Chapter 4: Hey Doc [FIRST DRAFT]

When Walter finished buying all of the mining equipment, we went to the horse breeder, to buy the four horses that we needed. I saw that the two riding horses had been sold in my absence, but the two pack horses that I had my eye on yesterday, were still there. I asked the man tending the horses some basic questions like how old were they, have they had any bad injuries, or how long have they been broken. He answered:

“Well this girl is named Sheila and she is a nine-year-old. Never broken anything like that, and always been a softy. She used to be my daughter’s horse, as she isn’t fast, or rough, but she is grown up now and can handle a rougher horse. Sheila is no good as a riding horse except for a youngster, but she is a worthy packhorse, as she is built like a bull.” He was right, I could see the muscles in her shoulders, and legs. She wasn’t part mule like the other two I saw, but I think she would do. He then brought over one of the mule-horse mixes.

“This is Bert. A slow, but a strong horse-mule mix. But stubborn. If you get to a log that is a little too high, he will usually stop. Though is not startled by anything. Will hardly blink, at anything. He doesn’t like pulling carts though, he won’t budge, but packs, he won’t mind.” I asked him to bring over another, as I didn’t like Bert that much. He seemed to understate his stubbornness, as he pushed and shoved it to make room for the next horse.

“This one is one half, mule, so quarter donkey, and can hull all day with no problem. It is named Harry, and is a bit skittish, if there are loud noises, like gunshots, or if you drop something large, but he isn’t widely startled by much else, large animals? No problem.” I liked Harry and Sheila, so I agreed to buy them. He showed me various horses for riding, but they were all too fast, and wild. Walter would not be able to control them, and I was not racing to find land like the others. So I bought the two pack-horses and decided to look elsewhere for horses to ride. Walter came with me for breakfast at a restaurant that was right by the docks. It was very busy, and we sat down at a table near the back. We waited to be served. A waiter came after a while and said:

“Sorry gentlemen, would you mind if another man sits with you? We are out of tables”

“If you can take our orders now, then sure,”

“Wonderful, I’ll be back once I lead him here.” We saw the waiter walk to the front, and motion for the man to follow him. He led him down, and then took our order.

“Thank you for giving me a seat, they get fewer every week. My name is Andrew Bruce, you can call me Doc if you like.”

“How-do-you-do, I am Walter Greyson”

“And I am Fredrick Richter. You are a doctor?”

“Yes, I came here for the many patients.”

“Right, there are bound to be many. You have an English accent, are you from England?”

“I was born there, and attended university, then moved here when I was twenty-five.”

“I have a similar story, I lived in London and moved to Boston when I was twenty instead of going to college, I started a carriage service, but have since retired. I have also lost my accent since I have lived here thirty-five years.”

“I see, and what about you Mr. Grayson?”

“Born, and bred in Texas. Moved to Boston ten years ago after making a small fortune. I won a horse race when visiting England with some friends”

“Ah!” Exclaimed Andrew, as if he had heard the story before. “So you have come here looking for gold I presume?”

“Partially, we are using it more as an excuse to go on a bit of an adventure”

“Hhmm. Tired of the Boston business life?”

“Exactly”

The food arrived, and we ate slowly and talked. Andrew told us of how he was hoping to do some fieldwork, as in getting hired by a group of men and miners as an on-site doctor. But most men would leave alone, and others couldn’t afford a private Doc. I asked him if he would like to work for us and join us on our travels. I said that we would pay him twelve dollars a week if he would ride with us, and doctor us if we needed it. And, we would give him a tenth of the gold we find, as additional payment.

“Well, I haven’t found work here, over the last month, and I wouldn’t mind having work lined up for a while, so yes you have a deal”

“Wonderful, do you have a horse?”

“Yes, I wouldn’t have made it far working here without one.” We settled and agreed that we would leave town and head north, early in the morning, I told Doc, that he could meet us outside our hotel, and that we would be waiting. After we ate we went out separate ways, until tomorrow. I went back to the hotel, to organize the cart, which would be pulled by Sheila, and it would hold the mining supplies, and the other equipment would be on her back, as well as on mine. Walter needed Harry to hold all of his luxuries and still had to put some on the horse he will be riding. And once that was sorted out, I went to join Walt in buying a horse to ride. On the outskirts of town, we found a horse trader and bought two good-looking horses, that weren’t rowdy, or skittish, though they did cost much more than the other options that the man provided.

Still, I have the money, and I am determined to make this trip the best it can possibly be.

We pay for the horses, then go back to the hotel riding on them. The horses were very good and would turn with the slightest nudge with the reins. My horse was named Ralph, and Walt’s was Bessie. We dropped them at the hotel stable, paid for their food, then I went inside for a midday nap while Walter amused himself in the town.

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