I would like to introduce you to the unfeeling land agent in ‘Evil Deeds’ my horror novel which is set in the English countryside. He goes by the name of Robert Jacobs and is a most unpleasant individual. He works for Sir Edward Jamieson the local squire who owns a number of farmhouses in the area and the land which surrounds it. he rents out these farmhouses and the land to farmers in the locality. One of these farmers is James Franklin whose savage death at the hands of Jacobs instigates the horror which stems from it.
James Franklin is a hard-working farmer who is much respected in the district. His familly consists of his wife Ellen and their children Emily, Rebecca and David. The family is unsurorisinglty torn apart by the death of their breadwinner. They join James in returning in ghostly garb to seek revenge of the land agent in the modern day. It s their belief that the head of the family who own their former farmhouse is none other than the reincarnation of Robert Jacobs and wish to take out their vengeance on him.
Robert Jacobs was a conniving individual in life. He was disliked as well as feared by the farmers who rented out their farmhouse and land from Sir Edward. They had to pay Jacobs the rent money they owed to his boss and woe betide any farmer who did not have the ready cash to hand. This was James Franklin’s downfall. As I specified in the brief overview I gave of this novel, it was discovered the Franklins had run into drastic arrears with their rent payments. Several months had elapsed since they had been able to pay anything and Jacobs went out of his way to ensure they would pay the full price for this. This meant losing their home and their land.
It says something about Jacobs that he convinced his superior that he could not let the Frnaklins get away without paying the due amount even though Sir Edward initially maintained that they should be allowed extra time to pay the overdue amount. Jacobs was not a man to be crossed and it is clearly evident from the first scene in the novel that a lot of hostility existed between himself and Franklin.
They didn’t like each other and Jacobs used the power of his position to make Franklin pay for his dismissive attitude towards him. Franklin consider Jacobs as nothing more than an ‘errand boy,’ someone who is sent to do Sir Edward’s bidding. This is something that Jacobs resents. He looks upon himself as a gentleman and a cut above farmers such as Franklin. He wishes to drive this point home and does so emphatically when ordering the Frnaklin family to vacate their premises ‘within the week.’ There is a degree of delight in the way he gives this order which only makes Franklin hate him all the more.
He does not appreciate the way Jacobs takes to ordering him about in his uncivil style. But this is very much in the land agent’s character. He goes about his daily duties in a way which is unbecoming. There is a superior air to everything he does which rubs Franklin up the wrong way. Then when he returns several days after delivering his eviction orders and takes to mocking James as he works away in his fields it all too much for the farmer and the two men have their fight which ends badly for one of them.
Robert Jacobs will return later in the novel in ghostly guise which will set the cat amongst the pigeons if you’ll excuse the cliche. When he does he will show his unsavoury side once again. He was never one to tangle with in his mortal existence and circumstances have not changed since he has gained his spiritual status. He is every inch the despicable indidvual he always was.
One of the aspects of Jacobs’ daily routine as a land agent was that he would go round the neighbourhood brandishing a cane. He never seemed to leave home without it. It was as much a part of him as the clothes he wore. Of course, this was the weapon he used to bring an end to James Franklin’s life. It seemed to stamped him out as a superior indovidual who would stop at nothing to oversee the wrecked hopes and dreams of a family such as the Franklins.