The SS America 1

The SS America – The Trip To Canada – How it All Began – Book Two

Chapter One – London, England October 1921

Joseph and Jake were standing on the deck of the ship when the RMS Olympia came to rest along the shores of London, England.  They watched as the Thirkill family made there way across the bridge to shore.

Jesseline turned around sensing that someone was watching her.  She smiled and waved to Jake who waved back.  She turned on her heel and felt a sense of sadness.  She knew that she would not see Jake for a couple of years.  She wanted to concentrate on her schooling then travel around Europe.

Ronel looked at his daughter and smiled, “We are going to go straight to Paris and fetch you some lovely new clothes.”

Jesseline clapped her hands in delight, “Oh father that’s wonderful news!”

Dafny smiled lovingly at her daughter.  A beautiful girl, so radiant she wondered if the men of Paris would be any trouble for her daughter.  She had heard that French men were wonderful lovers.  Would Jesseline be happy with the very boring and simple-minded Jake?   When her husband told her of the marriage agreement that Joseph Munroe planned for his son, she was troubled.  Dafny did not agree with her husbands aspirations for their daughter.  Dafny was a strong believer in love.  Sadly, she did not have much of it in her life.  Her husband always preferred the company of other women.

Dafny’s father believed that Ronel would soon be a rich man, allowed the two to marry.  The only problem was that when his rich uncle died, he did not leave a penny to Ronel as expected.  The money went to his Cousin Martin Rosewood and Ronel was not in the will.  Dafny was already married to him and did not have the heart to tell her father what had happened.  Ronel was good to her and their daughter.  Fashion was necessary in his lifestyle and Dafny was thankful for that.

Carina Anders leaned forward and whispered to Dafny, “Why is Ronel so happy these days? I’ve never seen him so bright and charming.”

Dafny smiled at their governess, “Joseph Munroe has promised Jake in marriage to our daughter.”

Carina was shocked.  Joseph never said a word about it to her.

Carina asked, “When did this happen?”

Dafny sighed, “From what I gather about a month ago.”

Carina was troubled, she wondered if Joseph really wanted Jake to marry Jesseline.  She was beneath him in fortune, but her beauty was extraordinary.  Long blonde hair, big blue eyes, she was the most beautiful girl that Carina had ever seen in her life.

Joseph used to talk about her many times.  It was as if he wished he could be a part of her life somehow.  Maybe that was it!  Joseph Munroe, who was besotted by her beauty and just wanted his son to be happy, To have the woman that he liked near him, untouchable,  But then again, there were rumours that Joseph Munroe was the Virgin Slayer…

Chapter Two- The Munroe Estate, London, England

Joseph motioned for Jake to join him in the new black car.  It was the first time for both of them to be in a vehicle of such magnificence.   Gerald Stalin smiled and asked, “How is my Brother Viktor these days?  I thought he would come with you?”

Jake smiled and said, “Viktor was too ill to travel and he is staying with Uncle Anthony until he gets better.  He has promised to join us once he is well again.”

Gerald Stalin smiled.  He doubted that his brother would ever try to cross the seas again, for he was a poor traveller and seasickness had gotten the best of him on his journey to Canada from London, England.  Gerald assumed that Viktor kept this piece of news to himself for a reason.  Maybe Viktor would settle down in Place Royale.  On the other hand, maybe he would go live in Montreal.  He would expect to get a note from him some time soon.

It was an hour later when they pulled into the vast estate.  Jake was shocked.  This place was ten times bigger than the Munroe Mansion in Place Royale.  They had left the mansion after Ophirah Munroe, his mother died from a tragic accident with their horse Misty.  It was the day after Jake’s thirteenth birthday.  Viktor Stalin had tried to warn Joseph Munroe about the thirteenth year curse over the mansion.

Joseph had decided that Viktor was crazy and that it was superstition.  He still could not forgive himself for not heeding Viktor’s warnings.  Would Ophirah be alive today if he left when she asked?  Why did Anthony Atkins have to loose the magic amulet?  It had a spell on it to reverse the curse.  At the time, he did not want to believe that a silly little amulet could have such power.  Heta Totenmyer had spoken of its power to him after the funeral.

There were many stories and tales being told in Place Royale.  Joseph took his time dealing with Ophirah’s death and decided in order for Jake to become the success that he was, he had to have a proper English education.

Ophirah home schooled Jake until she died.  Now he would be thrust into a private boy’s school.  Good manners and business sense, instead of being a farmer he would be someone important and gracious.  Perhaps then, Jake would stop this nonsense about being a farmer.

Imagine a Munroe being a lowly farmer.  Joseph would not have it!  He put up with it in Place Royale, a small village where no one really knew him all that well.

Sure, he was famous in Canada, United States and Europe after an article in the Montreal Gazette in 1907 making him the Man of the Year for his business efforts.  He would again grace the papers this year.   Things had slowed down while he was with Ophirah, now single and a widow he would start all over again in London, England.  He wondered how many knew of his secret.  No one had known in Canada.  No one spoke about it in England.  He was sure his secret was safe…

Chapter Three England Brings Changes

Joseph and Jake were greeted by hundreds of servants all standing in a line by the front entrance.  The Munroe Estate in London was grand.  Its beautiful decor and luxury far surpassed that of Munroe Mansion.  Joseph adored the art works and sculpture of the masters from Italy and it was apparent as they walked into the grand hall.  Jake felt strange in his new surroundings.  His room was almost a whole section of the estate.

Joseph had placed him on the east end of the castle.  Yes, this was a castle with so many rooms to explore.  Nevertheless, there was something missing.  There were no secret underground tunnels here, like Munroe Mansion.  There were secret doors and passageways throughout the house, but those were for the servants to use.  Here the servants would scold Jake for trespassing where he did not belong.  There were so many rules, such a different lifestyle.  Jake would grow to hate it.  Joseph would relish his luxurious yet again for the second time.

It was a week later when a letter arrived from Viktor Stalin.  It stated that he intended to stay in Montreal and retire from being the family butler.  He asked that Gerard would take over instead.

Joseph understood that Viktor never really wanted to see him again.  He blamed Joseph for Ophirah’s death.  She was so unhappy with the state of their marriage.  Joseph caught with his pants down with another woman.  It had broken Ophirah’s heart and pushed her into the arms of his best friend Anthony Atkins.  They had a secret affair in Montreal, which Joseph never knew but always suspected.

Upon Ophirah’s death, Joseph discovered the affair from her diary.  His friendship with Anthony ended on a sour note.  Jake never knew the whole story; he continued to write a letter or two to Anthony who he referred to as his uncle, although there was no relation.

Joseph said, “Jake tomorrow we shall go shopping and buy you proper clothing.  Then I will be taking you to school.  You may be a few years behind boys your age, but I’m sure you will catch up.”

Jake looked surprised, “What do you mean I’ll be behind the other boys my age?”

Joseph calmly said, “Your mother didn’t pressure you much with schooling.  Education was not important to her.  She taught you the basics of what you required to be a farmer.  I intend for you to be a business man here in England, so your education will be detailed and structured.”

Jake did not like the sound of that and asked, “Does that mean I’m going to have to do homework?”

Joseph sighed, “Yes son, you will have to do lots of homework.  But if you work hard, I will buy you a car.”

Jake looked sad then asked, “What about my red tractor?”

Joseph looked sternly at him, “That was for Place Royale.  You will not be a farmer here!”

Jake spat out his words in anger, “You take away my garden and farming and I’ll fail all of your business classes.  My farming reminds me of Mother.  Do you want me to forget her?”

Joseph was surprised.  His son was smarter than he thought.

Joseph looked at Jake and said, “I will buy you a bigger tractor and let you tend to a portion of the garden on the Estate.  You must not tell a soul.  It must be a secret here in England.”

Jake shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t understand why, but if that’s what I have to do, then so be it. I am tired now.  I’ll see you in the morning father…”  Jake turned and went to his room.

Joseph was brooding at his desk over Viktor’s letter, and then he turned to the liquor cabinet and grabbed a new bottle of whiskey.

Chapter Four – The Boys School

Jake woke up early in the morning and looked around at his strange surroundings.  All night he had tossed and turned in his bed.  Usually if he could not sleep in Place Royale, he would go out to the barn and sleep in the hay.  There was no hay for him to sleep in here.  His father had removed the horses from the estate before they arrived.  He figured it would remind them both of Ophirah’s accident.

Jake often wondered if his mother would have liked living in London, England.  She had planned to leave after his birthday.  If only they had left when she first asked to do so then maybe she would still be alive.  Jake could not blame his father though.  Heta Totenmyer, a short native woman, explained that the curse over Munroe Mansion would not care where she lived.  It would follow her.  It was not just on the mansion, it was a spell a curse over the family.

Long ago, there was a bitter rivalry between great grandma Munroe and the great grandma Atkins.  Uncle Anthony thought that the amulet would protect Ophirah.  The amulet mysteriously disappeared before Anthony could give it to Ophirah.  Anthony said his wife Lorraine who was jealous of the affair between her husband and Ophirah, hid the amulet knowing that it could stop her from dying.

Months after Ophirah died, Anthony would remain married to Lorraine but he would not sleep with her or give her a child as she wished.  Anthony loved Ophirah with all of his heart.  It would be years before he would get over her death.

Jake liked the new clothes from London.  He fancied the latest fashions because it reminded him of Uncle Anthony, who was always dressed in the latest fashion for his time.  When Jake first came to the boy’s school, he had trouble fitting in.  The other children made fun of him for being so short.

Jake was still shorter then the rest of his classmates and the fact that he was behind them by two years in education did not help either.  Some of the boys mocked him and pushed him around.  He never told his father about it.  The black eyes and bruises were blamed on rough play, or falling out of a tree.  Jake wondered how he would ever get through the year at school.

One night he prayed, with tears in his eyes and said, “Mother if you can hear me, send an angel to help me at school.  I need a friend. Amen.”

Little did he know that his prayer would change his life and the history of the Munroe family…?

Chapter Five Paris France 1922

Jesseline was looking out the window at the cold wintery weather.  Christmas had passed and she was feeling rather bored.  Looking through her special box of keepsakes, she came across a drawing.   Jake had sketched a picture of her while on the RMS Olympia.  She had forgotten all about him in her excitement of starting Raine Carrington’s School for Ladies.

It was inspiring to meet other girls who were so rich and refined.  Jesseline was thrilled to play the part of heiress.  Ronel had schooled her in the art of lying very well.  No one suspected a thing.  Raine Carrington the headmistress was the only one to know the truth.  She kept it to herself for many years.

Jesseline pulled out a notebook and began to write.

Dear Jake

I am sorry for taking so long to write.  School is marvellous and the fashions of Paris women are amazing.  I am learning so many things that it makes my head spin.  Today we learned something called the Art of the Fan – women would give their lovers furtive messages using a Chinese silk fan.  I shall learn these tricks and show them to you someday.

My Christmas was wonderful.  I have school until May then I am going on a trip to Italy with my father.  He has business planned there.  Carina will accompany us, but Mother has decided to stay home.  My mother has not been well since we arrived.  She has a new physician his name is Dr Tibideau.  He lives in London but comes to see her with his nurse Ida Tinkle.  I do not like the woman.  She is very friendly with my father and I could not bear to see mother unhappy anymore.  I left my parents house and have come to live with Raine Carrington.  She is a lovely woman, so artful and refined.  She has promised to help me in my endeavours to be a movie star.  I am secretly taking acting lessons with one of her friends.

He is a nice man, Spanish and good looking.  I bumped into a woman whose name is Elsa Picard.  She knows your father quite well.  I think she is in love with him.  Nevertheless, she understands that he does not feel the same.  She is hoping now since your father is a widow that he might reconsider their acquaintance.  I told her I would ask your opinion because you are a wise.

Write back soon.

Love Jesseline.

Jesseline walked to the post and mailed her letter with a smile.  Elsa Picard had no idea about this letter, but Jesseline thought that Joseph would love to have her.  She was a blossoming woman, quite pretty.  Raine Carrington said that awhile back Elsa was quite dull.  However when she came back to London, England she attended the school in Paris, France, she had grown into a lovely woman.  A new hairdo, clothes, and she was a different women.  Jesseline assumed that she would be able to capture Joseph’s fancy.

It was later that day when Raine Carrington announced that all the girls would be attending the spring fashion show in Paris.  Jesseline could not wait.  Her father sent her some money to purchase a lovely gown.  He wanted his daughter to be well dressed.  He said it was a gift from Joseph Munroe.  Jesseline did not understand why Joseph would want to buy her new clothing but she did not argue with her father.  She figured that Joseph had a crush of sorts on her and this was his way of professing his love for her.

Jesseline hoped that she would never have to marry the man.  She knew many young girls that ended up being married to an old man because of money.  Her father assured her that when she married, it would be to a young handsome rich boy.  Jesseline never asked how he knew for sure that this would happen, she was happy to have the gifts sent to her.  Jesseline wondered how Jake was faring since coming to England.  She would soon find out…

Chapter Six – Joseph’s Shocking Surprise

Joseph was busy in his study when Gerald Stalin came in, white faced and stood looking uncomfortable at his master.

Joseph impatiently said, “Gerald I am busy working, you know I do not like to be bothered.  Is everything alright with my son?”

Gerald nodded and swallowed hard, “Sir something has come up and I have no choice in the matter.  I ask that you forgive me but we have a problem…”

Joseph looked closely at Gerald and said, “You look very pale, are you ill?”

Gerald started to break out in a sweat and hoarsely said, “Sir you have a visitor…”

Joseph tersely said, “Tell them to go away.  I don’t know anyone of value here!”

Gerald said, “I can’t sir…he insists on speaking with you personally.  Only you can address a private matter.  I tried to turn him away but after his story… I feel sir that you MUST hear what he has to say…  There could be… A scandal…”

Joseph’s hair bristled on the back of his neck and he whispered, “You don’t mean to tell me that Jake has gotten Jesseline Thirkill pregnant?”

Gerald felt relieved for a second, gulped and said, “No sir, it’s not about Jake.  It’s about the Virgin Slayer…”

Joseph’s eyes bugged out of his face, he went pale as a sheet and almost fainted.

He carefully said, “Send him in…”

Joseph sat there while every bone in his body ached from tension.

Gerald walked in the door and a young man followed closely behind.

When Joseph saw him, he fainted…

Chapter Seven-The Fashion Show

Jesseline was walking out on stage.  The lights were bright and she blinked and smiled.  She stood there tongue tied, unable to speak.  The two people sitting in front of the stage sat there impatiently waiting for the beautiful blonde girl to speak.  Jesseline turned three shades of red, burst into tears and ran off the stage…

The two judges looked at each other, disappointed.  There was so much promise there.  However, this girl suffered from stage fright.  Why would she think of pursuing a career as an actress?  There were only three people sitting there-two judges and Ronel Thirkill feeling bitter disappointment.  His daughter was supposed to be a star, not some simpering fool.   He would thrash her for losing this opportunity. ..

Dafny was stroking her daughter’s hair, as the tears poured onto her shoulder, wetting her dress and making her feel helpless.  Ronel would be furious and he would want to beat his child.  Dafny would have to step in somehow but she was feeling so ill of late, she had no energy to do so.

Ida Tinkle came to her bedside and said, “Time for your medicine my lady.”

Ida glowered at Jesseline.  Jesseline backed away and fled to her room.  Jesseline did not like Ida at all.  Carina had mysteriously disappeared when Ida showed up that day to care for her mother.

The door slammed and Ronel was yelling, “Where is that little bastard child of mine? I am going to thrash her until she bleeds…”

It was the next day that Jesseline sat down carefully wincing at the pain.  Raine Carrington looked at the swollen red eyes and she knew something was not right.  Her friend Retta noticed it as well.

Retta whispered, “That child needs to live with you permanently.  Do not allow her to go home anymore.  Melville told me that Ronel hits the girl and her Mother Dafny.”

Raine looked surprised, “Ronel hits them?”

Retta whispered, “He beats them until they bleed.”

Raine looked distressed and said, “Dafny is ill!  How can he do such a thing!  Ida Tinkle is taking care of her and she is getting worse every day.”

Retta whispered, “Ida Tinkle is the black widow.  She is probably poisoning Dafny so she can have Ronel to herself.”

Raine said, “Shh I can not bear these tales.  The show is about to start.”

It was awhile later when Jesseline got up carefully from her seat.  Raine could see she was in pain.  She was horrified when Jesseline turned to walk away.  There was blood on the back of her gown.  Raine rushed to her side and guided her out the door.

Raine looked at Jesseline and asked, “Child have you become a woman today?”

Jesseline looked puzzled and asked, “What does that mean?”

Raine took her home and asked the servants to check for her.  Raine was not happy with the results.  Jesseline was bleeding from the wounds inflicted on her buttocks.

Raine decided to take matters into her own hands.  She wrote a letter to Ronel Thirkill informing him that she would reveal his actions in public if he did not consent to never seeing his daughter again for the next few years.

It was the next day when Ronel showed up on Raine’s doorstep.

Ronel apologized and said, “I will not see Jesseline again as you wish.  I am here on another matter.  Dafny passed away yesterday and we have buried her in the family cemetery in Paris, France.  I want to keep this a secret.  I intend to leave town for a few years.  I will however require seeing my daughter once she is twenty-three years old.  If you need anything for her, just contact Joseph Munroe as he has agreed to watch over her financial affairs for me.

Raine Carrington was surprised about Joseph Munroe but thought nothing of it.  She was more concerned about how Jesseline would take the death of her mother.  When she broke the news to her, Jesseline was devastated.   When Raine told Retta what happened, they both agreed it could be poisoning or Ronel had beaten his wife to death.  Dr Tibideau and Ida Tinkle had something to do with it.  There was no autopsy.  The body burned on the same day.  The rumour was that Dafny she had died from a strange and rare sexual disease from one of her many lovers.

At first Raine Carrington worried, that Ida Tinkle would come after Jesseline, but then she put two and two together.  No woman in her right mind would touch Jesseline when she had Joseph Munroe looking after her.  She figured that was why Ronel had set that up.  He did not want anything more to do with Ida Tinkle and got away safely.

Ida Tinkle would never cross Joseph Munroe for she feared the power of the Virgin Slayer…

Chapter Eight a Prayer is Answered

Gerald rushed to Joseph’s side and so did the young man.

He looked up at Gerald and said, “I hope I didn’t give him a heart attack.”

Gerald gave a grim smile, “No but you just about gave me one when I first saw you.”

The young man was quiet and wondered to himself why did he bother coming here?

What would he gain?  Joseph Munroe would have nothing to do with him.  That was what he had been told.  Nevertheless, it was his mother’s dying wish to let Joseph know the truth.

Gerald brought out the smelling salts and revived Joseph who sat up and stared at the young boy in front of him.  He was a handsome lad.

Joseph asked, “How old are you boy?”

The lad said, “I am sixteen sir.  I was born in 1906.  My mothers name is Rose.  She met you in 1905 sir, one night long ago.”

Joseph cried, “She had you in 1906?”

The lad said, “Yes sir.  You disappeared from England.  She had no idea where you were until a recent article about you in the Montreal Gazette.  It announced you were returning to England.  Mother passed away sir, a few days ago.  Her dying wish was for me to make my presence known.  Here is my birth certificate.”

Joseph looked down at the paper.  His hands were shaking.  He read the name on the document… Themus Munroe… Father of the child… Joseph Munroe.

Joseph shook his head in disbelief and said, “I would never believe something like this could happen but there is no doubt in my mind when I look at you.  It is like seeing a reflection in a mirror.  I suppose your mother had no money?”

Themus shook his head no.

Joseph cocked his head to the side and took a closer look at Themus and asked, “Boy what do you want from me?”

Themus looked Joseph straight in the eye and said, “To be like you…”

Joseph was surprised, licked his lips nervously, and said, “In what way?”

Themus looked him in the eye and said, “Not as the Virgin Slayer… I want to be a highly respected gentleman and business man.”

Joseph had winced at the words “Virgin Slayer” and he shakily said, “Your mother told you everything I see.  Well as you are my flesh and blood, I shall accept you as my son.  As for the scandal it will cause…”

Themus threw down a London paper dated 1906 and Joseph looked at the headline and blanched.  He read, “Virgin Slayer gives birth to a son.”

Joseph bitterly said, “In Canada we never received this news, which is strange because we get this paper there all the time.”

Joseph thought back and remembered the grief he felt about his Father Denley’s passing.  Jean Moisan must have kept it secret.  Joseph reminded of what Jean Moisan had said at the time that there was a newspaper strike and that is why they did not receive the paper that month.

Joseph asked Themus “Was there ever a strike with the newspaper?”

Themus nodded no.

Joseph looked pensively out the window.

He looked at Themus and said, “You have a brother who is going to be fourteen this year.  He knows nothing of what went on in England and I prefer it to stay that way.  I will have you enrolled in the same school.  Jake loves farming, like his mother.  Now I will have you follow my example instead as my business protégé.  I will teach you everything I know and Jake will be happy to be whatever he pleases.  He just lost his mother Ophirah last year.  She died in a tragic accident.”

Themus nodded and said, “Yes sir, I know.  Mother showed me the story in the papers.  She was delighted that you fell in love.”

Joseph’s face went purple and he barked, “Who in god’s name fed them the story?”

Themus went pale and said, “It was a young girl, they offered her lots of money to tell them.  She is quite poor.  Her name was Elsa Picard.”

Joseph rolled his eyes and sighed, “I am not surprised, that girl is such a dimwit!  How do you know about her?”

Themus grinned, “She’s a beauty and quite vivacious.  I tried bedding her but I stopped when she called me Joseph.  She fancies you.”

Joseph roared with laughter and said, “Do you mean to tell me she’s a virgin slayer?”

Themus nodded.

Joseph laughed, “That’s my boy!  Perhaps I should play a trick on her.  I will get her naked then you can sleep with her again.  Would you like that?”

Themus grinned, “Now that would be a lark…. Father…”

Joseph said, “Come here son, let me give you a hug!”

Jake came home later that evening for dinner.

He noticed that his father was in good spirits for once and then he stopped, shocked as his jaw dropped.

Jake said to the young boy standing there, “You look exactly like my father!”

The young boy grinned and looked at Joseph and said, “Shall I do the honours?”

Joseph nodded.

The young boy held out his hand to Jake and said, “My name is Themus.  As fate would have it, I am your brother…”

Jake’s eyes filled with tears, he looked up to heaven and said, “Thanks mother for answering my prayer.”

Then Jake grabbed Themus and gave him a big bear hug and he refused to let go of his brother.

Jake cried, “I’ve always wanted a brother.  I’m so glad that mother brought you to me.”

Themus was surprised at the emotions he felt inside, he too began to cry, and then he said, “I’ve always felt that I had a brother out there somewhere.  I am glad that we have found each other.”

Joseph walked over to his sons, gave them both a hug, and said, “I might as well be happy too…”

Chapter Nine Jake’s Letter

It was a few weeks later when Jesseline heard back from Jake Munroe.  She was shocked to read that Jake had found a long lost brother named Themus who was three years older than he was.

Jesseline wondered if the boy was handsome.  Would she like him more than she likes Jake?  Jesseline giggled to herself.  Any man would be a better choice than Jake Munroe would.  He was okay as a friend but too boring to be anything else to her.

Raine Carrington was delighted to hear the news.  She wondered if Joseph Munroe would continue to shower presents on Jesseline now that he had another son.  Raine also received another surprise that week.  Her daughter Luvena would be coming to live with her again.  The letter from her estranged husband explained that Luvena was growing into womanhood and needed the guidance of her mother to become a refined young woman as promised.

The agreement was that the father would raise Luvena until she reached the age of fifteen then she would come and attend the Carrington Finishing School for Young Ladies.  Raine had completely forgotten all about it.  She felt uncomfortable at first.  It was like seeing a stranger for the first time.  Soon though, they warmed up to one another.

Jesseline was delighted to meet Luvena for she was a beautiful blonde-haired woman just like her.  Luvena was very good in ballet and she convinced Jesseline to take some dance classes with her.  The two girls became close friends over the next few years.  Jesseline stopped writing letters to Jake.  While Jake continued to write letters completely oblivious to this fact, he did not realize that Jesseline’s letters were becoming less and less as time went on.

Chapter Ten Jesseline’s Letters

Jake was so happy to attend school with his brother Themus.  No one would ever bother him again.  The first day a bully by the name of Ryerson decided to pick a fight with Jake and Themus decked him in two seconds flat.  Themus was a skinny boy but he was strong when he needed to be.  He complained for days about his knuckles being sore but Jake never forgot it.

The next few years were special for the two boys.  They enjoyed their classes together and became very close friends.  Jake soon forgot about Jesseline and started getting interested in other girls thanks to his Brother Themus.

As time passed, Themus became the apple of Joseph’s eye and Jake was beginning to feel a bit jealous about it.  His father never praised him for anything he did. He would praise Themus for hours and days.  It was becoming a sore point with him.  It was a few years later when the two boys attended Jesseline’s graduation that their relationship changed.

Jesseline’s letters had been so loving and considerate and Jake had made fun of them.  Themus always said the girl was mooning over him and that no matter what Jake did she would want him.  Jake always believed these words.  At the graduation, Jesseline had stood tongue tied when she met Themus a dashing and charming gentleman.  She was instantly impressed with his brains and beauty.  Mesmerized she talked to Themus all night and did not say one word to Jake.  It was quite disappointing for Jake.

When he spotted Themus and Jesseline kissing out in the garden Jake blew up at both of them and hotly told Themus that he was a fiend and a traitor.  Jake dashed away in tears and Jesseline asked innocently why Jake upset was?

Themus mocked her and said, “Surely your heart doesn’t change that quickly?  I only kissed you to see how much you love my brother.  You have betrayed him after all these years.  Stay away from my brother you wench!”

Themus walked away and Jesseline cried.

When Themus got home, he went straight to Jake and told him why he had kissed Jesseline.

Themus looked at Jake and waited for him to respond.

Jake looked at him, shook his head, and said, “I find that story hard to believe.  Jesseline has told me for the past few years how much she loves me.”

Themus sighed and said, “Women are fickle.  Besides, I do not like Jesseline.  I like a girl named Alchetta Bailey.  Someday I’ll marry but not until I’ve sowed all of my wild oats.”

Jake grinned and said, “I think I’ll start sowing my wild oats too.  Then maybe Jesseline will come to her senses and marry me someday.”

Themus laughed, “I doubt that, but who cares.  We are going to University and we will have lots of fun there with the girls!”

Jake was quiet for a moment and asked, “Themus, I really don’t want to major in business.  I want to take horticulture and science.  Do you think father will object, now that you are here to take over his business?”

Themus said, “Leave it to me.”

Themus walked into Joseph’s study and said, “Father I need to speak to you about University.”

Joseph put his pen down and waited.

Themus took a deep breath and said, “I want to be the only one running your business.  I want to be the most successful and it would ruin my relationship with my brother if we were competing.  Since Jake loves farming, why not let him get his degree and let him become a professional landscaper. He could design landscapes for royalty, or for Anthony Atkins in Canada.  I am sure there are many fine estates that could use a fresh perspective.  You could mix your business sense with his artful designs.  Have you seen our gardens lately?  They are a magnificient piece of artwork.  I hear we have a unique and unusual looking garden but we are famous for it.  Are you aware of this father?”

Joseph smiled and softly said, “You are aware of it and that is all I need to hear.  You take care of your brother, enrol him in the proper class and help him become a success in his field and I will never doubt your word again.”

Themus held out his hand, “deal.”

The two men shook hands and Joseph paused for a moment and said, “When your brother is twenty-one I will ask him to do something for me.  Until then you can do whatever you please with him.”

Themus nodded and walked back to his room.

He looked at Jake and said, “You are going to own a landscaping company.  Can you sketch the designs from your garden?  I want to send them to Anthony Atkins.  We need to make you a success somewhere.  Then father will be pleased with you.”

Jake’s grin faltered and he bitterly said, “He wants me to be a business man still doesn’t he?”

Themus nodded and said, “Yes but you will mix business with pleasure.  I will help with the business side of things.  All I need you to do is to come up with some fantastic garden designs.  Maybe write a book or something about it.  You can be famous for something you love to do.  I got him off your back didn’t I?”

Jake nodded and hugged his brother, “Thanks for taking care of me.  My mother would have loved you.”

Themus grinned and said, “I wish I would have met your mother.  She sounds like a fine woman.”

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