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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 55 - No Mail From John

Helen becomes extremely worried when no letters arrive from John Illingworth who has gone to work for a year in Australia.

To read earlier chapters of John Waddington-Feather's absorbing tale set in a Yorkshire mill town please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

The weeks passed and Helen received no mail from John. She became worried, then fraught, as Mrs Simpson and Dorothy kept reminding her what a wild life John had lived before they met; what an incorrigible womaniser he was. Others at the office were also quick to tell her he had had an affair with a girl there before Helen came on the scene, who had been paid off by his father.

And when Mary Calow left, she was desolate. An older, embittered woman took her place and went out of her way to be unpleasant. Miss Lund was tall and bony with her hair pulled back in a tight bun. She was unsure of herself and consequently made everyone under her feel their place. She was a snob and a toady, eager to do whatever Sir Abe told her and more. She crawled to the directors, especially Harry Clemence, and ran to his every call.

She came down on any petty errors Helen made and was sarcastic. She also had Helen working long after hours, acting on Clemence's orders, pushing her to the limit and suggesting all the time that Helen should leave. But where could she go? She hung on, sure that things would change once John came back. For his part, Sir Abe daren't sack her and kept out of her way. He feared losing his son too much, and on that score, he was craven. But fate intervened and when Helen left it was none of Abe Illingworth's doing. Ironically his son was to blame. She discovered she was pregnant.

When the doctor confirmed it she was terrified and walked out of his surgery in a daze, wandering blindly round the city for some time. What the Simpsons would say she daren't think. She knew she would have to leave and wasn't sorry, but how was she to break the news to her sister and Joe? The very thought chilled her.

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