It was so hard not to feel anger at what he’d done. For years, she’d tried to get him to quit gambling but he refused. Somehow that bastard Jones had tricked him; she just knew it.
She started to make piles of the things in the house. Items to sell, items to burn, items she couldn’t live without.
It took her the rest of the day to get everything organized and part of the next day to get the animals ready.
Then she went into town and hung posters of the big sale out at the Underwood Estate. Everything must go.
As she was hanging a poster on a building, she saw another woman doing the same.
“Hello,” she said, glancing at her. “What’s this?”
“I’m a marriage matchmaker,” the woman said. “I’m looking for girls to travel to Montana where there are eligible men looking for wives.”
Blanche glanced at the poster again. “Good men?”
“Why, yes, and if you’re not happy there, they will pay your way back to Charleston.”
“Hrmph,” Blanche said. What did she have here to return to?
“What kind of men are they?”
“Businessmen, ranchers, bankers, mine owners, all kinds of different men,” the lady said, glancing at her. “Are you interested?”
Ranchers. There were ranch owners in Montana looking for a wife. She could live on a ranch, but in Montana, not the hellhole piece of plantation she owned in South Carolina.
Which was no longer hers.
No man around here was going to marry her. Her reputation as a wild woman was widespread, and yet, she hadn’t really done anything. Only not been a woman who went to tea parties and acted all refined. A southern belle – oh no, not her.
No, she wore men’s clothes, rode horses astride, cursed, and shot a gun better than any man she knew. And if she wanted, she could out drink a man too.
But that would never get her married. If she went to Montana, she would need to learn to comport herself like a lady, whether she wanted to or not.
“If I signed up for this matchmaking in Montana, would you teach me how to be a proper lady?”
The woman smiled at her. “I’d do my best.”
“When are you leaving? I’m not going to have a place to stay after tomorrow,” she said, hoping that with the sale, she would have enough money to hold her over.
“I need three more girls and then we leave. But you’re welcome to stay at my place until then,” the lady said.
What should she do? Then it hit her. Mr. Jones may have won the ranch in a card game, but he only won the land.
Tomorrow night after she sold all the animals and the furnishings in the house, she’d have a big ol’ cookout. She’d leave him with the land and that was it. As much as she hated Mr. Jones, he was going to hate her even more.
She was going to have a fire sale. Everything must go, including herself.