Jump to content
  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Recently Used Characters

  • Posts

    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

First Day of Hopefully Many on the Job


Recommended Posts

Mature Content: No

With: Miriam, Mr. Pettigrew
Location:

Pettigrew & Packham (Deceased) Drapers, Millinery, Haberdashery, Specialist Corsetry Emporium and Ladies Outfitter.

 


When: June 1876
Time of Day: Morning just prior to opening time on the Hours sign

 

content-divider.png

 

Miriam Kaufmann paused at the door of the shop with the practically exhausting title -

Pettigrew & Packham (Deceased) Drapers, Millinery, Haberdashery, Specialist Corsetry Emporium and Ladies Outfitter - she dearly hoped she would not be expected to memorize that! She could easily imagine her stumbling thru it whilst talking to customers. Although, just maybe she would not even have to talk to customers. She would soon find out. Clearing her throat and adjusting her hat hopefully just perfectly, she then knocked on the door. She almost made the attempt to try the handle and open it but decided against such boldness. Her employer might think that impertinent.

 

After her father had returned home yesterday with the news he had secured her a job in this establishment, after the whole family were overjoyed with that outcome, the girl had asked him what he was his assessment of the man who she was going to work for. Her father would have none of it.

 

"Daughter, it does not matter what I think of him or not, you will be in his employ and expected to do as you are told. This is work not a social occasion. Just be polite and respond to his every order without delay. You must make a good impression on him, you see."

 

Miriam did understand, what with her father new in town and setting up his own business, they were in need of whatever money they could get for living expenses as the purchase of the new storefront and living quarters and all that went with it was ruinously expensive. Miriam, being the oldest of the children, Benjamin was counting on her to start contributing for real now to the family welfare. She was no longer a child, she was a young woman. She, on the other hand, was determined not to disappoint her father and all the family.

 

Her thoughts were interrupted then as the door opened and a most imposing large man stood there. Miriam acknowledged him with a hasty nod then spoke.

 

"Goodday sir. I am Miriam Kaufmann, daughter of Abraham Kaufmann. Here to start work, to work for you," she announced trying not to sound nervous, her English was quite good but did have a German accent for those in the know.

 

 

 

Link to comment

Worchester did not put Jemima on Front of House duty lightly, but the new girl was stating today, and from the samples of her work that Kaufmann had shown him, he had great hopes for her. He would need to show the mundane tasks involved in running the emporium, of course, but he also hoped to kindle, nurture and inspire in her something of his own love of The Business. The business of beauty and adornment, of taking a down at heart frowsy dusty frontier woman and turning her into a beautiful queen fit more for Fairyland than Kalispell. A perfectly dressed woman was a joy to behold, and in terms of providing a constant stream of income: female vanity was a very steady giver.

 

What was that faint noise: a knock?

 

Of course, she didn’t know to just go round and let herself in the back yet. He would tell her that later, rather than start off with an admonition of any sort. Worchester was sensitive like that, although he could fly off the handle at a missed stitch, the bigger things in life he took with equanimity. The short stout man glided to the door.

 

"Goodday sir. I am Miriam Kaufmann, daughter of Abraham Kaufmann. Here to start work, to work for you," she announced trying not to sound nervous, her English was quite good but did have a German accent for those in the know.

 

The ladies’ outfitter could not but help examine the little Jewess with the eye of a professional. She was at that awkward age body-wise: she could be corseted up into a more adult shape but would look top heavy that way. Her simple work smock was actually the perfect shape for her form; he would create something similarly shapeless and free flowing in a just-off-white and temper that with only the smallest hints of lilac to divert full attention to her eyes, which sparkling like polished jets, were her best feature. The rest of her face, with its wide mouth, slightly hooked nose and angry looking brows, he would soften with a wide ribbon-tied bonnet. He had seen her dark-eyed type in New Orleans many times: they were not pretty in the soft round way of the sentimental artist, but the vivacious ones could possess the type of beauty that men would kill over. Kill themselves, usually.

 

“Why come on in, child, come on in.” Worchester’s light Louisiana accent wafted on the breeze like a feather as he stepped back courteously to let her enter the store  “Now, you must call me Mr. Pettigrew, and I shall always refer to you as Miss Kaufman. That is the way of it, you see. Our valuable clients, for we never refer to them as ‘customers’ always clients, valued clients…” he held up a warning finger to emphasise the point “Our clients we always refer to as Madame or Miss, and any gentlemen present with them as Sir.”

 

He would later teach her to always look for a wedding ring on a woman, or lack of. For the Misses did so hate to be referred to as Madame, and vice versa.

 

“Now, er, let us go through to the back, and I will show you where the real work takes place.” He invited her and marched on ahead, opening the mysterious velvet curtains behind the counter that led to the fitting, sewing and cutting rooms.

 

“Miss Wigfall, kindly mind the store.” He ordered, and Jemima watched the new girl pass with an intense glare housed in a passive and unresponsive countenance.

 

021012-jenny-tomasin-british-actress.jpg

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

The older gentleman seemed to eye her over from top of her hat down to her shoes, it made her a bit uncomfortable. But then no matter what the girl would have indeed been nervous. It could well be a critical moment in her success in keeping this job. Miriam looked up at the fellow as he spoke, giving him the rapt attention he deserved. The fellow did not waste a moment in explaining to her what was expected regarding the customers...no,  clients. They were to be called clients...

 

"Of course, sir, clients, They are clients," so be it, Miriam nodded compliance.

 

"Now, er, let us go through to the back, and I will show you where the real work takes place.” He invited her and marched on ahead, opening the mysterious velvet curtains behind the counter that led to the fitting, sewing and cutting rooms.

 

Miriam followed, glancing just for an instant at the other girl who she surmised must be a fellow employee.

 

“Miss Wigfall, kindly mind the store.”

 

Miriam smiled and greeted the other girl with a hasty "hello," but kept right on going to keep up with her employer.

 

 

Link to comment

Entering the back of house through the curtain, it was clear that the late Mr Packham had known his business well: for a good part of the day, a good strong light shone through large windows, unfettered by either blinds or drapes. A large cutting table dominated the wide open space which took up the main width of the building behind the scenes. There was a screened off section to the left, with a full length mirror and to the right a sort of office with desk and chair and a stack of ledgers on a shelf, but it was still part and parcel of the ‘big room’ as Pettigrew and his staff tended to call it.

 

Pettigrew pointed out the various features of the area, including a bizarre contraption on one side which looked like a table with wrought iron legs, with the addition of a foot pedal, a large wheel and a telegraph operator’s tapper on top. The ginger haired man, after showing off the cutting room with some pride, love even, seemed almost afraid to approach this machine. He drew Miriam toward it as if they were making hesitant steps toward the some dangerous animal.

 

He stopped them well clear of the threatening piece of furniture.

 

That, Miss Kaufmann, is the Willcox & Gibbs. Miss Wigfall has been the only one of us brave enough to tangle with it, so far. She has defeated it in a fair fight, and turns out fair repairs on it, and some heavier piece work; no fine point work, you understand. When you have settled in a little and are feeling courageous one day, we shall have her show you the thing.” He said, a slight nervousness in his voice and almost shielding her as they stepped back and away from the new fangled sewing machine.

 

@Wayfarer

Sewing machine.jpg

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

Her little tour, such as it was, took the pair to the back of the building. Honestly it looked like  the work area she would be laboring in was well thought out and properly equipped too. She just hoped her skills would be equal to the man's expectations. Would he be tolerant or demanding? Again, she would just have to do her best and find out.

 

He stopped then in front of an admittedly rare looking contraption and seemed almost in fear of it. Odd? He then explained.

 

That, Miss Kaufmann, is the Willcox & Gibbs. Miss Wigfall has been the only one of us brave enough to tangle with it, so far. She has defeated it in a fair fight, and turns out fair repairs on it, and some heavier piece work; no fine point work, you understand. When you have settled in a little and are feeling courageous one day, we shall have her show you the thing.”

 

"Oh, I know what it is. I have seen it before, indeed I was fortunate enough to sit down and try it with the help of the tailor who presented it to us. This was back when my family lived in New York, " she suddenly  announced with some confidence.

 

"Mother says it is positively amazing what grand inventions are being discovered all the time. We live in a fortunate age," she pretty much parroted her parent on that note.

Link to comment

That the girl had been quiet and demure so far was quite gratifying to Mr. Pettigrew, the previous incumbent in the position had been a good little seamstress and it had gratified him immensely that under his tutelage she had become accomplished enough to go on to bigger and better things: on marriage moving to Butte and opening a small milliner there of her own. Oh, but she had been inclined to chatter away whilst working, putting him off his accounts and, frankly, encouraging him to chatter back. Even the Saturnine Miss Wigfall had joined in their conversations until Pettigrew himself would throw up his hands in frustration ‘Oh we are such a conglomeration of chatterboxes, we shall soon be ruined if we do not get along with our work!’ and then they would all put their heads down and get on silently, for at least ten minutes.

 

On the other hand, the girl would need to speak sometimes, especially to customers, so it was good that she spoke up now, showing that she had a voice.

 

"Oh, I know what it is. I have seen it before, indeed I was fortunate enough to sit down and try it with the help of the tailor who presented it to us. This was back when my family lived in New York, " she suddenly announced with some confidence.

 

“You lived in New York? Oh, my poor dear.” Consoled the ginger man, for his sojourn there had been less than happy.

 

"Mother says it is positively amazing what grand inventions are being discovered all the time. We live in a fortunate age," she pretty much parroted her parent on that note.

 

Pettigrew listened patiently to the girl’s recitation of her parent’s ideas, her accent was peculiar indeed: the admixture of the Dutch hardened accent of native New Yorkers and the Yiddish hybrid of German and Hebrew. He anticipated a busy week if he kept Miriam front of house, the women and girls of Kadispell would positively flock to hear the voice of ‘that strange new girl at Pettigrews!’ – such was the dearth of novelty in this hick town.

 

“Well, yes, I dare say that we must embrace the wonders of the modern age… yet not lose hold of the well-honed skills of the past.” He ruminated. His fear of the new in terms of his craft was in ironic contrast to his interest in the latest scientific, and frankly pseud-scientific, advances in the study of human personality: phrenology, mesmerism, anthropology, astrology, and the new-fangled ‘psychology’.

 

But enough of these esoteric thoughts, there were practicalities.

 

“Well, I am certainly glad to hear that you are not averse to becoming more familiar with the machine, Miss Kaufmann. But to other matters. What are your wishes around Saturdays? Your father was adamant that you could work those days, but I believe that I can persuade Miss Wigfall to cover, if your conscience would be at all troubled by laboring upon your Sabbath.”

 

He expected that on her first day in his store, Miriam would be eager, perhaps over-eager, to please, So he held up a warning finger before she made her decision.

 

“Please believe me, Miss Kaufmann, I may work you hard, and I may become perhaps a little irritable at times, but it is my very earnest and real wish that all my young ladies are generally happy in their work. I would not want you cutting expensive cloth and dealing with important clients whist suffering an agony of conscience!” he told her seriously. In case money was the problem, he added "There will always be after hours work available in the weekdays."

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

Link to comment

“You lived in New York? Oh, my poor dear.” Consoled the ginger man.

 

"Yes, and my father would agree with you," Miriam nodded.

 

****

 

“Well, yes, I dare say that we must embrace the wonders of the modern age… yet not lose hold of the well-honed skills of the past.”  the fellow declared.

 

"Of course, sir," once more she nodded.

 

"Well, I am certainly glad to hear that you are not averse to becoming more familiar with the machine, Miss Kaufmann. But to other matters. What are your wishes around Saturdays? Your father was adamant that you could work those days, but I believe that I can persuade Miss Wigfall to cover, if your conscience would be at all troubled by laboring upon your Sabbath.” 

 

Miriam was not surprised to hear of her father's view on working the Jewish sabbath. They were certainly not very strict Hebrews, far from it.

 

"If you have need of me on a Saturday, I will come," she assured him without hesitation.

 

“Please believe me, Miss Kaufmann, I may work you hard, and I may become perhaps a little irritable at times, but it is my very earnest and real wish that all my young ladies are generally happy in their work. I would not want you cutting expensive cloth and dealing with important clients whist suffering an agony of conscience!”

 

"That is most considerate of you, sir. But you need not worry, I shall be a faithful and uncomplaining employee," Miriam pledged and she meant every word.  Her family would expect nothing less from her.

Link to comment

"That is most considerate of you, sir. But you need not worry, I shall be a faithful and uncomplaining employee," Miriam pledged and she meant every word.  Her family would expect nothing less from her.

 

“Well, that’s fine, Miss Kaufmann, mighty fine.” Pettigrew cooed. Words were cheap, but he believed she meant it. It was not mere obedience he needed, though, nor just pure technical skill with a needle and pinking sheers (or a sewing machine, for that matter): he needed someone with élan, a certain panache, a love for the art of sartorial adornment: an appreciation of beauty. Alas, the mousy and obedient little girl whom he led to the staircase on this overcast day in the middle of the Territories, a million miles away from the great Fashion Centres of the world, displayed yet none of these things. Yet.

 

But Pettigrew, Worchester Pettigrew, he who had designed and created gowns for the great Ante-bellum beauties of New Orleans, like the beautiful Creole actress Adah Isaacs Menken, he who could take a bale of plain cloth and turn it into a delight for the discerning eye or artistic soul, could he not also wring from the broadcloth of the Nancy-Janes and Jemimas and Miriams of this cultural desert a new breed of cosmopolitan, avant-garde mid-western fashion designers? It was worth a try. It at least gave meaning to his life as it wound down.

 

The haven of this higher plane of outfitting was literally on a higher plane, the second floor of the house. Worchester led Miriam up the stairs. At the top were two doors: one to the left and one to the right: ‘Boaz and Jachin’ he muttered, masonically.

 

“This is the door to my private quarters” he explained “In an emergency, you may knock and wait.”

The other door he actually opened and showed the gamin in. To the untrained eye, it possibly looked like a waste of space: beautifully appointed, but containing a few chairs, the predicable full length mirror, and a changing screen and a form, used for building a dress upon.

 

This…” he said with emphasis “…is the dream palace! Here, we do not just sew and cut and pad, here … we create! Oh, but only for those who have a purse to match their dreams.” He said grandiosely. This is where commissioned pieces were discussed, fitted, modelled, too, for the richer denizens of the Town who wanted something exactly right for a special occasion. The modelling would be a very rare, but very real, part of the job. He didn’t mention that to the shy seeming girl right now, of course. He didn’t want to alarm her, but out of the three of them, Miriam would be the obvious choice, with Jemima and Worchester himself trailing, but coming a close second and third.

 

@Wayfarer

Link to comment

It seemed her eagerness to please and agree to whatever he wanted was proving a success, Miriam noted.

 

"That's fine, Miss Kaufmann,  that's fine," was his response.

 

The tour continued then and they wound up entering what appeared to be a surprisingly large room for what few things were within. A couple of chairs and a changing screen...oh and a full length mirror too. She guessed ladies who had purchased garments could try them on in this room.

 

This…” he said with emphasis “…is the dream palace! Here, we do not just sew and cut and pad, here … we create! Oh, but only for those who have a purse to match their dreams.”

 

Miriam almost blurted out  'you mean your creations are expensive' but thought might be imprudent of her and even annoy the fellow so she settled for a nod and a quick, "Oh I see."

 

She gestured toward the large mirror, "We had one of these but on the trip out west, it broke. My mother was most distressed for the loss."

 

 

Link to comment

She gestured toward the large mirror, "We had one of these but on the trip out west, it broke. My mother was most distressed for the loss."

 

“Well, they do say that’s seven years’ bad luck … and, true, here you are in Kalispell!” He joked, more for his own benefit than hers. “Now, an old mulatto witch I knew down in the Louisiana swamps once told me that if you put the broken pieces into a running stream it dispels the curse, but it’s all just mere superstition, of course.” His chins wobbled as he shook his head at the notion.

 

Worchester was extremely interested in folklore and old stories, especially ghost stories, but he took it all with a pinch of scientific salt. For instance, everybody he knew had a good ghost story: but it was seldom they themselves who had seen the spook: it was always their cousin’s best friend, or their friend’s nephew’s aunt. In fact, if you were best friend’s with someone’s cousin, you were practically guaranteed to see a ghost!

 

Of course, the Spiritualists in town saw plenty of supernatural activity: but they went looking and were determined to find it at all costs. The few others who claimed to have seen these echoes of the departed themselves: well, their stories probably told you more about their own lives than the afterlife.

 

Still, there were ghosts of a sort in this room: echoes of a splendid past when he was young and creative and gay. Perhaps that was why he loved the young ladies in his care and employ so much, even if could never have any romantic or sexual interest in them: his time was practically over, Kalispell was like a coda to the story of his life; but their lives were only just starting, as fresh with possibilities as the buds of an unknown flower in early Springtime about to burst into flower and reveal its dazzling colours to the world.

 

“Well, come on back downstairs and we’ll give you something  to do: when Miss Wigfall comes in tomorrow afternoon, I will commence teaching you the trade. “ he informed her.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

He mentioned the seven years bad luck, yes she had heard such things but her father dismissed it as mere superstition and declared a Kaufmann is above such nonsense. Actually it did seem rather silly when one thought about it more deeply. Besides it gave her another opening to agree with her employer.

 

"Yes sir, mere superstition indeed," Miriam nodded.

 

“Well, come on back downstairs and we’ll give you something  to do: when Miss Wigfall comes in tomorrow afternoon, I will commence teaching you the trade. “ he informed her.

 

"Very well, so are Miss Wigfall and myself your only employees?" she felt it was a fair enough question, one that should not annoy the man. She had only gotten a quick glimpse of the other girl but she seemed very grim or .....perhaps she was upset with him hiring her on? That would not be good.

Link to comment

"Yes sir, mere superstition indeed," Miriam nodded.

 

“Absolutely no scientific basis at all” agreed Pettigrew, then paused at the door. “Mind you, that same woman once put a curse on a tobacco auctioneer who had somehow offended her. Poor fellow was dead within a week.” He looked off into the distance “I always kept on very good terms with the lady, myself.”

 

“Well, come on back downstairs and we’ll give you something to do: when Miss Wigfall comes in tomorrow afternoon, I will commence teaching you the trade.” he informed her.

 

"Very well, so are Miss Wigfall and myself your only employees?" she felt it was a fair enough question, one that should not annoy the man. She had only gotten a quick glimpse of the other girl but she seemed very grim or ...perhaps she was upset with him hiring her on? That would not be good.

 

“Oh, at present, at present.” Worchester informed her as they descended the stairs “There’s a possibility that my niece might have to come live with me sometime soon but how useful she will be in the business I truly do not know. She has lived some time in Europe, Paris. But living in the greatest city for fashion in the world does not make a person a skilled seamstress. It is your skills upon which I am depending, Miss Kaufmann, yours alone!”

 

@Wayfarer

Link to comment

The man followed up with this tale of curses and doom but it failed on Miriam if his hope was to frighten her. Her father had always vehemently dismissed such nonsense and well..........she had never seen anything at all even vaguely ghost-like. But this was her employer telling the tale so she simply nodded along and he could read into that gesture what he will.

 

As they headed back downstairs she decided to ask about that other girl who had stared at her earlier, sounded like she was a regular employee too.

 

"Oh, at present, at present.” Worchester informed her as they descended the stairs “There’s a possibility that my niece might have to come live with me sometime soon but how useful she will be in the business I truly do not know. She has lived some time in Europe, Paris. But living in the greatest city for fashion in the world does not make a person a skilled seamstress. It is your skills upon which I am depending, Miss Kaufmann, yours alone!”

 

Miriam swallowed, nothing like putting pressure on a person with that declaration! Miriam had always been the nervous sort, partly because she was very much a perfectionist about most things. Her father would have it no other way too.

 

"Oh, I just hope I can live up to your expectations? I hope my father did not over rate me," she quick sought to tamp down wild expectations here.

 

 

Link to comment

"Oh, I just hope I can live up to your expectations? I hope my father did not over rate me," she quick sought to tamp down wild expectations here.

 

MV5BZjMzMmVmODUtYTZlZC00OGViLWJlN2QtNmE3

 

“Oh Miss Kaufmann, Miss Kaufmann, Miss Kaufmann” Pettigrew almost sang her name. “You need only try you best and work your hardest. And I, in turn, will endeavour to teach you all I know. This is an exchange Miss Kaufmann, an exchange. I hope it will profit the both of us.”

 

They had reached the bottom of the stairs and the velvet curtain. As Worchester Pettigrew pushed through the dark purple material he suddenly grew an inch or two and glowed with a new energy: that was lesson number One: when you were front of house – you were ‘on’.

 

“Now! Miss Wigfall, you will kindly show Miss Kaufmann the arrangements for taking payments while I proceed to the Bank to arrange your payments to your father, Miss Kaufmann.” He ordered.

 

That was all very well, although as Pettigrew donned his hat and exited the store, it became apparent that when she was repeating information that she had learned by rote, the Wigfall girl's voice was even more flat and monotonous than usual.

 

“First we open the ledger” dictated Jemima “We add up and enter the price of goods in the first column. Then we enter the amount tendered in the second column. Then we enter the change returned in the third column. Then we remove the Price paid from the float in the Fourth column. When we close at 5 Of the Clock, we check the accumulated funds in the ledger against actual funds in the float, remove the profit from the float to the main safe and…”

 

Ting-a-ling!

 

A handsome fresh-faced young man put his head round the door.

 

Hector Wigfall had a few things to say to his sister about having to go out of his way – the opposite direction from the telegraph office – to take her the pinking shears she’d left at home, as per his mother’s strident instructions. He’d been practicing his mean comments and nasty jokes about what a forgetful stupid ape she was all the way here.

 

There was an uninteresting, unattractive, mousy looking new girl next to Jemima, he only gave her the merest glance as he strode over to his horrible sister and opened his mouth to begin his stream of invective:

 

“Hey, Sis, you forgot these! Thought I’d drop ‘em off on my way to the telegraph office… where I work!” he said, suddenly going a very peculiar colour and feeling a bizarre shaking of his right leg. He glanced at the other girl for a fraction of a second and sort of stumbled backwards toward the door and collapsed backwards out of it.

 

“See ya back home, Sis!” he heard himself saying as he found himself back on the street and once again in full possession of his faculties. What the Hell?! Had he just suffered some kind of stroke?

 

Inside, Jemima sniffed the pinking sheers suspiciously.

 

“He’s up to something” she growled, eyes narrowing.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

Her employer seemed a fair man, he only asked that she try her very best, plus he was willing, no even eager to teach her about the trade, he deemed this employer-employee relationship an exchange. Who was she to question such a thing even though it was hardly the norm. Why her father had left New York precisely because his own boss had been so hard to work for, incessant in both his demands and criticism. Perhaps she was lucky?

 

The fellow had decided to go to the bank then and left her with this Miss Wigfall who then began to explain the whole process of .....well what certainly seemed to her to be bookkeeping much more so than seamstress. But on the other hand, she did fairly well with basic arithmetic at least. And she consoled herself thinking most of the time he would be present and she would not need bother with this. Still she  listened to the other girl go thru the process.

 

The front door bell tinkled and the ladies' heads turned to see who had entered. Some boy - of course she had no idea who - strolled on in with a cocky look on his face. She immediately guessed him to be somewhere around her age.

 

“Hey, Sis, you forgot these! Thought I’d drop ‘em off on my way to the telegraph office… where I work!” he said, suddenly going a very peculiar colour and feeling a bizarre shaking of his right leg. He glanced at the other girl for a fraction of a second and sort of stumbled backwards toward the door and collapsed backwards out of it.

 

Oh goodness!  What was wrong with that young man? Miss Wigfall should know, he apparently was her brother.  Miriam froze for a moment until he was gone before turning to Jemina, "What happened there? Is he afflicted with a condition?"    Poor lad.

 

Inside, Jemima sniffed the pinking sheers suspiciously.

 

“He’s up to something” she growled, eyes narrowing.

 

"He is?" Miriam had no idea what exactly she meant by that. And if what she just witnessed was an  'act' it was certainly a good one. And what had it accomplished anyways?

 

 

 

Link to comment

Oh goodness!  What was wrong with that young man? Miss Wigfall should know, he apparently was her brother.  Miriam froze for a moment until he was gone before turning to Jemina, "What happened there? Is he afflicted with a condition?" Poor lad.

 

“I'll say he is.” Replied Jemima, flatly, then turned her piggy little eyes on Miriam. “That’s my brother. You’ll want to keep way from him. He isn’t a good person. He does bad things, and… well, let’s just say that when he dies, he’s gonna burn in Hell.”

 

It wasn’t the best of references.

 

Jemima sniffed the pinking sheers suspiciously. No sign of glue or that anything unpleasant had been smeared on them.

 

“He’s up to something” she growled, eyes narrowing.

 

"He is?" Miriam had no idea what exactly she meant by that. And if what she just witnessed was an  'act' it was certainly a good one. And what had it accomplished anyways? 

 

“I’ll find him out, don’t you worry about it.” she assured the Jewish girl, but the odd interlude with Hector had reminded her to ask the most obvious question of all.

 

“You got any brothers?” she asked the other girl, hopefully.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

“I'll say he is.” Replied Jemima, flatly, then turned her piggy little eyes on Miriam. “That’s my brother. You’ll want to keep way from him. He isn’t a good person. He does bad things, and… well, let’s just say that when he dies, he’s gonna burn in Hell.”

 

That stunned Miriam, "Oh, gosh! Your own brother?"

 

So apparently this Jemima was certain he was up to something?  How? By faking a condition or an injury? It all was very strange to the newest employee.

 

“I’ll find him out, don’t you worry about it.” she assured the Jewish girl.

 

“You got any brothers?” she asked the other girl, hopefully.

 

"I have two brothers and a sister but I am the oldest, their ages are 14, 11, and 9," she smiled.

 

Link to comment

“You got any brothers?” she asked the other girl, hopefully.

 

"I have two brothers and a sister but I am the oldest, their ages are 14, 11, and 9," she smiled.

 

Jemima’s face would have fallen, if it had anywhere to fall to: but she always looked serious, sullen or just plain impassive.

 

“Fourteen huh?” she sighed “Pretty big for his age, though, maybe, huh?” she added: one last throw of the dice.

 

“So, you got a boyfriend?” Jemima asked next. If not, they’d have something in common (presuming the quiet seeming girl even wanted a boyfriend!) and if she did, and he was half decent… well ‘All’s fair in love and war’.

 

Somehow, though, she expected not: this Miriam was probably as cursed, as far as her love life was concerned, as Jemima's sister-singletons, Arabella and Bridget.

 

@Wayfarer

Link to comment

“Fourteen huh?” she sighed “Pretty big for his age, though, maybe, huh?” she added.

 

"He's as tall as me but no, he isn't big," Miriam thought that an odd question, what difference did it make how big her kid brother was?

 

Jemima wasn't done with her questions yet though, " So, you got a boyfriend?”

 

"Oh of course not. I'm only sixteen, I cannot have anything to do with boys until I reach eighteen Father said," Miriam informed her.

 

"Why do you have one?" she decided turn around was fair play.

 

 

Link to comment

"He's as tall as me but no, he isn't big," Miriam thought that an odd question, what difference did it make how big her kid brother was?

 

Jemima raised the flat of her hand to the height of the top of Miriam’s head and then brought it towards her own face where it landed about level with her own eyes and gave a dissatisfied grunt. She wasn’t about to walk out with a dwarf.

 

Jemima wasn't done with her questions yet though, " So, you got a boyfriend?”

 

"Oh of course not. I'm only sixteen, I cannot have anything to do with boys until I reach eighteen Father said," Miriam informed her.

 

Good luck with that, Mr Kaufmann! Was Jemima’s immediate thought. If Miriam was anything like herself and her friends, she’d soon be romance-crazy; there was heck all else to do in this God forsaken town. And there were plenty of handsome men around for a gal to get crazy about, especially the cute but rough and tough looking young cowboys who rode in on occasion. Yeah, plenty of men, but they were all just too slow.

 

"Why do you have one?" she decided turn around was fair play.

 

“I wish!” answered the plain Wigfall girl “The fellers around here are all stupid, though; they all go to the saloon and moon over…” she dropped her voice to a whisper, lest she offend the ears of the dummies in the window “…whores…” she looked around the empty store to make sure no one else heard the word “… but they won’t give respectable girls like you and me a second look.”

 

She frowned darkly.

 

“The Devil ain’t Lazy, Miriam Kaufmann, he just tempts and tempts them fellers. I got a friend who works at the saloon, she's none too respectable herself, I admit..” Jemima felt a little shame faced at being pals with Arabella, but she didn’t have any other friends to speak of, so was kinda stuck with her “… and she says there’s a … whore… there who sings and dances and shows off all her chest and legs and the men all throw money at her and buy her drinks and presents, and she doesn’t even give a one of ‘em so much as a kiss!”

 

Jemima looked longingly at the door of the store, through which her Prince Charming might walk through any second.

 

“If one of them handsome gentleman walked through that door right now, I’d give him a kiss for nothing! Maybe three or four!” she sighed.

 

"What's your ideal man?" Jemima then asked her new workmate, it was becoming clear that romance was her favourite topic of conversation, even beating Spiritualism by a mile.

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

"Why do you have one?" Miriam decided turn around was fair play.

 

“I wish!” answered the plain Wigfall girl “The fellers around here are all stupid, though; they all go to the saloon and moon over…” she dropped her voice to a whisper, lest she offend the ears of the dummies in the window “…whores…” she looked around the empty store to make sure no one else heard the word “… but they won’t give respectable girls like you and me a second look.”

 

"Oh, gosh. My father would never step into any such saloon," Miriam declared, however she was beginning to suspect this girl was not necessarily telling her the truth. First her brother is evil and going to hell. Now all the men in Kalispell are stupid. And falling all over themselves for one whore. Was this Kalispell or Sodom and Gomarrah? But it was not like Miriam to contradict the other girl. Miriam was the exact opposite of confrontational.

 

“If one of them handsome gentleman walked through that door right now, I’d give him a kiss for nothing! Maybe three or four!” Jemima sighed.

 

That seemed rather  wanton? thought Miriam but again kept silent.

 

"What's your ideal man?" Jemima then asked.

 

"Well....I do not know. I never gave it any thought, it's too early in my life," Miriam was not quite leveling with her work mate there. Like any girl she wanted a happy marriage with a faithful partner but she was also old enough by now to be a realist and quite aware many marriages fell quite short of that ideal.

 

 

Link to comment

"Well....I do not know. I never gave it any thought, it's too early in my life," Miriam was not quite leveling with her work mate there. Like any girl she wanted a happy marriage with a faithful partner but she was also old enough by now to be a realist and quite aware many marriages fell quite short of that ideal.

 

“How old’re you?” frowned Jemima, peering at the girl. She looked old enough to her.

 

“I started liking boys when I was thirteen.” She announced “And ever since then I only been kissed by one. And he didn’t mean it. I’ve been waiting five long years for a real man to come and sweep me off my feet, and I’ve decided that if what you want in life don’t come and find you, then you’ve gotta go out and find it for yourself.”

 

“Problem working here is: the only fellers that ever come in here are with women already. Married men with their daughters; husbands with their wives; boys with their sweethearts.” She looked like she wanted to heap up said daughters, wives and sweethearts and push them into Lost Lake. “There’s only a dance here once in a blue moon, best bet’s getting invited to a wedding … or  a funeral. Plenty of nice fellers at funerals.” she drooled.

 

@Wayfarer

Link to comment

“How old’re you?” frowned Jemima, peering at the girl.

 

"I am sixteen," Miriam informed the other girl.

 

That started up the other girl on another rant of sorts how she apparently had no luck with boys. Miriam wasn't surprised given Jemima's looks and surly mood.  The girl concluded with the strange assertion funerals were the best way to meet boys. Seriously? At such a sad occasion?  Miriam was starting to glance at the clock on the wall and hope her employer was not going to be gone long. This 'get to know you' conversation was not going well at all.

 

"Well.....I wish you luck then on your .....quest," Miriam settled for, she almost said  'hunt'.

Link to comment

"I am sixteen," Miriam informed the other girl.

 

Plenty old enough, in Jemima’s book. Plenty old enough to be a rival if any bachelors did, for some reason, come into the store. She considered the girl narrow eyed. She knew her brother kept a ranked list of women he admired in Kalispell, she’d found it once and written ‘Granny Miggins’ at the top of it for a joke. She wondered where Miriam might slot into that list, probably somewhere near the bottom, if at all. Those at the top of the list seemed to be blonde, blue eyed and more classically 'pretty' than the swarthy Jewess standing next to her: there also seemed to be some correlation between high rank and chest size. Disgusting! But informative.

 

"Well.....I wish you luck then on your .....quest," Miriam settled for, she almost said  'hunt'.

 

“Huh! I give up on ‘luck’ a long time ago.” Huffed Jemima “I aim to make my own luck nowadays.” She said.

 

“Oh, and Church. Church is a good place to meet fellers, and you can sit and stare at ‘em without being bothered. But I go to the Spiritualist Church, nothing doing there. I might have to turn Methodist.” She announced. By gum, she might even consider Catholicism if it got her a decent man.

 

“What church you go to?” she asked Miriam. 

 

@Wayfarer

Edited by Javia (see edit history)
Link to comment

“Huh! I give up on ‘luck’ a long time ago.” Huffed Jemima “I aim to make my own luck nowadays.”

 

"Well then.....I suppose....I mean I hope it will all work out for you then," Miriam glanced around wondering how she could get out of this conversation. Hopefully it would not be like this every day.

 

Jemima also believed church was a great place to meet boys, men, whatever it did not seem she was picky. More interestingly she mentioned she belonged to some 'Spiritualist' church. That was a brand new one to Miriam but then she didn't honestly know much about the various Christian sects?

 

“What church you go to?” Jemima suddenly asked Miriam.

 

"Oh....well you see...none really. My family is not Christian, we are Jewish so if there were a synagogue in town we would probably go to that. There were many Jews in New York City but I am doubtful many are around here," she shrugged. 

 

 

Link to comment
  • JulieS locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...