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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 35 - Slippery Grimstone

Simon Grimstone's property company comes crashing down.

John Waddington-Feather continues his saga which revolves around the fortunes of a Yorkshire mill-owning dynasty.

Simon Grimstone had been sailing near the wind for some time. His overweening pride and puffed up self-esteem took him right to the brink and dragged others with him, among them John Illingworth and Sydney Goldstein. He registered a property company and persuaded Illingworth and Goldstein to go in with him. He tried touching Harry Clemence but he was too canny. In any case, he was newly married and needed all his spare cash for his own little schemes.

The enterprise went well for some time, then came the slump and property prices fell like lead. He tried to bolster up his capital by siphoning off clients' money into his own account. No one knew about it for some time but, inevitably, he was found out and the bubble burst. How he extricated himself was a mystery, but Grimstone was never in a tight corner for long. On the other hand, John Illingworth and Sydney Goldstein lost all they had invested.

Somehow, Grimstone managed to scramble the clients' money back into the right account before he was found out, else he would have been really in it. It was rumoured that his father helped him out. Old Grimstone had speculated well in property for years and also ran a money-lending business. He had a hard reputation but was never crooked, and he would never have dared show his face in Keighworth again if his son had been struck off, or, worse still, sent down, so he bailed him out.

By this time, Grimstone was well in with Abe Illingworth and had helped him pull off several successful take-overs and it was said that Sir Abe helped him out, too, and hushed the whole thing up. It never became known in Keighworth till much later, and by that time Grimstone had left town.

As well as speculating in property in Leeds, Grimstone speculated with women. For years, he'd led a promiscuous life, well away from his own doorstep. He had had several fancy women in Leeds, but over-reached himself when he had an affair with one of Isaac Goldstein's employer's daughters.

Grimstone lusted after her when she'd answered his advertisement for secretarial help. She fell under his spell immediately, for Grimstone had a strange hold over some women, and they began a long-standing affair till her father found out. Then there was all hell to pay. When Grimstone's property business collapsed, she had to leave the flat he had given her and return home. Grimstone gave her the push and she told everything to her father, who complained bitterly to old Isaac Goldstein.

For him it was a double blow. He had known nothing about Grimstone's clandestine affair, nor about his son's involvement in Grimstone's venture. When he found out, the row that followed almost brought them to breaking point. As a result, Sydney dropped Grimstone and never spoke to him again. It would have saved John Illingworth a great deal of heartache if he had followed suit.

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