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Sagas of the Wild West
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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.

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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.

large.990181986_AdaFetterman-1.jpg.76376aa9a9e4e551a73213790c013bc2.jpg

@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.

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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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