Tall and lean like a cadaverous weeping willow, his height only increased by his highly polished black top hat.
Traits & Characteristics
A canny and miserly Scot who loves money and rubs his hands greedily at every death in Kalispell.
Runs his own Funeral Parlour, which has a very fine position, in the dead center of the Town.
Embalming, coffin construction, make up, looking suitably funereal.
Aliases / Nicknames
Mister Jolly. Old Col'
Lives above the funeral parlour.
Kith & Kin
Some cousins in Scotland whom he is no longer in contact with, lest they bother him for money.
Born near Dumfries, 1803
Boy, and then Carpenter in the Royal Navy, 1812-1830
Jumped ship in Halifax, Canada after a fight with another sailor over money that ended in the other man's death.
Heading South to the U.S to elude capture, as a skilled Carpenter he soon found work in an Undertaker's in Portland Maine, building coffins.
1849 Headed West in the Gold Rush, set up as an undertaker until he struck it rich: soon found that there was as much gold in the frequent and violent deaths of miners as in the gulches and placer mines.
1857 Opened his Funeral Parlour in Kalispell.
1858 Married a much younger woman, Elizabeth ap Evans. There are no children.
The sounds of gunfire sent any standers-by fleeing, but the silence that reigned afterward brought them curiously back again. The Saloon, the General Store, all manner of places disgorged a number of spectators. The one who was most curious, and with good reason, was Mr. Jolly, who rushed to the scene of the action with his tape measure fluttering in the breeze like some sort of celebratory bunting.
"Och Mr. Guyer, ye've done it again and a fair wee job ye've made of it too!" he cooed, looking down delightedly at the freshly dead slab of meat that had seconds ago been a living breathing human being, if a despicable one. "Much more o' this and it's expanding ma premises I'll have to be aboot."
However, as he looked more carefully, despite all the blood, it seemed that Caleb Barnes might still be alive and just horribly wounded.
Mr Jolly could only sigh as Jonah failed to disclose any miracle cure for Jemima's frowziness. Even his sister in law, Jemima's Mother, the redoubtable Mrs Wigfall, although stout and getting on in years, had a sort of vivacious attraction for men, and her twin brother Hector, although annoying to many, was undeniably handsome: Jemima however, represented a manifestation of the family blood which somehow missed the mark.
"But for now, I'll leave you to your work, I hope you can do the man justice for his family's sake." The worst part of death was the survivors, because, well, death.
"Och, you'll no bide-a-wee for another dram? Aye, well, I dare say that we both have our work to get on with, grim as it may be!" Old Col acknowledged as he rose and took Dr Danforth's proffered grip.
"Jemima!" he called to the back rooms "Will ye no come bid farewell to the Doctor?"
"She appeared and gave Jonah a shy wave goodbye." some colour in her cheeks.
"I'm sorry to hear about your wife, Mr. Jolly," he commented, although he did have to ponder just what the man's perception of 'beauty' was.
By chance, the old man fished out a worn silver locket from his breast pocket, which he flipped open and showed to the medical man. It showed a formal portrait of a striking and beautiful woman.
"Ah, my poooorrr wee Lizzie. She could have done much, much better than me. But never was there a better wife or more lovely companion fer a man." he sighed, pulling out a handkerchief and dabbing his old eyes. Jemima, usually so rough and ready, lay a comforting hand on her Uncle's shoulder.
"I think that's the reason I've staunchly avoided a relationship...I see so much illness and death, I don't know if I could survive losing a loved one."
"Best make sure you marry someone young and healthy and strong, then." suggested Jemima, who was reputed to be able to bend an iron bar with her bare hands.
"So," he changed the focus of the conversation, "you can make Mr. Orr presentable?" Maybe reconstruct the semblance of a face, but the features of a specific face? That would be interesting to see!
"Och, it's amazing what can be done with a wee bit of backlighting and a well placed aspidistra, Doctor. It'll depend on the family's wishes, o'course. I'll be off to see Mrs Orr presently and you might well come along too, Jem', I ken you're good friends wi' the lady." the funeral director ruminated looking up at his niece.
"We go to the same Spiritualist Church." Jemima told Danforth "She's all right, but I hate that stupid Amnesia!" she spat, venom animating her usually placid face. "Och ye hate everybody, girl, run along with ya!" her uncle countered, and Jemima left the room in a strop. Jolly shook his head and turned to the Doctor.
"What am I to do with the lassie, Doctor Danforth? She hates her Brother, hates her Mother, pays scant respect to her Father, and she'd gladly shoot half the townsfolk gi'en the chance. Ahhh..." he shook his head "... what she needs is a man! But y'ken that she's nay the bonniest lass in town. Now, if only she were a corpse, why mon, I could make her look like a princess! But the living are beyond my ken. Is there nothing that medical science can do the noo, doctor?"
Yes, couldn't Doctor Danforth, with all his medical qualifications, do something to make his niece more attractive to the opposite sex?
"I'm no a rich man" the miserly Jolly lied "But I'd pay for anything you could do to help the poor lass."
"Oh, you're related?" Jonah feigned interest, although the surprise was genuine and the dismay hidden. "Seems the Wigfall clan has many a tendril in these parts."
"Aye, you ken Mrs Wigfall, yon Jemima's mither: why she was a bonny wee lass when first I came to Kalispell, two wee bairns in tow and ne'ry a Father to their name... until wee Mr. Wigfall married her and made her decent. But bonnier still was her sister Elizabeth. And despite her beauty and her youth, she agreed to be mine. Ahhhhh... two short years we had, and then she was away. Beautiful still in death."
"You'll have your work, dealing with Mr. Orr," he commented, "but at least you won't need to worry about the viewing." For there was nothing to even patch together to view, save for just covering everything in pretty cloth.
Jolly frowned "Dinnie underestimate me, Doctor Danforth, dinnie underestimate me! You'd be amazed what can be done with a false beard, some modelling clay and a pot of emulsion."
"Don't bother, Uncle Col!" Jemima's stentorian voice boomed as she returned with three glasses of whiskey, one of which she passed to Jonah, the other to Jolly. "Here's to a just God who burns sinners in Hell!" she declared with no little venom in her voice and, raising her glass in a toast, downed it one.
The Marshall was happy with his examination of the body and the scene of the fire, so the body could be moved, which was good news. Mr Jolly didn't like waiting around: time was money. To his surprise Doctor Danforth offered to help move the body. Usually he and his helper, Gilbert, would have demurred, but in this case he was happy for the extra help.
"Mr. Jolly, let me help you with that. We can wrap him in the blanket then get him to your office." Where he could sneak out the back!
"I'll nay say no to that offer Doctor, I thank you kindly. These burnt ones go sour awful quickly, especially in this sort of weather, y'ken? Aye, there'll be little or no skin t' keep the fluids in." he explained matter-of-factly, while Jemima turned her ghoulish glance toward the large 'package' on the ground. If the doctor was hoping that this would be a good way to shake the love-lorn girl, he was to be sadly mistaken.
"Jemima child, you'll take a corner too!" he instructed her, at which she gave an obedient "Yes Uncle Col." The lugubrious undertaker took Danforth's expression of disappointment as one of confusion and filled him in.
"Do y'no ken that wee Jemima's ma niece, Doctor? And a fine girl too, I might add: as strong as she's bonny! She'll be a fair catch for some young man one o' these days!" a blushing Jemima gave a sniff and a little smile, basking in the glow of being praised in the company of the dishy Doctor D. With the four of them, it was pretty easy work to get the body to the funeral parlour, hefty though it was. Once there, Jolly's assistant, the reticent, almost somnambulant Gilbert took charge of the corpse. People said that if it weren't for his vertical posture, Gilbert might be mistaken for one of the funeral director's clients.
Jolly detained Danforth from leaving immediately.
"You'll nay stop for a wee dram, Doctor?" he told, rather than asked, Jonah, and sent Jemima to fetch a bottle of fine old Scotch whiskey that he had stored amongst the coffins and shrouds at the back of the place.
When she was gone, Old Col further sang her praises. "Och aye, she's a good wee bairn, our Jemima: hard worker, religious, and can drink any man in town under the table. And you know she has the sight, too, Doctor, did you ken that? She talks with my poor, dear, dead wife her aunt on a regular basis: it is quite the comfort to me in my twilight years, you may be sure!" he ruminated, his bushy white eyebrows raising up and down with emotion.
Death had once again struck Kalispell. Death was his life; and no death, since that of his much younger wife some sixteen years ago, was not of some material advantage to him. Even the meanest pauper or beggar meant a fee from the Town Council for a makeshift deal coffin and a cursory funeral service at which he and his helper were very often the only witnesses. He had buried poor, rich, friends, enemies, he had buried them all.
"Make way, please gentlemen. I ken you've a deceased gentleman here that requires my attentions" His accent was still unmistakably Scots, but it was softened by many years in the Royal Navy and then the States.
"Och! Is that Dicky Orr I see, burnt to a cinder! Pooooorrr man!" he shook his head knowingly, as if he had been predicting this grisly end to the man's career for years. His eerie glance flitted from man to man. "Marshall, Doctor, Mr Wentworth, McVay" he nodded to them all. "Well what are your instructions, Gentlemen? Has the next of kin been informed? I trust there are no other casualties?" Not that he needed further deaths: Orr was rich, this funeral would be a nice little earner.
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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