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Sally read the matrimonials each week with a jaundiced eye, expecting the usual flowery descriptions of men requiring wives. Typically, such advertisements would mention ladies of “good station” which meant these men were fortune hunters. If a fortune hunter was hoping to lure a well-heeled lady to the frontier, he was not only foolish but an outright fool. But there was one this week that looked rather promising, and she would think on it a bit. “A lady of good manner, to share my life and board. Durango Colorado. Life of copious work but comfortable home, with modern equipage.” Her upbringing fit with the “lady of good manner” and at the age of 30 she had resigned to being an old maid, but her occupation fit in with a frontier life style. As a veterinarian, her vocation was not accepted for females in this day and age, as Sally could attest to, at least not in Fell’s Church Colorado. 
She held the invite in her hands and read it over again for the 30th time, equal to her age. You are most heartily thanked ma’am for your solicitous inquiry and the particulars found within. Upon our meeting, should we find ourselves congruent, please consider the enclosed ten dollars as partial payment for a contract of mutual benefit. 
The stage was exceedingly hot and dusty, with not a chance to freshen up but at least the journey from Fell’s Church to Durango was only a day so the damage to her physical appearance would not be as great as if she were going to the actual frontier. A horse on the stage had already required her assistance with a thrown shoe and twisted fetlock. Her assistance was greeted with stunned silence by the other two passengers and stage driver, when she managed binding and then replacing the shoe. It would do till the Durango station in an hour. As she was settling back, now dustier and more crumpled, she tried readying herself to appear as respectable as she was able under adverse conditions. Sally was not in the least an unattractive “old maid” and why she still was, most likely had to do with her unacceptable occupation, “That I will not give up to please a man or a town or any other collective.”
 The gentleman with whom the correspondence had been exchanged was apprized and concurred with her decision in the matter, concerning her occupation. She had slightly dozed off when hoofbeats commanded her attention. “Ladies and gentlemen a voice demanded, please disembark. Your jewelry and valuables are required and no harm will come if your immediate attention to this request is given.” Sally felt as if a punch had found her solar plexus, the ten dollars was tucked into her corset top, would he demand disrobing? He wore a scarf covering his lower face but his left hand revealed a little finger that had an amputation at the distal phalanx. Sally placed this in her memory bank for further identification. 
As she waited at the station, she fetched a pail and pumped water for the horses, who were covered in lather and most grateful for her attention. You poor fellow, what will they do with a lame horse? Shoot you? “Please sir, I would like to inquire after the horse I attended to, would you be willing to sell? I’m on my way outside Durango to fulfill a contract but I will pay now if you will keep him until my return.” And so her supposed “dowry” was quickly disposed of, all ten dollars!
Mr Denby had thoughtfully gone to the trouble of providing them both with rings which he displayed for her approval. “Oh they’re most lovely Mr Denby, I couldn’t have picked better myself.” He had gone to fetch up the local preacher and would also conduct the horse, who was called “Pegasus” after the magical horse of Greek fable.
“Will you take this woman…” droned the preacher, as George Denby slipped the ring on her finger. “Now please Madam, repeat the same words after me, placing the ring on Mr Denby’s hand, if you will.” A sharp intake of breath issued from Sally as George Denby extended his hand, and a clatter of footsteps followed. Pegasus was then heard to gallop off.
There is an elderly lady living on the outskirts of Durango, who is the go-to vet in these parts, none better, the locals will advise you. Lots of strange stories about how she came to be there, one of which involved her horse, Pegasus, who had saved her from unholy matrimony. Pegasus being now gone, but filled in by his son, a steed called Gryngolet, a name from Arthurian legend. 
Bringing to mind an observation by Benjamin Franklin:
For want of a Nail the Shoe was lost; for want of a Shoe the Horse was lost; and for want of a Horse the Rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the Enemy, all for want of Care about a Horse-shoe Nail.  ~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, June 1758
In this lady’s case the nail led to a highway robber who was the nexus by which her true calling was realized. 

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