Summary: An unexpected visit sheds light on some of the privacy of Adam. (Click here for French version)
Rated: MA WC 5500
Six in the evening! In desperation, Ben Cartwright served a cup of tea, alas warm and casually munched a biscuit. He wanted to have waited as if he did not know that his three son, for one week, were training for the big rodeo in June, as soon as they had finished the job. Joe even had a tendency to rush his task to penetrate earlier in the corral. Tea was clearly the last of his concerns.
Ben was there in his thoughts when the sound of a trotting and poorly oiled wheels on to his feet. He spread the cretonne curtain that masked the window and saw the sheriff deputy down from his carriage, accompanied by a man he did not know but that his star, he identified himself as a police officer. The individual had a closed face, rigid or tense. Puzzled, Ben opened the door:
“Hello Auguster! Hello Sir … Sir … ”
“Pearson, Ted Pearson, Federal sheriff. Can you give us a few minutes of conversation? »
“But of course, gentlemen. I can even offer you tea if you do not like it too hot. »
“No thank you, Ben” said Auguster squinting on the bottle of whiskey, seeing which, the householder served in a glass with every guest.
“And now, Auguster, tell us what brings you. »
“A matter of the utmost importance, Ben, an affair of state. I told Mr Pearson you were a perfect citizen, a man of duty and could trust you. »
Ben was impressed; he was not used to hearing Auguster pronounce words as pompous.
“What I will reveal to you, sir,” answered Pearson, “is a state secret. I brought a Bible for you to pay oath. We need your help, forcing us to provide you with confidential information, but we can not take the risk that you divulge recklessly. »
Ben sworn with an air Pearson finally decided to get into the heart of the matter:
“The story goes back to the war between the Texans and Mexicans. When the Mexicans had realized that the men defending the Alamo would not go, they did evacuate women and children. One woman carried in her underwear, plan several hiding ammunition that had prepared the Texans. We were in l848. This woman jealously guarded the plan for 13 years and then, feeling die, revealed the existence in his two nephews, his closest relatives. She did not know that one of the two was part of a secret society who meditates to raid several western states, California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, into a separate nation, including, of course, the company would control. The man seized the plane and we were warned there was little time for his cousin who, after long hesitation – because this sect terrorized all who approach – decided to place themselves under our protection.
We have to act fast: these criminals surely want to enjoy the civil war that mobilizes all forces to put their plan into execution by using munitions Texans that nobody but them knows the location. ”
Ben nodded gravely, “But how can I help you? »
“We have arrested a woman in Sacramento. This is a cabaret singer We know she fled the sect, but she knows where the plane is hidden. Only she stubbornly refuses to talk. »
And then? “Ben asked, intrigued.
“What kind of woman who lives with her charms, knows it has more to fear from those that betray that of the police. After all, we do not have much against it. It does not raccole on public roads. It is done simply by maintaining some citizens which it reserves his evenings, except when the man of her heart stays in town. »
Ben understood less and less where the two policemen were coming.
“You know what it is, Ben,” stammered Auguster suddenly became scarlet, “these girls there is a man who has influence over them, that they do not pay when he comes spend the night. He absolutely must do the talking. »
“This whole story is very interesting,” Ben exploded, “but I really do not see what I have to do it. »
“We found it on her bedside table,” Pearson dropped by launching a portrait in the hands of Ben.
Ben had a high round the body: the fine, manly face smiling at mid-oval frame, was none other than that of his eldest son.
“There is no doubt, it’s Adam,” he said in a flat voice. Pearson is deeply bent over him: “Did you know that your son was attending this woman in Sacramento? Have you detected some signs of bizarre behavior? »
“That would suggest that it is part of the secret society? This is what you mean? “Asked Ben a sharp tone. “If that’s it, I can assure you that my son is as loyal, honest and patriotic than me and …”
The door opened, interrupting the end of the reporting of Ben Cartwright and the three latter’s son entered, rosy cheeks and lively complexion as seen men who come to indulge in violent exercise outdoors. Seeing that their father was in the company, they came to greet with a smile, but rembrunirent uncovering the sinister air of the three friends.
Ben asked Hoss and Joe kindly make a room upstairs. They went up the stairs with a surprising docility and crouched around the corner. The two sheriffs had forgotten them while occupied with Adam.
“It is important” Pearson was thinking, “not to rush it because it is a key part of the board, but do not lose sight of that fact may be part of the band of conspirators. »
Auguster had always been intimidated by Adam. He turned to Ben, tacitly begging to take the lead … what Ben had just intended to do.
Adam sat, surprised by the heavy atmosphere in the room. He put a questioning look on the stern face of his father.
Ben stood up and the two law enforcement officials and the three menacing figures surrounding the chair of the young man. “Do you know where does this portrait? “Asked Ben to his son, handing him the daguerreotype who represented.
Adam looked at his father right in the eyes, “Yes, I know. I understand the context and I would like to know how it came into your hands. What happened to Birgit? “He asked, turning directly to Pearson,” and all, who are you? »
“You can talk to him, Pearson, I answer” said Auguster for once at the height of the situation.
Deciding to play his all, Pearson began his story. Hoss and Joe did not lose a beat. When he had finished, silence fell in the great room with plastered walls. Adam looked at the end of his boots thoughtfully. Three apparent interlocutors, as well as two that were hidden, holding their breath waiting for her reaction.
“Birgit, a member of a secret society,” he finally said, as if he continued his thought aloud. “I can hardly believe it …”
“What do you know of that Birgit? How have you known? What happened between you two? “The issues, Ben’s lips, jostled.
Adam was tempted to tell him that it was none of it and that no one, even his father, had the right to interfere with his privacy, but he remembered in time that it was the security of its countries and that it had nothing to hide those who defended it. Trying to keep an even tone, neutral, he said:
“I’ve known her for almost two years. I was traveling to Sacramento as often happens to me to buy seeds. Since I had a few hours before me, I decided to take the opportunity to renew my little wardrobe. In the main street, I encountered a rally. There were a dozen staid bourgeois who insulted a very nice person. It bravely stood up to them, but it was clear she could not take a step without being forced to make his hat. I do not know the case against him or how things had come there, but I know, without thinking, I offered my arm and have carved open a niche among these harpies. While I was escorted into her shopping, she learned that she was a singer in a luxury inn and she invited me to take her home after the show. I confess I did not think to refuse. It’s a beautiful girl. She has a voice a little silly, but full of sensuality when she sings, a wasp waist, firm and rounded rump, perfect legs she discovered the cancan. I guarantee you that I was not the only one in the room to feel exhilarated by the sight of her thighs rimmed with lace. »
While Adam spoke, his eyes were on. In the evocation he was doing, even Pearson felt the need to move his tongue over his dry lips. More Adam walked in his story, the more he was convinced that there was between him and attractive Birgit, a history of skin … or if he was a member of the sect, it was really an outstanding actor.
“I’m sure,” continued Adam, “the first night when she gave herself to me, it was in thanks. Because I was free chivalrous showed me to her. The men who pay to make love to her in the evening, in the open are on the side of their wives and do not have enough contemptuous words for it. They return to be forgiven, or so they believe, with expensive jewelry. That night, we offered fun like two kids without ulterior motives, without feeling low, without an idea of the past or the future. The famous “carpe diem”, “enjoying the moment.” The next evening I found myself mechanically exit backstage. She was in the arms of a ruddy mustache guy. When she saw me, I do not know what got into him, she took out of her bodice a handful of notes and stretched them to his rider, saying: “I give you your money. As my friend will be in town, nobody wants to access my bed at any price whatsoever. You will wait he left. “And since then, it happened like that. As soon as I arrived, she plays “temporary closure” to his “gentlemen”. I was afraid that it loses its customers, but it is so desirable that they are waiting patiently. »
“Everything you said is correct, Mr. Cartwright, and we were able to verify. But what I want to know is what happens once the door closed. What are you talking about? »
Adam stared angrily: “I thought I was clear. What more do you want as details Mr Pearson? ”
Pearson was a sign of the hand he hoped soothing. “Do not get me wrong, Mr. Cartwright, I’m just trying to find out if she told you about her past, her life … If you see something that can guide us …”
Nothing at all. I assure you that I never saw in her a charming and voluptuous mistress. Remember that I do not live Sacramento and a total, I have never spent a couple of nights with her, all in one and a half. At this rate, we have other things to do than the conversation when we see ourselves. No, do not unnecessarily look for clues that I do not and decide a strategy, you have stopped, have you told me? »
“Yes, she is in prison, but we can not keep it long. »
“Can you allow me to see it? »
“I hope so, even. I intend to take you to Sacramento tomorrow, but … ”
“But? “Pearson turned his hat between his fingers,” I can not take any chances, Mr. Cartwright, and among others that of not bet on your innocence. Whatever the protests of your father and the sheriff Auguster, you are suspect. You could very well be part of the band, which would explain the sudden craze of our singer for yourself. Admit that it’s still not in the habit of prostitutes, “added he, turning to Ben and Auguster” snub that a customer has already paid under the pretext of a thunderbolt . I’ll take you to Sacramento, “he finished at Adam,” but the handcuffs. ”
Ben jumped: “You do not have the right. Adam did nothing. He showed no resistance. Instead, he confessed its adventure without omitting anything. I will not be doing that. »
Adam stood and put a reassuring hand on his father’s shoulder
“But if, Dad, but if. Rather, it is the best way to approach Birgit. Nothing can decide to talk, if not the need to rescue me. Do not forget that risks his skin if it proves too talkative … That’s why, “he continued for Pearson,” I want to tell you that I will cooperate only if we do what is necessary to protect Miss Bard. We will talk in due course. Go to bed now. Can we offer you hospitality, Mr. Pearson? We leave as soon as tomorrow. »
“You do not understand me, Mr. Cartwright. You are already under arrest and you’ll spend the night at the Virginia City Prison. I shall cure settle to sleep in Ponderosa, on your property, leaving you plenty of time to prepare an escape. »
“Well, I am,” Adam hastened to reply, to curb an explosion of his father. And he held out his hands obediently for us to stay handcuffs. “Perhaps you will allow my father, under the supervision of Auguster to prepare myself a little linen replacement. Birgit has not had the habit of visiting me sweat filthy and smelling the goat. »
Pearson made a gesture of assent. In a beautiful overall movement, Hoss and Joe took refuge in the Hoss chamber. After preparing the affairs of his son Ben went to his room and made his own package.
What are you doing? “Asked Auguster. “You can not imagine,” replied Ben down the stairs, “I’ll leave my son alone to struggle between you and the bandits. I accompany you in Sacramento, you can not help it. »
“Thanks Dad,” Adam tossed out the door. “Especially if you take it to read, take the Three Musketeers and Ears of Walls. »
The door closed on this cryptic sentence. Hardly had they heard the carriage away, the two boys hurried down the steps.
“What did he mean? “Inquired they with their father, forgetting that they were supposed to have heard nothing.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Ben could not help but smile: “He wanted to warn me that you had heard everything, hence the reference to” Ears walls “and he advised me to take you with i. »
The fat cheeks Hoss were split with a smile, but Joe was still hungry:
“The Three Musketeers, this means: take my brothers? »
“Sure,” replied Ben, giving him a shove. “Do not you remember:” One for all, all for one. “.
“Obviously,” said Joe, with an air suddenly inspired. “Still, he damn mess in a famous, big brother. For once it’s not me! »
“Whether it’s you or him, there is always a woman behind,” says Ben. “Go to bed Tomorrow, waking at dawn. ”
The beautiful Birgit languished in his cell. Crude decor! Lime walls, with nothing to catch the eye as the mirror that she had obtained with great difficulty of his jailers. She approached him and gazed sadly the image he referred. A blond lock escaped the pins her hair hung down miserably in his cheek that took a candle shade. Dark circles formed a purple moon under her eyes still swollen with tears. The future appeared to her rosy. What was the most enviable fate? Continue to turn in that cage clenched teeth or speak and regain freedom, but probably died in the first corner. For six days, she had asked the question a hundred times.
Without thinking, she straightened her hair and pinched her cheeks to make them blush. It was more instinct than necessity, because she had no one to seduce. The species female dragon that guarded the insensitivity was a monster. At the very moment it was this thinking, the dragon came in with his boots.
“Put on you,” she barked, “we are waiting for interrogation. »
Resigned – she was beginning to know these sterile interrogation where three men were striving to attract into traps – she put the pretty white and pink boots matched his suit jacket, she wore the day she was apprehended. Then she followed with the pout that was familiar to him, the skirt of his cacad’oie Cerberus.
When she entered the federal office, she knew at first glance that there had been something new. A man, prisoner, flanked by two giants turned his back, facing the police. A wall of silence fell over her shoulders. Had they arrested a member of the organization? In this case, silence was the only attitude to take because the slightest remark could pass for a confession.
Then suddenly, she recognized the silhouette of the captive. It was not a man of the organization, it was Adam, his Adam they had captured. What would they want? There was nothing to do with all this … Yes, of course, but they do not know. She had not thought that all those who approached him at risk of being suspected,
“Hello, Miss Bard” said the lieutenant Twisthead, while Adam turned toward her. I think you know this gentleman? »
“Hi Birgit” hastened to throw Adam, lest his friend did make the mistake of denying their relationship.
That lasted for two years their relationship, Birgit still unable to explain the effect made him the voice and the sight of Adam. One thing was certain: it was him in the strict sense of the word, crazy.
“You can not help it, my poor girl, it’s like that,” he stated, categorically, her friend Jane, “You have in the skin. This happens to us all at one time or another. And I pity those who do not know that. Look at me with Jose … ”
Birgit abandoned in thought enumerating Jose turpitude and the reasons were that Jane did not care to return to the present moment. Twisthead had made any sermon on the risks incurred by it. If not avoided, etc … All she had chosen was that we were going to leave her alone for half an hour with Adam. A few minutes more pompous declarations and the door closed, removing from view the lieutenant and his cronies.
Adam raised it above his head his wrists handcuffed and joined by a circle of his arms, went down along the back of the young woman. “You see,” he said, “this does not prevent me to kiss you. »
She put her hands cupped around the well defined chin than a blackened beard and pressed his lips to her beloved. For a moment she forgot everything. From Adam emanated a manly smell of well soaped rider. He felt the leather and lavender and fresh morning. He kissed a language at once sweet and imperious, taking possession of her by this simple subtle touch of the lips. It had been the case, it seemed to Birgit, from the first moment their eyes met; he had thrown over her owner look and she had recognized as such …
Adam broke their embrace and sat her down: “Now speak, time is measured us. “He told her, in short words, how and why he was arrested. “They think I’m your accomplice and a member of the famous secret society. If you do not speak, I will be tried and hanged. »
Tears glistened in the eyes of Birgit, “But that’s not possible. I’ll tell them you’re innocent you have nothing to do with it … They have no evidence … ”
“They will if they want to have. I’m honorably known in Virginia City and my father may well be the richest man in Nevada, this does not prevent them to put me behind bars. »
“But why do they do it, why? What good is it for them to kill an innocent. “.
“This is for the one thing they are interested in make you confess where hidden plan ‘
“But Adam, if I do that, I sign my death warrant. Hardly have they released me I’d kill him. »
“Not if you follow my advice. Listen, you’re going to let them know that you do révéleras the hiding that from the time when they will seriously “cleaned” the network. How many are in this band? The do you know? »
“I do not know if I know them all. In fact, there is mostly a dozen men who run everything. The others are only performers; they do not attend meetings of the board. »
“How did you get back in this cult? How did you heard information as protected as the famous hiding place? »
“Just because I slept with their leader at the vanguard of the plot, which also calls itself the General. He said he would make me a queen and, at the time, it had flattered myself. But I made me realize that it was not worth me being bored during the long evenings when these gentlemen remade the world in cigar smoke. So I told Ronny all their ambitious ideas, I did not care, what I liked was dancing and laughing and that I was leaving. I told him that he does not care; its plot did not interest me enough that I speak to anyone, and the only secrets that I wish were those revealing Parisian couturiers. »
She laughed: “I assure you that I was sincere. Think about it: from the time we’ve known, I breathed into you a note? »
Adam smiled, “I grant you no, and I wonder how the police went to find you. In any case, this is the place to start: list the people who came to smoke out your living room and say nothing of the secret as you will not have the certainty that they were put out of of harm. Then I myself will make sure your protection, with the help of my father and my brothers. I will not leave you nor day nor night, also very clever one who will approach you. »
Such a perspective could only appeal to Birgit but she feared that Adam does not underestimate the power of the organization. The leaders certainly not going to be deterred so easily. But he proved so persuasive that she relented.
Negotiation Adam had to carry with Twisthead was less easy. The young man insisted on being released, and Birgit, while Twisthead claimed, not without reason, that they would be safer behind the solid bars of the prison. The arrival of Ben, flanked by California Governor allowed to defuse things. Ben pointed out that if it was imprudent to let Birgit come and go in the streets of Sacramento, austere room of the prison would not encourage the dancer to be cooperative.
“Let’s join the comfort of security,” he concluded, “and assign it to residential home. As for my son, I think he’s got enough results for you to stop the suspect. »
Twisthead hesitated to reply to Ben that deal with bandits as cunning and dangerous enemies, Birgit confessions supposedly could only be a trap and that his suspicions of Adam remained intact when it took him embarrassment.
“Anyway, I can not give Birgit. The game I’m playing it is too dangerous. I wish to be under house arrest with her. »
“It is not very suitable” Ben let out without thinking. Adam could not help laughing, despite the seriousness of the circumstances.
“I do not think,” he finally said, once calmed down, “that decency is our main concern at the moment. Moreover, from that side, the damage is already done, ”
Ben was an awkward smile. Deep in himself, he was rather puritanical, even if he had, in the past few affairs with actresses or dancers. Only it was hard to admit that his son, in their youth, do not follow the “curriculum” he considered normal: woo a girl of good family, watched both attentive and indulgent parents. And marry her. But Adam was 28 years old and he was still single. On second thought, it was normal considering that he had not reached that age while remaining a virgin. Ben realized he had always, modesty, refused to ask for both Adam and for his two other son.
Lost in thought, he had mechanically market and found that he had arrived with the others in the house of Birgit Bard. A bourgeois home, highly polished, a little unexpected case of a strumpet.
Adam’s voice came to him: “Dad, get Hoss and Joe. I need you; I have little confidence in the police to protect Birgit. ”
Ben ran and returned a quarter of an hour later, flanked by his son last two.
“As he placed several sentries around the house, Twisthead agrees to keep you inside with us,” explained Adam who negotiated during the brief absence of his father. “What to keep, it is the chimney and the parlor window. This is the only overlooking a wall without a door. I will watch directly Birgit, day and night … ”
“I see,” could not help joking Hoss, “you’ll make him a bulwark of your body” But a black look of his father came to him laughing at the back of the throat.
Life was organized without too much difficulty. Hoss, Joe and Ben who could go out, undertook contacts with the outside. Meanwhile, the police, with an ant hard gradually dismantled the network of information provided by the girl.
One evening, Adam discovered a scorpion at the bottom of the tub. He reduced it to a purée.
One morning at dawn, Joe caught between her eyelashes, a stick of dynamite down the chimney. He had just enough time to collect and ship in the garden.
One day while returning from shopping, Hoss saw a shadow sneaking stealthily along the wall, out of sight of the sentry. At the end of a silent battle, Hoss found no less than three pistols and two daggers on his lifeless opponent.
When a young cat was found dead after being lapped up the milk Birgit had just served him, Adam decided she no longer absorb as eggs and fruit from the garden he loaded his brothers to pick.
The following Sunday, Twisthead stood and shook hands with Adam effusively.
“We have shuttered more than twelve. Now I think we can really put you out cause and that the biggest danger is past. In any case, you are now free to come and go. I think there is more risk. Birgit can tell us the secret, now. ”
Adam became less optimistic: “I want to believe you, but I’ll be really quiet when Birgit will be far away, thousands of miles from here. So I will take advantage of the offer you make me and out a bit. »
He walked away and drove in a cab to the most luxurious hotel in Sacramento. There he became specify a room number and knocked on the door. A white-haired man opened his Adam remained closeted with him for almost two hours, then they went out both of them. With his top hat and dark gray cape, the companion of Adam was a distinction that is rarely seen in an American. Adam introduced him to her father, who was taking the air in front of Birgit.
“Dad, can I present Lord Chichester; my father, “he said, bowing slightly towards the English. Then he put the person concerned and called Birgit. She smiled, recognizing one of his “courtiers” while wondering why the hell her lover brought to him. Intrigued, Ben had followed Adam inside
“Birgit, I have a long talk with Lord Chichester. He knows the situation, the whole situation, “Adam insisted, looking straight into his eyes. “He agreed to marry you and take you with him to England. »
The young woman shouted protests. Adam prayed Lord Chichester excuse Birgit and pulling her by the wrist, led him into the parlor. After closing the door, he explained to the poor girl frightened and crying that it was for her, a plank of unexpected salvation.
“We must put an ocean between America and thee, but I still afraid of one of these robbers fleeing, or that one of them has passed through the cracks. »
“But I love you,” she sobbed, “I love only you. »
“Me too,” Adam lied to half who felt more pity than desire and love for the beautiful creature he held in his arms. “And it is because of this love I beg you to obey me. Besides, I do not give you a choice. Or you go with Harold or I abandon you on the field. »
Birgit wept for a long time but eventually relented. This is a broken voice she gave her consent to Chichester.
“But I will go with you tomorrow,” she clarified, and raising her head, she challenged the look the two men, the man she loved and that she was going to share the life. “I demand, I demand”, supported as “a last night of love before becoming Lady Chichester. »
The next day, and Birgit and Adam had sunken eyes when they parted. Birgit clung to her lover. but he pushed her into the coach while on the inside, Lord Chichester pulled. Having closed the door, Adam ordered the coachman whipping his horses quickly, while a sorry head appeared at the door.
The return to Ponderosa was silent, each respecting the Adarn meditation and life resumed its rights. More than a year later, Adam received a long letter and his father saw darken as he read.
“What is happening Adam? “He asked, worried.
“Lady Chichester informs me that she has a little girl, there are now” … (Adam did a quick mental calculation) “more than three months. She adds that it is the portrait of her father and that she named Eve. »
“I would have been more careful when I chose your name” Ben muttered. “You place under the aegis of the man who lost paradise because of a woman! But it was the thought of your mother “…
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