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Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 1

 

 

 

One Who Was A Sculptor, A Slav, A Sometime Resident In New York, An

Egoist, And Impecunious, Was To Be Found Of     An Evening In June

Forsyte's Studio On The     Bank Of     The     Thames At Chiswick. On The     Evening

Of July 6, Boris Strumolowski--Several Of     Whose Works Were On Show

There Because They Were As Yet Too Advanced To Be On Show Anywhere

Else--Had Begun Well, With That Aloof And Rather Christlike Silence

Which Admirably Suited His Youthful, Round, Broad-Cheekboned

Countenance Framed In Bright Hair Banged Like A Girl's. June Had Known

Him Three Weeks, And He Still Seemed To Her The     Principal Embodiment Of

Genius, And Hope Of     The     Future; A Sort Of     Star Of     The     East Which Had

Strayed Into An Unappreciative West. Until That Evening He Had

Conversationally Confined Himself To Recording His Impressions Of     The

United States, Whose Dust He Had Just Shaken From Off His Feet--A

Country, In His Opinion, So Barbarous In Every Way That He Had Sold

Practically Nothing There, And Become An Object Of     Suspicion To The

Police; A Country, As He Said, Without A Race Of     Its Own, Without

Liberty, Equality, Or Fraternity, Without Principles, Traditions,

Taste, Without--In A Word--A Soul. He Had Left It For His Own Good, And

Come To The     Only Other Country Where He Could Live Well. June Had Dwelt

Unhappily On Him In Her Lonely Moments, Standing Before His

Creations--Frightening, But Powerful And Symbolic Once They Had Been

Explained! That He, Haloed By Bright Hair Like An Early Italian

Painting, And Absorbed In His Genius To The     Exclusion Of     All Else--The

Only Sign Of     Course By Which Real Genius Could Be Told--Should Still Be

A "Lame Duck" Agitated Her Warm Heart Almost To The     Exclusion Of     Paul

Post. And She Had Begun To Take Steps To Clear Her Gallery, In Order To

Fill It With Strumolowski Masterpieces. She Had At Once Encountered

Trouble. Paul Post Had Kicked; Vospovitch Had Stung. With All The

Emphasis Of     A Genius Which She Did Not As Yet Deny Them, They Had

Demanded Another Six Weeks At Least Of     Her Gallery. The     American

Stream, Still Flowing In, Would Soon Be Flowing Out. The     American

Stream Was Their Right, Their Only Hope, Their Salvation--Since Nobody

In This "Beastly" Country Cared For Art. June Had Yielded To The

Demonstration. After All Boris Would Not Mind Their Having The     Full

Benefit Of     An American Stream, Which He Himself So Violently Despised.

 

  

This Evening She Had Put That To Boris With Nobody Else Present, Except

Hannah Hobdey, The     Mediaeval Black-And-Whitist, And Jimmy Portugal,

Editor Of     The     Neo-Artist. She Had Put It To Him With That Sudden

Confidence Which Continual Contact With The     Neo-Artistic World Had

Never Been Able To Dry Up In Her Warm And Generous Nature. He Had Not

Broken His Christlike Silence, However, For More Than Two Minutes

Before She Began To Move Her Blue Eyes From Side To Side, As A Cat

Moves Its Tail.

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 2

This--He Said--Was Characteristic Of     England, The     Most

Selfish Country In The     World; The     Country Which Sucked The     Blood Of

Other Countries; Destroyed The     Brains And Hearts Of     Irishmen, Hindus,

Egyptians, Boers, And Burmese, All The     Finest Races In The     World;

Bullying, Hypocritical England! This Was What He Had Expected, Coming

To Such A Country, Where The     Climate Was All Fog, And The     People All

Tradesmen Perfectly Blind To Art, And Sunk In Profiteering And The

Grossest Materialism. Conscious That Hannah Hobdey Was Murmuring:

"Hear, Hear!" And Jimmy Portugal Sniggering, June Grew Crimson, And

Suddenly Rapped Out:

 

  

"Then Why Did You Ever Come? We Didn't Ask You." The     Remark Was So

Singularly At Variance With All That She Had Led Him To Expect From

Her, That Strumolowski Stretched Out His Hand And Took A Cigarette.

 

  

"England Never Wants An Idealist," He Said.

 

 

But In June Something Primitively English Was Thoroughly Upset; Old

Jolyon's Sense Of     Justice Had Risen, As It Were, From Bed. "You Come

And Sponge On Us," She Said, "And Then Abuse Us. If You Think That's

Playing The     Game, I Don't."

 

  

She Now Discovered That Which Others Had Discovered Before Her--The

Thickness Of     Hide Beneath Which The     Sensibility Of     Genius Is Sometimes

Veiled. Strumolowski's Young And Ingenuous Face Became The     Incarnation

Of A Sneer.

  

 

"Sponge, One Does Not Sponge, One Takes What Is Owing--A Tenth Part Of

What Is Owing. You Will Repent To Say That, Miss Forsyte."

  

 

"Oh, No," Said June, "I Shan't."

 

  

"Ah! We Know Very Well, We Artists--You Take Us To Get What You Can Out

Of Us. I Want Nothing From You"--And He Blew Out A Cloud Of     June's

Smoke. 

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 3

Decision Rose In An Icy Puff From The     Turmoil Of     Insulted Shame Within

Her. "Very Well, Then, You Can Take Your Things Away."

 

  

And, Almost In The     Same Moment, She Thought: 'Poor Boy! He's Only Got A

Garret, And Probably Not A Taxi Fare. In Front Of     These People, Too;

It's Positively Disgusting!'

 

  

Young Strumolowski Shook His Head Violently; His Hair, Thick, Smooth,

Close As A Golden Plate, Did Not Fall Off.

 

 

 "I Can Live On Nothing," He Said Shrilly; "I Have Often Had To For The

Sake Of     My Art. It Is You Bourgeois Who Force Us To Spend Money."

 

 

The Words Hit June Like A Pebble, In The     Ribs. After All She Had Done

For Art, All Her Identification With Its Troubles And Lame Ducks. She

Was Struggling For Adequate Words When The     Door Was Opened, And Her

Austrian Murmured:

 

 

 "A Young Lady, Gnadiges Fraulein."

 

 

 "Where?"

 

  

"In The     Little Meal-Room."

 

  

With A Glance At Boris Strumolowski, At Hannah Hobdey, At Jimmy

Portugal, June Said Nothing, And Went Out, Devoid Of     Equanimity.

Entering The     "Little Meal-Room," She Perceived The     Young Lady To Be

Fleur--Looking Very Pretty, If Pale. At This Disenchanted Moment A Lame

Duck Of     Her Own Breed Was Welcome To June, So Homoeopathic By Instinct. 

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 4

The Girl Must Have Come, Of     Course, Because Of     Jon; Or, If Not, At

Least To Get Something Out Of     Her. And June Felt Just Then That To

Assist Somebody Was The     Only Bearable Thing.

  

 

"So You've Remembered To Come," She Said.

 

  

"Yes. What A Jolly Little Duck Of     A House! But Please Don't Let Me

Bother You, If You've Got People."

 

  

"Not At All," Said June. "I Want To Let Them Stew In Their Own Juice

For A Bit. Have You Come About Jon?"

  

 

"You Said You Thought We Ought To Be Told. Well, I've Found Out."

 

 

 "Oh!" Said June Blankly. "Not Nice, Is It?"

 

  

They Were Standing One On Each Side Of     The     Little Bare Table At Which

June Took Her Meals. A Vase On It Was Full Of     Iceland Poppies; The     Girl

Raised Her Hand And Touched Them With A Gloved Finger. To Her

New-Fangled Dress, Frilly About The     Hips And Tight Below The     Knees,

June Took A Sudden Liking--A Charming Colour, Flax-Blue.

 

  

'She Makes A Picture,' Thought June. Her Little Room, With Its

Whitewashed Walls, Its Floor And Hearth Of     Old Pink Brick, Its Black

Paint, And Latticed Window Athwart Which The     Last Of     The     Sunlight Was

Shining, Had Never Looked So Charming, Set Off By This Young Figure,

With The     Creamy, Slightly Frowning Face. She Remembered With Sudden

Vividness How Nice She Herself Had Looked In Those Old Days When Her

Heart Was Set On Philip Bosinney, That Dead Lover, Who Had Broken From

Her To Destroy For Ever Irene's Allegiance To This Girl's Father. 

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 5

Did

Fleur Know Of     That, Too?

  

 

"Well," She Said, "What Are You Going To Do?"

 

 

 It Was Some Seconds Before Fleur Answered.

  

 

"I Don't Want Jon To Suffer. I Must See Him Once More To Put An End To

It."

 

  

"You're Going To Put An End To It!"

  

 

"What Else Is There To Do?"

 

  

The Girl Seemed To June, Suddenly, Intolerably Spiritless.

  

 

"I Suppose You're Right," She Muttered. "I Know My Father Thinks So;

But--I Should Never Have Done It Myself. I Can't Take Things Lying

Down."

 

 

 How Poised And Watchful That Girl Looked; How Unemotional Her Voice

Sounded!

  

 

"People Will Assume That I'm In Love."

 

  

"Well, Aren't You?"

 

 

Fleur Shrugged Her Shoulders. 'I Might Have Known It,' Thought June;

'She's Soames' Daughter--Fish! And Yet--He!'

 

 

"Well, What Do You Want Me To Do?" She Said With A Sort Of     Disgust.

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 6

"Could I See Jon Here To-Morrow On His Way Down To Holly's? He'd Come

If You Sent Him A Line To-Night, And Perhaps Afterwards You'd Let Them

Know Quietly At Robin Hill That It's All Over, And That They Needn't

Tell Jon About His Mother."

 

  

"All Right!" Said June Abruptly. "I'll Write Now, And You Can Post It.

Half-Past Two To-Morrow. I Shan't Be In, Myself."

 

  

She Sat Down At The     Tiny Bureau Which Filled One Corner. When She

Looked Round With The     Finished Note Fleur Was Still Touching The

Poppies With Her Gloved Finger.

  

 

June Licked A Stamp. "Well, Here It Is. If You're Not In Love, Of

Course, There's No More To Be Said. Jon's Lucky."

 

  

Fleur Took The     Note. "Thanks Awfully!"

 

  

'Cold-Blooded Little Baggage!' Thought June. Jon, Son Of     Her Father, To

Love, And Not To Be Loved By The     Daughter Of--Soames! It Was

Humiliating!

 

  

"Is That All?"

  

 

Fleur Nodded; Her Frills Shook And Trembled As She Swayed Towards The

Door.

  

 

"Good-Bye!"

 

 

"Good-Bye! ... Little Piece Of     Fashion!" Muttered June, Closing The

Door. "That Family!" And She Marched Back Towards Her Studio. Boris

Strumolowski Had Regained His Christlike Silence, And Jimmy Portugal

Was Damning Everybody, Except The     Group In Whose Behalf He Ran The

Neo-Artist.

Part II VII (June Takes A Hand) Pg 7

Among The     Condemned Were Eric Cobbley, And Several Other

"Lame-Duck" Genii Who At One Time Or Another Had Held First Place In

The Repertoire Of     June's Aid And Adoration. She Experienced A Sense Of

Futility And Disgust, And Went To The     Window To Let The     River-Wind Blow

Those Squeaky Words Away.

 

 

 But When At Length Jimmy Portugal Had Finished, And Gone With Hannah

Hobdey, She Sat Down And Mothered Young Strumolowski For Half An Hour,

Promising Him A Month, At Least, Of     The     American Stream; So That He

Went Away With His Halo In Perfect Order. 'In Spite Of     All,' June

Thought, 'Boris Is Wonderful.'

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 8

 

 

 

 

To Know That Your Hand Is Against Every One's Is--For Some Natures--To

Experience A Sense Of     Moral Release. Fleur Felt No Remorse When She

Left June's House. Reading Condemnatory Resentment In Her Little

Kinswoman's Blue Eyes--She Was Glad That She Had Fooled Her, Despising

June Because That Elderly Idealist Had Not Seen What She Was After.

 

 

 End It, Forsooth! She Would Soon Show Them All That She Was Only Just

Beginning. And She Smiled To Herself On The     Top Of     The     'Bus Which

Carried Her Back To Mayfair. But The     Smile Died, Squeezed Out By Spasms

Of Anticipation And Anxiety. Would She Be Able To Manage Jon? She Had

Taken The     Bit Between Her Teeth, But Could She Make Him Take It Too?

She Knew The     Truth And The     Real Danger Of     Delay--He Knew Neither;

Therein Lay All The     Difference In The     World.

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 9

'Suppose I Tell Him,' She Thought; 'Wouldn't It Really Be Safer?' This

Hideous Luck Had No Right To Spoil Their Love; He Must See That! They

Could Not Let It! People Always Accepted An Accomplished Fact, In Time!

From That Piece Of     Philosophy--Profound Enough At Her Age--She Passed

To Another Consideration Less Philosophic. If She Persuaded Jon To A

Quick And Secret Marriage, And He Found Out Afterwards That She Had

Known The     Truth! What Then? Jon Hated Subterfuge. Again, Then, Would It

Not Be Better To Tell Him? But The     Memory Of     His Mother's Face Kept

Intruding On That Impulse. Fleur Was Afraid. His Mother Had Power Over

Him; More Power Perhaps Than She Herself. Who Could Tell? It Was Too

Great A Risk. Deep-Sunk In These Instinctive Calculations She Was

Carried On Past Green Street As Far As The     Ritz Hotel. She Got Down

There, And Walked Back On The     Green Park Side. The     Storm Had Washed

Every Tree; They Still Dripped. Heavy Drops Fell On To Her Frills, And

To Avoid Them She Crossed Over Under The     Eyes Of     The     Iseeum Club.

Chancing To Look Up She Saw Monsieur Profond With A Tall Stout Man In

The Bay Window. Turning Into Green Street She Heard Her Name Called,

And Saw "That Prowler" Coming Up. He Took Off His Hat--A Glossy

"Bowler" Such As She Particularly Detested:

 

  

"Good-Evenin'! Miss Forsyde. Isn't There A Small Thing I Can Do For

You?"

 

 

 "Yes, Pass By On The     Other Side."

 

  

"I Say! Why Do You Dislike Me?"

 

 

"It Looks Like It."

 

  

"Well, Then, Because You Make Me Feel Life Isn't Worth Living."

  

 

Monsieur Profond Smiled.

  

 

"Look Here, Miss Forsyde, Don't Worry. It'll Be All Right. Nothing

Lasts."

 

  

"Things Do Last," Cried Fleur; "With Me Anyhow--Especially Likes And

Dislikes."

 

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 10

"Well, That Makes Me A Bit Un'appy."

  

 

"I Should Have Thought Nothing Could Ever Make You Happy Or Unhappy."

  

 

"I Don't Like To Annoy Other People. I'm Goin' On My Yacht."

 

  

Fleur Looked At Him, Startled.

  

 

"Where?"

 

 

"Small Voyage To The     South Seas Or Somewhere," Said Monsieur Profond.

  

 

Fleur Suffered Relief And A Sense Of     Insult. Clearly He Meant To Convey

That He Was Breaking With Her Mother. How Dared He Have Anything To

Break, And Yet How Dared He Break It?

 

  

"Good-Night, Miss Forsyde! Remember Me To Mrs. Dartie. I'm Not So Bad,

Really. Good-Night!" Fleur Left Him Standing There With His Hat Raised.

Stealing A Look Round, She Saw Him Stroll--Immaculate And Heavy--Back

Towards His Club.

 

 

 'He Can't Even Love With Conviction,' She Thought. 'What Will Mother

Do?'

  

 

Her Dreams That Night Were Endless And Uneasy; She Rose Heavy And

Unrested, And Went At Once To The     Study Of     Whitaker's Almanac. A

Forsyte Is Instinctively Aware That Facts Are The     Real Crux Of     Any

Situation. She Might Conquer Jon's Prejudice, But Without Exact

Machinery To Complete Their Desperate Resolve, Nothing Would Happen. 

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 11

From The     Invaluable Tome She Learned That They Must Each Be Twenty-One;

Or Some One's Consent Would Be Necessary, Which Of     Course Was

Unobtainable; Then She Became Lost In Directions Concerning Licenses,

Certificates, Notices, Districts, Coming Finally To The     Word "Perjury."

But That Was Nonsense! Who Would Really Mind Their Giving Wrong Ages In

Order To Be Married For Love! She Ate Hardly Any Breakfast, And Went

Back To Whitaker. The     More She Studied The     Less Sure She Became; Till,

Idly Turning The     Pages, She Came To Scotland. People Could Be Married

There Without Any Of     This Nonsense. She Had Only To Go And Stay There

Twenty-One Days, Then Jon Could Come, And In Front Of     Two People They

Could Declare Themselves Married. And What Was More--They Would Be! It

Was Far The     Best Way; And At Once She Ran Over Her School-Fellows.

There Was Mary Lambe Who Lived In Edinburgh And Was "Quite A Sport!"

She Had A Brother Too. She Could Stay With Mary Lambe, Who With Her

Brother Would Serve For Witnesses. She Well Knew That Some Girls Would

Think All This Unnecessary, And That All She And Jon Need Do Was To Go

Away Together For A Week-End And Then Say To Their People: "We Are

Married By Nature, We Must Now Be Married By Law." But Fleur Was

Forsyte Enough To Feel Such A Proceeding Dubious, And To Dread Her

Father's Face When He Heard Of     It. Besides, She Did Not Believe That

Jon Would Do It; He Had An Opinion Of     Her Such As She Could Not Bear To

Diminish. No! Mary Lambe Was Preferable, And It Was Just The     Time Of

Year To Go To Scotland. More At Ease Now, She Packed, Avoided Her Aunt,

And Took A 'Bus To Chiswick. She Was Too Early And Went On To Kew

Gardens. She Found No Peace Among Its Flower-Beds, Labelled Trees, And

Broad Green Spaces, And Having Lunched Off Anchovy-Paste Sandwiches And

Coffee, Returned To Chiswick And Rang June's Bell. The     Austrian

Admitted Her To The     "Little Meal-Room." Now That She Knew What She And

Jon Were Up Against, Her Longing For Him Had Increased Tenfold, As If

He Were A Toy With Sharp Edges Or Dangerous Paint Such As They Had

Tried To Take From Her As A Child. If She Could Not Have Her Way, And

Get Jon For Good And All, She Felt Like Dying Of     Privation. By Hook Or

Crook She Must And Would Get Him! A Round Dim Mirror Of     Very Old Glass

Hung Over The     Pink Brick Hearth. She Stood Looking At Herself Reflected

In It, Pale, And Rather Dark Under The     Eyes; Little Shudders Kept

Passing Through Her Nerves. Then She Heard The     Bell Ring, And, Stealing

To The     Window, Saw Him Standing On, The     Doorstep Smoothing His Hair And

Lips, As If He Too Were Trying To Subdue The     Fluttering Of     His Nerves. 

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 12

She Was Sitting On One Of     The     Two Rush-Seated Chairs, With Her Back To

The Door, When He Came In, And She Said At Once:

  

 

"Sit Down, Jon, I Want To Talk Seriously."

 

  

Jon Sat On The     Table By Her Side, And Without Looking At Him She Went

On:

 

  

"If You Don't Want To Lose Me, We Must Get Married."

 

  

Jon Gasped.

  

 

"Why? Is There Anything New?"

  

 

"No, But I Felt It At Robin Hill, And Among My People."

 

  

"But--" Stammered Jon, "At Robin Hill--It Was All Smooth--And They've

Said Nothing To Me."

 

  

"But They Mean To Stop Us. Your Mother's Face Was Enough. And My

Father's."

 

  

"Have You Seen Him Since?"

 

  

Fleur Nodded. What Mattered A Few Supplementary Lies?

 

 

 "But," Said Jon Eagerly, "I Can't See How They Can Feel Like That After

All These Years."

 

  

Fleur Looked Up At Him. 

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 13

"Perhaps You Don't Love Me Enough."

 

  

"Not Love You Enough! Why-I--"

 

  

"Then Make Sure Of     Me"

 

  

"Without Telling Them?"

 

 

"Not Till After."

 

  

Jon Was Silent. How Much Older He Looked Than On That Day, Barely Two

Months Ago, When She First Saw Him--Quite Two Years Older!

  

 

"It Would Hurt Mother Awfully," He Said.

 

  

Fleur Drew Her Hand Away.

 

  

"You've Got To Choose."

 

  

Jon Slid Off The     Table Onto His Knees.

 

  

"But Why Not Tell Them? They Can't Really Stop Us, Fleur!"

 

  

"They Can! I Tell You, They Can.

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 14

How?"

  

 

"We're Utterly Dependent--By Putting Money Pressure, And All Sorts Of

Other Pressure. I'm Not Patient, Jon."

  

 

"But It's Deceiving Them."

 

 

Fleur Got Up.

 

  

"You Can't Really Love Me, Or You Wouldn't Hesitate. 'He Either Fears

His Fate Too Much--!'"

 

 

 

Lifting His Hands To Her Waist, Jon Forced Her To Sit Down Again. She

Hurried On:

 

 

 "I've Planned It All Out. We've Only To Go To Scotland. When We're

Married They'll Soon Come Round. People Always Come Round To Facts.

Don't You See, Jon?"

 

  

"But To Hurt Them So Awfully!"

  

 

So He Would Rather Hurt Her Than Those People Of     His!

 

  

"All Right, Then; Let Me Go!"

 

  

Jon Got Up And Put His Back Against The     Door. "I Expect You're Right,"

He Said Slowly; "But I Want To Think It Over."

 

 

She Could See That He Was Seething With Feelings He Wanted To Express;

But She Did Not Mean To Help Him. She Hated Herself At This Moment, And

Almost Hated Him.

 

  

Why Had She To Do All The     Work To Secure Their Love? It Wasn't Fair.

And Then She Saw His Eyes, Adoring And Distressed.  

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 15

`

"Don't Look Like That! I Only Don't Want To Lose You, Jon."

 

  

"You Can't Lose Me So Long As You Want Me."

 

  

"Oh, Yes, I Can."

 

  

Jon Put His Hands On Her Shoulders.

 

  

"Fleur, Do You Know Anything You Haven't Told Me?"

 

  

It Was The     Point-Blank Question She Had Dreaded. She Looked Straight At

Him, And Answered: "No." She Had Burnt Her Boats; But What Did It

Matter, If She Got Him? He Would Forgive Her. And Throwing Her Arms

Round His Neck, She Kissed Him On The     Lips. She Was Winning! She Felt

It In The     Beating Of     His Heart Against Her, In The     Closing Of     His Eyes.

"I Want To Make Sure! I Want To Make Sure!" She Whispered. "Promise!"

 

  

Jon Did Not Answer. His Face Had The     Stillness Of     Extreme Trouble. At

Last He Said:

 

  

"It's Like Hitting Them. I Must Think A Little, Fleur. I Really Must."

 

  

Fleur Slipped Out Of     His Arms.

 

  

"Oh! Very Well!" And Suddenly She Burst Into Tears Of     Disappointment,

Shame, And Overstrain. Followed Five Minutes Of     Acute Misery. Jon's

Remorse And Tenderness Knew No Bounds; But He Did Not Promise. Despite

Her Will To Cry: "Very Well, Then, If You Don't Love Me

Enough--Good-Bye!" She Dared Not. 

Part II VIII (The Bit Between The Teeth) Pg 16

From Birth Accustomed To Her Own Way,

This Check From One So Young, So Tender, So Devoted, Baffled And

Surprised Her. She Wanted To Push Him Away From Her, To Try What Anger

And Coldness Would Do, And Again She Dared Not. The     Knowledge That She

Was Scheming To Rush Him Blindfold Into The     Irrevocable Weakened

Everything--Weakened The     Sincerity Of     Pique, And The     Sincerity Of

Passion; Even Her Kisses Had Not The     Lure She Wished For Them. That

Stormy Little Meeting Ended Inconclusively.

 

  

"Will You Some Tea, Gnadiges Fraulein?"

  

 

Pushing Jon From Her, She Cried Out:

 

  

"No--No, Thank You! I'm Just Going."

  

 

And Before He Could Prevent Her She Was Gone.

 

  

She Went Stealthily, Mopping Her Flushed, Stained Cheeks, Frightened,

Angry, Very Miserable. She Had Stirred Jon Up So Fearfully, Yet Nothing

Definite Was Promised Or Arranged! But The     More Uncertain And Hazardous

The Future, The     More "The Will To Have" Worked Its Tentacles Into The

Flesh Of     Her Heart--Like Some Burrowing Tick!

 

  

No One Was At Green Street. Winifred Had Gone With Imogen To See A Play

Which Some Said Was Allegorical, And Others "Very Exciting, Don't You

Know?" It Was Because Of     What Others Said That Winifred And Imogen Had

Gone. Fleur Went On To Paddington. Through The     Carriage The     Air From

The Brick-Kilns Of     West Drayton And The     Late Hay-Fields Fanned Her

Still-Flushed Cheeks. Flowers Had Seemed To Be Had For The     Picking; Now

They Were All Thorned And Prickled. But The     Golden Flower Within The

Crown Of     Spikes Seemed To Her Tenacious Spirit All The     Fairer And More

Desirable. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 17

 

 

 

On Reaching Home Fleur Found An Atmosphere So Peculiar That It

Penetrated Even The     Perplexed Aura Of     Her Own Private Life. Her Mother

Was In Blue Stockingette And A Brown Study; Her Father In A White Felt

Hat And The     Vinery. Neither Of     Them Had A Word To Throw To A Dog. 'Is

It Because Of     Me?' Thought Fleur. 'Or Because Of     Profond?' To Her

Mother She Said:

  

 

"What's The     Matter With Father?"

 

  

Her Mother Answered With A Shrug Of     Her Shoulders.

  

 

To Her Father:

 

  

"What's The     Matter With Mother?"

 

 

 Her Father Answered:

 

  

"Matter? What Should Be The     Matter?" And Gave Her A Sharp Look.

 

  

"By The     Way," Murmured Fleur, "Monsieur Profond Is Going A 'Small'

Voyage On His Yacht, To The     South Seas."

 

  

Soames Examined A Branch On Which No Grapes Were Growing.

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 18

"This Vine's A Failure," He Said. "I've Had Young Mont Here. He Asked

Me Something About You."

 

  

"Oh! How Do You Like Him, Father?"

 

 

"He--He's A Product--Like All These Young People."

 

 

 "What Were You At His Age, Dear?"

 

  

Soames Smiled Grimly.

 

  

"We Went To Work, And Didn't Play About--Flying And Motoring, And

Making Love."

  

 

"Didn't You Ever Make Love?"

 

  

She Avoided Looking At Him While She Said That, But She Saw Him Well

Enough. His Pale Face Had Reddened, His Eyebrows, Where Darkness Was

Still Mingled With The     Grey, Had Come Close Together.

 

 

 "I Had No Time Or Inclination To Philander."

 

  

"Perhaps You Had A Grand Passion."

 

  

Soames Looked At Her Intently.

 

 

 "Yes--If You Want To Know--And Much Good It Did Me." He Moved Away,

Along By The     Hot-Water Pipes. Fleur Tiptoed Silently After Him. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 19

"Tell Me About It, Father!"

  

 

Soames Became Very Still.

  

 

"What Should You Want To Know About Such Things, At Your Age?"

 

  

"Is She Alive?"

 

  

He Nodded.

 

 

 "And Married?"

  

 

"Yes."

 

  

"It's Jon Forsyte's Mother, Isn't It? And She Was Your Wife First."

 

 

 It Was Said In A Flash Of     Intuition. Surely His Opposition Came From

His Anxiety That She Should Not Know Of     That Old Wound To His Pride.

But She Was Startled. To See Some One So Old And Calm Wince As If

Struck, To Hear So Sharp A Note Of     Pain In His Voice!

  

 

"Who Told You That? If Your Aunt--! I Can't Bear The     Affair Talked Of."

  

 

"But, Darling," Said Fleur, Softly, "It's So Long Ago." 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 20

"Long Ago Or Not, I--"

 

  

Fleur Stood Stroking His Arm.

 

  

"I've Tried To Forget," He Said Suddenly; "I Don't Wish To Be

Reminded." And Then, As If Venting Some Long And Secret Irritation, He

Added: "In These Days People Don't Understand. Grand Passion, Indeed!

No One Knows What It Is."

 

  

"I Do," Said Fleur, Almost In A Whisper.

 

  

Soames, Who Had Turned His Back On Her, Spun Round.

 

 

"What Are You Talking Of--A Child Like You!"

  

 

"Perhaps I've Inherited It, Father."

 

  

"What?"

  

 

"For Her Son, You See."

 

  

He Was Pale As A Sheet, And She Knew That She Was As Bad. They Stood

Staring At Each Other In The     Steamy Heat, Redolent Of     The     Mushy Scent

Of Earth, Of     Potted Geranium, And Of     Vines Coming Along Fast.

  

 

"This Is Crazy," Said Soames At Last, Between Dry Lips.

 

  

Scarcely Moving Her Own, She Murmured:

 

 

 "Don't Be Angry, Father. I Can't Help It." 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 21

But She Could See He Wasn't Angry; Only Scared, Deeply Scared.

 

  

"I Thought That Foolishness," He Stammered, "Was All Forgotten."

 

  

"Oh, No! It's Ten Times What It Was."

  

 

Soames Kicked At The     Hot-Water Pipe. The     Hapless Movement Touched Her,

Who Had No Fear Of     Her Father--None.

  

 

"Dearest!" She Said: "What Must Be, Must, You Know."

 

 

"Must!" Repeated Soames. "You Don't Know What You're Talking Of. Has

That Boy Been Told?"

 

  

The Blood Rushed Into Her Cheeks.

 

  

"Not Yet."

 

  

He Had Turned From Her Again, And, With One Shoulder A Little Raised,

Stood Staring Fixedly At A Joint In The     Pipes.

 

  

"It's Most Distasteful To Me," He Said Suddenly; "Nothing Could Be More

So. Son Of     That Fellow--It's--It's--Perverse!"

 

 

 She Had Noted, Almost Unconsciously, That He Did Not Say "Son Of     That

Woman," And Again Her Intuition Began Working.

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 22

Did The     Ghost Of     That Grand Passion Linger In Some Corner Of     His Heart?

 

  

She Slipped Her Hand Under His Arm.

 

  

"Jon's Father Is Quite Ill And Old; I Saw Him."

  

 

"You--?"

 

  

"Yes, I Went There With Jon; I Saw Them Both."

 

  

"Well, And What Did They Say To You?"

 

  

"Nothing. They Were Very Polite."

 

 

 "They Would Be." He Resumed His Contemplation Of     The     Pipe-Joint, And

Then Said Suddenly: "I Must Think This Over--I'll Speak To You Again

To-Night."

 

 

She Knew This Was Final For The     Moment, And Stole Away, Leaving Him

Still Looking At The     Pipe-Joint. She Wandered Into The     Fruit-Garden,

Among The     Raspberry And Currant Bushes, Without Impetus To Pick And

Eat. Two Months Ago--She Was Light-Hearted! Even Two Days

Ago--Light-Hearted, Before Prosper Profond Told Her. Now She Felt

Tangled In A Web--Of Passions, Vested Rights, Oppressions And Revolts,

The Ties Of     Love And Hate. At This Dark Moment Of     Discouragement There

Seemed, Even To Her Hold-Fast Nature, No Way Out. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 23

How Deal With It--How

Sway And Bend Things To Her Will, And Get Her Heart's Desire? And,

Suddenly, Round The     Corner Of     The     High Box Hedge, She Came Plump On Her

Mother, Walking Swiftly, With An Open Letter In Her Hand. Her Bosom Was

Heaving, Her Eyes Dilated, Her Cheeks Flushed. Instantly Fleur Thought:

"The Yacht! Poor Mother!"

 

  

Annette Gave Her A Wide Startled Look, And Said:

  

 

"J'ai La Migraine."

 

  

"I'm Awfully Sorry, Mother."

 

  

"Oh; Yes! You And Your Father--Sorry!"

 

  

"But, Mother--I Am. I Know What It Feels Like."

 

  

Annette's Startled Eyes Grew Wide, Till The     Whites Showed Above Them.

"You Innocent!" She Said.

 

 

Her Mother--So Self-Possessed, And Commonsensical--To Look And Speak

Like This! It Was All Frightening! Her Father, Her Mother, Herself! And

Only Two Months Back They Had Seemed To Have Everything They Wanted In

This World.

 

 

 Annette Crumpled The     Letter In Her Hand. Fleur Knew That She Must

Ignore The     Sight.

 

  

"Can't I Do Anything For Your Head, Mother?"

  

 

Annette Shook That Head And Walked On, Swaying Her Hips.

 

  

'It's Cruel,' Thought Fleur, 'And I Was Glad! That Man! What Do Men

Come Prowling For, Disturbing Everything! I Suppose He's Tired Of     Her.

What Business Has He To Be Tired Of     My Mother? What Business!' And At

That Thought, So Natural And So Peculiar, She Uttered A Little Choked

Laugh.

 

  

She Ought, Of     Course, To Be Delighted, But What Was There To Be

Delighted At? Her Father Didn't Really Care! Her Mother Did, Perhaps?

She Entered The     Orchard, And Sat Down Under A Cherry-Tree. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 24

A Breeze

Sighed In The     Higher Boughs; The     Sky Seen Through Their Green Was Very

Blue And Very White In Cloud--Those Heavy White Clouds Almost Always

Present In River Landscape. Bees, Sheltering Out Of     The     Wind, Hummed

Softly, And Over The     Lush Grass Fell The     Thick Shade From Those

Fruit-Trees Planted By Her Father Five-And-Twenty Years Ago. Birds Were

Almost Silent, The     Cuckoos Had Ceased To Sing, But Wood-Pigeons Were

Cooing. The     Breath And Drone And Cooing Of     High Summer Were Not For

Long A Sedative To Her Excited Nerves. Crouched Over Her Knees She

Began To Scheme. Her Father Must Be Made To Back Her Up. Why Should He

Mind So Long As She Was Happy? She Had Not Lived For Nearly Nineteen

Years Without Knowing That Her Future Was All He Really Cared About.

She Had, Then, Only To Convince Him That Her Future Could Not Be Happy

Without Jon. He Thought It A Mad Fancy. How Foolish The     Old Were,

Thinking They Could Tell What The     Young Felt! Had Not He Confessed That

He--When Young--Had Loved With A Grand Passion! He Ought To Understand.

'He Piles Up His Money For Me,' She Thought; 'But What's The     Use, If

I'm Not Going To Be Happy?' Money, And All It Bought, Did Not Bring

Happiness. Love Only Brought That. The     Ox-Eyed Daisies In This Orchard,

Which Gave It Such A Moony Look Sometimes, Grew Wild And Happy, And Had

Their Hour. 'They Oughtn't To Have Called Me Fleur,' She Mused, 'If

They Didn't Mean Me To Have My Hour, And Be Happy While It Lasts.'

Nothing Real Stood In The     Way, Like Poverty, Or Disease--Sentiment

Only, A Ghost From The     Unhappy Past! Jon Was Right. They Wouldn't Let

You Live, These Old People! They Made Mistakes, Committed Crimes, And

Wanted Their Children To Go On Paying! The     Breeze Died Away; Midges

Began To Bite. She Got Up, Plucked A Piece Of     Honeysuckle, And Went In.

 

  

It Was Hot That Night. Both She And Her Mother Had Put On Thin, Pale

Low Frocks. The     Dinner Flowers Were Pale. Fleur Was Struck With The

Pale Look Of     Everything: Her Father's Face, Her Mother's Shoulders; The

Pale Panelled Walls, The     Pale-Grey Velvety Carpet, The     Lamp-Shade, Even

The Soup Was Pale. There Was Not One Spot Of     Colour In The     Room, Not

Even Wine In The     Pale Glasses, For No One Drank It. What Was Not Pale

Was Black--Her Father's Clothes, The     Butler's Clothes, Her Retriever

Stretched Out Exhausted In The     Window, The     Curtains Black With A Cream

Pattern. A Moth Came In, And That Was Pale. And Silent Was That

Half-Mourning Dinner In The     Heat.

  

 

Her Father Called Her Back As She Was Following Her Mother Out. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 25

She Sat Down Beside Him At The     Table, And, Unpinning The     Pale

Honeysuckle, Put It To Her Nose.

  

 

"I've Been Thinking," He Said.

  

 

"Yes, Dear?"

  

 

"It's Extremely Painful For Me To Talk, But There's No Help For It. I

Don't Know If You Understand How Much You Are To Me--I've Never Spoken

Of It, I Didn't Think It Necessary; But--But You're Everything. Your

Mother--" He Paused, Staring At His Finger-Bowl Of     Venetian Glass.

 

  

"Yes?"

 

  

"I've Only You To Look To. I've Never Had--Never Wanted Anything Else,

Since You Were Born."

  

 

"I Know," Fleur Murmured.

  

 

Soames Moistened His Lips.

  

 

"You May Think This A Matter I Can Smooth Over And Arrange For You.

You're Mistaken. I--I'm Helpless."

  

 

Fleur Did Not Speak.

 

 

 "Quite Apart From My Own Feelings," Went On Soames With More

Resolution, "Those Two Are Not Amenable To Anything I Can Say.

They--They Hate Me, As People Always Hate Those Whom They Have Injured.

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 26

"But He--Jon--"

  

 

"He's Their Flesh And Blood, Her Only Child. Probably He Means To Her

What You Mean To Me. It's A Deadlock."

 

 

"No," Cried Fleur, "No, Father!"

 

  

Soames Leaned Back, The     Image Of     Pale Patience, As If Resolved On The

Betrayal Of     No Emotion.

 

 

"Listen!" He Said. "You're Putting The     Feelings Of     Two Months--Two

Months--Against The     Feelings Of     Thirty-Five Years! What Chance Do You

Think You Have? Two Months--Your Very First Love-Affair, A Matter Of

Half A Dozen Meetings, A Few Walks And Talks, A Few Kisses--Against,

Against What You Can't Imagine, What No One Could Who Hasn't Been

Through It. Come, Be Reasonable, Fleur! It's Midsummer Madness!"

 

  

Fleur Tore The     Honeysuckle Into Little, Slow Bits. "The Madness Is In

Letting The     Past Spoil It All. What Do We Care About The     Past? It's Our

Lives, Not Yours."

 

 

Soames Raised His Hand To His Forehead, Where Suddenly She Saw Moisture

Shining.

 

  

"Whose Child Are You?" He Said. "Whose Child Is He? The     Present Is

Linked With The     Past, The     Future With Both. There's No Getting Away

From That."

 

  

She Had Never Heard Philosophy Pass Those Lips Before. Impressed Even

In Her Agitation, She Leaned Her Elbows On The     Table, Her Chin On Her

Hands.

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 27

"But, Father, Consider It Practically. We Want Each Other. There's Ever

So Much Money, And Nothing Whatever In The     Way But Sentiment. Let's

Bury The     Past, Father."

 

  

Soames Shook His Head. "Impossible!"

 

  

"Besides," Said Fleur Gently, "You Can't Prevent Us."

 

 

 "I Don't Suppose," Said Soames, "That If Left To Myself I Should Try To

Prevent You; I Must Put Up With Things, I Know, To Keep Your Affection.

But It's Not I Who Control This Matter. That's What I Want You To

Realise Before It's Too Late. If You Go On Thinking You Can Get Your

Way, And Encourage This Feeling, The     Blow Will Be Much Heavier When You

Find You Can't."

 

  

"Oh!" Cried Fleur, "Help Me, Father; You Can Help Me, You Know."

  

 

Soames Made A Startled Movement Of     Negation.

 

  

"I?" He Said Bitterly. "Help? I Am The     Impediment--The Just Cause And

Impediment--Isn't That The     Jargon? You Have My Blood In Your Veins."

 

 

 He Rose.

 

 

 "Well, The     Fat's In The     Fire. If You Persist In Your Wilfulness You'll

Have Yourself To Blame. Come! Don't Be Foolish, My Child--My Only

Child!"

 

  

Fleur Laid Her Forehead Against His Shoulder.

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 28

All Was In Such Turmoil Within Her. But No Good To Show It! No Good At

All! She Broke Away From Him, And Went Out Into The     Twilight,

Distraught, But Unconvinced. All Was Indeterminate And Vague Within

Her, Like The     Shapes And Shadows In The     Garden, Except--Her Will To

Have. A Poplar Pierced Up Into The     Dark-Blue Sky And Touched A White

Star There. The     Dew Wetted Her Shoes, And Chilled Her Bare Shoulders.

She Went Down To The     River Bank, And Stood Gazing At A Moonstreak On

The Darkening Water. Suddenly She Smelled Tobacco Smoke, And A White

Figure Emerged As If Created By The     Moon. It Was Young Mont In

Flannels, Standing In His Boat. She Heard The     Tiny Hiss Of     His

Cigarette Extinguished In The     Water.

  

 

"Fleur," Came His Voice, "Don't Be Hard On A Poor Devil! I've Been

Waiting Hours."

 

  

"For What?"

 

  

"Come In My Boat!"

 

  

"Not I."

 

  

"Why Not?"

 

  

"I'm Not A Water-Nymph."

 

  

"Haven't You Any Romance In You? Don't Be Modern, Fleur!"

 

  

He Appeared On The     Path Within A Yard Of     Her. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 29

"Go Away!"

 

  

"Fleur, I Love You. Fleur!"

 

  

Fleur Uttered A Short Laugh.

 

  

"Come Again," She Said, "When I Haven't Got My Wish."

 

  

"What Is Your Wish?"

 

  

"Ask Another."

 

  

"Fleur," Said Mont, And His Voice Sounded Strange, "Don't Mock Me! Even

Vivisected Dogs Are Worth Decent Treatment Before They're Cut Up For

Good."

 

  

Fleur Shook Her Head; But Her Lips Were Trembling.

  

 

"Well, You Shouldn't Make Me Jump. Give Me A Cigarette."

 

  

Mont Gave Her One, Lighted It, And Another For Himself.

  

 

"I Don't Want To Talk Rot," He Said, "But Please Imagine All The     Rot

That All The     Lovers That Ever Were Have Talked, And All My Special Rot

Thrown In."

  

 

"Thank You, I Have Imagined It. Good-Night!"

 

 

 They Stood For A Moment Facing Each Other In The     Shadow Of     An

Acacia-Tree With Very Moonlit Blossoms, And The     Smoke From Their

Cigarettes Mingled In The     Air Between Them. 

Part II IX (Fat In The Fire) Pg 30

"Also Ran: 'Michael Mont'?" He Said. Fleur Turned Abruptly Towards The

House. On The     Lawn She Stopped To Look Back. Michael Mont Was Whirling

His Arms Above Him; She Could See Them Dashing At His Head, Then Waving

At The     Moonlit Blossoms Of     The     Acacia. His Voice Just Reached Her.

"Jolly--Jolly!" Fleur Shook Herself. She Couldn't Help Him, She Had Too

Much Trouble Of     Her Own! On The     Verandah She Stopped Very Suddenly

Again. Her Mother Was Sitting In The     Drawing-Room At Her Writing

Bureau, Quite Alone. There Was Nothing Remarkable In The     Expression Of

Her Face Except Its Utter Immobility. But She Looked Desolate! Fleur

Went Up-Stairs. At The     Door Of     Her Room She Paused. She Could Hear Her

Father Walking Up And Down, Up And Down The     Picture-Gallery.

 

  

'Yes,' She Thought, Jolly! Oh, Jon!'

Part II X (Decision) Pg 31

 

 

 

When Fleur Left Him Jon Stared At The     Austrian. She Was A Thin Woman

With A Dark Face And The     Concerned Expression Of     One Who Has Watched

Every Little Good That Life Once Had Slip From Her, One By One.

 

  

"No Tea?" She Said.

 

 

Susceptible To The     Disappointment In Her Voice, Jon Murmured:

  

 

"No, Really; Thanks."

Part II X (Decision) Pg 32

"A Lil Cup--It Ready. A Lil Cup And Cigarette."

 

 

Fleur Was Gone! Hours Of     Remorse And Indecision Lay Before Him! And

With A Heavy Sense Of     Disproportion He Smiled, And Said:

 

 

"Well--Thank You!"

  

 

She Brought In A Little Pot Of     Tea With Two Cups, And A Silver Box Of

Cigarettes On A Little Tray.

 

 

"Sugar? Miss Forsyte Has Much Sugar--She Buy My Sugar, My Friend's

Sugar Also. Miss Forsyte Is A Veree Kind Lady. I Am Happy To Serve Her.

You Her Brother?"

 

 

"Yes," Said Jon, Beginning To Puff The     Second Cigarette Of     His Life.

 

  

"Very Young Brother," Said The     Austrian, With A Little Anxious Smile,

Which Reminded Him Of     The     Wag Of     A Dog's Tail.

 

  

"May I Give You Some?" He Said. "And Won't You Sit Down?"

 

  

The Austrian Shook Her Head.

  

 

"Your Father A Very Nice Man--The Most Nice Old Man I Ever See. Miss

Forsyte Tell Me All About Him. Is He Better?"

 

  

Her Words Fell On Jon Like A Reproach. "Oh! I Think He's All Right."

 

  

"I Like To See Him Again," Said The     Austrian, Putting A Hand On Her

Heart; "He Have Veree Kind Heart.

Part II X (Decision) Pg 33

"Yes," Said Jon. And Again Her Words Seemed To Him A Reproach.

 

  

"He Never Give No Trouble To No One, And Smile So Gentle."

 

  

"Yes! Doesn't He?"

  

 

"He Look At Miss Forsyte So Funny Sometimes. I Tell Him All My Story;

He So Sympatisch. Your Mother--She Nice And Well?"

 

  

"Very."

  

 

"He Have Her Photograph On His Dressing-Table. Veree Beautiful."

 

  

Jon Gulped Down His Tea. This Woman, With Her Concerned Face And Her

Reminding Words, Was Like The     First And Second Murderers.

 

 

"Thank You," He Said; "I Must Go Now. May--May I Leave This With You?"

 

  

He Put A Ten-Shilling Note On The     Tray With A Doubting Hand And Gained

The Door. He Heard The     Austrian Gasp, And Hurried Out. He Had Just Time

To Catch His Train, And All The     Way To Victoria Looked At Every Face

That Passed, As Lovers Will, Hoping Against Hope. On Reaching Worthing

He Put His Luggage Into The     Local Train, And Set Out Across The     Downs

For Wansdon, Trying To Walk Off His Aching Irresolution. So Long As He

Went Full Bat, He Could Enjoy The     Beauty Of     Those Green Slopes,

Stopping Now And Again To Sprawl On The     Grass, Admire The     Perfection Of

A Wild Rose, Or Listen To A Lark's Song. But The     War Of     Motives Within

Him Was But Postponed--The Longing For Fleur, And The     Hatred Of

Deception. 

Part II X (Decision) Pg 34

He Came To The     Old Chalk-Pit Above Wansdon With His Mind No

More Made Up Than When He Started. To See Both Sides Of     A Question

Vigorously Was At Once Jon's Strength And Weakness. He Tramped In, Just

As The     First Dinner-Bell Rang. His Things Had Already Been Brought Up.

He Had A Hurried Bath And Came Down To Find Holly Alone--Val Had Gone

To Town And Would Not Be Back Till The     Last Train.

 

  

Since Val's Advice To Him To Ask His Sister What Was The     Matter Between

The Two Families, So Much Had Happened--Fleur's Disclosure In The     Green

Park, Her Visit To Robin Hill, To-Day's Meeting--That There Seemed

Nothing To Ask. He Talked Of     Spain, His Sunstroke, Val's Horses, Their

Father's Health. Holly Startled Him By Saying That She Thought Their

Father Not At All Well. She Had Been Twice To Robin Hill For The

Week-End. He Had Seemed Fearfully Languid, Sometimes Even In Pain, But

Had Always Refused To Talk About Himself.

  

 

"He's Awfully Dear And Unselfish--Don't You Think, Jon?"

  

 

Feeling Far From Dear And Unselfish Himself, Jon Answered: "Rather!"

 

  

"I Think, He's Been A Simply Perfect Father, So Long As I Can Remember."

 

  

"Yes," Answered Jon, Very Subdued.

 

 

"He's Never Interfered, And He's Always Seemed To Understand. I've Not

Forgotten How He Let Me Go Out To South Africa In The     Boer War When I

Was In Love With Val."

  

 

"That Was Before He Married Mother, Wasn't It?" Said Jon Suddenly.

 

  

"Yes. Why?"

  

 

"Oh! Nothing.

Part II X (Decision) Pg 35

Only, Wasn't She Engaged To Fleur's Father First?"

 

  

Holly Put Down The     Spoon She Was Using, And Raised Her Eyes. Her Stare

Was Circumspect. What Did The     Boy Know? Enough To Make It Better To

Tell Him? She Could Not Decide. He Looked Strained And Worried,

Altogether Older, But That Might Be The     Sunstroke.

  

 

"There Was Something," She Said. "Of Course We Were Out There, And Got

No News Of     Anything." She Could Not Take The     Risk. It Was Not Her

Secret. Besides, She Was In The     Dark About His Feelings Now. Before

Spain She Had Made Sure He Was In Love; But Boys Were Boys; That Was

Seven Weeks Ago, And All Spain Between.

 

 

She Saw That He Knew She Was Putting Him Off, And Added:

 

 

"Have You Heard Anything Of     Fleur?"

  

 

"Yes."

 

  

His Face Told Her More Than The     Most Elaborate Explanations. He Had Not

Forgotten!

  

 

She Said Very Quietly: "Fleur Is Awfully Attractive, Jon, But You

Know--Val And I Don't Really Like Her Very Much."

 

"Why?"

  

 

"We Think She's Got Rather A 'Having' Nature."

 

 

"'Having?' I Don't Know What You Mean. She--She--" He Pushed His

Dessert Plate Away, Got Up, And Went To The     Window.

Part II X (Decision) Pg 36

Holly, Too, Got Up, And Put Her Arm Round His Waist.

 

  

"Don't Be Angry, Jon Dear. We Can't All See People In The     Same Light,

Can We? I Believe Each Of     Us Only Has About One Or Two People Who Can

See The     Best That's In Us, And Bring It Out. For You I Think It's Your

Mother. I Once Saw Her Looking At A Letter Of     Yours; It Was Wonderful

To See Her Face. I Think She's The     Most Beautiful Woman I Ever Saw--Age

Doesn't Seem To Touch Her."

 

  

Jon's Face Softened, Then Again Became Tense. He Recognised The

Intention Of     Those Words. Everybody Was Against Him And Fleur! It All

Strengthened Her Appeal:

 

  

"Make Sure Of     Me--Marry Me, Jon!"

 

  

Here, Where He Had Passed That Wonderful Week With Her--The Tug Of     Her

Enchantment, The     Ache In His Heart Increased With Every Minute That She

Was Not There To Make The     Room, The     Garden, The     Very Air Magical. Would

He Ever Be Able To Live Down Here, Not Seeing Her? And He Closed Up

Utterly, Going Early To Bed. It Would Not Make Him Healthy, Wealthy,

And Wise, But It Closeted Him With Memory Of     Fleur In Her Fancy Frock.

He Heard Val's Arrival--The Ford Discharging Cargo, Then The     Stillness

Of The     Summer Night Stole Back--With Only The     Bleating Of     Very Distant

Sheep, And A Night-Jar's Harsh Purring. He Leaned Far Out. Cold

Moon--Warm Air--The Downs Like Silver! Small Wings, A Stream Bubbling,

The Rambler Roses! God-How Empty All Of     It Without Her! In The     Bible It

Was Written: Thou Shalt Leave Father And Mother And Cleave To--Fleur!

 

  

Let Him Have Pluck, And Go And Tell Them! They Couldn't Stop Him

Marrying Her--They Wouldn't Want To Stop Him When They Knew How He

Felt.

Part II X (Decision) Pg 37

Yes! He Would Go! Bold And Open--Fleur Was Wrong!

 

 

 The Night-Jar Ceased, The     Sheep Were Silent; The     Only Sound In The

Darkness Was The     Bubbling Of     The     Stream. And Jon In His Bed Slept,

Freed From The     Worst Of     Life's Evils--Indecision.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 38

 

 

 

On The     Day Of     The     Cancelled Meeting At The     National Gallery, Began The

Second Anniversary Of     The     Resurrection Of     England's Pride And

Glory--Or, More Shortly, The     Top Hat. "Lord's"--That Festival Which The

War Had Driven From The     Field--Raised Its Light And Dark Blue Flags For

The Second Time, Displaying Almost Every Feature Of     A Glorious Past.

Here, In The     Luncheon Interval, Were All Species Of     Female And One

Species Of     Male Hat, Protecting The     Multiple Types Of     Face Associated

With "The Classes" The     Observing Forsyte Might Discern In The     Free Or

Unconsidered Seats A Certain Number Of     The     Squash-Hatted, But They

Hardly Ventured On The     Grass; The     Old School--Or Schools--Could Still

Rejoice That The     Proletariat Was Not Yet Paying The     Necessary

Half-Crown. Here Was Still A Close Borough, The     Only One Left On A

Large Scale--For The     Papers Were About To Estimate The     Attendance At

Ten Thousand. And The     Ten Thousand, All Animated By One Hope, Were

Asking Each Other One Question: "Where Are You Lunching?" Something

Wonderfully Uplifting And Reassuring In That Query And The     Sight Of     So

Many People Like Themselves Voicing It! What Reserve Power In The

British Realm--Enough Pigeons, Lobsters, Lamb, Salmon Mayonnaise,

Strawberries, And Bottles Of     Champagne, To Feed The     Lot! No Miracle In

Prospect--No Case Of     Seven Loaves And A Few Fishes--Faith Rested On

Surer Foundations.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 39

Six Thousand Top Hats, Four Thousand Parasols Would

Be Doffed And Furled, Ten Thousand Mouths All Speaking The     Same English

Would Be Filled. There Was Life In The     Old Dog Yet! Tradition! And

Again Tradition! How Strong And How Elastic! Wars Might Rage, Taxation

Prey, Trades Unions Take Toll, And Europe Perish Of     Starvation; But The

Ten Thousand Would Be Fed; And, Within Their Ring Fence, Stroll Upon

Green Turf, Wear Their Top Hats, And Meet--Themselves. The     Heart Was

Sound, The     Pulse Still Regular. E-Ton! E-Ton! Har-R-O-O-O-W!

 

  

Among The     Many Forsytes Present, On A Hunting-Ground Theirs, By

Personal Prescriptive Right, Or Proxy, Was Soames, With His Wife And

Daughter. He Had Not Been At Either School, He Took No Interest In

Cricket, But He Wanted Fleur To Show Her Frock, And He Wanted To Wear

His Top Hat--Parade It Again In Peace And Plenty Among His Peers. He

Walked Sedately With Fleur Between Him And Annette. No Women Equalled

Them, So Far As He Could See. They Could Walk, And Hold Themselves Up;

There Was Substance In Their Good Looks; The     Modern Woman Had No Build,

No Chest, No Anything! He Remembered Suddenly With What Intoxication Of

Pride He Had Walked Round With Irene In The     First Years Of     His First

Marriage. And How They Used To Lunch On The     Drag Which His Mother Would

Make His Father Have, Because It Was So "Chic"--All Drags And Carriages

In Those Days, Not These Lumbering Great Stands! And How Consistently

Montague Dartie Had Drunk Too Much. He Supposed That People Drank Too

Much Still, But There Was Not The     Scope For It There Used To Be. He

Remembered George Forsyte--Whose Brothers Roger And Eustace Had Been At

Harrow And Eton--Towering Up On The     Top Of     The     Drag Waving A Light-Blue

Flag With One Hand And A Dark-Blue Flag With The     Other, And Shouting:

"Etroow--Harrton!" Just When Everybody Was Silent, Like The     Buffoon He

Had Always Been; And Eustace Got Up To The     Nines Below, Too Dandified

To Wear Any Colour Or Take Any Notice. H'm! Old Days, And Irene In Grey

Silk Shot With Palest Green. He Looked, Sideways, At Fleur's Face.

Rather Colourless--No Light, No Eagerness! That Love Affair Was Preying

On Her--A Bad Business! He Looked Beyond, At His Wife's Face, Rather

More Touched Up Than Usual, A Little Disdainful--Not That She Had Any

Business To Disdain, So Far As He Could See. She Was Taking Profond's

Defection With Curious Quietude; Or Was His "Small" Voyage Just A

Blind? If So, He Should Refuse To See It! After Promenading Round The

Pitch And In Front Of     The     Pavilion, They Sought Winifred's Table In The

Bedouin Club Tent. 

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 40

This Club--A New "Cock And Hen"--Had Been Founded In

The Interests Of     Travel, And Of     A Gentleman With An Old Scottish Name,

Whose Father Had Somewhat Strangely Been Called Levi. Winifred Had

Joined, Not Because She Had Travelled, But Because Instinct Told Her

That A Club With Such A Name And Such A Founder Was Bound To Go Far; If

One Didn't Join At Once One Might Never Have The     Chance. Its Tent, With

A Text From The     Koran On An Orange Ground, And A Small Green Camel

Embroidered Over The     Entrance, Was The     Most Striking On The     Ground.

Outside It They Found Jack Cardigan In A Dark-Blue Tie (He Had Once

Played For Harrow), Batting With A Malacca Cane To Show How That Fellow

Ought To Have Hit That Ball. He Piloted Them In. Assembled In

Winifred's Corner Were Imogen, Benedict With His Young Wife, Val Dartie

Without Holly, Maud And Her Husband, And, After Soames And His Two Were

Seated, One Empty Place.

 

  

"I'm Expecting Prosper," Said Winifred, "But He's So Busy With His

Yacht."

 

  

Soames Stole A Glance. No Movement In His Wife's Face! Whether That

Fellow Were Coming Or Not, She Evidently Knew All About It. It Did Not

Escape Him That Fleur, Too, Looked At Her Mother. If Annette Didn't

Respect His Feelings, She Might Think Of     Fleur! The     Conversation, Very

Desultory, Was Syncopated By Jack Cardigan Talking About "Mid-Off." He

Cited All The     "Great Mid-Offs" From The     Beginning Of     Time, As If They

Had Been A Definite Racial Entity In The     Composition Of     The     British

People. Soames Had Finished His Lobster, And Was Beginning On

Pigeon-Pie, When He Heard The     Words: "I'm A Small Bit Late, Mrs.

Dartie," And Saw That There Was No Longer Any Empty Place. That Fellow

Was Sitting Between Annette And Imogen. Soames Ate Steadily On, With An

Occasional Word To Maud And Winifred. Conversation Buzzed Around Him.

He Heard The     Voice Of     Profond Say:

 

  

"I Think You're Mistaken, Mrs. Forsyde I'll--I'll Bet Miss Forsyde

Agrees With Me."

 

  

"In What?" Came Fleur's Clear Tones Across The     Table.

  

 

"I Was Sayin', Young Gurls Are Much The     Same As They Always

Were--There's Very Small Difference."

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 41

"Do You Know So Much About Them?"

 

  

That Sharp Reply Caught The     Ears Of     All, And Soames Moved Uneasily On

His Thin Green Chair.

 

  

"Well, I Don't Know, I Think They Want Their Own Small Way, And I Think

They Always Did."

 

  

"Indeed!"

 

 

"Oh, But--Prosper," Winifred Interjected Comfortably, "The Girls In The

Streets--The Girls Who've Been In Munitions, The     Little Flappers In The

Shops; Their Manners Now Really Quite Hit You In The     Eye."

 

  

At The     Word "Hit" Jack Cardigan Stopped His Disquisition; And In The

Silence Monsieur Profond Said:

  

 

"It Was Inside Before, Now It's Outside; That's All."

 

  

"But Their Morals!" Cried Imogen.

 

 

"Just As Moral As They Ever Were, Mrs. Cardigan, But They've Got More

Opportunity."

 

  

The Saying, So Cryptically Cynical, Received A Little Laugh From

Imogen, A Slight Opening Of     Jack Cardigan's Mouth, And Another Creak

From Soames' Chair.

 

 

 Winifred Said: "That's Too Bad, Prosper."

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 42

"What Do You Say, Mrs. Forsyde; Don't You Think Human Nature's Always

The Same?"

 

  

Soames Subdued A Sudden Longing To Get Up And Kick The     Fellow. He Heard

His Wife Reply:

 

  

"Human Nature Is Not The     Same In England As Anywhere Else." That Was

Her Confounded Mockery!

 

 

"Well, I Don't Know Much About This Small Country"--'No, Thank God!'

Thought Soames--"But I Should Say The     Pot Was Boilin' Under The     Lid

Everywhere. We All Want Pleasure, And We Always Did."

 

  

Damn The     Fellow! His Cynicism Was Outrageous!

 

 

When Lunch Was Over They Broke Up Into Couples For The     Digestive

Promenade. Too Proud To Notice, Soames Knew Perfectly That Annette And

That Fellow Had Gone Prowling Round Together. Fleur Was With Val; She

Had Chosen Him, No Doubt, Because He Knew That Boy. He Himself Had

Winifred For Partner. They Walked In The     Bright, Circling Stream, A

Little Flushed And Sated, Till Winifred Sighed:

  

 

"I Wish We Were Back Forty Years, Old Boy!"

 

  

Before The     Eyes Of     Her Spirit An Interminable Procession Of     Her Own

"Lord's" Frocks Was Passing, Paid For With The     Money Of     Her Father, To

Save A Recurrent Crisis. "It's Been Very Amusing, After All. Sometimes

I Even Wish Monty Was Back. What Do You Think Of     People Nowadays,

Soames?"

 

 

"Precious Little Style. The     Thing Began To Go To Pieces With Bicycles

And Motor-Cars; The     War Has Finished It."

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 43

"I Wonder What's Coming?" Said Winifred In A Voice Dreamy From

Pigeon-Pie. "I'm Not At All Sure We Shan't Go Back To Crinolines And

Pegtops. Look At That Dress!" Soames Shook His Head.

 

  

"There's Money, But No Faith In Things. We Don't Lay By For The     Future.

These Youngsters--It's All A Short Life And A Merry One With Them."

  

 

"There's A Hat!" Said Winifred. "I Don't Know--When You Come To Think

Of The     People Killed And All That In The     War, It's Rather Wonderful, I

Think. There's No Other Country--Prosper Says The     Rest Are All

Bankrupt, Except America; And Of     Course Her Men Always Took Their Style

In Dress From Us."

 

 

 "Is Tha Chap," Said Soames, "Really Going To The     South Seas?"

 

  

"Oh, One Never Knows Where Prosper's Going!"

 

  

"He's A Sign Of     The     Times," Muttered Soames, "If You Like."

 

  

Winifred's Hand Gripped His Arm.

 

  

"Don't Turn Your Head," She Said In A Low Voice, "But Look To Your

Right In The     Front Row Of     The     Stand."

 

  

Soames Looked As Best He Could Under That Limitation. A Man In A Grey

Top Hat, Grey-Bearded, With Thin Brown, Folded Cheeks, And A Certain

Elegance Of     Posture, Sat There With A Woman In A Lawn-Coloured Frock,

Whose Dark Eyes Were Fixed On Himself. Soames Looked Quickly At His

Feet. How Funnily Feet Moved, One After The     Other Like That! Winifred's

Voice Said In His Ear:

 

  

"Jolyon Looks Very Ill, But He Always Had Style. She Doesn't

Change--Except Her Hair."

 

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 44

"Why Did You Tell Fleur About That Business?"

 

  

"I Didn't; She Picked It Up. I Always Knew She Would."

 

  

"Well, It's A Mess. She's Set Her Heart Upon Their Boy."

 

  

"The Little Wretch," Murmured Winifred. "She Tried To Take Me In About

That. What Shall You Do, Soames?"

 

  

"Be Guided By Events."

 

  

They Moved On, Silent, In The     Almost Solid Crowd.

  

 

"Really," Said Winifred Suddenly; "It Almost Seems Like Fate. Only

That's So Old-Fashioned. Look! There Are George And Eustace!"

 

  

George Forsyte's Lofty Bulk Had Halted Before Them.

 

  

"Hallo, Soames!" He Said. "Just Met Profond And Your Wife. You'll Catch

'Em If You Put On Steam. Did You Ever Go To See Old Timothy?"

 

  

Soame Nodded, And The     Streams Forced Them Apart.

 

  

"I Always Liked Old George," Said Winifred. "He's So Droll."

 

  

"I Never Did," Said Soames. "Where's Your Seat? I Shall Go To Mine.

Fleur May Be Back There."

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 45

Having Seen Winifred To Her Seat, He Regained His Own, Conscious Of

Small, White, Distant Figures Running, The     Click Of     The     Bat, The     Cheers

And Counter-Cheers. No Fleur, And No Annette! You Could Expect Nothing

Of Women Nowadays! They Had The     Vote. They Were "Emancipated," And Much

Good It Was Doing Them. So Winifred Would Go Back, Would She, And Put

Up With Dartie All Over Again? To Have The     Past Once More--To Be

Sitting Here As He Had Sat In '83 And '84, Before He Was Certain That

His Marriage With Irene Had Gone All Wrong, Before Her Antagonism Had

Become So Glaring That With The     Best Will In The     World He Could Not

Overlook It. The     Sight Of     Her With That Fellow Had Brought All Memory

Back. Even Now He Could Not Understand Why She Had Been So

Impracticable. She Could Love Other Men; She Had It In Her! To Himself,

The One Person She Ought To Have Loved, She Had Chosen To Refuse Her

Heart. It Seemed To Him, Fantastically, As He Looked Back, That All

This Modern Relaxation Of     Marriage--Though Its Forms And Laws Were The

Same As When He Married Her--That All This Modern Looseness Had Come

Out Of     Her Revolt; It Seemed To Him, Fantastically, That She Had

Started It, Till All Decent Ownership Of     Anything Had Gone, Or Was On

The Point Of     Going. All Came From Her! And Now--A Pretty State Of

Things! Homes! How Could You Have Them Without Mutual Ownership? Not

That He Had Ever Had A Real Home! But Had That Been His Fault? He Had

Done His Best. And His Reward--Those Two Sitting In That Stand! And

This Affair Of     Fleur's!

 

  

And Overcome By Loneliness He Thought: 'Shan't Wait Any Longer! They

Must Find Their Own Way Back To The     Hotel--If They Mean To Come!'

Hailing A Cab Outside The     Ground, He Said:

 

 

 "Drive Me To The     Bayswater Road." His Old Aunts Had Never Failed Him.

To Them He Had Meant An Everwelcome Visitor. Though They Were Gone,

There, Still, Was Timothy!

 

  

Smither Was Standing In The     Open Doorway.

 

  

"Mr. Soames! I Was Just Taking The     Air. Cook Will Be So Pleased.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 46

"How Is Mr. Timothy?"

  

 

"Not Himself At All These Last Few Days, Sir; He's Been Talking A Great

Deal. Only This Morning He Was Saying: 'My Brother James, He's Getting

Old.' His Mind Wanders, Mr. Soames, And Then He Will Talk Of     Them. He

Troubles About Their Investments. The     Other Day He Said: 'There's My

Brother Jolyon Won't Look At Consols'--He Seemed Quite Down About It.

Come In, Mr. Soames, Come In! It's Such A Pleasant Change!"

  

 

"Well," Said Soames, "Just For A Few Minutes."

  

 

"No," Murmured Smither In The     Hall, Where The     Air Had The     Singular

Freshness Of     The     Outside Day, "We Haven't Been Very Satisfied With Him,

Not All This Week. He's Always Been One To Leave A Titbit To The     End;

But Ever Since Monday He's Been Eating It First. If You Notice A Dog,

Mr. Soames, At Its Dinner, It Eats The     Meat First. We've Always Thought

It Such A Good Sign Of     Mr. Timothy At His Age To Leave It To The     Last,

But Now He Seems To Have Lost All His Self-Control; And, Of     Course, It

Makes Him Leave The     Rest. The     Doctor Doesn't Make Anything Of     It,

But"--Smither Shook Her Head--"He Seems To Think He's Got To Eat It

First, In Case He Shouldn't Get To It. That And His Talking Makes Us

Anxious."

 

  

"Has He Said Anything Important?"

 

  

"I Shouldn't Like To Say That, Mr. Soames; But He's Turned Against His

Will. He Gets Quite Pettish--And After Having Had It Out Every Morning

For Years, It Does Seem Funny. He Said The     Other Day: 'They Want My

Money.' It Gave Me Such A Turn, Because, As I Said To Him, Nobody Wants

His Money, I'm Sure. And It Does Seem A Pity He Should Be Thinking

About Money At His Time Of     Life. I Took My Courage In My 'Ands. 'You

Know, Mr. Timothy,' I Said, 'My Dear Mistress'--That's Miss Forsyte,

Mr. Soames, Miss Ann That Trained Me--'She Never Thought About Money,'

I Said, 'It Was All Character With Her.' He Looked At Me, I Can't Tell

You How Funny, And He Said Quite Dry: 'Nobody Wants My Character.'

Think Of     His Saying A Thing Like That! But Sometimes He'll Say

Something As Sharp And Sensible As Anything.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 47

Soames, Who Had Been Staring At An Old Print By The     Hat-Rack, Thinking,

'That's Got Value!' Murmured: "I'll Go Up And See Him, Smither."

 

 

 

"Cook's With Him," Answered Smither Above Her Corsets; "She Will Be

Pleased To See You."

 

 

 

He Mounted Slowly, With The     Thought: 'Shan't Care To Live To Be That

Age.'

 

 

 

On The     Second Floor, He Paused, And Tapped. The     Door Was Opened, And He

Saw The     Round Homely Face Of     A Woman About Sixty.

 

 

 

"Mr. Soames!" She Said: "Why! Mr. Soames!"

 

 

 

Soames Nodded. "All Right, Cook!" And Entered.

 

 

 

Timothy Was Propped Up In Bed, With His Hands Joined Before His Chest,

And His Eyes Fixed On The     Ceiling, Where A Fly Was Standing Upside

Down. Soames Stood At The     Foot Of     The     Bed, Facing Him.

 

 

 

"Uncle Timothy," He Said, Raising His Voice; "Uncle Timothy!"

 

 

 

Timothy's Eyes Left The     Fly, And Levelled Themselves On His Visitor.

Soames Could See His Pale Tongue Passing Over His Darkish Lips.

 

 

 

"Uncle Timothy," He Said Again, "Is There Anything I Can Do For You? Is

There Anything You'd Like To Say?"

 

 

 

"Ha!" Said Timothy

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 48

"I've Come To Look You Up And See That Everything's All Right."

 

 

 Timothy Nodded. He Seemed Trying To Get Used To The     Apparition Before

Him.

 

 

"Have You Got Everything You Want?"

  

 

"No," Said Timothy.

 

  

"Can I Get You Anything?"

 

  

"No," Said Timothy.

 

 

 "I'm Soames, You Know; Your Nephew, Soames Forsyte. Your Brother James'

Son."

 

 

 Timothy Nodded.

 

  

"I Shall Be Delighted To Do Anything I Can For You."

 

 

Timothy Beckoned. Soames Went Close To Him.

 

  

"You--" Said Timothy In A Voice Which Seemed To Have Outlived Tone,

"You Tell Them All From Me--You Tell Them All--" And His Finger Tapped

On Soames' Arm, "To Hold On--Hold On--Consols Are Goin' Up," And He

Nodded Thrice.

  

 

"All Right!" Said Soames; "I Will.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 49

"Yes," Said Timothy, And, Fixing His Eyes Again On The     Ceiling, He

Added: "That Fly!"

 

  

Strangely Moved, Soames Looked At The     Cook's Pleasant Fattish Face, All

Little Puckers From Staring At Fires.

 

  

"That'll Do Him A World Of     Good, Sir," She Said.

  

 

A Mutter Came From Timothy, But He Was Clearly Speaking To Himself, And

Soames Went Out With The     Cook.

  

 

"I Wish I Could Make You A Pink Cream, Mr. Soames, Like In Old Days;

You Did So Relish Them. Good-Bye, Sir; It Has Been A Pleasure."

 

 

"Take Care Of     Him, Cook, He Is Old."

 

  

And, Shaking Her Crumpled Hand, He Went Down-Stairs. Smither Was Still

Taking The     Air In The     Doorway.

 

 

 "What Do You Think Of     Him, Mr. Soames?"

  

 

"H'm!" Soames Murmured: "He's Lost Touch."

  

 

"Yes," Said Smither, "I Was Afraid You'd Think That, Coming Fresh Out

Of The     World To See Him Like."

 

  

"Smither," Said Soames, "We're All Indebted To You."

 

  

"Oh, No, Mr. Soames, Don't Say That! It's A Pleasure--He's Such A

Wonderful Man."

 

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 50

"Well, Good-Bye!" Said Soames, And Got Into His Taxi.

 

  

'Going Up!' He Thought; 'Going Up!'

 

  

Reaching The     Hotel At Knightsbridge He Went To Their Sitting-Room, And

Rang For Tea. Neither Of     Them Were In. And Again That Sense Of

Loneliness Came Over Him. These Hotels! What Monstrous Great Places

They Were Now! He Could Remember When There Was Nothing Bigger Than

Long's Or Brown's, Morley's Or The     Tavistock, And The     Heads That Were

Shaken Over The     Langham And The     Grand. Hotels And Clubs--Clubs And

Hotels; No End To Them Now! And Soames, Who Had Just Been Watching At

Lord's A Miracle Of     Tradition And Continuity, Fell Into Reverie Over

The Changes In That London Where He Had Been Born Five-And-Sixty Years

Before. Whether Consols Were Going Up Or Not, London Had Become A

Terrific Property. No Such Property In The     World, Unless It Were New

York! There Was A Lot Of     Hysteria In The     Papers Nowadays; But Any One

Who, Like Himself, Could Remember London Sixty Years Ago, And See It

Now, Realised The     Fecundity And Elasticity Of     Wealth. They Had Only To

Keep Their Heads, And Go At It Steadily. Why! He Remembered

Cobble-Stones, And Stinking Straw On The     Floor Of     Your Cab. And Old

Timothy--What Could He Not Tell Them, If He Had Kept His Memory! Things

Were Unsettled, People In A Funk Or In A Hurry, But Here Were London

And The     Thames, And Out There The     British Empire, And The     Ends Of     The

Earth. "Consols Are Goin' Up!" He Shouldn't Be A Bit Surprised. It Was

The Breed That Counted. And All That Was Bull-Dogged In Soames Stared

For A Moment Out Of     His Grey Eyes, Till Diverted By The     Print Of     A

Victorian Picture On The     Walls. The     Hotel Had Bought Three Dozen Of

That Little Lot! The     Old Hunting Or "Rake's Progress" Prints In The     Old

Inns Were Worth Looking At--But This Sentimental Stuff--Well,

Victorianism Had Gone! "Tell Them To Hold On!" Old Timothy Had Said.

But To What Were They To Hold On In This Modern Welter Of     The

"Democratic Principle"? Why, Even Privacy Was Threatened! And At The

Thought That Privacy Might Perish, Soames Pushed Back His Teacup And

Went To The     Window. Fancy Owning No More Of     Nature Than The     Crowd Out

There Owned Of     The     Flowers And Trees And Waters Of     Hyde Park! No, No!

Private Possession Underlay Everything Worth Having.

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 51

The     World Had

Slipped Its Sanity A Bit, As Dogs Now And Again At Full Moon Slipped

Theirs And Went Off For A Night's Rabbiting; But The     World, Like The

Dog, Knew Where Its Bread Was Buttered And Its Bed Warm, And Would Come

Back Sure Enough To The     Only Home Worth Having--To Private Ownership.

The World Was In Its Second Childhood For The     Moment, Like Old

Timothy--Eating Its Titbit First!

 

  

He Heard A Sound Behind Him, And Saw That His Wife And Daughter Had

Come In.

 

  

"So You're Back!" He Said.

 

  

Fleur Did Not Answer; She Stood For A Moment Looking At Him And Her

Mother, Then Passed Into Her Bedroom. Annette Poured Herself Out A Cup

Of Tea.

  

 

"I Am Going To Paris, To My Mother, Soames."

 

  

"Oh! To Your Mother?"

 

  

"Yes."

 

  

"For How Long?"

  

 

"I Do Not Know."

  

 

"And When Are You Going?"

 

 

 "On Monday."

Part II XI (Timothy Prophesies) Pg 52

Was She Really Going To Her Mother? Odd, How Indifferent He Felt! Odd,

How Clearly She Had Perceived The     Indifference He Would Feel So Long As

There Was No Scandal. And Suddenly Between Her And Himself He Saw

Distinctly The     Face He Had Seen That Afternoon--Irene's.

  

 

"Will You Want Money?"

 

 

"Thank You; I Have Enough."

  

 

"Very Well. Let Us Know When You Are Coming Back."

 

  

Annette Put Down The     Cake She Was Fingering, And, Looking Up Through

Darkened Lashes, Said:

 

  

"Shall I Give Maman Any Message?"

 

  

"My Regards."

  

 

Annette Stretched Herself, Her Hands On Her Waist, And Said In French:

 

  

"What Luck That You Have Never Loved Me, Soames!" Then Rising, She Too

Left The     Room. Soames Was Glad She Had Spoken It In French--It Seemed

To Require No Dealing With. Again That Other Face--Pale, Dark-Eyed,

Beautiful Still! And There Stirred Far Down Within Him The     Ghost Of

Warmth, As From Sparks Lingering Beneath A Mound Of     Flaky Ash. And

Fleur Infatuated With Her Boy! Queer Chance! Yet, Was There Such A

Thing As Chance? A Man Went Down A Street, A Brick Fell On His Head.

Ah! That Was Chance, No Doubt. But This! "Inherited," His Girl Had

Said. She--She Was "Holding On!"

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 53

 

 

 

Twofold Impulse Had Made Jolyon Say To His Wife At Breakfast: "Let's Go

Up To Lord's!"

  

 

"Wanted"--Something To Abate The     Anxiety In Which Those Two Had Lived

During The     Sixty Hours Since Jon Had Brought Fleur Down. "Wanted"--Too,

That Which Might Assuage The     Pangs Of     Memory In One Who Knew He Might

Lose Them Any Day!

 

  

Fifty-Eight Years Ago Jolyon Had Become An Eton Boy, For Old Jolyon's

Whim Had Been That He Should Be Canonised At The     Greatest Possible

Expense. Year After Year He Had Gone To Lord's From Stanhope Gate With

A Father Whose Youth In The     Eighteen-Twenties Had Been Passed Without

Polish In The     Game Of     Cricket. Old Jolyon Would Speak Quite Openly Of

Swipes, Full Tosses, Half And Three-Quarter Balls; And Young Jolyon

With The     Guileless Snobbery Of     Youth Had Trembled Lest His Sire Should

Be Overheard. Only In This Supreme Matter Of     Cricket He Had Been

Nervous, For His Father--In Crimean Whiskers Then--Had Ever Impressed

Him As The     Beau Ideal. Though Never Canonised Himself, Old Jolyon's

Natural Fastidiousness And Balance Had Saved Him From The     Errors Of     The

Vulgar. How Delicious, After Howling In A Top Hat And A Sweltering

Heat, To Go Home With His Father In A Hansom Cab, Bathe, Dress, And

Forth To The     "Disunion" Club, To Dine Off Whitebait, Cutlets, And A

Tart, And Go--Two "Swells," Old And Young, In Lavender Kid Gloves--To

The Opera Or Play. And On Sunday, When The     Match Was Over, And His Top

Hat Duly Broken, Down With His Father In A Special Hansom To The     "Crown

And Sceptre," And The     Terrace Above The     River--The Golden Sixties When

The World Was Simple, Dandies Glamorous, Democracy Not Born, And The

Books Of     Whyte Melville Coming Thick And Fast.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 54

A Generation Later, With His Own Boy, Jolly, Harrow--Buttonholed With

Cornflowers--By Old Jolyon's Whim His Grandson Had Been Canonised At A

Trifle Less Expense--Again Jolyon Had Experienced The     Heat And

Counter-Passions Of     The     Day, And Come Back To The     Cool And The

Strawberry Beds Of     Robin Hill, And Billiards After Dinner, His Boy

Making The     Most Heart-Breaking Flukes And Trying To Seem Languid And

Grown-Up. Those Two Days Each Year He And His Son Had Been Alone

Together In The     World, One On Each Side--And Democracy Just Born!

 

 

 And So, He Had Unearthed A Grey Top Hat, Borrowed A Tiny Bit Of

Light-Blue Ribbon From Irene, And Gingerly, Keeping Cool, By Car And

Train And Taxi, Had Reached Lord's Ground. There, Beside Her In A

Lawn-Coloured Frock With Narrow Black Edges, He Had Watched The     Game,

And Felt The     Old Thrill Stir Within Him.

  

 

When Soames Passed, The     Day Was Spoiled, And Irene's Face Distorted By

Compression Of     The     Lips. No Good To Go On Sitting Here With Soames Or

Perhaps His Daughter Recurring In Front Of     Them, Like Decimals. And He

Said:

  

 

"Well, Dear, If You've Had Enough--Let's Go!"

 

  

That Evening Jolyon Felt Exhausted. Not Wanting Her To See Him Thus, He

Waited Till She Had Begun To Play, And Stole Off To The     Little Study.

He Opened The     Long Window For Air, And The     Door, That He Might Still

Hear Her Music Drifting In; And, Settled In His Father's Old Armchair,

Closed His Eyes, With His Head Against The     Worn Brown Leather. Like

That Passage Of     The     Cesar Franck Sonata--So Had Been His Life With Her,

A Divine Third Movement. And Now This Business Of     Jon's--This Bad

Business! Drifted To The     Edge Of     Consciousness, He Hardly Knew If It

Were In Sleep That He Smelled The     Scent Of     A Cigar, And Seemed To See A

Shape In The     Blackness Before His Closed Eyes.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 55

That Shape Formed, Went,

And Formed Again; As If In The     Very Chair Where He Himself Was Sitting,

He Saw His Father, Black-Coated, With Knees Crossed, Glasses Balanced

Between Thumb And Finger; Saw The     Big White Moustaches, And The     Deep

Eyes Looking Up Below A Dome Of     Forehead, Seeming To Search His Own;

Seeming To Speak. "Are You Facing It, Jo? It's For You To Decide. She's

Only A Woman!" How Well He Knew His Father In That Phrase; How All The

Victorian Age Came Up With It!--And His Answer "No, I've Funked

It--Funked Hurting Her And Jon And Myself. I've Got A Heart; I've

Funked It." But The     Old Eyes, So Much Older, So Much Younger Than His

Own, Kept At It: "It's Your Wife, Your Son, Your Past. Tackle It, My

Boy!" Was It A Message From Walking Spirit; Or But The     Instinct Of     His

Sire Living On Within Him? And Again Came That Scent Of     Cigar

Smoke--From The     Old Saturated Leather. Well! He Would Tackle It, Write

To Jon, And Put The     Whole Thing Down In Black And White! And Suddenly

He Breathed With Difficulty, With A Sense Of     Suffocation, As If His

Heart Were Swollen. He Got Up And Went Out Into The     Air. Orion's Belt

Was Very Bright. He Passed Along The     Terrace Round The     Corner Of     The

House, Till, Through The     Window Of     The     Music-Room, He Could See Irene

At The     Piano, With Lamplight Falling On Her Powdery Hair; Withdrawn

Into Herself She Seemed, Her Dark Eyes Staring Straight Before Her, Her

Hands Idle. Jolyon Saw Her Raise Those Hands And Clasp Them Over Her

Breast. 'It's Jon, With Her,' He Thought; 'All Jon! I'm Dying Out Of

Her--It's Natural!'

 

  

And, Careful Not To Be Seen, He Stole Back.

 

  

Next Day, After A Bad Night, He Sat Down To His Task. He Wrote With

Difficulty And Many Erasures.

 

   

"My Dearest Boy,

 

  

"You Are Old Enough To Understand How Very Difficult It Is For Elders

To Give Themselves Away To Their Young. Especially When--Like Your

Mother And Myself, Though I Shall Never Think Of     Her As Anything But

Young--Their Hearts Are Altogether Set On Him To Whom They Must

Confess. I Cannot Say We Are Conscious Of     Having Sinned Exactly--People

In Real Life Very Seldom Are, I Believe, But Most Persons Would Say We

Had, And At All Events Our Conduct, Righteous Or Not, Has Found Us Out.

The Truth Is, My Dear, We Both Have Pasts, Which It Is Now My Task To

Make Known To You, Because They So Grievously And Deeply Affect Your

Future. Many, Very Many Years Ago, As Far Back Indeed As 1883, When She

Was Only Twenty, Your Mother Had The     Great And Lasting Misfortune To

Make An Unhappy Marriage--No, Not With Me, Jon.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 56

Without Money Of     Her

Own, And With Only A Stepmother--Closely Related To Jezebel--She Was

Very Unhappy In Her Home Life. It Was Fleur's Father That She Married,

My Cousin Soames Forsyte. He Had Pursued Her Very Tenaciously And To Do

Him Justice Was Deeply In Love With Her. Within A Week She Knew The

Fearful Mistake She Had Made. It Was Not His Fault; It Was Her Error Of

Judgment--Her Misfortune."

 

   

So Far Jolyon Had Kept Some Semblance Of     Irony, But Now His Subject

Carried Him Away.

 

  

 "Jon, I Want To Explain To You If I Can--And It's Very Hard--How It Is

That An Unhappy Marriage Such As This Can So Easily Come About. You

Will Of     Course Say: 'If She Didn't Really Love Him How Could She Ever

Have Married Him?' You Would Be Quite Right If It Were Not For One Or

Two Rather Terrible Considerations. From This Initial Mistake Of     Hers

All The     Subsequent Trouble, Sorrow, And Tragedy Have Come, And So I

Must Make It Clear To You If I Can. You See, Jon, In Those Days And

Even To This Day--Indeed, I Don't See, For All The     Talk Of

Enlightenment, How It Can Well Be Otherwise--Most Girls Are Married

Ignorant Of     The     Sexual Side Of     Life. Even If They Know What It Means

They Have Not Experienced It. That's The     Crux. It Is This Actual Lack

Of Experience, Whatever Verbal Knowledge They Have, Which Makes All The

Difference And All The     Trouble. In A Vast Number Of     Marriages--And Your

Mother's Was One--Girls Are Not And Cannot Be Certain Whether They Love

The Man They Marry Or Not; They Do Not Know Until After That Act Of

Union Which Makes The     Reality Of     Marriage. Now, In Many, Perhaps In

Most Doubtful Cases, This Act Cements And Strengthens The     Attachment,

But In Other Cases, And Your Mother's Was One, It Is A Revelation Of

Mistake, A Destruction Of     Such Attraction As There Was. There Is

Nothing More Tragic In A Woman's Life Than Such A Revelation, Growing

Daily, Nightly Clearer. Coarse-Grained And Unthinking People Are Apt To

Laugh At Such A Mistake, And Say 'What A Fuss About Nothing!' Narrow

And Self-Righteous People, Only Capable Of     Judging The     Lives Of     Others

By Their Own, Are Apt To Condemn Those Who Make This Tragic Error, To

Condemn Them For Life To The     Dungeons They Have Made For Themselves.

You Know The     Expression: 'She Has Made Her Bed, She Must Lie On It!' It

Is A Hard-Mouthed Saying, Quite Unworthy Of     A Gentleman Or Lady In The

Best Sense Of     Those Words; And I Can Use No Stronger Condemnation. I

Have Not Been What Is Called A Moral Man, But I Wish To Use No Words To

You, My Dear, Which Will Make You Think Lightly Of     Ties Or Contracts

Into Which You Enter.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 57

Heaven Forbid! But With The     Experience Of     A Life

Behind Me I Do Say That Those Who Condemn The     Victims Of     These Tragic

Mistakes, Condemn Them And Hold Out No Hands To Help Them, Are Inhuman

Or Rather They Would Be If They Had The     Understanding To Know What They

Are Doing. But They Haven't! Let Them Go! They Are As Much Anathema To

Me As I, No Doubt, Am To Them. I Have Had To Say All This, Because I Am

Going To Put You Into A Position To Judge Your Mother, And You Are Very

Young, Without Experience Of     What Life Is. To Go On With The     Story.

After Three Years Of     Effort To Subdue Her Shrinking--I Was Going To Say

Her Loathing And It's Not Too Strong A Word, For Shrinking Soon Becomes

Loathing Under Such Circumstances--Three Years Of     What To A Sensitive,

Beauty-Loving Nature Like Your Mother's, Jon, Was Torment, She Met A

Young Man Who Fell In Love With Her. He Was The     Architect Of     This Very

House That We Live In Now, He Was Building It For Her And Fleur's

Father To Live In, A New Prison To Hold Her, In Place Of     The     One She

Inhabited With Him In London. Perhaps That Fact Played Some Part In

What Came Of     It. But In Any Case She, Too, Fell In Love With Him. I

Know It's Not Necessary To Explain To You That One Does Not Precisely

Choose With Whom One Will Fall In Love. It Comes. Very Well! It Came. I

Can Imagine--Though She Never Said Much To Me About It--The Struggle

That Then Took Place In Her, Because, Jon, She Was Brought Up Strictly

And Was Not Light In Her Ideas--Not At All. However, This Was An

Overwhelming Feeling, And It Came To Pass That They Loved In Deed As

Well As In Thought. Then Came A Fearful Tragedy. I Must Tell You Of     It

Because If I Don't You Will Never Understand The     Real Situation That

You Have Now To Face. The     Man Whom She Had Married--Soames Forsyte, The

Father Of     Fleur--One Night, At The     Height Of     Her Passion For This Young

Man, Forcibly Reasserted His Rights Over Her. The     Next Day She Met Her

Lover And Told Him Of     It. Whether He Committed Suicide Or Whether He

Was Accidentally Run Over In His Distraction, We Never Knew; But So It

Was. Think Of     Your Mother As She Was That Evening When She Heard Of     His

Death. I Happened To See Her. Your Grand-Father Sent Me To Help Her If

I Could. I Only Just Saw Her, Before The     Door Was Shut Against Me By

Her Husband. But I Have Never Forgotten Her Face, I Can See It Now. I

Was Not In Love With Her Then, Nor For Twelve Years After, But I Have

Never Forgotten. My Dear Boy--It Is Not Easy To Write Like This. But

You See, I Must. Your Mother Is Wrapped Up In You, Utterly, Devotedly.

I Don't Wish To Write Harshly Of     Soames Forsyte. I Don't Think Harshly

Of Him. I Have Long Been Sorry For Him; Perhaps I Was Sorry Even Then.

As The     World Judges She Was In Error, He Was Within His Rights. He

Loved Her--In His Way. She Was His Property.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 58

That Is The     View He Holds

Of Life--Of Human Feelings And Hearts--Property. It's Not His Fault--So

Was He Born! To Me It Is A View That Has Always Been Abhorrent--So Was

I Born! Knowing You As I Do, I Feel It Cannot Be Otherwise Than

Abhorrent To You. Let Me Go On With The     Story. Your Mother Fled From

His House That Night; For Twelve Years She Lived Quietly Alone Without

Companionship Of     Any Sort, Until, In 1899 Her Husband--You See, He Was

Still Her Husband, For He Did Not Attempt To Divorce Her, And She Of

Course Had No Right To Divorce Him, Became Conscious, It Seems, Of     The

Want Of     Children, And Commenced A Long Attempt To Induce Her To Go Back

To Him And Give Him A Child. I Was Her Trustee Then, Under Your

Grandfather's Will, And I Watched This Going On. While Watching, I

Became Devotedly Attached To Her. His Pressure Increased, Till One Day

She Came To Me Here And Practically Put Herself Under My Protection.

Her Husband, Who Was Kept Informed Of     All Her Movements, Attempted To

Force Us Apart By Bringing A Divorce Suit, Or At All Events By

Threatening One; Anyway Our Names Were Publicly Joined. That Decided

Us, And We Became United In Fact. She Was Divorced, Married Me, And You

Were Born. We Have Lived In Perfect Happiness, At Least I Have, And I

Believe Your Mother Also. Soames, Soon After The     Divorce, Married

Fleur's Mother, And She Was Born. That Is The     Story, Jon. I Have Told

It You, Because By The     Affection Which We See You Have Formed For This

Man's Daughter You Are Blindly Moving Towards What Must Utterly Destroy

Your Mother's Happiness, If Not Your Own. I Don't Wish To Speak Of

Myself, Because At My Age There's No Use Supposing I Shall Cumber The

Ground Much Longer, Besides, What I Should Suffer Would Be Mainly On

Her Account, And On Yours. But What I Want You To Realise Is That

Feelings Of     Horror And Aversion Such As Those Can Never Be Buried Or

Forgotten. They Are Alive In Her To-Day. Only Yesterday At Lord's We

Happened To See Soames Forsyte. Her Face, If You Had Seen It, Would

Have Convinced You. The     Idea That You Should Marry His Daughter Is A

Nightmare To Her, Jon. I Have Nothing To Say Against Fleur Save That

She Is His Daughter. But Your Children, If You Married Her, Would Be

The Grandchildren Of     Soames, As Much As Of     Your Mother, Of     A Man Who

Once Owned Your Mother As A Man Might Own A Slave. Think What That

Would Mean. By Such A Marriage You Enter The     Camp Which Held Your

Mother Prisoner And Wherein She Ate Her Heart Out. You Are Just On The

Threshold Of     Life, You Have Only Known This Girl Two Months, And

However Deeply You Think You Love Her, I Appeal To You To Break It Off

At Once. Don't Give Your Mother This Rankling Pain And Humiliation

During The     Rest Of     Her Life. Young Though She Will Always Seem To Me,

She Is Fifty-Seven. Except For Us Two She Has No One In The     World. She

Will Soon Have Only You. Pluck Up Your Spirit, Jon, And Break Away.

Don't Put This Cloud And Barrier Between You. Don't Break Her Heart!

Bless You, My Dear Boy, And Again Forgive Me For All The     Pain This

Letter Must Bring You--We Tried To Spare It You, But Spain--It

Seems--Was No Good.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 59

Ever Your Devoted Father

 

 

Jolyon Forsyte."

  

  

Having Finished His Confession, Jolyon Sat With A Thin Cheek On His

Hand, Re-Reading. There Were Things In It Which Hurt Him So Much, When

He Thought Of     Jon Reading Them--That He Nearly Tore The     Letter Up. To

Speak Of     Such Things At All To A Boy--His Own Boy--To Speak Of     Them In

Relation To His Own Wife And The     Boy's Own Mother, Seemed Dreadful To

The Reticence Of     His Forsyte Soul. And Yet Without Speaking Of     Them How

Make Jon Understand The     Reality, The     Deep Cleavage, The     Ineffaceable

Scar? Without Them, How Justify This Stifling Of     The     Boy's Love? He

Might Just As Well Not Write At All!

 

  

He Folded The     Confession, And Put It In His Pocket. It Was--Thank

Heaven!--Saturday; He Had Till Sunday Evening To Think It Over; For

Even If Posted Now It Could Not Reach Jon Till Monday. He Felt A

Curious Relief At This Delay, And At The     Fact That, Whether Sent Or

Not, It Was Written.

 

 

 In The     Rose Garden, Which Had Taken The     Place Of     The     Old Fernery, He

Could See Irene Snipping And Pruning, With A Little Basket On Her Arm.

She Was Never Idle, It Seemed To Him, And He Envied Her Now That He

Himself Was Idle Nearly All His Time. He Went Down To Her. She Held Up

A Stained Glove And Smiled. A Piece Of     Lace Tied Under Her Chin

Concealed Her Hair, And Her Oval Face With Its Still Dark Brows Looked

Very Young.

 

  

"The Green Fly Are Awful This Year, And Yet It's Cold. You Look Tired,

Jolyon."

 

  

Jolyon Took The     Confession From His Pocket. "I've Been Writing This.

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 60

I

Think You Ought To See It."

 

 

 "To Jon?" Her Whole Face Had Changed, In That Instant, Becoming Almost

Haggard.

 

 

 "Yes; The     Murder's Out."

  

 

He Gave It Her, And Walked Away Among The     Roses. Presently, Seeing That

She Had Finished Reading And Was Standing Quite Still With The     Sheets

Of The     Letter Against Her Skirt, He Came Back To Her.

  

 

"Well?"

 

 

 "It's Wonderfully Put. I Don't See How It Could Be Put Better. Thank

You, Dear."

 

 

"Is There Anything You Would Like Left Out?"

  

 

She Shook Her Head.

 

 

"No; He Must Know All, If He's To Understand."

 

  

"That's What I Thought, But I Hate It Like The     Devil!"

  

 

He Had The     Feeling That He Hated It More Than She--To Him Sex Was So

Much Easier To Mention Between Man And Woman Than Between Man And Man;

And She Had Always Been More Natural And Frank, Not Deeply Secretive

Like His Forsyte Self.

 

 

"I Wonder If He Will Understand, Even Now, Jolyon? He's So Young; And

He Shrinks From The     Physical."

Part III I (Old Jolyon Walks) Pg 61

"He Gets That Shrinking From My Father, He Was As Fastidious As A Girl

In All Such Matters. Would It Be Better To Rewrite The     Whole Thing, And

Just Say You Hated Soames?"

 

  

Irene Shook Her Head.

 

 

"Hate's Only A Word. It Conveys Nothing. No, Better As It Is."

  

 

"Very Well. It Shall Go To-Morrow."

Part III II (Confession) Pg 62

 

 

 

Late That Same Afternoon, Jolyon Had A Nap In The     Old Armchair. Face

Down On His Knee Was La Rotisserie De La Reine Pedaugue, And Just

Before He Fell Asleep He Had Been Thinking: 'As A People Shall We Ever

Really Like The     French? Will They Ever Really Like Us?' He Himself Had

Always Liked The     French, Feeling At Home With Their Wit, Their Taste,

Their Cooking. Irene And He Had Paid Many Visits To France Before The

War, When Jon Had Been At His Private School. His Romance With Her Had

Begun In Paris--His Last And Most Enduring Romance. But The     French--No

Englishman Could Like Them Who Could Not See Them In Some Sort With The

Detached Aesthetic Eye! And With That Melancholy Conclusion He Had

Nodded Off.

 

  

When He Woke He Saw Jon Standing Between Him And The     Window.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 63

The     Boy

Had Evidently Come In From The     Garden And Was Waiting For Him To Wake.

Jolyon Smiled, Still Half Asleep. How Nice The     Chap Looked-Sensitive,

Affectionate, Straight! Then His Heart Gave A Nasty Jump; And A Quaking

Sensation Overcame Him. That Confession! He Controlled Himself With An

Effort. "Why, Jon, Where Did You Spring From?"

 

  

Jon Bent Over And Kissed His Forehead.

 

  

Only Then He Noticed The     Look On The     Boy's Face.

 

  

"I Came Home To Tell You Something, Dad."

 

 

With All His Might Jolyon Tried To Get The     Better Of     The     Jumping,

Gurgling Sensations Within His Chest.

 

 

 "Well, Sit Down, Old Man. Have You Seen Your Mother?"

 

  

"No." The     Boy's Flushed Look Gave Place To Pallor; He Sat Down On The

Arm Of     The     Old Chair, As, In Old Days, Jolyon Himself Used To Sit

Beside His Own Father, Installed In Its Recesses. Right Up To The     Time

Of The     Rupture In Their Relations He Had Been Wont To Perch There--Had

He Now Reached Such A Moment With His Own Son? All His Life He Had

Hated Scenes Like Poison, Avoided Rows, Gone On His Own Way Quietly And

Let Others Go On Theirs. But Now--It Seemed--At The     Very End Of     Things,

He Had A Scene Before Him More Painful Than Any He Had Avoided. He Drew

A Visor Down Over His Emotion, And Waited For His Son To Speak.

  

 

"Father," Said Jon Slowly, "Fleur And I Are Engaged."

 

  

'Exactly!' Thought Jolyon, Breathing With Difficulty.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 64

"I Know That You And Mother Don't Like The     Idea. Fleur Says That Mother

Was Engaged To Her Father Before You Married Her. Of     Course I Don't

Know What Happened, But It Must Be Ages Ago. I'm Devoted To Her, Dad,

And She Says She Is To Me."

  

 

Jolyon Uttered A Queer Sound, Half Laugh, Half Groan.

 

  

"You Are Nineteen, Jon, And I Am Seventy-Two. How Are We To Understand

Each Other In A Matter Like This, Eh?"

  

 

"You Love Mother, Dad; You Must Know What We Feel. It Isn't Fair To Us

To Let Old Things Spoil Our Happiness, Is It?"

 

 

Brought Face To Face With His Confession, Jolyon Resolved To Do Without

It If By Any Means He Could. He Laid His Hand On The     Boy's Arm.

 

 

"Look, Jon! I Might Put You Off With Talk About Your Both Being Too

Young And Not Knowing Your Own Minds, And All That, But You Wouldn't

Listen; Besides, It Doesn't Meet The     Case--Youth, Unfortunately, Cures

Itself. You Talk Lightly About 'Old Things Like That,' Knowing

Nothing--As You Say Truly--Of What Happened. Now, Have I Ever Given You

Reason To Doubt My Love For You, Or My Word?"

 

  

At A Less Anxious Moment He Might Have Been Amused By The     Conflict His

Words Aroused--The Boy's Eager Clasp, To Reassure Him On These Points,

The Dread On His Face Of     What That Reassurance Would Bring Forth; But

He Could Only Feel Grateful For The     Squeeze.

 

  

"Very Well, You Can Believe What I Tell You. If You Don't Give Up This

Love Affair, You Will Make Mother Wretched To The     End Of     Her Days.

Believe Me, My Dear, The     Past, Whatever It Was, Can't Be Buried--It

Can't Indeed."

 

  

Jon Got Off The     Arm Of     The     Chair.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 65

'The Girl--' Thought Jolyon--'There She Goes--Starting Up Before

Him--Life Itself--Eager, Pretty, Loving!'

 

  

"I Can't, Father; How Can I--Just Because You Say That? Of     Course I

Can't!"

 

  

"Jon, If You Knew The     Story You Would Give This Up Without Hesitation;

You Would Have To! Can't You Believe Me?"

 

  

"How Can You Tell What I Should Think? Why, I Love Her Better Than

Anything In The     World."

  

 

Jolyon's Face Twitched, And He Said With Painful Slowness:

 

  

"Better Than Your Mother, Jon?"

 

 

From The     Boy's Face, And His Clenched Fists Jolyon Realised The     Stress

And Struggle He Was Going Through.

 

  

"I Don't Know," He Burst Out, "I Don't Know! But To Give Fleur Up For

Nothing--For Something I Don't Understand, For Something That I Don't

Believe Can Really Matter Half So Much, Will Make Me--Make Me--"

  

 

"Make You Feel Us Unjust, Put A Barrier--Yes. But That's Better Than

Going On With This."

 

  

"I Can't. Fleur Loves Me, And I Love Her. You Want Me To Trust You; Why

Don't You Trust Me, Father? We Wouldn't Want To Know Anything--We

Wouldn't Let It Make Any Difference. It'll Only Make Us Both Love You

And Mother All The     More."

Part III II (Confession) Pg 66

Jolyon Put His Hand Into His Breast Pocket, But Brought It Out Again

Empty, And Sat, Clucking His Tongue Against His Teeth.

 

  

"Think What Your Mother's Been To You, Jon! She Has Nothing But You; I

Shan't Last Much Longer."

 

  

"Why Not? It Isn't Fair To--Why Not?"

  

 

"Well," Said Jolyon, Rather Coldly, "Because The     Doctors Tell Me I

Shan't; That's All."

 

 

"Oh! Dad!" Cried Jon, And Burst Into Tears.

 

  

This Downbreak Of     His Son, Whom He Had Not Seen Cry Since He Was Ten,

Moved Jolyon Terribly. He Recognised To The     Full How Fearfully Soft The

Boy's Heart Was, How Much He Would Suffer In This Business, And In Life

Generally. And He Reached Out His Hand Helplessly--Not Wishing, Indeed

Not Daring To Get Up.

 

  

"Dear Man," He Said, "Don't--Or You'll Make Me!"

 

  

Jon Smothered Down His Paroxysm, And Stood With Face Averted, Very

Still.

 

  

'What Now?' Thought Jolyon; 'What Can I Say To Move Him?'

 

  

"By The     Way, Don't Speak Of     That To Mother," He Said; "She Has Enough

To Scare Her With This Affair Of     Yours. I Know How You Feel. But, Jon,

You Know Her And Me Well Enough To Be Sure We Wouldn't Wish To Spoil

Your Happiness Lightly.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 67

Why, My Dear Boy, We Don't Care For Anything

But Your Happiness--At Least, With Me It's Just Yours And Mother's And

With Her Just Yours. It's All The     Future For You Both That's At Stake."

  

 

Jon Turned. His Face Was Deadly Pale; His Eyes, Deep In His Head,

Seemed To Burn.

  

 

"What Is It? What Is It? Don't Keep Me Like This!"

 

  

Jolyon, Who Knew That He Was Beaten, Thrust His Hand Again Into His

Breast Pocket, And Sat For A Full Minute, Breathing With Difficulty,

His Eyes Closed. The     Thought Passed Through His Mind: 'I've Had A Good

Long Innings--Some Pretty Bitter Moments--This Is The     Worst!' Then He

Brought His Hand Out With The     Letter, And Said With A Sort Of     Fatigue:

"Well, Jon, If You Hadn't Come To-Day, I Was Going To Send You This. I

Wanted To Spare You--I Wanted To Spare Your Mother And Myself, But I

See It's No Good. Read It, And I Think I'll Go Into The     Garden." He

Reached Forward To Get Up.

  

 

Jon, Who Had Taken The     Letter, Said Quickly: "No, I'll Go"; And Was

Gone.

  

 

Jolyon Sank Back In His Chair. A Blue-Bottle Chose That Moment To Come

Buzzing Round Him With A Sort Of     Fury; The     Sound Was Homely, Better

Than Nothing.... Where Had The     Boy Gone To Read His Letter? The

Wretched Letter--The Wretched Story! A Cruel Business--Cruel To Her--To

Soames--To Those Two Children--To Himself!... His Heart Thumped And

Pained Him. Life--Its Loves--Its Work--Its Beauty--Its Aching, And--Its

End! A Good Time; A Fine Time In Spite Of     All; Until--You Regretted

That You Had Ever Been Born. Life--It Wore You Down, Yet Did Not Make

You Want To Die--That Was The     Cunning Evil! Mistake To Have A Heart!

Again The     Blue-Bottle Came Buzzing--Bringing In All The     Heat And Hum

And Scent Of     Summer--Yes, Even The     Scent--As Of     Ripe Fruits, Dried

Grasses, Sappy Shrubs, And The     Vanilla Breath Of     Cows. And Out There

Somewhere In The     Fragrance Jon Would Be Reading That Letter, Turning

And Twisting Its Pages In His Trouble, His Bewilderment And

Trouble-Breaking His Heart About It! The     Thought Made Jolyon Acutely

Miserable.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 68

Jon Was Such A Tender-Hearted Chap, Affectionate To His

Bones, And Conscientious, Too--It Was So Damned Unfair! He Remembered

Irene Saying To Him Once: "Never Was Any One Born More Loving And

Lovable Than Jon." Poor Little Jon! His World Gone Up The     Spout, All Of

A Summer Afternoon! Youth Took Things So Hard! And Stirred, Tormented

By That Vision Of     Youth Taking Things Hard, Jolyon Got Out Of     His

Chair, And Went To The     Window. The     Boy Was Nowhere Visible. And He

Passed Out. If One Could Take Any Help To Him Now--One Must!

 

 

 He Traversed The     Shrubbery, Glanced Into The     Walled Garden--No Jon! Nor

Where The     Peaches And The     Apricots Were Beginning To Swell And Colour.

He Passed The     Cupressus-Trees, Dark And Spiral, Into The     Meadow. Where

Had The     Boy Got To? Had He Rushed Down To The     Coppice--His Old

Hunting-Ground? Jolyon Crossed The     Rows Of     Hay. They Would Cock It On

Monday And Be Carrying The     Day After, If Rain Held Off. Often They Had

Crossed This Field Together--Hand In Hand, When Jon Was A Little Chap.

Dash It! The     Golden Age Was Over By The     Time One Was Ten! He Came To

The Pond, Where Flies And Gnats Were Dancing Over A Bright Reedy

Surface; And On Into The     Coppice. It Was Cool There, Fragrant Of

Larches. Still No Jon! He Called. No Answer! On The     Log Seat He Sat

Down, Nervous, Anxious, Forgetting His Own Physical Sensations. He Had

Been Wrong To Let The     Boy Get Away With That Letter; He Ought To Have

Kept Him Under His Eye From The     Start! Greatly Troubled, He Got Up To

Retrace His Steps. At The     Farm-Buildings He Called Again, And Looked

Into The     Dark Cow-House. There In The     Cool, And The     Scent Of     Vanilla

And Ammonia, Away From Flies, The     Three Alderneys Were Chewing The

Quiet Cud; Just Milked, Waiting For Evening, To Be Turned Out Again

Into The     Lower Field. One Turned A Lazy Head, A Lustrous Eye; Jolyon

Could See The     Slobber On Its Grey Lower Lip. He Saw Everything With

Passionate Clearness, In The     Agitation Of     His Nerves--All That In His

Time He Had Adored And Tried To Paint--Wonder Of     Light And Shade And

Colour. No Wonder The     Legend Put Christ Into A Manger--What More

Devotional Than The     Eyes And Moon-White Horns Of     A Chewing Cow In The

Warm Dusk! He Called Again. No Answer! And He Hurried Away Out Of     The

Coppice, Past The     Pond, Up The     Hill. Oddly Ironical--Now He Came To

Think Of     It--If Jon Had Taken The     Gruel Of     His Discovery Down In The

Coppice Where His Mother And Bosinney In Those Old Days Had Made The

Plunge Of     Acknowledging Their Love.

Part III II (Confession) Pg 69

Where He Himself, On The     Log Seat

The Sunday Morning He Came Back From Paris, Had Realised To The     Full

That Irene Had Become The     World To Him. That Would Have Been The     Place

For Irony To Tear The     Veil From Before The     Eyes Of     Irene's Boy! But He

Was Not Here! Where Had He Got To? One Must Find The     Poor Chap!

 

 

 A Gleam Of     Sun Had Come, Sharpening To His Hurrying Senses All The

Beauty Of     The     Afternoon, Of     The     Tall Trees And Lengthening Shadows, Of

The Blue, And The     White Clouds, The     Scent Of     The     Hay, And The     Cooing Of

The Pigeons; And The     Flower Shapes Standing Tall. He Came To The

Rosary, And The     Beauty Of     The     Roses In That Sudden Sunlight Seemed To

Him Unearthly. "Rose, You Spaniard!" Wonderful Three Words! There She

Had Stood By That Bush Of     Dark Red Roses; Had Stood To Read And Decide

That Jon Must Know It All! He Knew All Now! Had She Chosen Wrong? He

Bent And Sniffed A Rose, Its Petals Brushed His Nose And Trembling

Lips; Nothing So Soft As A Rose-Leaf's Velvet, Except Her Neck--Irene!

On Across The     Lawn He Went, Up The     Slope, To The     Oak-Tree. Its Top

Alone Was Glistening, For The     Sudden Sun Was Away Over The     House; The

Lower Shade Was Thick, Blessedly Cool--He Was Greatly Overheated. He

Paused A Minute With His Hand On The     Rope Of     The     Swing--Jolly,

Holly--Jon! The     Old Swing! And, Suddenly, He Felt Horribly--Deadly Ill.

'I've Overdone It!' He Thought: 'By Jove. I've Overdone It--After All!'

He Staggered Up Towards The     Terrace, Dragged Himself Up The     Steps, And

Fell Against The     Wall Of     The     House. He Leaned There Gasping, His Face

Buried In The     Honeysuckle That He And She Had Taken Such Trouble With

That It Might Sweeten The     Air Which Drifted In. Its Fragrance Mingled

With Awful Pain. 'My Love!' He Thought; 'The Boy!' And With A Great

Effort He Tottered In Through The     Long Window, And Sank Into Old

Jolyon's Chair. The     Book Was There, A Pencil In It; He Caught It Up,

Scribbled A Word On The     Open Page.... His Hand Dropped.... So It Was

Like This--Was It?...

 

 

There Was A Great Wrench; And Darkness....

Part III III (Irene!) Pg 70

 

 

 

When Jon Rushed Away With The     Letter In His Hand, He Ran Along The

Terrace And Round The     Corner Of     The     House, In Fear And Confusion.

Leaning Against The     Creepered Wall He Tore Open The     Letter. It Was

Long--Very Long! This Added To His Fear, And He Began Reading. When He

Came To The     Underlined Words: "It Was Fleur's Father That She Married,"

Everything Swam Before Him. He Was Close To A Window, And Entering By

It, He Passed, Through Music-Room And Hall, Up To His Bedroom. Dipping

His Face In Cold Water, He Sat On His Bed, And Went On Reading,

Dropping Each Finished Page On The     Bed Beside Him. His Father's Writing

Was Easy To Read--He Knew It So Well, Though He Had Never Had A Letter

From Him One Quarter So Long. He Read With A Dull Feeling--Imagination

Only Half At Work. He Best Grasped, On That First Reading, The     Pain His

Father Must Have Had In Writing Such A Letter. He Let The     Last Sheet

Fall, And In A Sort Of     Mental, Moral Helplessness He Began To Read The

First Again. It All Seemed To Him Disgusting--Dead And Disgusting.

Then, Suddenly, A Hot Wave Of     Horrified Emotion Tingled Through Him. He

Buried His Face In His Hands. His Mother! Fleur's Father! He Took Up

The Letter Again, And Read On Mechanically. And Again Came The     Feeling

That It Was All Dead And Disgusting; His Own Love So Different! This

Letter Said His Mother--And Her Father! An Awful Letter!

 

  

Property! Could There Be Men Who Looked On Women As Their Property?

Faces Seen In Street And Countryside Came Thronging Up Before Him--Red,

Stock-Fish Faces; Hard, Dull Faces; Prim, Dry Faces; Violent Faces;

Hundreds, Thousands Of     Them! How Could He Know What Men Who Had Such

Faces Thought And Did? He Held His Head In His Hands And Groaned. His

Mother! He Caught Up The     Letter And Read On Again: "Horror And

Aversion--Alive In Her To-Day ... Your Children ... Grandchildren ...

Of A Man Who Once Owned Your Mother As A Man Might Own A Slave...." He

Got Up From His Bed. This Cruel Shadowy Past, Lurking There To Murder

His Love And Fleur's, Was True, Or His Father Could Never Have Written

It. 'Why Didn't They Tell Me The     First Thing,' He Thought, 'The Day I

First Saw Fleur? They Knew I'd Seen Her.

Part III III (Irene!) Pg 71

They Were Afraid,

And--Now--I've--Got It!' Overcome By Misery Too Acute For Thought Or

Reason, He Crept Into A Dusky Corner Of     The     Room And Sat Down On The

Floor. He Sat There, Like Some Unhappy Little Animal. There Was Comfort

In Dusk, And In The     Floor--As If He Were Back In Those Days When He

Played His Battles Sprawling All Over It. He Sat There Huddled, His

Hair Ruffled, His Hands Clasped Round His Knees, For How Long He Did

Not Know. He Was Wrenched From His Blank Wretchedness By The     Sound Of

The Door Opening From His Mother's Room. The     Blinds Were Down Over The

Windows Of     His Room, Shut Up In His Absence, And From Where He Sat He

Could Only Hear A Rustle, Her Footsteps Crossing, Till Beyond The     Bed

He Saw Her Standing Before His Dressing-Table. She Had Something In Her

Hand. He Hardly Breathed, Hoping She Would Not See Him, And Go Away. He

Saw Her Touch Things On The     Table As If They Had Some Virtue In Them,

Then Face The     Window--Grey From Head To Foot Like A Ghost. The     Least

Turn Of     Her Head, And She Must See Him! Her Lips Moved: "Oh! Jon!" She

Was Speaking To Herself; The     Tone Of     Her Voice Troubled Jon's Heart. He

Saw In Her Hand A Little Photograph. She Held It Towards The     Light,

Looking At It--Very Small. He Knew It--One Of     Himself As A Tiny Boy,

Which She Always Kept In Her Bag. His Heart Beat Fast. And, Suddenly,

As If She Had Heard It, She Turned Her Eyes And Saw Him. At The     Gasp

She Gave, And The     Movement Of     Her Hands Pressing The     Photograph Against

Her Breast, He Said:

 

  

"Yes, It's Me."

 

  

She Moved Over To The     Bed, And Sat Down On It, Quite Close To Him, Her

Hands Still Clasping Her Breast, Her Feet Among The     Sheets Of     The

Letter Which Had Slipped To The     Floor. She Saw Them, And Her Hands

Grasped The     Edge Of     The     Bed. She Sat Very Upright, Her Dark Eyes Fixed

On Him. At Last She Spoke.

 

 

"Well, Jon, You Know, I See."

 

  

"Yes."

Part III III (Irene!) Pg 72

"You've Seen Father?"

 

  

"Yes."

 

  

There Was A Long Silence, Till She Said:

  

 

"Oh! My Darling!"

  

 

"It's All Right." The     Emotions In Him Were So Violent And So Mixed That

He Dared Not Move--Resentment, Despair, And Yet A Strange Yearning For

The Comfort Of     Her Hand On His Forehead.

 

  

"What Are You Going To Do?"

  

 

"I Don't Know."

 

 

There Was Another Long Silence, Then She Got Up. She Stood A Moment,

Very Still, Made A Little Movement With Her Hand, And Said: "My Darling

Boy, My Most Darling Boy, Don't Think Of     Me--Think Of     Yourself." And,

Passing Round The     Foot Of     The     Bed, Went Back Into Her Room.

 

  

Jon Turned--Curled Into A Sort Of     Ball, As Might A Hedgehog--Into The

Corner Made By The     Two Walls.

 

  

He Must Have Been Twenty Minutes There Before A Cry Roused Him. It Came

From The     Terrace Below. He Got Up, Scared. Again Came The     Cry: "Jon!"

His Mother Was Calling! He Ran Out And Down The     Stairs, Through The

Empty Dining-Room Into The     Study. She Was Kneeling Before The     Old

Armchair, And His Father Was Lying Back Quite White, His Head On His

Breast, One Of     His Hands Resting On An Open Book, With A Pencil

Clutched In It--More Strangely Still Than Anything He Had Ever Seen.

Part III III (Irene!) Pg 73

She Looked Round Wildly, And Said:

 

  

"Oh! Jon--He's Dead--He's Dead!"

 

  

Jon Flung Himself Down, And Reaching Over The     Arm Of     The     Chair, Where

He Had Lately Been Sitting, Put His Lips To The     Forehead. Icy Cold! How

Could--How Could Dad Be Dead, When Only An Hour Ago--His Mother's Arms

Were Round The     Knees; Pressing Her Breast Against Them. "Why--Why

Wasn't I With Him?" He Heard Her Whisper. Then He Saw The     Tottering

Word "Irene" Pencilled On The     Open Page, And Broke Down Himself. It Was

His First Sight Of     Human Death, And Its Unutterable Stillness Blotted

From Him All Other Emotion; All Else, Then, Was But Preliminary To

This! All Love And Life, And Joy, Anxiety, And Sorrow, All Movement,

Light And Beauty, But A Beginning To This Terrible White Stillness. It

Made A Dreadful Mark On Him; All Seemed Suddenly Little, Futile, Short.

He Mastered Himself At Last, Got Up, And Raised Her.

 

  

"Mother! Don't Cry--Mother!"

 

 

Some Hours Later, When All Was Done That Had To Be, And His Mother Was

Lying Down, He Saw His Father Alone, On The     Bed, Covered With A White

Sheet. He Stood For A Long Time Gazing At That Face Which Had Never

Looked Angry--Always Whimsical, And Kind. "To Be Kind And Keep Your End

Up--There's Nothing Else In It," He Had Once Heard His Father Say. How

Wonderfully Dad Had Acted Up To That Philosophy! He Understood Now That

His Father Had Known For A Long Time Past That This Would Come

Suddenly--Known, And Not Said A Word. He Gazed With An Awed And

Passionate Reverence. The     Loneliness Of     It--Just To Spare His Mother

And Himself! His Own Trouble Seemed Small While He Was Looking At That

Face. The     Word Scribbled On The     Page! The     Farewell Word! Now His Mother

Had No One But Himself! He Went Up Close To The     Dead Face--Not Changed

At All, And Yet Completely Changed. He Had Heard His Father Say Once

That He Did Not Believe In Consciousness Surviving Death, Or That If It

Did It Might Be Just Survival Till The     Natural Age-Limit Of     The     Body

Had Been Reached--The Natural Term Of     Its Inherent Vitality; So That If

The Body Were Broken By Accident, Excess, Violent Disease,

Consciousness Might Still Persist Till, In The     Course Of     Nature

Uninterfered With, It Would Naturally Have Faded Out. The     Whimsical

Conceit Had Struck Him.

Part III III (Irene!) Pg 74

When The     Heart Failed Like This--Surely It Was

Not Quite Natural! Perhaps His Father's Consciousness Was In The     Room

With Him. Above The     Bed Hung A Picture Of     His Father's Father. Perhaps

His Consciousness, Too, Was Still Alive; And His Brother's--His

Half-Brother, Who Had Died In The     Transvaal. Were They All Gathered

Round This Bed? Jon Kissed The     Forehead, And Stole Back To His Own

Room. The     Door Between It And His Mother's Was Ajar; She Had Evidently

Been In--Everything Was Ready For Him, Even Some Biscuits And Hot Milk,

And The     Letter No Longer On The     Floor. He Ate And Drank, Watching The

Last Light Fade. He Did Not Try To See Into The     Future--Just Stared At

The Dark Branches Of     The     Oak-Tree, Level With His Window, And Felt As

If Life Had Stopped. Once In The     Night, Turning In His Heavy Sleep, He

Was Conscious Of     Something White And Still, Beside His Bed, And Started

Up. His Mother's Voice Said:

 

  

"It's Only I, Jon Dear!" Her Hand Pressed His Forehead Gently Back; Her

White Figure Disappeared.

 

  

Alone! He Fell Heavily Asleep Again, And Dreamed He Saw His Mother's

Name Crawling On His Bed.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 75

 

 

 

The Announcement In The     Times Of     His Cousin Jolyon's Death Affected

Soames Quite Simply. So That Chap Was Gone! There Had Never Been A Time

In Their Two Lives When Love Had Not Been Lost Between Them. That

Quick-Blooded Sentiment Hatred Had Run Its Course Long Since In Soames'

Heart, And He Had Refused To Allow Any Recrudescence, But He Considered

This Early Decease A Piece Of     Poetic Justice.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 76

For Twenty Years The

Fellow Had Enjoyed The     Reversion Of     His Wife And House, And--He Was

Dead! The     Obituary Notice, Which Appeared A Little Later, Paid

Jolyon--He Thought--Too Much Attention. It Spoke Of     That "Diligent And

Agreeable Painter Whose Work We Have Come To Look On As Typical Of     The

Best Late-Victorian Water-Colour Art." Soames, Who Had Almost

Mechanically Preferred Mole, Morpin, And Caswell Baye, And Had Always

Sniffed Quite Audibly When He Came To One Of     His Cousin's On The     Line,

Turned The     Times With A Crackle.

 

  

He Had To Go Up To Town That Morning On Forsyte Affairs, And Was Fully

Conscious Of     Gradman's Glance Sidelong Over His Spectacles. The     Old

Clerk Had About Him An Aura Of     Regretful Congratulation. He Smelled, As

It Were, Of     Old Days. One Could Almost Hear Him Thinking: "Mr. Jolyon,

Ye-Es--Just My Age, And Gone--Dear, Dear! I Dare Say She Feels It. She

Was A Naice-Lookin' Woman. Flesh Is Flesh! They've Given 'Im A Notice

In The     Papers. Fancy!" His Atmosphere In Fact Caused Soames To Handle

Certain Leases And Conversions With Exceptional Swiftness.

 

  

"About That Settlement On Miss Fleur, Mr. Soames?"

 

  

"I've Thought Better Of     That," Answered Soames Shortly.

 

  

"Aoh! I'm Glad Of     That. I Thought You Were A Little Hasty. The     Times Do

Change."

  

 

How This Death Would Affect Fleur Had Begun To Trouble Soames. He Was

Not Certain That She Knew Of     It--She Seldom Looked At The     Paper, Never

At The     Births, Marriages, And Deaths.

 

 

 He Pressed Matters On, And Made His Way To Green Street For Lunch.

Winifred Was Almost Doleful. Jack Cardigan Had Broken A Splashboard, So

Far As One Could Make Out, And Would Not Be "Fit" For Some Time. She

Could Not Get Used To The     Idea.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 77

"Did Profond Ever Get Off?" He Said Suddenly.

 

 

"He Got Off," Replied Winifred, "But Where--I Don't Know."

 

  

Yes, There It Was--Impossible To Tell Anything! Not That He Wanted To

Know. Letters From Annette Were Coming From Dieppe, Where She And Her

Mother Were Staying.

 

 

 "You Saw That Fellow's Death, I Suppose?"

  

 

"Yes," Said Winifred. "I'm Sorry For His Children. He Was Very Amiable."

 

  

Soames Uttered A Rather Queer Sound. A Suspicion Of     The     Old Deep

Truth--That Men Were Judged In This World Rather By What They Were Than

By What They Did--Crept And Knocked Resentfully At The     Back Door Of     His

Mind.

 

  

"I Know There Was A Superstition To That Effect," He Muttered.

  

 

"One Must Do Him Justice Now He's Dead."

  

 

"I Should Like To Have Done Him Justice Before," Said Soames; "But I

Never Had The     Chance. Have You Got A 'Baronetage' Here?"

  

 

"Yes; In That Bottom Row."

 

  

Soames Took Out A Fat Red Book, And Ran Over The     Leaves.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 78

"Mont--Sir Lawrence, 9th Bt. Cr. 1620. E.S. Of     Geoffrey 8th Bt. And

Lavinia Daur. Of     Sir Charles Muskham Bt. Of     Muskham Hall, Shrops: Marr.

1890 Emily, Daur. Of     Conway Charwell Esq. Of     Condaford Grange, Co.

Oxon; 1 Son, Heir Michael Conway, B. 1895, 2 Daurs. Residence:

Lippinghall Manor, Folwell, Bucks: Clubs: Snooks: Coffee House:

Aeroplane. See Bidlicott."

  

 

"H'm!" He Said: "Did You Ever Know A Publisher?"

 

 

"Uncle Timothy."

 

 

"Alive, I Mean."

 

  

"Monty Knew One At His Club. He Brought Him Here To Dinner Once. Monty

Was Always Thinking Of     Writing A Book, You Know, About How To Make

Money On The     Turf. He Tried To Interest That Man."

 

  

"Well?"

  

 

"He Put Him On To A Horse--For The     Two Thousand. We Didn't See Him

Again. He Was Rather Smart, If I Remember."

  

 

"Did It Win?"

 

  

"No; It Ran Last, I Think. You Know Monty Really Was Quite Clever In

His Way.".

  

 

"Was He?" Said Soames. "Can You See Any Connection Between A Sucking

Baronet And Publishing?"

 

  

"People Do All Sorts Of     Things Nowadays," Replied Winifred.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 79

"The Great

Stunt Seems Not To Be Idle--So Different From Our Time. To Do Nothing

Was The     Thing Then. But I Suppose It'll Come Again."

 

  

"This Young Mont That I'm Speaking Of     Is Very Sweet On Fleur. If It

Would Put An End To That Other Affair I Might Encourage It."

 

 

"Has He Got Style?" Asked Winifred.

  

 

"He's No Beauty; Pleasant Enough, With Some Scattered Brains. There's A

Good Deal Of     Land, I Believe. He Seems Genuinely Attached. But I Don't

Know."

  

 

"No," Murmured Winifred; "It's Very Difficult. I Always Found It Best

To Do Nothing. It Is Such A Bore About Jack; Now We Shan't Get Away

Till After Bank Holiday. Well, The     People Are Always Amusing, I Shall

Go Into The     Park And Watch Them."

 

 

 "If I Were You," Said Soames, "I Should Have A Country Cottage, And Be

Out Of     The     Way Of     Holidays And Strikes When You Want."

 

  

"The Country Bores Me," Answered Winifred, "And I Found The     Railway

Strike Quite Exciting."

 

 

 Winifred Had Always Been Noted For Sang-Froid.

 

  

Soames Took His Leave. All The     Way Down To Reading He Debated Whether

He Should Tell Fleur Of     That Boy's Father's Death. It Did Not Alter The

Situation Except That He Would Be Independent Now, And Only Have His

Mother's Opposition To Encounter. He Would Come Into A Lot Of     Money, No

Doubt, And Perhaps The     House--The House Built For Irene And

Himself--The House Whose Architect Had Wrought His Domestic Ruin. His

Daughter--Mistress Of     That House! That Would Be Poetic Justice! Soames

Uttered A Little Mirthless Laugh.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 80

He Had Designed That House To

Re-Establish His Failing Union, Meant It For The     Seat Of     His

Descendants, If He Could Have Induced Irene To Give Him One! Her Son

And Fleur! Their Children Would Be, In Some Sort, Offspring Of     The

Union Between Himself And Her!

  

 

The Theatricality In That Thought Was Repulsive To His Sober Sense. And

Yet--It Would Be The     Easiest And Wealthiest Way Out Of     The     Impasse, Now

That Jolyon Was Gone. The     Juncture Of     Two Forsyte Fortunes Had A Kind

Of Conservative Charm. And She--Irene--Would Be Linked To Him Once

More. Nonsense! Absurd! He Put The     Notion From His Head.

 

  

On Reaching Home He Heard The     Click Of     Billiard-Balls; And Through The

Window Saw Young Mont Sprawling Over The     Table. Fleur, With Her Cue

Akimbo, Was Watching With A Smile. How Pretty She Looked! No Wonder

That Young Fellow Was Out Of     His Mind About Her. A Title--Land! There

Was Little Enough In Land, These Days; Perhaps Less In A Title. The     Old

Forsytes Had Always Had A Kind Of     Contempt For Titles, Rather Remote

And Artificial Things--Not Worth The     Money They Cost, And Having To Do

With The     Court. They Had All Had That Feeling In Differing

Measure--Soames Remembered. Swithin, Indeed, In His Most Expansive Days

Had Once Attended A Levee. He Had Come Away Saying He Shouldn't Go

Again--"All That Small Fry!" It Was Suspected That He Had Looked Too

Big In Knee-Breeches. Soames Remembered How His Own Mother Had Wished

To Be Presented Because Of     The     Fashionable Nature Of     The     Performance,

And How His Father Had Put His Foot Down With Unwonted Decision. What

Did She Want With Such Peacocking--Wasting Time And Money; There Was

Nothing In It!

  

 

The Instinct Which Had Made And Kept The     British Commons The     Chief

Power In The     State, A Feeling That Their Own World Was Good Enough And

A Little Better Than Any Other Because It Was Their World, Had Kept The

Old Forsytes Singularly Free Of     "Flummery," As Nicholas Had Been Wont

To Call It When He Had The     Gout. Soames' Generation, More

Self-Conscious And Ironical, Had Been Saved By A Sense Of     Swithin In

Knee-Breeches. While The     Third And The     Fourth Generation, As It Seemed

To Him, Laughed At Everything.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 81

However, There Was No Harm In The     Young Fellow's Being Heir To A Title

And Estate--A Thing One Couldn't Help. He Entered Quietly, As Mont

Missed His Shot. He Noted The     Young Man's Eyes, Fixed On Fleur Bending

Over In Her Turn; And The     Adoration In Them Almost Touched Him.

 

  

She Paused With The     Cue Poised On The     Bridge Of     Her Slim Hand, And

Shook Her Crop Of     Short Dark Chestnut Hair.

 

 

 "I Shall Never Do It."

 

  

"'Nothing Venture!'"

 

  

"All Right!" The     Cue Struck, The     Ball Rolled. "There!"

 

  

"Bad Luck! Never Mind!"

 

  

Then They Saw Him, And Soames Said: "I'll Mark For You."

 

  

He Sat Down On The     Raised Seat Beneath The     Marker, Trim And Tired,

Furtively Studying Those Two Young Faces. When The     Game Was Over Mont

Came Up To Him. "I've Started In, Sir. Rum Game, Business, Isn't It? I

Suppose You Saw A Lot Of     Human Nature As A Solicitor."

 

  

"I Did."

 

  

"Shall I Tell You What I've Noticed: People Are Quite On The     Wrong

Track In Offering Less Than They Can Afford To Give; They Ought To

Offer More, And Work Backward."

 

  

Soames Raised His Eyebrows.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 82

"Suppose The     More Is Accepted?"

 

  

"That Doesn't Matter A Little Bit," Said Mont; "It's Much More Paying

To Abate A Price Than To Increase It. For Instance, Say We Offer An

Author Good Terms--He Naturally Takes Them. Then We Go Into It, Find We

Can't Publish At A Decent Profit And Tell Him So. He's Got Confidence

In Us Because We've Been Generous To Him, And He Comes Down Like A

Lamb, And Bears Us No Malice. But If We Offer Him Poor Terms At The

Start, He Doesn't Take Them, So We Have To Advance Them To Get Him, And

He Thinks Us Damned Screws Into The     Bargain."

 

  

"Try Buying Pictures On That System"; Said Soames, "An Offer Accepted

Is A Contract--Haven't You Learned That?"

 

 

Young Mont Turned His Head To Where Fleur Was Standing In The     Window.

 

 

 

"No," He Said, "I Wish I Had. Then There's Another Thing. Always Let A

Man Off A Bargain If He Wants To Be Let Off."

 

  

"As Advertisement?" Said Soames Dryly.

 

  

"Of Course It Is; But I Meant On Principle."

  

 

"Does Your Firm Work On Those Lines?"

 

  

"Not Yet," Said Mont, "But It'll Come."

 

 

"And They Will Go."

 

  

"No, Really, Sir. I'm Making Any Number Of     Observations, And They All

Confirm My Theory. Human Nature Is Consistently Underrated In Business,

People Do Themselves Out Of     An Awful Lot Of     Pleasure And Profit By

That.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 83

Of     Course, You Must Be Perfectly Genuine And Open, But That's

Easy If You Feel It. The     More Human And Generous You Are The     Better

Chance You've Got In Business."

 

 

 Soames Rose.

  

 

"Are You A Partner?"

  

 

"Not For Six Months, Yet."

  

 

"The Rest Of     The     Firm Had Better Make Haste And Retire."

 

  

Mont Laughed.

 

  

"You'll See," He Said. "There's Going To Be A Big Change. The

Possessive Principle Has Got Its Shutters Up."

 

  

"What?" Said Soames.

 

 

"The House Is To Let! Good-Bye, Sir; I'm Off Now."

 

  

Soames Watched His Daughter Give Her Hand, Saw Her Wince At The     Squeeze

It Received, And Distinctly Heard The     Young Man's Sigh As He Passed

Out. Then She Came From The     Window, Trailing Her Finger Along The

Mahogany Edge Of     The     Billiard-Table. Watching Her, Soames Knew That She

Was Going To Ask Him Something. Her Finger Felt Round The     Last Pocket,

And She Looked Up.

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 84

"Have You Done Anything To Stop Jon Writing To Me, Father?"

 

  

Soames Shook His Head.

 

  

"You Haven't Seen, Then?" He Said. "His Father Died Just A Week Ago

To-Day."

 

 

"Oh!"

 

  

In Her Startled, Frowning Face, He Saw The     Instant Struggle To

Apprehend What This Would Mean.

  

 

"Poor Jon! Why Didn't You Tell Me, Father?"

 

  

"I Never Know!" Said Soames Slowly; "You Don't Confide In Me."

 

 

 "I Would, If You'd Help Me, Dear."

 

  

"Perhaps I Shall."

  

 

Fleur Clasped Her Hands. "Oh! Darling--When One Wants A Thing

Fearfully, One Doesn't Think Of     Other People. Don't Be Angry With Me."

 

  

Soames Put Out His Hand, As If Pushing Away An Aspersion.

 

  

"I'm Cogitating," He Said. What On Earth Had Made Him Use A Word Like

That! "Has Young Mont Been Bothering You Again?"

 

  

Fleur Smiled. "Oh! Michael! He's Always Bothering; But He's Such A Good

Sort--I Don't Mind Him."

Part III IV (Soames Cogitates) Pg 85

"Well," Said Soames, "I'm Tired; I Shall Go And Have A Nap Before

Dinner."

 

  

He Went Up To His Picture-Gallery, Lay Down On The     Couch There, And

Closed His Eyes. A Terrible Responsibility This Girl Of     His--Whose

Mother Was--Ah! What Was She? A Terrible Responsibility! Help Her--How

Could He Help Her? He Could Not Alter The     Fact That He Was Her Father.

Or That Irene--! What Was It Young Mont Had Said--Some Nonsense About

The Possessive Instinct--Shutters Up--To Let? Silly!

 

  

The Sultry Air, Charged With A Scent Of     Meadow-Sweet, Of     River And

Roses, Closed On His Senses, Drowsing Them.

Part III V (The Fixed Idea) Pg 86

 

 

 

"The Fixed Idea," Which Has Outrun More Constables Than Any Other Form

Of Human Disorder, Has Never More Speed And Stamina Than When It Takes

The Avid Guise Of     Love. To Hedges And Ditches, And Doors, To Humans

Without Ideas Fixed Or Otherwise, To Perambulators And The     Contents

Sucking Their Fixed Ideas, Even To The     Other Sufferers From This Fast

Malady--The Fixed Idea Of     Love Pays No Attention. It Runs With Eyes

Turned Inward To Its Own Light, Oblivious Of     All Other Stars. Those

With The     Fixed Ideas That Human Happiness Depends On Their Art, On

Vivisecting Dogs, On Hating Foreigners, On Paying Supertax, On

Remaining Ministers, On Making Wheels Go Round, On Preventing Their

Neighbours From Being Divorced, On Conscientious Objection, Greek

Roots, Church Dogma, Paradox And Superiority To Everybody Else, With

Other Forms Of     Ego-Mania--All Are Unstable Compared With Him Or Her

Whose Fixed Idea Is The     Possession Of     Some Her Or Him.

Part III V (The Fixed Idea) Pg 87

And Though

Fleur, Those Chilly Summer Days, Pursued The     Scattered Life Of     A Little

Forsyte Whose Frocks Are Paid For, And Whose Business Is Pleasure, She

Was--As Winifred Would Have Said In The     Latest Fashion Of

Speech--'Honest-To-God' Indifferent To It All. She Wished And Wished

For The     Moon, Which Sailed In Cold Skies Above The     River Or The     Green

Park When She Went To Town. She Even Kept Jon's Letters Covered With

Pink Silk, On Her Heart, Than Which In Days When Corsets Were So Low,

Sentiment So Despised, And Chests So Out Of     Fashion, There Could,

Perhaps, Have Been No Greater Proof Of     The     Fixity Of     Her Idea.

 

  

After Hearing Of     His Father's Death, She Had Written To Jon, And

Received His Answer Three Days Later On Her Return From A River Picnic.

It Was His First Letter Since Their Meeting At June's. She Opened It

With Misgiving, And Read It With Dismay.

  

 

"Since I Saw You I've Heard Everything About The     Past. I Won't Tell It

You--I Think You Knew When We Met At June's. She Says You Did. If You

Did, Fleur, You Ought To Have Told Me. I Expect You Only Heard Your

Father's Side Of     It. I Have Heard My Mother's. It's Dreadful. Now That

She's So Sad I Can't Do Anything To Hurt Her More. Of     Course, I Long

For You All Day, But I Don't Believe Now That We Shall Ever Come

Together--There's Something Too Strong Pulling Us Apart."

  

 

Her Deception Had Found Her Out. But Jon--She Felt--Had Forgiven That.

It Was What He Said Of     His Mother Which Caused The     Fluttering In Her

Heart And The     Weak Sensation In Her Legs.

 

  

Her First Impulse Was To Reply--Her Second, Not To Reply. These

Impulses Were Constantly Renewed In The     Days Which Followed, While

Desperation Grew Within Her. She Was Not Her Father's Child For

Nothing. The     Tenacity, Which Had At Once Made And Undone Soames, Was

Her Backbone, Too, Frilled And Embroidered By French Grace And

Quickness. Instinctively She Conjugated The     Verb "To Have" Always With

The Pronoun "I." She Concealed, However, All Signs Of     Her Growing

Desperation, And Pursued Such River Pleasures As The     Winds And Rain Of

A Disagreeable July Permitted, As If She Had No Care In The     World; Nor

Did Any "Sucking Baronet" Ever Neglect The     Business Of     A Publisher More

Consistently Than Her Attendant Spirit, Michael Mont.

Part III V (The Fixed Idea) Pg 88

To Soames She Was A Puzzle. He Was Almost Deceived By This Careless

Gaiety. Almost--Because He Did Not Fail To Mark Her Eyes Often Fixed On

Nothing, And The     Film Of     Light Shining From Her Bedroom Window Late At

Night. What Was She Thinking And Brooding Over Into Small Hours When

She Ought To Have Been Asleep? But He Dared Not Ask What Was In Her

Mind; And, Since That One Little Talk In The     Billiard-Room, She Said

Nothing To Him.

 

  

In This Taciturn Condition Of     Affairs It Chanced That Winifred Invited

Them To Lunch And To Go Afterwards To "A Most Amusing Little Play, 'The

Beggar's Opera,'" And Would They Bring A Man To Make Four? Soames,

Whose Attitude Towards Theatres Was To Go To Nothing, Accepted, Because

Fleur's Attitude Was To Go To Everything. They Motored Up, Taking

Michael Mont, Who, Being In His Seventh Heaven, Was Found By Winifred

"Very Amusing." "The Beggar's Opera" Puzzled Soames. The     People Were

Unpleasant, The     Whole Thing Cynical. Winifred Was "Intrigued"--By The

Dresses. The     Music Too Did Not Displease Her. At The     Opera, The     Night

Before, She Had Arrived Too Early For The     Russian Ballet, And Found The

Stage Occupied By Singers, For A Whole Hour Pale Or Apoplectic From

Terror Lest By Some Dreadful Inadvertence They Might Drop Into A Tune.

Michael Mont Was Enraptured With The     Whole Thing. And All Three

Wondered What Fleur Was Thinking Of     It. But Fleur Was Not Thinking Of

It. Her Fixed Idea Stood On The     Stage And Sang With Polly Peachum,

Mimed With Filch, Danced With Jenny Diver, Postured With Lucy Lockit,

Kissed, Trolled, And Cuddled With Macheath. Her Lips Might Smile, Her

Hands Applaud, But The     Comic Old Masterpiece Made No More Impression On

Her Than If It Had Been Pathetic, Like A Modern "Revue." When They

Embarked In The     Car To Return, She Ached Because Jon Was Not Sitting

Next Her Instead Of     Michael Mont. When, At Some Jolt, The     Young Man's

Arm Touched Hers As If By Accident, She Only Thought: 'If That Were

Jon's Arm!' When His Cheerful Voice, Tempered By Her Proximity,

Murmured Above The     Sound Of     The     Car's Progress, She Smiled And

Answered, Thinking: 'If That Were Jon's Voice!' And When Once He Said:

"Fleur, You Look A Perfect Angel In That Dress!" She Answered: "Oh, Do

You Like It?" Thinking: 'If Only Jon Could See It!'

 

  

During This Drive She Took A Resolution. She Would Go To Robin Hill And

See Him--Alone; She Would Take The     Car, Without Word Beforehand To Him

Or To Her Father. It Was Nine Days Since His Letter, And She Could Wait

No Longer.

Part III V (The Fixed Idea) Pg 89

On Monday She Would Go! The     Decision Made Her Well Disposed

Towards Young Mont. With Something To Look Forward To She Could Afford

To Tolerate And Respond. He Might Stay To Dinner; Propose To Her As

Usual; Dance With Her, Press Her Hand, Sigh--Do What He Liked. He Was

Only A Nuisance When He Interfered With Her Fixed Idea. She Was Even

Sorry For Him So Far As It Was Possible To Be Sorry For Anybody But

Herself Just Now. At Dinner He Seemed To Talk More Wildly Than Usual

About What He Called 'The Death Of     The     Close Borough'--She Paid Little

Attention, But Her Father Seemed Paying A Good Deal, With A Smile On

His Face Which Meant Opposition, If Not Anger.

  

 

"The Younger Generation Doesn't Think As You Do, Sir; Does It, Fleur?"

  

 

Fleur Shrugged Her Shoulders--The Younger Generation Was Just Jon, And

She Did Not Know What He Was Thinking.

 

  

"Young People Will Think As I Do When They're My Age, Mr. Mont. Human

Nature Doesn't Change."

 

  

"I Admit That, Sir; But The     Forms Of     Thought Change With The     Times. The

Pursuit Of     Self-Interest Is A Form Of     Thought That's Going Out."

 

  

"Indeed! To Mind One's Own Business Is Not A Form Of     Thought, Mr. Mont,

It's An Instinct."

 

  

Yes, When Jon Was The     Business!

  

 

"But What Is One's Business, Sir? That's The     Point, Everybody's

Business Is Going To Be One's Business. Isn't It, Fleur?"

 

 

Fleur Only Smiled.

 

  

"If Not," Added Young Mont, "There'll Be Blood."

Part III V (The Fixed Idea) Pg 90

"People Have Talked Like That From Time Immemorial."

 

  

"But You'll Admit, Sir, That The     Sense Of     Property Is Dying Out?"

  

 

"I Should Say Increasing Among Those Who Have None."

 

 

"Well, Look At Me! I'm Heir To An Entailed Estate. I Don't Want The

Thing; I'd Cut The     Entail To-Morrow."

 

 

"You're Not Married, And You Don't Know What You're Talking About."

  

 

Fleur Saw The     Young Man's Eyes Turn Rather Piteously Upon Her.

  

 

"Do You Really Mean That Marriage--?" He Began.

  

 

"Society Is Built On Marriage," Came From Between Her Father's Close

Lips; "Marriage And Its Consequences. Do You Want To Do Away With It?"

 

  

Young Mont Made A Distracted Gesture. Silence Brooded Over The

Dinner-Table, Covered With Spoons Bearing The     Forsyte Crest--A Pheasant

Proper--Under The     Electric Light In An Alabaster Globe. And Outside,

The River Evening Darkened, Charged With Heavy Moisture And Sweet

Scents.

 

 

'Monday,' Thought Fleur; 'Monday!'

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 91

 

 

 

The Weeks Which Followed The     Death Of     His Father Were Sad And Empty To

The Only Jolyon Forsyte Left. The     Necessary Forms And Ceremonies--The

Reading Of     The     Will, Valuation Of     The     Estate, Distribution Of     The

Legacies--Were Enacted Over The     Head, As It Were, Of     One Not Yet Of

Age. Jolyon Was Cremated. By His Special Wish No One Attended That

Ceremony, Or Wore Black For Him. The     Succession Of     His Property,

Controlled To Some Extent By Old Jolyon's Will, Left His Widow In

Possession Of     Robin Hill, With Two Thousand Five Hundred Pounds A Year

For Life. Apart From This The     Two Wills Worked Together In Some

Complicated Way To Insure That Each Of     Jolyon's Three Children Should

Have An Equal Share In Their Grandfather's And Father's Property In The

Future As In The     Present, Save Only That Jon, By Virtue Of     His Sex,

Would Have Control Of     His Capital When He Was Twenty-One, While June

And Holly Would Only Have The     Spirit Of     Theirs, In Order That Their

Children Might Have The     Body After Them. If They Had No Children, It

Would All Come To Jon If He Outlived Them; And Since June Was Fifty,

And Holly Nearly Forty, It Was Considered In Lincoln's Inn Fields That

But For The     Cruelty Of     Income Tax, Young Jon Would Be As Warm A Man As

His Grandfather When He Died. All This Was Nothing To Jon, And Little

Enough To His Mother. It Was June Who Did Everything Needful For One

Who Had Left His Affairs In Perfect Order. When She Had Gone, And Those

Two Were Alone Again In The     Great House, Alone With Death Drawing Them

Together, And Love Driving Them Apart, Jon Passed Very Painful Days

Secretly Disgusted And Disappointed With Himself. His Mother Would Look

At Him With A Patient Sadness Which Yet Had In It An Instinctive Pride,

As If She Were Reserving Her Defence. If She Smiled He Was Angry That

His Answering Smile Should Be So Grudging And Unnatural. He Did Not

Judge Or Condemn Her; That Was All Too Remote--Indeed, The     Idea Of

Doing So Had Never Come To Him. No! He Was Grudging And Unnatural

Because He Couldn't Have What He Wanted Because Of     Her. There Was One

Alleviation--Much To Do In Connection With His Father's Career, Which

Could Not Be Safely Intrusted To June, Though She Had Offered To

Undertake It.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 92

Both Jon And His Mother Had Felt That If She Took His

Portfolios, Unexhibited Drawings And Unfinished Matter, Away With Her,

The Work Would Encounter Such Icy Blasts From Paul Post And Other

Frequenters Of     Her Studio, That It Would Soon Be Frozen Out Even Of     Her

Warm Heart. On Its Old-Fashioned Plane And Of     Its Kind The     Work Was

Good, And They Could Not Bear The     Thought Of     Its Subjection To

Ridicule. A One-Man Exhibition Of     His Work Was The     Least Testimony They

Could Pay To One They Had Loved; And On Preparation For This They Spent

Many Hours Together. Jon Came To Have A Curiously Increased Respect For

His Father. The     Quiet Tenacity With Which He Had Converted A Mediocre

Talent Into Something Really Individual Was Disclosed By These

Researches. There Was A Great Mass Of     Work With A Rare Continuity Of

Growth In Depth And Reach Of     Vision. Nothing Certainly Went Very Deep,

Or Reached Very High--But Such As The     Work Was, It Was Thorough,

Conscientious, And Complete. And, Remembering His Father's Utter

Absence Of     "Side" Or Self-Assertion, The     Chaffing Humility With Which

He Had Always Spoken Of     His Own Efforts, Ever Calling Himself "An

Amateur," Jon Could Not Help Feeling That He Had Never Really Known His

Father. To Take Himself Seriously, Yet Never Bore Others By Letting

Them Know That He Did So, Seemed To Have Been His Ruling Principle.

There Was Something In This Which Appealed To The     Boy, And Made Him

Heartily Indorse His Mother's Comment: "He Had True Refinement; He

Couldn't Help Thinking Of     Others, Whatever He Did. And When He Took A

Resolution Which Went Counter, He Did It With The     Minimum Of

Defiance--Not Like The     Age, Is It? Twice In His Life He Had To Go

Against Everything; And Yet It Never Made Him Bitter." Jon Saw Tears

Running Down Her Face, Which She At Once Turned Away From Him. She Was

So Quiet About Her Loss That Sometimes He Had Thought She Didn't Feel

It Much. Now, As He Looked At Her, He Felt How Far He Fell Short Of     The

Reserve Power And Dignity In Both His Father And His Mother. And,

Stealing Up To Her, He Put His Arm Round Her Waist. She Kissed Him

Swiftly, But With A Sort Of     Passion, And Went Out Of     The     Room.

 

 

The Studio, Where They Had Been Sorting And Labelling, Had Once Been

Holly's Schoolroom, Devoted To Her Silk-Worms, Dried Lavender, Music,

And Other Forms Of     Instruction. Now, At The     End Of     July, Despite Its

Northern And Eastern Aspects, A Warm And Slumberous Air Came In Between

The Long-Faded Lilac Linen Curtains. To Redeem A Little The     Departed

Glory, As Of     A Field That Is Golden And Gone, Clinging To A Room Which

Its Master Has Left, Irene Had Placed On The     Paint-Stained Table A Bowl

Of Red Roses. This, And Jolyon's Favourite Cat, Who Still Clung To The

Deserted Habitat, Were The     Pleasant Spots In That Dishevelled, Sad

Workroom. Jon, At The     North Window, Sniffing Air Mysteriously Scented

With Warm Strawberries, Heard A Car Drive Up. The     Lawyers Again About

Some Nonsense! Why Did That Scent So Make One Ache? And Where Did It

Come From--There Were No Strawberry Beds On This Side Of     The     House.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 93

Instinctively He Took A Crumpled Sheet Of     Paper From His Pocket, And

Wrote Down Some Broken Words. A Warmth Began Spreading In His Chest; He

Rubbed The     Palms Of     His Hands Together. Presently He Had Jotted This:

 

  

    "If I Could Make A Little Song--

    A Little Song To Soothe My Heart!

    I'd Make It All Of     Little Things--

    The     Plash Of     Water, Rub Of     Wings,

    The     Puffing-Off Of     Dandie's Crown,

    The     Hiss Of     Raindrop Spilling Down,

    The     Purr Of     Cat, The     Trill Of     Bird,

    And Ev'ry Whispering I've Heard

    From Willy Wind In Leaves And Grass,

    And All The     Distant Drones That Pass.

    A Song, As Tender And As Light

    As Flower, Or Butterfly In Flight;

    And When I Saw It Opening

    I'd Let It Fly, And Sing!"

  

 

He Was Still Muttering It Over To Himself At The     Window, When He Heard

His Name Called, And, Turning Round, Saw Fleur. At That Amazing

Apparition, He Made At First No Movement And No Sound, While Her Clear

Vivid Glance Ravished His Heart. Then He Went Forward To The     Table,

Saying: "How Nice Of     You To Come!" And Saw Her Flinch As If He Had

Thrown Something At Her.

  

 

"I Asked For You," She Said, "And They Showed Me Up Here. But I Can Go

Away Again."

 

  

Jon Clutched The     Paint-Stained Table. Her Face And Figure In Its Frilly

Frock, Photographed Itself With Such Startling Vividness Upon His Eyes,

That If She Had Sunk Through The     Floor He Must Still Have Seen Her.

 

 

"I Know I Told You A Lie, Jon. But I Told It Out Of     Love."

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 94

"Oh! Yes! That's Nothing!"

 

  

"I Didn't Answer Your Letter. What Was The     Use--There Wasn't Anything

To Answer. I Wanted To See You Instead." She Held Out Both Her Hands,

And Jon Grasped Them Across The     Table. He Tried To Say Something, But

All His Attention Was Given To Trying Not To Hurt Her Hands. His Own

Felt So Hard And Hers So Soft. She Said Almost Defiantly:

 

 

 "That Old Story--Was It So Very Dreadful?"

 

  

"Yes." In His Voice, Too, There Was A Note Of     Defiance.

 

  

She Dragged Her Hands Away. "I Didn't Think In These Days Boys Were

Tied To Their Mothers' Apron-Strings."

 

 

Jon's Chin Went Up As If He Had Been Struck.

 

  

"Oh! I Didn't Mean It, Jon. What A Horrible Thing To Say!" Swiftly She

Came Close To Him. "Jon, Dear; I Didn't Mean It."

 

 

"All Right."

  

 

She Had Put Her Two Hands On His Shoulder, And Her Forehead Down On

Them; The     Brim Of     Her Hat Touched His Neck, And He Felt It Quivering.

But, In A Sort Of     Paralysis, He Made No Response. She Let Go Of     His

Shoulder And Drew Away.

 

 

"Well, I'll Go, If You Don't Want Me. But I Never Thought You'd Have

Given Me Up."

  

 

"I Haven't," Cried Jon, Coming Suddenly To Life. "I Can't.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 95

I'll Try

Again."

 

 

She Swayed Towards Him. "Jon--I Love You! Don't Give Me Up! If You Do,

I Don't Know What I Shall Do--I Feel So Desperate. What Does It

Matter--All That Past--Compared With This?"

 

  

She Clung To Him. He Kissed Her Eyes, Her Cheeks, Her Lips. But While

He Kissed Her He Saw The     Sheets Of     That Letter Fallen Down On The     Floor

Of His Bedroom--His Father's White Dead Face--His Mother Kneeling

Before It. Fleur's Whisper: "Make Her! Promise! Oh! Jon, Try!" Seemed

Childish In His Ear. He Felt Curiously Old.

 

  

"I Promise!" He Muttered. "Only, You Don't Understand."

  

 

"She Wants To Spoil Our Lives, Just Because--"

 

  

"Yes, Of     What?"

 

  

Again That Challenge In His Voice, And She Did Not Answer. Her Arms

Tightened Round Him, And He Returned Her Kisses; But Even While He

Yielded, The     Poison Worked In Him, The     Poison Of     The     Letter. Fleur Did

Not Know, She Did Not Understand--She Misjudged His Mother; She Came

From The     Enemy's Camp! So Lovely, And He Loved Her So--Yet, Even In Her

Embrace, He Could Not Help The     Memory Of     Holly's Words: "I Think She

Has A 'Having' Nature," And His Mother's: "My Darling Boy; Don't Think

Of Me--Think Of     Yourself."

 

  

When She Was Gone Like A Passionate Dream, Leaving Her Image On His

Eyes, Her Kisses On His Lips, Such An Ache In His Heart, Jon Leaned In

The Window, Listening To The     Car Bearing Her Away. Still The     Scent As

Of Warm Strawberries, Still The     Little Summer Sounds That Should Make

His Song; Still All The     Promise Of     Youth And Happiness In Sighing,

Floating, Fluttering July--And His Heart Torn; Yearning Strong In Him;

Hope High In Him, Yet With Its Eyes Cast Down, As If Ashamed. The

Miserable Task Before Him! If Fleur Was Desperate, So Was He--Watching

The Poplars Swaying, The     White Clouds Passing, The     Sunlight On The

Grass.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 96

He Waited Till Evening, Till After Their Almost Silent Dinner, Till His

Mother Had Played To Him--And Still He Waited, Feeling That She Knew

What He Was Waiting To Say. She Kissed Him And Went Up-Stairs, And

Still He Lingered, Watching The     Moonlight And The     Moths, And That

Unreality Of     Colouring Which Steals Along And Stains A Summer Night.

And He Would Have Given Anything To Be Back In The     Past--Barely Three

Months Back; Or Away Forward, Years, In The     Future. The     Present With

This Stark Cruelty Of     A Decision, One Way Or The     Other, Seemed

Impossible. He Realised Now So Much More Keenly What His Mother Felt

Than He Had At First; As If The     Story In That Letter Had Been A

Poisonous Germ Producing A Kind Of     Fever Of     Partisanship, So That He

Really Felt There Were Two Camps, His Mother's And His--Fleur's And Her

Father's. It Might Be A Dead Thing, That Old Tragic Ownership And

Enmity, But Dead Things Were Poisonous Till Time Had Cleaned Them Away.

Even His Love Felt Tainted, Less Illusioned, More Of     The     Earth, And

With A Treacherous Lurking Doubt Lest Fleur, Like Her Father, Might

Want To Own; Not Articulate, Just A Stealing Haunt, Horribly Unworthy,

Which Crept In And About The     Ardour Of     His Memories, Touched With Its

Tarnishing Breath The     Vividness And Grace Of     That Charmed Face And

Figure--A Doubt, Not Real Enough To Convince Him Of     Its Presence, Just

Real Enough To Deflower A Perfect Faith. And Perfect Faith, To Jon, Not

Yet Twenty, Was Essential. He Still Had Youth's Eagerness To Give With

Both Hands, To Take With Neither--To Give Lovingly To One Who Had His

Own Impulsive Generosity. Surely She Had! He Got Up From The

Window-Seat And Roamed In The     Big Grey Ghostly Room, Whose Walls Were

Hung With Silvered Canvas. This House--His Father Said In That

Death-Bed Letter--Had Been Built For His Mother To Live In--With

Fleur's Father! He Put Out His Hand In The     Half-Dark, As If To Grasp

The Shadowy Hand Of     The     Dead. He Clenched, Trying To Feel The     Thin

Vanished Fingers Of     His Father; To Squeeze Them, And Reassure Him That

He--He Was On His Father's Side. Tears, Prisoned Within Him, Made His

Eyes Feel Dry And Hot. He Went Back To The     Window. It Was Warmer, Not

So Eerie, More Comforting Outside, Where The     Moon Hung Golden, Three

Days Off Full; The     Freedom Of     The     Night Was Comforting. If Only Fleur

And He Had Met On Some Desert Island Without A Past--And Nature For

Their House! Jon Had Still His High Regard For Desert Islands, Where

Breadfruit Grew, And The     Water Was Blue Above The     Coral. The     Night Was

Deep, Was Free--There Was Enticement In It; A Lure, A Promise, A Refuge

From Entanglement, And Love! Milksop Tied To His Mother's--! His Cheeks

Burned. He Shut The     Window, Drew Curtains Over It, Switched Off The

Lighted Sconce, And Went Up-Stairs.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 97

The Door Of     His Room Was Open, The     Light Turned Up; His Mother, Still

In Her Evening Gown, Was Standing At The     Window. She Turned, And Said:

  

 

"Sit Down, Jon; Let's Talk." She Sat Down On The     Window-Seat, Jon On

His Bed. She Had Her Profile Turned To Him, And The     Beauty And Grace Of

Her Figure, The     Delicate Line Of     The     Brow, The     Nose, The     Neck, The

Strange And As It Were Remote Refinement Of     Her, Moved Him. His Mother

Never Belonged To Her Surroundings. She Came Into Them From

Somewhere--As It Were! What Was She Going To Say To Him, Who Had In His

Heart Such Things To Say To Her?

 

  

"I Know Fleur Came To-Day. I'm Not Surprised." It Was As Though She Had

Added: "She Is Her Father's Daughter!" And Jon's Heart Hardened. Irene

Went On Quietly:

 

 

"I Have Father's Letter. I Picked It Up That Night And Kept It. Would

You Like It Back, Dear?"

 

  

Jon Shook His Head.

  

 

"I Had Read It, Of     Course, Before He Gave It To You. It Didn't Quite Do

Justice To My Criminality."

 

  

"Mother!" Burst From Jon's Lips.

 

  

"He Put It Very Sweetly, But I Know That In Marrying Fleur's Father

Without Love I Did A Dreadful Thing. An Unhappy Marriage, Jon, Can Play

Such Havoc With Other Lives Besides One's Own. You Are Fearfully Young,

My Darling, And Fearfully Loving.

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 98

Do You Think You Can Possibly Be

Happy With This Girl?"

 

  

Staring At Her Dark Eyes, Darker Now From Pain, Jon Answered:

 

  

"Yes; Oh! Yes--If You Could Be."

 

  

Irene Smiled.

 

  

"Admiration Of     Beauty, And Longing For Possession Are Not Love. If

Yours Were Another Case Like Mine, Jon--Where The     Deepest Things Are

Stifld; The     Flesh Joined, And The     Spirit At War!"

 

  

"Why Should It, Mother? You Think She Must Be Like Her Father, But

She's Not. I've Seen Him."

 

 

Again The     Smile Came On Irene's Lips, And In Jon Something Wavered;

There Was Such Irony And Experience In That Smile.

  

 

"You Are A Giver, Jon; She Is A Taker."

 

  

That Unworthy Doubt, That Haunting Uncertainty Again! He Said With

Vehemence:

 

 

"She Isn't--She Isn't. It's Only Because I Can't Bear To Make You

Unhappy, Mother, Now That Father--" He Thrust His Fists Against His

Forehead.

 

  

Irene Got Up.

  

 

"I Told You That Night, Dear, Not To Mind Me. I Meant It. Think Of

Yourself And Your Own Happiness! I Can Stand What's Left--I've Brought

It On Myself."

Part III VI (Desperate) Pg 99

Again The     Word: "Mother!" Burst From Jon's Lips.

 

 

 She Came Over To Him And Put Her Hands Over His.

  

 

"Do You Feel Your Head, Darling?"

 

  

Jon Shook It. What He Felt Was In His Chest--A Sort Of     Tearing Asunder

Of The     Tissue There, By The     Two Loves.

 

  

"I Shall Always Love You The     Same, Jon, Whatever You Do. You Won't Lose

Anything." She Smoothed His Hair Gently, And Walked Away.

 

  

He Heard The     Door Shut; And, Rolling Over On The     Bed, Lay, Stifling His

Breath, With An Awful Held-Up Feeling Within Him.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 100

 

 

 

Enquiring For Her At Tea Time Soames Learned That Fleur Had Been Out In

The Car Since Two. Three Hours! Where Had She Gone? Up To London

Without A Word To Him? He Had Never Become Quite Reconciled With Cars.

He Had Embraced Them In Principle--Like The     Born Empiricist, Or

Forsyte, That He Was--Adopting Each Symptom Of     Progress As It Came

Along With: "Well, We Couldn't Do Without Them Now." But In Fact He

Found Them Tearing, Great, Smelly Things.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 101

Obliged By Annette To Have

One--A Rollhard With Pearl-Grey Cushions, Electric Light, Little

Mirrors, Trays For The     Ashes Of     Cigarettes, Flower Vases--All Smelling

Of Petrol And Stephanotis--He Regarded It Much As He Used To Regard His

Brother-In-Law, Montague Dartie. The     Thing Typified All That Was Fast,

Insecure, And Subcutaneously Oily In Modern Life. As Modern Life Became

Faster, Looser, Younger, Soames Was Becoming Older, Slower, Tighter,

More And More In Thought And Language Like His Father James Before Him.

He Was Almost Aware Of     It Himself. Pace And Progress Pleased Him Less

And Less; There Was An Ostentation, Too, About A Car Which He

Considered Provocative In The     Prevailing Mood Of     Labour. On One

Occasion That Fellow Sims Had Driven Over The     Only Vested Interest Of     A

Working Man. Soames Had Not Forgotten The     Behaviour Of     Its Master, When

Not Many People Would Have Stopped To Put Up With It. He Had Been Sorry

For The     Dog, And Quite Prepared To Take Its Part Against The     Car, If

That Ruffian Hadn't Been So Outrageous. With Four Hours Fast Becoming

Five, And Still No Fleur, All The     Old Car-Wise Feelings He Had

Experienced In Person And By Proxy Balled Within Him, And Sinking

Sensations Troubled The     Pit Of     His Stomach. At Seven He Telephoned To

Winifred By Trunk Call. No! Fleur Had Not Been To Green Street. Then

Where Was She? Visions Of     His Beloved Daughter Rolled Up In Her Pretty

Frills, All Blood-And-Dust-Stained, In Some Hideous Catastrophe, Began

To Haunt Him. He Went To Her Room And Spied Among Her Things. She Had

Taken Nothing--No Dressing-Case, No Jewellery. And This, A Relief In

One Sense, Increased His Fears Of     An Accident. Terrible To Be Helpless

When His Loved One Was Missing, Especially When He Couldn't Bear Fuss

Or Publicity Of     Any Kind! What Should He Do, If She Were Not Back By

Nightfall?

 

  

At A Quarter To Eight He Heard The     Car. A Great Weight Lifted From Off

His Heart; He Hurried Down. She Was Getting Out--Pale And

Tired-Looking, But Nothing Wrong. He Met Her In The     Hall.

  

 

"You've Frightened Me. Where Have You Been?"

  

 

"To Robin Hill. I'm Sorry, Dear. I Had To Go; I'll Tell You

Afterwards." And, With A Flying Kiss, She Ran Up-Stairs.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 102

Soames Waited In The     Drawing-Room. To Robin Hill! What Did That Portend?

 

  

It Was Not A Subject They Could Discuss At Dinner--Consecrated To The

Susceptibilities Of     The     Butler. The     Agony Of     Nerves Soames Had Been

Through, The     Relief He Felt At Her Safety, Softened His Power To

Condemn What She Had Done, Or Resist What She Was Going To Do; He

Waited In A Relaxed Stupor For Her Revelation. Life Was A Queer

Business. There He Was At Sixty-Five And No More In Command Of     Things

Than If He Had Not Spent Forty Years In Building Up Security--Always

Something One Couldn't Get On Terms With! In The     Pocket Of     His

Dinner-Jacket Was A Letter From Annette. She Was Coming Back In A

Fortnight. He Knew Nothing Of     What She Had Been Doing Out There. And He

Was Glad That He Did Not. Her Absence Had Been A Relief. Out Of     Sight

Was Out Of     Mind! And Now She Was Coming Back. Another Worry! And The

Bolderby Old Crome Was Gone--Dumetrius Had Got It--All Because That

Anonymous Letter Had Put It Out Of     His Thoughts. He Furtively Remarked

The Strained Look On His Daughter's Face, As If She Too Were Gazing At

A Picture That She Couldn't Buy. He Almost Wished The     War Back. Worries

Didn't Seem, Then, Quite So Worrying. From The     Caress In Her Voice, The

Look On Her Face, He Became Certain That She Wanted Something From Him,

Uncertain Whether It Would Be Wise Of     Him To Give It Her. He Pushed His

Savoury Away Uneaten, And Even Joined Her In A Cigarette.

 

  

After Dinner She Set The     Electric Piano-Player Going. And He Augured

The Worst When She Sat Down On A Cushion Footstool At His Knee, And Put

Her Hand On His.

 

  

"Darling, Be Nice To Me. I Had To See Jon--He Wrote To Me. He's Going

To Try What He Can Do With His Mother. But I've Been Thinking. But It's

Really In Your Hands, Father. If You'd Persuade Her That It Doesn't

Mean Renewing The     Past In Any Way! That I Shall Stay Yours, And Jon

Will Stay Hers; That You Need Never See Him Or Her, And She Need Never

See You Or Me! Only You Could Persuade Her, Dear, Because Only You

Could Promise. One Can't Promise For Other People. Surely It Wouldn't

Be Too Awkward For You To See Her Just This Once--Now That Jon's Father

Is Dead?"

 

  

"Too Awkward?" Soames Repeated. "The Whole Thing's Preposterous."

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 103

"You Know," Said Fleur, Without Looking Up, "You Wouldn't Mind Seeing

Her, Really."

  

 

Soames Was Silent. Her Words Had Expressed A Truth Too Deep For Him To

Admit. She Slipped Her Fingers Between His Own--Hot, Slim, Eager, They

Clung There. This Child Of     His Would Corkscrew Her Way Into A Brick

Wall!

 

 

"What Am I To Do, If You Won't, Father?" She Said Very Softly.

 

 

"I'll Do Anything For Your Happiness," Said Soames; "But This Isn't For

Your Happiness."

  

 

"Oh! It Is; It Is!"

 

  

"It'll Only Stir Things Up," He Said Grimly.

 

 

 "But They Are Stirred Up. The     Thing Is To Quiet Them. To Make Her Feel

That This Is Just Our Lives, And Has Nothing To Do With Yours Or Hers.

You Can Do It, Father, I Know You Can."

 

  

"You Know A Great Deal, Then," Was Soames' Glum Answer.

 

  

"If You Will, Jon And I Will Wait A Year--Two Years If You Like."

  

 

"It Seems To Me," Murmured Soames, "That You Care Nothing About What I

Feel."

 

 

 Fleur Pressed His Hand Against Her Cheek.

 

 

 "I Do, Darling. But You Wouldn't Like Me To Be Awfully Miserable."

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 104

How

She Wheedled To Get Her Ends! And Trying With All His Might To Think

She Really Cared For Him--He Was Not Sure--Not Sure. All She Cared For

Was This Boy! Why Should He Help Her To Get This Boy, Who Was Killing

Her Affection For Himself? Why Should He? By The     Laws Of     The     Forsytes

It Was Foolish! There Was Nothing To Be Had Out Of     It--Nothing! To Give

Her To That Boy! To Pass Her Into The     Enemy's Camp, Under The     Influence

Of The     Woman Who Had Injured Him So Deeply! Slowly--Inevitably--He

Would Lose This Flower Of     His Life! And Suddenly He Was Conscious That

His Hand Was Wet. His Heart Gave A Little Painful Jump. He Couldn't

Bear Her To Cry. He Put His Other Hand Quickly Over Hers, And A Tear

Dropped On That, Too. He Couldn't Go On Like This! "Well, Well," He

Said, "I'll Think It Over, And Do What I Can. Come, Come!" If She Must

Have It For Her Happiness--She Must; He Couldn't Refuse To Help Her.

And Lest She Should Begin To Thank Him He Got Out Of     His Chair And Went

Up To The     Piano-Player--Making That Noise! It Ran Down, As He Reached

It, With A Faint Buzz. That Musical Box Of     His Nursery Days: "The

Harmonious Blacksmith," "Glorious Port"--The Thing Had Always Made Him

Miserable When His Mother Set It Going On Sunday Afternoons. Here It

Was Again--The Same Thing, Only Larger, More Expensive, And Now It

Played: "The Wild Wild Women" And "The Policeman's Holiday," And He Was

No Longer In Black Velvet With A Sky-Blue Collar. 'Profond's Right,' He

Thought, 'There's Nothing In It! We're All Progressing To The     Grave!'

And With That Surprising Mental Comment He Walked Out.

  

 

He Did Not See Fleur Again That Night. But, At Breakfast, Her Eyes

Followed Him About With An Appeal He Could Not Escape--Not That He

Intended To Try. No! He Had Made Up His Mind To The     Nerve-Racking

Business. He Would Go To Robin Hill--To That House Of     Memories. A

Pleasant Memory--The Last! Of     Going Down To Keep That Boy's Father And

Irene Apart By Threatening Divorce. He Had Often Thought, Since, That

It Had Clenched Their Union. And, Now, He Was Going To Clench The     Union

Of That Boy With His Girl. 'I Don't Know What I've Done,' He Thought,

'To Have Such Things Thrust On Me!' He Went Up By Train And Down By

Train, And From The     Station Walked By The     Long Rising Lane, Still Very

Much As He Remembered It Over Thirty Years Ago. Funny--So Near London!

Some One Evidently Was Holding On To The     Land There. This Speculation

Soothed Him, Moving Between The     High Hedges Slowly, So As Not To Get

Overheated, Though The     Day Was Chill Enough. After All Was Said And

Done There Was Something Real About Land, It Didn't Shift. Land, And

Good Pictures! The     Values Might Fluctuate A Bit, But On The     Whole They

Were Always Going Up--Worth Holding On To, In A World Where There Was

Such A Lot Of     Unreality, Cheap Building, Changing Fashions, Such A

"Here To-Day And Gone To-Morrow" Spirit.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 105

The     French Were Right,

Perhaps, With Their Peasant Proprietorship, Though He Had No Opinion Of

The French. One's Bit Of     Land! Something Solid In It! He Had Heard

Peasant-Proprietors Described As A Pig-Headed Lot; Had Heard Young Mont

Call His Father A Pig-Headed Morning Poster--Disrespectful Young Devil.

Well, There Were Worse Things Than Being Pig-Headed Or Reading The

Morning Post. There Was Profond And His Tribe, And All These Labour

Chaps, And Loud-Mouthed Politicians, And "Wild, Wild Women"! A Lot Of

Worse Things! And, Suddenly, Soames Became Conscious Of     Feeling Weak,

And Hot, And Shaky. Sheer Nerves At The     Meeting Before Him! As Aunt

Juley Might Have Said--Quoting "Superior Dosset"--His Nerves Were "In A

Proper Fantigue." He Could See The     House Now Among Its Trees, The     House

He Had Watched Being Built, Intending It For Himself And This Woman,

Who, By Such Strange Fate, Had Lived In It With Another After All! He

Began To Think Of     Dumetrius, Local Loans, And Other Forms Of

Investment. He Could Not Afford To Meet Her With His Nerves All

Shaking; He Who Represented The     Day Of     Judgment For Her On Earth As It

Was In Heaven; He, Legal Ownership, Personified, Meeting Lawless

Beauty, Incarnate. His Dignity Demanded Impassivity During This Embassy

Designed To Link Their Offspring, Who, If She Had Behaved Herself,

Would Have Been Brother And Sister. That Wretched Tune: "The Wild Wild

Women" Kept Running In His Head, Perversely, For Tunes Did Not Run

There As A Rule. Passing The     Poplars In Front Of     The     House, He Thought:

'How They've Grown; I Had Them Planted!'

 

  

A Maid Answered His Ring.

 

  

"Will You Say--Mr. Forsyte, On A Very Special Matter."

 

  

If She Realised Who He Was, Quite Probably She Would Not See Him. 'By

George!' He Thought, Hardening As The     Tug Came: 'It's A Topsyturvy

Affair!'

 

 

The Maid Came Back. Would The     Gentleman State His Business, Please?

 

  

"Say It Concerns Mr. Jon," Said Soames.

 

  

And Once More He Was Alone In That Hall With The     Pool Of     Grey-White

Marble Designed By Her First Lover.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 106

Ah! She Had Been A Bad Lot--Had

Loved Two Men, And Not Himself! He Must Remember That When He Came Face

To Face With Her Once More. And Suddenly He Saw Her In The     Opening

Chink Between The     Long Heavy Purple Curtains, Swaying, As If In

Hesitation; The     Old Perfect Poise And Line, The     Old Startled Dark-Eyed

Gravity; The     Old Calm Defensive Voice: "Will You Come In, Please?"

 

  

He Passed Through That Opening. As In The     Picture-Gallery And The

Confectioner's Shop, She Seemed To Him Still Beautiful. And This Was

The First Time--The Very First--Since He Married Her Five And Thirty

Years Ago, That He Was Speaking To Her Without The     Legal Right To Call

Her His. She Was Not Wearing Black--One Of     That Fellow's Radical

Notions, He Supposed.

  

 

"I Apologise For Coming," He Said Glumly; "But This Business Must Be

Settled One Way Or The     Other."

 

  

"Won't You Sit Down?"

 

 

"No, Thank You."

 

  

Anger At His False Position, Impatience Of     Ceremony Between Them,

Mastered Him, And Words Came Tumbling Out:

 

 

"It's An Infernal Mischance; I've Done My Best To Discourage It. I

Consider My Daughter Crazy, But I've Got Into The     Habit Of     Indulging

Her; That's Why I'm Here. I Suppose You're Fond Of     Your Son."

 

  

"Devotedly."

 

  

"Well?"

 

  

"It Rests With Him."

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 107

He Had A Sense Of     Being Met And Baffled. Always--Always She Had Baffled

Him, Even In Those Old First Married Days.

 

  

"It's A Mad Notion," He Said.

  

 

"It Is."

 

 

 "If You Had Only--! Well--They Might Have Been--" He Did Not Finish

That Sentence "Brother And Sister And All This Saved," But He Saw Her

Shudder As If He Had, And Stung By The     Sight, He Crossed Over To The

Window. Out There The     Trees Had Not Grown--They Couldn't, They Were Old!

 

  

"So Far As I'm Concerned," He Said, "You May Make Your Mind Easy. I

Desire To See Neither You Nor Your Son If This Marriage Comes About.

Young People In These Days Are--Are Unaccountable. But I Can't Bear To

See My Daughter Unhappy. What Am I To Say To Her When I Go Back?"

 

  

"Please Say To Her, As I Said To You, That It Rests With Jon."

 

  

"You Don't Oppose It?"

  

 

"With All My Heart; Not With My Lips."

  

 

Soames Stood, Biting His Finger.

 

  

"I Remember An Evening--" He Said Suddenly; And Was Silent. What Was

There--What Was There In This Woman That Would Not Fit Into The     Four

Comers Of     His Hate Or Condemnation? "Where Is He--Your Son?"

 

  

"Up In His Father's Studio, I Think."

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 108

"Perhaps You'd Have Him Down."

 

  

He Watched Her Ring The     Bell, He Watched The     Maid Come In.

  

 

"Please Tell Mr. Jon That I Want Him."

  

 

"If It Rests With Him," Said Soames Hurriedly, When The     Maid Was Gone,

"I Suppose I May Take It For Granted That This Unnatural Marriage Will

Take Place: In That Case There'll Be Formalities. Whom Do I Deal

With--Herring's?" Irene Nodded.

 

  

"You Don't Propose To Live With Them?"

 

  

Irene Shook Her Head.

 

 

"What Happens To This House?"

 

  

"It Will Be As Jon Wishes."

 

  

"This House," Said Soames Suddenly: "I Had Hopes When I Began It. If

They Live In It--Their Children! They Say There's Such A Thing As

Nemesis. Do You Believe In It?"

 

  

"Yes."

 

 

"Oh! You Do!" He Had Come Back From The     Window, And Was Standing Close

To Her, Who, In The     Curve Of     Her Grand Piano, Was, As It Were, Embayed.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 109

"I'm Not Likely To See You Again," He Said Slowly: "Will You Shake

Hands," His Lip Quivered, The     Words Came Out Jerkily, "And Let The     Past

Die?" He Held Out His Hand. Her Pale Face Grew Paler, Her Eyes So Dark,

Rested Immovably On His, But Her Hands Remained Clasped In Front Of

Her. He Heard A Sound And Turned. That Boy Was Standing In The     Opening

Of The     Curtains. Very Queer He Looked, Hardly Recognisable As The     Young

Fellow He Had Seen In The     Gallery Off Cork Street--Very Queer; Much

Older, No Youth In The     Face At All--Haggard, Rigid, His Hair Ruffled,

His Eyes Deep In His Head. Soames Made An Effort, And Said With A Lift

Of His Lip, Not Quite A Smile Nor Quite A Sneer:

 

  

"Well, Young Man! I'm Here For My Daughter; It Rests With You, It

Seems--This Matter. Your Mother Leaves It In Your Hands."

 

 

 The Boy Continued Staring At His Mother's Face, And Made No Answer.

  

 

"For My Daughter's Sake I've Brought Myself To Come," Said Soames.

"What Am I To Say To Her When I Go Back?"

  

 

Still Looking At His Mother, The     Boy Said, Quietly:

 

 

 "Tell Fleur That It's No Good, Please; I Must Do As My Father Wished

Before He Died."

 

  

"Jon!"

 

  

"It's All Right, Mother."

  

 

In A Kind Of     Stupefaction Soames Looked From One To The     Other; Then,

Taking Up Hat And Umbrella, Which He Had Put Down On A Chair, He Walked

Towards The     Curtains. The     Boy Stood Aside For Him To Go By.

Part III VII (Embassy) Pg 110

He Passed

Through And Heard The     Grate Of     The     Rings As The     Curtains Were Drawn

Behind Him. The     Sound Liberated Something In His Chest.

 

  

'So That's That!' He Thought, And Passed Out Of     The     Front Door.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 111

 

 

 

As Soames Walked Away From The     House At Robin Hill The     Sun Broke

Through The     Grey Of     That Chill Afternoon, In Smoky Radiance. So

Absorbed In Landscape-Painting That He Seldom Looked Seriously For

Effects Of     Nature Out-Of-Doors, He Was Struck By That Moody

Effulgence--It Mourned With A Triumph Suited To His Own Feeling.

Victory In Defeat! His Embassy Had Come To Naught. But He Was Rid Of

Those People, Had Regained His Daughter At The     Expense Of--Her

Happiness. What Would Fleur Say To Him? Would She Believe He Had Done

His Best? And Under That Sunlight Flaring On The     Elms, Hazels, Hollies

Of The     Lane And Those Unexploited Fields, Soames Felt Dread. She Would

Be Terribly Upset! He Must Appeal To Her Pride. That Boy Had Given Her

Up, Declared Part And Lot With The     Woman Who So Long Ago Had Given Her

Father Up! Soames Clenched His Hands. Given Him Up, And Why? What Had

Been Wrong With Him? And Once More He Felt The     Malaise Of     One Who

Contemplates Himself As Seen By Another--Like A Dog Who Chances On His

Reflection In A Mirror, And Is Intrigued And Anxious At The     Unseizable

Thing.

 

  

Not In A Hurry To Get Home, He Dined In Town At The     Connoisseurs. While

Eating A Pear It Suddenly Occurred To Him That, If He Had Not Gone Down

To Robin Hill, The     Boy Might Not Have So Decided. He Remembered The

Expression On His Face While His Mother Was Refusing The     Hand He Had

Held Out.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 112

A Strange, An Awkward Thought! Had Fleur Cooked Her Own Goose

By Trying To Make Too Sure?

 

  

He Reached Home At Half-Past Nine. While The     Car Was Passing In At One

Drive Gate He Heard The     Grinding Sputter Of     A Motor-Cycle Passing Out

By The     Other. Young Mont, No Doubt, So Fleur Had Not Been Lonely. But

He Went In With A Sinking Heart. In The     Cream-Panelled Drawing-Room She

Was Sitting With Her Elbows On Her Knees, And Her Chin On Her Clasped

Hands, In Front Of     A White Camellia Plant Which Filled The     Fireplace.

That Glance At Her Before She Saw Him Renewed His Dread. What Was She

Seeing Among Those White Camellias?

 

  

"Well, Father!"

 

  

Soames Shook His Head. His Tongue Failed Him. This Was Murderous Work!

He Saw Her Eyes Dilate, Her Lips Quivering.

 

  

"What? What? Quick, Father!"

 

  

"My Dear," Said Soames, "I--I Did My Best, But--" And Again He Shook

His Head.

 

  

Fleur Ran To Him And Put A Hand On Each Of     His Shoulders.

 

  

"She?"

 

 

"No," Muttered Soames; "He. I Was To Tell You That It Was No Use; He

Must Do What His Father Wished Before He Died." He Caught Her By The

Waist. "Come, Child, Don't Let Them Hurt You. They're Not Worth Your

Little Finger."

 

  

Fleur Tore Herself From His Grasp.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 113

"You Didn't--You Couldn't Have Tried. You--You Betrayed Me, Father!"

 

 

 Bitterly Wounded, Soames Gazed At Her Passionate Figure Writhing There

In Front Of     Him.

 

  

"You Didn't Try--You Didn't--I Was A Fool--I Won't Believe He Could--He

Ever Could! Only Yesterday He--! Oh! Why Did I Ask You?"

 

  

"Yes," Said Soames Quietly, "Why Did You? I Swallowed My Feelings; I

Did My Best For You, Against My Judgment--And This Is My Reward.

Good-Night!"

 

 

With Every Nerve In His Body Twitching He Went Towards The     Door.

  

 

Fleur Darted After Him.

 

  

"He Gives Me Up? You Mean That? Father!"

 

  

Soames Turned And Forced Himself To Answer:

  

 

"Yes."

 

  

"Oh!" Cried Fleur. "What Did You--What Could You Have Done In Those Old

Days?"

 

  

The Breathless Sense Of     Really Monstrous Injustice Cut The     Power Of

Speech In Soames' Throat. What Had He Done! What Had They Done To Him!

And With Quite Unconscious Dignity He Put His Hand On His Breast, And

Looked At Her.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 114

"It's A Shame!" Cried Fleur Passionately.

 

  

Soames Went Out. He Mounted, Slow And Icy, To His Picture-Gallery, And

Paced Among His Treasures. Outrageous! Oh! Outrageous! She Was Spoiled!

Ah! And Who Had Spoiled Her? He Stood Still Before The     Goya Copy.

Accustomed To Her Own Way In Everything--Flower Of     His Life! And Now

That She Couldn't Have It. He Turned To The     Window For Some Air.

Daylight Was Dying, The     Moon Rising, Gold Behind The     Poplars! What

Sound Was That? Why! That Piano Thing! A Dark Tune, With A Thrum And A

Throb! She Had Set It Going--What Comfort Could She Get From That? His

Eyes Caught Movement Down There Beyond The     Lawn, Under The     Trellis Of

Rambler Roses And Young Acacia-Trees, Where The     Moonlight Fell. There

She Was, Roaming Up And Down. His Heart Gave A Little Sickening Jump.

What Would She Do Under This Blow? How Could He Tell? What Did He Know

Of Her--He Had Only Loved Her All His Life--Looked On Her As The     Apple

Of His Eye! He Knew Nothing--Had No Notion. There She Was--And That

Dark Tune--And The     River Gleaming In The     Moonlight!

 

  

'I Must Go Out,' He Thought. He Hastened Down To The     Drawing-Room,

Lighted Just As He Had Left It, With The     Piano Thrumming Out That

Waltz, Or Fox-Trot, Or Whatever They Called It In These Days, And

Passed Through On To The     Verandah. Where Could He Watch, Without Her

Seeing Him? And He Stole Down Through The     Fruit Garden To The

Boat-House. He Was Between Her And The     River Now, And His Heart Felt

Lighter. She Was His Daughter, And Annette's--She Wouldn't Do Anything

Foolish; But There It Was--He Didn't Know! From The     Boat-House Window

He Could See The     Last Acacia And The     Spin Of     Her Skirt When She Turned

In Her Restless March. That Tune Had Run Down At Last--Thank Goodness!

He Crossed The     Floor And Looked Through The     Farther Window At The     Water

Slow-Flowing Past The     Lilies. It Made Little Bubbles Against Them,

Bright Where A Moon-Streak Fell. He Remembered Suddenly That Early

Morning When He Had Slept In This Boat-House After His Father Died, And

She Had Just Been Born--Nearly Nineteen Years Ago! Even Now He Recalled

The Unaccustomed World When He Woke Up, The     Strange Feeling It Had

Given Him. That Day The     Second Passion Of     His Life Began--For This Girl

Of His, Roaming Under The     Acacias. What A Comfort She Had Been To Him!

And All The     Soreness And Sense Of     Outrage Left Him. If He Could Make

Her Happy Again, He Didn't Care! An Owl Flew, Queeking, Queeking; A Bat

Flitted By; The     Moonlight Brightened And Broadened On The     Water.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 115

How

Long Was She Going To Roam About Like This! He Went Back To The     Window,

And Suddenly Saw Her Coming Down To The     Bank. She Stood Quite Close, On

The Landing-Stage. And Soames Watched, Clenching His Hands. Should He

Speak To Her? His Excitement Was Intense. The     Stillness Of     Her Figure,

Its Youth, Its Absorption In Despair, In Longing, In--Itself. He Would

Always Remember It, Moonlit Like That; And The     Faint Sweet Reek Of     The

River And The     Shivering Of     The     Willow Leaves. She Had Everything In The

World That He Could Give Her, Except The     One Thing That She Could Not

Have Because Of     Him! The     Perversity Of     Things Hurt Him At That Moment,

As Might A Fish-Bone In His Throat. Then, With An Infinite Relief, He

Saw Her Turn Back Towards The     House. What Could He Give Her To Make

Amends? Pearls, Travel, Horses, Other Young Men--Anything She

Wanted--That He Might Lose The     Memory Of     Her Young Figure Lonely By The

Water! There! She Had Set That Tune Going Again! Why--It Was A Mania!

Dark, Thrumming, Faint, Travelling From The     House. It Was As Though She

Had Said: "If I Can't Have Something To Keep Me Going, I Shall Die Of

This!" Soames Dimly Understood. Well, If It Helped Her, Let Her Keep It

Thrumming On All Night! And, Mousing Back Through The     Fruit Garden, He

Regained The     Verandah. Though He Meant To Go In And Speak To Her Now,

He Still Hesitated, Not Knowing What To Say, Trying Hard To Recall How

It Felt To Be Thwarted In Love. He Ought To Know, Ought To

Remember--And He Could Not! Gone--All Real Recollection; Except That It

Had Hurt Him Horribly. In This Blankness He Stood Passing His

Handkerchief Over Hands And Lips, Which Were Very Dry. By Craning His

Head He Could Just See Fleur, Standing With Her Back To That Piano

Still Grinding Out Its Tune, Her Arms Tight Crossed On Her Breast, A

Lighted Cigarette Between Her Lips, Whose Smoke Half Veiled Her Face.

The Expression On It Was Strange To Soames, The     Eyes Shone And Stared,

And Every Feature Was Alive With A Sort Of     Wretched Scorn And Anger.

Once Or Twice He Had Seen Annette Look Like That--The Face Was Too

Vivid, Too Naked, Not His Daughter's At That Moment. And He Dared Not

Go In, Realising The     Futility Of     Any Attempt At Consolation. He Sat

Down In The     Shadow Of     The     Ingle-Nook. Monstrous Trick, That Fate Had

Played Him! Nemesis! That Old Unhappy Marriage! And In God's Name--Why?

How Was He To Know, When He Wanted Irene So Violently, And She

Consented To Be His, That She Would Never Love Him? The     Tune Died And

Was Renewed, And Died Again, And Still Soames Sat In The     Shadow,

Waiting For He Knew Not What. The     Fag Of     Fleur's Cigarette, Flung

Through The     Window, Fell On The     Grass; He Watched It Glowing, Burning

Itself Out.

Part III VIII (The Dark Tune) Pg 116

The     Moon Had Freed Herself Above The     Poplars, And Poured

Her Unreality On The     Garden. Comfortless Light, Mysterious,

Withdrawn--Like The     Beauty Of     That Woman Who Had Never Loved

Him--Dappling The     Nemesias And The     Stocks With A Vesture Not Of     Earth.

Flowers! And His Flower So Unhappy! Ah, Why Could One Not Put Happiness

Into Local Loans, Gild Its Edges, Insure It Against Going Down? Light

Had Ceased To Flow Out Now From The     Drawing-Room Window. All Was Silent

And Dark In There. Had She Gone Up? He Rose, And, Tiptoeing, Peered In.

It Seemed So! He Entered. The     Verandah Kept The     Moonlight Out; And At

First He Could See Nothing But The     Outlines Of     Furniture Blacker Than

The Darkness. He Groped Towards The     Farther Window To Shut It. His Foot

Struck A Chair, And He Heard A Gasp. There She Was, Curled And Crushed

Into The     Corner Of     The     Sofa! His Hand Hovered. Did She Want His

Consolation? He Stood, Gazing At That Ball Of     Crushed Frills And Hair

And Graceful Youth, Trying To Burrow Its Way Out Of     Sorrow. How Leave

Her There? At Last He Touched Her Hair, And Said: "Come, Darling,

Better Go To Bed. I'll Make It Up To You, Somehow." How Fatuous! But

What Could He Have Said?

Part III IX (Under The Oak-Tree) Pg 117

 

 

 

When Their Visitor Had Disappeared Jon And His Mother Stood Without

Speaking, Till He Said Suddenly: "I Ought To Have Seen Him Out." But

Soames Was Already Walking Down The     Drive, And Jon Went Up-Stairs To

His Father's Studio, Not Trusting Himself To Go Back. The     Expression On

His Mother's Face Confronting The     Man She Had Once Been Married To, Had

Sealed A Resolution Growing Within Him Ever Since She Left Him The

Night Before. It Had Put The     Finishing Touch Of     Reality. To Marry Fleur

Would Be To Hit His Mother In The     Face; To Betray His Dead Father! It

Was No Good! Jon Had The     Least Resentful Of     Natures. He Bore His

Parents No Grudge In This Hour Of     His Distress.

Part III IX (Under The Oak-Tree) Pg 118

For One So Young There

Was A Rather Strange Power In Him Of     Seeing Things In Some Sort Of

Proportion. It Was Worse For Fleur, Worse For His Mother Even, Than It

Was For Him. Harder Than To Give Up Was To Be Given Up, Or To Be The

Cause Of     Some One You Loved Giving Up For You. He Must Not, Would Not

Behave Grudgingly! While He Stood Watching The     Tardy Sunlight, He Had

Again That Sudden Vision Of     The     World Which Had Come To Him The     Night

Before. Sea On Sea, Country On Country, Millions On Millions Of     People,

All With Their Own Lives, Energies, Joys, Griefs, And Suffering--All

With Things They Had To Give Up, And Separate Struggles For Existence.

Even Though He Might Be Willing To Give Up All Else For The     One Thing

He Couldn't Have, He Would Be A Fool To Think His Feelings Mattered

Much In So Vast A World, And To Behave Like A Cry-Baby Or A Cad. He

Pictured The     People Who Had Nothing--The Millions Who Had Given Up Life

In The     War, The     Millions Whom The     War Had Left With Life And Little

Else; The     Hungry Children He Had Read Of, The     Shattered Men; People In

Prison, Every Kind Of     Unfortunate. And--They Did Not Help Him Much. If

One Had To Miss A Meal, What Comfort In The     Knowledge That Many Others

Had To Miss It Too? There Was More Distraction In The     Thought Of

Getting Away Out Into This Vast World Of     Which He Knew Nothing Yet. He

Could Not Go On Staying Here, Walled In And Sheltered, With Everything

So Slick And Comfortable, And Nothing To Do But Brood And Think What

Might Have Been. He Could Not Go Back To Wansdon, And The     Memories Of

Fleur. If He Saw Her Again He Could Not Trust Himself; And If He Stayed

Here Or Went Back There, He Would Surely See Her. While They Were

Within Reach Of     Each Other That Must Happen. To Go Far Away And

Quickly, Was The     Only Thing To Do. But, However Much He Loved His

Mother, He Did Not Want To Go Away With Her. Then Feeling That Was

Brutal, He Made Up His Mind Desperately To Propose That They Should Go

To Italy. For Two Hours In That Melancholy Room He Tried To Master

Himself; Then Dressed Solemnly For Dinner.

 

 

His Mother Had Done The     Same. They Ate Little, At Some Length, And

Talked Of     His Father's Catalogue. The     Show Was Arranged For October,

And Beyond Clerical Detail There Was Nothing More To Do.

 

  

After Dinner She Put On A Cloak And They Went Out; Walked A Little,

Talked A Little, Till They Were Standing Silent At Last Beneath The

Oak-Tree. 

Part III IX (Under The Oak-Tree) Pg 119

Ruled By The     Thought: 'If I Show Anything, I Show All,' Jon

Put His Arm Through Hers And Said Quite Casually:

 

  

"Mother, Let's Go To Italy."

  

 

Irene Pressed His Arm, And Said As Casually:

 

 

"It Would Be Very Nice; But I've Been Thinking You Ought To See And Do

More Than You Would If I Were With You."

 

 

 

"But Then You'd Be Alone."

 

 

 

"I Was Once Alone For More Than Twelve Years. Besides, I Should Like To

Be Here For The     Opening Of     Father's Show."

 

 

 Jon's Grip Tightened Round Her Arm; He Was Not Deceived.

 

 

"You Couldn't Stay Here All By Yourself; It's Too Big."

 

  

"Not Here, Perhaps. In London, And I Might Go To Paris, After The     Show

Opens. You Ought To Have A Year At Least, Jon, And See The     World."

  

 

"Yes, I'd Like To See The     World And Rough It. But I Don't Want To Leave

You All Alone."

 

  

"My Dear, I Owe You That At Least. If It's For Your Good, It'll Be For

Mine. Why Not Start To-Morrow? You've Got Your Passport."

 

 

 "Yes; If I'm Going It Had Better Be At Once.

Part III IX (Under The Oak-Tree) Pg 120

Only--Mother--If--If I

Wanted To Stay Out Somewhere--America Or Anywhere, Would You Mind

Coming Presently?"

 

  

"Wherever And Whenever You Send For Me. But Don't Send Until You Really

Want Me."

 

  

Jon Drew A Deep Breath.

 

  

"I Feel England's Choky."

 

  

They Stood A Few Minutes Longer Under The     Oak-Tree--Looking Out To

Where The     Grand Stand At Epsom Was Veiled In Evening. The     Branches Kept

The Moonlight From Them, So That It Only Fell Everywhere Else--Over The

Fields And Far Away, And On The     Windows Of     The     Creepered House Behind,

Which Soon Would Be To Let.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 121

 

 

 

The October Paragraphs Describing The     Wedding Of     Fleur Forsyte To

Michael Mont Hardly Conveyed The     Symbolic Significance Of     This Event.

In The     Union Of     The     Great-Granddaughter Of     "Superior Dosset" With The

Heir Of     A Ninth Baronet Was The     Outward And Visible Sign Of     That Merger

Of Class In Class Which Buttresses The     Political Stability Of     A Realm.

The Time Had Come When The     Forsytes Might Resign Their Natural

Resentment Against A "Flummery" Not Theirs By Birth, And Accept It As

The Still More Natural Due Of     Their Possessive Instincts. Besides, They

Really Had To Mount To Make Room For All Those So Much More Newly Rich.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 122

In That Quiet But Tasteful Ceremony In Hanover Square, And Afterwards

Among The     Furniture In Green Street, It Had Been Impossible For Those

Not In The     Know To Distinguish The     Forsyte Troop From The     Mont

Contingent--So Far Away Was "Superior Dosset" Now. Was There, In The

Crease Of     His Trousers, The     Expression Of     His Moustache, His Accent, Or

The Shine On His Top Hat, A Pin To Choose Between Soames And The     Ninth

Baronet Himself? Was Not Fleur As Self-Possessed, Quick, Glancing,

Pretty, And Hard As The     Likeliest Muskham, Mont, Or Charwell Filly

Present? If Anything, The     Forsytes Had It In Dress And Looks And

Manners. They Had Become "Upper Class" And Now Their Name Would Be

Formally Recorded In The     Stud Book, Their Money Joined To Land. Whether

This Was A Little Late In The     Day, And Those Rewards Of     The     Possessive

Instinct, Lands And Money Destined For The     Melting-Pot--Was Still A

Question So Moot That It Was Not Mooted. After All, Timothy Had Said

Consols Were Goin' Up. Timothy, The     Last, The     Missing Link; Timothy In

Extremis On The     Bayswater Road--So Francie Had Reported. It Was

Whispered, Too, That This Young Mont Was A Sort Of     Socialist--Strangely

Wise Of     Him, And In The     Nature Of     Insurance, Considering The     Days They

Lived In. There Was No Uneasiness On That Score. The     Landed Classes

Produced That Sort Of     Amiable Foolishness At Times, Turned To Safe Uses

And Confined To Theory. As George Remarked To His Sister Francie:

"They'll Soon Be Having Puppies--That'll Give Him Pause."

  

 

The Church With White Flowers And Something Blue In The     Middle Of     The

East Window, Looked Extremely Chaste, As Though Endeavouring To

Counteract The     Somewhat Lurid Phraseology Of     A Service Calculated To

Keep The     Thoughts Of     All On Puppies. Forsytes, Haymans, Tweetymans, Sat

In The     Left Aisle; Monts, Charwells, Muskhams In The     Right; While A

Sprinkling Of     Fleur's Fellow-Sufferers At School, And Of     Mont's

Fellow-Sufferers In The     War, Gaped Indiscriminately From Either Side,

And Three Maiden Ladies, Who Had Dropped In On Their Way From

Skyward's, Brought Up The     Rear, Together With Two Mont Retainers And

Fleur's Old Nurse. In The     Unsettled State Of     The     Country As Full A

House As Could Be Expected.

 

  

Mrs. Val Dartie, Who Sat With Her Husband In The     Third Row, Squeezed

His Hand More Than Once During The     Performance.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 123

To Her, Who Knew The

Plot Of     This Tragi-Comedy, Its Most Dramatic Moment Was Well-Nigh

Painful. 'I Wonder If Jon Knows By Instinct,' She Thought--Jon, Out In

British Columbia. She Had Received A Letter From Him Only That Morning

Which Had Made Her Smile And Say:

  

 

"Jon's In British Columbia, Val, Because He Wants To Be In California.

He Thinks It's Too Nice There."

 

  

"Oh!" Said Val, "So He's Beginning To See A Joke Again."

 

 

"He's Bought Some Land And Sent For His Mother."

 

  

"What On Earth Will She Do Out There?"

 

  

"All She Cares About Is Jon. Do You Still Think It A Happy Release?"

 

  

Val's Shrewd Eyes Narrowed To Grey Pin-Points Between Their Dark Lashes.

 

  

"Fleur Wouldn't Have Suited Him A Bit. She's Not Bred Right."

 

  

"Poor Little Fleur!" Sighed Holly. Ah! It Was Strange--This Marriage!

The Young Man, Mont, Had Caught Her On The     Rebound, Of     Course, In The

Reckless Mood Of     One Whose Ship Has Just Gone Down. Such A Plunge Could

Not But Be--As Val Put It--An Outside Chance. There Was Little To Be

Told From The     Back View Of     Her Young Cousin's Veil, And Holly's Eyes

Reviewed The     General Aspect Of     This Christian Wedding. She Who Had Made

A Love-Match Which Had Been Successful, Had A Horror Of     Unhappy

Marriages. This Might Not Be One In The     End--But It Was Clearly A

Toss-Up; And To Consecrate A Toss-Up In This Fashion With Manufactured

Unction Before A Crowd Of     Fashionable Free-Thinkers--For Who Thought

Otherwise Than Freely, Or Not At All, When They Were 'Dolled'

Up--Seemed To Her As Near A Sin As One Could Find In An Age Which Had

Abolished Them.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 124

Her Eyes Wandered From The     Prelate In His Robes (A

Charwell--The Forsytes Had Not As Yet Produced A Prelate) To Val,

Beside Her, Thinking--She Was Certain Of--The Mayfly Filly At Fifteen

To One For The     Cambridgeshire. They Passed On And Caught The     Profile Of

The Ninth Baronet, In Counterfeitment Of     The     Kneeling Process. She

Could Just See The     Neat Ruck Above His Knees Where He Had Pulled His

Trousers Up, And Thought: 'Val's Forgotten To Pull Up His!' Her Eyes

Passed To The     Pew In Front Of     Her, Where Winifred's Substantial Form

Was Gowned With Passion, And On Again To Soames And Annette Kneeling

Side By Side. A Little Smile Came On Her Lips--Prosper Profond, Back

From The     South Seas Of     The     Channel, Would Be Kneeling Too, About Six

Rows Behind. Yes! This Was A Funny "Small" Business, However It Turned

Out; Still It Was In A Proper Church And Would Be In The     Proper Papers

To-Morrow Morning.

 

  

They Had Begun A Hymn; She Could Hear The     Ninth Baronet Across The

Aisle, Singing Of     The     Hosts Of     Midian. Her Little Finger Touched Val's

Thumb--They Were Holding The     Same Hymn-Book--And A Tiny Thrill Passed

Through Her, Preserved From Twenty Years Ago. He Stooped And Whispered:

 

  

"I Say, D'you Remember The     Rat?" The     Rat At Their Wedding In Cape

Colony, Which Had Cleaned Its Whiskers Behind The     Table At The

Registrar's! And Between Her Little And Third Finger She Squeezed His

Thumb Hard.

 

  

The Hymn Was Over, The     Prelate Had Begun To Deliver His Discourse. He

Told Them Of     The     Dangerous Times They Lived In, And The     Awful Conduct

Of The     House Of     Lords In Connection With Divorce. They Were All

Soldiers--He Said--In The     Trenches Under The     Poisonous Gas Of     The

Prince Of     Darkness, And Must Be Manful. The     Purpose Of     Marriage Was

Children, Not Mere Sinful Happiness.

 

  

An Imp Danced In Holly's Eyes--Val's Eyelashes Were Meeting. Whatever

Happened, He Must Not Snore. Her Finger And Thumb Closed On His Thigh;

Till He Stirred Uneasily.

  

 

The Discourse Was Over, The     Danger Past. They Were Signing In The

Vestry; And General Relaxation Had Set In.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 125

A Voice Behind Her Said:

 

 

"Will She Stay The     Course?"

 

  

"Who's That?" She Whispered.

  

 

"Old George Forsyte!"

 

  

Holly Demurely Scrutinised One Of     Whom She Had Often Heard. Fresh From

South Africa, And Ignorant Of     Her Kith And Kin, She Never Saw One

Without An Almost Childish Curiosity. He Was Very Big, And Very Dapper;

His Eyes Gave Her A Funny Feeling Of     Having No Particular Clothes.

 

  

"They're Off!" She Heard Him Say.

 

 

They Came, Stepping From The     Chancel. Holly Looked First In Young

Mont's Face. His Lips And Ears Were Twitching, His Eyes, Shifting From

His Feet To The     Hand Within His Arm, Stared Suddenly Before Them As If

To Face A Firing Party. He Gave Holly The     Feeling That He Was

Spiritually Intoxicated. But Fleur! Ah! That Was Different. The     Girl

Was Perfectly Composed, Prettier Than Ever, In Her White Robes And Veil

Over Her Banged Dark Chestnut Hair; Her Eyelids Hovered Demure Over Her

Dark Hazel Eyes. Outwardly, She Seemed All There. But, Inwardly, Where

Was She? As Those Two Passed, Fleur Raised Her Eyelids--The Restless

Glint Of     Those Clear Whites Remained On Holly's Vision As Might The

Flutter Of     A Caged Bird's Wings.

 

 

 In Green Street Winifred Stood To Receive, Just A Little Less Composed

Than Usual. Soames' Request For The     Use Of     Her House Had Come On Her At

A Deeply Psychological Moment. Under The     Influence Of     A Remark Of

Prosper Profond, She Had Begun To Exchange Her Empire For

Expressionistic Furniture.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 126

There Were The     Most Amusing Arrangements,

With Violet, Green, And Orange Blobs And Scriggles, To Be Had At

Mealard's. Another Month And The     Change Would Have Been Complete. Just

Now, The     Very "Intriguing" Recruits She Had Enlisted Did Not March Too

Well With The     Old Guard. It Was As If Her Regiment Were Half In Khaki,

Half In Scarlet And Bearskins. But Her Strong And Comfortable Character

Made The     Best Of     It In A Drawing-Room Which Typified, Perhaps, More

Perfectly Than She Imagined, The     Semi-Bolshevised Imperialism Of     Her

Country. After All, This Was A Day Of     Merger, And You Couldn't Have Too

Much Of     It! Her Eyes Travelled Indulgently Among Her Guests. Soames Had

Gripped The     Back Of     A Buhl Chair; Young Mont Was Behind That "Awfully

Amusing" Screen, Which No One As Yet Had Been Able To Explain To Her.

The Ninth Baronet Had Shied Violently At A Round Scarlet Table, Inlaid

Tinder Glass With Blue Australian Butterflies' Wings, And Was Clinging

To Her Louis-Quinze Cabinet; Francie Forsyte Had Seized The     New

Mantel-Board, Finely Carved With Little Purple Grotesques On An Ebony

Ground; George, Over By The     Old Spinet, Was Holding A Little Sky-Blue

Book As If About To Enter Bets; Prosper Profond Was Twiddling The     Knob

Of The     Open Door, Black With Peacock-Blue Panels; And Annette's Hands,

Close By, Were Grasping Her Own Waist; Two Muskhams Clung To The

Balcony Among The     Plants, As If Feeling Ill; Lady Mont, Thin And

Brave-Looking, Had Taken Up Her Long-Handled Glasses And Was Gazing At

The Central Light Shade, Of     Ivory And Orange Dashed With Deep Magenta,

As If The     Heavens Had Opened. Everybody, In Fact, Seemed Holding On To

Something. Only Fleur, Still In Her Bridal Dress, Was Detached From All

Support, Flinging Her Words And Glances To Left And Right.

 

  

The Room Was Full Of     The     Bubble And The     Squeak Of     Conversation. Nobody

Could Hear Anything That Anybody Said; Which Seemed Of     Little

Consequence, Since No One Waited For Anything So Slow As An Answer.

Modern Conversation Seemed To Winifred So Different From The     Days Of

Her Prime, When A Drawl Was All The     Vogue. Still It Was Diverting,

Which, Of     Course, Was All That Mattered. Even The     Forsytes Were Talking

With Extreme Rapidity--Fleur And Christopher, And Imogen, And Young

Nicholas's Youngest, Patrick. Soames, Of     Course, Was Silent; But

George, By The     Spinet, Kept Up A Running Commentary, And Francie, By

Her Mantel-Shelf. Winifred Drew Nearer To The     Ninth Baronet.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 127

He Seemed

To Promise A Certain Repose; His Nose Was Fine And Drooped A Little,

His Grey Moustaches Too; And She Said, Drawling Through Her Smile;

 

 

"It's Rather Nice, Isn't It?"

 

  

His Reply Shot Out Of     His Smile Like A Snipped Bread Pellet:

 

  

"D'you Remember, In Frazer, The     Tribe That Buries The     Bride Up To The

Waist?"

  

 

He Spoke As Fast As Anybody! He Had Dark, Lively Little Eyes, Too, All

Crinkled Round Like A Catholic Priest's. Winifred Felt Suddenly He

Might Say Things She Would Regret.

 

  

"They're Always So Diverting--Weddings," She Murmured, And Moved On To

Soames. He Was Curiously Still, And Winifred Saw At Once What Was

Dictating His Immobility. To His Right Was George Forsyte, To His Left

Annette And Prosper Profond. He Could Not Move Without Either Seeing

Those Two Together, Or The     Reflection Of     Them In George Forsyte's

Japing Eyes. He Was Quite Right Not To Be Taking Notice.

 

 

"They Say Timothy's Sinking," He Said Glumly.

 

 

"Where Will You Put Him, Soames?"

 

  

"Highgate." And Counted On His Fingers. "It'll Make Twelve Of     Them

There, Including Wives. How Do You Think Fleur Looks?"

 

  

"Remarkably Well."

  

 

Soames Nodded. He Had Never Seen Her Look Prettier, Yet He Could Not

Rid Himself Of     The     Impression That This Business Was

Unnatural--Remembering Still That Crushed Figure Burrowing Into The

Corner Of     The     Sofa.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 128

From That Night To This Day He Had Received From

Her No Confidences. He Knew From His Chauffeur That She Had Made One

More Attempt On Robin Hill And Drawn Blank--An Empty House, No One At

Home. He Knew That She Had Received A Letter, But Not What Was In It,

Except That It Had Made Her Hide Herself And Cry. He Had Remarked That

She Looked At Him Sometimes When She Thought He Wasn't Noticing, As If

She Were Wondering Still What He Had Done--Forsooth--To Make Those

People Hate Him So. Well, There It Was! Annette Had Come Back, And

Things Had Worn On Through The     Summer--Very Miserable, Till Suddenly

Fleur Had Said She Was Going To Marry Young Mont. She Had Shown Him A

Little More Affection When She Told Soames That. And He Had

Yielded--What Was The     Good Of     Opposing It? God Knew That He Had Never

Wished To Thwart Her In Anything! And The     Young Man Seemed Quite

Delirious About Her. No Doubt She Was In A Reckless Mood, And She Was

Young, Absurdly Young. But If He Opposed Her, He Didn't Know What She

Would Do; For All He Could Tell She Might Want To Take Up A Profession,

Become A Doctor Or Solicitor, Some Nonsense. She Had No Aptitude For

Painting, Writing, Music, In His View The     Legitimate Occupations Of

Unmarried Women, If They Must Do Something In These Days. On The     Whole,

She Was Safer Married, For He Could See Too Well How Feverish And

Restless She Was At Home. Annette, Too, Had Been In Favour Of

It--Annette, From Behind The     Veil Of     His Refusal To Know What She Was

About, If She Was About Anything. Annette Had Said: "Let Her Marry This

Young Man. He Is A Nice Boy--Not So Highty-Flighty As He Seems." Where

She Got Her Expressions, He Didn't Know--But Her Opinion Soothed His

Doubts. His Wife, Whatever Her Conduct, Had Clear Eyes And An Almost

Depressing Amount Of     Common Sense. He Had Settled Fifty Thousand On

Fleur, Taking Care That There Was No Cross Settlement In Case It Didn't

Turn Out Well. Could It Turn Out Well? She Had Not Got Over That Other

Boy--He Knew. They Were To Go To Spain For The     Honeymoon. He Would Be

Even Lonelier When She Was Gone. But Later, Perhaps, She Would Forget,

And Turn To Him Again!

  

 

Winifred's Voice Broke On His Reverie.

 

  

"Why! Of     All Wonders--June!"

 

  

There, In A Djibbah--What Things She Wore!--With Her Hair Straying From

Under A Fillet, Soames Saw His Cousin, And Fleur Going Forward To Greet

Her. The     Two Passed From Their View Out On To The     Stairway.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 129

"Really," Said Winifred, "She Does The     Most Impossible Things! Fancy

Her Coming!"

 

  

"What Made You Ask Her?" Muttered Soames.

 

 

"Because I Thought She Wouldn't Accept, Of     Course."

 

 

 Winifred Had Forgotten That Behind Conduct Lies The     Main Trend Of

Character; Or, In Other Words, Omitted To Remember That Fleur Was Now A

"Lame Duck."

 

 

 

On Receiving Her Invitation, June Had First Thought: 'I Wouldn't Go

Near Them For The     World!' And Then, One Morning, Had Awakened From A

Dream Of     Fleur Waving To Her From A Boat With A Wild Unhappy Gesture.

And She Had Changed Her Mind.

  

 

When Fleur Came Forward And Said To Her:

 

 

 "Do Come Up While I'm Changing My Dress"; She Had Followed Up The

Stairs. The     Girl Led The     Way Into Imogen's Old Bedroom, Set Ready For

Her Toilet.

 

  

June Sat Down On The     Bed, Thin And Upright, Like A Little Spirit In The

Sere And Yellow. Fleur Locked The     Door.

 

  

The Girl Stood Before Her Divested Of     Her Wedding-Dress. What A Pretty

Thing She Was!

 

  

"I Suppose You Think Me A Fool," She Said, With Quivering Lips, "When

It Was To Have Been Jon. But What Does It Matter? Michael Wants Me, And

I Don't Care. It'll Get Me Away From Home." Diving Her Hand Into The

Frills On Her Breast, She Brought Out A Letter. "Jon Wrote Me This."

 

  

June Read: "Lake Okanagen, British Columbia.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 130

I'm Not Coming Back To

England. Bless You Always. Jon."

  

 

"She's Made Safe, You See," Said Fleur.

 

  

June Handed Back The     Letter.

 

  

"That's Not Fair To Irene; She Always Told Jon He Could Do As He

Wished."

  

 

Fleur Smiled Bitterly. "Didn't She Spoil Your Life Too?"

 

 

"Nobody Can Spoil A Life, My Dear. That's Nonsense. Things Happen, But

We Bob Up."

 

 

Then With A Sort Of     Terror She Saw The     Girl Sink On Her Knees And Bury

Her Face In The     Djibbah, With A Strangled Sob.

 

  

"It's All Right--All Right," June Murmured: "Don't! There, There!"

 

  

But The     Point Of     The     Girl's Chin Was Pressed Ever Closer Into Her

Thigh, And The     Sound Was Dreadful Of     Her Sobbing. Well, Well! It Had To

Come. She Would Feel Better Afterwards! June Stroked The     Short Hair Of

That Shapely Head And All The     Scattered Mother-Sense In Her Focussed

Itself And Passed Through The     Tips Of     Her Fingers Into The     Girl's Brain.

  

 

"Don't Sit Down Under It, My Dear," She Said At Last. "We Can't Control

Life, But We Can Fight It. Make The     Best Of     Things.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 131

I've Had To. I Held

On, Like You; And I Cried, As You're Crying Now. And Look At Me!"

  

 

Fleur Raised Her Head; A Sob Merged Suddenly Into A Little Choked

Laugh. In Truth It Was A Thin And Rather Wild And Wasted Spirit She Was

Looking At, But It Had Brave Eyes.

  

 

"All Right!" She Said. "I'm Sorry. I Shall Forget Him, I Suppose, If I

Fly Fast And Far Enough."

 

  

And, Scrambling To Her Feet, She Went Over To The     Washstand.

  

 

June Watched Her Removing With Cold Water The     Traces Of     Emotion. Save

For A Little Becoming Pinkness There Was Nothing Left When She Stood

Before The     Mirror. June Got Off The     Bed And Took A Pin-Cushion In Her

Hand. To Put Two Pins Into The     Wrong Places Was All The     Vent She Found

For Sympathy.

 

  

"Give Me A Kiss," She Said When Fleur Was Ready, And Dug Her Chin Into

The Girl's Warm Cheek.

  

 

"I Want A Whiff," Said Fleur; "Don't Wait."

 

  

June Left Her, Sitting On The     Bed With A Cigarette Between Her Lips And

Her Eyes Half Closed, And Went Down-Stairs. In The     Doorway Of     The

Drawing-Room Stood Soames As If Unquiet At His Daughter's Tardiness.

June Tossed Her Head And Passed Down On To The     Half Landing. Her Cousin

Francie Was Standing There.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 132

"Look!" Said June, Pointing With Her Chin At Soames. "That Man's Fatal!"

  

 

"How Do You Mean," Said Francie, "Fatal?"

 

 

June Did Not Answer Her. "I Shan't Wait To See Them Off," She Said.

"Good-Bye!"

 

 

 "Good-Bye!" And Francie's Eyes, Of     A Celtic Grey, Goggled. That Old

Feud! Really, It Was Quite Romantic!

 

  

Soames, Moving To The     Well Of     The     Staircase, Saw June Go, And Drew A

Breath Of     Satisfaction. But Why Didn't Fleur Come? They Would Miss

Their Train. That Train Would Bear Her Away From Him, Yet He Could Not

Help Fidgeting At The     Thought That They Would Lose It. And Then She Did

Come, Running Down In Her Tan-Coloured Frock And Black Velvet Cap, And

Passed Him Into The     Drawing-Room. He Saw Her Kiss Her Mother, Her Aunt,

Val's Wife, Imogen, And Then Come Forth, Quick And Pretty As Ever. How

Would She Treat Him At This Last Moment Of     Her Girlhood? He Couldn't

Hope For Much!

 

  

Her Lips Pressed The     Middle Of     His Cheek.

  

 

"Daddy!" She Said, And Was Past And Gone. Daddy! She Hadn't Called Him

That For Years. He Drew A Long Breath And Followed Slowly Down. There

Was All The     Folly With That Confetti Stuff And The     Rest Of     It To Go

Through With, Yet. But He Would Like Just To Catch Her Smile, If She

Leaned Out, Though They Would Hit Her In The     Eye With The     Shoe, If They

Didn't Take Care. Young Mont's Voice Said Fervently In His Ear:

 

  

"Good-Bye, Sir; And Thank You! I'm So Fearfully Bucked."

 

  

"Good-Bye," He Said; "Don't Miss Your Train."

 

  

He Stood On The     Bottom Step But Three, Whence He Could See Above The

Heads--The Silly Hats And Heads. They Were In The     Car Now; And There

Was That Stuff, Showering, And There Went The     Shoe.

Part III X (Fleur's Wedding) Pg 133

A Flood Of

Something Welled Up In Soames, And--He Didn't Know--He Couldn't See!

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 134

 

 

 

When They Came To Prepare That Terrific Symbol Timothy Forsyte--The One

Pure Individualist Left, The     Only Man Who Hadn't Heard Of     The     Great

War--They Found Him Wonderful--Not Even Death Had Undermined His

Soundness.

 

  

To Smither And Cook That Preparation Came Like Final Evidence Of     What

They Had Never Believed Possible--The End Of     The     Old Forsyte Family On

Earth. Poor Mr. Timothy Must Now Take A Harp And Sing In The     Company Of

Miss Forsyte, Mrs. Julia, Miss Hester; With Mr. Jolyon, Mr. Swithin,

Mr. James, Mr. Roger, And Mr. Nicholas Of     The     Party. Whether Mrs.

Hayman Would Be There Was More Doubtful, Seeing That She Had Been

Cremated. Secretly Cook Thought That Mr. Timothy Would Be Upset--He Had

Always Been So Set Against Barrel Organs. How Many Times Had She Not

Said: "Drat The     Thing! There It Is Again! Smither, You'd Better Run Up

And See What You Can Do." And In Her Heart She Would So Have Enjoyed

The Tunes, If She Hadn't Known That Mr. Timothy Would Ring The     Bell In

A Minute And Say: "Here, Take Him A Halfpenny And Tell Him To Move On."

Often They Had Been Obliged To Add Threepence Of     Their Own Before The

Man Would Go--Timothy Had Ever Underrated The     Value Of     Emotion. Luckily

He Had Taken The     Organs For Blue-Bottles In His Last Years, Which Had

Been A Comfort, And They Had Been Able To Enjoy The     Tunes. But A Harp!

Cook Wondered. It Was A Change! And Mr. Timothy Had Never Liked Change.

But She Did Not Speak Of     This To Smither, Who Did So Take A Line Of     Her

Own In Regard To Heaven That It Quite Put One About Sometimes.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 135

She Cried While Timothy Was Being Prepared, And They All Had Sherry

Afterwards Out Of     The     Yearly Christmas Bottle, Which Would Not Be

Needed Now. Ah! Dear! She Had Been There Five-And-Forty Years And

Smither Nine-And-Thirty! And Now They Would Be Going To A Tiny House In

Tooting, To Live On Their Savings And What Miss Hester Had So Kindly

Left Them--For To Take Fresh Service After The     Glorious Past--No! But

They Would Like Just To See Mr. Soames Again, And Mrs. Dartie, And Miss

Francie, And Miss Euphemia. And Even If They Had To Take Their Own Cab,

They Felt They Must Go To The     Funeral. For Six Years Mr. Timothy Had

Been Their Baby, Getting Younger And Younger Every Day, Till At Last He

Had Been Too Young To Live.

 

 

 They Spent The     Regulation Hours Of     Waiting In Polishing And Dusting, In

Catching The     One Mouse Left, And Asphyxiating The     Last Beetle, So As To

Leave It Nice, Discussing With Each Other What They Would Buy At The

Sale. Miss Ann's Work-Box; Miss Juley's (That Is Mrs. Julia's) Seaweed

Album; The     Fire-Screen Miss Hester Had Crewelled; And Mr. Timothy's

Hair--Little Golden Curls, Glued Into A Black Frame. Oh! They Must Have

Those--Only The     Price Of     Things Had Gone Up So!

  

 

It Fell To Soames To Issue Invitations For The     Funeral. He Had Them

Drawn Up By Gradman In His Office--Only Blood Relations, And No

Flowers. Six Carriages Were Ordered. The     Will Would Be Read Afterwards

At The     House.

 

  

He Arrived At Eleven O'clock To See That All Was Ready. At A Quarter

Past Old Gradman Came In Black Gloves And Crape On His Hat. He And

Soames Stood In The     Drawing-Room Waiting. At Half-Past Eleven The

Carriages Drew Up In A Long Row. But No One Else Appeared. Gradman Said:

  

 

"It Surprises Me, Mr. Soames. I Posted Them Myself."

 

 

"I Don't Know," Said Soames; "He'd Lost Touch With The     Family."

 

  

Soames Had Often Noticed In Old Days How Much More Neighbourly His

Family Were To The     Dead Than To The     Living.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 136

But, Now, The     Way They Had

Flocked To Fleur's Wedding And Abstained From Timothy's Funeral, Seemed

To Show Some Vital Change. There Might, Of     Course, Be Another Reason;

For Soames Felt That If He Had Not Known The     Contents Of     Timothy's

Will, He Might Have Stayed Away Himself Through Delicacy. Timothy Had

Left A Lot Of     Money, With Nobody In Particular To Leave It To. They

Mightn't Like To Seem To Expect Something.

 

 

At Twelve O'clock The     Procession Left The     Door; Timothy Alone In The

First Carriage Under Glass. Then Soames Alone; Then Gradman Alone; Then

Cook And Smither Together. They Started At A Walk, But Were Soon

Trotting Under A Bright Sky. At The     Entrance To Highgate Cemetery They

Were Delayed By Service In The     Chapel. Soames Would Have Liked To Stay

Outside In The     Sunshine. He Didn't Believe A Word Of     It; On The     Other

Hand, It Was A Form Of     Insurance Which Could Not Safely Be Neglected,

In Case There Might Be Something In It After All.

 

  

They Walked Up Two And Two--He And Gradman, Cook And Smither--To The

Family Vault. It Was Not Very Distinguished For The     Funeral Of     The     Last

Old Forsyte.

 

 

He Took Gradman Into His Carriage On The     Way Back To The     Bayswater Road

With A Certain Glow In His Heart. He Had A Surprise In Pickle For The

Old Chap Who Had Served The     Forsytes Four-And-Fifty Years--A Treat That

Was Entirely His Doing. How Well He Remembered Saying To Timothy The

Day After Aunt Hester's Funeral: "Well, Uncle Timothy, There's Gradman.

He's Taken A Lot Of     Trouble For The     Family. What Do You Say To Leaving

Him Five Thousand?" And His Surprise, Seeing The     Difficulty There Had

Been In Getting Timothy To Leave Anything, When Timothy Had Nodded. And

Now The     Old Chap Would Be As Pleased As Punch, For Mrs. Gradman, He

Knew, Had A Weak Heart, And Their Son Had Lost A Leg In The     War. It Was

Extraordinarily Gratifying To Soames To Have Left Him Five Thousand

Pounds Of     Timothy's Money. They Sat Down Together In The     Little

Drawing-Room, Whose Walls--Like A Vision Of     Heaven--Were Sky-Blue And

Gold, With Every Picture-Frame Unnaturally Bright, And Every Speck Of

Dust Removed From Every Piece Of     Furniture, To Read That Little

Masterpiece,--The Will Of     Timothy.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 137

With His Back To The     Light In Aunt

Hester's Chair, Soames Faced Gradman With His Face To The     Light On Aunt

Ann's Sofa; And, Crossing His Legs, Began:

  

 

"This Is The     Last Will And Testament Of     Me Timothy Forsyte Of     The     Bower

Bayswater Road London I Appoint My Nephew Soames Forsyte Of     The     Shelter

Mapledurham And Thomas Gradman Of     159 Folly Road Highgate (Hereinafter

Called My Trustees) To Be The     Trustees And Executors Of     This My Will.

To The     Said Soames Forsyte I Leave The     Sum Of     One Thousand Pounds Free

Of Legacy Duty And To The     Said Thomas Gradman I Leave The     Sum Of     Five

Thousand Pounds Free Of     Legacy Duty."

 

  

Soames Paused. Old Gradman Was Leaning Forward, Convulsively Gripping A

Stout Black Knee With Each Of     His Thick Hands; His Mouth Had Fallen

Open So That The     Gold Fillings Of     Three Teeth Gleamed; His Eyes Were

Blinking; Two Tears Rolled Slowly Out Of     Them. Soames Read Hastily On.

  

 

"All The     Rest Of     My Property Of     Whatsoever Description I Bequeath To My

Trustees Upon Trust To Convert And Hold The     Same Upon The     Following

Trusts Namely. To Pay Thereout All My Debts Funeral Expenses And

Outgoings Of     Any Kind In Connection With My Will And To Hold The

Residue Thereof In Trust For That Male Lineal Descendant Of     My Father

Jolyon Forsyte By His Marriage With Ann Pierce Who After The     Decease Of

All Lineal Descendants Whether Male Or Female Of     My Said Father By His

Said Marriage In Being At The     Time Of     My Death Shall Last Attain The

Age Of     Twenty-One Years Absolutely It Being My Desire That My Property

Shall Be Nursed To The     Extreme Limit Permitted By The     Laws Of     England

For The     Benefit Of     Such Male Lineal Descendant As Aforesaid."

 

  

Soames Read The     Investment And Attestation Clauses, And, Ceasing,

Looked At Gradman. The     Old Fellow Was Wiping His Brow With A Large

Handkerchief, Whose Brilliant Colour Supplied A Sudden Festive Tinge To

The Proceedings.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 138

"My Word, Mr. Soames!" He Said, And It Was Clear That The     Lawyer In Him

Had Utterly Wiped Out The     Man: "My Word! Why, There Are Two Babies Now,

And Some Quite Young Children--If One Of     Them Lives To Be Eighty--It's

Not A Great Age--And Add Twenty-One--That's A Hundred Years; And Mr.

Timothy Worth A Hundred And Fifty Thousand Pound If He's Worth A Penny.

Compound Interest At Five Per Cent Doubles You In Fourteen Years. In

Fourteen Years Three Hundred Thousand--Six Hundred Thousand In

Twenty-Eight--Twelve Hundred Thousand In Forty-Two--Twenty-Four Hundred

Thousand In Fifty-Six--Four Million Eight Hundred Thousand In

Seventy--Nine Million Six Hundred Thousand In Eighty-Four--Why, In A

Hundred Years It'll Be Twenty Million! And We Shan't Live To See It! It

Is A Will!"

 

  

Soames Said Dryly: "Anything May Happen. The     State Might Take The     Lot;

They're Capable Of     Anything In These Days."

  

 

"And Carry Five," Said Gradman To Himself. "I Forgot--Mr. Timothy's In

Consols; We Shan't Get More Than Two Per Cent With This Income Tax. To

Be On The     Safe Side, Say Seven Million. Still, That's A Pretty Penny."

 

 

Soames Rose And Handed Him The     Will. "You're Going Into The     City. Take

Care Of     That, And Do What's Necessary. Advertise; But There Are No

Debts. When's The     Sale?"

  

 

"Tuesday Week," Said Gradman. "Life Or Lives In Bein' And Twenty-One

Years Afterwards--It's A Long Way Off. But I'm Glad He's Left It In The

Family." ...

 

  

The Sale--Not At Jobson's, In View Of     The     Victorian Nature Of     The

Effects--Was Far More Freely Attended Than The     Funeral, Though Not By

Cook And Smither, For Soames Had Taken It On Himself To Give Them Their

Hearts' Desires. Winifred Was Present, Euphemia, And Francie, And

Eustace Had Come In His Car. The     Miniatures, Barbizons, And J. R.

Drawings Had Been Bought In By Soames; And Relics Of     No Marketable

Value Were Set Aside In An Off-Room For Members Of     The     Family Who Cared

To Have Mementos.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 139

These Were The     Only Restrictions Upon Bidding

Characterised By An Almost Tragic Langour. Not One Piece Of     Furniture,

No Picture Or Porcelain Figure Appealed To Modern Taste. The

Humming-Birds Had Fallen Like Autumn Leaves When Taken From Where They

Had Not Hummed For Sixty Years. It Was Painful To Soames To See The

Chairs His Aunts Had Sat On, The     Little Grand Piano They Had

Practically Never Played, The     Books Whose Outsides They Had Gazed At,

The China They Had Dusted, The     Curtains They Had Drawn, The     Hearth-Rug

Which Had Warmed Their Feet; Above All, The     Beds They Had Lain And Died

In--Sold To Little Dealers, And The     Housewives Of     Fulham. And Yet--What

Could One Do? Buy Them And Stick Them In A Lumber-Room? No; They Had To

Go The     Way Of     All Flesh And Furniture, And Be Worn Out. But When They

Put Up Aunt Ann's Sofa And Were Going To Knock It Down For Thirty

Shillings, He Cried Out, Suddenly: "Five Pounds!" The     Sensation Was

Considerable, And The     Sofa His.

 

  

When That Little Sale Was Over In The     Fusty Saleroom, And Those

Victorian Ashes Scattered, He Went Out Into The     Misty October Sunshine

Feeling As If Cosiness Had Died Out Of     The     World, And The     Board "To

Let" Was Up, Indeed. Revolutions On The     Horizon; Fleur In Spain; No

Comfort In Annette; No Timothy's On The     Bayswater Road. In The

Irritable Desolation Of     His Soul He Went Into The     Goupenor Gallery.

That Chap Jolyon's Water-Colours Were On View There. He Went In To Look

Down His Nose At Them--It Might Give Him Some Faint Satisfaction. The

News Had Trickled Through From June To Val's Wife, From Her To Val,

From Val To His Mother, From Her To Soames, That The     House--The Fatal

House At Robin Hill--Was For Sale, And Irene Going To Join Her Boy Out

In British Columbia, Or Some Such Place. For One Wild Moment The

Thought Had Come To Soames: 'Why Shouldn't I Buy It Back? I Meant It

For My--!' No Sooner Come Than Gone. Too Lugubrious A Triumph; With Two

Many Humiliating Memories For Himself And Fleur. She Would Never Live

There After What Had Happened. No, The     Place Must Go Its Way To Some

Peer Or Profiteer. It Had Been A Bone Of     Contention From The     First, The

Shell Of     The     Feud And With The     Woman Gone, It Was An Empty Shell. "For

Sale Or To Let." With His Mind's Eye He Could See That Board Raised

High Above The     Ivied Wall Which He Had Built.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 140

He Passed Through The     First Of     The     Two Rooms In The     Gallery. There Was

Certainly A Body Of     Work! And Now That The     Fellow Was Dead It Did Not

Seem So Trivial. The     Drawings Were Pleasing Enough, With Quite A Sense

Of Atmosphere, And Something Individual In The     Brush Work. 'His Father

And My Father; He And I; His Child And Mine!' Thought Soames. So It Had

Gone On! And All About That Woman! Softened By The     Events Of     The     Past

Week, Affected By The     Melancholy Beauty Of     The     Autumn Day, Soames Came

Nearer Than He Had Ever Been To Realisation Of     That Truth--Passing The

Understanding Of     A Forsyte Pure--That The     Body Of     Beauty Has A

Spiritual Essence, Uncapturable Save By A Devotion Which Thinks Not Of

Self. After All, He Was Near That Truth In His Devotion To His

Daughter; Perhaps That Made Him Understand A Little How He Had Missed

The Prize. And There, Among The     Drawings Of     His Kinsman, Who Had

Attained To That Which He Had Found Beyond His Reach, He Thought Of     Him

And Her With A Tolerance Which Surprised Him. But He Did Not Buy A

Drawing.

 

  

Just As He Passed The     Seat Of     Custom On His Return To The     Outer Air He

Met With A Contingency Which Had Not Been Entirely Absent From His Mind

When He Went Into The     Gallery--Irene, Herself, Coming In. So She Had

Not Gone Yet, And Was Still Paying Farewell Visits To That Fellow's

Remains! He Subdued The     Little Involuntary Leap Of     His

Subconsciousness, The     Mechanical Reaction Of     His Senses To The     Charm Of

This Once-Owned Woman, And Passed Her With Averted Eyes. But When He

Had Gone By He Could Not For The     Life Of     Him Help Looking Back. This,

Then, Was Finality--The Heat And Stress Of     His Life, The     Madness And

The Longing Thereof, The     Long, The     Only Defeat He Had Known, Would Be

Over When She Faded From His View This Time; Even Such Memories Had

Their Own Queer Aching Value. She, Too, Was Looking Back. Suddenly She

Lifted Her Gloved Hand, Her Lips Smiled Faintly, Her Dark Eyes Seemed

To Speak. It Was The     Turn Of     Soames To Make No Answer To That Smile And

That Little Farewell Wave; He Went Out Into The     Fashionable Street

Quivering From Head To Foot. He Knew What She Had Meant To Say: "Now

That I Am Going For Ever Out Of     The     Reach Of     You And Yours--Forgive Me;

I Wish You Well." That Was The     Meaning; Last Sign Of     That Terrible

Reality--Passing Morality, Duty, Common Sense--Her Aversion From Him

Who Had Owned Her Body But Had Never Touched Her Spirit Or Her Heart.

It Hurt; Yes--More Than If She Had Kept Her Mask Unmoved, Her Hand

Unlifted.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 141

Three Days Later, In That Fast-Yellowing October, Soames Took A

Taxi-Cab To Highgate Cemetery And Mounted Through Its White Forest To

The Forsyte Vault. Close To The     Cedar, Above Catacombs And Columbaria,

Tall, Ugly, And Individual, It Looked Like An Apex Of     The     Competitive

System. He Could Remember A Discussion Wherein Swithin Had Advocated

The Addition To Its Face Of     The     Pheasant Proper. The     Proposal Had Been

Rejected In Favour Of     A Wreath In Stone, Above The     Stark Words: "The

Family Vault Of     Jolyon Forsyte: 1850." It Was In Good Order. All Trace

Of The     Recent Interment Had Been Removed, And Its Sober Grey Gloomed

Reposefully In The     Sunshine. The     Whole Family Lay There Now, Except Old

Jolyon's Wife, Who Had Gone Back Under A Contract To Her Own Family

Vault In Suffolk; Old Jolyon Himself Lying At Robin Hill; And Susan

Hayman, Cremated So That None Knew Where She Might Be. Soames Gazed At

It With Satisfaction--Massive, Needing Little Attention; And This Was

Important, For He Was Well Aware That No One Would Attend To It When He

Himself Was Gone, And He Would Have To Be Looking Out For Lodgings

Soon. He Might Have Twenty Years Before Him, But One Never Knew. Twenty

Years Without An Aunt Or Uncle, With A Wife Of     Whom One Had Better Not

Know Anything, With A Daughter Gone From Home. His Mood Inclined To

Melancholy And Retrospection. This Cemetery Was Quite Full Now--Of

People With Extraordinary Names, Buried In Extraordinary Taste. Still,

They Had A Fine View Up Here, Right Over London. Annette Had Once Given

Him A Story To Read By That Frenchman, Maupassant--A Most Lugubrious

Concern, Where All The     Skeletons Emerged From Their Graves One Night,

And All The     Pious Inscriptions On The     Stones Were Altered To

Descriptions Of     Their Sins. Not A True Story At All. He Didn't Know

About The     French, But There Was Not Much Real Harm In English People

Except Their Teeth And Their Taste, Which Were Certainly Deplorable.

"The Family Vault Of     Jolyon Forsyte, 1850." A Lot Of     People Had Been

Buried Here Since Then--A Lot Of     English Life Crumbled To Mould And

Dust! The     Boom Of     An Airplane Passing Under The     Gold-Tinted Clouds

Caused Him To Lift His Eyes. The     Deuce Of     A Lot Of     Expansion Had Gone

On. But It All Came Back To A Cemetery--To A Name And A Date On A Tomb.

And He Thought With A Curious Pride That He And His Family Had Done

Little Or Nothing To Help This Feverish Expansion. Good Solid

Middlemen, They Had Gone To Work With Dignity To Manage And Possess.

"Superior Dosset," Indeed, Had Built, In A Dreadful, And Jolyon

Painted, In A Doubtful Period, But So Far As He Remembered Not Another

Of Them All Had Soiled His Hands By Creating Anything--Unless You

Counted Val Dartie And His Horse-Breeding.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 142

Collectors, Solicitors,

Barristers, Merchants, Publishers, Accountants, Directors, Land Agents,

Even Soldiers--There They Had Been! The     Country Had Expanded, As It

Were, In Spite Of     Them. They Had Checked, Controlled, Defended, And

Taken Advantage Of     The     Process--And When You Considered How "Superior

Dosset" Had Begun Life With Next To Nothing, And His Lineal Descendants

Already Owned What Old Gradman Estimated At Between A Million And A

Million And A Half, It Was Not So Bad! And Yet He Sometimes Felt As If

The Family Bolt Was Shot, Their Possessive Instinct Dying Out. They

Seemed Unable To Make Money--This Fourth Generation; They Were Going

Into Art, Literature, Farming, Or The     Army; Or Just Living On What Was

Left Them--They Had No Push And No Tenacity. They Would Die Out If They

Didn't Take Care.

 

  

Soames Turned From The     Vault And Faced Towards The     Breeze. The     Air Up

Here Would Be Delicious If Only He Could Rid His Nerves Of     The     Feeling

That Mortality Was In It. He Gazed Restlessly At The     Crosses And The

Urns, The     Angels, The     "Immortelles," The     Flowers, Gaudy Or Withering;

And Suddenly He Noticed A Spot Which Seemed So Different From Anything

Else Up There That He Was Obliged To Walk The     Few Necessary Yards And

Look At It. A Sober Corner, With A Massive Queer-Shaped Cross Of     Grey

Rough-Hewn Granite, Guarded By Four Dark Yew-Trees. The     Spot Was Free

From The     Pressure Of     The     Other Graves, Having A Little Box-Hedged

Garden On The     Far Side, Arid In Front A Goldening Birch-Tree. This

Oasis In The     Desert Of     Conventional Graves Appealed To The     Aesthetic

Sense Of     Soames, And He Sat Down There In The     Sunshine. Through Those

Trembling Gold Birch Leaves He Gazed Out At London, And Yielded To The

Waves Of     Memory. He Thought Of     Irene In Montpellier Square, When Her

Hair Was Rusty-Golden And Her White Shoulders His--Irene, The     Prize Of

His Love--Passion, Resistant To His Ownership. He Saw Bosinney's Body

Lying In That White Mortuary, And Irene Sitting On The     Sofa Looking At

Her Picture With The     Eyes Of     A Dying Bird. Again He Thought Of     Her By

The Little Green Niobe In The     Bois De Boulogne, Once More Rejecting

Him. His Fancy Took Him On Beside His Drifting River On The     November

Day When Fleur Was To Be Born, Took Him To The     Dead Leaves Floating On

The Green-Tinged Water And The     Snake-Headed Weed For Ever Swaying And

Nosing, Sinuous, Blind, Tethered. And On Again To The     Window Opened To

The Cold Starry Night Above Hyde Park, With His Father Lying Dead.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 143

His

Fancy Darted To That Picture Of     "The Future Town," To That Boy's And

Fleur's First Meeting; To The     Blueish Trail Of     Prosper Profond's Cigar,

And Fleur In The     Window Pointing Down To Where The     Fellow Prowled. To

The Sight Of     Irene And That Dead Fellow Sitting Side By Side In The

Stand At Lord's. To Her And That Boy At Robin Hill. To The     Sofa, Where

Fleur Lay Crushed Up In The     Corner; To Her Lips Pressed Into His Cheek,

And Her Farewell "Daddy." And Suddenly He Saw Again Irene's Grey-Gloved

Hand Waving Its Last Gesture Of     Release.

 

  

He Sat There A Long Time Dreaming His Career, Faithful To The     Scut Of

His Possessive Instinct, Warming Himself Even With Its Failures.

 

  

"To Let"--The Forsyte Age And Way Of     Life, When A Man Owned His Soul,

His Investments, And His Woman, Without Check Or Question. And Now The

State Had, Or Would Have, His Investments, His Woman Had Herself, And

God Knew Who Had His Soul. "To Let"--That Sane And Simple Creed!

 

 

 

The Waters Of     Change Were Foaming In, Carrying The     Promise Of     New Forms

Only When Their Destructive Flood Should Have Passed Its Full. He Sat

There, Subconscious Of     Them, But With His Thoughts Resolutely Set On

The Past--As A Man Might Ride Into A Wild Night With His Face To The

Tail Of     His Galloping Horse. Athwart The     Victorian Dykes The     Waters

Were Rolling On Property, Manners, And Morals, On Melody And The     Old

Forms Of     Art--Waters Bringing To His Mouth A Salt Taste As Of     Blood,

Lapping To The     Foot Of     This Highgate Hill Where Victorianism Lay

Buried. And Sitting There, High Up On Its Most Individual Spot,

Soames--Like A Figure Of     Investment--Refused Their Restless Sounds.

Instinctively He Would Not Fight Them--There Was In Him Too Much

Primeval Wisdom, Of     Man The     Possessive Animal. They Would Quiet Down

When They Had Fulfilled Their Tidal Fever Of     Dispossessing And

Destroying; When The     Creations And The     Properties Of     Others Were

Sufficiently Broken And Dejected--They Would Lapse And Ebb, And Fresh

Forms Would Rise Based On An Instinct Older Than The     Fever Of

Change--The Instinct Of     Home.

  

 

"Je M'en Fiche," Said Prosper Profond.

Part III XI (The Last Of The Forsytes) Pg 144

Soames Did Not Say "Je M'en

Fiche"--It Was French, And The     Fellow Was A Thorn In His Side--But Deep

Down He Knew That Change Was Only The     Interval Of     Death Between Two

Forms Of     Life, Destruction Necessary To Make Room For Fresher Property.

What Though The     Board Was Up, And Cosiness To Let?--Some One Would Come

Along And Take It Again Some Day.

 

 

And Only One Thing Really Troubled Him, Sitting There--The Melancholy

Craving In His Heart--Because The     Sun Was Like Enchantment On His Face

And On The     Clouds And On The     Golden Birch Leaves, And The     Wind's Rustle

Was So Gentle, And The     Yew-Tree Green So Dark, And The     Sickle Of     A Moon

Pale In The     Sky.

 

  

Ah! He Might Wish And Wish And Never Get It--The Beauty And The     Loving

In The     World!

 

 

The End

Imprint

Publication Date: 09-15-2014

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