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Illingworth House: Chance Child, Part Two - 46

...As they sipped their drinks, they knew in their heart of hearts that Grimstone had tricked them and there was nothing they could do about it. But it all worked out for the best in the long run...

John Waddington-Feather continues his hugely entertaining story of the turbulent lives of a Yorkshire mill-owning family.

When he'd gone, Ann cried out, "There must be some way we can find the other will!" She was still holding the copy Grimstone had given her. "It can't all be left like this!" Her mother had gone quite pale and looked ill. She was sat next to John and he was worried the stress might bring on another stroke.

"Let's leave it for now," he said. "Let's have a drink. We deserve one. Let's wait till we can get some advice. It isn't worth the toss worrying about Grimstone." He was angry. Not because there was no mention of him in the will, but because Grimstone seemed to have got away with it and conned his grandfather to the last.

As they sipped their drinks, they knew in their heart of hearts that Grimstone had tricked them and there was nothing they could do about it. But it all worked out for the best in the long run and Rosemary wished Grimstone could have seen how his scheming backfired. With the new solicitor, the conveyancing of Illingworth House went through smoothly and Rosemary inherited the money from her uncle's shares. At least Sir Abe had foiled Grimstone there.

But she needed every penny for she was an invalid the rest of her life. She left the nursing home and joined her daughter at the old House, where a nurse attended her daily. When it became her new home, she insisted John keep his old room and continue staying there when he wished. He spent the rest of his leave helping her settle in and together the three of them sifted through Sir Abe's belongings.

They spent hours browsing through his collection of family photographs he'd carefully arranged in albums. He'd been at it for years and there were still boxes of photographs and letters untouched in his study. He kept the albums arranged in chronological order so that they were able to follow the Illingworth history over the years.

But there were gaps. There were no photographs of Helen Greenwood, John's mother. No letters, too, from that fateful visit to Australia before the war. All those had been destroyed. They were all there from John
Illingworth's time in the RAF, including a snap taken of him when he was air attache to the British Embassy in Prague in the late 1930s. He was standing at a railway station holding a little girl. Behind him was a railway carriage filled with children peering out of the windows. Curious, Ann took it from the album. On the back was written: "Prague, 1938. The Horowitzes' daughter." She passed it to her mother, commenting on the sad look on the child's face. John asked who she was.

"He rarely talked about his stay in Czechoslovakia," said Rosemary. "He was sickened by what he saw when the Nazis overran the country. They rounded up thousands of Jews then shipped them to concentration camps, but somehow he helped that little girl to escape when her parents were arrested. They'd been good friends to him in Prague."

There were other photos of John as a little boy with Aunt Mary and John Illingworth holding him and smiling proudly. These had been returned from his unit along with his personal belongings after he'd been killed in action in 1945. There was a poignant one taken by the side of his Mosquito, the one he'd been shot down in at the site they'd discovered on holiday in Belgium two summers back.

They spent many happy hours looking through the family albums, and once her mother moved in, Ann brightened noticeably and John left them in good spirits. Her consultant in London was one of the best and when they'd diagnosed Ann's illness, he felt sure she'd be well on the way to recovery.

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