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Kenneth Forbes is the young man who ultimately inherited Elmhurst, the country estate of Jane Merrick.
He is thin and short of stature, and has been described as shy, awkward, unattractive, and ignorant. As a child and youth he suffered the death of his mother, and neglect and rejection by his guardian. The experience warped and damaged his personality and character. His best redeeming quality was his innate artistic talent. His experiences with the three Merrick cousins, helped to draw him out of his shell. (Aunt Jane's Nieces)
Kenneth was the nephew of Tom Bradley, the man who had been the original owner of Elmhurst and who left the estate to Jane Merrick at his untimely death. Kenneth's mother died when he was eight years old, and Jane Merrick took him in, out of a sense of duty to her deceased fiance. But the irascible woman had never liked the boy, and treated him with coldness and neglect. His personality was negatively effected; he became difficult and unsociable, a poorly-adjusted young man.
His life changed radically, however, once he came into his fortune at the age of twenty. Under the guidance of his lawyer and guardian Silas Watson, Kenneth grew in experience and maturity. He benefitted from foreign travel and artistic education. (Aunt Jane's Nieces Abroad) He even ran for local political office, and won. (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work)