The Eagle

Chapter III

ack to his present company, neither Carl nor Rose had paid much attention to the man sitting across the way.  He sat slumped down on the bench, hat pulled down over his eyes, seemingly unaware of anyone or anything.

Rose had her own bodyguards and had for some time now.  They traveled with her everywhere.  Always no less than two of a contingent of twelve with her at all times.  These were handpicked men by Sheriff Trey Goodsen of Smile.  They all had good reports with the Pinkerton agency as well as with US Marshall Tobias Gale.

She had two of the best female officers in the business.  One of them were with her every minute of the day, even her private time, such as bathing or in the privy.

Today they had done their job, and had noticed the man.  As Carl and Rose walked up the path together, one of the men had casually walked before them checking everyone he met, careful to gain eye contact and give them 'the look.'  The second guard walked behind.  When he came to the man in question he 'accidently' tripped over the foot of the man on the bench.  All this after Carl and Rose were out of danger of proximity.

The man responded brusquely and viciously.  Cursing he slapped leather and instantly died of a broken neck.  What most cowboys of that era did not know, (and heck, this day and age as well), is that there are many, many ways of killing a man with the bare hands, quietly and instantly, especially if a man is close enough to trip over ones feet.  This man had a lot of choices other than reaching for his gun with which to kill someone.

The guard simply laid the man out on the bench as if he were sleeping off a drunk, crossing his feet.  He laid the mans hat on his face and folded his hands into his elbows which would hold his arms on his chest.

Beauregard, the second of the two man security detail in the accompaniment of Rose that day was quite the actor.  A perfectionist when it came to self-defense hand to hand combat style.  Another one of his strong traits was the photographic mind he enjoyed.  There was no doubt he'd seen this mans' photo on a wanted poster at the Smile Sheriffs facility the week prior.

All of the men within the Smile security contingent, some forty eight men, enjoyed rubbing elbows with the law of Smile which included not only the deputies, but Judge Randal and three US Marshalls.  One of the perks was the use of the telegraph.

Upon searching the body of the culprit laid out on the bench, he found but little of any value.  There was a copy of the wanted poster Beauregard had seen in Smile.  He removed two Arkansas pigstickers and another revolver as well as an opium tin and two new twenty dollar gold pieces.  Obviously he'd been paid well to keep tabs on one of the two in question, probably his own employer, Rose Cavendish.

Carl Bowman himself had been under scrutiny since before the contact, had been watched closely as he waited for his appointment which of course, had been Rose Cavendish.  While she excused the tardiness upon unforseens, the real fact was he had been checked out with the local law authority.  Had he been a man unknown in these parts, she would have simply not showed up.

It turned out that the Sheriff and the US Marshall there on Main Street of the large city knew of Carls reputation and spoke well of him.  With that information Rose had kept the appointment and had been quite taken with him.  She would learn more of him this evening, and be wonderfully surprised the next morning.

That evening at the Nicolette they'd talked the hours away over dinner and light drinks then parted looking forward to the meet in the morning for the cross country journey to the California desert then north to a little town fast becoming a beautiful city named Smile.

Carl had his own man find out what he could learn about the city, its start, some history, its chief residents and law organization.  What he learned was very appealing and he was very expectant of locating a comfortable place in which to reside and continue his work un-inhibited.

It had been a long while since he had owned what he would call a home.  True, he owned quite a bit of real estate, many houses, nice houses, some of his own design even, but, with just him and his employees, he was not interested in trying to make it a home.  He needed a companion, a wife . . . a life.

And now, he was leaning toward some good intentions for the lovely Rose Cavendish.  She stirred something within him that had not been stirred since he was a young man.

While he'd had no opportunity nor reason to investigate the purchase, someone in the city of Smile had ordered a house design of his the year prior.  He was not in the know as to the identity of the person and wasn't aware if the house had been finished or not.  But he was quite sure he'd recognize it if he ever saw it.  He was especially proud of the particular design and it had been a top of seller.  He would learn of its owner soon.

Few people today know that you could actually purchase a house from the Sears catalog.  Lock, stock and barrel!  And he had sold several through the catalog, but he did much better on a one to one basis.

Without his knowledge, several of his house designs were there in Smile, one of his favorites but one which had not been a top seller.  I guess one just has to love this type of design to put the money out for it.  He called it "The Roundhouse" and the design was reminiscent of the 'Round house' of a train switching station which reflected his love of trains.  He often wondered of himself why he didn't have some kind of house depicting his love of firearms!

After parting for the second time that day with the lovely Rose, Carl was completely enamored with her.  He could see his plans for his immediate future changing drastically, and they definitely included her.  The last thing she had asked before parting was "you won't be late now will you?"

Indeed, he would not be.  As soon as he re-boarded his home, which just happened to be a huge and luxurious Pullman pulled by his own engine with accompanying train, he sent his errand boy to the engineer with the note containing instructions as to what he wanted.  At that, he drew his bathwater, and stepped into the tub.  Under the towel to the right and very close at hand, lay his Nagiant.

He felt the engine later on in the evening slowly ease the Pullman out of it's berth and heard the sounds of the track, the slow clack of the huge wheels as it was moved across switches and joints, heard the fireman and conductor calling back and forth to each other.  Upon feeling the Coach stopping suddenly and hearing the huge cast-iron jaws of the carriage on the Pullman slam home, he closed his eyes and slumbered.

He got the best sleep he'd slept in years and woke early with the anticipation of a whole new direction of his life opening up like the bright morning sun of a new summer day, or, stepping across the threshold of one of his illustrious bridges to the unknown.  By the time breakfast was served by his servants, he was dressed and completely ready to go.

After finishing his breakfast, he perused the newspaper on the table laid there by the servant when he cleared the breakfast dishes.  Nothing of importance there to keep his attention, he fidgeted with his coffee while he waited for the clock to gradually crawl to and strike hammers indicating the nine o'clock hour.  At a quarter of, he went into the drawing room of his Pullman.

Precisely at nine o'clock am, there was a tap on the door.  A very surprised Rose Cavendish was lead into the sitting room of the large Pullman where he waited for her.  Out of shock and excitement Rose took it all in.  The splendor was quite astounding, what excited her the most was standing there smiling at her.

"Well," she thought to herself.  "This gentleman friend of mine sure doesn't seem too interested in my money.  It appeared he was indeed quite wealthy," but she mistakenly didn't think his fortune was tantamount to hers.  Jacque had been a very wealthy man, most of his wealth inherited.  She had managed to keep her fortune even through two succeeding and less than advantageous husbands.

The servant who led Rose into the sitting room to meet Carl stopped a little short of and to the side so they were face to face.  Turning, he looked at Rose and crisply announced "Mrs. Rose Cavendish."  He then glanced at Carl and stated "Mr. Carl Bowman."

At that, he thanked and excused the servant, then motioned to a chair close by and facing the chair from which he had just arisen.  Then, "may I take your wrap?"  As she handed him the lovely shawl she had worn draped over her shoulders he invited "Please be seated."  When she was seated and comfortable he asked "would you care for coffee?"

"No thank you" she responded.  She smiled warmly then turned her attention to the still standing Carl.  "What a pleasant surprise!  Are you always this charming and surprising?"

"No," Carl laughed.  "But I am careful with the amount of information I divulge.  I hope you understand."

"I understand quite well" she said.

At that the steam whistle on the huge locomotive at the front of the engine sounded twice, conductor called "all abooooard," and they felt the slight initial jerk of the train as it started to move.  Carl heard his own engine answer in response, then heard the sounds of the steam as it exited the huge cylinders.  They would make good time on this train as he'd sent word through the entire northern line to keep the tracks clear and open.

His own train had been attached to the north bound train, with his Pullman arranged at the head of his hooking directly to the passenger train.  At the end of the train his own engine.  Usually, when his train traveled by itself, his Pullman was at the rear of the train.  It was only for her advantage he'd had the Pullman close enough to access from another train.  Just a safety precaution.

While traversing the long grades of the tall mountains, his engine would assist in the climb keeping the train at a more constant speed and also, would assist with the braking on the way down the grades again, maintaining higher speeds safely.

Carl turned his attention to Rose and within what seemed like merely minutes, lunch had already come and gone and they lounged in the huge comfortable leather bound chairs while the scenery sped by stopping only to allow passengers egress.  They would pull into Smile well before the time schedule which called for midnight entry.

When the time came for her to take leave of him, she was ready at the door to step out to a host of friends.  Her beautiful white carriage was waiting close by the dock.  She turned and said "won't you please meet my friends."  The servant had opened the huge door and Carl followed her as she stepped out onto the festive platform.

Several of her friends greeted her and Carl could see important looking men standing around, four of which wore Deputy badges, one of which was a black US Marshall and the Sheriff of Smile, Trey Goodsen.  He wondered at the security and if something had caused all the law to be here.  After introducing Carl to the group and he had shook hands all around, she addressed him saying "Breakfast at seven in the morning at the Beaumont?"

He nodded in agreeance to her and tipped his hat.  He said "good evening gentlemen" and re-boarded his Pullman.  By then it had already been disconnected from the Northbound train.

"Well," thought Carl.  "At least I don't think she is a money grubber."  He stood by the large window of the Pullman and watched as she was whisked away in her carriage.  The security was a mystery though.  He would speak with the Sheriff first thing in the morning.  Soon after the Northbound had pulled out, his train crew would assemble his train back into the proper order.  It would then be parked on an out of the way siding.

The stationmaster was was walking back into the depot after explaining instructions to his engineer.  He soon felt his Pullman as it was given a slight nudge by the engine, heard the huge hitch jaws open and felt the speed of the car slowly decreasing as it stopped well past the switch.

He'd seated himself to smoke and ponder the relationship he was cultivating with Rose Cavendish.  He felt she was one awesome lady.

It was the first relations with any lady closer than an arms-length client since his wife Christine died twelve years prior.  The matter of her death had not as of yet resolved even though he'd put his security team on it.  Its priority second only to his own safety.  One day, he would find the man that had knifed her and bring him to justice if he had to serve justice himself.

After shoving the Pullman a short way on the siding, the engine had backed away, allowing the switchman to change the siding switch to direct the remainder of his train alongside it on another track.  After the engine had again backed away from the switch, the switch was changed back to allow the engine to connect to the Pullman.

A third time it backed down below the switch pulling the Pullman with it.  Then the switch was thrown again, this time directing the Pullman toward the rear of the train.  When it was attached to the train the engine disconnected and backed down below the switch again for the final time, the switch was thrown and the engine went up the track past the train on the siding, the switch there was thrown directing the engine to the front of the train.

Carl sat and enjoyed watching the engine at work placing the cars within the train in a certain order.  In his younger years he'd ran that same engine himself, but as his work load increased he'd hired his own crew to run his train.  He had gotten the best around and he was proud of them.  He made sure they were paid well and could travel.  That's all his train crew did, was tend to his train.

His entire entourage lived within the confines of the four cars and three Pullmans.  The crews were divided and living quarters arranged according to their job duties.  All were trained in firearms and all were provided with all the ammunition they used in practice as well on the job.

All trained regularly, and received training from outside sources to keep them in perfect fighting capability.  It was a requirement.  He was proud of his crew and the loyalty went both ways.

Within a couple of minutes he felt the jolt as the engine hitched to the front of the train then felt the gentle nudge as it was backed toward a siding on the other side of the depot.  Here it would rest until he decided it was time to go.  "Might be here a while" he thought to himself.

The last thing he heard that evening was the security surveillance team broke up and took their places after instruction.  They worked at night securing the train and slept during the day.  And they were paid very handsomely for it.

The next morning he was up and ready to go well before six.  Knowing the town hall wouldn't be open till at least nine, he stepped out into the cool mountain air and began his stroll toward Main St. for his meet with Rose.  He'd already walked up and down each street of the little city, had mapped it in his mind, and had admired the park like settings, the mansion quality housing in the Clear Oak section of town.

Two streets above that was a Trading Post wearing the name "Smile of the Gods" on a huge facade at the top of the building.

"Hmmmmm" thought Carl to himself.  It looked very tiny or as if some of the building was missing.  Studying on that some, he came to the conclusion that there must be more of that particular establishment that extended into the mountain.  He turned back toward the Beaumont stepping into it at precisely seven o'clock.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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— Sitting Bull


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Chapter III