Chapter8:the town revolts
They headed for town on the road they brought out yesterday. Just as they reached the Osage River, a rider was comin toward them. It was Jake Hendrix, the black smith in town. Morning Jake; they said. Morning marshal. Sheriff Weston. Hi Mandy. Joseph asked him; what brings ya out this wake Jake? Well marshal. The towns' folk had a meetin. They sent me out to tell ya what they decided bout that sister of yours. About my sister, eh? Well, what did they decide? They decided it ain't right lettin her stay outta jail if she killed all them women an' kids. Well, what do ya say, we ride into town, an' have another meetin. Let them brave people tell me themselves. Your brother's the preacher in town, what'd 'e say? He agrees, I guess. Ok, you ride back to his place, an' tell 'im I want 'im at that meetin. Tell the towns folk the meetin'll be held in the church, an' ten o'clock. An' I want every one of them people what said they want my sister in jail to be there. Savvy? Yessir. You go now, an' go fast. We'll see ya at the meetin Jake. Yessir. He lit a shuck as fast as 'is horse could run toward town. What do ya think John? Well Joseph. It looks like they might be a ruckus. Mandy asked; why do they hate Aunt Penelope paw? Well honey, they don't know the whole story is all. They been misled. Your aunt Penelope got caught up with some bad men, an' the town folks think that makes her bad too, an' it just ain't so. She's a good person, just like me, yer maw, John here, yer aunt Josephine. We'll take ya home now. I don't want ya in town right now, cause they might be fightin. Ok paw. Is maw goin in town with ya? Or Aunt Penelope? I ain't sure yet honey. But I think I might ask John here to stay at the house with ya, an' keep an eye out for me. Ya know I will Joseph, no need to ask. Thanks John. They got back to the house an' Sally 'as sittin on the porch with Penelope, talking. What are ya doin back? Ya forget somethin? Well, they been a meetin in town. Looks like the town don't like Penelope stayin out here. Sally come right out of 'er seat. Well, it ain't none of their business if she's out here. She was instantly steamin. She didn't like people from town telling things about 'er farm life, or the family in any manner. That's why they lived out here on a farm, to keep away from gossip an' all. What are they sayin? I ain't sure. They sent Jake out to tell us. Jake? Oh, that steams me so. I'm goin in with ya. No, I want you out here with Mandy, an' Penelope. John's gonna stay here too, to keep an eye out. Just in case, ya know. Well I ain't scared of them towns folk. Let 'em come. I can shoot as good as any of 'em. I think it's just cowardly, sendin Jake out here. He's a simple man Penelope. That's why they sent 'im, cause 'e just does what they tell 'im to. Why didn't they send a business man out? Well, I'll tell ya why. They're chicken, that's why. COWARDS, THEY ARE!!!She was really steamin. Her arms were flailin, an' 'er face was beet red with anger. Got 'erself worked up in to a frenzy she did. The nerve of them people in town! Lord help the person that crosses that woman right now. Penelope just sit there in a chair. Mandy walked on pins an' needles. John didn't know if 'e needed to, or even wanted to stay out there or not. He took Mandy up to the porch an' they both sit in chairs an' watched Sally spit an' sputter. She fallowed Joseph into the house while 'e went in to put on 'is guns. Then 'e went to the barn an' saddled up 'is big stallion. He didn't say a word while 'e was doin any of this. He knew better. He finally stopped an' looked at Sally, an' cupped 'er cheeks in 'is big strong hands very gently. When 'e did, she stopped rattin an' ravin. He leaned over an' kissed 'er, an' said; don't worry honey, I'll not let one single thing happen to anybody here. She melted in 'is arms, an' cried for a minute, mixed with a little laughter, then grabbed 'is hand an' shook it, telling him; you be careful Joseph Allen Cates, ya hear? I hear Mrs. Cates. I love ya, ya know. She returned the sentiment, an' he mounted the horse. Why ya ridin him; she asked. Cause they'll be lots of mares at that meetin. I want 'em all fidgety. Makes the folks in town nervous ya know. That lightened her mood some. She smiled at 'im an' said; you're an evil man Joseph Cates. Only when I'm set upon sugar. Only when I'm set upon. He leaned an' kissed her one more time an' rode out with a grin on his face, an' touched his hat to the ladies on the porch, and waved to John. He kept it at a trot the entire distance so the stallion would be fairly wended when 'e got to the meetin. He knew well enough the mares would be fidgety whether he was or not. He didn't need any breedin goin on in town. He went straight to Josephine's place to see if she knew about the meetin they had yesterday, or last night. She did, an' she said she didn't agree with what they decided. What about Patrick; Joseph asked. Well, he does agree. That's just great. You goin to the meetin with me? Yea Joseph. I'll go over with ya. They walked the stallion to the church house, an' nobody was there but the preacher. Morning Joseph, miss Josephine; he greeted the two with a smile. Morning reverend. We come for a meetin of the town' folk. Didn't Jake tell ya? No, I ain't seen 'im. Well, did ya know bout the meetin they had last night? Or yesterday? Yea, I heard. Where do ya stand reverend? Well Joseph, I just don't rightly know. After all, your sister is charged with murder. Yea, she is. An' I understand too, that you're an upstanding citizen here in Jefferson. Judge parker said 'e agreed that you'd take care if Miss Penelope, an' I have to agree with what 'e says. Thank ya reverend. It was just after ten o'clock when a few people came in. the mayor was there, an' the store keeper, among others. Mornin Joseph; the mayor said. Mornin mayor. I came for the meetin. I wanna know who it is that don't want my sister out to my place when I'm perfectly capable of keeping her. Well Joseph. The whole town thinks it ain't right. Even Patrick. Where is Patrick? I don't see 'im. Why ain't 'e here? Business must be keeping 'im Joseph. Yea, sure. I'm gonna tell ya mayor, an' anybody else that wants to know. My sister is gonna stay right where she is, like it or not. An' if even one person, or the whole town, wants 'er gone, tell 'em to come on out. We'll deal with 'em when they get there. Now marshal. Shut up. I ain't finished. Judge parker gave me the go ahead to take 'er out to the farm. I promised 'im she'd stay right there on that farm till the trial came up, an' that's what I intend to do. Ya hear? Yes I hear marshal Cates. Good. Then I'm goin home, an' I don't wanna hear another word from Jake Hendrix or anybody else from town. Drop it, savvy? Savvy, marshal. He turned to the preacher an' said; tell Jake I don't hold it agin 'im reverend. I just got mad, is all. Tell 'im to come out Friday, an' we'll go fishin. Sure Joseph, I'll tell 'im. Thanks reverend. Let's go Josephine. Bye reverend; she said. Bye Miss Josephine. He looked at 'is sister an' said; ya hungry? Sure am, I skipped breakfast. Let's go to the café, an' I'll buy ya breakfast, how bout it? I never say no to free food. I learnt that from you big brother; she said smiling. They needed to talk about the town meetin some more anyway. When they got to the café, they sat by the window at Josephs favorite table. The girl workin there came right over an' greeted 'em. Good mornin' marshal Cates, Mrs. Baxter. Mornin' Cassie; they both greeted her. Think it's gonna rain? Not today, but maybe tomorrow. Thats good. I'll just have coffee Joseph said, an' she'll have breakfast. Ham an' eggs; Josephine added. Yes ma'am. Right away. Josephine asked Joseph: ya always ask her if it's gonna rain? No, sometimes I ask if its gonna snow: he said with a chuckle. Sides. She always seems to know if it's gonna do anything, so I just get the jump on 'er. They sit quiet while Josephine ate, an' when she was finished, Joseph started; what do ya think about Patrick not bein at the meetin today? I ain't sure. He's a wimp I guess is why. Maybe we should go by an' see 'im, an' find out?
Maybe. Why do ya think 'e wants Penelope back in jail? He don't even know 'er. I know. We argued about it last night, an' it almost went to a full out fight. I disagreed totally, an' he really wants 'er back in jail. Probably cause 'is brother's the prosecutor. It just don't make any sense to me Joseph. Me neither. Did they actually rob any of the families they killed? Only one. The Potter family. They took a strong box. There was a lot of money in it too. The sheriff sent it back to Pennsylvania, where they was from, so the family that's left can get it. Do ya think Peter'll show up? I hope 'e does. If 'e don't I'm goin to Kansas City to find 'im. He should be here this afternoon. You wanna have that picnic when 'e gets here, if 'e gets here? Sure, sounds good to me. We got some hens that ain't layin, so I'll butcher 'em up. Sally said she'd fry 'em, an' Mandy said she'd help me eat 'em. Josephine laughed an' said; that Mandy, she's an eater, ain't she? Yea, she is. Glad of it too. She's a dandy Joseph. You got lucky with that one. I did at that. I'm glad Sally said she'd fry chicken. I can't remember the last time I had 'er fried chicken. Is Mandy gonna go to school next year? I think she's bout ready. She knows her ABC's an' Sally got her spellin some already, an' she can write to ten. That's good for a five year old. Ya should have 'er in school next year. I think Sally is the one we gotta get ready for that. She don't wanna have the girl in town by 'erself. Well, times is different now. Since the war, it seems like the whole country is different. Yea, it is. Well Josephine, I better get back out to the house. Them women folk was pretty upset when I left. Oh, I can just see Sally cussin right now. Well, she wasn't cussin, but she wasn't far from it. Ok Joseph, are ya gonna go see Patrick? Yea, I think I will. You go on home, I'll stop by on my way out. Ok, I'll see ya then. Bye for now Joseph.
Joseph was on 'is way to the bank when the telegraph messenger hollered at 'im. Marshall Cates, this wire came for ya. It read: to marshal Cates, Jefferson Missouri. Can't make it till tomorrow. Signed Peter Cates, independence Missouri. Thanks boy: he said as he handed the kid a nickel. When 'e got to the bank, Patrick was in 'is office workin on some papers. Hello Joseph; 'e said as Joseph walked right in. he shut the door behind 'is self, an' walked right over to the desk an' grabbed Patrick up from 'is seat. Well? What's the idea Patrick? Why don't ya want my sister out to the farm? Huh? Answer me! I wanna know! Wait a minute; 'e said, he was close to dropping in 'is pants, but 'e held it, for a minute. I can explain. Well? Explain! It wasn't me, it was the rest of the town. I had no choice but to agree. Sure ya did. That's your sister in-law. You turned your back on your own family. Yes well, she's charged with murder, or did ya forget that part. I remember. I wanna know, do ya plan to stand behind us on this? Or are ya gonna be a back stabber. Ya know Josephine disagrees with ya. Yea, I know. Where do ya stand with her? She's my wife, an' she'll do as I say, or else. I see. Well let me tell ya, squirt. If ya so much as lay one finger on that girl, I'll be payin you a visit. What, are ya gonna kill me? Is that it marshal? Nope, I ain't gonna kill ya, but you might wish I had afore I get done with you, ya puny little pecker. I think I'll take 'er out to the house till this is all over with. Maybe ya should marshal. She don't cook, an' an' she don't clean. All she wants to do is drink whiskey, an' let a maid do all 'er house work. Why she don't even sleep with me anymore. Who hired that maid Patrick, her or you? Well, I did. Thought ya did. That maid ain't nothin but a status symbol. An' you're a weasel, ya know that? I don't have to take this from you marshal. I'm gonna have to ask you to leave. No need to ask, I'm tired of the smell in here. He dropped Patrick back in 'is chair. Ya have a mishap in them britches? Good day marshal! Good day Mr. Baxter. After 'e turns to leave 'e tosses two quarters back over 'is shoulder. This'll cover the bath; he laughed at 'is brother in-law. He walked out an' down the street to Josephine's place, an' she had a bag packed waitin on the front porch. What's this?; he asked. Ya goin somewhere? Yep, I'm goin with you. Oh. I see we still think alike. Well, climb on behind me. He tied the bag on the big stallion, an' then climbed in the saddle an' hung 'is guns on the saddle horn. He took 'er hand, an' helped 'er up an' behind 'imself. Then 'e turned to 'er an' said; an' you keep your hands to yourself. Oh shut up; she replied, but grinnin while she said it. She told 'im; we don't want anybody talkin round here, or do we? No, we don't. They'll be talkin enough as it is, an' even more with you ridin out 'a town with me. Yea, I guess your right. Oh well, let 'em talk. What can they do to us, anyway? Nothing, but refuse to sell to us, refuse to serve us, refuse to let us in church, things like that. So? Let 'em. I don't care no more. Might be they won't even let Mandy go to school here next year. Well, then we can move west. I hear Kansas City's pretty. It's another cow town Josephine. A river town, just like this'n. Yea, but I hear it's a lot bigger. Bigger the town, more the troubles. You always have a bad word? Mostly I do. If I need one anyway, I can usually come up with one. Smart elick. Yea, ain't I? Why Joseph Cates, if you weren't bigger 'n me, I'd woop ya right here. Yea, but I am, an' you ain't. Yea. Chalk up another lost argument for me, huh. Yep. Oh well, how's Penelope doin Joseph? She alright? Yea, she's doin ok. Kinda worried bout what the towns' folk did though. Yea, I magine she is. I want ya to know, I'll do whatever I can do to help out around the farm, ok? Don't worry bout that right now sister. Just get settled in first. Well, I wanna pull my own ya know. It's gonna be different than it is in town, ya know. Yea, I know, but ya know what Joseph? What's that? I hate it in town. I hate bein married to that little Patrick Baxter. He wont even sleep with me, never would. I think he's scared of women. I been so lonely. Joseph didn't know exactly how to take this strange information. Well, uh, I don't know what to tell ya on that one Josephine. I, uh, well, I dunno. Why Joseph Cates, if you ain't embarrassed. Well I never! Hush up now. Not on your life. I got ya now Mr. an' I'm gonna enjoy ever minute of it. She was cackling at 'im an' there wasn't a dad burn thing 'e could do, but turn red. Joseph is embarrassed, Joseph is embarrassed. That was 'er new song until they got to the Osage. He was indeed embarrassed, but after awhile, 'e just had to laugh with 'is sister, cause she was squeezin' 'im tight, an' ticklin' 'im till laugh was all 'e could do. He did however figure a way to stop the torment, soon as they got to the river. He went swimming here a lot, an' new the perfect spot to jump. He already had 'is guns hangin on the saddle horn, so just about the place 'e'd jumped off at lots of times, 'e put 'is feet in the saddle, throwed an arm around 'er an' pushed off with a flip afore she knowed what 'e was doin'. Soon as they cleared the bridge, 'er dress went right up over the top of 'er head, an' all 'e could see was bloomers, an' all 'e heard was her screamin 'is name. When they landed an' came up for air, her top was washed clean down to 'er waist an' she didn't even notice. He looked at 'er, an' laughed an' said; well, ya still look good all wet an' drippin little sister. She was laughin too, till she realized she was near naked on the top half. Then it was her that was embarrassed. He reached out 'is hand to help 'er out an' she took it at first, which added to 'is amusement, an' her embarrassment. After she slapped 'im a few more times, they laughed again, an' when she had 'er top back on 'e helped 'er get out, an' they set in the sun to dry a bit. They were still soaken wet tho when they reached the farm however, an' Sally came out to the porch to see what the ruckus was all about. She heard Mandy an' Penelope laughin at somebody, but she didn't know who. When she seen Josephine, an' Joseph, both soaken wet, from what, she had no idea, she asked; what happened to you two? We fell in the river Joseph said. No we didn't, he threw me in, an' I pulled 'im in after me, then 'e seen my uh, top, if ya know what I mean. This made Joseph hee haw. At least till 'e seen Sally lookin at 'im like 'e was crazy. Well, she was laughin at me, so I decided to throw 'er in the river, but she grabbed on, an' I went in with 'er. Purely an accident. Oh, I'm sure it was Joseph Cates. Uh, I'll see to the horse. He left as quick as 'e could an' left Josephine standin there with Sally, Mandy, an' Penelope. John went with Joseph, for safety sake.
When they got in the barn, 'e asked; well? What really happened? Just like I said. I throwed 'er in the river, only I had to jump in to get it done. John laughed, an' said; I kinda thought it was somethin like that. You two were always kinda goofy like that. Ah, I was only funnin. She was telling me bout Patrick wouldn't sleep with 'er, an' how 'e was scared of women an' all. I got embarrassed an' she took advantage of it, an' was laughin at me, so I decided to get even. An' it was fun too. So tell me. Why is she out here? Well, I guess her an' Patrick ain't getting on so well together. I think she's leavin 'im. So that'd make 'er available John. His eyebrows were raisin an' fallin, as if to say go get 'er. Oh Joseph, I couldn't go runnin round with a woman like her, I mean. She's mighty handsome an' all, awful pretty. But I just lost my own wife. How'd it look if I went sparkin already? Sides that, she is still married, I mean technically. Yea, I guess you're right there. Sorry John. Nah, don't worry bout it. You 'as just tryin to help, I know. They headed back to the house, an' seen that Josephine was still standin in the yard. Ain't ya comin in? Well, I figured I might better wait till ya take me in Joseph. Sally kinda looked a little put out with me. I might need help explainin this to 'er. Yea, ya might at that. Penelope was chuckling at both of 'em, an' Mandy was too. John just kinda kept quiet about the whole thing. They went in an' Sally was fixin to get supper started so Joseph took Josephine in the kitchen to see if she was really put out, or if she just wondered what the two of 'em were all about. Or something like that. He was unsure of anything right now. Josephine set down next to Penelope an' started telling 'er bout how Patrick wanted her back in jail, so they had a big fight, an' how Joseph came into town today, an' she decided it was best to just leave Patrick than stay in a town that she didn't agree with on a situation like this. An' she said the family was gonna stick together on this problem, no matter what happened. An' she was gonna have Sally an' Penelope teach 'er how to cook again, it's been so long she done any of it. Mandy was sittin across from 'er an' she just looked across at 'er in total amazement. She didn't understand a single word she said, but it sure sounded good. An' she thought she was gonna get to have another aunt to live here too. She was the happiest girl in the whole house. In fact, she was very well probably the happiest girl in the whole county. After all, John was stayin for a couple more days, Penelope was here, an' now that Josephine was here, she had a whole house full of family. Everybody seemed happy, well, except for 'er maw. She looked at 'er maw, an' asked; you ok maw? We got lots of family here now. Aunt Penelope, an' Aunt Josephine both are here. Ain't ya happy maw? I'm happy honey. I was just surprised is all, that Josephine came, an' then her an' your paw was all wet. It all just kinda caught me off guard is all. I'm glad Josephine an' Penelope are both here. They're welcome here as long as they wanna stay honey. Every thing's gonna be just fine. Now, how bout ya go an' fetch me some wood, for the stove, ok sugar? Sure maw. I'm glad you're happy. She ran out to get wood, an' Sally apologized to Josephine for not lookin happy to see 'er. Oh Sally, don't worry bout that. After all, I did kinda come unexpected like, an' I did get Joseph all wet. I'm the one who should be sorry. No, don't be. If you're havin trouble at home, you stay right here with us. We got plenty room for all. I sure thank ya Sally. It's ok. By the way, when do ya want us to start teachin ya how to cook again? How bout tonight? I'll cook supper, with help of course. Ya tell me what to do, an' I'll do it. I been wantin to learn how to cook ever since I married that weasel Patrick Baxter. He spoiled me so bad, it ain't even funny. I clean forgot everthing I ever knowed bout cookin'. Well then, we'll unspoil ya. An' supper should be easy, since I got a stew in the pot over the fire right now, but we'll teach ya how to make an apple pie, how bout that? Ok, I'll try it. Mandy came in with the wood, an' Penelope started telling Josephine what to do on that apple pie while Sally got the fire stoked up in the cook stove. That kitchen was all talkin an' jabberin amongst the women an' Mandy, who was right in there in that pie fixin, an' the talkin.
John an' Joseph were out on the front porch smokin an' talkin bout the meetin in town. What happened Joseph? Well sir, I told 'em she was stayin out here, like it or not. The town folk ain't telling me what I can do or not. We don't live there. It ain't none of their business who we have out here. Judge Parker told me she could stay out here, so they couldn't say much about it. Well, what about Patrick? He ain't nothing. I went to see 'im. I grabbed the little runt by the shirt collar an lifted 'im right out of 'is chair. I think 'e messed 'is self. I asked 'im where 'e stood. He said 'e agreed with the towns' decision, an' 'e wanted 'er back in jail. Then 'e started telling me how Josephine wouldn't even sleep with 'im. An' how she was unfit to be 'is wife cause she didn't even cook or clean, an' how 'e had to hire a maid. Well when I asked 'im who hired the maid, 'e said he did. Well, it's just a mess. Anyway, I told 'im if 'e even so much as laid a finger on 'er, I 'as gonna pay 'im a visit, so 'e thought I was gonna try to kill 'im I guess, an' so I told 'im I wasn't, but 'e might wish I did after I got done with 'im. He ordered me out of the office, an' I told 'im no need, cause I was tired of the smell, an' I tossed 'im fifty cents for a bath, laughed in 'is face an' walked out. Oh, 'e hates me now, no doubt. After 'e quit laughin, John said; we might need to keep a look out for awhile ya know. Yea maybe. But I doubt anybody from town'll come out an' try anything. Nobody there has nerve to stand against us, or Judge Parker. He pretty much runs the town. But we'll keep a watch anyway, for a day or two, till Peter gets here anyhow. Where is Peter anyway. I got a wire from 'im. He wont be here till tomorrow, not sure why. They smoked awhile, till they started smellin that pie cookin, an' John could stand it no more. He had to go see what was cookin. You just wait till it's done Mr.; Sally told 'im. It'll be done by the time we get supper done with. An' it's an apple pie, if ya gotta know. Josephine baked it. Oh, well, it smells right good ma'am; he said, as 'e was backing out. Josephine told sally; he always was the nosiest person I know when it comes to food, even when we 'as kids. Supper was good, an' the pie was even better. They sat around till Mandy tired out, an' asked if paw would say a prayer with 'er, which 'e was proud to do. They went in 'er room, an' kneeled together. She asked her paw if 'e would help 'er say a really good prayer. This is what they asked.
Dear Lord. Thank ya for everything ya give us. Thank ya for maw an' paw, an' Aunt Penelope, an' Aunt Josephine, an' Mr. Weston all bein here. Thank ya for all the food we eat. Please forgive us for our mistakes. Please help us make the right choices. An' please help Aunt Josephine an' Aunt Penelope do good an' be happy here. An' please Lord, please tell Judge Parker to let Aunt Penelope be not guilty, an' let 'er live here with us forever. Amen.
Penelope an' Josephine were both at the door with Sally admirin the two kneelin together like they was, an' when they got to the last part, Penelope broke down an' cried. When she ran out side, Sally an' Josephine went with her to help. They stayed outside for awhile till she collected herself. Meanwhile, after Joseph tucked in Mandy, John an' him enjoyed a smoke by the fireplace. When the ladies came back in, Penelope thanked Joseph for helping Mandy say such a nice prayer, an' she thanked 'im for addin 'er in it. It's ok Penelope, we're family, an' we always add ya in our prayers. Ain't that right Sally. Yep, it sure is. They all sat an' talked for awhile, an Joseph told the others 'e better get to bed, so 'e could get to town early, cause Peter should be there tomorrow, an' 'e didn't wanna miss 'im.