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Illingworth House: 43 - A Lack Of Class

...When John took her to meet his father at the party, she turned on her spotlight smile and simpered, "It's so good of John to bring me, Sir Abe. He's such a darling."
She opened her eyes very wide and flicked the cigarette she was smoking from a long holder into a nearby ashtray. Sir Abe gave her a frozen smile and said stiffly that he hoped she would enjoy herself.
"How can I not?" she replied. "Your son’s such good fun."...

Young John Illingworth has set his sights on a lass with a lack of class.

John Waddington-Feather continues his saga of the fortunes and misfortunes of a Yorkshire mill-owning dynasty.

Jane Fairfax turned up one evening, unexpected and uninvited, at a cocktail party at Illingworth House. Sir Abe had begun to have more and more of them and regular full-blown dinners since his father’s death. Only the best folk were invited, heiresses or rich widows who would make suitable wives for John and himself.

When Jane Fairfax came as John's guest, Sir Abe was not pleased at all. It didn't matter that she had all the social graces and spoke with a sort of upper-crustian accent. She had cultivated a trendy drawl, which didn't endear her to the rest of the office or Sir Abe.

When John took her to meet his father at the party, she turned on her spotlight smile and simpered, "It's so good of John to bring me, Sir Abe. He's such a darling."

She opened her eyes very wide and flicked the cigarette she was smoking from a long holder into a nearby ashtray. Sir Abe gave her a frozen smile and said stiffly that he hoped she would enjoy herself.

"How can I not?" she replied. "Your son’s such good fun."
Sir Abe waited till she was flashing her smile at a posse of young bucks who had latched on to her, when John had gone to get her a drink. His father took the opportunity to collar him and hissed, "Why the devil have you brought that girl from the office here, Jonty?"

John merely said brightly, "Because there was no one else to bring."

"There's plenty of other girls here more suitable than her," said his father. "There's the Rimingtons' daughter, for one."
"I've already met her, dad," said John, pulling a face. "She's not my sort.”

"Then why let this Fairfax girl get her claws into you, Jonty?" said his father bluntly.

John coloured. "I just happen to like her, dad. Nothing wrong in that, is there? She's just a friend. Nothing serious."

"You might think so," retorted his father. "But it's quite clear she has other ideas. The whole affair could get out of hand. She's after your brass, lad. Make no mistake. And if you don't believe me, ask Mary Calow. She'll soon put you right on that score!" He knew his son would listen to Mary Calow. She had been like a mother to him all his life.

And when John did speak to her, Mary Calow was surprised just how far the affair had gone. John was over the top about Jane and it was easy to see why. She turned on the charm taps all the time she was with him and he was hardly ever out of the office mooning over her. Their affair was on everyone's lips.
His father was furious, and when Mary Calow came to answer his mail the following Monday, Sir Abe demanded that she get rid of Jane Fairfax. "I don't care how you do it, Mary. Just get rid of her and I'll deal with John. It would be disastrous if he proposed to her. She has no class at all."

"Like me?" Mary answered, colouring.

Sir Abe realised he had made gaff and said, "I've never said you didn't have class, Mary. You mean everything to me and you know it. There's no comparison between you and this girl." Then he added gently. "Without you my life would hardly be worth living." He drew her close to him and kissed her gently, and when she felt his arms around her, she relaxed and calmed down.

She drew away from him saying, "I'll do what I can, Abe, but it won't be easy. Whatever her motives, John thinks a great deal of her and she's very efficient at work. You know, it might turn him against you. He's no longer a boy now, Abe."

Mary Calow handled the Fairfax business well, but she had a lucky break. The girl was two-timing John and by chance Grimstone saw her with another fellow at a party in Leeds. Sir Abe had John packed off to Belgium for some days with Grimstone to do business in Antwerp with their agency there, and instructed him to tell his son what he had seen as soon as they were abroad.

Grimstone didn't waste any time. "I'm sorry to say this, John," he said, the first night in their hotel, "but I thought you ought to know." And he told him to the last detail what he had seen, how she had been all over the guy she was with at the party, another well loaded manufacturer's son. "She's taking you for a ride, John, believe me," said the lawyer smoothly. "Ask Clemence. He was at the party as well."

John felt sick, but he believed him. For years he believed him implicitly. He was spared ever meeting Jane Fairfax again, for while he was in Antwerp, Mary Calow dealt with her and by the time John returned she was gone.

When Mary had summoned her to her office and confronted her with what they had heard and said that she had have to leave, Jane burst into tears. Not for long. She brightened up when Mary told her what her severance pay was.

It surprised Mary Calow when Jane admitted quite openly that she had been two-timing John and was only too willing to leave. Later it transpired she was more in with her new boyfriend than any of them had guessed, for she married within the year.

His father consoled John on his return and said a new girlfriend would soon turn up. He had in mind, of course, Eleanor Rimington.

But he was wrong. When his son did fall in love again it was with someone quite different.

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