Strengths and Weaknesses (depending on the situation)...
Can push boundaries
Likes discovering and using new things and ideas
Rational and practical
Original - likes to experiment with new ideas and solutions
Communicates clearly, with direct and factual questions and answers
Can be insensitive at times
Loves to solve problems here and now
Can be defiant
A professional gambler by trade but will do other work if he needs to raise money for a big game, venture or bet.
Can a handle a gun and rifle
Is an expert card player
Aliases / Nicknames
Bent St. Clair
Nowhere in particular
Kith & Kin
Relations in Kalispell...
Uncle: Charles Wentworth Sr.
Aunt: Rebecca Wentworth
1845 - 1865
Born in Washington D.C. on 27 February 1845 to Elizabeth (nee Martin) and Jacob Simons.
Has a good and well-rounded education with an interest in mathematics especially the laws of probability. His interest in card games and gambling in general begins in his early teens.
Sister - Eliza (Liz) is born in 1850.
His father, Jacob joins the Union Army at the start of the Civil War and is killed in battle in 1863. Ben becomes the provider for his mother and sister
Two years after his father's death, his mother remarries. Since his step-father is a man of means and able to support his mother and sister, Ben uses this opportunity to strike out on his own.
1865 - April/May 1876
Becomes an expert card player and travels around the country always looking for the next big game or at least one that will keep him solvent. He also works in various odd jobs when he needs to raise some capital.
He changes his name to Bent St. Clair as it sounds more like a professional gambler's name than Ben Simons.
Due to an unfortunate incident (and dalliance with a very wealthy man's wife), Ben is forced to go back to Washington, where he offers his services to his Aunt Rebecca (his mother's sister) and escorts her on her trip to Kalispell. He has to lay low in Kalispell for the time being.
"Mr Simons, the theatre manager?!" she beamed (word sure had gotten around fast) "How wonderful to meet you, Sir."
"Yes, the theatre manager," Ben answered. It amazed him how fast things got around in town. In the future, he would probably be a bit more cautious when he was planning something.
He took Frances' hand and gently shook it, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Grimes."
Letting go of her hand, he returned to his breakfast and continued to eat while he thought of what to say next. He couldn't personally invite the girl to join the group as her brother might get the wrong idea. Frank Grimes with the wrong idea was something he really didn't want to contemplate. Turning to Frances, he smiled, hoping that she would hear the pleasantness of his speech that it caused, "If you are interested in joining the ladies group my aunt Rebecca Wentworth will be running, I can get her to send you an invitation or she can personally come to see you."
"So, er, what happens at this 'Young Ladies Group'?" he asked, making it pretty clear he had agreed to something on his ward's behalf without really knowing what it was.
Ben smiled, "Don't worry. With my aunt running the group you can be sure that everything will be above board."
He took a sip of his coffee before going on, "Now, what I plan is it for to be a theatrical group. That debacle with the tabloid those young ladies tried at that meeting is a prime example why they need some guidance, especially where deportment is concerned. I am sure that your Bridget, will benefit greatly from learning such things from a lady."
Another grin appeared on his face, "Besides, I think that you'll agree that if Miss Bridget is seen as a respectable and accomplished young lady, you will be able to find her a suitable husband more easily."
Before he could go on any further, he was distracted by the sight of Arabella returning to the room and leaving just as quickly when the front door to the diner opened. Ben looked over to see a young lady with a bandage over her eyes. The only person in town it could be was Frances Grimes, the sister of that no-account Frank. Since he had arrived in Kalispell, he had made a few friends, who were eager to let him know the latest gossip, so he knew that the Grimes had only been here a short time. As a professional gambler, it was always good to know about potential playing partners, especially if you were staying in one place for a while. Frank Grimes was a person he had no intention of playing a game of cards with any time in the foreseeable future.
Clara returned and went to help the girl, which was good as he wasn't prepared to do. Although he felt sorry for the girl, there was no way he was going to get involved with her. Maybe it was the coward in him but he wasn't about to risk his life for her...well at least not on purpose.
Seeing that Clara was taking care of her, he went back to his breakfast.
A mere couple of minutes later, Clara carried out then set two heaping plates in front of Mr. Simon and Mr. Crabbe,"There you go, gentlemen. Salt and pepper is on the table. Would either of you like any cream or sugar or both for your coffees?"
"Black will be fine," Ben answered. He looked down at his plate, before picking up his fork and tasting the bacon. "As usual, it tastes as good as it smells. My compliments, Mrs. Lutz."
As he waited for Crabbe to respond, Ben had a chance to think about his plan. Aunt Rebecca had been working on way to help the young ladies in town for a while now. She had heard about the tabloid that some of them had put on at the recent town meeting and she hadn't been impressed. It wasn't the fact that they had presented a tabloid, it was the way they had gone about it that concerned her.
Since Rebecca was his mother's sister, she did have a have leaning towards the theatrical. In fact, the Martin clan had a few actors and actresses littered in its past and in the present. There was a cousin treading the boards somewhere in New York and another one in Denver, so it wouldn't take much to convince her that what Kalispell needed was a local theatre group where the young ladies could learn a few things. All he had to do was make it sound respectable in order to get Uncle Charles' approval.
After taking a few more bites of his breakfast, he turned to Crabbe, "I want to ask you about your ward, Bridget. Would she be interested in joing a young ladies group, if my Aunt was in charge of it?"
Ben nodded, "I was considering the White Rose as a possible venue. However, there is one small hitch...it's owned by the bank. I'll have to work out something that my uncle will like so that I can get it on terms that I can afford."
He tapped his fingers on the table as he thought about his problem of getting the White Rose. Uncle Charles would need some serious convincing that the theatre was a worthwhile venture. If only there was a way....
A huge smile crept on his face, "You know Crabbe, you might come in handy after all."
OOC: Wayfarer...now would be a good time for Clara to come back with Ben's breakfast.
"Hmmm" Lorenzo agreed and then shrugged "Well, while we're talking of shows, what's this I hear about your Charlie up and becoming Deputy Marshall: does that mean he ain't intending to fight any more?" the bespectacled man asked with a genuine frown on his face. After all, he would hardly be able to ask the Deputy to arrest himself for bailing on his boxing contract, and he'd rather keep friendly with the law as far as possible.
"Charlie becoming a deputy was news to me as well. First heard about it from my Aunt Rebecca," Ben smiled, "She wasn't too pleased about it but I think she's over it now."
He looked over to the entrance to the kitchen and wondered how much longer his breakfast would be. Thankfully, the Mudd girl was still nowhere to be seen, so maybe he could enjoy it without having to go through another audition.
"As far as I know, he's still going to fight. Unless you know something that I don't," he told Crabbe in a light-hearted tone, "Besides, I think the fight is the least of my worries at the moment. According to you, I have go and find some shapely girls who can act and sing."
He thought for a moment about what he had just said. Finding a shapely girl shouldn't be that hard but then again maybe Crabbe was right. Kalispell wasn't a one-horse town, so there had to be someone out there just waiting to be discovered. Besides, the task would involve looking and talking to many women and that in itself would make it worthwhile.
"You know Crabbe, if it weren't for you, I would have no-one to remind me of how important it is to get the right ladies for my theatre. I'll make sure that I'll give you the credit you deserve."
Ben sighed. Arabella was a lot louder than he thought she was. There was no use denying since it would be probably around town before the end of the day. "Yes, I am and I don't consider them yokels."
It was best to start curry favour now or he'd have no-one to fill seats even if he got good acts.
"You remember the Helena Theatre?" he reminded Simons of the somewhat unimaginatively named playhouse in the Territory's capital city. "Even they had trouble getting full houses every night, with a populous and, I guess, sorta sophisticated potential audience to work with. Course, the answer's pretty clear, but I'm not sure that there's many men willin' to sink to dabblin' with such things..."
"I remember but there were times they had people lining up to get in. It all depends on who and what's playing."
"Ben, I'm afraid that to make a go of this thing, you're going to have to present... Light Opera!" he let the full grimness of this assertation sink in, but then warmed to the subject: "See, the womenfolk like to go to that, cause they think it's respectable and socially superior, and the fellers like to go cause of all the girls in tights, showin' off their nice shapely legs."
Mr Weaver was leaning sideways a little, cocking an ear at the mention of these delightful fancies.
Glancing over at the Weavers, Ben smiled. Weaver was too busy leaning over to notice the scowl on his wife's face. No doubt she would have a lot to say to him when they left.
He turned his attention back to Crabbe, "If Light Opera is what it takes to fill seats, then so be it. As I said, it all depends on who you get to and what shows you put on."
A look of confusion appeared on Ben's face. The Mudd girl was now calling him "boss". He struggled to remember if he had said anything to indicate that he had hired her but he knew that he hadn't. If Arabella thought that she was working for him that meant she'd be showing up at any time and at any place. That thought made him feel a bit sick in the stomach and he wasn't so sure that breakfast would be a good thing right now. This needed to be nipped in the bud before it got any worse.
Sadly, he didn't have much of chance to tell Arabella that she had made a mistake because as she soon as she finished her latest speech she went running off into the kitchen. Poor Clara, now had the problem of dealing with her.
It was about this time when Crabbe walked in the diner and yelled out his order. Ben looked over at the man and noticed the bandage. Crabbe and him had a relationship that was more akin to one of business acquaintances and not one of friendship. They were both conmen in their own ways. However, the difference was that Ben only conned those who deserved it or had done him (or someone he cared about) wrong in some way, whereas Crabbe was more likely to con someone just for the heck of it, especially if it had any monetary rewards.
Getting up out of his chair, Ben went over and took a seat opposite Crabbe, "Let me guess...you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar."
As soon as Arabella launched into her "audition", Ben felt like crawling under the table. He had been warned but in his desperation to get rid of the girl, he had unleashed her. Thankfully, Weaver spoke up to end the tortue...
"Cease this filthy display, child!" cried Mr Weaver, standing.
Ben nodded his head vigorously, "Yes, please stop."
Before he could get in another word, Clara appear and took control of the situation...
"Ara, what on earth are you doing anyhow?" she frowned at her admittedly weird friend, if it wasn't one thing with Arabella, it was another.
But she also wanted to interrupt whatever this budding disaster was all about by appealing to the Weavers' stomaches.
"I am sorry, Mr. Weaver. But please, sit down again, I have your breakfasts nice and warm," she marched up to their table and set the plates down in front of the two, "Enjoy."
Then she turned to Arabella, "Are you here to order something, dear? If not kindly do not disturb the customers. Speaking of which, Mr. Simon, I have your breakfast started and hopefully I can bring it out real soon."
Ben smiled, "Thank you, ma'am."
While Clara was handling the Weavers and Arabella, it gave Ben time to think of what to say next. He turned to Arabella with a disappointed look on his face, "My dear, when someone tells someone something that is supposed to be in confidence, they expect it to stay that way. Now that you have let the cat out of the bag by auditioning here and now, people will know what I am planning. I'm afraid, I'll have to cancel the auditions for local talent and send for some out of town professionals."
Ben's eyes started to glaze over a little as he listened to Arabella. Every time he was about to respond, she would say something else. Then she mentioned some job she had at the funeral parlour and not wanting her current employer to know about it.
Having no intention of getting involved with the girl's life, Ben smiled, "You can count on me on being discrete. As far as I'm concerned, it's something for you and Miss Devereau to sort out."
For a moment, he wondered where Clara was with his breakfast. His food arriving would be a welcome break from Arabella's prattling...in fact any interruption would be better than this. Taking another quick glance around, he could see no-one of his acquaintance. So now he would have to think of something to get rid of the girl but didn't look he was trying to. He had a reputation of his own to take care of and the last thing he wanted was to be seen treating anybody in a callous way especially in a public place.
Thinking about how he could get rid of Arabella, took only a few seconds before he hit on an idea. "I'll let you in on a secret."
Shifting his chair slightly closer to hers to show that what he was about was very confidential. He leaned slightly forward and whispered, "I admire your interest in the theatre, so I think you should be one of the first to know that sometime in the future I plan to hold auditions. I can't say exactly when they will be on, but I want you to know just the same."
"Of course, sir. Would you like toast with that? And anything to drink? Tea or coffee?" she nodded.
"Toast would be fine and make it a coffee," Ben answered.
As he waited for his order, Ben began to think about what he needed to do today...
"Good Morning, Mr Simons!" she beamed, her eyes round and staring , her smile almost manic. Stronger men than Ben Simons had turned and fled at this foreboding sight.
Ben meekly smiled at the girl. Here was another person he tried to avoid most days when he could but alas today wasn't one of those days. "Good morning, Miss Mudd."
"I heard me a rumor!" she informed him.
"Well, with a town the size of Kalispell, I would be surprised if there wasn't any rumours," he said in a light-hearted tone. He was hoping that as she as she told him whatever the rumour was, that she would be leaving to tell someone else.
"I heard me a rumor that you was openin' a theater!" she ginned even wider, if that were possible.
For a moment, he wondered where she had heard about his plans to convert a large, disused building near the centre of town into a theatre. He, then remembered, his earlier statement.
In order to get Arabella on her way, he nodded, "I am and when the first play is on, I will make sure you get a complimentary ticket in return for your interest."
"You do know that I happen to be the most accomplished dramatic actress, pianist, tumbler and general all-round entertainer to ever come out of the Old Dominion, o' course." she reminded him.
Oh, good Lord, the girl was telling him in no uncertain terms that she was interested in performing at the theatre. He knew of her talents at playing the piano from the times he had been at the saloon but if he was to hire someone from there, it would the singer, Caroline Mundee. Miss Mundee was the type to help fill seats, while Arabella was more likely to keep them empty.
Smiling, he leaned forward slightly, "Well, thank you for reminding me. I'll certainly keep you in mind when the time comes."
Hoping that it was enough to placate the girl, he began to look for the return of Clara.
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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