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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 78 - Joe Begins To Change His Mind

Joe begins to recognise that John Illingworth is also going through a dark night of the soul.

John Waddington-Feather continues his saga of life in a Yorkshire mill town.

As the slump worsened, so did conditions down Prospect Street. Joe was still out of work and Mary was laid off for long periods at the mill. They lived on a pittance of a dole, which just about saw them through each week. But for the allowance Mary drew secretly for John Illingworth's son and the help she received from Mary Calow, things would have been dire indeed.

The boy was growing apace and needed clothing and feeding. In the end, Mary swallowed her pride and went to Grimstone's office. The allowance Sir Abe had made was still on offer, though he never involved himself personally with the upbringing of his grandchild. A growing sense of shame had replaced the arrogance he once held. A nemesis of sorts was descending. Like John, he began to want to see his grandson dearly but couldn't, and the urge grew stronger with time.

Though five years had passed since Helen's death, Joe still grieved. He was still as bitter as ever, but Henry Johnson was doing his best to draw the sting. He and Joe were lifelong friends and sang together in the church and town choirs and little by little, when they went for a drink after choir practice, Johnson told Joe what had happened during that fatal trip to Australia.

It had surprised Joe when John left home and it slowly dawned that he may have been telling him the truth that night he called down Prospect Street. And when he learned that John Illingworth was going through his own dark night of the soul, Joe began to pity him. They were fellow travellers through the same black night.

When the time was right, Mary also mentioned meeting John in the cemetery. Joe only nodded. He didn't flare up as he would have done once. Nor did he say anything when Mary brought back clothing and presents for the boy. In time, he even accepted John Illingworth, but it needed a war to do that.


To read earlier chapters of this story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/


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