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Illingworth House: 47 - Scoring

...There was no place for scholarship in business, no place for a playboy either. He'd seen that happen too often when mill-men sent their sons off to college. Starting them at the bottom and keeping them in the firm was the best way to keep family businesses flourishing. It always had been. To give heirs a purpose in life and increase wealth, to give them know-how...

Sir Abe Illingworth is determined that the family textile business should continue to thrive after he has gone.

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

Home permanently from her school abroad, Rosemary Braithwaite relentlessly pursued her cousin John. It hadn't escaped Sir Abe's notice and he spoke to John more than once about it. But he only laughed it off and was surprised his father was taking her flirting so seriously. But Sir Abe knew his niece was serious. He saw that every time she looked at him and it worried him.

When he returned from Rimington Castle, over a glass of whisky one night he mentioned Eleanor Rimington had been asking after John. "Now, she would be a good catch, Jonty," he said lightly enough, but his tone masked his seriousness.
Their conversation drifted to other things and Sir Abe asked about Harry Clemence, how his son was getting on with him. "Very well," said John. "He's a rough diamond but he knows his job. He doesn't stand for any hanky-panky from the staff - or anybody else."

"That's what my father said when he set him on and he wasn't wrong. He was a pretty shrewd judge of people. I've kept my eye on Clemence and since he joined us, he's come on by leaps and bounds. A great asset to the firm now, so whatever you do, don't ruffle his feathers. We don't want to lose him," said Sir Abe.

"You won't lose him, dad. He's dead keen on Rosie," laughed John. "He's smitten."
Sir Abe raised his eyebrows. Then said with a smile, "And she's got her sights fixed way above him on you. But stick by Clemence, Jonty, and you'll learn a lot. All the tricks of the trade. He'll be very useful to you in the future when I'm gone."

He put great store on Harry Clemence. With his son John at the helm one day, he'd need a loyal second-in-command and Clemence was just the man. Sir Abe had nurtured John to take over the firm and nurtured Clemence to back him up. That's why he hadn't packed John off to university. He wanted John to have the nous Clemence possessed.

There was no place for scholarship in business, no place for a playboy either. He'd seen that happen too often when mill-men sent their sons off to college. Starting them at the bottom and keeping them in the firm was the best way to keep family businesses flourishing. It always had been. To give heirs a purpose in life and increase wealth, to give them know-how.

Sir Abe smiled to himself. It amused him to think Clemence was setting his cap at Rosie. He was reaching for the moon. He might have got on in the Illingworth business world but he wouldn't get far there. But had he known it, Harry Clemence wasn't the only one who fancied Rosemary Braithwaite. Simon Grimstone fancied her as well.

Grimstone fancied many women and the more good-looking they were, the more he fancied them. Rosemary Braithwaite was the pick of the bunch in Keighworth. She was in her late teens and though Grimstone was much older, that didn't stop him leching after her. Like Clemence, he danced attention round her at the tennis club and the parties they attended. Clemence didn't have Grimstone's eloquence and style, and Grimstone didn't have John Illingworth's polish, but somehow they all got along, and it was John who introduced the other two into Rosemary's orbit.

Clemence was so keen on her he began taking elocution lessons to iron out his Bradford accent, and it was there he met Brenda, a shop assistant, who, like him, was trying to rid herself of her Keighworth accent and climb the social ladder. It was the only way she would become manageress in the dress shop where she worked.

Harry Clemence and Brenda had much in common. They came from working class families but were determined to leave the pack and get on. When Clemence joined the class, Brenda made a dead set at him. He was a good catch. To start with he owned a car and that impressed her each time he rolled up to elocution lessons and parked it outside. But she'd also a lot going for her. She was pretty in a buxom way. She dressed well, as every dress shop assistant was expected to, and she'd a beautifully rounded bottom, which Clemence was itching to get his hands on.

One thing led to another and they began walking out, and one balmy summer evening they headed for the cricket ground at the bottom of Garlic Lane. He'd been elected to the committee after John Illingworth had introduced him to the club, and had collared the key to the pavilion.

The pitch had been newly shorn and rolled for the match the next day, and the staff had left as dusk fell. Harry and Mabel had the whole ground to themselves, including the pavilion. The sightscreens and trees around the pitch were casting long shadows across the ground, when Harry felt the time was ripe and whisked her straight into the score room as soon as they entered the pavilion. There was a mattress there they could lie on later but before they got round to using it, he backed her against the wall and began snogging.

But he didn't realise he'd backed her against the new automatic scoreboard. Suddenly there was a great click and numbers began whirling round on the board like a crazy fruit machine. Brenda gave a scream. "What's up, Harry?" she gasped.

"We've set the scoreboard going!" he exclaimed, trying to stop the wretched thing.

By the time he'd finally got it under control her ardour had waned. His ardour dampened, too, when a voice from below bellowed, "What's going on up there?" followed by a noisy clumping of boots. It was the local bobby doing his rounds.

"It's all right, officer," said Clemence in a tight voice as the bobby came in shining his torch. "I'm on the committee here," he added, pulling out his membership card. "I was just showing my girlfriend how the new scoreboard works."

The policeman gave them a knowing glance and suggested they leave. It might give folk the wrong idea if they were found alone up there.

Harry mumbled an apology and led the way downstairs. When he'd locked up, he wished the policeman goodnight and hurried up the lane with Brenda. It put the dampers on their relationship, and just as well for him.

Before long he was in with Rosemary Braithwaite, quicker than he ever dreamed of, and out with Brenda, who despite the setback with Harry achieved her goal and rose rapidly to assistant manageress. In time she attained middle-crustia by marrying a building society clerk.

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