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The Island Of Serenity
Needless to say, the boom only lasted long enough for him to borrow and spend the money, before the economy stalled again, leaving him with a debt, so important, that he couldn’t even manage to pay off the monthly interest. He had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. Ten years of working and saving had built up a considerable sum of cash in my father’s bank account and a great deal of confidence, in his seriousness and stability in the mind of his local bank manager. It didn’t take much time before his bank agreed to take over the factory’s debts, and my father became, in his mid thirties, one of the youngest factory owners ever. By the age of forty, he had added three more factories to his growing empire and was well on his way to becoming a wealthy man.  It was around this time that my father started to appear at certain charity events. It seems that my mother; true to her goal, had started to attend charity events some time before, comforted in the idea, that only wealthy patrons, with nothing better to do with their money, would imagine to spend a small fortune, to assist at a luncheon or a dinner, which they could enjoy at a tenth of the price, at any decent restaurant in town. J.J., from his side, although not looking for a wealthy partner, had more-than-likely reflected that, to find a suitable spouse, he would have to frequent the localities that women from those social levels might congregate. As he was rarely if ever, invited to society balls and such, the obvious solution was to invite himself to charity luncheons and dinners. It was surely my mother that would have made the first move, she was always the predator when it came to social advancement, J.J., was much too timid and shy in anything that wasn’t to do with business and finances. From what I later found out, the courtship was quite short and uneventful; my mother’s family were of course totally against her marrying this, ‘personne’, this no-body, even if he had, had the unlikely chance to become financially comfortable. On the other side; his family were just as antagonistic against these Franco-English snobs, full of airs and graces, who had never done a decent days work in their ‘entire lives’. This, of course, deterred my mother, not in the least. She had, to some degree expected a certain resistance from her side of the family, and honestly preferred that ‘kin’ would have the good grace, to keep as far as way as humanly possible. – If she could have rebuilt Hadrian’s wall just for them, she wouldn’t have hesitated for even a second. What she did do was to organise a typical English, society wedding, reported in the Tattler, and organised by the chief buyer at Liberty’s. She then let it be known, through various channels that the invitations would, ‘of course’, the wedding being an intimate affaire, be limited to family, close friends and the most socially ‘interesting’ people of the year, and then waited for the polite, indirect requests to arrive.
It was, so I have often heard, a resounding success, and that, if nothing else, was what was necessary, to launch my mother, finally, into the circles of highest society. My father, for his part, took the next six months to recover financially, from this intimate affaire. One could image, to install herself and to continue to circulate in these prominent circles might have lead to financial ruin, but my mother was no fool, she was much too astute to risk killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. If fact, when there were none of her ‘people’ to witness, she was very careful with money, she agreed a monthly allowance with my father, (which of course increased over the years), which was to cover all the household expenses, (except the salary of the staff), mine, and later my brother’s needs and the rest was for her.