Chapter Twenty Two

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Friday Morning – First Week

Bright and early on this day, Cort and Morgan made their way to the Mercantile for more ammunition. The topic of the day: the arrival of Renn Frayne and his men and why they were in town.

“I think I’ve heard of this guy Frayne.” Morgan noted.

“Yeah, he was quite a gun fighter years ago. I remember Herod meeting up with him for some job. But they didn’t get along—both were too headstrong.”

“Should we be watching him more than Virgil suggested?” Morgan asked.

“No, I think once he got married and settled down, he pretty much hung his guns up. This threat to her ranch has him worried. Still, like Virgil said, he and his men can’t be doing anything illegal even if they catch up with the rustlers. Just don’t engage him in a gun fight,” Cort advised. Morgan whistled sharply.

“Oh, no, not me. I don’t engage anyone in a gun fight!” he said vehemently. Cort laughed.

“Wise decision.”

As they passed the post office, they saw Josiah Brewster exiting, his eyes glued to a piece of paper.

“Oh, no,” he mumbled, shaking his head. “Why?”

“Something wrong?” Mogan asked.

“Yes. Well, no. Not in a life threatening way. But, definitely, something is wrong.”

Cort frowned in puzzlement.

“It’s my sister, Garnet,” Josiah explained.

“Has something happened to her?” Cort asked.

“Yes! She’s coming here!”

Cort and Morgan looked at each other, bemused.

“I’m sorry, gentlemen. Let me explain. My family is old, rich New York stock. Garnet married a very wealthy banker from Atlanta, Harold Barrett. They lived there five years. He died—probably to get away from her.  Now she’s chosen to come here and kill me.” Josiah re-read the telegram. “She’s not a beast–just pushy. And demanding. And self-centered. And—I think I’m going to the saloon.” Josiah walked with heavy step to the Swinging Door and disappeared inside. Cort and Morgan didn’t know what to think.

“Sounds like Mrs. Kingsley’s gonna have some competition,” Cort observed.  Morgan laughed.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna stay out of both their paths!”

Taffey


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Friday morning 1st Week

Frank was sitting at his desk at home. He knew he should feel more disappointed that Rosalind was married. But she had been so sweet about rejecting him. At first, he worried about who she was married to.

“Papa?” Frank looked up to see his beloved Penny, looking more and more like her mother. “Do you like my new dress?” She came into his office twirling folds of green taffeta and lace. Like her mother, she adored flower prints.

“My dear, you look beautiful! Morgan will be very impressed.” Frank stood and hugged Penny.

“What were you thinking about?” she asked. “You looked so far away.”

“Oh nothing much,” he smiled.

“Was it another woman?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“You were smiling.”

Frank chuckled. Just like her mother, she didn’t miss anything.

“I was thinking about Rosalind Harris,” he told her.

“Doesn’t Miss Harris work at the saloon?” Frank nodded.  “She’s a very nice person. And very pretty. Do you like her?”

“Honey, I do. But she’s already taken. You mustn’t tell anyone.  For whatever reason, it’s a secret. Maybe its better she appear single since she works in a saloon.”

“There are other women; you’ll find someone.”

“I don’t know as I’m looking exactly. Rosalind just showed up in my sights and I liked what I saw.”

“Are you upset about it?”

“No, not really. I was hoping whoever she married is good to her.”

Penny looked puzzled.  “What do you mean?”

“There are many folks who’ve came West to escape their lives elsewhere. Women run away from abusive husbands. Men run from mistakes they’ve made. Families sometimes run from debts.”

“And that’s why you’ve always told me not to ask strangers too many questions.”

“Yes. Anyway, I told her I’d keep her secret; and I’m certain you will as well.”

“Not a word will escape. Now, I have to change and go to town. Mr. Temple said the ribbon I ordered last month would be in today. You ARE going to the dance, aren’t you?”

“I’m not really sure—.”

“Good, because I expect a dance with my father.” Penny smiled and winked as she headed for the stairs.

Taffey


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Mattie was flipping through the latest edition of Godey’s Lady’s Book. She subscribed to the monthly periodical to keep up with the newest hat designs. The magazine also put her in touch with businessmen back East she could order new stock from. When she was finished with the issues, she passed them on to Ann Perkins. She owned Dress To Impress—one of the ladies dress shops in Old Tucson.

Mattie yawned. There had been a burst of sales in the morning. Now, her shop was empty. She was considering an early lunch when the front door flew open. Mattie smiled.

“Good Morning, Ann! I was just finishing up this month’s Godey issue.”

“That’s not why I’m here!” Ann said excitedly.

“What is it?” Mattie asked.

“I just heard from Mrs. Kingsley that Josiah Brewster’s sister is coming to town.”

“Oh?”

“She’s VERY rich and VERY fashionable,” Ann almost whispered.

“I hope she’s not so fashionable we can’t clothe her. We try to keep up with fashion somewhat. Most of our customers don’t require the latest from Paris.”

“Maybe her presence will inspire other women to shop.” Mattie chuckled. She handed the magazine to Ann.

“I hope so. Maybe she could give us some advice.” Ann nodded thoughtfully. “How’s Tom?”

“He’s working for Mr. Connors right now. Painting and a little carpentry. It will bring in some money.” Ann’s voice trailed off.

“Let’s go to lunch; I’ll buy,” Mattie suggested.

“Thanks! That sounds wonderful!”

Taffey


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Jim Earp stood at the bar, still not sure what happened yesterday. It was unthinkable that Aloysius Baumberger had stolen Lorraine right out from under his and Ricardo Diazs’ noses.

“Heard you lost your girl to a book collector.” Jim looked up to see Seth’s mischievous smile. Jim had to laugh.

“And how did you find out?”

“Morgan told me. And Mrs. Kingsley told him.”

“What?”

“There’s NOTHING that woman doesn’t know.”

“I’m going to make sure I ask Lorraine early next week.”

“Good plan. Hope Baumberger doesn’t have the same plan.” Seth walked to the other side of the bar laughing.

Jim looked around the saloon and saw Josiah Brewster sitting along, looking forlorn.

“Hey Seth, what’s wrong with Josiah. I didn’t think he drank this early –if at all.”

“Apparently, his sister is coming from Atlanta; and he’s not happy about it. Ran off a whole list of unflattering adjectives. Most of them similar to ones I’ve heard attributed to Mrs. Kingsley.”

“Oh great! Another woman to avoid.  How long is she visiting for?” Seth shrugged.

“Don’t know.  Seems like if it was just a visit, he wouldn’t be so upset.”

“Thank goodness Lorraine isn’t like that,” Jim noted.

“MOST women aren’t like that,” Seth pointed out.

“I guess I’d best figure out who I’m going to the dance with. Or else I’ll be joining Cort in the office. See you later, Seth.”

Taffey

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