Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter Forty-Five

"Well, that was much better than the tea cakes and watered down punch that the others are having in deference to the stomachs of those in a delicate condition."

I nodded agreeing with April Linder's statement but was looking at the Sheriff who had laid down and covered his face with his hat.  "Hmmm.  Does he snore or is he strangling on that last sandwich he inhaled?"

"Snores," April admitted.  "But only when he's badly tired.  He's been running himself ragged since Father's passing and is just as in danger of a relapse as everyone else though getting him to believe it is impossible."

I heard the tone of a loving and exasperated older sister and said, "Has Dr. Cummins prescribed anything?"

"Has but Daren refuses to take it ... the donkey's behind.  He hates being doctored on."

"Yes, I believe I have run into that trait myself.  Does he like garlic?"

"Excuse me?"

"Garlic?  Will the Sheriff eat it?"

From under his hate a muffled voice said, "Love the stuff."

"Good.  I shall fix you a pot of garlic and greens broth and you shall add it as a first course to your muncheon and supper and I'll have Mrs. Cooksey make sure there is a good garlic marmalade for your breakfast.  It may be that the ne'er do wells will smell you coming but by spring we will have you completely over your fatigue ... assuming you do not do something ridiculously heroic and set yourself back."

"No fears Widow.  I detest heroics, they usually wind up unnecessarily messy and cause me to have to write excessive pages of reports that Tomas will read and critique."

"Hah!  So I was right, in the past you did indulge in such behavior."

He lifted the hat to glare at me.  "Enough.  I am fatigued and cranky and may just prove myself closer to the dragon than the knight."

I snorted in an unladylike way.  "If you are looking for a princess to terrorize you've picked the wrong female.  If you try and breathe fire on me I've several recipes for strong extinguishers that will do the trick.  Although," I said preventing him from interrupting.  "If you eat all the garlic I plan on pushing on you, you may not need fire to put someone in a faint."

April, Tosha, and the girls laughed and the Sheriff sat up.  I expected him to go off in a huff but instead he was smiling.  "I'll have to stay on my toes with you it seems Widow."

"Oh go join a drama troupe."

That set everyone laughing at me balancing the fun around a bit.  Finally Tosha noticed that I didn't have any packages.  "Did you find nothing on your list?"

"Found several items but refuse to pay the prices that I've found attached to them.  What on earth has happened since I was here last?  The markets were so reasonable then."

Mrs. Talbot and some of the other ladies overheard me and nodded.  "Aye.  We had a lot of out of town merchants come in and undersell the ones that traditionally were here during the market season.  The good ones couldn't compete and few of them came back this year and now that they've gone those new merchants have all raised their prices.  And with ... er ..."

I nodded.  "Yes, but The Linder is seeing to that.  And frankly I'd rather do without than ..."

A disturbance had broken out a few yards from our group.  Things were accelerating at an alarming speed and the Sheriff ordered, "Get the women and children to the wagons until I can get this frackus under control."  Then shots rang out and a panic ensued.

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