New Start, Old Debts




* Jubilee Jakes, Land Office, Silver Creek Bank

Summary: Arden picks up the keys to the blacksmiths, complete with mortgage and a saddlebag full of back taxes..

Date: 6 February, 1884

New Start, Old Debts

Land Office, Silver Creek Bank

Jakes' head is down on the desk, a wet coat thrown over the back of a chair by the potbellied stove. There was a bottle of good whiskey, minus a healthy portion, open by his elbow and the land agent was snoring away like a bucksaw in pine.

After being directed to the office by the clerk downstairs, Arden makes her way up along the hall, drawn, not by the sound of a typewriter or any adding machines, but the sound of snoring. Her head peeks in on the land office, having found the source, and she pauses inside the doorway, just, reaching out to knock, rather loudly, on the door. Just to wake him up and such.

The knock was like an alarm to Jubilee, his head coming up, his arm snapping over to grab a pencil..knocking the whiskey bottle off the to roll towards the stove spewing precious amber ambrosia.

He watches it go, mournfully, then sighs, and hitches his chair closer to the desk, 'Yes? How may I be of service?"

Arden uses her height to her advantage, or perhaps the length of her legs, and she moves in to intercept the bottle before it can hit the stove and potentially start a fire. A quick snatch, and she catches it, ignoring any that spills onto her hand, and carrying the bottle back, with what's left, to the desk, setting it down. "Yes, I'm Arden Ohls. I've been trying to meet with someone in the land office about taking over the blacksmith's shop?" Her tones are lightly accented, but her english is practiced and polite.

He had /tried/..really, raising a hand to stop his visitor and saying, "No, leav.." too late and to no avail. under the desk, Jakes had on nothing but long, red woolen underwear, wet to the knees. Another long suffering sigh, and he says, "Just..leave it on the corner, please. And thank you."

Folding his hands on the desk, the agent rolls his eyes heavenward in a "What have I done to deserve this?" look, before giving the woman a weak smile.

You wish to take over the blacksmith shop? Do you already have a smith and apprentice in mind? It is an unusual investment for a lady, but perhaps that might be to your benefit."

Thankfully, Arden has either blinders on, or tact, and so the underwear goes unnoticed and uncommented. And once the bottle is set down, she steps back, to an appropriate distance. "I am the blacksmith. I am also a trained farrier. I have 14 years apprenticeship under my father, Jacques Ohls, out of Quebec." Her tone is quiet, sedate. Clearly, she's used to the supposition, "I am looking to establish a successful business in Silver Creek. And I noticed that the 'smithy was available."

In all of his years, Jubilee Jakes had pretty much seen it all..and did most of it himself in fact. So this news that the tall, attractive woman /was/ the blacksmith caused him no more agitation than a mongrel stealing a bone. After all, women blacksmiths were as common as..his eyes gave him away, a look of distrust in them before he clears his throat, "Ahh, I see. very well has been vacant for some time..the last tenant disappeared some time time ago, without a word."

"I can assure you, sir. I have no intentions of disappearing without warning. I've come to enjoy Silver Creek quite a bit, and I intend to make my home here. And having the smithy will allow me to provide a useful service to the community." Arden remains standing, hands comfortably at her sides. "In fact, I already have two offers for steady work. The first with the foreman of Epona Ranch, Sheriff Reynolds and with Mr. McClarty, the undertaker. I have no doubt that the bank will see a substantial return on your investment, if you agree to let me assume the mortgage for the shop."

He gives her a long, searching look, then nods to himself, "Very well. because of the nature of the business, and the outstanding debt owed to the bank." He draws a deep breath, rolls his eyes heavenward again, "If you pay the bank fifty dollars to assume the mortgage in the amount of nine hundred dollars, to be paid in twenty-four equal installments on the first of each month at the interest rate of one percent," he takes another deep breath, "You may have the keys to the blacksmith shop."

he holds up one finger, "You will also become responsible for the past taxes due on the shop, to be paid at the county courthouse once the weather clears. That was, at last account, the sum of three hundred dollars."

Arden nods, considering, "A total of 1200 dollars then, approximately 47.50 to 50 dollars a month adding interest, less the 300 for back taxes." Her attention shifts, as she seems to be doing a few quick calculations in her head. And then, a second nod, "I have the fifty dollars, if that would be acceptable, then, to get us started on the contract." It seems like quite a bit of money, but it's a fair offer, so, for the time being, she does not haggle. "Once the quality of my work and the steady flow of income to the shop has been established, will I have the option to renegotiate the terms of the mortgage?"

"That would be a matter for you to discuss with the Bank's Board, not I." he fishes in the top drawer of his desk and removes a skeleton key from a large ring. 'Just give the money to the nice girl downstairs." Handing over, "Now might I please get my trousers on?" The last was spoken in a plaintive voice.

"Of course, Mr. Jakes. And thank you for your faith in me. I will not allow it to become a wasted effort." Arden steps forward, accepting the key, and then steps back. "I wonder if it might not be a good idea to keep a fresh, dry change of clothes in your office, during weather as terrible as this has been. It might make things more comfortable for you." A flash of a smile, before she offers a polite nod, and then slips out, closing the door behind her. He needs to get dressed…and nobody needs to see that. No indeed.


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