A new entry in The Omicron Matter and the last section of Jason and John Build a Water Heater. Jolene joins John, Stephan and Stephanie at the bar. John asks about Jason’s family. Where did the money go? And he asks about Findley Brown. We find that his origins were decent enough, but neglect can make anyone go bad.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the home page is a good place to start.
We’ve always know Findley was a bad apple. Now we know why.
A history of Findley
When the titters had subsided, John asked, “Knowing what I know now, Sean must have been well off. I know how much we were told we would have at the end.”
Stephan looked uncomfortable and said, “There is a bit of mystery on that. The house is big and a good sum would go to that, but it is near worthless now. I never did see that laboratory of his, but if those books are any indication significant money was tied up in it. But Sean also played a bit loose with Millicent’s rules. He invested in key industries that he knew would grow. That is never a sure thing, but he had more insight than most. “ Stephan rubbed the back of his neck and then said, “There should have been more. His aunt and uncle should have had enough money to upgrade and hire proper help. But Patrick swore it seemed to all be in the house and the house was worthless. All that was left with Jason was a couple hundred pounds. Generous to be sure, but not enough to invest or upgrade the farm.”
John drank his beer and then asked, “Did you or Sean ever socialize with Mayor Brown?”
Jolene snorted that time and said, “Stephan’s not the high tea and biscuits type. Preston Brown is friendly enough, but Stephan is at home in a pub and Preston Brown’s wife…she had definite ideas of proper. Sean could be proper when he wanted and he brought along Martha who wanted to socialize with them. ”
John nodded, “Jason wondered where Findley got his airs. He said Preston Brown was a decent sort and Jason couldn’t figure out how Findley got so damn entitled.”
Jolene said, “Clarissa Brown had Findley late in life. I think the two of them had given up when Findley came along. Gentry raise children differently anyway. Clarissa was left to raise Findley on her own. Preston was busy getting his factory working. Sean helped with that, even if Stephan didn’t approve. “
Stephan grimaced and shook his head disapprovingly.
Jolene continued, “Anyway, Findley wanted for nothing from his mother. Preston seemed to be happy that she was happy and left her to raise the new child. She spoiled him horribly. I heard later that the servants could do nothing with him even when she was alive. However, Clarissa died in a riding accident when Findley was 12 or 13. Preston was devastated and retreated for about a year. With Preston’s withdrawal and his mother’s death Findley had even less parental control. By the time Preston had recovered, Findley now expected everything his way and Preston could do nothing to correct 15 years of neglect. Findley had become what you see now I suppose – selfish, tyrannical, conceited, unrestrained.“
John’s face darkened, “I had called him a friend in University. I am embarrassed by that now. I knew he had a dark streak, but I ignored it. I’ve seen the depths of it now. Looking back over those years, I was quite the fool. In that, Jason is absolutely right about me.”
Stephan said a bit comfortingly, “Findley can be very charming. If one didn’t know he was as manipulative as Loki himself, he would have you eating out of his hand.” Stephan said, “But everyone in Dunstable knew him. When he went to London, he had whole new audiences. “ Stephan took a drink and said, “People also said he got worse while he was in London. Here, he had to behave because his father might do something. There, he had no controls.”
John added, “And he probably had someone encouraging his baser instincts.”
Stephan said, “Don’t beat yourself too hard lad. Jason knew Findley was a right bastard. You didn’t and Findley played you.”
Jolene smacked her hand hard on the bar and said, “Enough of this dour talk of unwelcome folk. When will I have my nightly bath?”
John said, “I’m the new one here. I’ll defer to the experience of yon Jason” nodding his head in the direction of the other trio, “and your husband.”
Stephan said, “Unless you want the bath in the store room, it’s complicated. John O’Malley here has a solution but we’ll need to order parts from London. Three, four weeks for those. A few days to assemble. John and Jason can rough things in and spruce up the new bathing room in their idle time.”
John’s eyes got big, “There was nothing about that.”
Stephan said, “Tiling is an ancient and honorable skill and good work. Both of you should learn.”
John started to protest and then looked at Stephan who looked quite serious. He looked around the room and then said to Stephanie, “Seems I will be here for a while.”
Stephanie smiled broadly and said, “I’ll show you the town sites after lunch tomorrow. Having seen those, we can have a proper tea and discuss that book you’ve been reading.”
Jolene started to protest, but Stephan put a hand on her arm and said, “We’ll cover tomorrow, lass. But we need to discuss schedules after that.” John looked at Stephan and Stephan winked. Then John remembered Jason’s comments, looked at his beer and paled.