Jemima is a strong, hard worker and is desperate to meet a boy and find love, but she has a secret that makes her very shy around young men. She is jealous of most other girls who seem so attractive and graceful compared to herself. She hates her brother.
Jemima helps her mother out with chores at her boarding house and makes a few extra dollars for the household by 'doing' for F. Falmer Browne in his upmarket townhouse.
Cleaning, washing, mending, potato peeling, carrying, moving things, lifting, going to the stores for produce, making beds, dusting. Once caught a large toad at school and was thereafter reckoned 'a good toad-catcher'.
Aliases / Nicknames
Mrs Wigfall's Boarding House.
Kith & Kin
Father George Wigfall, Western Union Office Manager.
Mother Mary Wigfall, Boarding House Mistress.
Older Brother (by 5 minutes) Hector Mark Wigfall, Western Union Telegraph Operator
Born: Jemima Andrea Wigfall, Christmas Day 1856, Kalispell, Montana
School: 1861-1870, Bottom of the Class 3 years running 1863 thru 1865
"Nothing....well, of course it was not nothing, but I'm sorry,"
"Uh?" was Jemima's monosyllabic, yet eloquent, reply.
Miriam sighed then continued, "It was a simple misunderstanding between us. I would ask that you not ask anything further as it is something personal and I have a right to my privacy. And now I would rather not talk about it."
Jemima put the sign to 'open' and shrugged. Then, as she walked to the counter, pointed at the flowers in the vase.
"What's them?" she asked with a slight wrinkle of her nose: as if they were not beautiful and fragrant objects, but something ugly and objectionably smelly and ugly instead.
Pettigrew completely pooh-poohed Miriam's objections that she might dirty the dress he was proposing that she wear for the 'big date' and ordered poor Jemima, who hadn't got a clue what was going on, to close up the shop. But suddenly, the shy young seamstress piped up in a slightly quavering, but determined voice.
"Excuse me, I do not mean to be forward, sir. But you are making far too much out of this and I am very uncomfortable with the whole direction this is going. No offense, but I must decline your kindness," it took all her nerve to say even this much.
"But....!?" Mr. Pettigrew was more than a little taken aback: he fair staggered. "I..." he looked ashen, lost for words; he pulled out a beautifully white handkerchief and dabbed the sweat from his suddenly beaded forehead. He looked almost pleadingly at Jemima, who returned his look with a frown and a flat question of "Am I closing this, or what?"
He swayed a little and gripped the counter.
"Miss Kaufmann. Please forgive a... a very silly old man. It was not my place to interfere... I must..." he looked a little lost, like he had never seen the interior of this shop before. "I must retire to my chambers..." he muttered weakly, and made his way stumblingly toward and through the velvet curtain.
Jemima watched him go with a look of mild confusion on her bovine features before swivelling her small eyes to Miriam, sniffing and asking the inevitable question: "What in Sam Hill was all that about?"
"Civil? Oh I agree but I believe it is required of both of them to punch each other which in my humble opinion is hardly civil," Miriam confessed.
"You can stand anywhere, Doctor. And I hope you have no need of using your skills."
A man standing directly behind the good doctor grumbled aloud, "Hurry it up, missy. There are others who 'd like to come in too ya know. "
"Well, come through me, you big galoot!" barked Jemima, and the man reluctantly gave up the chance to speak to the pretty young seamstress and gave him money to the frowsy cleaning maid instead. Once Doc Danforth and the rest of the men were inside, Jemima stomped up to Miriam and thrust her takings into the other girl's hands.
"Hey, what you doing sparking with Doctor Danforth?! You know I got my eye on him, and what you interested in him for anyway, I thought you're supposed to be 'the other way'?!" she asked, frowning a wrinkle into her monobrow.
"Now listen, you take this money and give it to Crabbe, and then rescue your girlfriend. She's terrified that there Grimes girl's gonna accidentally touch her and turn her deaf or some nonsense." she instructed her biddable and shy workmate. "I'll stay here and deal with any late-comers: I don't wanna go in there, I might have to talk with 'Stupid'!" she added. Presumably she meant her hated brother, although there were quite a few men in the barn that the epitaph could be applied to.
Sighing, she pulled the letter from her pocket and held it out to him. "Jay left this fer me, but I can't make out but a few'a th' words. I was wonderin' if ya could read it for me?"
"Oh, er, of course!" Falmer Browne replied with alacrity, but in truth, this put him in rather a difficult position. Read aloud a letter from his hated rival?! To the object of both their desires?! He looked at the letter and immediately saw its import from the clear, neat hand in which the Englishman had penned the piece.
If Addy couldn't read this writing, she must be completely illiterate! The idea did not put him off her at all: indeed, it only fuelled his passion for the earthy, almost barbaric and strong woman, he could just imagine her as some ancient warrior woman, her brawny skin displayed in a skimpy buckskin... OH! Where was he, ah yes... the letter.
He held it this way and that, a frown creasing his already wrinkled face. "No, no, you are right. It is almost quite impossible to make out." he lied "I think it starts 'My Dear... Dearest? Adelaide." he shook his head again. "Maybe a fresh pair of eyes: Miss Wigfall?! MISS WIGFALL?!" he shouted, and a sooty, disgruntled looking Jemima put her head around the door.
"Ah, splendid!" Browne smiled amiably "I don't suppose you could try and read this letter for us? Neither of us can quite make out the handwriting!" and with that, he thrust the hot potato into her hands.
"Well, she can't read anyway." grumped Jemima, matter-of-factly. Everybody knew that. Not that Addy was alone in that particular handicap in this burgh. She looked at the letter and gave F. Flamer Browne a long hard stare - the handwriting was as clear as type! The amateur scientist stepped to the window and looked out, rather red faced as Jemima commenced to read in her flat toneless voice, making little comments and asides as she did so:
"My Dearest Adelaide, [that's you]
I don't know any way to do this but just to do it. [oh oh] I have to leave for a while, to set some things straight, [huh!] things about my past that need to be cleared up before we get married. [I bet!] I know you don't care, but I want to do this right, and the only way is for me to be sure that nothing will stand in our way, or come back to ruin things. [well what the Dickens has that feller been up to?] I only want the best for you and Weedy, [oh, Porter] I love you both so much. [huh! so why's he leaving?]
Please don't worry about me, [we won't!] I'll be fine, and I should be back in a couple of months. [believe that if you like!] In the mean time, go ahead and plan the perfect wedding for us, whatever you want.
Remember I love you more than anything.
She folded the now rather sooty letter and handed it back to Addy with a big sniff. "Well Miss Addy, that's the last you seen of that feller!" she left the room and without turning back shouted "I'm halfway up the chimney, so don't call me again!"
Browne tried to chuckle away Jemima's comments on the content of Ryker's missive.
"Oh, don't pay any mind to her, my dear Adelaide, the girl has been disappointed in love so many times, she has a rather pessimistic view of the whole... er... pastime!" he gushed, reaching for the whiskey bottle, figuring that they both needed a top-up after that display.
A gentleman like Felix Falmer Browne never opened his own front door, of course, and with Mrs O'Hoolighan out at the stores, it fell to his part-time maid Jemima Wigfall to fulfil that role. The sight that greeted Addy's eyes, as the glossy green portal cracked open, was unusual: Jemima had on a dress that was tatty, even for her, and was covered from head to toe in soot. There were sheets along the floor of the hallway, leading into a back room.
Jemima looked Addy up and down, and surprise registered on her soot covered and usually inert features at her appearance, too. The Wagoneer was dressed as a woman! In a skirt! And with no slouch hat! There was one phrase that came to Jemima's mind: Femme Fatale!
She gave a knowing sniff and invited the Professor's neighbor in with a curt "He's in the front" before traipsing back to her work. Before she disappeared, the lugubrious girl turned and added "I'm sweeping the chimney." lest Addy thought that she was rehearsing for a mistral show.
Falmer Browne was in his shirt sleeves, doing something immensely clever looking with a test tube of green liquid when Addy entered the front parlour. A look of delight crossed his face as he saw her enter, followed by one of confusion and no little embarrassment as he hadn't really seen her since the 'Painting' incident, when she had given him a good telling off. This was soon replaced by delight again as he noticed she wasn't dressed as a man for her visit: she was wearing a skirt! God, she looked ravishing! He nearly spilt the contents of his tube as he put it shakily into the test tube holder.
"My dear Miss Chappel, what a wonderful surprise!" he gushed as he quickly cleared a space for her on the chaise longue, which was scattered with papers, notes and formulae for his experiments. "Please be seated, allow me to get you some refreshment! To what do I owe this signal honour?" he asked as he searched the book shelves for a hidden bottle of 'Ald Smellie' whiskey.
Hector Wigfall reappeared with a blanket and informed his sister that their mother was recovering on the couch and that she should come home and look after her. Jemima merely shook her head, snatched the blanket and pointed to the hysterical Anæsthesia. Hector took the hint and led the sobbing, blood besmirched girl away with his arm around her... for support.
"Here you are Doctor Danforth." Jemima cooed in as tender a voice as she could muster, as she handed him the blanket, her calloused, wash-day-red hand accidentally brushing against the soft skin of his as she did so. She looked deeply into his dreamy brown eyes. She'd been getting some tips on talking to fellers from Arabella, of all people, and she'd said 'try and find something you've both got in common to talk about!' She tried to think of something.
"Oh, doctor." she said, her hand gripping his as she did so "I forgot to tell you, my cyst's healed up beautiful since you drained it. Do you think I should call round sometime, so you can double check it?" she asked, trying to execute a shy smile that looked more like a grimace of pain.
Sure, trying to pitch woo to the handsome doctor over a charred corpse wasn't ideal, but it was the first chance she had gotten to be near to him since he had caressed her bare back with his surprisingly warm hands over a month ago, and she wasn't about to waste it.
"Oh so that was who it was? Wyatt told me about this woman approaching Pa after church. He couldn't remember any name though. It must have been her," Clara now reasoned.
"She must've been pretty brazen for him to remember it and tell you about it. Most boys that age are only interested in catapults, candy canes, catching tadpoles and pirate treasure." Jemima commented, laying the emphasis on Mrs Dietrich's supposed man-trapping, brassy lustre.
"Frankly, while I doubt any such thing would happen, if Father would decide to marry someone in the future, he would have my approval. I do not see it ever occurring but then who knows?" she shrugged.
This made Jemima sit up! In her mind was a list of obstacles to her objective: most of which centred around her own unattractiveness, for she was a realist, but now the first one 'Daughter might object' could be crossed through.
She contented herself with a nod, before adding: "Well, meanwhile, if you want any little thing doing for him or taking out to him, you just let me know: I can usually get out and about most days, while you'll be pretty much tied to the diner most days, I reckon." So helpful.
"Now, if you do not mind, I honestly would like to sleep. It was a long active and eventful day and I am worn down considerably. So excuse me while I change.....thank you," Clara declared.
"Sure, I'll just go bed Janella down for the night, then we can barricade ourselves in." agreed Jemima, getting up. She could really do with a smoke, but was trying to give it up: in case Mr Redmond or his daughter might think that unladylike in some way. "Tomorrow, we can fix that chimney."
"And thank you for coming today and doing all that hard work too, I appreciate it."
Jemima turned those piggy little eyes to Clara and gave her that sombre excuse for a smile and spoke in her flat contralto voice and said "That's all right, I liked it." and despite all her deficiencies and perhaps because she really meant it, for once came across a nice, normal young woman.
[OOC or wrap it and come back in two days later when Jacob returns?]
"I for one am not worried," Clara declared then sighed, "Say.....perhaps it is time for us to go to bed.......well, go to sleep anyways? I for one am quite worn out by the day's exertions."
Worn out? Jemima was still full of pent up energy. Maybe Clara just wanted to get out of this conversation about Mrs Dietrich and her, apparently, secret arrangements with Mrs Pike. Before they could retire for the night, there was one more thing Clara needed to know about the woman.
"There's something else." she said ominously.
"Now, this is from Arabella, so you can take it with a pinch of salt, but she was hoppin' mad last Sunday cause she said that Mrs Dietrich pretended to trip right next to your Pa and spilled the hymnbooks all on the floor. She said that it was all a ruse and your Daddy caught her and she was makin' cow eyes at him and, well, tryin' to work her wiles on him, like she wanted to be the next Mrs Redmond: and all in front of your little brother, too."
That poison sown...
"Well, I said 'Arabella, don't you fret: Mr Redmond is the most intelligent and sensible man I know, and from what you have told me, nobody could ever replace the late Mrs Redmond in the affections of his heart. If Mr Redmond were ever to remarry, it would be a purely domestic arrangement, that he might have a housekeeper of sorts decently about his place: perhaps a young, strong and hardworking girl of younger years who could cook and sew and mend and clean and work the farm and look after him in older age, that his daughter and son need not worry about him. He would much prefer a plain but hardworking girl over some parasite whose looks will fade and who will, no doubt, eventually ruin him financially."
Her actual speech to Arabella at the time hadn't been quite so verbose, but had basically said the same thing.
"I have told Arabella very clearly I am not going...we are not going to name the baby after her but if it is a girl - after Emeline Pike. It is nothing against Arabella, it is a solemn promise I made to Emeline. She has been like a mother to me," Clara wanted that much to be clear.
Jemima held her council, she wasn't Mrs Pike's greatest admirer after she had failed to get a job at the diner. She believed Clara had stars in her eyes about Mrs Pike in the same way that Arabella idolised Clara.
Talking of Mrs Pike, though...
"Say, have you met Mrs Dietrich yet?" she asked Clara baldly.
"Who? No, I have not, I do not even know who that is," Clara answered.
"Widow Lady, just moved in at our's." The frowsy girl gave Clara a quick run down on Mrs Wigfall's latest lodger. "Seems all right apart from giving herself a few 'airs and graces'. I asked her if she was looking for work, and she reckoned that Mrs Pike had given her a job at the pie store."
This was all obviously news to Clara, and Jemima couldn't help adding in her sage opinion on the possible consequences.
"Now, if you and Jake're moving into the Diner and you're going to be running the place... well, I'd have thought you'd want to chose your own help and maybe not someone older than you; and maybe not someone who thinks that they're better than ordinary folks like you and me." she warned. "She might want to try and take over!"
"I hope I'm wrong , time will tell: but 'forewarned is forearmed'!" Jemima said all this with such a dry flat voice and stern and serious look that it was imbued with a gravitas that would have been lost if someone like Arabella had twittered it out. It was, after all, only gossip and opinion: even if Jemima's method of delivery was that of an Old Testament prophet, portending the doom of nations.
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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