Unexpected Inheritance Chapter 1
        Jacob Whitcomb looked at the telegraph in his hand for the countless time. He had been surprised to receive a letter several weeks ago informing him that an unknown relative had died, leaving him an inheritance and asking him to confirm his identity. He could only imagine, and wish, he would be given a large sum of money. Two days ago a telegraph carrier had arrived on his ranch delivering the name and address of a lawyer in Clayville. He was scheduled to meet him at his office at one o’clock to receive his inheritance. It had taken him the better part of the day to travel to this town, so he hitched up the wagon and decided to purchase his winter supplies while he was there. 
        Jake checked his watch again and noted he had about ten minutes until the meeting time. He glanced again at the address and hurried across the street to 428 Main Street. Grabbing the handle, he opened the door and quickly stepped into the small waiting room. He firmly shut the door, closing out the brisk wind that had picked up. They would be seeing snow before the week was out, he could smell it in the air. 
        Several chairs lined the wall, occupied by three ragged looking children and a worn out lady wearing a drab black dress. Jake dismissed her as a widow and stepped up to the large desk. 
        “I’m Jacob Whitcomb, I have an appointment with Mr. Dixon at one.” He told the small man seated behind the desk. The man looked up and nodded, shuffling some papers around.  
        “Mr. Dixon will be with you in a moment, please have a seat.” 
        Jake located a seat as far as possible from the little group. As he sat down he noticed the widow’s eyes on him. She had a slightly appraising look, like she was sizing him up. He shifted uncomfortably and stared at a potted plant in the corner. One of the children whined and he heard the woman shush it softly. 
        Before too long a door opened and a finely dressed man Jake guessed to be in his mid-forties stepped out. His dark hair had streaks of gray at the temples, giving him a distinguished look. He glanced at the man behind the desk, who nodded in Jacob’s direction. 
        “Mr. Whitcomb, I presume?” he asked and held out his hand. 
        Jake stood up and shook the man’s hand. “Yes sir. And you must be Mr. Dixon.” He was pleased to note the man had a firm handshake. He was tempted not to trust the lawyer, thinking all men in his profession to be weasly, but his steady, confident bearing helped to put him at ease. 
        “Right this way, Mr. Whitcomb,” Dixon said as he gestured Jake into his elegantly decorated office. He looked back at the woman and said, ”We’ll be with you in a moment, ma’am.” Jake couldn’t hear her soft reply.  
        The lawyer skirted around his large, cherry wood desk, motioning for Jake to have a seat in one of the dark green leather chairs that sat on the other side. “So then,” he began as he settled in his chair and reached for a folder, “You’ve been gifted an inheritance?” 
        Jake nodded, “Yes, sir. Although I’m sorry to say I didn’t know of this relative. I’m not even sure how he found me.” 
        The lawyer scanned some papers, nodding, “Mm-hmm, it says here Mr. O’Malley died of consumption on the ship Mighty Winds en route from Liverpool to New York Harbor. His wife and two children also perished.” He looked up at Jake, “What a tragedy.” 
        Jacob lowered his head for a moment as a sign of respect for this unknown relative. 
        Dixon continued, “The O’Malley’s were unlike other immigrants in that they had made out a will, of sorts. It’s not a certified document, but it was given to a,” he paused and shuffled through some more papers until he located the one he needed, ”worker at the Hope and Faith Women and Children’s Home. Mrs. O’Malley was brought to the asylum from the ship and lived for five days. The doctor who tended her has stated that it was indeed Mrs. O’Malley who handed him the will and that she was in her right mind at the time. The will actually names your father as beneficiary, but he is deceased, correct?” 
        Jacob struggled to make sense of the lawyer’s words. “Yes, sir. He passed on several years back.” He wished Dixon would get to the inheritance and hand him the check or whatever it was. He had a long drive back to his ranch and the temperature was steadily dropping. 
        Then that, my good sir, is all that is needed to sign over the charges to you.” He laid an official looking document and pen in front of Jake, “If you would sign right there,” he pointed to a line at the bottom, “I’ll just go bring them in.” He left the room. 
        Jacob quickly signed the paper and rubbed his hands together, anxious to see the amount. He figured it wouldn’t be too much since most Irish immigrants barely made it to the states with the clothes on their backs. The door behind him opened and he stood up, already smiling. To his confusion, Mr. Dixon was ushering in the widow from the waiting room along with her three children.

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Novel / Novella
writing Candra
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This is my first attempt at novel writing....hope you enjoy!
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