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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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Everything posted by Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

  1. Perfect! Thanks! I just ordered one!
  2. Did you have to do anything to the nipple pockets on your 58s to make it work? I’ve got a set of 58s that are borrowed so I don’t think Dremeling is an option! Thanks! Sorry about hijacking the thread!
  3. Linn Keller 2-10-13 Frost sparkled on the Sheriff's blanket as he lay curled up, his head on the folded up wild rag, insulating his ear from the saddle's cold, smooth leather: his Stetson lay unsteadily on the side of his head, holding in a little warmth ... "little" being the operative term. Even in his comfortable bed at home he slept light; a legacy of a tumultuous and troubled life, he slept light in the best of times, yet here, on hard ground, not warm enough to be comfortable, sleeping less well than he usually did, he never heard the animal's breath, the pad of its footfalls, as it approached. Feral eyes watched from the moonlit dark; a shadow flowed slowly through the low places, fangs occasionally bared as moist black nose twitched and smelled the man-scent. Other eyes watched in the dark, but not nearby: these were also preceded by a moist black nose, searching for scent and finding it, and like the other shadow high in the mountains, this one too flowed stealthily, intentionally skulking, intentionally stealth. "Ho, girls, ho, now," Levi called and the team ho'd: the twins regarded the brightly lit windows, heard violin and orchestrated music instead of the rinky-tink piano tunes: coarse laughter was replaced by a more genteel sound, laughter ... but not the laughter they were used to. "Polite" was a word in their vocabulary, and if asked, they might have applied "polite" to the laughter they heard. They held still, waiting, not really certain but thinking they should wait for a cue before standing or making their way from the carriage. Normally they would jump up and laugh and leap into Levi's hands, or swarm over the side and drop to the ground, but they watched, silent, observant, as Levi offered a gentlemanly hand to his beautiful bride and his suddenly-beautiful daughter: he then summoned the twins, and though they were too short in the leg to be assisted down to the mounting-block as had the grown-ups, he managed to lower them with a greater dignity than the little girls normally experienced. Bonnie bent and whispered unnecessarily that there would be other children there, in the back room, and the twins would be with them, and she expected them to behave like Proper Young Ladies. Sarah lay gentle fingers on her Mama's arm and Bonnie saw amusement in her daughter's eyes: Sarah addressed the twins: instead of a motherly admonishment, she spoke in a conspiratorial whisper: "Tonight you are ladies," she said, taking a small hand in each of her own: "you will have to show the children how to properly behave. Let them learn from your example." The twins nodded solemnly, eyes bright: Sarah winked at them and both her little sisters screwed one eye shut, happily sharing in this mutual conspiracy. Bonnie gave Levi one final looking-over in the gas light in front of the Jewel; she and Sarah were one another's mirrors: mother and daughter each took a long breath, blew it out in a fast-moving cloud of steam, turned to the Jewel's double doors. "Showtime," Levi said, and reached for the door. Bear Killer thrust a nose under the Sheriff's frost-sparkled blanket. The Sheriff grabbed the edge of the blanket, raised it; the Bear Killer rolled over on his side, the Sheriff lay his arm across the big, black-furred dog: each one cuddled against the other, there under the single blanket, and each felt a little warmer for having found the other. Dawg watched from the shadows as Sarah disappeared through the Jewel's doors. Licking his chops -- for the Jewel was a place for biscuits and gravy and a warm rug to curl up on, near the stove -- he flowed like a river of ink through the shadow beside the Municipal Building, and back toward the back of the Jewel. The German Irishman shook the Welsh Irishman's hand. "Ye are the better man," he grinned, pulling a small, square box out of his own pocket, then slipping it back in: "this will serve for the next lass!" The Welsh Irishman's eyes widened and he gripped his friend's hand all the more firmly: words failed him and he nodded. Sean slapped Llewellyn approvingly across the shoulder blades: "Well done, lad! Ye need a drink!" -- and thrust a froth-topped mug of bear handle-first at the man. The Welshman looked up at his Chieftain and shook his head. "I'll no' refuse a drink wi' ye," he said, "but I must remain clear headed this night!" "Sensibly said!" Sean declared, tilting the mug up and taking three long swallows, then offering it again to the Welshman. The Welshman took one swallow and returned the mug. "Aye, lad, well done!" Sean roared happily, oblivious to the several heads that turned his way; his voice was clearly and somewhat obnoxiously heard over the orchestra and the buzz of conversation. Mr. Baxter was happily behind his bar, providing liquid refreshment, and he was just as happy to be so: still, he had a grand observation point from which to enjoy the sight of men slicked up and clean, of ladies elegant and beautiful, and though it could be said that if anyone in Firelands knew every living soul, it would be Mr. Baxter, he had to take two looks and rub his eyes to realize the young lady on Levi's arm was Sarah McKenna. As a matter of fact, Charlie's grin, Fannie's approving nod, Mr. Baxter's shocked expression and the spreading hush that rippled across the crowd like oil over troubled water, clutched at Sarah's heart with unexpectedly cold fingers. It did not help a bit that, on signal, the orchestra paused, then gave a little fanfare. Sarah was not sure if her suddenly-red-hot ears would set her hair afire, or she would sink through the floor, die of embarrassment or float away on a giddy cloud of dyspneic happiness. "Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal," a stentorian voice announced, then after a pause, "Miss Sarah McKenna." A cold nose thrust itself into her hand, and she felt a familiar fur-covered form lean against her leg, as if to signal his personal approval of what she did. Sarah rubbed Dawg's scarred, black-furred head and steadied her breathing. Sarah raised her head as Jacob stepped up to her and offered his arm. Sarah took her brother's arm and the crowd parted as they paced to the center of the ballroom floor.
  4. Charlie MacNeil 2-9-13 "Time to go, Darlin'," Charlie called through the closed door that connected the bathing from the sitting room of their suite. He took a step toward said portal only to see it swing open to present a vision of loveliness clad in a gown whose very simplicity made it seem complex. The hue of the fabric was subdued yet elegant, designed, as the gowns of Esther and company had been designed, to present an air of sophistication that would complement rather than detract from the presence of she who was the planned "Belle of the Ball". In addition, Fannie's gown had been designed to accentuate her best features, from her carefully arranged auburn tresses to her sparkling emerald eyes and beyond... To his credit, Charlie had managed, after some minutes of effort spent before a mirror accompanied by less than complimentary muttering under his breath regarding the ancestry and potential future of the offending fabric, to knot his tie straight and evenly. His lapels lay flat to his chest and his watch chain described a near perfect arc across the brocaded front of his fitted waistcoat. He had brushed his best hat and sent his boots out for polishing, and altogether presented the picture of the well turned out man about town. He took Fannie's smooth-skinned fingers in his own calloused hand, raising her knuckles to his lips. "You, my dear, look good enough to eat!" he declared with grin. "And you, my dear," Fannie replied, "are a very bad man. Curb your heathenish impulses, and let's be off to the Ball." "Your wish is my command, Princess," Charlie answered, smiling, as he released her fingers. He picked a satin-lined stole bordered with fur from its resting place on the settee and spun it about her shoulders, clasping it over her bosom with a silver chased brooch. He held out his arm and the couple stepped out into the hall to make their intentionally slow-paced way down the stairs. In an event such as was to take place this evening, timing was everything.
  5. Linn Keller 2-9-13 The twins rode in the back seat, eyes bright, hair brushed and curled, matching rag dolls locked in their elbows: they were silent, for they knew with the intuition of the young, that there was something important and very adult in the wind, and they knew they must be quiet and invisible ... yet they giggled now and then, for they too anticipated a happy evening in the Jewel's great room. Sarah sat, prim, upright, hands folded, eyes forward; her cheeks were a rosy pink, helped by the cold air; she wore no cosmetics, for none were needed: her gown was newly made, of the royal, shimmering blue of which the Sheriff spoke, with lace at cuffs and collar: simple, regal, it was made for this night, for this moment, for this occasion, and it declared to the world the girl was no more, and the woman was arrived. Bonnie's mouth was a little dry, for she remembered what it was to be a maiden on the cusp of womanhood, that bright moment before she was introduced to Society -- introduced formally and very publicly, knowing all eyes were on her, knowing she was in her bloom of beauty, to be adored by the men and envied by the women, and she looked at her daughter and remembered the skinny, forlorn waif she'd been long ago, so long ago. Jacob swung the laughing Joseph into their carriage, then helped Annette carefully aboard: he treated her like she was delicate china, though she still worked as hard as any, having steadfastly refused help, refused his offer to hire a girl for the household: after today's preparations, though, she was almost convinced the move might not be that bad an idea. Jacob hoisted himself aboard with a long-legged thrust, undignified but effective, settled himself and turned to draw the quilt over Joseph, another over Annette: only then did he lift the reins and cluck up the mare and point her wet and velvety nose toward town and the Jewel and his little sister, whose hand would be petitioned this night. Jacob could not help but grin as he looked at his wife. "Mrs. Keller," he said, "you are a fine lookin' woman." "Mr. Keller," Annette said, "I shall soon be as big as a whale, and will you love me then?" Jacob ran his arm around her and pulled her close. "Damned right I will," he whispered. The Sheriff pillowed his head on his saddle and closed his eyes, and willed himself to sleep. Cannonball cropped grass nearby, the stars over her back bright and hard against the velvet-black sky. Dolly turned slowly, looking at herself in the full-length mirror. It wasn't a stranger who looked back at her ... but it was someone she didn't see very often. She saw a respectable young woman in a modest gown, an attractive woman of means and of fashion, modestly yet richly attired in a McKenna gown, a gown given her by her good friend, a friend whose hand would be sought this night. There was a quiet knock on her dressing-room door and Dolly bent, snatched up a shoe, then smiled and walked to the door. She opened it and Tom Landers looked at her with kind and fatherly eyes. "You are lovely," he said. "You can't manage your necktie." Dolly reached up, ran her hands around back of his neck to take the twist out of the offending item, then brought the ends down, frowned a little as she gauged which end went how far and where, then with a few quick thrusts and tugs, she had his cravat Windsor-knotted, puffed out a little at the top: she ran two fingers into his vest pocket and came up with a stick-pin, thrust it precisely into the center, secured its back, then unbuttoned his vest, smoothed down the tie and buttoned him back up. "There," she said, nodding: "Mr. Landers, you are a fine figure of a man." Tom Landers gave Dolly a long, steady look, then said quietly, "And you are a fine figure of a woman, Dolly," and there was something in his voice that told Dolly his visit was not entirely to tend a recalcitrant necktie. Inge, too, wore a new gown, though it was the livery of her office, and not the weeds of a lady of society: she was a woman who loved life and loved the living of it, but she loved what she did, and what she did for the Sheriff and his wife, was to nursemaid their young, and so Inge rode with Esther and the children: Esther and Angela wore matching gowns, and of course the twins were but babes and wore the ruffled flannel sacks that were the open-skirted and ubiquitous garment of the infant: the sole concession to tonight's festivities were pink ruffles on Ruth's flannel, and blue embroidery on her brother's. If one were to peer into a magic glass, one might note that Esther's gown and Angela's, Bonnie's gown and her girls' dresses, and Dolly's gown, were all of the same material, and of the same cut, and one might wonder if this were some coincidence, or if there was perhaps a plot, a purpose, behind this feminine uniformity. Sarah's gown was unique; Bonnie saw to that: it was original, there were none of its hue or its cut, and that suited Bonnie's purpose, just as it had suited her purpose to prepare the other ladies' gowns that evening.
  6. Linn Keller 2-8-13 Bonnie watched, but did not interrupt, as Sarah and Levi held their conference. Sarah was in profile, as was Bonnie's husband. Sarah's expression was fluid, mobile: one moment, anxious and uncertain; another, and she was beautiful and smiling: her hands clasped his, and for a moment, Bonnie was grateful this was her daughter and not a rival, for Sarah was becoming an absolutely beautiful young woman ... the effect more pronounced for her gown, her coiffure, her ... Bonnie's eyes stung for a moment as she remembered a similar moment when she too was young and beautiful, back in the Carolinas, before a cotillion, when she too was anxious for the counsel -- or perhaps the assurance, the approval -- of her own Papa. There was a formal coming-out party, back on the plantation, and Bonnie leaned against the wall, remembering ... she had been the Belle of that particular Ball, and a remarkable night it was ... The Sheriff made his bed among a few rocks in the middle of a meadow; Cannonball grazed nearby, an alert picket and faithful sentry if ever there was one: he made no fire, for he wished to give the world no signal of his presence. While Jacob was knotting his necktie, the Sheriff was spreading coarse blankets; while Joseph's hair was being slicked down by motherly hands, the Sheriff pulled of his boots and lay on a hard mattress: and a pair of green eyes gazed through a window into the darkness, looking toward the shadows that blocked the stars, those granite sentinels where Esther knew her husband traveled that night, and she breathed a prayer for the lawman's safety. The Welsh Irishman frowned at his boots. They gleamed in the lamplight. The Welsh Irishman rubbed a restless hand over his cheeks. They were barbered and smooth, flawless ... he stared in the mirror at the stranger who stared back at him. He wore his only suit. It was well made and of good material, it was brushed and clean and quite presentable, and he wondered ... his stomach sank, as many a man's will, as he contemplated all that could go ill ... he wondered whether this daughter of wealth and privilege, whether this lovely creature of whom he dreamed and thought and wondered, and for whom he'd gone to the trouble of getting dressed up and got all clean and sweet-smelling ... might she reject him, a simple fireman, a working man with little to offer, and she with a great and fine house and fine horses and an inheritance! A big, meaty hand clapped down on his shoulder and Sean's voice, quiet in his ear, growled, "Lad, I know th' expression. 'Tis the same as my own the night I proposed to ma Daisy." He grasped the man's shoulders, turned him so the two faced one another squarely. "Ye are a good man an' ne'er doubt that. Ye are upright an' honest an' there's no better qualification than that." Sean grinned, his eyes bright: the rest of the Brigade came crowding into the bunkroom: all were presentable and clean, all were tonsured and barbered and fit to present to decent company: Llewellyn was the only one in a suit, by order of their big red-headed Chieftain, and Sean continued, squeezing Llewellyn's shoulders gently, "An' there's one thing more!" Llewellyn's eyebrow raised a little and Sean saw the grin start at the man's eyes. "Ye're one of a handful o' men, an' we here are all there is, who ha'e th' stones t' be FIREMEN!" The Brigade yelled affirmation behind him, thrusting fists into the air, turning to one another, nodding briskly. "No' a man i' this town is as much a MAN as are we!" Sean declared, his hand flat between Llewellyn's shoulder blades, guiding him away from the mirror: "Let us go forth, then, for th' quarry tonight is the heart of the fair maid!" The Brigade surged forward, grinning, pounding their fellow on the shoulders and on his back, yelling encouragement. Sean raised his hands and roared wordlessly, and the Brigade fell back, and the silence that followed was deafening. Sean glared for a full circle round about, then turned again to Llewellyn. "The ring?" he rumbled. Llewellyn reached into his off pocket, considering, then raised his chin, his jaw hard and set. "No," he said. Sean stopped, blinked. "Eh?" "I'll no' go like this." "Ye'll ... man, wha' are ye sayin'?" "This is no' me!" the Welshman yelled, his face reddening. "I'll no' fly under a false flag!" He turned and shoved between his fellows, heading for his bunk, tearing at his knotted cravat and muttering. "Out, lads," Sean said quietly, and the Brigade withdrew, gathering instead in the kitchen. The Welsh Irishman joined them in a very few minutes, wearing his newest, his best uniform. "NOW!" he shouted. "BY GOD, SAINT PATRICK AND SAINT FLORIAN, I'LL STAND BEFORE HER AS MESEL'!" The Brigade formed up and departed the firehouse, heading up the snow packed street to the Silver Jewel. "Lad," Sean rumbled as they walked, "th' ring?" Llewellyn patted his bib front, where a little bulge betrayed the presence of its small box. "Aye," he said, nodding.
  7. Charlie MacNeil 2-7-13 "We," Fannie declared tartly, "are going to be late!" "Not to worry, my love," her husband answered, chuckling. "We're a mere two miles from town, the horses are still fresh, it's a beautiful time of the day, and we have a standing reservation at the Jewel. Life is good." "That's easy for you to say," she went on. "You don't have nearly as many layers to install on your homely carcass as I do my own," she smiled primly, but there was a saucy gleam in her emerald eyes, "more shapely one." "And quite shapely it is, my dear," Charlie replied, urging the pair of roan geldings to a faster pace with a shake of the reins. "You know I'm always willing to assist you in such endeavors." "Your talents lie more in the direction of removal of layers than their addition, Sugar," Fannie laughed. "I'll just have to muddle through on my own." "The results are always spectacular either way, Darlin'," Charlie assured his shapely bride. The outskirts of Firelands hove into view, their outlines limned in gold by the rapidly setting sun. The couple's buckboard rolled smartly down the main street to the front porch of the Silver Jewel, where Charlie drew the team to halt, stepping down and offering his hand to Fannie. "You head on in, I'll bring your 'bags'," he glanced significantly at the small steamer trunk lashed down in the bed of the wagon, "then take the team to visit their Uncle Shorty while you get started with the transformation." He let his gaze glide the length of her curvaceous form. "Though I'm thinking there ain't much to transform." "You," Fannie said with a smile, "are a very bad man." She kissed him quickly then turned to take the stairs to the Jewel's broad veranda in measured, sinuous steps, knowing her tight trousers were catching the attention of not only her husband but every other warm-blooded male in the immediate vicinity. Charlie followed her progress keenly until she reached the top step before turning to begin loosening the lashings holding his bride's luggage in the wagon bed. His last thought as she disappeared through the Jewel's elegantly etched glass doors was I hate to see her go, but I love to watch her leave!. He chuckled as he lifted the trunk from the wagon bed and strode up the steps himself to set the trunk before the hotel's front desk.
  8. Linn Keller 2-7-13 A dance, a ball, a Cotillion, was always an Event: the men wore neckties and the ladies, fine gowns; faces were scrubbed, whiskers shaved, hair cut, boots polished: much fuss and bother was given over to Looking Just Right: a dance, whether a square dance at a barn raisin' or after a husking bee, or a more formal affair with musicians imported for the occasion, was a short reprieve from the labors of every day life. Men and women rode in or drove a surprising distance for these times. Chief among the jewels displayed were the young, single, marriageable ladies: chief among the attendees were the marriageable men, mostly young, but not all. The Irish Brigade, of course, was there, and among them, one nervous young man with his hair slicked down and carefully barbered, his face precisely shaved (by one of his fellows: his hands shook so that he feared nicking himself), his uniform clean, immaculate, new boots polished to a high shine ... and tucked safely behind his red wool bib front, a small box. The Sheriff rode unerringly through the evening and into the dark; both he and his red mare had eyes for the dark, and followed the path unerringly as it wound through the mountains. It would take him until sunup to get to the little ranch; it would not take long after that to transact his business. He had three sets of irons in his saddlebag and some piggin string besides: he hoped to leave with three prisoners, and no holes in them, but he was not a fool and knew better than to get his hopes up. Jacob frowned in the mirror. Little Joseph stood beside him and frowned as well. Jacob stroked his chin meditatively. Little Joseph stroked his own in imitation. Jacob looked down at his serious-faced son. "Joseph," he said, "I believe we need to shave." "Yes, sir," Little Joseph nodded solemnly. "Fetch up that chair and stand up here." Little Joseph seized the high back chair and pushed it over beside his Pa. Jacob stepped a little to the side. "Stand up here." Little Joseph climbed up on the chair, stood. Jacob spun lather in the shaving cup, looked at the mirror, looked at his son. "I can't do this face-on," he muttered, sliding the chair squarely in front of the mirror and standing behind Joseph. Little Joseph faced the mirror. Jacob situated his head just above Joseph's, took the shaving brush and proceeded to lather his little boy's face, then his own: one cheek on Joseph, one cheek of his own; the other cheek of Joseph, the other cheek of his own; Joseph's under-jaw, then his own; Joseph's chin, and finally his own. "We won't shave your mustache," Jacob said quietly, and little Joseph grinned, then resumed his stolid mien. Jacob turned and stropped his straight razor. "I stoned this a couple minutes ago," he said, "but I have to get the wire edge off." "Yes, sir." Jacob turned to the mirror, gave his cheek an experimental touch of the blade, leaned closer to the mirror and frowned. "Joseph," he said as his son frowned as well, "it's important to frown when you make your first stroke." He shaved another half inch of his own cheek and frowned to illustrate the point. Little Joseph positively glared at the mirror. "Just like that," Jacob nodded. "Now hold still. We need to get those whiskers off you." Little Joseph held absolutely, positively, stock still, not out of fear of a razor nick, but because it's what his Pa wanted, and he was determined to please his Pa. "The heels are higher than what you are used to," Bonnie murmured, "but you are so lovely wearing them!" Sarah laughed. "If they are so lovely," she smiled, her eyes mischevious, "why do we hide them under a dress?" Bonnie gave her daughter a knowing look and started to say something when they heard Levi pass by the closed door. Sarah turned quickly, her gown flowing as she turned: she did not so much walk, as float, to the door: Bonnie knew just how to fix her hair to compliment her face, she wore dangling little ear-bobs and a cameo, her little girl looked so grown-up -- and Sarah seized the door knob, pulled the door quickly open and was gone. Bonnie blinked, hairbrush in hand, then sighed and turned to her mirror, hoping Sarah's absence would not be too lengthy. Sarah skipped after Levi, seized his arm, fell in beside him. Levi stopped, turned: he blinked and regarded this lovely young lady suddenly on his arm: he bowed, raised her knuckles to his lips and murmured, "Forgive me, my dear, I do not believe we have been properly introduced." Sarah gave him a long look with dark eyes, deep eyes beneath long lashes: she took an uncertain breath and said in an uncertain voice, "I'm scared." Levi blinked, turned his head a little as if to bring a good ear to bear. "Eh?" "This way." Sarah tugged at his arm and the pair continued down the hall and into the parlor. "Levi," she said, "dance with me." Levi extended a hand, and Sarah took it: they moved, stepped, turned: Sarah was spun, paced out, paced back: they executed the several maneuvers associated with the various dance steps they expected to encounter, and not until Sarah had tried each one at least three times was she ready to nod and change the subject. "Now I need your advice," she said solemnly, her hand on his arm. "As I am able," Levi murmured. Sarah took a long breath, her lashes lowered; Levi saw her bite her bottom lip as she considered. "Levi," she said quietly, "I have faced up to and faced down large and angry people bearing a variety of weapons. I have been shot, stabbed, cut, run over and run into and I walked the drawbar of a runaway stage in my frillies." She looked up at the man and he saw her face was a little pale. "Levi, I knew what to do. Every time, I knew what was right. "Here ..." Levi saw her young bosom heave twice before she continued and he thought My God! she's feminine! -- and for a moment he felt the same mental imbalance that any father feels when he realizes his little girl isn't a little girl anymore. "What if I make a fool of myself?" Sarah worried aloud, her voice quiet. "What if I say something that ... what if he ... Mr. Llewellyn ..." She looked up at the tall agent, her hand tightening on his coat sleeve, squeezing the lean-muscled arm beneath with her gloved hand. "I'm scared," she whispered. I could have wired the jurisdictional county, the Sheriff thought. Cannonball moved easily at a fast walk; this was plenty fast for his purposes, it did not tire his mount at this altitude, and it gave them both plenty of time to assess the trail ahead. Cannonball's hooves were loud in the nighttime cold; her breath and the Sheriff's plumed out as they exhaled. I probably should have let him know I would be operating in his county. I don't want their interference. I know the old man and he knows me. No, better to handle it this way. "Now pull your mouth over like this. That stretches the skin." Little Joseph pursed his lips and twisted them 'way off to the side. Jacob carefully, gently, passed the razor's honed edge down his son's downy-fuzz cheek, scraping off lather and imagination but little else, then he wiped the lather on his towel and made an identical stroke down his own cheek. It was taking him well more than twice as long to shave, he knew, but he was enjoying himself, and he would get to the cotillion to serve as Sarah's escort -- or one of them -- in plenty of time. Annette watched from the doorway, leaning against the casing, smiling, for there is something precious about father and son in such a moment. Sarah waited until the moment was right. She eased stockinged feet out of her backless shoes, cat-footed into her Mama's room, opened the closet door: There, she thought, bending down: she slipped into another pair of shoes, fastened the instep straps, took a few experimental steps, twirled. Much better, she thought. Mama was right. A higher heel makes it easier to dance.
  9. Linn Keller 2-5-12 "I'll get changed," Sarah said, hanging her pointer from the screw eye in its handle end. "Yes," the Sheriff said. "I want you in that sky-blue gown, the one with a little lace at the sleeves and the neck." Sarah raised one eyebrow. "Very well," she said slowly. "I ... shall do so, of course." Jacob's eyes were half-lidded; the Sheriff could almost hear the gears turning between his son's ears. "Jacob." "Yes, sir?" "Jacob, did Mr. Llewellyn not say the cotillion was tonight?" "He did, sir." "And did he not ask my permission to escort Sarah to said cotillion?" "He did, sir." "And I believe my reply was in the affirmative." "It was, sir." The two looked at Sarah. "You have a rather important appointment," the Sheriff said quietly. Sarah glared at her father. "I am not a side of beef, to be auctioned off to the highest bidder," she said quietly, a dangerous edge to her voice, and the Sheriff felt his daughter's anger rise like heat radiating from a cast iron stove. "At ease," he said gently, raising a forestalling palm: "we cannot sweep down upon them, nor can we seize the guilty, until we know who they are." "Yes, sir," Jacob said, frowning a little, listening closely. The Sheriff carefully closed both the watch's covers. "I believe," he said, "this will be my ticket to the truth." "They may not wish to be taken," Sarah said, her voice tight: she reminded the Sheriff of a lean and hungry hound, ready to course after its quarry, needing only a word to loose it like a living arrow. "Of course the won't," the Sheriff said. "Which is why I am going alone." "What?" Jacob and Sarah blurted: they looked at each other, then both looked at the Sheriff and said in chorus, "I'm sorry, sir, I ... what?" "You both know I do nothing without planning," the Sheriff explained patiently, a half-smile tightening the corners of his eyes: "I need to plan, and I plan well in the saddle, and I shall ... go take a look at the ... situation. Once I am satisfied of the quarry, then the hunt begins." Sarah opened her mouth, then closed it. Jacob blinked, considering that a closed mouth utters no mistakes, and kept his in that wise. Sarah was not content to let well enough be. She walked up to her Papa, looking very much the proper young schoolmarm. "Papa," she said, "please stand up." The Sheriff looked at her, a wry smile on his face. "Are you going to kick me in the shin again?" "Only if you deserve it," she said tartly, and the Sheriff chuckled, for she sounded so much like her Mama when she said it. He stood. Sarah glared at him over her spectacles, her eyes bright. "I was wrong," she said, "and I apologize." The Sheriff looked down at the young woman before him and raised one eyebrow. "I am not a side of beef," Sarah continued, "and you did not auction me off. It was wrong of me to say that." The Sheriff nodded. "Yes," he agreed. "It was." Sarah raised an admonishing finger, thrust herself against her Papa, shaking her finger at his face. "If you go and get yourself killed," she said, her voice tight, "I -- I ... I'll never speak to you again!" The Sheriff tried hard not to laugh. Honest.
  10. Linn Keller 2-5-12 The Sheriff sat down on one of the backless benches, Jacob on another: Sarah drew out her high-backed chair, settled herself in it with a smoothing of skirts and a prim folding of hands. "Good Lord," Jacob said quietly, "she looks the part, don't she?" "Don't make her mad," the Sheriff warned. "She has a knuckle crackin' ruler and she knows how to use it." Sarah gave them a patient look over her round lens spectacles. The Sheriff leaned forward, elbows on his knees, twisting his lower back a little and frowning. "What do we know so far?" he asked rhetorically. Jacob stood, paced slowly to the blackboard: he picked up a lump of chalk, wrote quickly, his print regular and clear. Driver shot. Alive. Guard fell. Alive. Ambush -- He looked at Sarah. "Gobbler's Knob," she said. "Stands to reason," Jacob muttered, writing the name after the word ambush. Number? He looked at Sarah. "Three," she said, rising. Jacob wrote the number 3, put the chalk back in its trough, turned. "Report." Sarah walked slowly to the chalkboard, picking up a tapered hardwood pointer: tapping it twice against the edge of the chalkboard to punctuate that she was about to speak, she addressed the lawmen as if delivering a lecture. "Testimony from three children, three separate families. Three strangers were seen skulking at Gobbler's Knob" -- she turned a little, tapped the printed location with the black tip of her pointing stick -- "one holding the horses, one lookout and one laying wait. One shot fired, the stage whipped up and got away, the three swore terribly and believed the shot missed. The stage went west, they three went east, then south." The Sheriff's eyes never wavered from Sarah, who continued lecturing. "Children are curious and children are sneaky and children are competitive. Two of the three slithered close and listened as the trio debated their course of action. They were agreed that having shot at the driver, that pursuit would be swift, but as nobody was shot, pursuit would not last long and their getaway would be assured. "They are for the old trail south, their destination Rabbitville. "Apparently there was some discussion as to this destination. The measles seem to be likened to the plague and two were reluctant until their leader stated that nobody would come after them with death stalking the streets." Sarah smiled a little. "My words, not his. The witness quoted the speaker as saying nobody would come where people are a-dyin'. "The other two then asked why they should go if people are a-dyin', as they do not wish to die, and their leader laughed and said the measles are long gone but it leaves a bad reputation. "They three agreed, saddled up and rode off." Sarah reached into a hidden pocket, withdrew a watch on a length of fine chain, apparently broken from its fob. "They dropped this." She paced over to the Sheriff, handed him the watch. The Sheriff ran the fine-link chain through his fingers, looked at its end, turned the watch over, pressed the stem to open the covers front and back. He read inside the back cover, looked at something in the front cover, handed it to his son. "I know the family," he said quietly. "I know where they'll be."
  11. Somehow or other, I don't remember how, my wife became Yo Momma when talking to the kids about her...
  12. Linn Keller 2-4-12 Children in any age and in any land are ... children. Schoolchildren have a common trait: they are fast -- and never so fast as when school is dismissed. The Sheriff debated momentarily whether he should clap his hand to his head to keep his hair from being sucked from his thinning scalp, so sure was he that the rapid departure of young humanity would form a spinning slipstream that would strip his head absolutely bald. He looked over at Jacob, who had a good grip on his hat: apparently something of the kind occurred to the chief deputy as well. Sarah waved at the few who turned to pipe a departing "Bye, Miz Sarah!" -- then she drew the doors shut and folded her hands primly in her apron. "Jacob," the Sheriff said, "discovered the location." Sarah regarded her pale-eyed brother, frowned a little, turned and looked around the tidy little schoolhouse. Her bottom lip pressed up against her top teeth, then she said "Follow me," and headed for the front of the room. Jacob and his father looked at each other, then followed the self-assured young woman. Sarah bent, reached under her desk: she pulled out a stool, set it beside the desk and said "Now you two stand there. Just like that, thank you." Sarah stepped up on the stool, folded her hands again and nodded. "That's better," she said. "I was getting a crick in my neck, looking up at the both of you." She frowned at Jacob. "You're as tall as he is. Shouldn't you stop growing?" Jacob and the Sheriff looked at one another, surprised. "I may be in trouble," the Sheriff admitted, smiling a little: "I didn't hit my full growth until I was ... what, twenty five years old or so?" Sarah's mouth opened a little as she regarded Jacob with wide and appraising eyes. "You're ... six foot two now ... and you're ... oh, dear ..." "Never mind that," Jacob said impatiently, waving his hand: "what did you find?" "Location, description, identity, cohort, escape route and intended destination." "Eh?" "They're long gone." Jacob and the Sheriff exchanged a hard look; Sarah could not help but consider that not only were father and son equally broad of shoulder, lean of waist and of a like height -- they both bulged their jaw muscles the same when they were not terribly happy. Both men looked at Sarah and spoke with one voice: "Whither away?" Sarah waved her hands, stepped off the stool, thrust it back under her desk. "This, this, this is just too much," she declared, sounding almost like a clucking chicken -- an irritated clucking chicken -- "If little Joseph turns out like the two of you, God help us all!" "What?" Jacob asked, looking at his father with honest puzzlement; the Sheriff shrugged. "How much like the two of you am I?" Sarah asked, and Jacob smiled at the distress in her voice: he stopped the laugh that bubbled up in his soul as Sarah thrust a finger at his chin: "Don't," she warned. "Don't you dare laugh!" Jacob's ears turned red and he grinned and looked at his grinning father and he could not help himself. He laughed. Sarah's eyes went pale but her cheeks were red and she stiffened her arms at her side, her hands fisted and her shoulders drawn up; with an "Ooooohh!" of exasperation, she turned away, then turned back, shaking her Mommy-finger at her brother: "I told you not to laugh!' -- at which point Jacob laughed all the harder, leaning down a little, bracing palms on his knees, surrendering himself to an absolute attack of mirth. Sarah's lips peeled back and she cocked a fist and Jacob's hand shot out, his palm flat on her forehead, and Sarah swung, missing: her arm was too short to hit Jacob, but she tried -- a roundhouse right, a left, a right again, each punctuated by an angry grunt, and Jacob, his arm stiff, laughed all the harder: Sarah tried a kick, with a similar lack of success, and Jacob gave up, gathering his sister into his arms and throwing his head back, howling his mirth to the ceiling -- at least until her sharp little knuckles drove into his ribs. She didn't really hurt him, she certainly didn't cause any damage, because her anger was dissolving and dissolving fast under the solvent of his honest laughter. Jacob picked her up, pinning her arms to her sides, then he sat down and Sarah's feet hit the floor and she popped out of his grip like a cork out of deep water: she reached over into the corner and seized a broom, spinning it about its center of gravity, eyes pale, hair fairly a-bristle, and Jacob pointed at her and sagged, beyond all hope of laughter now, his mirth so powerful he could barely make a choking, gasping sound: his face was utterly red, he was crying he was laughing so hard, and he slid out of the seat and to the floor. The Sheriff was trying without much luck to hide his own mirth behind a scar-knuckled hand: Sarah glared at him, drove the end of the broom handle into the floor with a sharp, woody sound, and glared at the tall, skinny old lawman. Sarah glared at Jacob, then at the Sheriff, then at Jacob again, and then shook her finger at one and then the other. "Do you know" -- her voice was harsh -- "do either of you two know how hard it is not to LAUGH??" Sarah waited, her anger washing away like snow melt, smiling now at the two lawmen as they shared a good laugh, and the sound of father and son in agreeable mirth was good to hear. "I," Sarah said, "must have looked like an absolute fool." She looked at the broom, parked it back in the corner. "But a very pretty fool," the Sheriff offered, and this time Sarah laughed as well: she walked up to her Papa, laid a gentle hand on his breast, then hauled off and kicked him in the shin just as hard as she could. "OOWWW!!!" the Sheriff yelled, jumping back, and Jacob and Sarah laughed just as hard as the two men laughed a moment before. "Your turns is coming," Sarah warned, shaking her finger at Jacob. Sarah waited until the Sheriff quit hopping on one foot and Jacob quit sounding like a chicken laying a paving brick, before speaking further. "Now if you two think you can act like grown-ups instead of silly featherheads, we'll talk about the case at hand."
  13. Linn Keller 2-4-13 The phrase "A woman's work is never done" was truer in the Firelands era than today: laundry was done by hand, unless you had one of those fancy Sears and Sawbuck machines, or prosperous enough to patronize the Chinese laundry: men, too, labored all day long, and children were expected to work from the time they were big enough to follow Ma or Pa around. It was a way of life, it was expected, it was accepted; still, there were moments ... Annette, for instance, found time enough from her constant labors to run out to the board fence and stare in amazement at their bull, contentedly walking about the pasture, with little Joseph astride his shoulders: the bull seemed content to have a passenger, and Joseph had a grin on his face that lit up the countryside like a cloudless sunrise. Annette watched this sight for a bit, until the bull spotted her and came trotting over for attention and a sweet roll; the big bovine closed his eyes with pleasure and grunted with contentment as Annette petted it and rubbed his ears and called him a fine, big fellow, like she did when he was a cute little bull calf -- "boocaffie," as little Joseph called him then -- and finally Annette reached up and pulled Joseph off, swinging him down and swatting his bottom gently with a, "Back to the house, young man, you have chores to do!" -- at which little Joseph said both, "Aawww, Maaaa," like any little boy, then he slipped behind her to pat the bull's neck: "Bye, Boocaffie!" and he slid neatly between the fence rails and scampered for the house. "How is he?" Jacob asked quietly. The Sheriff drew the sheet slowly, respectfully over the still form. Jacob, still standing in the doorway, hat in his hand, closed his eyes: Doc Greenlees saw Jacob's free hand close slowly into a fist. "If you mean the driver," Doc said quietly, "he's in the next room, asleep. This was a miner. Took a tamping rod through the gut." Jacob's eyes opened and he regarded the sheeted form, then the physician. "Steel rod?" he asked quietly. Doc Greenlees gestured; Jacob crossed the room, picked up the murderous implement: it was indeed steel, and likely threw a spark when the miner was tamping powder for the next underground shot. "They usually use wood," he said with a sigh. Doc nodded. "How about the shotgun guard?" "Hunt? He's awake, finally. The man thinks he murdered some girl, knocked her off the side of the stage." "If he remembers where the bushwhacker hid I'll be tickled." "Go in and ask him." It took until noon for a student to screw up the courage to sidle up to Miss Sarah and tug at her sleeve: their conference was in low voice, behind Miss Sarah's big desk. Emboldened, another waited impatiently, then took his turn at divulging what he'd heard. Sarah nodded, thanking each student in their turn: she waited another hour, hoping for more: getting none, she stepped to the window, the one with a little sun still slanting in it, and looked out. The Sheriff opened his office door, looked around the way he always did, stepped out, turning to pull the door shut. Sarah raised a little mirror, the kind women carry to make sure their hair is just so or their face paint is not smeared; she held it up, wiggled it a little, shooting a beam through the window, across the street, across her Papa's eyes as he turned. She lowered the mirror, waved delicately: the Sheriff raised his hat in acknowledgement, then crossed the street, heading for the schoolhouse. Jacob, coming out of the hospital, saw his Pa headed across the way. Jacob thrust his foot into the stirrup, swung easily into the saddle, kneed Apple-horse toward the older lawman with the lean waist and the iron-grey mustache.
  14. 13 grains of Titewad, same hull, wad, etc.
  15. As I said, this is for a cabin rifle rather than SASS. Thanks!
  16. After loading a few last night and playing with OAL, crimp, etc. I’ve pretty much decided to save the 185’s for ACP loads and get a different weight for the 45 Colt rifle loads. The 185’s cycled fine but I’m just not happy with the whole picture. Thanks again for all of your input, folks.
  17. Thanks for your input, folks. I will definitely keep it all in mind as I'm sneaking up on this project.
  18. I use a Lee Factory Crimp die on all of my reloads. Thanks!
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