Chapter 17

Copyright© 2010 by Kingkey

Waking the next morning, I was feeling lazy. I didn't really feel like getting out of bed, but my ladies were having none of that! They were telling me to get up, that I had a lot to do before we left for town, and get up now breakfast was ready.

After breakfast, I went to find Grandpa. He had just finished his own breakfast, so we went out to the wagons, making sure everything was ready. We were hitching the mules to both new wagons, and saddling up the horses. We were taking Grandpa, hitched up his farm wagon, to carry back the ranch supplies, also.

We were ready to go. This time, the whole family was going to town. We started going over my schedule for the next couple weeks. It was decided that we would spend two days in Hill City, then three days in Deadwood, being as it was now a bigger town due to the Gold Rush. Then we would spend a day or two each, in Lead and Spearfish. Finally, there would be a day in Silver City, then back to the ranch. That should get us back in about ten days, if there were no problems.

After double-checking everything, we set off to Hill City. An hour later, Grandpa was driving his farm wagon. I was driving the doctors' wagon, and trailing a pair of saddle horses. Dawn and the twins were in the living quarters' wagon, and trailing an extra team of mules. We seem to be making great time. The mules were stronger than the horses, and had no trouble pulling the wagons up and down the hills heading for town. We arrived about an hour after we left the ranch.

We parked the wagons beside the cabins behind the general store, and took the livestock to the stable. Upon entering the general store, Miller saw us and just glared, I decided to try mending a few fences walking up to him.

He said, "What do you want, now? You already robbed me for the money from the cabins, plus a $50 fine! Now you walk in here as if nothing had happened?"

"Come off it, Miller. You knew those cabins were not supposed to be rented out anymore, but you just got greedy and did it anyway. As far as the fine ... if you check with Judge Mitchell, you'll find that I gave all the money to him to be used to help the community. We came in here to give you quite a lot of business, if you're interested. Otherwise I could just take my business to store up in Deadwood. I am sure the extra business would be greatly appreciated, there," I told him.

"What kind of supplies will you need? Miller asked.

"Uncle Henry will be in here, in a few minutes. He needs supplies for the ranch. I brought two wagons in. I need to set one up as a living quarter's wagon. I'll need blankets, lamps, kerosene, and etcetera. My wives will need other things, such as: cooking supplies, extra clothing, and food staples.

"The other wagon is being set up as an office. For it, I will need most of the patent medicines that you have. I'll also need all the bandages, willow bark tea, and laudanum that you have on hand. I'll need you to order other medical supplies, too," I said.

"Are you out of any medicines? I've got quite a bit more in the back," Miller said.

I did see the look of greed on his face, as he thought he was going to be able to recoup some of the money that he had lost.

"From the looks of what I saw last time I was here, I'll take a lot of what you've got. But, some of it is just junk; and some of it is downright, out and out, dangerous! Like those packets of heroin. I know that during the war heroin was supposed to be the wunderkind painkiller, but it is so badly addictive! It's out and out dangerous to use. I thought that laudanum was dangerous, but heroin is a hundred times as dangerous. However, I will buy what you have, just to keep it from harming others. Then I will destroy it," I told Miller.

"What about the other stuff I have? The stuff you said is no good, but is not dangerous?" Miller said.

"Keep it, some them. Maybe some idiot will buy it. When it doesn't work as advertised, or if they start having problems, have them get in touch with me immediately. Mostly the stuff is just alcohol and is potentially harmless. I'll look through everything you have, and make sure that none of it is harmful. If it is harmful, it will have to be destroyed," I said.

"But what about all the money I will be losing? Are you going to pay for that stuff too?" Miller asked.

"Don't push it, Miller! You're already going to be making a big profit on the stuff you're selling me, now. I'm paying for the heroin, just to make sure that no one uses it. The other stuff is your responsibility. If someone is poisoned and dies, because you sold them bad medicine, what do you think would happen to you? Now you need to get out your catalogs where you order this stuff, so we can go through it, and place a large order," I said.

About this time, I heard a large commotion going on outside, in the street. Jake came running in saying that his dad sent him to git me, fast!

Running out into the street I saw the same miner that I had trouble with last time with Dawn, assaulting a young Chinese girl. I ran over to him spinning him away from her and knocking him to the ground.

"Just what the hell is going on out here?" I yelled.

"This is not your business, Doc! I bought this girl. She's mine, and I can do what I want with her. I told her to do something, and she just sat and stared at me! So now I'm teaching her lesson!" the miner yelled.

"What do you think the war that we just fought was all about? You can't buy or sell people, any more!

Slavery is illegal! I ought to just lock you up, and be done with it! You're becoming quite a pain in the ass, lately. Now, who did you buy her from, and how much did you pay? I see you're some sort of 'big man' that can beat up on little girl. What is she, fifteen? How about I hit you, and see how well you like it? Did you even check to see if she spoke English?" I asked.

"I paid her uncle twenty dollars for her. He told me that she spoke English, some, and that she was nineteen years old. Look, Marshal, I paid good money for her. She isn't a white woman. She's just a Chinese whore, not any kinda decent woman. Her uncle told me that Chinese women were of no value, and were bought and sold all the time," he whined.

I then handed him a double eagle and said, "Here's your money back. Where can I find this uncle, that thinks so little of his family, that he's willing to sell it to the likes of you? I need to have a little talk with him. AND, if I have any more problems with you, you are going to be taking a walk down to the jail! Then you're going to be having a talk with Judge Mitchell," I said.

"He runs the laundry in the Chinese section, back behind the oasis saloon. He seems to be a big shot with all the Chinks, and pretty much runs things in that part of town. Twenty dollars is not enough, but that's what I paid for her. She's worth a lot more than that!" the miner exclaimed.

"Are you really that stupid? You're really starting to piss me off again one more word, and you're going to jail. I gave you back your money, out of my own pocket. I'll get it back from her uncle maybe. You can just take the twenty, and be happy about it, or you and me are going to go round and round! I guarantee you won't be happy with the outcome. What are you doing always hanging around town, anyway? Don't you have a gold claim to work? I suggest you go out and work at it, and stop making such a nuisance of yourself. If I have any more trouble with you I will make sure that you get at least thirty days for causing a civil disturbance! Now git!" I said.

He walked away, mumbling to himself. I started over to the Chinese district, to find this 'so called' uncle. Grandpa soon caught up to me, and asked what I was about to do. I told him.

"I'm going to find her 'uncle', and find out what the hell is going on with these people! I thought slavery ended with the Civil War! But, apparently out here, nobody's ever heard of it."

Grandpa said, "Maybe you need to slow down a little, and talk to the girl, first. That damned idiot miner said that she spoke some English. I don't want you to go off half-cocked. Maybe you should talk to her, and see if she wants to go back to her uncle."

Turning back, I said, "Maybe you're right. Let's go back and speak to the girl. We'll find out what she wants done. If she wants to go back to her uncle, I will take her. If she doesn't, we'll try and help her any way we can. All I know is you don't go and buy and sell people, any more. A lot of good men lost their lives to wipe out slavery. I'll be damn if I am going to let something like this happen, now."

Returning to where the girl was, I found her gone. Brad saw us, and came over. He said that Running Deer and Little Doe took her back around to the cabins, to check her over and make sure she was all right.

Going around to the first cabin, I found the young girl with my ladies. Checking her over, I discovered that she was not injured badly. She just had a few bruises and minor abrasions. She would be sore for a while, but no lasting harm was done.

I then asked for her name, and she said, "Sun Myung Moon."

I asked about the sale of her, that her uncle made.

She said, "Selling off the extra women in the family is a common practice in China. Women have no real value. They were just extra mouths to feed. Men are the only ones with any value."

She said that some female babies were actually thrown out on the trash heaps to die, right after they were born, as some families were too poor to support them."

This was starting to piss me off even more, so I asked, "That's terrible that an uncle would do that to another family member. Is your uncle so poor that he can't afford to feed you or cloth you properly? And do you want to return to him?"

"If I returned to him, he will just sell me again! No, he's not poor, is one of the richest men in the Chinese district. When my parents died, he had to take me in, but he was not very happy about it. He's a greedy and a resentful man. The laundry was my parent's business, but when they died, he took it over as he was the only living male relative," she said.

I had already decided that she was not going back to her uncle, although I was still going to have a few choice words with the man. Leaving her with my wives, I asked Grandpa if he wanted to come along to talk to her uncle. He said he did, so off we went.

It didn't take us very long to find the laundry and pinning on my badge. We went in to confront the uncle. Talking to the lady at the counter we ask about the uncle, and she went into the back to get him.

Coming out, he looked at us and saw my badge. He started to get a little nervous. I asked him about Sun. He looked at me in a kind of puzzled way. He said, waving his arm to the rest of his family, that they were all part of the family: Sun?

So I asked about Sun Myung Moon, and why did he sell her?

He said, "Moon is female child. In China, extra female child is usually sold. Extra money is used to help rest of family. It is no big deal."

"It is a BIG deal, here! We just fought a major war to stop slavery. Selling people is against the law, especially selling a family member! I took Moon away from the miner that bought her and gave him back his money. I then talked to Moon. She said that she did not want to come back to her family, because you would just sell her again. She also told me that this laundry was her family's business. When her parents died, you just took it!"

He said, "Is Chinese custom. Females cannot own property. As the oldest male family member, all property and businesses are owned by the oldest male, as head of the family. I have read your history, and I know that it is done this way in America, too."

"It may be, but we don't sell our family members, especially the females," I said.

"You don't? And what is this, I hear about dowries that long-standing custom here in America not just China," he said.

I could see we were getting nowhere. This old Chinese man was very cagey.

I told him, "Selling your females is still against the law, and is considered slavery in this country. If I find you doing it again, you will go to jail. Moon said that she did not want to come back, as you would just sell her again. She will be staying with my family for a while, until she finds someplace that she wants to be."

"It's no problem. You bought her from miner. She is yours, now," he said.

I got to thinking that this was not what I needed. Another woman wasn't going to happen, this time. I was going to put my foot down. I would try to help her get back on her feet, but three wives was enough! I did not need a fourth! I looked over at Grandpa.

I saw him start to grin and said, "Don't even think about it! I've already got three! I don't need another. Maybe I should talk to Dove to see if maybe you need another wife!"

He said, "Oh no you don't! Dove would kill me. Besides I'm too old while you're just a young whippersnapper!"

He then grinned even broader.

I said, "Oh, no you don't! That dog won't hunt! I've got enough wives, and don't need any more. If you think that she needs to be married so bad, you marry her, or Don marries her ... but I have enough wives, now, as it is!"

"Ed and Don are both married now and I don't think they could handle a second wife. Dove would get too jealous, and I know I can't handle a second wife so that just leaves you," Grandpa said.

"That ain't going to happen! I don't mind helping her out till she's on her feet again, but I'm not going to marry her!" I exclaimed.

"That's fine, if you feel so strongly about it. But she will still need a place to stay, and you're the one with the most extra room. So how about it? Can she stay with you?" Grandpa asked.

"Sure. I have no problems with that. I'm not going to throw her out in the street. I'm just not going to marry her," I said.

We headed back to the cabin, Grandpa with his big shit-eating grin. As we walked back to the cabin, I started to get this feeling of impending doom.

Getting back to the cabin, I found Moon and said, "I talked to your uncle. He told me that as he had already sold you, that you did not belong with that family any longer. So if you would like, you can stay with my family until you find somewhere you would rather be."

She told me that she would be happy staying with my family and me. She would help out all that she could, to earn her way. I told her that everyone just worked together, and that she was more than welcome to stay as long as she needed to.

I then went into the general store and talked to Miller, to see what all he had in his catalogs, that we might need.

As soon as I walked into the store, I noticed the little girl with the burned hand, and her mother. They were in the store browsing while Miller was waiting on me. Going up to them, I said hello to the mother. I examined the little girl's burns, after unwrapping her hand. I saw that they were healing quite nicely.

I explained to her mother that the burns were healing well, and they didn't need to be covered anymore. I told her that she should keep coating the burns with the lotion I gave her, so the skin would stay soft. This would allow the burns to fully heal, and would prevent scarring.

As I was finishing up, Pete (the man who had received a shoulder wound from the Baxter Brothers) walked into the store.

Seeing me, he came over and said, "I heard you are back in town and came over to see if you would examine me, and remove the stitches?"

I checked his wound and saw that the wound had closed quite nicely so I removed the stitches.

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