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Father Kit Cool Gun Garth

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Posts posted by Father Kit Cool Gun Garth

  1. Lucas had always wanted to be a cowboy, growing up on his Uncle's ranch. 
    He lost both his parents to cholera while in a wagon train heading to Wyoming from North Dakota. They suffered and died quickly as there was no medical attention to be had. Lucas was quickly quarantined, and survived.
    His mother's brother and his wife took him in, raising him since he was eight years old.
    Looking back now, he understood why his Uncle Clayton and Aunt Becky made him do the chores he was required to perform. Up at the crack of dawn to feed the chickens, gather their eggs. Provide hay to the horses in the barn and clean their stalls. Even milk the cows on occasion. All life lessons required to learn responsibilities.
    Then there was Church every Sunday regardless of the weather. Pastor Sullivan was a tall, thin rail of a man with short black hair so dark, it appeared to be painted on his head. His clothing was impeccably tidy, and he always wore a fresh cut flower on his lapel. Folks rumored it was in memory of his late wife. His fire and brimstone sermons are still etched in Lucas's memory.
    But the best part of his time at the ranch was learning to be a cowboy. Uncle Clay, as he called him, taught him his riding skills and how to handle a horse that makes you a team, one with each other, and knowing the next move even before the other did. Roping was next, and man that was hard. Learning the differences between a lasso which is made from stiff rope so that the noose stays open when it's thrown, and a lariat which has a small reinforced loop at one end, through which the rope passes to form a loop, and when to use each one. Combining those learned skills into roping cattle became second nature. And finally, shooting a rifle and pistol. Clayton was a shotgun messenger riding stagecoaches for Wells Fargo. He told him many tales of his adventures warding off would be robbers and Indian attacks. Although he was deadly with his Greener Double Barrel Hammer Damascus Shotgun, he favored his 1873 Winchester. He was also known to handle his sidearm, a .36 caliber 1851 Colt Navy Revolver, with the best of them. Lucas spent every available free time practicing and honing his long range rifle accuracy and his lightning fast, dead on proficiency with a revolver.
    Yet here he was standing with a pitchfork, about to shovel horse manure, cleaning out horse stalls.
    "Quit your day dream'in son! I ain't paying you to just stand there," came the loud obnoxious voice, quickly shattering his drifting thoughts.
    "Yes Sir, Mr. Hammond, Sir," Lucas replied in his best apologetic voice.
    "Well, don't just stand there, get those stalls cleaned out, and when you're through, head over to the bunkhouse and clean it up! Those no good hired hands are the messiest bunch this side of the river."
    And with that, headed back to the main house.
    All Lucas wanted at this moment was to be a real cowboy.

  2. They say time heals all wounds; however, in Kit's case, that was only half true.
    The loss of his wife and only child were buried in his heart for eternity, never to be healed.
    His gunshot wound was another story.
    Doc Waite had made a courtesy visit first thing this morning. Checking his wound after removing the bandages, he was pleased to report that Kit was healing faster than expected.
    "How's the side?", he asked.
    Kit hesitated before answering, as if to contemplate the corresponding response from Charlie.
    "Still sore. Had a rough night last night, but not as bad as it's been. Looking forward to getting back on my feet again."
    Charlie finished rewrapping the wound as he countered, "Don't be in such a rush that you bust my stitches!"
    "I'll do my best," Kit replied.
    With that Charlie packed up his satchel, grabbed his hat and bid good day as he left the room.
    As he approached the stairs, Venus was coming up with a plate full of food.
    "Good Morning, Charlie," she said in her soft toned voice.
    Grabbing the brim of his hat and nodding as he stepped aside to let her pass, "Good Morning as well, Ms. Lardy". He purposely avoided using her first name, so as to exude a professional, gentlemanly appearance. "Here to see my patient?" he added, knowing full well that was her intention.
    A slight blush immediately appeared on her face as she stammered, "Thought some good food would help him regain his strength."
    "He was definitely blessed to have you come by when you did. Most likely would have bled out."
    With that, they parted ways, Charlie heading back to his office, as Venus approached Kit's room and knocked softly on the door.


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  3. As Kit lay restless in bed, he could now hear the shouts of various townsfolk, as they were trying to assess the current situation.
    "Over there at the jail!" exclaimed one person. "Someone get the Sheriff!" yelled another. The overall uproar took over the previously serene quiet of the night.
    Kit's thoughts went back to yesterday's events, trying to recall exactly what happened out on the range. A single shot, laying on the ground, the appearance of Venus, and then the doc's office. It all seemed a blur, as he vaguely remembered getting help to his room, but after that nothing until these shots rang out. 
    Even with the commotion going on in town, it wasn't long before he fell back off to sleep.



    Frank "Flapjack" Milt had made his way back to East Fork, still gloating over his recent victory. Heading to the Saloon, he tied his horse up next to the water trough and entered through the batwing doors.
    Shimmying up to the bar, he pulled several loose coins from his pocket, tossing them onto the counter in a haphazard manner and grunted to the barkeep "Give me a Stone Fence and use one of your finest whiskeys, and best I don't see you water it down either, if you know what's good for you."

    Slim reached up to the highest shelf on the back wall, grabbing a half filled bottle of Old Kentucky, snatched a whiskey glass from the back counter, turning it right side up and filled it half full in front of the stranger so as not to deceive him. Reaching under the bar with his now free right hand, he...
    "Hold it right there!" Frank barked, as his right hand suddenly appeared above the bar, revolver already cocked, finger on the trigger. "You best not be reaching for no shotgun!"
    Slim's eyes grew wide as he froze momentarily, staring down the barrel of a Colt 45. "Just getting some ice," he replied.
    Frank return his gun to its holster as Slim rose holding two pieces of ice which he now placed in the whiskey glass. Turning around, he grabbed the bottle of cider on the lower shelf and proceeded to fill the remainder of the glass. A quick stir with a spoon and he slid the drink in front of Frank.
    Grabbing the drink, he turned toward the half-filled room and headed toward an empty table in the rear. Without turning his head, he commanded, "Now bring me one of them free lunches you're offer'in."
    Pulling the chair out and setting his drink on the table, he quickly scanned the room again making sure he was fully aware of his surroundings should a defensive move be called for. He then sat down, leaning the chair against the back wall,  placing his hat on the table,  and taking his first taste of his drink. 
    Soon lunch was delivered with a plate of smoked herring, some rye bread, and dill pickles. "Nothing fancy," he thought, "but it's free."
    Without fear of being recognized, he merely relaxed and enjoyed his drink and food.



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  4. The sound of gunshots awoke Kit from a deep sleep. Reaching under his pillow for his revolver, he lay attentive in the bed, his room lit up by the moonlight, casting eerie shadows throughout. He knew that any attempt to quickly jump into action would not be forthcoming based on his current condition.
    Just as he was getting his bearings, two more shots rang out. They were coming from the direction of the jail. 
    This time he decided to cautiously work his way to the edge of the bed, rising to a seated position. His right hand dropped his revolver on the bed as he worked his body upright, holding his left side where the doc had fixed him up. If he wasn't fully awake at this time,  the sharp pain in his side made sure he was. Now seated on the edge of the bed, he had a clear view out the only window in his room, of the north side of town. 
    In the distance he could see movement in front of the jail, but unable to determine what was happening, until the sound of a shotgun and its barrel  flash caught Kit by surprise.
    Soon to follow was a single shot and the night became suddenly quiet.
    Realizing he could be of no assistance in his condition, he eased himself back onto his pillow unable to fall back to sleep, concerned for the townsfolk that may be involved in the shootings, praying for their safety.


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  5. "Te tengo hijo de puta!" he exclaimed jubilantly. "I hope the buzzards chew on your sorry carcass for days," he said to himself as he lower the barrel of his Sharps rifle. His perch just below the Mesa provided him with the perfect vantage point with which to spot any rider on the road heading East out of town without spotting him. He liked that the backdrop of the mess made any rifle shot echo difficult to determine its source. On this day though it wasn't just anyone he wanted to kill , it was the preacher man.


    Placing the rifle in its scabbard, he took a few moments to get a swig of water from his canteen as he reveled in the moment he had been looking forward to for months.
    Opening his saddlebag he pulled out a faded rolled up piece of paper, holding it against his horse whilst staring at it for a time before reading it out loud, as if anyone could hear him.





    Glaring at the blurred image of someone who was supposed to look like him, he began to laugh. "If this is what they think I look like, they'll never find me!"

    "They don't even show the two inch scar on my left cheek I got when I was mauled by a mountain lion. Nor the piece of my right ear that got bit off by some miscreant by the name of Mike Stony during a brawl at a Saloon in Dodge City."
    "Diablos si me importa, ahora que 'El Predicator' esta muerto," he swore out loud, as he proceeded to tear the paper to shreds, tossing the pieces in the air and watching them scatter with the wind.
    Satisfied that his work was done, he mounted his horse and headed to town.

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  6. Not a word was spoken on the ride back to East Fork, as Kit was lost in thought as to who may have wanted him dead. When they finally arrived, stopping in front the doc's office, Venus exited the Surrey and began to come around the other side when the doc's assistant, Brodie stormed out of the office onto the boardwalk to assist her in getting Kit out of the Surrey and into the office. "What happened to this stranger, Miss Lardy?"
    "He was shot and was blessed enough to have not died. He's hurt bad though so I need Doc Waite to check him out."
    Upon entering the office, the stench of blood permeated the air and Venus found herself covering her nose with her free hand.
    "My word Charlie, what happened here?" she asked, almost choking on her words.

    "J. Mark assisted me on a leg amputation on some hombre he accosted at the diner trying to cheat at cards. Sawed the poor guys leg off! What a mess, and Brodie and I haven't had time to get the smell out," he replied apologetically.
    They then proceeded to place Kit on a clean table so Charlie could take care of his wound.
    You sure are lucky, stranger. Though the bullet missed vital organs, it sure torn a couple of nice sized holes in you,” Charlie chuckled, as if to take enjoyment in another mans’ misery. “I’ll sew 'em up, but you’ll need at least a couple of days rest for them to heal properly, and most likely, be in some pain as well.
    Thanks, doc, I……” Kit started to reply.
    Charlie cut him off midstream. “You needn’t thank me, thank Venus, as she did a mighty fine job of stopping the bleeding.” Charlie turned to Venus, giving her a wink of the eye.
    Where you stay’in?” Charlie inquired.

    I’ve got a room at the Hotel,” Kit responded.
    Turning to Brodie, Charlie told him “Once I get him patched up, take him to his Hotel room.

    Brodie merely nodded.

    Looking back at Kit, “I’ll come by and check on you in a day or two to make sure there is no infection.
    What few people were in the lobby of the Hotel when Kit and Brodie sauntered in the front door, stopped what they were doing to just stare at the two of them.

    Just taking him to his room,” Brodie mumbled to the desk clerk.
    Once they arrived at his room, Brodie asked if there was anything further he could help with, to which Kit replied there was not. With that, Brodie promptly left the room closing the door behind him.

  7. Looking down at him, a soft smile became noticeable as the edges of her mouth slowly curved upward, lips still pursed, until she spoke. "You are truly one blessed man, Mr. Garth. You've been shot, and by the grace of GOD, avoided death at the hands of some cowardly soul." As he raised his left arm to just above his waist to where he felt the stinging pain, she quickly grabbed it, lowering it back to his side again. "You'll not want to mess with it right now until we can get you to town to have the doc look at it", she insisted. Her touch was ever so soft and all he could do was take in the moment as it were.
    "How bad is it?" he asked through parched lips. Grabbing the canteen she had sat next to her, she replied as she undid its cap and gave him a drink of water, "The bullet missed its intended target, but not for lack of the shooters accuracy. You see, it ricocheted off the timepiece you had in your vest pocket, piercing the side of your abdomen. I'd say a long range rifle of sorts."
    "My watch!" he exclaimed, as if that was more important than his condition.
    "I'm sorry it is completely destroyed," she replied in a solemn tone. She reached into her jacket pocket where she had placed the watch after tending to his wound, retrieving it and showing it to Kit. A sadness fell over him as he stared at the once, magnificently crafted watch with its elaborately engraved etchings, now a piece of metal with a deep gouge on one side. Venus opened the timepiece with its bent, albeit still working latch to reveal the faded black and white photograph of Ann and Joshua. He began to sob, as she placed the pocket watch on his chest, reaching for his arm and placing his hand on it. He immediately placed a death grip on it so as to never have it leave him again.
    He was doublely blessed this day as Venus had set out this morning to compare the survey and deed descriptions to his paperwork before giving them to him. As she approached the property she heard the rifle shot, not knowing where it came from, but soon arriving where Kit had fallen, laying face up on the ground, Orion watching over him as if to say, "You'll have to come through me before you get to him!"
    They both waited in the shade of her Surrey until he felt well enough to move, which wasn't long. Helping him into the Surrey, she tied Orion off on the back and they all headed for town.

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  8. Bang, Bang, you’re dead!” Kit shouted exuberantly, as he placed his thumb hammer down on his index finger barrel of the imaginary Colt revolver, lifting it just in front of his lips and blowing softly, then calmly sliding it into his front pocket holster. Peering out from the dilapidated board-on-board fencing that once barricaded their cattle, Clayton returned fire followed by, “No you didn’t! You couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, even if you tried.”

    Before either could get another word out, came the sound of mama calling from the house. “You boys get in here and washed up for dinner. Your pa will be home shortly. Now don’t waste time, yah hear.”

    Kit and his younger brother knew better than to not heed the words of mama, resulting in their abrupt sprint to the house, racing to see who would get there first. That’s when Kit, in his attempt to make it onto the porch with a huge lead over his much shorter brother, jumped over the first two steps to save time and in doing so, caught his foot on the nose of the thread of the third step, falling face first onto the porch.

    His scream caused an immediate reaction from mama, who bolted out the front door. Seeing her son bleeding, kneeling, swept him in her arms and using her apron, began to hold it against the small cut just above his nose. Kit looked up seeing his mother who was now crying, her tears falling from her cheek and landing softly on his face, causing him to blink. Opening his eyes, he recognized those slender arched eyebrows, the dainty nose and blue eyes that were the face of……Venus!

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  9. When he arrived at the livery he was met by Shorty the blacksmith who the Marshall had recommended when he first arrived in East Fork. " Going for a ride? " Shorty inquired.
    "That I am." Kit responded. With that the blacksmith turned and disappeared down the long line of stalls, reappearing only moments later with Orion, handing his lead rope to Kit. "As you directed, I gave him a bath, brushed him out, changed his shoes and fed him. Oh, and I gave him the carrots you had requested, which he seemed quite pleased to get."
    "Thank you for taking good care of him for me," Kit said as he reached into his jacket pocket, procuring a single gold coin and placing it in Shorty's hand, and without any further remarks, mounted Orion and rode out past the Schoolhouse and Church, up Main Street and out of town heading east.
    About five miles outside of town, he arrived at the area he recalled seeing on the survey that Venus has spread out on the counter. Although not the exact spot, its location based on the sun's position in the sky in relation to the Mesa, was a good indicator. "500 acres," he thought to himself. "What man needs that much land." He began to wonder if the deal his grandfather had made with the railroad was a bargain or not. Yes there were a good amount of trees on the property; however, not as much green as he would have liked. Nothing around for miles. Riding on, he eventually came to a small winding creek that appeared to be running from the north as far as the eye could see. Stopping for a short break, he dismounted, grabbing his canteen and heading for the creek, Orion beat him to it, bending down and lapping the water as if this would be the last time he'd have the opportunity. Kit laughed to himself as he knelt down, removing the cap to his canteen and filling it with the sparkling, fresh, clean water.
    Placing the canteen back on his saddlebags, he took his hankerchief from his neck, dunking it into the cool water, removed his hat and wiped his brow and the back of his neck. He left the kerchief around his neck and put his hat back on.
    Next he opened one of his saddlebags and withdrew his spyglass to get a better look at the lay of the land. The views were not spectacular, although the mountain ranges way off in the distance, did provide a descent backdrop. The fact that the creek was a valuable source of water to the land and could easily irrigate for crops was a huge factor in making the land valuable. Maybe Kit was wrong about the deal his grandfather made.
    With both of them quenched, Kit returned the glass to his saddlebags, mounted and pulling the reins to the left, headed back to town.
    Without warning, a single shot rang out as Kit felt the burning sensation in his side as he fell backwards off of Orion, hitting the hard sandy earth, landing on his side and eventually resting on his back. Looking skyward his vision soon blurred and then darkness.


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  10. Kit changed directions and headed to the row of businesses on the adjoining street and to the small telegraph office he had seen when he first arrived in town. Stepping into the office he was met at the counter by a short, stout gentleman in a collarless shirt and dark green vest. His eyes were pitch black, the size of gold coins, easily seen by the overly magnified glasses he was wearing. Without any head covering, the shiny baldness of his head made his overall appearance that much more bewildering.
    "How may I help you this day," the telegrapher queried.
    "I'd like to send a telegram if I may," Kit replied.
    Grabbing a pencil and a small pad from the counter behind him, the telegrapher stood ready for the message.
    "Sheriff James York - Tarrant, Arizona (stop)
    Need more information on the identity of Frank J. Milt (stop)
    Must have distinquishable features noted (stop)
    Your friend, Ranger Cool (stop)"
    "What do I owe you?
    " Kit asked.
    "That will be $1.20, based on the number of words," the telegraph responded.
    Placing a single gold coin on the counter, two fingers firmly on its top, he slid the coin to him, and stated, "I can be reached at the hotel with the answer, and keep the change to pay for your courier services"
    The telegraphers already large eyes grew even larger seemingly ready to explode then answering with a pleasant, "Much obliged, Mister."
    With that, Kit turned and headed out the door, stopping on the boardwalk to ponder his next move.
    "I think I'll head out of town for a trip to check out the land I've just inherited. It'll help clear my mind." he mused to himself.
    Turning left on the boardwalk, he headed to the livery to get Orion.

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  11. The two Rangers were glad they were able to reminisce about past events, even though their meeting occurred at the oddest of times. Kit had inquired of Jack who these other fellows were that he was associating with. Turns out the tall one that handled the three men who accosted the redhead, was Ben Ward, who goes by the nickname Doc, and is a landowner for whom Jack is working for as a cover while hunting this Lefty character. The one who rides the mule is his best friend, Linn Keller. Keller's land borders Doc's ranch. The last gentleman in the pearl grey hat is an old friend of Keller, a former CSA Army Captain goes by Burcher. Kit had told Jack he would have to get some formal introductions later. They soon went their separate ways for now, vowing to stay in touch more often. As Kit left the diner heading to the hotel, he couldn't stop thinking about this Lefty Frezzel character that both Caulder and the Pinkertons were chasing. Could there be some connection with this man and the man he is after himself, Frank J. Milt? Shaking his head, his mind turned to more pleasant thoughts..... Venus!

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  12. Kit's mouth opened so far; a Wells Fargo stagecoach could have gone straight through it. Realizing how he must have looked, he quickly closed it now waiting for Venus to explain. Instead, she merely stood there letting him compose himself while she took in his discomfort.

    With the anticipation exhausted, she proceeded, "Apparently, you're a descendant of the Garthe family from Norway. Your grandfather, Christen Isachson Garthe, immigrated to the United States in 1842 and settled in Kentucky where carpentry was his trade. He bought stock in the Union-Pacific railroad and they later gave him land they acquired to put the rails through East Fork in return for redemption of his stock. You are the proud owner of 500 acres of land east of town!"

    Venus was surprised at Kit's reaction which was basically stoic, seemingly unconcerned with knowing about his heritage or the fact that he now owns land here in East Fork. She then continued, “If you wish, I’d like to prepare a new deed indicating you are now the rightful owner of the land.” Kit immediately replied, as if he were one step ahead of her, “Please do so, and let me know what I owe you once you are finished.” “It would be my pleasure,” she replied, “I should have it done by tomorrow.”

    With that, Kit again tipped his hat, turned, and left the Land Office heading to the diner for something to eat. Heading down the boardwalk, three rough cowboys exited the General Store some distance in front of him just past the Bank. Two women were heading the opposite direction, when one of the men pushed a petite, fiery redhead almost causing her to fall were it not for her friend catching her. Kit was ready to spring into action, as this was a behavior he abhorred, but before he could get there, a tall man approached the group and a scuffle ensued. Kit halted his approach as he could clearly see that the tall man could handle himself well, resulting in their subsequent defeat and arrest by UB, who proceeded to take them all to jail and lock them up.

    Entering the diner, Kit finds a quiet table in the back and orders up a meal. Good to have something other than beans while on the trail, he thought to himself. When his plate arrived, it boasted beef, potatoes, eggs, and sour-dough bread served with a hot cup of black coffee.

    Soon the men who seemed to always be together, UB, Jack Caulder, the tall man who fought the three men, and another gentleman wearing a pearl grey hat, entered the diner. They did not seem to notice Kit in the darkened corner as daylight was surrendering to night and it started to rain outside. They seemed too involved in their own conversation, which Kit was unable to make out in detail, but involved some scheme to outwit their intended target. Kit merely relaxed and enjoyed his meal, as it was none of his business, and he had no intention of making it his.

    Eventually the group of men left the diner replaced by the man who rode a mule, coming in from the rain dripping wet. Kit was able to leave without being recognized. 


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  13. "So, what can I do for you Mr. Kit? Venus asked, now seated comfortably in her chair, arms folded on her lap.

    "Please call me Kit, my last name is Garth. I've recently been handed a deed to some land around here and I wish to confirm that it's a valid claim before deciding what I want to do with it." He then proceeded to reach into his vest pocket, pulling out the yellowed, folded paper that J. Mark had given to him, unfolding it, and laying it on the desk in front of Venus.

    Moving forward, she pulled opened the right-hand drawer and retrieved a magnifying glass, and pulling the paper closer to her began to scan the document. After several minutes had passed, she placed the magnifying glass back into the drawer, closing it, then pushing her chair back and standing up she grabbed the paper and said, "Follow me."

    They both moved into the work area outside her office and as she approached one of the large plat cabinets lining the side walls, searching the labels on the outside, finding the one she was looking for and pulling it open, she stated with a decisive tone, "Your deed is valid and the original document". Before Kit could respond, she continued, "I want to verify the survey and plat to confirm our records match your deed to prevent any controversies that may arise, and Lord knows we've had our share of them!" she explained.

    Rifling through the stack of documents in the drawer she had pulled out, finding the one she was looking for, pulling it out and laying it on the counter closest to her. After diligently perusing the large document, she then moved to a row of smaller file cabinets on the opposite wall, opened the third drawer and retrieved a brown envelope.

    Closing the drawer and returning to the counter where Kit still stood watching this woman perform what appeared to be a well-choreographed dance, she placed the contents of the envelope on the counter and oblivious to the fact the he was still standing next to her, as if he didn't exist, began to scrutinize them.

    What seemed like hours, but in reality were only a few minutes, she stepped back from the counter, leaned against an opposing counter and folding her arms across her chest, gave Kit a Cheshire grin and stated, "Of Norwegian descent are we now, Mr. Garth!"





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  14. Kit was not expecting the voice on the other side of the door, he heard a woman’s voice say “How may I help you?” “I’m in need of verifying a land deed that was just provided to me,” Kit replied, still rattled, and stumbling with his speech. With that, there was a brief moment of silence, then the slow unlatching of the lock, turning of the doorknob and a small, but usable opening of the door so as to only allow conversation. “I’m not open for business yet, could you come back in say an hour?” she replied. Not wanting to be rude, Kit apologized for the interruption; however, insisted that this matter was of great importance to him. Another moment of silence, then the door opened fully.

    When it comes to door opening surprises, this was no J. Mark Flint!

    Standing in front of him was this vision of beauty such that he had never seen since the passing of his wife. Always the gentleman, it was not in his nature to stare.

    Her petite figure went well with her wafer-thin body. Her complexion was impeccable with a glow to it even in the dimly lit office. Slender arched eyebrows only enhanced her sweeping velvety eyelashes and with a dainty nose surrounded by twin rapture blue eyes that were the centerpiece to her coils of sunrise golden hair. Her heart-shaped lips, though pursed now, shined. Although attired in a flowing overly large plain white shirt and brown khaki pants with boots, it somehow did not diminish her overall appearance.

    Before introductions could be made, they were both startled by the appearance of another rider, this time on a mule with four trailing horses, bodies laying belly over saddle and hog-tied. As they rode toward the Sheriff’s Office, I turned back around, and the woman had already gone back to her office.

    Stepping into the room and closing the door behind me, I approached the office and found her sitting at her desk shuffling papers as if to ignore me on purpose. “You didn’t seem to be bothered by the sight of dead men being hauled into town,” Kit asked. “Obviously, you haven’t been in town long enough, as this has become a daily ritual ever since Hammond and his sons laid claim to land that doesn’t belong to them,” she scoffed. Sensing the tension in the air already, Kit attempted to resolve that situation. Doffing his hat and extending a hand in her direction, he introduced himself to her. “Name’s Kit, and it’s pleasure to make your acquaintance. My apologies for the interruption.” Another moment of silence, which he was beginning to think was part of her nature, and then she stood up and took his hand, shaking it while introducing herself, “I’m Venus Lardy, proprietor of this Land Office.”



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