His Lucky Charm - Cover

His Lucky Charm

Copyright© 2012 by Argon

Chapter 15: True Friends

Summer 1864 - Denver City

By late July, a delivery of gold dust from Tarryall brought their total yield to over two tons. With additional workers and a new mine driven into the mountain side, the turnout had almost doubled, and when Jim prepared for his second trip of the year to St. Louis, he carried Letters of Exchange to the amount of $822,000 with him, a truly incredible sum. Even so, $40,000 had been set aside for the running expenses of the mine, wages, wood for supports, rails, and other things. Ned had also bought up two more claims, for $2,000 each, not for their prospects but to prevent somebody else to drive a mine into their quartz deposits.

Jim set a new record completing the return trip to St. Louis in just three days over two months. He had another meeting with the Cheyenne leader Roman Nose on the way back. This time, the brave was alone, and they sat at an impromptu fire sharing a noon meal. Tensions were growing between the Cheyenne and the White diggers and settlers, and Jim wanted to win the friendship of the man, if only for the next spring when he would travel back east with his family. He mentioned his plans to return to the east and beyond, and the Cheyenne nodded, obviously satisfied. With a smirk he told Jim that they rarely attacked eastbound trains knowing from experience that those were comprised of desperate people who had failed to find their luck. With all the friendliness, Jim still made a mental note to hire a strong troop of men to cover their journey east. Nevertheless, Jim gave him a a well-woven blanket as parting gift.

He arrived in Denver City before the first snow, and he found the City buzzing with the latest raids of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers on outlying farms and wagon trains. There was talk that Chivington would take the 1st Colorado Volunteer Cavalry to the field in the spring, for a punitive action against the Cheyenne.

A week after Jim's return, the other partners returned to Denver for the winter. Mrs. Kennedy had been awaiting her husband with impatience. She had taken residence in a pension claiming that she had intruded too much on Rose, but Rose told Jim that the woman still was uncomfortable with Raven's presence.

Just three days after the partners' return, they had a regular meeting. At first, Hiram Kennedy gave an optimistic outlook. He now believed that their total return would surpass four tons, and they might run the mine for another two years. Jim gave his partners their account statements from the First Philadelphia Bank. They each had over $400,000 in their accounts. With the 1,200 pounds of gold that were still resting in the Miners' Bank vault, they each had earned over $500,000 to date.

Jim used the meeting to announce his plans to return to England with Rose and the rest of his family. The partners were baffled at first. Then they tried to talk him out of his plans. He told them, however, that he had already sent a letter from St. Louis to England advising his family of his return home, and after some more attempts to coax him to reconsider, they relented. Ned was the last to give in.

"Jim, we have a great partnership, and I see you almost as a brother. I sure hate to see you go, but if your heart tells you to return to your home, you have to do it."

"What about your share in the mine, then?" Albert inquired. "It may be quite difficult to arrange for your share to be forwarded all the way to England."

There were nods all around.

"I was thinking to offer my share for sale. You'll have preference, of course. I doubt that you want some stranger as partner."

"That's right. But for how much?"

"I was thinking, with the mine operating for at least two more years, how about you give me what I would earn in one year for my share? Then the second year would add to your own profits."

"$300,000?" Tennison asked. "One-hundred for each of us, which we can recoup within next year. That sounds like a sweet deal to me. Are you sure, Jim? You and Ned, you let me in as a partner, and you made me rich beyond my dreams. I'll not take advantage of you that way."

Kennedy nodded to that. "If you trust us, we can get your shares to St. Louis, and those blasted bank tellers can see your money over to England."

"I appreciate the sentiment, Gentlemen, but I won't be able to contribute, and that feels wrong to me."

"You can say what you want, Jim, but we won't drop you from our partnership," Ned answered to that.

Tennison spoke up again. "Say, how about that: you pick up the running costs for the mine from your share. That'll count as your contribution. It would be $40,000 off your share. That'll still see you as partner, and you'll keep earning for another two or three years."

"That's a grand idea," Kennedy chimed in. "I'm all for it. You'll also get your share when we sell the claim for final exploitation."

Jim cleared his throat.

"If this is what you all want, I will accept with humble gratitude. Amanda and Rose set us on the path to fortune. They insisted on calling you in, Hiram, and they maintained that we should add you, Albert, to the partnership. I feel that we have become more than partners. Gentlemen, I propose a solemn toast: to our dear wives, the conscience of our partnership, and to our friendship, the rock bottom foundation of our success!"

He raised his glass, and they all drank the toast. After that, they settled a few minor things. Tennison would take Jim's place in Denver City running the supplies from there. It was after the meeting broke up that Hiram Kennedy approached Jim.

"Jim, I'm glad we could settle this in a way that keeps you in the partnership. I want to tell you that I'm sorry for the way Scarlett repaid your hospitality. She is a bit prejudiced, you know. Her father owned a plantation in Georgia, and she cannot quite shake the ideas she was brought up with."

"I heard no complaints about her, so it mustn't have been noticeable.

"Your wife is too kind a person to say anything, and Mrs. Linkletter is too noble to lose a word over it. I am trying to set her straight. Listen, what are you planning with your house when you leave?"

Jim smiled. "I want to put it on the market. Would you be interested?"

"What are you asking?"

"I got it for under $3.000, and I put in a few amenities. Does $3,500 sound too much?"

Kennedy smiled broadly. "We have a deal. Scarlett really fell in love with your house, and she speaks highly of your Mrs. McGuinn and her husband. Do you think they may stay on?"

"I would guess so, but you'll have to ask them. I plan to offer them a sizable severance pay, but they might still want to stay. Let's face it, they lead a comfortable life."

"I'd say. The girls have come to like Denver. They are even talking of visiting me in Tarryall next summer. It's an uphill battle against Scarlett, but knowing the girls I guess they'll persevere."

Kennedy bade his farewell then, and Jim rushed to see Rose and tell her of the deal they had struck. He found her in their bedroom sitting in front of her dresser. When he ended his short summary, Rose hugged him.

"I spoke Raven yesterday, to get a feel for her mind. I think she will come with us. Denver has soured for her after Abe's death, and she is of your mind with regards to the treatment she'll get after we leave. Add to that that her little girl is a bone of contention already."

"Chivington?" Jim asked sharply.

"No, he seems to keep his peace. There are others."

"Imbeciles!" Jim exclaimed, exasperated. "Is there no end to bigotry? Perhaps it is for the best if we leave. Not that there is no bigotry in England, but we can be insulated from it."

"I hope you are right. Poor Raven has been feeling subdued lately. She is feeling like a fifth wheel on a wagon."

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