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Illingworth House: Chance Child, Part Two - 20

Rosemary Clemence is shocked when she realsies how much her daughter loves ypoung John Illingworth.

John Waddington-Feather continues his epic story concerning the generations of the Illingworths, a Yorkshire mill-owning family.

To read earlier episodes please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

It came as a great shock to Rosemary when she discovered later just how madly her daughter was in love with him. Her own marriage was in tatters and her life a mess. It was common knowledge in Keighworth that she and Grimstone were having an affair. A generation earlier she'd have been a pariah in the town. But the Victorians had all but died out and the permissive sixties were just over the horizon with Grimstone and his ilk there to welcome them.

Of course, her husband knew about it, but he couldn't care less. He'd had his own piece on the side in Blackpool for years. In fact, he was glad Grimstone had taken her in tow and kept her sweet. Indeed, many thought he and Grimstone had connived even at that. His talley-woman in Blackpool was very much in the background for years to stop Sir Abe finding out, but didn't matter now and when the old man eventually found out, he never spoke to him again.

Though he'd been no saint in the past, Sir Abe watched over his family like a hawk. Bad marriages cost money and his sister Victoria and made a very bad marriage indeed. That had cost the family dear and he didn't want Rosemary making the same mistake.

Ann suffered in silence. She confronted her mother with her affair but got nowhere. Rosemary at first tried to pass it off as gossip. Her relationship with Grimstone was platonic. They'd always been good friends and he'd been part of their set from youth. She lied as much to her daughter over Grimstone as Ann did to her about John, but where Rosemary did her damnest to break her daughter's relationship, there was nothing Ann could do about her mother's. She hated Grimstone and the longer it lasted the more she loathed him.

The affairs of the Clemences soon became known in a small town like Keighworth and early on reached the ears of John's aunt. She plugged in to all the town's tittle-tattle and the night before John left for France, she was gossiping about the affairs to Joe, throwing in Harry Clemence's drink problem for good measure.

"Tha wouldn't think folk in their position would behave like that, would tha?" she remarked to Joe and John as they sat by the fire. "Making out they're such toffs."

"Ah would," Joe replied, glancing over his newspaper. "The higher they go, the worse they behave, their sort."

John had his head in a book, only half-listening to his aunt, but he looked up at once when she said, "An' they say Mrs Clemence's lass takes after her and is walking out wi' a lad ower t'moors, doing a bit o' sly courting. She's been seen walking wi' him reg'lar and has been for months. An' we all know what that means."

She didn't elaborate, but the quickening of her knitting needles said exactly what she meant. John found his heart thumping like mad when he asked who the lad was, to see how much she knew.

"Somebody frae Ilkesworth, I expect," she answered, much to his relief. "Somebody posh. She's been seen a few times. But we'll all know who he is before long. Truth will out."

Aunt Mary was set for gossiping and Joe disappeared behind his newspaper. As long as he grunted at the right times she was happy and would go on all night. John bolted. He'd said earlier he was going to Illingworth House and wished them both goodnight.

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