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    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!
    • List in hand, they made their way back to town and to the Anderson's Mercantile where they laid out their list of needs. John and Mary Agnes looked over the list and began adding prices, plus shipping where it was warranted.   "So, you're in the mining business Marshal?" John asked.   "We are." Alice replied with a wide proud smile on her face. Speed just looked at her.   "Amos here found a property to good to pass up, so I bought it myself." Speed said, "Actually two properties, the other on is off to the west, but this one is just north of the Evergreen Ranch a couple of miles."   "Ah that would be the Henshaw mine. Sad about his wife passing on so suddenly. Life can be hard out here, it was just too hard for Martha Henshaw, though she tried as hard as anyone could." Mary Agnes said. "Most all of what you have here we have in stock. Most all of this was on Henshaw's list as well, he just quit before he paid for it. I believe we can give you a good price on the machinery out back. Right John?"   "Yes we can, The fact is Speed I'll let you have it at our cost, plus the shipping expenses, of course. Be good to free up that room back there. Let me see here at my cost, yes, well, it looks to be just under three thousand dollars, without the things we have in stock that wasn't Henshaw's."   Fair enough John, and we appreciate it. Now, if you'll let me get up to the bank, we want to use their money until we get started, and then we'll settle up."   "Makes sense to me, it's what we did. Hated those monthly payments, but it worked for us." John agreed.   "We'll be back." Speed promised.

Gainful Employment


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Mature Content: No

Author: Put your OOC username here ONLY if posting with a Shared NPC. 

With: James
Location: Wood & Guyer
When: May 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon

 

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The sun had been up for a few hours by the time James had managed to get his best suit brushed and looking fair enough. He stepped outside the door of the boarding house where he was staying at present, taking a moment to close it quietly behind him before he started the short walk to the town center. When he reached the main street, James made his way from one business to the next, asking if there was any work that he might do for them. Every place he tried didn’t have anything available, or if they did it was work that James was ill-suited for. It wasn’t until much later that day that his luck finally began to look up.
 
James’ hand rested on the knob as he took a moment to gather his courage before he opened the door and stepped within. He removed his hat, turning it in his hands with a nervous air that he couldn’t quite hide from the people who looked up at his entrance. “Excuse me.” He said, speaking in an unmistakable British accent. “I was hoping that there might be an open position in your office. I’m looking for work.” James drew in a deep breath and went on, “I attended Eton, graduating with honors before I started at Cambridge. I was studying to be a solicitor, although I was not able to complete my studies there, I do have a letter of reference from the headmaster. As well as letters from several of the professors that I studied under.” From the interior pocket of his coat, James withdrew the packet of letters that he carried with him. He didn’t have copies of the letters of recommendation so while he was willing to show them to prospective employers he dared not leave them with anyone. If anything were to happen to them, it would be many months if not years before he could possibly send for and receive replacements for them.
 
If he was honest with himself, as he generally was, James was much fonder of drawing and painting, but he knew that his chances of making a living doing that were slim at best. He didn't really know that he loved law but he was good at it and it was the kind of work that a nobleman wasn’t dissuaded from doing. It was what he'd been studying when his father had died and he’d been forced to quit his studies. James knew himself well enough to know he would not make an effective barrister. Not that there was a difference here in America like there was back in England. Since his arrival, he’d come to understand that both positions were simply referred to as lawyers. But that is neither here nor there. James thought as a tiny smile ghosted over his face while he waited to see what the other man's response would be to his request for employment.  By now he was getting rather desperate and willing to take any job he could do to survive.

Edited by Nova (see edit history)
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Speed looked up as Ada Fetterman gave the young man her usual skeptical look, yet there was interest in this one. He did not have the look of prospector, nor surveyor. The credentials he presented were not unknown to her, she herself had attended Princeton, but that had almost been for naught.

 

Speed stood up from the papers he and Ada had been going over. He to was impressed by his credentials, though they really would be of little use in Kalispell. And, another Englishman, it seemed as though the town was drawing a goodly number of them. "So, you have a name Or, do you want us to call you Eaton? I am familiar with those institutions. Now, about a job. Ada here runs the office, and you will be working with her to a great extent. And of course myself when I'm in the office. I'm also Town Marshal, so I'm in and out. Your experience studying the law, well, that could be very useful."

 

"I need someone that can deal with registering claims, dealing with the legalities of buying and selling of properties across the state. And, if by chance you have a name, I believe Mister Guyer and I could use you." Ada added. She seldom called him Marshal.

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@Nova

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James’ gaze shifted between the man and woman before him doing his best to hide his nervousness from them both, knowing revealing just how badly he needed work would do him no favors with potential employers.  He knew of Princeton of course, and when he learned that she had studied there, James would be surprised and ever so slightly envious.
 
“Yes, of course.”  James replied quickly when asked if he had a name.  “James.  My name is James Vaughn.”  Luckily he’d finally stopped instinctively using his title.  The hesitation used to make it seem he was lying and had caused him difficulty in the months since he arrived in America from England.  He sent Ada a boyish smile, inkling his head slightly at her, “A pleasure madam.”  He hadn’t been given leave to use her first name and was clearly trying to be respectful towards the older woman.  “Marshall.”  James nodded again, listening to the pair intently.
 
The tip of his tongue snaked out to wet his lips as Ada told him a little about the work.  “Just to be clear, I’ve never done anything of the sort before.”  He told them honestly before continuing to speak, “But as I said before I did study law, and I’m a fast learner.  Willing to work hard.”  He closed his mouth and swallowed hard, his hazel eyes flickering between them both.

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Ada looked at the young man skeptically, then broke into a smile. "Fast learner? You can be taught, and you say you attended the Universities over in England, I presume that you studied the law? I presume that a fellow who has the education that you have would be able to take on what we're asking you to do with ease. Oh granted, it will be new to you, but, in our defense, Speed here has the law books which we go by to get claims registered, transferred, and resold again."

 

"There'll be a learning curve, granted, but it's not to steep. Most of the legal stuff is pretty straight forward, we just tend to get in a lot at one time and with the Marshal's job it can be late nights for both Ada and I getting things done, so, your learning the ropes will be helpful. And once you get the hang of it, well, you get the picture."

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@Nova

Sorry, I didn't see this.

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“Yes Ma’am.”  James said with such a brisk nod of his head that a lock of his unruly hair dropped into his eyes.  He brushed his fingers through his hair, pushing it back out of his way, fighting the urge to blush.  “I did study law back in England.”  He clarified, offering her a tiny smile.  “So I’m certain it won’t take me any time a’tall to become familiar with the local laws.”  There were many things James didn’t fully understand about the world that he now found himself in, but the law was at least somewhat familiar ground.  Not that he had a great passion for it, but he did for learning so that at least had held his interest.
 
James squared his shoulders, giving a firm nod to the marshal and Ada both.  “I won’t let you down.  I give you my word.”  James said fervently, meaning every word since this was the first place to have given him the slightest encouragement.  His money wasn’t quite gone, but he was lower than he’d like and needed to find a job to survive out here.  He didn't want to sound desperate, even if he was beginning to feel that way.

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"Let us down? I would hardly think of hiring anyone I suspected would let us down. Mister Vaughn, I have been doing what we are asking you to do, so if there is anything that you would need to know, i can help you with it until you are comfortable doing it on your own. It's how we do business."  Ada Fetterman stated.

 

"I'm glad you stopped in actually." Speed began, "Ada has been doing all of what is needed, but she and I to some extend are taxed attempting to get to everything that needs doing. Adding a young man such as yourself, with the bonus of a legal background is, well, quite frankly, a Godsend. You'll do just fine, trust me, in no time you'll be on your own." he extended his hand to the man, "Welcome aboard, as they say."

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@Nova

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James didn’t know what to say to that so he wisely kept his mouth shut, merely smiled though it was a touch uncertain.  “Glad to hear that.  My teachers always said I was full of questions.”  
 
James drew in a shaky breath, his eyes dropping from the other man’s to the offered hand.  He’d never been a Godsend to anyone before.  Most of his life he’d been the spare to his older brother Henry, the heir.  Ignored by his father, tormented by his brother and his classmates throughout his years at school.  “When shall I start?  And…”  He flushed slightly never having to have asked such a thing but if he was to feed and clothe himself he needed to know.  “What is the compensation?”  He was staying at the boarding house for the time being, but he was feeling a stifled there and hoped to rent a small house for himself, even if it meant he would have to prepare his own meals.

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"Mister Vaughn, I will teach you what has to be done, you seem a bright young man so I would assume that learning what needs doing will not be much of a task for you. If I can learn the ropes, I'm sure you'll have no trouble." Ada Fetterman explained. "Well, you're standing here, may as well start today. As far as wages, that is up to the Marshal here." She looked to Speed.

 

"Now miss Fetterman here earns twenty-five dollars a month, we'll start you at twenty. Paid weekly. So that's five dollars a week as you learn. Sound fair to you Mister Vaughn?" Speed asked.

 

Ada Fetterman was doing a man's job, working as a secretary the standard six days per week, men did most jobs that were available including secretarial, Speed felt she should be paid a mans wage. She would likely top out at thirty dollars a month, as would James Vaughn, unless something extraordinary happened with the business.

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@Nova

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  • 2 weeks later...

“I like to think that I am.”  James said with a shy little smile for the older woman, “Thank you.”  He took a breath, squaring his shoulders when she said that he could learn the tasks without any trouble.  “Today sounds perfect Ma’am.”  He hurriedly assured her with a nod.  "Where shall I start?"  He asked.
 
James had worked out what he needed to earn to survive in Kalispell and the wage that the Marshall gave him seemed adequate to keep him fed and housed in relative comfort if not close to the standard he’d been born into.  But you’re not a lord here.  He thought a trifle wryly.  “Yes sir.”  He said, offering his hand in case the Marshal wanted to shake on the deal.
 
Unlike many men, James had no issue with the fact that a woman made more than he did.  After all, she’d been doing it for quite some time.  He was just starting today and had to learn what Miss Fetterman already knew, and learn quickly since he’d claimed to be a fast learner.  James was in the deep end now and it was sink or swim time for the young Brit.

Edited by Nova (see edit history)
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"Now, so you know, I'm not in here a lot, I do make it a point to check in everyday, see what men may have checked in, what they have locate if anything. All you need do James is fill in the blanks on the forms, take them to the court clerk and when they are ready, go back after them. A big help will be for you to keep up the map." Speed explained. "Not an exciting job, I assure you, but a good sale brings bonuses."

 

Ada smiled, "You'll do just fine James, just fine." In the beginning he would serve as a runner between the office and the clerks office, during that time he would be learning the legalities involved in the day to day transfer of properties, and the purchase and sale of them under Montana's codes

@Nova

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  • 3 weeks later...

James opened his mouth intending to repeat his earlier statement about how he would not let the marshal down but he caught himself a bare second before ding so.  “The map sir?”  He asked, eyes lit with curiosity, since he had always loved drawing. "I do have a fair hand with drawing.  I assume that there is someone who can describe the terrain to me."   This seemed a way he could use his skill in a practical way.  Which was something he'd always been told would never amount to anything worthwhile.  “Honestly Marshall, I'm not looking for excitement.  I merely wish to earn a fair wage so I can survive out here.”  He said, with a little shrug.  The mention of bonuses was certainly a welcome one and his eyes brightened at the notion
 
James smiled back at Ada, though if he’d known what she was thinking he’d likely have laughed and corrected her since he’s never really been much of a runner.  Not even as a young lad, but he’d certainly walk the documents anywhere they needed to go.  

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Speed smiled, "The map is on the wall there. Note that owned properties, ranches farms, homesteads are colored in red. Unless it id the property owner that happens to locate something on his land, we take no claims on any land in red. Now, These plots in gray, they're pending our appropriation. Green of course, are those sites we own." The territory with diagonal lines  are areas that we are either waiting to explore, or are exploring."

 

Ada piped up, so as things change, you will be able to change the colors as needed. Which basically will be the areas with the diagonal lines which are in regular pencil. The red never rally changes. Green is also erasable as sometimes they are sold. So, is that clear as mud?" She smiled. "I'm always here and able to help out if you need me."

@Nova

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  • 3 weeks later...

James closed his eyes for a moment, mentally chastising himself before turning to study the map mounted on the wall the Marshall indicated.  He stepped closer, nodding slightly as the older man explained what each of the colors of the various parcels of land meant.  “Who does the exploration?”  James asked curiously, though he hoped that did not fall to him.  He suspected that those areas were some distance away and he didn’t ride.  In fact, James was rather afraid of horses and did his best to stay well clear of the huge animals.
 
“That makes a great deal of sense,”  James inclined his head toward Ada, tearing his gaze from the map to the woman once she spoke up.  He smiled warmly at Ada, “I’m relieved to hear it as I’m sure I will have questions while I’m learning your system.”  That the green areas didn’t change made sense to him, given the fact that most estates in England had been held by the same noble families for countless generations back.  His own family had owned and lived on their lands since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

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James closed his eyes for a moment, mentally chastising himself before turning to study the map mounted on the wall the Marshall indicated.  He stepped closer, nodding slightly as the older man explained what each of the colors of the various parcels of land meant.  “Who does the exploration?”  James asked curiously, though he hoped that did not fall to him.  He suspected that those areas were some distance away and he didn’t ride.  In fact, James was rather afraid of horses and did his best to stay well clear of the huge animals.

 

"You see James, we employ a number of men whose job it is to 'explore' as to callit, but in effect that is exactly what prospecting is. Looking, sampling, reporting. At times they will find the owners and make a direct offer to purchase the property." Ada explained. "But that is not a part of what you were hired to do for us, no sir, you're far to valuable for that.
 
“That makes a great deal of sense,”  James inclined his head toward Ada, tearing his gaze from the map to the woman once she spoke up.  He smiled warmly at Ada, “I’m relieved to hear it as I’m sure I will have questions while I’m learning your system.”  That the green areas didn’t change made sense to him, given the fact that most estates in England had been held by the same noble families for countless generations back.  His own family had owned and lived on their lands since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

 

"Not a problem at all James, that is part of why Mister Guyer hired me, to help train those we hire. In time, as you learn you will be doing the training as well. But, all in good time James, all in good time."

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@Nova

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  • 3 weeks later...

A tiny smile curved James’ lips went she used his term for work that the men scouting out the new territories did, secretly glad that he would not have to do anything of the sort.  “How often do you have to purchase land?”  He asked, turning to look at the maps on the walls again, trying to hide the flush of pride when she called him too valuable.
 
“Forgive me.”  He said with another of his long slow smiles.  “I dearly love to learn and I can not tell you how many times my teachers despaired of my impatience.  Where shall I sit?”  He asked, shrugging out of his jacket, and folding it over his arm awaiting a reply from his new employers.  When directed to his new work station, James took a seat and dove into the task at hand.

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  • 4 weeks later...

(Sorry to have missed this)

Ada smiled at the young man's impatience to learn, and that was good. It was the forms that might be troublesome as they had been for her, but the real learning was how to train the men for their work out in the field, and that was what she would touch on first.

 

"The forms you will become familiar with are an endless trouble. The Clerks Office wants them just so, and, they want the right forms filled out correctly, ad nauseam. Now, the real question is, how are you with people, people in general, men in particular? The training for those going out in search of minerals. They will also be looking at trees, forestation that is owned.  There is plenty of that to be had, and we hold that property, once it is purchased and registered until there is a need for the lumber. Or, in some instances, we sell it again as is at a profit."

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@Nova

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  • 1 month later...

When Ada asked how he was dealing with people, men specifically, the color leached from James’ naturally fair complexion, leaving his face very nearly white.  “Training?”  he stammered, his stomach churning within him.  “You mean I will have to teach them what they’re going out to look for?”  Getting people to listen to him had never been James’ strong suit.  In school, he’d been a good student and his thin gawky build had not endeared him to the majority of the men he’d encountered since his arrival in America.  He felt that paperwork no matter how troublesome was preferable to trying to train people to do anything.  Especially the rough and ready types that were so prevalent here in the United States.  He did understand the concept of selling merchandise at a profit.  “That makes sense.”  he murmured in reference to her last bit of information.  ”Though I am curious about one thing.  Where do you store the lumber?”  James was new to the town, that was certainly true, but he didn’t remember seeing anywhere big enough to store raw lumber.

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