His Lucky Charm - Cover

His Lucky Charm

Copyright© 2012 by Argon

Chapter 11: Parenthood

Denver, Colorado Territory, 1863

Mandy had her child, a little boy named Orville, in late February. Ned was beside himself when he came to announce the birth of his son, and a week later, a huge celebration was held in Ned and Amanda's house for Orville's baptism. After some soul searching, Ned had agreed to drop his assumed name, Gourd. Instead, he clipped off the 'bottom' from his native name Thrushbottom and thus became Ned Thrush. Mrs. Amanda Thrush liked her name much better than Mrs. Amanda Gourd had, and that cinched it for Ned.

Three weeks later, Ned had to leave Denver and his family, for the work in the mine was to resume. In the meantime, Jim became more involved in the social life of the growing city. He met with the other prominent citizens regularly, namely the Justice, the Marshal, Mr. Linkletter, and the Doctor. A few of the more wealthy merchants were part of this group too, and Jim became more and more involved with local politics. He was leery, however, of the appointed governor and his cronies, feeling instinctive distrust of their motives. Instead, he restricted his involvement to local matters.

When Rose's pregnancy neared its term, he cut down on his own outside activities to spend more time with her. Rose carried herself well in spite of her growing bulge. The two years in the diggings had hardened her, and she joked that the minor discomforts she felt were nothing compared to the aching muscles and joints after working the sluice box for a week.

The O'Donnells also settled in and became familiar with their tasks. Mary O'Donnell was a hard worker, eager to carry her weight in the household, and the children helped out to their abilities. On Jim's insistence both children visited the Sunday School to learn their letters and numbers.

In late March, Samantha turned seventeen. She was growing into a tall, blonde beauty as everybody saw. She befriended the daughter of Justice Pilkins, Garnet, and Jim arranged with the Justice that she shared the lessons Garnet had with a house teacher. Given her beauty and her stepfather's newly acquired wealth, Samantha was already inciting interest in Denver's young and not-so-young men. Jim was determined that she had the right schooling before she even met any men socially.

In late March, news arrived from Washington D.C ... President Lincoln had signed the Proclamation of Emancipation, ostensibly as a measure of warfare against the Confederate States. However, it was seen by the public as a prelude to a general emancipation and the abolition of slavery. Thus, the measure was discussed heatedly, even though slavery was prohibited in the Colorado Territory.

Then, on April 4, Rose went into labour. The midwife was summoned and for Jim, seven hours of anxious waiting began. In was late afternoon when the first cry of the baby was heard and Jim bounded upstairs where the midwife proudly presented him with a baby boy. Rose was resting against her pillows, thoroughly exhausted but with a blissful smile on her pale lips. After viewing the baby boy, Jim knelt down at his wife's side.

"Rose, my darling woman, we have a child, a boy," he babbled pressing her hand and kissing her forehead. "I'm so proud of you!"

"Oh Jim, I'm so happy, too! This is a dream come true for me. The baby, you, the house – it all seems like a dream – but it's true."

"Yes it is, Rose, and you made it happen! Just remember, it was you who brought us luck."

"You say the nicest things to me, Jim," she smiled, but then she turned wistful. "It took a good man like you, Jim, to bring out my good side. But for you, but for your trust in me and your honest respect, I'd still be serving drinks in a run-down saloon."

"Thank you, Rose. Let us just agree that we are both lucky to have each other, right?"

"That I can agree on. Jim, have you thought of a name for our son?"

"My father's name is Robert, but I don't know if my older brother has a son named after him already. My older brother is named Edward, after my great-grandfather, but I never liked the name. Then again, I may never see my family again. Why not Robert, then? What was your father's name, Rose?"

"Timothy," Rose sighed. "His name was Timothy Donegal, from Derry."

"Robert Timothy Tremayne," Jim said. "That doesn't sound bad, does it?"

Rose pressed his hand.

"James Tremayne, I love you with all my heart!"

Little Bobby, as he was instantly rechristened by the women in the bedroom, then had his first taste of mother's milk from Rose's now ample bosom, and he learned to appreciate it quickly. Jim watched in awe as Rose fed their firstborn. He and Rose had been close before having gone through hardships side by side, but never had Jim felt such overwhelming love for his wife as in this moment.

Later, after Rose had fallen into exhausted sleep and the baby boy was sleeping too, Jim sent the O'Donnell boy to the goldsmith's shop. When Mr. Carlisle, the goldsmith, showed up, Jim questioned him for a long time, to find out what that worthy man had in store. Money would not be an issue. The first heavily guarded wagon from their gold mine had arrived two days ago carrying no less than seventy-three pounds of gold dust and nuggets, worth over $27,000. If they worked the mine eight months a year as Kennedy anticipated, they could expect a return of over $100,000. Even after deduction of wages and investments, this would yield him the princely sum of $21,000. He could afford to be generous.

In the presence of all of Denver's dignitaries, Robert Timothy Tremayne was baptized a week later. Rose was up and about by then, and she wore her beautiful new emerald studded necklace for the occasion, raising excited 'Oh's and 'Ah's among the female guests. She reveled in the recognition she received. Among the well wishers there was a group of women from the shelter. They did not have much, but they had sewn baby clothing. It was symbolic gift, but it was heartwarming for Rose nonetheless.

Bobby was a healthy baby, and he raised his voice in protest when the parson performed the baptism. Orville Thrush, Mandy's son, lent his vocal support, and it was a quite noisy but joyous occasion for all involved.

The birth of his son and the discussion of his name had awakened the memories of his family in Jim, along with a bad conscience for not writing any letters in eight years. With regular mail service now established between Denver and the East, Jim sat down on the evening of Bobby's baptism to compose a letter to his family, back in Berkshire.

Tremayne Mansion

Jefferson St., City of Denver, Colorado Territory April 12, 1863

To Robert Tremayne, Esq.,

Hamden Gardens, Berkshire, England

My Dearest Father,

Having finally found my peace of mind and personal happiness, and with a mail service now operating to which I can entrust this letter, I endeavour to write to you and bid you my filial greetings.

I beg forgiveness for the long years in which I did not write, years in which you, no doubt, despaired of my being alive, and which must have caused you grief and anxiety. My excuse for that, if something like that can be excused, is that in all those years, I never came close to an opportunity to send or receive written mail. Such is the circumstance in the vast western half of America that huge territories are without reliable connection to the outside world.

First and foremost, let me tell you that after years of despairing of the female gender, I have finally found the woman who healed my soul and made me feel the sweetness of love again. Her name is Rose, she is of Irish stock out of Baltimore, and she is the sweetest and most loyal wife a man may hope for (Edward may disagree on that, seeing that he found a gem of a woman in his Penelope, and I trust they are healthy and well). I met Rose at a place called Fort Laramie in the State of Kansas, and we married after a rather short courtship.

Here, Jim chuckled to himself thinking of their "short" courtship. It had been twenty minutes to a half hour, including the auctioning.

At that time, I was prospecting a claim in the South Park, Colorado, gold fields, with my partner Ned Thrush. Initially I had worked on the wagon trains from Missouri to Oregon, but after three years, we heard the news of the gold finds along the Platte River, and we decided to try our luck.

Now, three years later, I am the proud co-owner of a gold mine. Through those last years, my Rose stood with me through harsh times and hard work, proving to be a lucky charm for us all. It was Rose who found the first nugget of gold in the creek in the spring of 1862, and it was she who stumbled upon the solid gold deposits in the summer of that year which we now exploit with our new mining company. The proceeds from our hard work and our luck have far exceeded any dreams we had, and I am set to become a wealthy man in the near future.

Now, a week ago, my Rose has given birth to a healthy son whom we named Robert Timothy Tremayne, in honour of his two grandfathers. We also adopted a daughter, an orphan who lost her family in the terrible winter of 1861-62, a winter we barely survived ourselves. Samantha is now seventeen years of age and a true treasure. The only regret we have is that, given her age and her natural beauty, she may soon leave us to make some young man undeservedly happy.

Such is the state of my life. With the first returns from our gold mine coming in, I am now charged with the task of investing our gains wisely. In this regard, I am rather conservative. We earned our gold with back breaking work, and we shall spread our investments wide to ensure their safety. I am blessed with a number of true friends here in Denver on whose advice and friendship I can rely.

I believe I have written enough of me and my family for now. I want to express my fervent wish that this letter will find all of you healthy and in good spirits. Please give Mother my loving regards. I implore all of you to forgive my long absence, the lack of letters, and the grief I must have caused you.

I have been able to leave the disappointments and the anger of my younger years behind me. If you or Edward still have contact with the Bywater family, please send a note to Priscilla Marsden-Smith (I presume that she married the man) and tell her that I have entirely forgiven her. But for her actions, I would have never come into this astonishing land, and I would have never met the exceptional woman who was destined by a benevolent fate to be my loving wife.

You may count on frequent letters from me henceforth as I am now settled as a prominent citizen of Denver, the capital of the Colorado Territory.

I remain with love and affection

your obedient son

James Weston Tremayne


I have added to this letter a photographic print on albumen paper, prepared the day before yesterday and showing Rose and myself with Samantha who is holding little Robert.

Indeed, a daguerreotypist had opened shop in Denver, and the Tremaynes had their image taken on a collodion plate. Jim had ordered a dozen prints from that plate, and he included one of them in his letter. He also showed the letter to Rose, and she asked for his permission to add her own postscript.

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