any of the others. Not to say I didn't consider holding on to more than one of them."

 

"Reckon this'd be one o' them hard ta look past opper'tunities. Oncet in a life time, mebe. Dunno, but I couldn't pass 'er up whot with copper bein' whot she is in the east, it jest seemed one I'd bring die-rect ta you."

 

"Glad you did, Amos, awful glad you did." Speed responded, then, "What do you think, Alice?"

 

"Me?" she came back, "Why ask me?" That had stunned her. Men just didn't ask a woman her opinion on business decisions. "Speed Guyer, just what is it you're up to?"

 

"Alice Fletcher I am asking for your opinion, anything else I might ask you would not be in this setting. What I see before me is, the future. And why I see this as the future when I did not react this way to gold, silver and timber, I don't know. But copper on four hundred acres seems like the future to me. I don't know about you."

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Posted (edited)

She studied him a long minute, then, "Speed Guyer, are you saying that you will buy this land?"

 

"Buy it and develop it, but, I'll want you and Amos here as part of the incorporation I will be proposing. And, the Pikes, of course. 400 hundred acres may well have several deposits  that can be developed. However, this word cannot get out until we have everything settled. So, that will be four of us in equal shares." he explained.

 

"And jest how do ya figger four when you laid out five people, Me 'n Alice here, the Pikes, an' you, thets five." Amos said, "Five, not four, you leavin' you out?"

 

"No Pa, Mister Guyer here plans to leave me out of the equation." Alice stated.

 

"No, no, not at all. But don't you think that it would be awkward at best if you and I each took a full share, I mean if Amos here will allow it, and you'll agree to marry me, making us a family just like the Pikes." He explained, "I meant to talk to you about this earlier, but since I never did make it out to your place, well, it just didn't happen like I planned. And I do plan to propose properly."

 

Alice was in shock, Amos gave Speed a hard look, "You askin' me fer Alices hand? That what yer about Speed Guyer."

 

"No sir I wasn't but if the two of you will give me a minute here," Speed stepped forward and took Alice's hand. As slick as he could, he dropped to one knee, "Alice Fletcher, I ask you now to be my wife and partner in this life, no matter what comes our way."

 

Alice looked at him a long moment. There was no doubt about what he asked, "Yes." She all but whispered. "Yes, I will marry you Speed Guyer." But then she had no words as he stood.

 

"Amos, I'm now asking for your daughters hand in marriage."

 

"I'd be a danged fool ta say no what with her already agreein' ta this." He bellowed. "You do that Speed, you dang sure do that!"

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Posted (edited)

"Now, as I see it, I have no idea where the Pikes might be, other than they are in San Francisco by now, and she's a good sized town. Be like looking for a pair of needles in a haystack. So we'll start without them, well, they'll be in the incorporation papers, and as the principle I will be doing all the signing of papers for the time being." Speed explained, looking up at Amos, Alice by his side, holding his arm.

 

"First off, we're in the wrong office. Need to be across the street in the company office so we can get this started. I take it you have the paperwork from the previous owner? We'll need that, and tomorrow well see if there's a problem with registering it , though it surely is registered  wit the clerks office."

 

"Well pard, there's one slight problem, wall, as I see it. She sits maybe a mile from the top edge of the Evergreen. Not the mine perzactly, but his, I mean are boundary line ta his." Amos said, then he smiled.

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Speed, was still standing, looked down at the bill of sale then to Alice, and back to Amos, "The hell with him." He said firmly. "This will increase costs some for security, but, acting as County Sheriff, if his hands move against us, I'll be forced to arrest him. One of his men will confess, one way or another." Then again, Elias may not provoke any trouble.

 

" I like yer way 'o thinkin', Speed." Amos said. "No sense to put up with his nonsense since we don't have ta!" The old man hunter had his concerns about the Evergreen, but the prize was far greater than the supposed danger.

 

Alice looked at the two men, "So, war with the Evergreen? Is that the plan? Now I can see it if Steelgrave comes huntin' trouble, and he is surely likely to, from all I've heard about hm. And his daughter, what about her and her plan to build this hospital? Seems this town's giving her fits over it? That got anything to do with the old man?"

 

"Spoke to her today, the relationship between her and her father is contentious at best, and, her brother Case is headed this way, and that could spell even more trouble. some of it personal." Speed said, "There were some conversations about the hold up with the property earlier today. It'll work itself out, she has options, and options put pressure on our Town Council." There was a look on Alice's face, in her eyes. "And no, there has never been anything between us, if that's what you are wondering."

 

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"Then answer me this Mister Guyer, now that I have said yes to your proposal of marriage, is it your plan then to continue to wear that badge?" She asked quite formally. "I believe I do have a right to know what I have agreed to, besides this mining project."

 

"Yes. unless my re-election falls short. Alice, Kalispell has to have some kind of law and order, at the moment I'm it. Both as town Marshal and as acting County Sheriff. But once Pike returns and Deputy Wentworth gets over the beating he took, which could be any day now, I'll not be so tied to this job." He responded.

 

"That's all I wanted to know, I do not expect you to give up this, or any other job you have a mind to take. I just need to know what the plan is." She stated.

 

"Thank you, but I really never thought that would be anything you would ask." He said. "Might just be more trouble on hand than we can deal with, though I have Marshals Cook and McNue as well. Just wish Pike were at least on his way back. That would be five of us,"

 

"An yer fergettin' me an them boys what lookout fer the Steelgrave woman." Amos interjected.

 

"Sorry Amos, you're right that would make nine of us, might be enough to hold off any real problems the town might face, except for the ones they create for themselves." Speed pointed out. "I'll see to getting the deed  for this land registered along with the claim for mineral rights on the land as well. Believe I'll pay the company twelve hundred for the land, we'll make that back pretty fast, and really, it's fair to my partner in the east."

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Posted (edited)

"Then it'd be yer plan ta hold onta the minin' bid'ness as well?" Amos asked.

 

"No reason not to, Amos, none at all. I just sign things maybe an hour out of the day, sometimes more depending. I can sub-let my personal office for our enterprise, which we have yet to name." Speed said.

 

"Mine's called the Copper King." Amos pointed out.

 

"Good name, but, I've a mind to change it some." Speed informed them.

 

"To what? That name is probably as good as any, if not better than most." Alice asked.

 

"Copper Queen, Alice." He paused, "The Copper Queen. How does that suit you?"

 

She blushed when she realized what he was doing. "Suits me just fine. Another question for you Mister Guyer, what will be the structure of this business venture of ours?"

 

He thought of a moment then smiled. "Well, we need to have a meeting about that I suppose. And with the Pikes out of town for God knows how long, seems like any business conducted would be the three of us. I do know that Pronto has mining interests in Nevada, I'm not sure what he'll say about our including them in this, but I don't believe he'll object."

 

"So interm officers, till we get 'er off the ground." Amos suggested.

 

"Yes, interim officers, with you as the Interim President," Alice piped up. "We need any others?"

 

"Probably a Vice President and a secretary to get the corporation started. Now Copper Queen would be the mines revised name, but the corporation will need a name, and there are liable to be more mines than the one on four hundred acres."

 

They all smiled.

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Posted (edited)

"Then there is no need for us to sell the Ranch and move to wherever the four hundred acres are." She pointed out. "I mean, that can still be home."

 

"Shucks yes girl, though I've line on a claim t'other side of Lost Lake. The Raven. Mans says he's sitting on a hunder'd acres. Wants two dollars an acre fer it. Had the samples assayed and they come up on par with the Queen."

 

"And just how many know of these two sites?" Speed asked.

 

"Couldn't say, rightly, 'cept the assayer down near Rollins. Took my time gettin' back here. Figgered it best to travel a mite and have the assayin' done a ways away. Told 'em I found them south a'there."

 

"Good man Amos, knew I could count on you. Now, I'll draw the money and you can ride back and buy it." Speed said.

 

"Would, but I don't need ta. Spent my own, here's the deed an' bill o sale fer it. You can pay me come tammara." Amos said, pulling out the papers wrapped in oil cloth for protection. "Add it ta the corporation."

 

"Danm." Was all Speed could say.

 

"Looks to me like we're in the mining business." Alice added.

 

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"As far as any in'terst folks'd had on them claims, so far as i can tell there weren't none, prob'ly due to the cost of developin' the mines. That ain't gonna be cheap." Amos pointed out.

 

"No, no it isn't, but cash is the least of our worries." Said Speed. "I've a nest egg put away for just such an opportunity as this." Speed smiled, not much to spend money on here, well, not until now," He looked at Alice, he wasn't talking of the mining claims. "I'll get everything registered first thing, have your money to you as soon as Wentworth opens the bank. So then, other than the two of you as Vice President, and Secretary, I think we've about got it sewn up. But, mum's the word."

 

"Pa, why don't you go over to the saloon for a beer, Speed and I have a few things to discuss." Alice suggested, firmly.

 

"Shore, believe I'll jest step on over't the Stardust an' wet my whistle." Came answer as Amos got to his feet and walked to the door, looking back with a grin, he opened it, stepped through and closed it behind him.

 

In an instant Alice was in Speeds arms, and a long wonderful kiss was shared. Then she stepped back, "Mister Guyer, you might have at least warned a girl of your intentions, and not had them expressed in a business meeting."

 

"You know, I had planned everything I was going to say to you, but Caleb Barnes buffaloed me and put me to bed before I could ride out there like I promised. Then there was the ensuing chase once I could around, but I always planned to come out and ask you proper, like my dream."

 

"Dream? You dreamed about this?" She asked.

 

"I did, whilst I was out from the blow. You said yes then too. But it wasn't nearly as nice as you agreeing here this evening. I know I've yet to get a ring, but I will do that in the morning." He promised. "Alice, I love you, I've loved you since first I laid eyes on you, and I've kicked myself ever since for not acting on that then."

 

"I think our lives would have been much different than they are now, and maybe, not for the better. Whose to say? But you have proposed, and I accepted. We have a ranch, your business, and now mining properties. I'd say we're off to a good start, and I too, have loved you for a very long time." And then she kissed him again.

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Speed looked at her. "I had all of this planned much, much differently. In my delirium I had all of this between you and I much more, how to say it, well, romantic than it has turned out this evening. I wanted everything to be just right, and I guess from the result it was just right."

 

"This find by your father, this actually changes everything for us, so I saw no other course of action for us but to propose, without a ring to offer you, but we will take care of that tomorrow. I want you to believe that my proposal is based on my love for you. I had never thought that this day would come, until the day when I saw you here in Kalispell."

 

"And I, traipsing across country, following my father from here to there. He always provided for me, I always had a home in whatever territory we were in, but I always worried that he would go out one day, and not comeback. The job you offered him changed all of that. And this copper, is it all he's saying it is?" She asked.

 

"From what I know, yes. Copper is in huge demand in the east, and will be here in the west, if not in San Francisco already. I mean, I do know that electricity is the coming thing for all sorts of inventions. Much the same as the use of gas for lighting and the promise of it for other applications. If what he has delivered to us proves out, we will be wealthy. Most likely beyond our wildest dreams, but it's going to take work, and some risk to develop. But, my love, in the end, we all will be comfortable beyond measure."

 

"So, what you mean to say is, that you wanted to take me off the market before I was rich and some other had the chance to marry me? Is that it. Henry Speed Guyer?" She prodded playfully.

 

"Yes Ma'am! And, that lessens the shares needed from four to three." He replied and immediately ducked.

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"I can see that I've a job of work ahead of me with you." She said with a smirk.  "I do believe you'll be a handful Marshal Guyer. "A real handful."

 

"Is that so? Well I guess we will see, won't we." He said. "This has taken far to long to come together for us. We've lost a lot of time, the good news? We've a lot of time ahead of us." He kissed her then, and everything seemed to fall into place. It was immediate.

 

"You have a way with words Mister Guyer. Yes, we do have plenty of time before us to do whatever it is we decide we want to do." She replied. "Children will work their way into this before long. I mean, it is inevitable."

 

"Children, yes, they are what happens between two people." He smiled as he looked at her, "I look forward to that, as well as every moment that we have going forward. It should be an exciting time for us, what with the copper mines and all, plus the wedding of course!" An exciting time of discovery between them, and with the properties. He kissed her again, now that he could.

image.jpeg.77deda8b2c5a908b610f995d80258a32.jpeg

 

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Alice slowly broke the kiss as the door opened, "Back already, Pa" her head rested against Speeds.

 

"Don't mind me, I done all my huggin' an' kissin' a ways back." He stated opening the door and stepping inside. "Thet there saloon's got some odd ducks. Thet feller, Ralph, got him a strange one in there, she ain't no sportin' woman nor a  hurdy-gurdy girl like I seen afore. She played the pieanna alright, an' sang, but she but she don't seem the dancin' type. Ain't quite sure what she is."

 

"I see you've met Arabella Mudd, a mystery to all of us, but she's harmless." Speed offered. Oh, we ain't got anywhere on the paperwork, somewhat busy as you might expect." Speed said with a smile, he arm still around her waist.

 

"He has been distracted, Dad, like Mom would distract you with hugs and kisses. And the man is quite receptive to it, so I think things between us will be just fine." Alice said, not moving.

 

"Oughtta be a mite uncomfertable all bent over like thet. Least ways the man oughtta stand up." Amos teased.

 

"You two got a place to stay the night?" Speed asked. "I can get you rooms at the hotel, if you like. "Won't have you sleeping in the jail, nor riding back in the dark."

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"Dad said we could get rooms, but that's awfully nice of you, Marshal." Alice replied.

 

"Hey now you don't have ta do thet, dang it!" Amos tossed in.

 

"I get a discount. Besides, let me do this. You're going to make us rich, she's going to make me the happiest man in the territory, it's the least I can do." Speed reacted. "We're family, and I can do this so I will. In the morning we'll settle up this corporation, and then we'll go from there." He smiled, "How's that sound?"

 

"Seein's ya put 'er thet way, can't say no to 'er then. But we'll even up sooner 'er later Henry Guyer."

 With that they gathered up what they needed and walked out of the office, Speed and Alice arm in arm.

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