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Title: Reputation
Fandom: Crossover of a sort - Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart quartet and Charles Portis' True Grit.
Pairing: Sally/Mattie [friendship]
Word Count: 742
Rating: G
Warnings: Spoilers for the endings of True Grit and The Ruby in the Smoke, and the interim between The Shadow in the North and The Tiger in the Well.
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em! I just play in the sandbox.
Summary: A young girl, out to avenge her father’s blood with the pistol he’d taught her to shoot. Sally remembered quite well being faced with Van Eeden and having to pull the trigger, and she had been Mattie’s senior by two years. This Mattie Ross was clearly a brave girl...
Notes: For the Pile of Books challenge at 5_prompts, Prompt #11: There was no need for concern about her reputation. I'm assuming that the main events of True Grit take place just prior to The Shadow in the North or thereabouts--Mattie, at the end of True Grit, says her adventure took place a quarter of a century before 1903, making it 1878, the same year as The Shadow in the North.

I'm more than certain that Mattie's story wouldn't have made it across the pond, but she and Sally have so many similarities I'm fudging a tad to justify the crossover. Any anachronisms in language of the period are my own errors.

Sally Lockhart was reading the financial section of the paper when her mail was pushed through the slot one dreary day in 1878. Chaka, her brute of a dog, lifted his head at the noise but then quickly settled again, lazily, sensing no threat to his mistress. Sally stood and walked to the door, brushing a hand affectionately over Chaka’s head before she picked up the mail.

Atop the pile was an envelope that, when she opened it, bore a note from Jim, pinned to a clipping from one of his “penny dreadfuls.” Jim had written: Saw this and thought of you, Sal. I’ve half a mind to turn it into a play. Stoker’ll have to accept this one.

Sally just smiled and shook her head faintly. Jim’s flights of fancy always amused her. Nonetheless, she carried the pile of mail back to her desk and sat, unpinning the clipping from Jim’s note and reading.


Mattie Ross, of Yell County, Arkansas, avenged the murder of her father, Frank Ross, by the coward Tom Chaney. She is just fourteen. Chaney was wounded by Ms. Ross using her father’s pistol, then killed by the marshal Reuben Cogburn. Unfortunately, Ms. Ross lost a limb to snakebite, but she has recovered. Ms. Ross’s neighbor has recounted the whole tale—

Sally set the clipping down, not wishing to read some sordid, excessively (and likely erroneously) detailed account from a less-than-reliable source. Still, she found herself smiling more than she had earlier. Jim had been right.

A young girl, out to avenge her father’s blood with the pistol he’d taught her to shoot. Sally remembered quite well being faced with Van Eeden and having to pull the trigger, and she had been Mattie’s senior by two years. This Mattie Ross was clearly a brave girl, and Sally knew without a doubt that this was a girl, like her, unconcerned with what others thought of the prospect. There was no need for concern about her reputation.

Miss Ross, she wrote when she decided she would get a letter to the girl, some way or other:

You might know by now that your neighbor has told your story. It has found its way to a “penny dreadful” here in London. A friend of mine sent me the tale.

My name is Sally Lockhart, Miss Ross, and if anyone can understand your courage and be awed by it, it is I. I, too, found my father’s killer and sought to punish him. I was sixteen. My bullet ended his life.

You have my respect and admiration, Miss Ross, for you are younger than I and have sustained a greater loss for your efforts. Please accept my sincerest apologies for both the loss of your father and for your injury, and my best wishes for your recovery.

S. Lockhart

It was some time before she received a reply from Mattie Ross. That day, Chaka was not there to alert her to the mail’s arrival—he had long since been buried. Sally was at Orchard House, working on the accounts for Webster while Harriet, only a few weeks old, slept.

“Mail for you, Sal,” Jim said, coming into the office, yet again the bearer of tidings of Mattie Ross. “From America, by the looks of it.”

Sally seized the letter curiously, opening it and reading the surprisingly neat script.

Dear Miss Lockhart,

My apologies for not writing sooner. Your letter had a hard road, no doubt because you had not been certain of the address. Rest certain that your letter found me, and that you now have a proper address to which you can write.

I accept your wishes for my recovery with most gratitude. I am doing well, thank you. It is laborious to write, but attainable through patience and grace. Someday I hope to hear your own story, if you will oblige the request.

I have no time to write a longer letter, but I will close with a question—I see from your stationery that you are a financial consultant. How would a woman go about starting such a business? Any advice you may have might help in my future endeavors.

Mattie Ross

Sally looked up at Jim, who’d stood somewhat impatiently, waiting for her to read the letter. She gave him a smile and held it out to him, saying, “Well, Jim, it looks as though I’ve gotten myself a correspondent.”


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness, Sally Lockhart fic. I need to see True Grit, but I still enjoyed this a lot.
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
LOL, when I went to post this, I was like, "... is there even a fandom for Sally Lockhart?!" So glad that there is! I might do more fics for it in the future; I've got a few Sally/Jim friendship fics languishing at the back of my mind. Once I get a better handle on the language of the period, I'll probably go all in!
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
:D I love Jim and Sally.
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:45 am (UTC)
Isn't Jim a love? I fell for him instantly, especially in Shadow. His grumbling darkly about Bram Stoker not accepting his play made me laugh so much, and then how devoted he was to Sally and Frederick? I adore him! I really liked that the film version chose to have him be the one to go after Sally in the end; it showed more of their friendship and I enjoyed seeing that.
Jun. 23rd, 2011 03:53 am (UTC)
He is! I think I first fell for him because of the way he talked. And then he spends the rest of the series writing plays and getting in fights and becoming a detective. It's wonderful.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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