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Illingworth House: 42 – Searching For The Perfect Wife

...He had long considered that he had first and foremost to make sure the family wealth was added to if ever he re-married. Next, he had to enhance the family name...

Even as he continues his affair with Mary Callow the snobbish Abe Illingworth decides the time has come to look for another wife.

John Waddington-Feather continues his story of a Yorkshire mill-owning family.

Rachel had been dead ten years when Sir Abe began searching round for another wife. Oh, he had got Mary Calow still in tow all right, but she wasn't suitable as wife. Not the right family background, no wealth, not the right schooling. Of course, she knew nothing of this and he strung her on for years. He valued her too much to let her go entirely till he had made quite sure of another catch. He never rid himself of his pride or aloofness. Yet he came as near to loving her as he did any woman, and she certainly loved him.

Since his father’s death he had grown very full of himself. He had inherited the baronetcy (which he desperately wanted to improve on). He was a pillar of the Riding Conservative Party and Lord Lieutenant of the Riding. He was moving in higher circles than ever his father had done.

Most of all, the family wealth had increased since he had taken over the business. His property had been added to and though the recession had closed some of his mills, he had invested abroad in Australia and was making a lot of money there. In short, he had become a man of much substance and clout.

He had long considered that he had first and foremost to make sure the family wealth was added to if ever he re-married. Next, he had to enhance the family name. That involved his son and he kept a sharp lookout for a wife for him also.

But John had other ideas. Girls fell for him like autumn leaves before the wind, and he certainly knew how to handle them.
He had fallen for a young girl, Jane Fairfax, who had recently joined the typing pool. She was good-looking and made more of her bodily blessings than the other elderly typists.

She also dressed far better than they did, for her father owned a bakery and some shops around Bradford and gave her a healthy dress allowance. Like Rosemary Clemence she was spoiled rotten and the wage she earned was pocket money.

She had been to boarding school, then to a secretarial college to fill in time while she picked up a husband. She set her sights on John Illingworth the moment she saw him.

She had met him playing tennis some time before she got her job. Indeed, he had been so smitten by her when he had first met her that he had wangled her the job by smooth-talking Mary Calow.

But it was Mary Calow who had to clean up the mess when Sir Abe discovered what his son was up to and just how far the affair had gone.

At the time he was considering standing as Keighworth’s MP, for he was well up in the Conservative Party and the President of the County Association was Lord Rimington, who owned among other things a vast ancestral estate in the east of the county. He had one child and heir, the Honorable Eleanor Rimington, whom Abe wanted to marry off to his son.

It would be the perfect match - an alliance with an upper-upper-crustian family who had been in the Lords for generations and who had an estate to boot. The Illingworth dynasty couldn't go much higher if he wed her, and there was more than an outside chance that if Sir Abe topped up the party funds, he would end up being Lord Illingworth of Utworth. The dream haunted him for months.

Then the Fairfax girl blundered in.

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