Tired and going to sleep. More coming. I was telling Kevin that Great Britain liked to tell loooonnngg stories. My ancestry is Scottish. I did with this chapter. I just want everybody to see the movie I saw in my head.
The hotel was nice and comfortable. It didn’t have the polish the ones in Europe did. My room at the ranch wasn’t fancy and small compared to the one in Copenhagen.
It was too late in the day; early evening to go to the capitol. We’d have to do it the following morning. I would send the President my acceptance by telegram. There was also the telephone, but even with the crisscrossing lines sometimes you had the call of more importance, but lines could be down. Some calls took a while for the connection to be made. Hours in some cases. Copenhagen was a city and had electricity and telephones, but international calls were more difficult. Many times, you could barely hear who you were speaking with. A telephone call over most of America was just as difficult.
The two hired hands that had driven us down opted to return in the morning. They said they’d sleep on the murphy bed. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them. I did. I wanted to spend time alone with Vincent. Bendt and Nakia were a couple, too. We had seen them have sex when we went to Paris’ underground. I wasn’t ashamed that Vincent and I were lovers, but I knew Vincent would never agree being that open. Seeing another man naked was fine. Neither of us were that shy. The students at Wentworth Academy were that shy. Seeing a man have sex was something else! Even with a man and a woman, but seeing us? We could let it go one night. Preparing to be discrete in Copenhagen would take patience. We were patient at Wentworth and when we lived together in London and Copenhagen. This is how our life would be. Vincent and I had sex. Humans were made to do it. Indians knew this and accepted it was going to happen. Many other tribes viewed relationships very differently. The Shoshone did, too. Marriages were not always lifetime commitments. My mother and father did have that commitment. My mother would never have approved of his cheating. She would have scalped my father! Dad? He would have killed any man that touched Mom. Their love was a living thing and they both did whatever was needed to keep it alive.
I never wanted anyone else. Vincent didn’t either. What he and Angelica did was duty. For the time being, that was done. Vincent was a prize bull just like he said. Angelica was a prize heifer. Not to belittle either of them, but it took some of the magic away about beginning a new life they made together.
Wyoming was about many things, but one of the things was cattle. The Interocean Hotel had a restaurant my father liked very much, so I treated all six of us to a steak dinner. The conversation at the table was interesting because of the language problem. Bendt and Nakia, again, knew some English, but telling the two hired hands at the table anything often resulted in Vincent or my explaining what was meant.
Keith was the newest hired hand and was employed a year ago by my father when Keith came hungry looking for work. He was only seventeen at the time. He proved he was a good worker and was not afraid of hard work. My father had him in the stables working with the horses. I was told the stables had not been as clean until Keith was hired. He wasn’t a bold presence and spoke softly. My mother was working with him and teaching him to read. He only went to any school for three years. Mom, like I saw, some real intelligence in those eyes.
Hap was the other hired hand and about forty.A nice man who had a voice that boomed when he needed it.
“I don’t know,” Hap said as he took a bit of steak in his mouth and chewed. “I’m partial, I know…” he chewed as he thought, “But Miss Kam does steak better.”
No one ever went hungry at the ranch. When you had nearly twenty men for three meals a day, that ate into the number of steers you had. The hired hands did more than just one job. There were four that could handle the slaughter. It was necessary. I didn’t like it, but I understood. There were chickens, too. Maggie had taken over that part. Other farms provided hay for the livestock. When the ranch bought things like rice and flour was bought in bulk. My mother found ways to stretch things we ate and there were vegetables like beans and potatoes. In many ways, my father was a king. The ranch was his kingdom. My mother was now the queen and doing just fine.
“You just don’t know where the cow came from,” I chuckled.
Hap shook his head, “No, I don’t. Our steaks just tastes better.”
“It’s good steak,” Vincent insisted with a grin.
“Maybe it’s all in my head,” he nudged Keith with his elbow. “What do you think?”
Keith smiled his boyish grin, “I think it’s good, Mr. H.” He looked at me. “How do you keep up with all those languages, David?”
I shrugged, “I just have an ear for it. You didn’t have access like I did. I learned a few before I went to England.” I smiled at him, “My mother says you’re learning quickly and you’re smart. It will come.”
Keith’s mother had died when Keith had been fifteen. His father was a trapper and dealt with furs, but hadn’t been in Keith’s life for six or seven years. Keith didn’t know where his father was or even if he was alive.
“He’s sweet on a young lady at home,” Hap smiled making Keith blush.
That was true. After my mother hired Maggie, Keith had been smitten. They were both teenagers and only three or four years apart in age.His eyes would follow her when we gathered for meals. He was being tutored on his reading twice a week in the evening after it got dark. The ranch would slow down at that time and the hired help had a few hours to do whatever they wanted to do. Maggie had fallen in love when she arrived…with my books. She always ended her day choosing a book and reading. The topics of conversations she had with me were not simple. We would debate issues and she had valid points! I encouraged her to keep it up and she dove in head first!
“Yeah,” Keith grumbled. “She is so smart.”
Hap smiled, “And pretty.” He chuckled. “You have to mention that.”
Keith nodded, “Yes, I noticed that, too.” He shook his head. “She’d never be interested in me.”
“Why not?” Vincent asked. “Because she’s smart?”
“Yes!” Keith said bluntly.
I nodded, “So are you!” Then I shook my head. “Being able to read is important. Being able to speak other languages is just what I do and I’m good at it. Reading just takes practice. My mother is very smart and my father was very smart, but with different things. Dad was English, Spanish and the language of the Pohogwe. Mom only spoke two, English and Pohogwe. Who was smarter? Who cares?” What was happening here was understood, but never happened with me. Keith had no confidence. Vincent never doubted himself either. He always knew who he was. I was always told by my parents who I was and all the positive things about myself. It was also the way of the Pohogwe. I never saw a member of the tribe doubt themselves. Jacy was the son of the Chief. “I don’t know what will work here,” I began. “You are a nice guy, she’s a nice girl. Both of you are nice looking and both of you are smart.” I chuckled. “I’ll tell you what my Dad did to my mother. He decided to be her friend. He listened to her and treated as a person of value, not just a pretty girl.” I looked at Vincent. “She was, but not how he won her over.” Vincent chuckled and nodded. I went on, “Respect her. Take her for walks, bring her something you think she’d like. Dad would bring wild flowers, shiny polished rocks and anything he thought she’d like. Mom did!”
“A rock?” Hap asked.
“Rocks, quartz…whatever,” I said. “If she didn’t understand why, he would tell her why he thought of her because of what he gave her.” I pointed with my fork at Keith, “Be honest with her and listen! That will impress her.”
Dating was difficult for the men hired to work on the ranch. There were smaller towns and farm communities closer, but fewer choices. Trips to Casper, Cheyenne or even Billings was done every six months for needed purchases. Billings was closer, but in the middle of winter, nothing was close. Different hired hands had gal pals in those cities. A couple of them even had some with the Pohogwe. It was what we did as people.
Little did I know, I gave advice to Maggie’s future husband.
Vincent and I were in one bed, Bendt and Nakia were in the other. Keith and Hap had the murphy bed. Sharing the suite was no big deal. Until the snoring. I never heard Vincent claim I snored. I never heard him snore, but Bendt or Nakia did. So did Hap. Sleeping outside on a cattle drive was fine. If you were bothered, you picked up your bedroll and moved. The enclosed space of the suite held the snores in. The duet the two that snored wasn’t entertaining at all. Hap was the loudest. I know because I went to check to see if he was okay. At least he was resting peacefully. Keith tuned him out. How? I didn’t know. Dad snored on his back, but a word from my mother and he rolled over. A daily ritual for my father was right after he got up and went outside was to take long, deep breath and said he loved the great outdoors. I firmly believed that deep inhalation of good Wyoming air kept him from snoring.
When the sun was up I felt Vincent roll over and let out a tired breath. The suite had lost its heat. He married Angelica at the end of May. It was now the end of November. He went over in his long underwear to the little stove that burned coal, touched the handle and swore quietly saying “for helvede” the Danish form of “goddammit” and fanned his fingers that had burned. With the damp cloth he opened the door and put in three chunks of coal. He hurried back and dove back into bed and spooned behind me with a shiver.
I chuckled and whispered, “There doesn’t appear to be a coal shortage here.”
“I don’t know,” Vincent whispered back. “That one at Wentworth turned out pretty well. We’re together.”
My eyes widened and I rolled over facing him, “You think that coal shortage at Wentworth is what brought us together!?” I whispered as forceful as I could, but couldn’t be heard across the suite. There was no anger on my part.
Vincent was grinning and he shrugged, “It was just a catalyst and helped it happen sooner. That’s all.”
“Oh,” I grinned back. “You see the wisdom in us now.”
“After you seduced me…” Vincent claimed with a growing smile.
“I seduced you!?” I blurted shoving him back a little, “Dit røvhul!” I hissed calling him an asshole. “Who was rubbing his royal dick on whom?”
His smiled grew, “I don’t want remember.”
This time he laughed harder.
“We do speak English,” Bendt’s loud whispered voice came from the other bed. “And naturally we speak Danish.”
“Sorry,” Vincent chuckled. “Did you guys sleep well?”
“When that grizzly bear in there stopped growling,” Bendt muttered.
“When the Hell was that!? He did it all night!” Nakia added, “You are getting there, Bendt.”
“I’ll ask Mr. Cheney for another room,” I said. “Those two will be gone in a couple of hours.”
“No!” Nakia almost shouted, “We can’t! Vi er her for at beskytte Prins Vincent.…”
“And you, David,” Bendt added quickly.
“We have to remain with you!” Nakia stated.
The sentence in Danish told me they had to protect Vincent. I nodded, “Of course,” I said. “Sorry, I see all of you as regular guys, but you’re not.”
Vincent smiled, “You aren’t a regular guy either.”
Showering and shaving was done quickly and then we got breakfast in the restaurant. Living on a ranch, getting up was easy. The sun came up and we went to work. Vincent, Nakia and Bendt still had their body clocks set for Copenhagen.
Hap looked out the big window as we ate and frowned, “We should head out, Keith.” He pointed at the window. “It’s starting to snow. It could get worse. We need the warmth of daylight to help keep the path clear.”
Keith nodded, “Okay, Mr. H.”
“I hope we see you again,” Hap said shaking our hands. “Be safe going back.”
As we were going past the front desk I saw a tall trunk behind the desk. I asked the lady working there who nodded and a bellman went around and got it. My suit! There was a note from Juan Martinez telling me the other suit would be finished that day. Both Juan and his wife were tailors.
Putting the suit and boots on, I looked in the large mirror that allowed guests to see how the look from head to toe. I ran a hand over my face. I did have a lot of my father in me. My mother was there, too, but you knew I was my father’s son. When I was in my early twenties, I had one more growth spurt. Dad told me that happened to him, too. I was now an inch shy of Dad at six feet and two inches. My body just couldn’t do the final inch. Again, who cared?
There was a wolf whistle behind me. Thinking it was Vincent, but it was Nakia. The big smile on his face told me he was not interested in me other than as a friend. Vincent would have been tempted to kill him if Nakia was. He approved of the look! The vest I wore was bright red, the chain for Dad’s watch hung from a button hole and the watch was in the little pocket where it should be. Vincent came in, saw me and his eyes widened, but his smile said he approved, too.
“Du er smuk!” Vincent said.
“Gorgeous?” I chuckled, “You’ve used many words to describe me, but never gorgeous.”
He went to the bed and put my black hat on me, “My English went away for that moment.” He laughed lightly and leaned forward and kissed me.
“Du er homoseksuel!?” Bendt gasped in mock surprise saying I was homosexual in shock.
“Two spirited,” I corrected and chuckled.
“And so are you!” Vincent grinned. “We’ve seen you two do more than kiss.”
Nakia lightly slapped Bendt on the back of the head.
My Danish friends had nice clothes with them and jackets, but a suit was better for what I was here for.
The new capitol in Cheyenne was open and ready. It had been completed four years ago and it truly was “stately.” (Sorry, but that was the word! State capitols should be stately.) It wasn’t far from the hotel to the state capitol, so we walked.
Downtown Cheyenne was changing. There were still the carriages and horses, but fewer cowboys than before. The men wore regular suits and various hats. The men that wore regular fedoras. The shorter round hats? There were a few cowboys, but the closest group of cowboys was us! Three were Danes!!
There were those that worked at the capitol as clerks and lawyers. I saw several with those large satchels that were being carried by men and knew they were for putting important papers and documents to carry with them. I would have to get one, too. Later. I had my papers in a leather-bound book; the letter from President Cleveland asking me to take the job, duplicate copies from King Frederick, King Olav and Queen Victoria. I also had my passport with my picture. The countries in Europe, Scandinavia, Great Britain and the United States were using them more and more. There a means of proving who you are. I had turned twenty-seven years old last month, it would be 1894 in two months. I felt certain I would need to prove I was who I say I am.
We again removed our hats when we entered the capitol building. There were the security men on guard, and even a couple of police officers. I walked up to a middle-aged man behind a desk. He was a clerk that saw people got to who they need to see, if they were expected.
I opened leather book and said, “I need to send a telegram to President Cleveland in Washington.” I took out the letter he sent me and my identifying papers including my picture. “I would like to make a phone call, too. Can that be set up?”
The man behind the desk looked at the papers, saw the seals for authenticity and looked up amazed. “You are to be the American Ambassador in Denmark and Norway!?”
“He will be,” Vincent said folding his arms over his chest. “Improving relationships with the United States, not just for us, but all of Scandinavia. He’s done that in Denmark and England and a good impression with King Olav of Norway.’ He shrugged a nod. “It’s all a matter of time before Sweden and Finland want him, too. He’ll be a damned good one.”
“Han glemte island,” Bendt said in Danish and chuckled.
Vincent turned Bendt and said, “Det gjorde jeg ikke!”
“Guys!” I laughed. I looked at the man who wasn’t understanding Bendt or Vincent and translated for him, “He said Vincent forgot Iceland and Vincent said to Bendt he didn’t. Personally, it doesn’t matter because all these countries were all settled by these Vikings! The languages all descended from Scandinavian, though Icelandic is much more difficult.” I smiled at the clerk, but said to Vincent, “Thank you for the vote of confidence, Vinnie. If he’s in town you can let Governor Osbourne and Mayor Stahle know I’m here and why. If they desire a meeting before tomorrow. We leave tomorrow.”
He grabbed the phone on his desk, it was a tall black one like a candlestick. He took the earpiece off and clicked what held the ear piece up and down. “Nancy, connect me to the Governor’s office, please,” he only waited a few seconds and said, “Neal, tell Governor Osbourne that David Richards is here.” He heard something and shook his head, “He’s the new US Ambassador to Denmark and Norway!” This part was comical as he turned around in his chair and hissed like we couldn’t hear him. “Of course, I verified the credentials! It is not forged. He has a letter from the President!” He nodded again with his back still turned. “Yes!”
I cleared my throat and said, “Is there a problem?” I asked him suppressing my smile that was just below the surface.
He spun around and said loud and quickly, “No!” He hung the earpiece up, but picked up the earpiece again. “I’ll call to set up the phone call and arrange for the telegram. If the lines are up and working, it shouldn’t take long for the phone call. Snowy conditions and ice…”
“I remember them well,” I smiled. “It would often snow us in for days. My family’s ranch is near Cody.”
“It is bea uti ful there,” Nakia said, overly pronouncing each syllable to be understood.
I didn’t look at Nakia, but said, “Fortsæt det gode arbejde.” I looked at the man again, “I told him to keep up the good work. Fortsæt det gode arbejde.” Chuckling I added, “He still needs a lot of practice.”
A woman with a white blouse that showed no flesh at all as it was buttoned all the way to the neck with one of those cameos there. She was in her late thirties? Her hair was still black, but done up over her head. She wore a long black skirt which I gathered was kind of a uniform for her. Hanging around her neck was something that almost looked like a metal scarf. Two padded earpieces to hear and a metal stick that she spoke into. There were wires hanging loosely for now. She was an operator. Telephones had continued to change. Now they had rotary dials at the base with numbers so she was needed less for the many calls. The number of calls were growing. You used to have to call the operator to make any call. Now, if you knew the number, you just dialed. She looked at me and something wasn’t right. She looked at the man at the desk, “Where’s the American Ambassador?”
The man waved at me, “Right there! This is Mr. David Richards.”
Her eyes grew as she pointed, but asked the man, “He is.”
Everybody knows an Ambassador were middle-aged or older and rich. And those were people who had at least an inkling of what Ambassadors did. The majority had no idea. What job I was to do, I knew my age would be a challenge. I showed her the letter from President Cleveland and my identification papers and photograph. “I am!”
“Are we going to waste more time telling you he is the Ambassador?” Vincent growled a little bit. “We could be sending the telegram and you could be making the connection to the White House.” He looked at me. “What time is it in Washington?”
I took Dad’s watch out. It was nine thirty-four here. “Just after eleven thirty in the morning for Washington.”
Vincent snorted, “Back at home, most people are returning from working all day and looking forward to dinner!”
I laughed, “I know, Vinnie.”
No, Vincent didn’t like that name, but after a decade…the teasing had started to turn it to something else. He was still annoyed, but more tolerant. When sober. Bendt and Nakia thought the constant banter back and forth was funny. That’s why I did it! To get a rise out of Vincent!
The woman I found out was Nancy who led us into her domain. Two more operators were working, but they were ten years younger than Nancy. They were young enough to see four men enter the area. There was interest in their eyes, but didn’t say anything. Yes, a part of me wanted to tell them why that wasn’t going to happen, but I didn’t. Instead, I heard, “Thank you for calling the Equality State Capitol in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Who do you need to speak to?” It was said by both several times a minute. And the additional, “I’ll connect you.” How long it took a long time to learn the job, I had no idea. They spoke so quickly and plugged a wire in so fast they really didn’t have time to look! They knew what to do.
Composing a telegram wasn’t hard. Responding to his letter and the date he wrote it; I accepted the job and would be in Copenhagen in two weeks. I also said we would try to call there if the lines were clear. She was assured I was who and what I said when Bendt and Nakia spoke to each other, Vincent would comment in Danish. I would laugh with them and even said something in Danish. I was comfortable with them and my knowledge of the language was proven.
Nancy said she needed cities that were available for a lengthy connection. It could be done quickly, if there were no problems. There were seven states to go through and it was winter now. There was ice.
She had to divert to some cities because of problems. Lincoln, Nebraska to Des Moines, Iowa to Chicago, Illinois? Nope. Not Chicago. Diverted to Kansas City, Missouri to St. Louise, Missouri to Louisville, Kentucky to Charleston, West Virginia to Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC. And of course, President Cleveland was at lunch with somebody. The connection would remain and he would call when he got back.
A nice-looking man in his late thirties or early forties entered the area. Dark brown hair, but he had a moustache. Nothing wrong with that, but if I went more than three days without shaving, it itched. My father never grew any facial hair, Vincent, Bendt and Nakia didn’t. King Fredrick didn’t. King Olav of Norway had a close-cropped beard and moustache. They aged a man! The first gray hairs were usually in the beard and temples. Shave it off and you shaved off ten years! Vincent hadn’t shaved on that cattle drive with my father. I was glad when he shaved it off. The man looked at us and it began again, “You’re David Richards.” It was a statement. Not a question.
Briefly, I showed him as I did with the other two. Governor John Osbourne was not a cowboy. He was born in Westport, New York. He went to the Vermont School of Medicine. He wanted to be a doctor? People came west for a lot of reasons. He went into politics. Hell, he was head of the government in Wyoming!
He smiled and didn’t really question me, “You graduated from Cambridge. You’ve met and know Queen Victoria. And you know the Kings and Queens of Denmark and Norway!” He shook his head. His only question was, “And you’re how old!?”
“I was twenty-seven in October,” I answered.
“You’re a cattleman!” He marveled.
“Born and raised a cattleman!” I grinned nodding. “I was born north of here in Wyoming!”
Vincent grinned, “Most people in England and Denmark questioned him unmercifully if he were a cowboy. He moved away for school where we met. He’s a genius!”
The Governor’s smile was genuine and nodded, “Absolutely nothing wrong with being a cowboy, but unexpected.”
“Which part?” I asked, “The fact that I’m a cowboy or my age?”
“Both!” He said happily.
I introduced the three Danes with me, but rushed over Vincent’s last name. I told Bendt’s and Nakia’s last name. Like Maggie did, the Governor may keep up with the world and had read a paper. It was unlikely as he would be interested in current events for the state and country, but you never know. It was safer to err with caution than just tell who Vincent really was.
“Let’s go to my office,” he pointed at Nancy. “Transfer the President there, please.”
There were the usual pleasantries as we climbed the stairs. His office was on the top floor, but there were only “two” official floors. The main floor was really the second floor with a basement below. He was a nice, friendly man. I was liking him.
His office was nicely arranged and somewhat spacious. He waved at some chairs, “Sit anywhere.” Then his eyes twinkled, “Can I offer you a glass of bourbon?” He grinned and the way he looked at me, he knew.
I nodded, “You know who I am.”
The Governor nodded, his smile growing, “I do.” He chuckled. “I knew your father. He was a big supporter of my campaign. When I heard the name…” he shrugged a nod, “then I saw you and, yep…” he nodded, “He is your father.”
I shook my head, “I’ve been told that in Cheyenne three times.” I smiled.
“You favor him a lot,” the Governor went to his bar and offered a bottle of bourbon. “I know it’s early, but…”
“It’s after five in Copenhagen,” Vincent smirked.
The Governor poured five glasses and gave us each one, “I know Dan loved a good bourbon.” He chuckled. “He was the greatest and wealthiest rancher in the United States and a very good man.”
“He was,” I agreed.
The Governor waved at me, “Are you wearing this in Denmark?”
I nodded, “I’m proud of what my father did. I’m proud to be a cowboy and proud to be from Wyoming. I will wear this everywhere there.”
“Making yourself stand out,” he nodded.
“Right,” I said.
It was a few minutes later when one of the three phones on his desk rang.
After a quick identifying of who was calling, “Hello, Mr. President.” He listened and nodded. Why do people do that? No one would see the nod but us. They were thousands of miles apart! “He is right here,” He handed me the phone.
President Grove Cleveland was beginning his second term. He was President before, wasn’t after the four years and ran again where William McKinley served a four-year term. He won again. I was asked to come to the White House before I took the job; for dinner. I asked Vincent who simply nodded. I was asked when I’d get there. It would be a few days, again, if there were not problems. There were stories of trains that sometimes would meet another. Engine facing an engine. Someone had to back up. Like gunslingers and outlaws, they happened, but not very often.
The Governor invited us to dinner with his wife Selina that evening at the Governor’s house.
We left the capitol building with Vincent giving me a suspicious smile, “Your Majesty.”
I nodded, “I accept that. Dad was royalty and made a good name for himself.” I looked at him, “Are there cattle ranches in Denmark?”
Vincent frowned, “We have farms with cows, but mostly for milk and cheese. Chicken and pigs…”
“And many fish!” Nakia said.
“There are no ranches like where you came from,” Vincent said. “Why?”
“Because my new job will be more sedentary. I will be sitting a lot,” I grinned. “I was wondering if I could do some ranching in Denmark. Everyone wants us to come for dinner! If this continues, I’ll weigh over three hundred pounds!”
Vincent chuckled, “I’m sure we can find something for you to do.”
There were gyms and equipment we had access to. Vincent had been a good athlete his entire life and joke as I did about him descending from Vikings, but it was really true. That also explained why he was so good on the rowing team! The boats? My life on the ranch had been hard, but enjoyable. I had to use the school’s gym equipment as I had gotten used to how it felt in my body. When we had relocated to Windsor Castle after Frank Dupont’s assault, Vincent had asked for equipment to be there, too. It took a week, but it was done. The problem now was finding the time. My father had the height, but his near daily work on the ranch gave him the bulk.
Most of the luggage we brought with us was mine. The future King of Denmark did bring a suit just in case. Bendt and Nakia did, too. This wasn’t going to be a formal dinner, so no fancy suits. No cowboy suit this time for me.
It was the beginning of winter and it could be very cold in Wyoming. My friends and I had become accustomed to the damp cold in London and Copenhagen. It wasn’t a damp cold in Wyoming. We couldn’t walk to Governor Osbourne’s home and took a carriage. I had never seen it before and no, it wasn’t a ranch or farm house. It was grander than most homes in Cheyenne. Red brick with the penny corners and two columns on each side of the front doors up two stories. A grand house on the plains. Okay, it’s natural to compare and the house at the ranch was bigger! I know, that was mean. The house in Copenhagen I was using made this house look dinky. But Vincent’s aunts house was way older. It was no one’s fault. This house was new but what the house said was Wyoming was proud and a progressive state.
Meeting the Governor’s wife Selina was…eye opening. Yes, I preferred the company of men. Women were fine, my mother taught me to respect women. Her mother taught me about the value of women. There was Lady Beverly Haversham in London and we had been friends for a decade! We wrote each other often, when I was over there. I needed to write her again when I got back. Selina Osbourne carried this “sophistication” with her. She smiled, but it was there because it was what she was supposed to do as Wyoming’s First Lady. She was pretty, but my mother was prettier. So was her mother!
Seeing the Governor again, it was night and day. He was the day and she was the night. His smile was again genuine and looked pleased to see us again. My feeling was he was more attractive than she was, but that was probably just my two spirit’s opinion.
“That you for the invitation, Governor Osbourne,” I said shaking his hand.
“Call me John,” he said grinning. “Please.”
I nodded, “Okay, John.” I turned to his wife, “It’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for being so generous.” My time overseas had taught me to greet women, ladies, a certain way. Taking her hand, I kissed the top as I bowed to her.
That was when her smile became real, “Welcome to our home.”
It was no imposition for her, she had maids and a cook! Dinner was good. Chicken something.
At the hotel, the second suit I needed for Washington, D.C. had arrived. Vincent had done it again. He had come in a private car. That was fine, but the car had to be switched to another eastbound train in different cities to get to Washington. He also came on the Dannebrog was used again to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Telephones were great, but you never went wrong with a telegram. He sent the telegram to the Captain of the Dannebrog and asked him to relocate to a port in Alexandria on the Potomac River. Downtown Washington was just across the river. A train was going to St. Louis at nine in the morning. The mixed feelings came to me again. I was happy starting a new chapter in my life, but sad to be leaving Wyoming. Who knew, I may be back…one day. My mother was still here, but my father wasn’t. My mother was born and raised in Wyoming. She had traveled, of course, but her home was the ranch. She wouldn’t be happy living in other cities and countries long. When she got older…no, that wouldn’t happen. Grandmother had been active her whole life. So would my mother. I knew she would want to be buried next to my father. I’d have to come back for that, but that wasn’t that soon.
The private car was loaded with our luggage and had private sleeping quarters. It even had a private kitchen and dining area.
I treated Bendt and Nakia as friends and that was what they were. The reality was, they were working! They were guards. They were here to protect Vincent. It seemed a little wasteful to have the big, grand car for just us. Vincent was a future king. I was an Ambassador, but their first priority was Vincent. My other concern was what to do on the trip. It would be a full day or two to get to St. Louis and another couple from St. Louis to Washington. An express train from coast to coast took three and a half days. Engines were stronger and faster now, but to avoid anyone from having to back up, it made sense to use scheduled trains. With Bendt and Nakia, no one would be allowed to enter the car. They were always armed. Not the holsters of a gunslinger, but holsters that kept their guns near their chest for easy access. That privacy gave Vincent and I the freedom to be close again, and not just in proximity.
I pulled out books I had packed to read on the trip.
Bendt grinned, “I thank you for thinking of us, but…do you have anything in Dansk?” That was what Danes called Danish. “I speak English, so does Nakia,” he shook his head, “but reading English!?”
My eyes rolled and then I looked at him, “You know the alphabet. Sound the words out phonetically. You’ll get it if you hear the word!”
He and did that and we played a lot of cards. When we got going, the pace was pretty good. Except for the frequent stops to let people on and off in Fort Collins and Denver. And they weren’t quiet about it. Our door was tried, which was locked.
“Why is this door locked?” A man’s voice demanded.
“Because it’s a private car,” another male voice. “Its an exclusive car for some special passengers.”
“Who’s in there?” The demanding man asked, “the Queen of England?” It was sarcastic. The door to the car before us opened and shut.
Vincent chuckled putting a card down from his hand, “No, but her cousin is and one of her two favorite cowboys.”
As far as I knew, my father and I were the only real cowboys she’d ever met. I grinned and looked at Bendt and Nakia, “No offense,” I said to them and looked at Vincent, “You’re my favorite Viking.”
“No!” Bendt said overly dramatic.
“Say it isn’t so!” Nakia grinned. “Really!?”
“It is so,” I chuckled and kissed Vincent.
We didn’t go out of the train car. The conductor did check on us, probably to make sure we were still alive and asked if we needed anything.
“Nope!” I said simply.
“Thank you for checking though,” Vincent said.
The landscape outside changed as we went. There were more towns and cities. There were still the farms and vacant land.
The sound of the train moving down the tracks would lull us to sleep. It was hypnotic.
It was very early in the fifth morning when the train slowed down for the last stop. The knock on the door was followed by, “Washington, D.C., gentlemen!”
Bendt opened the door and the conductor’s eyes grew at the sight of Bendt who just wore a shirt and pants, but his gun was right there, “Tak.”
I chuckled as I shouted from the bedroom quarters, “He said thank you!”