The trouble began when Lord Colindale, millionaire newspaper-owner and ‘strong man’ of British politics, came down for a week-end to Colonel Joyce’s country house. For a year Colindale had been forced out of public life by crippling rheumatism which neither the specialists nor the watering-places of Europe had been able to alleviate. By chance they had visited the Wells of St Mary’s , once famed for their cures, now derelict on Joyce’s land. At Henry Hodder’s insistence Lord Colindale had drunk the flat, metallic water.
When it was announced in the newspapers that Colindale had been cured by the waters and Colonel Joyce had given the well to the town, there was no limit to the exploitation which the people, under Jim Blundell the mayor, could envisage. But Henry, who had come to regard the well as his own, knew the secret of its healing power. All set to put money in his purse, he waited until the Casino was half-built before demanding his share of the profits – as the price of silence.