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Full text of "The Forsyte saga"

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The Forsyte Saga 




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and signed by the author, of which 250 are for 
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JOHN GALSWORTHY 

From the Camera Portrait specially taken 
for this edition by E. O. Hoppe' 



The Forsyte Saga 



By 



John Galsworthy 




London : William Heinemann 



TO 

MY WIFE 

1 DEDICATE THE FORSYTE SAGA 

IN ITS ENTIRETY, 

BELIEVING IT TO BE OF ALL MY VVORK 

THE LEAST UNWORTHY OF ONE 

WITHOUT WHOSE ENCOURAGEMENT, SYMPATHY, 

AND CRITICISM 

I COULD NEVER HAVE BECOME EVES 

SUCH A WRITER AS I AM 



PREFACE 

* The Forsyte Saga ' was the title originally destined for 
the part of it which is called ^The Pv^an of Property' ; and 
to adopt it for the collected chronicles of the Forsyte family 
has indulged the Forsytean tenacity which is in all of us. 
The word Saga might be objected to on the ground that it 
connotes the heroic and that there is little of heroism in 
these pages. But it is used with a suitable irony ; and, after 
all, this long tale, though it may deal with folk in frock 
coats, furbelows, and a gilt-edged period, is not devoid of 
the essential heat of conflict. Discounting for the gigantic 
stature and blood-thirstiness of old days, as they have come 
down to us in fairy-tale and legend, the folk of the old Saeas 
were Forsytes, assuredly, in their possessive instincts, and as 
little proof against the inroads of beauty and passion as 
Swithin, Soames, or even young Jolyon. And if heroic 
figures, in days that never v/ere, seem to startle out from 
their surroundings in fashion unbecoming to a Forsyte of the 
Victorian era, we may be sure that tribal instinct was even 
then the prime force, and that ' family ' and the sense of 
home and property counted as they do to this day, for all 
the recent efforts to ^ talk them out.' 

So many people have written and claimed that their 
families were the originals of the Forsytes, that one has been 
almost encouraged to believe in the typicality of that species. 

ix 1* 



xii THE FORSYTE SAGA 

complain that Irene and Jolyon— those rebels against 
property — claim spiritual property in their son Jon. But, 
in truth, it would be hypcrcriticism of the story as told. For 
no father and mother could have let the boy marry Fleur 
without knowledge of the facts ; and the facts determine Jon, 
not the persuasion of his parents. Moreover, Jolyon's 
persuasion is not on his own account, but on Irene's, and 
Irene's persuasion becomes a reiterated : * Don't think of me, 
think of yourself ! ' That Jon, knowing the facts, realises 
his mother's feelings, can hardly with justice be held proof 
that she is, after all, a Forsyte. 

But, though the impingement of Beauty, and the claims of 
Freedom, on a possessive world, are the main prepossessions 
of the Forsyte Saga, it cannot be absolved from the charge 
of embalming the upper-middle class. As the old Egyptians 
placed around their mummies the necessaries of a future 
existence, so I have endeavoured to lay beside the figures of 
Aunts Ann and Juley and Hester, of Timothy and Swithin, 
of old Jolyon and James, and of their sons, that which shall 
guarantee them a little life hereafter, a little balm in the 
hurried Gilead of a dissolving * Progress.' 

If the upper-middle class, with other classes, is destined to 
* move on ' into amorphism, here, pickled in these pages, it 
lies under glass for strollers in the wide and ill-arranged 
museum of Letters to gaze at. Here it rests, preserved in 
its own juice : The Sense of Property. 

JOHN GALSWORTHY. 

1922. 



CONTENTS 

BOOK I. 
THE MAN OF PROPERTY 

PART I. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. 'AT HOME' AT OLD JOLYON'S - - - - 3 

II. OLD JOLYON GOES TO THE OPERA - - -25 

III. DINNER AT SWITHIN'S - - - - "43 

hV. PROJECTION OF THE HOUSE - - - - 61 

V. A FORSYTE MENAGE - - - - '73 

VI. JAMES AT LARGE - - - - - 81 

VII. OLD JOLYON'S PECCADILLO - - - - 92 

VIII. PLANS OF THE HOUSE - - - - - I02 

IX. DEATH OF AUNT ANN - - - - - 112 

PART II. 

I. PROGRESS OF THE HOUSE - - - " I25 

II. JUNE'S TREAT - - - - - "135 

III. DRIVE WITH SWITHIN - - - - - 144 

IV. JAMES GOES TO SEE FOR HIMSELF - - "157 
V. SOAMES AND BOSINNEY CORRESPOND - - - I/O 

VI. OLD JOLYON AT THE ZOO - - " - 188 

VII. AFTERNOON AT TIMOTHY'S - - - * 195 

VIII. DANCE AT ROGER'S - ... - 2lo 

IX. EVENING AT RICHMOND . _ - - 220 

X. DIAGNOSIS OF A FORSYTE - . _ - 233 

XI. BOSINNEY ON PAROLE ----- 244 

XII. JUNE PAYS SOME CALLS - - - - 250 

XIII. PERFECTION OF THE HOUSE - - - - 261 

XIV. SOAMES SITS ON THE STAIRS - - - - 2/1 

xiii 



xvi THE FORSYTE SAGA 

CHAPTliR PAGE 

IV. THE MAUSOLEUM ..... 83O 
V. THE NATIVE HEATH - - - * - 84I 

VI. JON - - - - - • - 351 

VII. FLEUR ------- 857 

VIII. IDVLL ON GRASS .... - 864 

IX. GOYA ...---. 869 
X. TRIO ...--.- 882 

XI. DUET .-.---. 889 

XII. CAPRICE ... - - . - 896 

PART II. 

I. MOTHER AND SON ... - - 899 

II. FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS - - - ' 9^5 

III. MEETINGS ...... 932 

IV. IN GREEN STREET . . . - - 944 
V. PURELY FORSYTE AFFAIRS - - - - 951 

VI. SOAMES' PRIVATE LIFE . . - - 959 

VII. JUNE TAKES A HAND - - • - - 971 

VIII. THE BIT BETWEEN THE TEETH - - - 977 

IX. THE FAT IN THE FIRE _ . - - 984 

X. DECISION ... ... Q94 

XI. TIMOTHY PROPHESIES - . - - - 999 

PART III. 

I. OLD JOLYON WALKS - - - - - IOI5 

II. CONFESSION ..-.-. 1025 

III. IRENE ! - - - - - - - 1033 

IV. SOAMES COGITATES ... - - 1038 

V. THE FIXED IDEA . _ - . - 1046 
VI. DESPERATE - • - - - - IO51 

VII. EMBASSY .-.-.. 1060 

VIII. THE DARK TUNE . - . - - 1069 

IX. UNDER THE OAK-TREE .... 1975 

X. FLEUR'S WEDDING . . - - . 1078 
XI. THE LAST OF THE OLD FORSYTES - - - 109c 



FORSYTE FAMILY TREE. 



, JOLYON FOBSTTE (Farmer, 

Deocotnbe, Dorset), d. 1812, 

ffl. Julia Hayter, 1768. 



1 Pierce, daughter of Country 



,i^^, 



Julia. 
. Nightingale. 



(2) 



d. 1880. DaughK 



Jolyon." 



I 

ea Merchant : ■' Forsy 
effry." Chairman of 
panies.) Stanhope Gate. 
1846, Edith Moor, d. 187 
daughter of Barrister. 






6. 181 1. James, d. 1901. 

(Solicitor. Founder of firm 

" Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte." 

Park Lane- 
m. 1852, Emily Golding, b. 1831 



m. i8B5(i), Irene, m. 
daughter of Pro- b 
fessor Heron ; 
b. 1663, divorced 



b. 1811. Swithin. d 1891. b. 1813. Boger. d. 1899. 
(Estate and Land Agent. " Four- (Collector of House Pro- 
in-hand Forsyte. ") Hyde perty.) Princes Gardens. 
Park Mansions. m. 1853, Mary Monk. 



b. 1814. Julia, d. igo; 
in. Septimus Small, of \ 



■Winifred. Rachel. Cicely. 



I I I I 

George. Francie. Eustace. Thomas. 

Composer m. No m. No 

and offspring, offspring. 



House Property.) 

Ladbroke Grove. 

m. 1848, Elizabeth Blaine. 



b. 1849. b. 1853. 



b. 1857. b. 1859. 



b. 1819, Timothy, d. 1920 

(Publisher. In Consols.) 

Bayswater Road. 



Campden Hill. 



St. John, Augustus. Annabel. OileB. Jesse. 
"'- m. wi. Spender. " The Dromlos." 



* ,86, jJne 
(EnKaged'to Philip 
Bosinney, Never 



ffl. 1900. Holly 
(daughter of 
Young Jolyon). 



1 

b. 1S90, Roger. 
" Very Young Roger' 
Wounded in the War 



b. 1879, Nicholas. 
"Very Young Nicholas.' 
(Barrister, O.B.E.| m. 



b. 1881, ChrisI 

(Inclining t( 

stage.) 



BOOK I 
THE MAN OF PROPERTY 



"... You will answer 
The slaves arc ours ..." 

Merchant of Vtnict, 



TO 

EDWARD GARNETT 



PART I 
CHAPTER I 

*AT home' at old JOLYON's 

Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the 
Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight — 
an upper middle-class family in full plumage. But who- 
soever of these favoured persons has possessed the gift of 
psychological analysis (a talent without monetary value and 
properly ignored by the Forsytes), has witnessed a spectacle, 
not only delightful in itself, but illustrative of an obscure 
human problem. In plainer words, he has gleaned from 
a gathering of this family — no branch of which had a liking 
for the other, between no three members of whom existed 
anything worthy of the name of sympathy — evidence of that 
mysterious concrete tenacity which renders a family so 
formidable a unit of society, so clear a reproduction of 
society in miniature. He has been admitted to a vision 
of the dim roads of social progress, has understood some- 
thing of patriarchal life, of the swarmings of savage hordes, 
of the rise and fall of nations. He is like one who, having 
watched a tree grow from its planting — a paragon of 
tenacity, insulation, and success, amidst the deaths of a 



4 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

hundred other plants less fibrous, sappy, and persistent — 
one day will see it flourishing with bland, full foliage, 
in an almost repugnant prosperity, at the summit of its 
efflorescence. 

On June 15, 1886, about four of the afternoon, the 
observer who chanced to be present at the house of old 
Jolyon Forsyte in Stanhope Gate, might have seen the 
highest efflorescence of the Forsytes. 

This was the occasion of an * at home ' to celebrate the 
engagement of Miss June Forsyte, old Jolyon's grand- 
daughter, to Mr. Philip Bosinney. In the bravery of light 
gloves, bufF waistcoats, feathers and frocks, the family were 
present — even Aunt Ann, who now but seldom left the 
corner of her brother Timothy's green drawing-room, where, 
under the aegis of a plume of dyed pampas grass in a light 
blue vase, she sat all day reading and knitting, surrounded 
by the effigies of three generations of Forsytes. Even Aunt 
Ann was there ; her inflexible back, and the dignity of her 
calm old face personifying the rigid possessiveness of the 
family idea. 

When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the 
Forsytes were present ; when a Forsyte died — but no 
Forsyte had as yet died ; they did not die ; death being 
contrary to their principles, they took precautions against 
it, the instinctive precautions of highly vitalized persons 
who resent encroachments on their property. 

About the Forsytes mingling that day with the crowd of 
other guests, there was a more than ordinarily groomed look, 
an alert, inquisitive assurance, a brilliant respectability, as 
though they were attired in defiance of something. The 
habitual sniflF on the face of Soames Forsyte had spread 
through their ranks ; they were on their guard. 

The subconscious offensiveness of their attitude has 
constituted old Jolyon's ^ at home ' the psychological 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 5 

moment of the family history, made it the prelude of their 
drama. 

The Forsytes were resentful of something, not individu- 
ally, but as a family ; this resentment expressed itself in 
an added perfection of raiment, an exuberance of family 
cordiality, an exaggeration of family importance, and — the 
sniff. Danger — so indispensable in bringing out the funda- 
mental quality of any society, group, or individual — was 
what the Forsytes scented ; the premonition of danger put 
a burnish on their armour. For the first time, as a family, 
they appeared to have an instinct of being in contact with 
some strange and unsafe thing. 

Over against the piano a man ot bulk and stature was 
wearing two waistcoats on his wide chest, two waistcoats 
and a ruby pin, instead of the single satin waistcoat and 
diamond pin of more usual occasions, and his shaven, square, 
old face, the colour of pale leather, with pale eyes, had 
its most dignified look, above his satin stock. This was 
Swithin Forsyte. Close to the window, where he could get 
more than his fair share of fresh air, the other twin, James — 
the fat and the lean of it, old Jolyon called these brothers — 
like the bulky Swithin, over six feet in height, but very 
lean, as though destined from his birth to strike a balance 
and maintain an average, brooded over the scene with his 
permanent stoop ; his gray eyes had an air of fixed absorption 
in some secret worry, broken at intervals by a rapid, shifting 
scrutiny or surrounding facts ; his cheeks, thinned by two 
parallel folds, and a long, clean-shaven upper lip, were framed 
within Dundreary whiskers. In his hands he turned and 
turned a piece of china. Not far off, listening to a lady in 
brown, his only son Soames, pale and well-shaved, dark- 
haired, rather bald, had poked his chin up sideways, carrying 
his nose with that aforesaid appearance of ^ sniff,' as though 
despising an egg which he knew he could not digest. 



6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Behind him his cousin, the tall George, son of the fifth 
Forsyte, Roger, had a Quilpish look on his fleshy race, 
pondering one of his sardonic jests. 

Something inherent to the occasion had affected them all. 

Seated in a row close to one another were three ladies — 
Aunts Ann, Hester (the two Forsyte maids), and Juley 
(short for Julia), who not in first youth had so far forgotten 
herself as to marry Septimus Small, a man of poor constitu- 
tion. She had survived him for many years. With her 
elder and younger sister she lived now in the house of 
Timothy, her sixth and youngest brother, on the Bayswater 
Road. Each of these ladies held fans in their hands, and each 
with some touch of colour, some emphatic feather or brooch, 
testified to the solemnity of the opportunity. 

In the centre of the room, under the chandelier, as became 
a host, stood the head of the family, old Jolyon himself. 
Eighty years of age, with his fine, white hair, his dome-like 
forehead, his little, dark gray eyes, and an immense white 
moustache, which drooped and spread below the level of his 
strong jaw, he had a patriarchal look, and in spite of lean 
cheeks and hollows at his temples, seemed master of perennial 
youth. He held himselr extremely upright, and his shrewd, 
steady eyes had lost none of their clear shining. Thus he 
gave an impression of superiority to the doubts and dislikes 
of smaller men. Having had his own way for innumerable 
years, he had earned a prescriptive right to it. It would 
never have occurred to old Jolyon that it was necessary to 
wear a look of doubt or of defiance. 

Between him and the four other brothers who were 
present, James, Swithin, Nicholas, and Roger, there was 
much difference, much similarity. In turn, each of these 
four brothers was very different from the other, yet they, 
too, were alike. 

Through the varying features and expression of those five 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 7 

faces could be marked a certain steadfastness of chin, under- 
lying surface distinctions, marking a racial stamp, too pre- 
historic to tract, too remote and permanent to discuss — the 
very hall-mark and guarantee of the family fortunes. 

Among the younger generation, in the tall, bull-like 
George, in pallid strenuous Archibald, in young Nicholas 
with his sweet and tentative obstinacy, in the grave and 
foppishly determined Eustace, there was this same stamp — 
less meaningful perhaps, but unmistakable — a sign of some- 
thing ineradicable in the family soul. 

At one time or another during the afternoon, all these 
faces, so dissimilar and so alike, had worn an expression of 
distrust, the object of which was undoubtedly the man whose 
acquaintance they were thus assembled to make. 

Philip Bosinney was known to be a young man without 
fortune, but Forsyte girls had become engaged to such 
before, and had actually married them. It was not alto- 
gether for this reason, therefore, that the minds of the 
Forsytes misgave them. They could not have explained the 
origin of a misgiving obscured by the mist of family gossip. 
A story was undoubtedly told that he had paid his duty call 
to Aunts Ann, Juley, and Hester, in a soft gray hat — a soft 
gray hat, not even a new one — a dusty thing with a 
shapeless crown. 'So extraordinary, my dear — so odd !* 
Aunt Hester, passing through the little, dark hall (she was 
rather short-sighted), had tried to * shoo ' it off a chair, 
taking it for a strange, disreputable cat — Tommy had such 
disgraceful friends ! She was disturbed when it did not move. 

Like an artist for ever seeking to discover the significant 
trifle which embodies the whole character of a scene, or 
place, or person, so those unconscious artists — the Forsytes — 
had fastened by intuition on this hat ; it was their significant 
trifle, the detail in which was embedded the meaning of the 
wliole matter ; for each had asked himself : ' Come, now, 



8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

should / have paid that visit in that hat r' and each had 
answered ^ No !' and some, with more imagination than others, 
had added : * It would never have come into mv head !' 

George, on hearing the story, grinned. The hat had 
obviously been worn as a practical joke ! He himself was a 
connoisseur of such. 

^ Very haughty !' he said, ' tlie wild Buccaneer !' 

And this mot^ * the Buccaneer,' was bandied from mouth 
to mouth, till it became the favourite mode of alluding to 
Bosinney. 

Her aunts reproached June afterwards about the hat. 

* We don't think you ought to let him, dear !' they had 
said. 

June had answered in her imperious brisk way, like the 
little embodiment of will she was : 

^Oh ! what does it matter? Phil never knows what he's 
got on !' 

No one had credited an answer so outrageous. A man 
not know what he had on r No, no ! 

What indeed was this young man, who, in becoming 
engaged to June, old Jolyon's acknowledged heiress, had 
done so well for himself ? He was an architect, not in itself 
a sufficient reason for wearing such a hat. None or the 
Forsytes happened to be architects, but one of them knew 
two architects who would never have worn such a hat upon 
a call or ceremony in the London season. Dangerous — ah, 
dangerous ! 

June, of course, had not seen this, but, though not yet 
nineteen, she was notorious. Had she not said to Mrs. 
Soames — who was always so beautifully dressed — that 
feathers were vulgar? Mrs. Soames had actually given up 
wearing feathers, so dreadfully downright was dear June ! 

These misgivings, this disapproval and perfectly genuine 
distrust, did not prevent the Forsytes from gathering to old 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 9 

Jolyon's invitation. An 'At Home ' at Stanhope Gate was 
a great rarity ; none had been held for twelve years, not 
indeed, since old Mrs. Jolyon died. 

Never had there been so full an assembly, for, mysteriously 
united in spite or all their differences, they had taken arms 
against a common peril. Like cattle when a dog comes 
into the field, they stood head to head and shoulder to 
shoulder, prepared to run upon and trample the invader to 
death. They had come, too, no doubt, to get some notion 
of what sort of presents they would ultimately be expected 
to give ; for though the question of wedding gifts was 
usually graduated in this way — ' What are you givin' ? 
Nicholas is givin' spoons !' — so very much depended on the 
bridegroom. If he were sleek, well-brushed, prosperous- 
looking, it was more necessary to give him nice things ; he 
would expect them. In the end each gave exactly what 
was right and proper, by a species of family adjustment 
arrived at as prices are arrived at on the Stock Exchange — 
the exact niceties being regulated at Timothy's commodious, 
red-brick residence in Bayswater, overlooking the Park, 
where dwelt Aunts Ann, Juley, and Hester. 

The uneasiness of the Forsyte family has been justified by 
the simple mention of the hat. How impossible and wrong 
would it have been for any family, with the regard for 
appearances which should ever characterize the great upper 
middle-class, to feel otherwise than uneasy ! 

The author of the uneasiness stood talking to June by the 
further door ; his curly hair had a rumpled appearance, as 
though he found what was going on around him unusual. 
He had an air, too, of having a joke all to himself. 

George, speaking aside to his brother Eustace, said : 

' Looks as if he might make a bolt of it — the dashing 
buccaneer !' 

This * very singular-looking man,' as Mrs. Small after- 



10 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

wards called him, was of medium height and strong build, 
with a pale, brown face, a dust-coloured moustache, very 
prominent cheekbones, and hollow cheeks. His forehead 
sloped back towards the crown of his head, and bulged out 
in bumps over the eyes, like foreheads seen in the lion-house 
at the Zoo. He had sherry-coloured eyes, disconcertingly 
inattentive at times. Old Jolyon's coachman, after driving 
June and Bosinney to the theatre, had remiarked to the 
butler : 

'I dunno wliat to make of 'im. Looks to me for all the 
world like an 'alf-tame leopard.' 

And every now and then a Forsyte would come up, sidle 
round, and take a look at him. 

June stood in front, fending off this idle curiosity — a 
little bit of a thing, as somebody once said, ' all hair and 
spirit,' with fearless blue eyes, a firm jaw, and a bright 
colour, whose face and body seemed too slender for her 
crown of red-gold hair. 

A tall woman, with a beautiful figure, which some member 
of the family had once compared to a heathen goddess, 
stood looking at these two with a shadowy smile. 

Her hands, gloved in French gray, were crossed one over 
the other, her grave, charming face held to one side, and the 
eyes of all men near were fastened on it. Her figure 
swayed, so balanced that the very air seemed to set it 
moving. There was warmth, but little colour, in her 
cheeks ; her large, dark eyes were soft. But it was at her 
lips — asking a question, giving an answer, with that shadowy 
smile — that men looked ; they were sensitive lips, sensuous 
and sweet, and through them seemed to come warmth and 
perfume like the warmth and perfume of a flower. 

The engaged couple thus scrutinized were unconscious of 
this passive goddess. It was Bosinney who first noticed her, 
and asked her name. 



THE .MAN OF PROPERTY u 

June took her lover up to the woman with the beautiful 
figure. 

* Irene is my greatest chum,' she said : ' Please be good 
friends, you two !' 

At the little lady's command they all three smiled ; and 
while they were smiling, Soames Forsyte, silently appear- 
ino; from behind the woman with the beautiful fisiure, who 
was his wife, said : 

" Ah ! introduce me too !' 

He was seldom, indeed, far from Irene's side at public 
functions, and even when separated by the exigencies of 
social intercourse, could be seen following her about with his 
eyes, in which were strange expressions of watchfulness and 
longing. 

At the window his father, James, was still scrutinizing the 
marks on the piece of china. 

' I wonder at Jolyon's allowing this engagement,' he said to 
Aunt Ann. ' They tell me there's no chance of their 
getting married for years. This young Bosinney ' (he made 
the word a dactyl in opposition to general usage of a short o) 
* has got nothing. When Winifred married Dartie, I made 
him bring every penny into settlement — lucky thing, too — 
they'd ha' had nothing by this time !' 

Aunt Ann looked up from her velvet chair. Gray curls 
banded her forehead, curls that, unchanged for decades, had 
extinguished in the family all sense of time. She made no 
reply, for she rarely spoke, husbanding her aged voice ; but 
to James, uneasy of conscience, her look was as good as an 
answer. 

*Weil,' he said, ^I couldn't help Irene's having no money. 
Soames was in such a hurry ; he got quite thin dancing 
attendance on her.' 

Putting the bowl pettishly down on the piano, he let his 
eyes wander to the group by the door. 



12 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

*It's my opinion,' he said unexpectedly, 'that it's just as 
well as it is.' 

Aunt Ann did not ask him to explain this strange utter- 
ance. She knew what he was thinking. If Irene had no 
money she would not be so foolish as to do anything wrong ; 
for they said — they said — she had been asking for a separate 
room ; but, of course, Soames had not 

James interrupted her reverie : 

' But where,' he asked, ' was Timothy ? Hadn't he come 
with them ?' 

Through Aunt Ann's compressed lips a tender smile forced 
its way : 

* No, he had not thought it wise, with so much of this 
diphtheria about ; and he so liable to take things.' 

James answered : 

' Well, he takes good care of himself. I can't afford to 
take the care of myself that he does.' 

Nor was it easy to say which, of admiration, envy, or 
contempt, was dominant in that remark. 

Timothy, indeed, was seldom seen. The baby of the 
family, a publisher by profession, he had some years before, 
when business was at full tide, scented out the stagnation 
which, indeed, had not yet come, but which ultimately, as 
all agreed, was bound to set in, and, selling his share in a 
firm engaged mainly in the production of religious books, had 
invested the quite conspicuous proceeds in three per cent. Con- 
sols. By this act he had at once assumed an isolated position, 
no other Forsyte being content with less than four per cent, for 
his money ; and this isolation had slowly and surely under- 
mined a spirit perhaps better than commonly endowed with 
caution. He had become almost a myth — a kind of incarna- 
tion of security haunting the background of the Forsyte 
universe. He had never committed the imprudence of 
marrying, or encumbering himself in any way with children. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 13 

James resumed, tapping the piece of China : 
*This isn't real old Worcester. I s'pose Jolyon's told 
you something about the young man. From all / can learn, 
he's got no business, no income, and no connection worth 
speaking of; but then, I know nothing — nobody tells me 
anything.' 

Aunt Ann shook her head. Over her square-chinned, 
aquiline old face a trembling passed ; the spidery fingers of 
her hands pressed against each other and interlaced, as though 
she were subtly recharging her will. 

The eldest by some years of all the Forsytes, she held a 
peculiar position amongst them. Opportunists and egotists 
one and all — though not, indeed, more so than their neigh- 
bours — they quailed before her incorruptible figure, and, 
when opportunities were too strong, what could they do but 
avoid her ! 

Twisting his long, thin legs, James went on : 
*Jolyon, he will have his own way. He's got no 
children ' and stopped, recollecting the continued exist- 
ence of old Jolyon's son, young Jolyon, June's father, who 
had made such a mess of it, and done for himself by deserting 
his wife and child and running away with that foreign 
governess. ' Well,' he resumed hastily, ' if he likes to do 
these things, I s'pose he can afford to. Now, what's he going 
to give her. I s'pose he'll give her a thousand a year'; he's 
got nobody else to leave his money to.' 

He stretched out his hand to meet that of a dapper, 
clean-shaven man, with hardly a hair on his head, a long, 
broken nose, full lips, ai d cold gray eyes under rectangular 
brows. 

' Well, Nick,' he muttered, ' how are you ?' 
Nicholas Forsyte, with his bird-like rapidity and the look 
of a preternaturally sage schoolboy (he had made a large 
fortune, quite legitimately, out of the companies of which he 



14 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

was a director), placed within that cold palm the tips of his 
still colder fingers and hastily w^ithdrew them. 

' I'm bad,' he said, pouting — ' been bad all the week ; 
don't sleep at night. The doctor can't tell why. He's a 
clever fellow, or I shouldn't have him, but I get nothing out 
of him but bills.' 

* Doctors !' said James, coming down sharp on his words ; 
* Pve had all the doctors in London for one or another of us. 
There's no satisfaction to be got out of them; they'll tell you 
anything. There's Swithin, now. What good haye they 
done him : There he is ; he's bigger than ever ; he's 
enormous ; they can't get his weight down. Look at him !' 

Swithin Forsyte, tall, square, and broad, with a chest like 
a pouter pigeon's in its plumage of bright waistcoats, came 
strutting towards them. 

' Er — how are you r' he said in his dandified way, aspira- 
ting the * h ' strongly (this difficult letter was almost abso- 
lutely safe in his keeping) — 'how are you r' 

Each brother wore an air of aggravation as he looked at 
the other two, knowing by experience that they would try to 
eclipse his ailments. 

* We were just saying,' said James, * that you don't get any 
thinner.' 

Swithin protruded his pale round eyes with the effort of 
hearin'g. 

'Thinner: I'm in good case,' he said, leaning a little 
forward, ' not one of your thread- papers like you !' 

But, afraid of losing the expansion of his chest, he leaned 
back again into a state of immobility, for he prized nothing 
so highly as a distinguished appearance. 

Aunt Ann turned her old eyes from one to the other. 
Indulgent and severe was her look. In turn the three 
brothers looked at Ann. She was getting shaky. Wonder- 
ful woman ! Eighty-six if a day ; might live another ten 



THE MAX OF PROPERTY 15 

years, and had never been strong. Swithfn and James, the 
twins, were only seventv-iive, Nicholas a mere baby of 
seventy or so. All vrere strong, and the inference was 
comforting. Of all forms of property their respective healths 
naturally concerned them m.ost. 

' I'm vtry well in myself,' proceeded James, ' but mv 
nerves are out or order. The least thing worries me to 
death. I shall have to go to Bath.' 

* Bath !' said Nicholas. ^ I've tried Harrogate. Thafs no 
good. What I want is sea air. There's nothing like 
Yarmouth. Now, when I go there I sleep ' 

'My liver's very bad,' interrupted Swithin slowly. 
' Dreadful pain here ;' and he placed his hand on his right 
side. 

'Want or exercise,' muttered James, his eyes on the 
china. He quickly added : ' I get a pain there, too.' 

Swithin reddened, a resemblance to a turkey-cock coming 
upon his old face. 

' Exercise !' he said. ' I take plenty : I never use the lift 
at the Club.' 

' I didn't know,' James hurried out. ' I know nothing 
about anybody ; nobody tells m.e anything.' 

Swithin fixed him with a stare, and asked ; 

' What do you do for a pain there r' 

James brightened. 

' I,' he began, ' take a compound ' 



' How are you, uncle 



And June stood before him, her resolute small face raised 
from her little height to his great height, and her hand 
outheld. 

The brightness faded from James's visage. 

' How are you F he said, brooding over her. ' So you're 
going to Wales to-morrow to visit your young man's aunts r 
You'll have a lot of rain there. This isn't real old 



i6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Worcester.' He tapped the bowl. ^ Now, that set I gave 
your mother when she married was the genuine thing.' 

Jane shook hands one by one with her three great-uncles, 
and turned to Aunt Ann. A very sweet look had come into 
the old lady's face ; she kissed the girl's cheek with trembling 
fervour. 

* Well, my dear,' she said, * and so you're going for a 
whole month !' 

The girl passed on, and Aunt Ann looked after her slim 
little figure. The old lady's round, steel-gray eyes, over 
which a film like a bird's was beginning to come, followed 
her wistfully amongst the bustling crowd, for people were 
beginning to say good-bye ; and her finger-tips, pressing and 
pressing against each other, were busy again with the re- 
charging of her will against that inevitable ultimate departure 
of her own. 

' Yes,' she thought, ^ everybody's been most kind ; quite 
a lot of people come to congratulate her. She ought to be 
very happy.' 

Amongst the throng of people by the door — the well- 
dressed throng drawn from the families of lawyers and 
doctors, from the Stock Exchange, and all the innumerable 
avocations of the upper middle class — there were only some 
twenty per cent, of Forsytes ; but to Aunt Ann they seemed 
all Forsytes — and certainly there was not much difference — 
she saw only her own flesh and blood. It was her world, 
this family, and she knew no other, had never perhaps known 
any other. All their little secrets, illnesses, engagements, and 
marriages, how they were getting on, and whether they were 
making money — all this was her property, her delight, her 
life ; beyond this only a vague, shadowy mist of facts and 
persons of no real significance. This it was that she would 
have to lay down when it came to her turn to die ; this 
which gave to her that importance, that secret self-impor- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 17 

tance, without which none of us can bear to live ; and to this 
she clung wistfully, with a greed that grew each day. If 
life were slipping away from her, this she would retain to 
the end. 

She thought of June's father, young Jolyon, who had run 
away with that foreign girl. Ah ! what a sad blow to his 
father and to them all. Such a promising young fellow ! 
A sad blow, though there had been no public scandal, most 
fortunately, Jo's wife seeking for no divorce ! A long 
time ago ! And when June's mother died, six years ago, 
Jo had married that woman, and they had two children now, 
so she had heard. Still, he had forfeited his right to be 
there, had cheated her of the complete fulfilment of her 
family pride, deprived her of the rightful pleasure of seeing 
and kissing him of whom she had been so proud, such a pro- 
mising young fellow ! The thought rankled with the bitter- 
ness of a long-inflicted injury in her tenacious old heart. A 
little water stood in her eyes. With a handkerchief of the 
finest lawn she wiped them stealthily. 

^ Well, Aunt Ann ?' said a voice behind. 

Soames Forsyte, flat-shouldered, clean-shaven, flat-cheeked, 
flat-waisted, yet with something round and secret about his 
whole appearance, looked downwards and aslant at Aunt Ann, 
as though trying to see through the side of his own nose. 

' And what do you think of the engagement ?' he asked. 

Aunt Ann's eyes rested on him proudly ; the eldest of 
the nephews since young Jolyon's departure from the family 
nest, he was now her favourite, for she recognised in him 
a sure trustee of the family soul that must so soon slip beyond 
her keeping. 

* Very nice for the young man,' she said ; ' and he's a 
good-looking young fellow ; but I doubt if he's quite the 
right lover for dear June.' 

Soames touched the edge of a gold-lacquered lustre. 



1 8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* She'll tame him,' he said, stealthily wetting his finger 
and rubbing it on the knobby bulbs. * That's genuine old 
lacquer ; you can't get it nowadays. It'd do well in a sale 
at Jobson's.' He spoke with relish, as though he felt that 
he was cheering up his old aunt. It was seldom he was so 
confidential. ' I wouldn't mind having it myself,' he added; 

* you can always get your price for old lacquer.' 

* You're so clever with all those things,' said Aunt Ann. 

* And how is dear Irene ?' 

Soames's smile died. 

' Pretty well,' he said. * Complains she can't sleep ; she 
sleeps a great deal better than I do,' and he looked at his 
wife, who was talking to Bosinney by the door. 

Aunt Ann sighed. 

* Perhaps,' she said, * it will be just as well for her not 
to see so much of June. She's such a decided character, 
dear June !' 

Soames flushed ; his flushes passed rapidly over his flat 
cheeks and centred between his eyes, wliere they remained, 
the stamp of disturbing thoughts. 

' I don't know what she sees in that little flibbertigibbet,' 
he burst out, but noticing that they were no longer alone, he 
turned and again began examining the lustre. 

* They tell me Jolyon's bought another house,' said his 
father's voice close by ; ' he must have a lot of money — he 
must have more money than he knows what to do with ! 
Montpellier Square, they say ; close to Soames ! They 
never told me — Irene never tells me anything !' 

* Capital position, not tv/o minutes from me,' said the 
voice of Sv/ithin, ^and from my rooms I cari drive to the 
Club in eight.' 

The position of their houses was of vital importance to 
the Forsytes, nor was this remarkable, since the whole spirit 
of tJieir success was embodied therein. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 19 

Their father, of farming stock, had come from Dorset- 
shire near the beginning of the century. 

' Superior Dosset Forsyte,' as he was called by his inti- 
mates, had been a stonemason by trade, and risen to the 
position of a master-builder. Towards the end of his lire 
he moved to London, where, building on until he died, he 
was buried at Highgate. He left over thirty thousand 
pounds between his ten children. Old Jolyon alluded to 
him, if at all, as ' A hard, thick sort of man ;■ not much 
refinement about him.' The second generation of Forsytes 
felt indeed that he was not greatly to their credit. The 
only aristocratic trait they could find in his character was 
a habit of drinking Madeira. 

Aunt Hester, an authority on ramily history, described 
him thus : 

* I don't recollect that he ever did anything ; at least, not 
in my time. He was er — an owner of houses, my dear. 
His hair about your Uncle Swithin's colour ; rather a square 
build. Tall ? No-ot very tall ' (he had been five feet five, 
with a mottled face) ; * a fresh-coloured man. I remember 
he used to drink Madeira ; but ask your Aunt Ann. What 
was his father ? He — er — had to do with the land down in 
Dorsetshire, by the sea.' 

James once went down to see for himself what sort of 
place this was that they had come from. He found two 
old farms, with a cart track rutted into the pink earth, 
leading down to a mill by the beach ; a little gray church 
with a buttressed outer wall, and a smaller and grayer chapel. 
The stream which worked the mill came bubbling down 
in a dozen rivulets, and pigs were hunting round that 
estuary. A haze hovered over the prospect. Down this 
hollow, with their feet deep in the mud and their faces 
towards the sea, it appeared that the primeval Forsytes had been 
content to walk Sunday after Sunday for hundreds of years. 



20 



THE FORSYTE SAGA 



Whether or no James had cherished hopes of an inherit- 
ance, or of something rather distinguished to be found down 
there, he came back to town in a poor way, and went about 
with a pathetic attempt at making the best of a bad job. 

' There's very little to be had out of that,' he said ; 
* regular country little place, old as the hills.' 

Its age was felt to be a comfort. Old Jolyon, in whom 
a desperate honesty welled up at times, would allude to his 
ancestors as : ' Yeomen — I suppose very small beer.' Yet 
he would repeat the word ' yeomen ' as if it afforded him 
consolation. 

They had all done so well for themselves, these Forsytes, 
that they were all what is called *of a certain position.' 
They had shares in all sorts of things, not as yet — with the 
exception of Timothy — in consols, for they had no dread in 
life like that of 3 per cent, for their money. They collected 
pictures, too, and were supporters of such charitable institu- 
tions as might be beneficial to their sick domestics. From 
their father, the builder, they inherited a talent for 
bricks and mortar. Originally, perhaps, members of some 
primitive sect, they wore now in the natural course of things 
members of the Church of England, and caused their wives 
and children to attend with some regularity the more fashion- 
able churches of the Metropolis. To have doubted their 
Christianity would have caused them both pain and surprise. 
Some of them paid for pews, thus expressing in the most 
practical form their sympathy with the teachings of Christ. 

Their residences, placed at stated intervals round the park, 
watched like sentinels, lest the fair heart of this London, 
where their desires were fixed, should slip from their clutches, 
and leave them lower in their own estimations. 

There was old Jolyon in Stanhope Place ; the Jameses in 
Park Lane ; Swithin in the lonely glory of orange and blue 
chambers in Hyde Park Mansions — he had never married, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 21 

not he ! — the Soameses in their nest off Knightsbridge ; the 
Rogers in Prince's Gardens (Roger was that remarkable 
Forsyte who had conceived and carried out the notion of 
bringing up his four sons to a new profession. * Collect 
house property — nothing like it !' he would say ; */ never did 
anything else !'). 

The Haymans again — Mrs. Hayman was the one married 
Forsyte sister — in a house high up on Campden Hill, shaped 
like a giraflfe, and so tall that it gave the observer a crick in 
the neck ; the Nicholases in Ladbroke Grove, a spacious 
abode and a great bargain ; and last, but not least, Timothy's 
on the Bayswater Road, where Ann, and Juley, and Hester, 
lived under his protection. 

But all this time James was musing, and now he inquired 
of his host and brother what he had given for that house in 
Montpellier Square. He himself had had his eye on a 
house there for the last two years, but they wanted such a 
price. 

Old Jolyon recounted the details of his purchase. 

* Twenty-two years to run ?' repeated James ; ^ the very 
house I was after — you've given too much for it !' 

Old Jolyon frowned. 

^ It's not that I want it,' said James hastily ; ' wouldn't 
suit my purpose at that price. Soames knows the house, 
well — he'll tell you it's too dear — his opinion's worth 
having.' 

' I don't,' said old Jolyon, * care a fig for his opinion.' 

^ Well,' murmured James, * you will have your own way 
— it's a good opinion. Good-bye ! We're going to drive 
down to Hurlingham. They tell me June's going to 
Wales. You'll be lonely to-morrow. What'll you do with 
yourself? You'd better come and dine with us!' 

Old Jolyon refused. He went down to the front door 
and saw them into their barouche, and twinkled at them, 



22 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

having already forgotten his spleen — Mrs. James facing the 
horses, tall and majestic with auburn hair; on her left, 
Irene — the tv/o liusbands, father and son, sitting forward, as 
though they expected something, opposite their wives. 
Bobbing and bounding upon the spring cushions, silent, 
swaying to each motion of their chariot, old Jolyon watched 
them drive away under the sunlight. 

During the drive the silence was broken by Mrs. James. 

* Did you ever see such a collection of rumty-too people?' 

Soames, glancing at her beneath his eyelids, nodded, and 
he saw Irene steal at him one of her unfathomable looks. 
It is likely enough that each branch of the Forsyte family 
made that remark as they drove away from old Jolyon's 'At 
Home.' 

Amongst the last of the departing guests the fourth and 
fifth brothers, Nicholas and Roger, walked away together, 
directing their steps alongside Hyde Park towards the Praed 
Street Station of the Underground. Like all other Forsytes 
of a certain age they kept carriages of their own, an.d never 
took cabs if by any means they could avoid it. 

The day was bright, the trees of the Park in the full 
beauty of mid-June foliage ; the brothers did not seem to 
notice phenomena, which contributed, nevertheless, to the 
jauntiness of promenade and conversation. 

' Yes,' said Roger, ' she's a good-lookin' woman, that wife 
of Soames'. I'm told they don't get on.' 

This brother had a high forehead, and the freshest colour 
of any of the Forsytes ; his light gray eyes measured the 
street frontage of the houses by the way, and now and then 
he would level his umbrella and take a ' lunar,' as he 
expressed it, of the varying heights. 

' She'd no money,' replied Nicholas., 

He himself had married a good deal of money, of which, 
it being then the golden age before the Married Women's 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 23 

Property Act, he had mercifully been enabled to make a 
successful use. 

* What was her father r' 

' Heron was his name, a Professor, so they tell me.* 

Roger shook his head. 

' There's no money in that,* he said. 

' They say her mother's father was cement.' 

Roger's face brightened. 

' But he went bankrupt,' went on Nicholas. 

' Ah !' exclaim.ed Roger, ' Soames will have trouble with 
her ; you mark my words, he'll have trouble — she's got 
a foreign look.' 

Nicholas licked his lips. 

* She's a pretty woman,' and he waved aside a crossing- 
sweeper. 

* How did he get hold of her r' asked Roger presently. 
* She must cost him a pretty penny in dress !' 

* Ann tells me,' replied Nicholas, * he was half-cracked 
about her. She refused him five times. James, he's nervous 
about it, I can see.' 

* Ah !' said Roger again ; ^ I'm sorry for James ; he had 
trouble with Dartie.' His pleasant colour was heightened 
by exercise, he swung his umbrella to the level of his eye 
more frequently than ever. Nicholas's face also wore a 
pleasant look. 

' Too pale for me,' he said, ' but her figure's capital !' 

Roger made no reply. 

' I call her distinguished-looking,' he said at last — it was 
the highest praise in the Forsyte vocabulary. * That young 
Bosinney will never do any good for himself. They say at 
Burkitt's he's one of these artistic chaps — got an idea of 
improving English architecture ; there's no money in that 1 
I should like to hear what Timothy would say to it.' 

They entered the station. 



24 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

' What class are you going ? I go second.' 

' No second for me,' said Nicholas ; * you never know 
what you may catch.' 

He took a first-class ticket to Netting Hill Gate ; Roger 
a second to South Kensington. The train coming in a 
minute later, the two brothers parted and entered their 
respective compartments. Each felt aggrieved that the 
other had not modified his habits to secure his society a 
little longer ; but as Roger voiced it in his thoughts : 

^ Always a stubborn beggar, Nick !' 

And as Nicholas expressed it to himself : 

* Cantankerous chap Roger always was !' 

There was little sentimentality about the Forsytes. In 
that great London, which they had conquered and become 
merged in, what time had they to be sentimental ? 



CHAPTER II 

OLD JOLYON GOES TO THE OPERA 

At five o'clock the following day old Jolyon sat alone, 
a cigar between his lips, and on a table by his side a cup 
of tea. He was tired, and before he had finished his cigar 
he fell asleep. A fly settled on his hair, his breathing 
sounded heavy in the drowsy silence, his upper lip under the 
white moustache puffed in and out. From between the 
fingers of his veined and wrinkled hand the cigar, dropping 
on the empty hearth, burned itself out. 

The gloomy little study, with windows of stained glass to 
exclude the view, was full of dark green velvet and heavily- 
carved mahogany — a suite of which old Jolyon was wont to 
say : * Shouldn't wonder if it made a big price some day !' 

It was pleasant to think that in the after life he could get 
more for things than he had given. 

In the rich brown atmosphere peculiar to back rooms in 
the mansion of a Forsyte, the Rembrandtesque effect of his 
great head, with its white hair, against the cushion of his 
high-backed seat, was spoiled by the moustache, which 
imparted a somewhat military look to his face. An old 
clock that had been with him since before his marriage fifty 
years ago kept with its ticking a jealous record of the seconds 
slipping away for ever from its old master. 

He had never cared for this room, hardly going into it 
from one year's end to another, except to take cigars from 

25 2* 



26 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

the Japanese cabinet in the corner, and the room now had 
its revenge. 

His temples, curving Hke thatches over the hollows 
beneath, his cheek-bones and chin, all were sharpened in 
his sleep, and there had come upon his face the confession 
that he was an old man. 

He woke. June had gone ! James had said he would be 
lonely. James had always been a poor thing. He recol- 
lected with satisfaction that he had bought that house over 
James's head. Sen-e him right for sticking at the price 5 
the only thing the fellow thought of was money. Had he 

given too much, though r It wanted a lot of doing to 

He dared say he would want all his money before he had 
done with this affair of June's. He ought never to have 
allowed the engagement. She had met this Bosinnev at the 
house of Baynes — Baynes and Bildeboy, the architects. He 
believed that Baynes, wiiom he knew — a bit of an old 
woman — was the young mean's uncle bv marriage. After 
that she'd been always running after him ; and when she 
took a thing into her head there was no stopping her. She 
was continually taking up with ' lame ducks ' of one sort or 
another. This fellow had no monev, but she must needs 
become engaged to him — a harum-scarum, unpractical chap, 
who would get himself into no end of difficulties. 

She had come to him one dav in her slap-dash wav and 
told him ; and, as if it were any consolation, she had added : 

' He's so splendid ; he's often lived on cocoa for a week !' 

' And he wants you to live on cocoa too :' 

*Oh no ; he is getting into the swim now.' 

Old Jolyon had taken his cigar from under his white 
moustaches, stained by coffee at the edge, and looked at her, 
that little slip of a thing who had sot such a grip of his 
heart. He knew more about ' swims ' than his grand- 
daughter. But she, having clasped her hands on his knees, 



TxHE MAN OF PROPERTY 27 

rubbed her chin against him, making a sound like a purring 
cat. And, knocking the ash off his cigar, he had exploded 
in nervous desperation : 

' You're all alike : you won't be satisfied till you've got 
what you want. If you must come to grief, you must ; / 
wash my hands of it.' 

So, he had washed his hands of it, making the condition 
that they should not marry until Bosinney had at least four 
hundred a year. 

' / shan't be able to give you very m.uch,' he had said, a 
formula to which June was not unaccustomed. * Perhaps 
this What's-his-name will provide the cocoa.' 

He had hardly seen anything of her since it began. A 
bad business ! He had no notion of giving her a lot of 
money to enable a fellow he knew nothing about to live on 
in idleness. He had seen that sort of thing before ; no good 
ever came of it. Worst of all, he had no hope of shaking 
her resolution ; she was as obstinate as a mule, always had 
been from a child. He didn't see where it was to end. 
They must cut their coat according to their cloth. He would 
not give way till he saw young Bosinney with an income of 
his own. That June would have trouble with the fellow 
was as plain as a pikestaff; he had no more idea of money 
than a cow. As to this rushing down to Wales to visit 
the young man's aunts, he fully expected they were old 
cats. 

And, motionless, old Jolyon stared at the wall ; but for 
his open eyes, he might have been asleep. . . . The idea of 
supposing that young cub Soames could give him advice ! 
He had always been a cub, with his nose in the air ! He 
would be setting up as a man of property next, with a place 
in the country ! A man of property ! H'mph 1 Like his 
father, he was always nosing out bargains, a cold-blooded 
young beggar ! 



28 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He rose, and, going to the cabinet, began methodically 
stocking his cigar-case from a bundle fresh in. They were 
not bad at the price, but you couldn't get a good cigar nowa- 
days, nothing to hold a candle to those old Superfinos of 
Hanson and Bridger's. That was a cigar ! 

The thought, like some stealing perfume, carried him back 
to those wonderful nights at Richmond when after dinner 
he sat smoking on the terrace of the Crown and Sceptre 
with Nicholas TrefFry and Traquair and Jack Herring and 
Anthony Thornworthy. How good his cigars were then ! 
Poor old Nick ! — dead, and Jack Herring — dead, and Tra- 
quair — dead of that wife of his, and Thornworthy — awfully 
shaky (no wonder, with his appetite). 

Of all the company of those days he himself alone seemed 
left, except Swithin, of course, and he so outrageously big 
there was no doing anything with him. 

Difficult to believe it was so long ago ; he felt young still ! 
Of all his thoughts, as he stood there counting his cigars, 
this was the most poignant, the most bitter. With his 
white head and his loneliness he had remained young and 
green at heart. And those Sunday afternoons on Hamp- 
stead Heath, when young Jolyon and he went for a stretch 
along the Spaniard's Road to Highgate, to Child's Hill, and 
back over the Heath again to dine at Jack Straw's Castle — 
how delicious his cigars were then ! And such weather ! 
There was no weather now. 

When June was a toddler of five, and every other Sunday 
he took her to the Zoo, away from the society of those two 
good women, her mother and her grandmother, and at the 
top of the bear-den baited his umbrella with buns for her 
favourite bears, how sweet his cigars were then ! 

Cigars ! He had not even succeeded in outliving his 
palate — the famous palate that in the fifties men swore by, 
and speaking of him, said : * Forsyte — the best palate in 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 29 

London !' The palate that in a sense had made his fortune 
— the fortune of the celebrated tea men, Forsyte and 
TrefFry, whose tea, like no other man's tea, had a romantic 
aroma, the charm of a quite sin2;ular genuineness. About 
the house of Forsyte and TrefFry in the City had clung an 
air of enterprise and mystery, of special dealings in special 
ships, at special ports, with special Orientals. 

He had worked at that business ! Men did work in those 
days ! these young pups hardly knew the meaning of the 
word. He had gone into every detail, known everything 
that went on, sometimes sat up all night over it. And he 
had always chosen his agents himself, prided himself on it. 
His eye for men, he used to say, had been the secret of his 
success, and the exercise of this masterful power of selection 
had been the only part of it all that he had really liked. Not 
a career for a man of his ability. Even now, when the 
business had been turned into a Limited Liability Company, 
and was declining (he had got out of his shares long ago), he 
felt a sharp chagrin in thinking of that time. How much 
better he might have done ! He would have succeeded 
splendidly at the Bar ! He had even thought of standing for 
Parliament. How often had not Nicholas TrefFry said to 
him : * You could do anything, Jo, if you weren't so 
d-damned careful of yourself !' Dear old Nick ! Such a 
good fellow, but a racketty chap! The notorious TrefFry! 
He had never taken any care of himself. So he was dead. 
Old Jolyon counted his cigars with a steady hand, and it 
came into his mind to wonder if perhaps he had been too 
careful of himself. 

He put the cigar-case in the breast of his coat, buttoned it 
in, and walked up the long flights to his bedroom, leaning on 
one foot and the other, and helping himself by the banister. 
The house was too big. After June was married, if she 
ever did marry this fellow, as he supposed she would, he 



3P THE FORSYTE SAGA 

would let it and go into rooms. What was the use of 
keeping half a dozen servants eating their heads off? 

The butler came to the ring of his bell — a large man with 
a beard, a soft tread, and a peculiar capacity for silence. Old 
Jolyon told him to put his dress clothes out ; he was going 
to dine at the Club. 

' How long had the carriage been back from taking Miss 
June to the station ? Since two ? Then let him come 
round at half- past six.' 

The Club which old Jolyon entered on the stroke of 
seven was one of those political institutions of the upper- 
middle class which have seen better days. In spite of being 
talked about, perhaps in consequence of being talked about, 
it betrayed a disappointing vitality. People had grown tired 
of saying that the 'Disunion' was on its last legs. Old 
Jolyon would say it, too, yet disregarded the fact in a manner 
truly irritating to well-constitutioned Clubmen. 

' Why do you keep your name on ?' Swithin often asked 
him with profound vexation. ' Why don't you join the 
" Polyglot ?" You can't get a wine like our Heidsieck under 
twenty shillin' a bottle anywhere in London ;' and, dropping 
his voice, he added : ' There's only five thousand dozen left. 
I drink it every night of my life.' 

' rU think of it,' old Jolyon would answer ; but when he 
did think of it there was always the question of fifty guineas 
entrance fee, and it would take him four or five years to get 
in. He continued to think of it. 

He was too old to be a Liberal, had long ceased to believe 
in the political doctrines of his Club, had even been known 
to allude to them as 'wretched stuff,' and it afforded him 
pleasure to continue a member in the teeth of principles so 
opposed to his own. He had always had a contempt for the 
place, having joined it many years ago when they refused to 
have him at the ' Hotch Potch ' owing to his being ' in 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 31 

trade.' As if he were not as good as any of them ! He 
naturally despised the Club that did take him. The members 
were a poor lot, many of them in the City — stockbrokers, 
solicitors, auctioneers, what not ! Like most men of strong 
character but not too much originality, old Jolyon set small 
store by the class to which he belonged. Faithfully he fol- 
lowed their customs, social and otherwise, and secretly he 
thought them ' a common lot.' 

Years and philosophy, ot which he had his share, had 
dimmed the recollection of his defeat at the ^ Hotch Potch'; 
and now in his thoughts it was enshrined as the Queen or 
Clubs. He would have been a member all these years him- 
self, but, owing to the slipshod way his proposer. Jack 
Herring, had gone to work, they had not known what they 
were doing in keeping him out. Why ! they had taken his 
son Jo at once, and he believed the boy was still a member ; 
he had received a letter dated from there eight years ago. 

He had not been near the ' Disunion ' for months, and the 
house had undergone the piebald decoration which people 
bestow on old houses and old ships when anxious to sell 
them. 

' Beastly colour, the smoking-room 1' he thought. ' The 
dining-room is good.' 

Its gloomy chocolate, picked out with light green, took 
his rancy. 

He ordered dinner, and sat down in ihe very corner, at 
the very table perhaps (things did not progress much at the 
' Disunion,' a Club of almost Radical principles) at which he 
and young Jolyon used to sit twenty-five years ago, when 
he was taking the latter to Drury Lane, during his holidays. 

The boy had loved the theatre, and old Jolyon recalleo 
how he used to sit opposite, concealing his excitement under 
a careful but transparent nonchalance. 

He ordered himself, too, the very dinner the boy had 



32 



THE FORSYTE SAGA 



always chosen — soup, whitebait, cutlets, and a tart. Ah ! 
if he were only opposite now ! 

The two had not met for fourteen years. And not for the 
first time during those fourteen years old Jolyon wondered 
whether he had been a little to blame in the matter of his 
son. An unfortunate love-affair with that precious flirt 
DanSe Thornworthy, now Danae Pellew, Anthony Thorn- 
worthy's daughter, had thrown him on the rebound into the 
arms of June's mother. He ought perhaps to have put a 
spoke in the wheel of their marriage; they were too young; 
but after that experience of Jo's susceptibility he had been 
only too anxious to see him married. And in four years the 
crash had come ! To have approved his son's conduct in 
that crash was, of course, impossible ; reason and training — 
that combination of potent factors which stood for his 
principles — told him of this impossibility, but his heart cried 
out. The grim remorselessness of that business had no pity 
for hearts. There was June, the atom with flaming hair, 
who had climbed all over him, twined and twisted herself 
about him — about his heart that was made to be the play- 
thing and beloved resort of tiny helpless things. With 
characteristic insight he saw he must part with one or with 
the other ; no half measures could serve in such a situation. 
In that lay its tragedy. And the tiny, helpless thing 
prevailed. He would not run with the hare and hunt with 
the hounds, and so to his son he said good-bye. 

That good-bye had lasted until now. 

He had proposed to continue a reduced allowance to young 
Jolyon, but this had been refused, and perhaps that refusal had 
hurt him more than anything, for with it had gone the last 
outlet of his penned-in affection ; and there had come such 
tangible and solid proof of rupture as only a transaction in 
property, a bestowal or refusal of such, could supply. 

His dinner tasted flat. His pint of champagne was dry 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 33 

and bitter stuff, not like the Veuve Clicquots of old 
days. 

Over his cup of coffee, he bethought him that he would 
go to the opera. In the Times, therefore — he had a distrust 
of other papers — he read the announcement for the evening. 
It was ' Fidelio.' 

Mercifully not one of those new-fangled German panto- 
mines by that fellow Wagner. 

Putting on his ancient opera hat, which with brim 
flattened by use, and huge capacity, looked like an emblem 
of greater days, and pulling out an old pair of very thin 
lavender kid gloves smelling strongly of Russia leather, from 
habitual proximity to the cigar-case in the pocket of his 
overcoat, he stepped into a hansom. 

The cab rattled gaily along the streets, and old Jolyon 
was struck by their unwonted animation. 

* The hotels must be doing a tremendous business,* he 
thought. A few years ago there had been none of these 
big hotels. He made a satisfactory reflection on some 
property he had in the neighbourhood. It must be going 
up in value by leaps and bounds ! What traffic ! 

But from that he began indulging in one of those strange 
impersonal speculations, so uncharacteristic of a Forsyte, 
wherein lay, in part, the secret of his supremacy amongst 
them. What atoms men were, and what a lot of them ! 
And what would become of them all ? 

He stumbled as he got out of the cab, gave the man his 
exact fare, walked up to the ticket office to take his stall, 
and stood there with his purse in his hand — he always 
carried his money in a purse, never having approved of 
that habit of carrying it loosely in the pockets, as so many 
young men did nowadays. The official leaned out, like an 
old dog from a kennel. 

* Why,* he said in a surprised voice, * it's Mr. Jolyon 



34 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Forsyte 1 So it is ! Haven't seen you, sir, for years. Dear 
me ! Times aren't what they were. Why ! you and your 
brother, and that auctioneer — Mr. Traquair, and Mr. 
Nicholas Treftry — you used to have six or seven stalls here 
regular every season. And how are you^ sir ? We don't get 
younger !' 

The colour in old Jolyon's eyes deepened ; he paid his 
guinea. They had not forgotten him. He marched in, to 
the sounds of the overture, like an old war-horse to battle. 

Folding his opera hat, he sat down, drew out his lavender 
gloves in the old way, and took up his glasses for a long look 
round the house. Dropping them at last on his folded hat, 
he fixed his eyes on the curtain. More poignantly than ever 
he felt that it was all over and done with him. Where were 
all the women, the pretty women, the house used to be so 
full of? Where was that old feeling in the heart as he 
waited for one of those great singers ? Where that sensation 
of the intoxication of life and of his own power to enjoy it all ? 

The greatest opera-goer of his day ! There was no opera 
now ! That fellow Wagner had ruined everything ; no 
melody left, nor any voices to sing it. Ah ! the wonderful 
singers! Gone! He sat watching the old scenes acted, 
a numb feeling at his heart. 

From the curl of silver over his ear to the pose of his foot 
in its elastic-sided patent boot, there was nothing clumsy or 
weak about old Jolyon. He was as upright — very nearly — 
as in those old times when he came every night ; his sight 
was as good — almost as good. But what a feeling of 
weariness and disillusion ! 

He had been in the habit all his life of enjoying things, 
even imperfect things — and there had been many imperfect 
things — he had enjoyed them all with moderation, so as to 
keep himself young. But now he was deserted by his 
power of enjoyment, by his philosophy, and left with this 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 35 

dreadful feeling that it was all done with. Not even the 
Prisoners' Chorus, nor Florian's Song, had the power to 
dispel the gloom of his loneliness. 

If Jo were only with him ! The boy must be forty by 
now. He had wasted fourteen years out of the life of his only 
son. And Jo was no longer a social pariah. He was 
married. Old Jolyon had been unable to refrain from 
marking his appreciation of the action by enclosing his son a 
cheque for ;^500. The cheque had been returned in a 
letter from the * Hotch Potch,' couched in these words : 

*My Dearest Father, 

* Your generous gift was welcome as a sign that you 
might think worse of me. I return it, but should you think 
fit to invest it for the benefit of the little chap (we call him 
Jolly), who bears our Christian and, by courtesy, our sur- 
name, I shall be very glad. 

* I hope with all my heart that your health is as good as 
ever. 

' Your loving son, 

'Jo.' 

The letter was like the boy. He had always been an 
amiable chap. Old Jolyon had sent this reply : 

* My Dear Jo, . 

' The sum (;^500) stands in my books for the benefit 
of your boy, under the name of Jolyon Forsyte, and will be 
duly credited with interest at 5 per cent. I hope that you 
are doing well. My health remains good at present. 



' With love, I am. 



* Your affectionate Father, 

* Jolyon Forsyte.' 

And every year on the ist of January he had added a 



36 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

hundred and the interest. The sum was mounting up — 
next New Year's Day it would be fifteen hundred and odd 
pounds ! And it is difficult to say how much satisfaction he 
had got out of that yearly transaction. But the correspond- 
ence had ended. 

In spite of his love for his son, in spite of an instinct, 
partly constitutional, partly the result, as in thousands of his 
class, of the continual handling and watching of afiairs, 
prompting him to judge conduct by results rather than by 
principle, there was at the bottom of his heart a sort of 
uneasiness. His son ought, under the circumstances, to have 
gone to the dogs ; that law was laid down in all the novels, 
sermons, and plays he had ever read, heard, or witnessed. 

After receiving the cheque back there seemed to him to 
be something wrong somewhere. Why had his son not 
gone to the dogs ? But, then, who could tell ? 

He had heard, of course — in fact, he had made it his 
business to find out — that Jo lived in St. John's Wood, that he 
had a little house in Wistaria Avenue with a garden, and took 
his wife about with him into society — a queer sort of society, no 
doubt — and that they had two children — the little chap they 
called Jolly (considering the circumstances the name struck 
him as cynical, and old Jolyon both feared and disliked 
cynicism), and a girl called Holly, born since the marriage. 
Who could tell what his son's circumstances really were? 
He had capitalized the income he had inherited from his 
mother's father, and joined Lloyd's as an underwriter ; he 
painted pictures, too — water-colours. Old Jolyon knew 
this, for he had surreptitiously bought them from time 
to time, after chancing to see his son's name signed at the 
bottom of a representation of the river Thames in a dealer's 
window. He thought them bad, and did not hang them 
because of the signature; he kept them locked up in a 
drawer. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 37 

In the great opera-house a terrible yearning came on him 
to see his son. He remembered the days when he had been 
wont to slide him, in a brown holland suit, to and fro under 
the arch of his legs ; the times when he ran beside the boy's 
pony, teaching him to ride ; the day he first took him to school. 
He had been a loving, lovable little chap ! After he went 
to Eton he had acquired, perhaps, a little too much of that 
desirable manner which old Jolyon knew was only to be 
obtained at such places and at great expense ; but he had 
always been companionable. Always a companion, even 
after Cambridge — a little far off, perhaps, owing to the 
advantages he had received. Old Jolyon's feeling towards 
our public schools and * Varsities never wavered, and he 
retained touchingly his attitude of admiration and mistrust 
towards a system appropriate to the highest in the land, of 
which he had not himself been privileged to partake. . . . 
Now that June had gone and left, or as good as left him, it 
would have been a comfort to see his son again. Guilty of 
this treason to his family, his principles, his class, old Jolyon 
fixed his eyes on the singer. A poor thing — a wretched poor 
thing ! And the Florian a perfect stick ! 

It was over. They were easily pleased nowada)-s ! 

In the crowded street he snapped up a cab under the very 
nose of a stout and much younger gentleman, who had 
already assumed it to be his own. His route lay through 
Pall Mall, and at the corner, instead of going through the 
Green Park, the cabman turned to drive up St. James's 
Street. Old Jolyon put his hand through the trap (he could 
not bear being taken out of his way) ; in turning, however, 
he found himself opposite the *Hotch Potch,' and the yearning 
that had been secretly with him the whole evening prevailed. 
He called to the driver to stop. He would go in and ask if 
Jo still belonged there. 

He went in. The hall looked exactly as it did when he 



38 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

used to dine there with Jack Herring, and they had the best 
cook in London ; and he looked round with the shrewd, 
straight glance that had caused him all his life to be better 
served than most men. 

* Mr. Jolyon Forsyte still a member here ?' 

* Yes, sir ; in the Club now, sir. What name .'* 
Old Jolyon was taken aback. 

' His father,' he said. 

And having spoken, he took his stand, back to the fire- 
place. 

Young Jolyon, on the point of leaving the Club, had put 
on his hat, and was in the act of crossing the hall, as the 
porter met him. He was no longer young, with hair going 
gray, and face — a narrower replica of his father's, with the 
same large drooping moustache — decidedly worn. He turned 
pale. This meeting was terrible after all those years, for 
nothing in the world was so terrible as a scene. They met 
and crossed hands without a word. Then, with a quaver in 
his voice, the father said : 

* How are you, my boy ?' 
The son answered : 

' How are you. Dad ?* 

Old Jolyon's hand trembled in its thin lavender glove. 

* If you're going my way,' he said, ' I can give you a 
lift.' 

And as though in the habit of taking each other home 
every night they went out and stepped into the cab. 

To old Jolyon it seemed that his son had grown. * More 
of a man altogether,' was his comment. Over the natural 
amiability of that son's face had come a rather sardonic 
mask, as though he had found in the circumstances of his life 
the necessity for armour. The features were certainly those 
of a Forsyte, but the expression was more the introspective 
look of a student or philosopher. He had no doubt been 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 39 

obliged to look into himself a good deal in the course 01 
those fifteen years. 

To young Jolyon the first sight of his father w«is un- 
doubtedly a shock — he looked so worn and old. But in the 
cab he seemed hardly to have changed, still having the 
calm look so well remembered, still being upright and 
keen-eyed. 

' You look well, Dad.' 

*• Middling,' old Jolyon answered. 

He was the prey of an anxiety that he found he must put 
into words. Having got his son back like this, he felt he must 
know what was his financial position. 

' Jo,' he said, * I should like to hear what sort of water 
you're in. I suppose you're in debt ?' 

He put it this way that his son might find it easier to 
confess. 

Young Jolyon answered in his ironical voice : 

' No ! I'm not in debt !' 

Old Jolyon saw that he was angry, and touched his hand. 
He had run a risk. It was worth it, however, and Jo had 
never been sulky with him. They drove on, without 
speaking again, to Stanhope Gate. Old Jolyon invited him 
in, but young Jolyon shook his head. 

'June's not here,' said his father hastily : ' went off 
to-day on a visit. I suppose you knov/ that she's engaged to 
be married ?' 

' Already ?' murmured young Jolyon. 

Old Jolyon stepped out, and, in paying the cab fare, for 
the first time in his life gave the driver a sovereign in mistake 
for a shilling. 

Placing the coin in his mouth, the cabman whipped his 
horse secretly on the underneath and hurried away. 

Old Jolyon turned the key softly in the lock, pushed 
open the door, and beckoned. His son saw him gravely 



40 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

hanging up his coat, with an expression on his face like that 
of a boy who intends to steal cherries. 

The door of the dining-room was open, the gas turned 
low ; a spirit-urn hissed on a tea-tray, and close to it a 
cynical-looking cat had fallen asleep on the dining-table. 
Old Jolyon *shoo'd ' her ofFat once. The incident was a relief 
to his feelings ; he rattled his opera hat behind the animal. 

* She's got fleas,' he said, following her out of the room. 
Through the door in the hall leading to the basement he 
called ' Hssst !' several times, as though assisting the cat's 
departure, till by some strange coincidence the butler 
appeared below. 

* You can go to bed, Parfitt,' said old Jolyon. ' I will 
lock up and put out.' 

When he again entered the dining-room the cat unfortu- 
nately preceded him, with her tail in the air, proclaiming 
that she had seen through this manoeuvre for suppressing the 
butler from the first. 

A fatality had dogged old Jolyon's domestic stratagems all 
his life. 

Young Jolyon could not help smiling. He was very well 
versed in irony, and everything that evening seemed to him 
ironical. The episode of the cat ; the announcement of his 
own daughter's engagement. So he had no more part or 
parcel in her than he had in the Puss ! And the poetical 
justice of this appealed to him. 

' What is June like now ?' he asked. 

* She's a little thing,' returned old Jolyon ; * they say she's 
like me, but that's their folly. She's more like your mother 
— the same eyes and hair.' 

* Ah ! and she is pretty ?* 

Old Jolyon was too much of a Forsyte to praise anything 
freely ; especially anything for which he had a genuine 
ad m 4 rat ion. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 41 

*Not bad looking — a regular Forsyte chin. It'll be 
lonely here when she's gone, Jo.' 

The look on his face again gave young Jolyon the shock 
he had felt on first seeing: his father. 

o 

^ What will you do with yourself, Dad ? I suppose she's 
wrapped up in him r' 

* Do with myself r' repeated old Jolyon with an angry 
break in his voice. ' It'll be miserable work living here 
alone. I don't know how it's to end. I wish to good- 
ness ' He checked himself, and added : * The question 

is, what had I better do with this house ?' 

Young Jolyon looked round the room. It was peculiarly 
vast and dreary, decorated with the enormous pictures ot 
still life that he remembered as a boy — sleeping dogs with 
their noses resting on bunches of carrots, together with 
onions and grapes lying side by side in mild surprise. The 
house was a white elephant, but he could not conceive ot 
his father living in a smaller place ; and all the more did 
it all seem ironical. 

In his great chair with the book-rest sat old Jolyon, the 
figure-head of his family and class and creed, with his white 
head and dome-like forehead, the representative of modera- 
tion, and order, and love of property. As lonely an old 
man as there was in London. 

There he sat in the gloomy comfort of the room, a puppet 
in the power of great forces that cared nothing for family or 
class or creed, but moved, machine-like, with dread pro- 
cesses to inscrutable ends. This was how it struck young 
Jolyon, who had the impersonal eye. 

The poor old Dad ! So this was the end, the purpose to 
which he had lived with such magnificent moderation ! To 
be lonely, and grow older and older, yearning for a soul to 
speak to ! 

In his turn old Jolyon looked back at his son. He 



42 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

wanted to talk about many things that he had been unable 
to talk about all these years. It had been impossible to 
seriously confide to June his conviction that property in the 
Soho quarter would go up in value ; his uneasiness about 
that tremendous silence of Pippin, the superintendent of the 
New Colliery Com.pany, of which he had so long been 
chairman ; his disgust at the steady fall in American Gol- 
gothas, or even to discuss how, by some sort of settlement, 
he could best avoid the payment of those death duties which 
would follow his decease. Under the influence, however, 
of a cup of tea, which he seemed to stir indefinitely, he 
began to speak at last. A new vista of life was thus opened 
up, a promised land of talk, where he could find a harbour 
against the waves of anticipation and regret ; where he 
could soothe his soul with the opium of devising how to 
round off his property and make eternal the only part of 
him that was to remain alive. 

Young Jolyon was a good listener ; it v/as his great 
quality. He kept his eyes fixed on his father's face, putting 
a question now and then. 

The clock struck one before old Jolyon had finished, and 
at the sound of its striking his principles came back. He 
took out his watch with a look of surprise : 

' I must go to bed, Jo,' he said. 

Young Jolyon rose and held out his hand to help his 
father up. The old face looked v/orn and hollow again j 
the eyes were steadily averted. 

' Good-bye, my boy ; take care of yourself.' 

A moment passed, and young Jolyon, turning on his 
heel, marched out at the door. He could hardly see ; his 
smile quavered. Never in all the fifteen years since he had 
first found out that life was no simple business, had he found 
It so singularly complicated. 



CHAPTER III 

DINNER AT SWITHIN'? 

In Swithin's orange and light-blue dining room, facing the 
Park, the round table was laid for twelve. 

A cut-glass chandelier filled with lighted candles hung like 
a giant stalactite above its centre, radiating over large gilt- 
framed mirrors, slabs of marble on the tops of side-tables, and 
heavy gold chairs with crewel worked seats. Everything 
betokened that love of beauty so deeply implanted in each 
family which has had its own way to make into Society, out 
of the more vulgar heart of Nature. Swithin had indeed an 
impatience of simplicity, a love of ormolu, which had always 
stamped him amongst his associates as a man of great, if 
somewhat luxurious taste ; and out of the knowledge that no 
one could possibly enter his rooms without perceiving him to 
be a man of wealth, he had derived a solid and prolonged 
happiness such as perhaps no other circumstance in life had 
afforded him. 

Since his retirement from house agency, a profession 
deplorable in his estimation, especially as to its auctioneering 
department, he had abandoned himself to naturally aristo- 
cratic tastes. 

The perfect luxury of his latter days had embedded him 
like a fly in sugar ; and his mind, where very little took 
place from morning till night, was the junction of two 
curiously opposite emotions, a lingering and sturdy satisfaction 

43 



44 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

that he had made his own way and his own fortune, and a 
sense that a man of his distmction should never have been 
allowed to soil his mind with work. 

He stood at the sideboard in a white waistcoat with large 
gold and onyx buttons, watching his valet screw the necks of 
three champagne bottles deeper into ice pails. Between the 
points of his stand-up collar, which — though it hurt him to 
move — he would on no account have had altered, the pale 
flesh of his underchin remained immovable. His eyes roved 
from bottle to bottle. He was debating, and he argued like 
this : ^ Jolyon drinks a glass, perhaps two, he's so careful of 
himself. James, he can't take his wine nowadays. 
Nicholas' — Fanny and he would swill water he shouldn't 
wonder ! Soames didn't count ; these young nephews — 
Soames was thirty-eight — couldn't drink ! But Bosinney ? 
Encountering in the name of this stranger something outside 
the range of his philosophy, Swithin paused. A misgiving 
arose within him ! It was impossible to tell ! June was 
only a girl, in love too ! Emily (Mrs. James), liked a good 
glass of champagne. It was too dry for Juley poor old soul, 
she had no palate. As to Hatty Chessman ! The thought 
of this old friend caused a cloud of thought to obscure the 
perfect glassiness of his eyes : He shouldn't wonder if she 
drank half a bottle ! 

But in thinking of his remaining guest, an expression like 
that of a cat who is just going to purr stole over his old face : 
Mrs. Soames ! She mightn't take much, but she would 
appreciate what she drank ; it was a pleasure to give 
her good wine 1 A pretty woman — and sympathetic to 
him ! 

The thought of her was like champagne itself! A 
pleasure to give a good wine to a young woman who looked 
so well, who knew how to dress, with charmmg manners, 
quite distinguished — a pleasure to entertain her. Between 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 45 

the points of his collar he gave his head the first small, painful 
oscillation of the evening. 

* Adolf !' he said. ' Put in another bottle.' 

He himself might drink a good deal, for, thanks to that 
p — prescription of Blight's, he found himself extremely- 
well, and he had been careful to take no lunch. He had not 
felt so well for weeks. Puffing out his lower lip, he gave his 
last instructions : 

* Adolf, the least touch of the West India when you 
come to the ham.' 

Passing into the anteroom, he sat down on the edge of a 
chair, with his knees apart; and his tall, bulky form was 
wrapped at once in an expectant, strange, primeval immo- 
bility. He was ready to rise at a moment's notice. He 
had not given a dinner-party for months. This dinner in 
honour of June's engagement had seemed a bore at first 
(among Forsytes the custom of solemnizing engagements by 
feasts was religiously observed), but the labours of sending 
invitations and ordering the repast over, he felt pleasantly 
stimulated. 

And thus sitting, a watch in his hand, fat, and smooth, 
and golden, like a flattened globe of butter, he thought of 
nothing. 

A long man, with side whiskers, who had once been in 
Swithin's service, but was now a greengrocer, entered and 
proclaimed : 

' Mrs. Chessman, Mrs. Septimus Small !' 

Two ladies advanced. The one in front, habited entirely 
in red, had large, settled patches of the same colour in her 
cheeks, and a hard, dashing eye. She walked at Swithin, 
holding out a hand cased in a long, primrose-coloured glove : 

* Well, Swithin,' she said, ^ I haven't seen you for ages. 
How are you ? Why, my dear boy, how stout you're 
getting 1' 



46 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

The fixity of Swithin's eye alone betrayed emotion. A 
dumb and grumbling anger swelled his bosom. It was 
vulgar to be stout, to talk of being stout ; he had a chest, 
nothing more. Turning to his sister, he grasped her hand, 
and said in a tone of command : 

' Well, Juley.' 

Mrs. Septimus Small was the tallest oi the four sisters ; her 
good, round old face had gone a little sour ; an innumerable 
pout clung all over it, as if it had been encased in an iron 
wire mask up to that evening, which, being suddenly removed, 
left little rolls of mutinous flesh all over her countenance. 
Even her eyes were pouting. It was thus that she recorded 
her permanent resentment at the loss of Septimus Small. 

She had quite a reputation for saying the wrong thing, and, 
tenacious like all her breed, she would hold to it when she 
had said it, and add to it another wrong thing, and so on. 
With the decease of her husband the family tenacity, the 
family matter-of-factness, had gone sterile within her. A 
great talker, when allowed, she would converse without the 
faintest animation for hours together, relating, with epic 
monotony, the innumerable occasions on which Fortune had 
misused her ; nor did she ever perceive that her hearers 
sympathized with Fortune, for her heart was kind. 

Having sat, poor soul, long by the bedside of Small (a 
man of poor constitution), she had acquired the habit, and 
there were countless subsequent occasions when she had sat 
immense periods of time to amuse sick people, children, and 
other helpless persons, and she could never divest herself of 
the feeling that the world was the most ungrateful place any- 
body could live in. Sunday after Sunday she sat at the feet 
of that extremely witty preacher, the Rev. Thomas Scoles, 
who exercised a great influence over her ; but she succeeded 
in convincing everybody that even this was a misfortune. 
She had passed into a proverb in the family, and when any- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 47 

body was observed to be peculiarly distressing, he was known 
as * a regular Juley/ The habit of her mind would have 
killed anybody but a Forsyte at forty ; but she was seventy- 
two, and had never looked better. And one felt that there 
were capacities for enjoyment about her which might yet 
come out. She owned three canaries, the cat Tommy, and 
half a parrot — in common with her sister Hester ; and these 
poor creatures (kept carefully out of Timothy's way — he was 
nervous about animals), unlike human beings, recognising 
that she could not help being blighted, attached themselves 
to her passionately. 

She was sombrely magnificent this evening in black bom- 
bazine, with a mauve front cut in a shy triangle, and crowned 
with a black velvet ribbon round the base of her thin throat ; 
black and mauve for evening wear was esteemed very chaste 
by nearly every Forsyte. 

Pouting at Swithin, she said : 

*Ann has been asking for you. You haven't been near us 
for an age 1' 

Swithin put his thumbs within the armholes of his waist- 
coat, and replied : 

' Ann's getting very shaky ; she ought to have a 
doctor !' 

' Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Forsyte !' 

Nicholas Forsyte, cocking his rectangular eyebrows, wore 
a smile. He had succeeded during the day in bringing to 
fruition a scheme for the employment of a tribe from Upper 
India in the gold-mines of Ceylon. A pet plan, carried at 
last in the teeth of great difiiculties — he was justly pleased. 
It would double the output of his mines, and, as he had 
often forcibly argued, all experience tended to shov/ that a 
man must die ; and whether he died of a miserable old age 
in his own country, or prematurely of damp in the bottom 
of a foreign mine, v/as surely of little consequence, provided 



48 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

that by a change in his mode of life he benefited the British 
Empire. 

His ability was undoubted. Raising his broken nose 
towards his listener, he would add : 

' For want of a few hundred of these fellows we haven't 
paid a dividend for years, and look at the price of the shares. 
I can't get ten shillin's for them.' 

He had been at Yarmouth, too, and had come back feeling 
that he had added at least ten years to his own life. He 
grasped Swithin's hand, exclaiming in a jocular voice : 

' Well, so here we are again !' 

Mrs. Nicholas, an effete woman, smiled a smile of 
frightened jollity behind his back. 

* Mr. and Mrs. James Forsyte ! Mr. and Mrs. Soames 
Forsyte 1' 

Swithin drew his heels together, his deportment ever 
admirable. 

^ Well, James, well Emily ! How are you, Soames ? 
How do you do r" 

His hand enclosed Irene's, and his eyes swelled. She was 
a pretty woman — a little too pale, but her figure, her eyes, 
her teeth ! Too good for that chap Soames ! 

The gods had given Irene dark brown eyes and golden 
hair, that strange combination, provocative of men's glances, 
which is said to be the mark of a weak character. And the 
full, soft pallor of her neck and shoulders, above a gold- 
coloured frock, gave to her personality an alluring strange- 
ness. 

Soames stood behind, his eyes fastened on his wife's neck. 
The hands of Swithin's watch, which he still held open in 
his hand, had left eight behind ; it was half an hour beyond 
his dinner-time — he had had no lunch — and a strange 
primeval impatience surged up within him. 

* It's not like Jolyon to be late !' he said to Irene, with 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 49 

uncontrollable vexation. * I suppose it'll be June keeping 
him !' 

* People in love are always late,' she answered. 
Swithin stared at her ; a dusky orange dyed his cheeks. 

* They've no business to be. Some fashionable nonsense !' 
And behind this outburst the inarticulate violence of 

primitive generations seemed to mutter and grumble. 

* Tell me what you think of my new star, Uncle Swithin,' 
said Irene softly. 

Among the lace in the bosom of her dress was shining a 
five-pointed star, made of eleven diamonds. 

Swithin looked at the star. He had a pretty taste in 
stones; no question could have been more sympathetically 
devised to distract his attention. 

* Who gave you that ?' he asked. 

* Soames.' 

There was no change in her face, but Swithin's pale eyes 
bulged as though tie might suddenly have been afflicted with 
insight. 

* I dare say you're dull at home,' he said. * Any day you 
like to come and dine with me I'll give you as good a bottle 
of wine as you'll get in London.' 

* Miss June Forsyte — Mr. Jolyon Forsvte ! . . . Mr. 
Bo-swainey ! . . .' 

Swithin moved his arm, and said in a rumbling voice : 

' Dinner, now — dinner !' 

He took in Irene, on the ground that he had not enter- 
tained her since she was a bride. June was the portion of 
Bosinney, who was placed between Irene and his fiancee. 
On the other side of June was James with Mrs. Nicholas, 
then old Jolyon with Mrs. James, Nicholas with Hatty 
Chessman, Soames with Mrs. Small, completing the circle 
to Swithin again. 

Family dinners of the Forsytes observe certain traditions. 

3 



50 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

There are, for instance, no hors d'ceuvres. The reason for 
this is unknown. Theory among the younger members 
traces it to the disgraceful price of oysters ; it is more prob- 
ably due to a desire to come to the point, to a good practical 
sense deciding at once that hors d'ceuvres are but poor things. 
The Jameses alone, unable to withstand a custom almost 
universal in Park Lane, are now and then unfaithful. 

A silent, almost morose, inattention to each other succeeds 
to the subsidence into their seats, lasting till well into the 
first entree, but interspersed with remarks such as, * Tom's 
bad again ; I can't tell what's the matter with him !' — * I 
suppose Ann doesn't come down in the mornings ?' — * What's 
the name of your doctor, Fanny ? Stubbs ? He's a quack !' 
— * Winifred ? She's got too many children. Four, isn't it r 
She's as thin as a lath !' — ' What d'you give for this sherry, 
Swithin ? Too dry for me !' 

With the second glass of champagne, a kind of hum makes 
itself heard, which, when divested of casual accessories and 
resolved into its primal element, is found to be James telling 
a story, and this goes on for a long time, encroaching some- 
times even upon what must universally be recognised as the 
crowning point of a Forsyte feast — ' the saddle of mutton.' 

No Forsyte has given a dinner without providing a saddle 
of mutton. There is something in its succulent solidity 
which makes it suitable to people ' of a certain position.' It 
is nourishing and — tasty ; the sort of thing a man remembers 
eating. It has a past and a future, like a deposit paid into a 
bank ; and it is something that can be argued about. 

Each branch of the family tenaciously held to a 
particular locality — old Jolyon swearing by Dartmoor, James 
by Welsh, Swithin by Southdown, Nicholas maintaining that 
people might sneer, but there was nothing like New 
Zealand. As for Roger, the * original ' of the brothers, he had 
been obliged to invent a locality of his own, and with an 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 51 

ingenuity worthy of a man who had devised a new profession 
for his sons, he had discovered a shop where they sold 
German ; on being remonstrated with, he had proved his 
point by producing a butcher's bill, which showed that he 
paid more than any of the others. It was on this occasion 
that old Jolyon, turning to June, had said in one of his bursts 
of philosophy : 

' You may depend upon it, they're a cranky lot, the 
Forsytes — and you'll find it out, as you grow older !' 

Timothy alone held apart, for though he ate saddle ot 
mutton heartily, he was, he said, afraid of it. 

To anyone interested psychologically in Forsytes, this 
great saddle-of-mutton trait is of prime importance ; not only 
does it illustrate their tenacity, both collectively and as 
individuals, but it marks them as belonging in fibre and 
instincts to that great class which believes in nourishment and 
flavour, and yields to no sentimental craving for beauty. 

Younger members of the family indeed would have done 
without a joint altogether, preferring guinea-fowl, or lobster 
salad — something which appealed to the imagination, and had 
less nourishment — but these were females ; or, if not, had 
been corrupted by their wives, or by mothers, who having 
been forced to eat saddle of mutton throughout their married 
lives, had passed a secret hostility towards it into the fibre of 
their sons. 

The great saddle of mutton controversy at an end, a 
Tewkesbury ham commenced, together with the least touch 
of West India — Swithin was so long over this course that he 
caused a block in the progress of the dinner. To devote 
himself to it with better heart, he paused in his con- 
versation. 

From his seat by Mrs. Septimus Small Soames was watching. 
He had a reason of his own connected with a pet building 
scheme, for observing Bosinney. The architect might do for 



52 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

his purpose ; he looked clever, as he sat leaning back in his 
chair, moodily making little ramparts with bread-crumbs. 
Soames noted his dress clothes to be well cut, but too small, 
as though made many years ago. 

He saw him turn to Irene and say something, and her face 
sparkle as he often saw it sparkle at other people — never at 
himself. He tried to catch what they were saying, but 
Aunt Juley was speaking. 

Hadn't that always seemed very extraordinary to Soames ? 
Only last Sunday dear Mr. Scoles had been so witty in his 
sermon, so sarcastic : ' " For what," he had said, " shall it 
profit a man if he gain his own soul, but lose all his pro- 
perty ?" * That, he had said, was the motto of the middle 
class ; now, what had he meant by that ? Of course, it 
might be what middle-class people believed — she didn't 
know ; what did Soames think ? 

He answered abstractedly : ' How should I know ? Scoles 
is a humbug, though, isn't he ?* For Bosinney was looking 
round the table, as if pointing out the peculiarities of the 
guests, and Soames wondered what he was saying. By her 
smile Irene was evidently agreeing with his remarks. She 
seemed always to agree with other people. 

Her eyes were turned on himself; Soames dropped his 
glance at once. The smile had died off her lips. 

A humbug ? But what did Soames mean ? If Mr. Scoles 
was a humbug, a clergyman — then anybody might be — it 
was frightful ! 

' Well, and so they are T said Soames. 

During Aunt Juley's momentary and horrified silence he 
caught some words of Irene's that sounded like : ' Abandon 
hope, all ye who enter here !' 

But Swithin had finished his ham. 

* Where do you go for your mushrooms ?' he was saying to 
Irene in a voice like a courtier's ; * you ought to go to Sniley- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 53 

bob's — he'll give 'em you fresh. These little men, they won't 
take the trouble !' 

Irene turned to answer him, and Soames saw Bosmney 
watching her and smiling to himself. A curious smile the 
fellow had. A half-simple arrangement, like a child who 
smiles when he is pleased. As for George's nickname — 
* The Buccaneer ' — he did not think much of that. And, 
seeing Bosinney turn to June, Soames smiled too, but sar- 
donically — he did not like June, who was not looking too 
pleased. 

This was not surprising, for she had just held the following 
conversation with James : 

^ I stayed on the river on my way home. Uncle James, and 
saw a beautiful site for a house.' 

James, a slow and thorough eater, stopped the process of 
mastication. 

* Eh ?' he said. * Now, where was that ?* 

* Close to Pangbourne.' 

James placed a piece of ham in his mouth, and June 
waited. 

*I suppose you wouldn't know whether the land about 
there was freehold ?' he asked at last. * Tou wouldn't know 
anything about the price of land about there?' 

' Yes,' said June ; * I made inquiries.' Her little resolute 
face under its copper crown was suspiciously eager and aglow, 

James regarded her with the air of an inquisitor. 

* What ? You're not thinking of buying land !' he 
ejaculated, dropping his fork. 

June was greatly encouraged by his interest. It had long 
been her pet plan that her uncles should benefit themselves 
and Bosinney by building country-houses. 

* Of course not,* she said. * I thought it would be such a 
splendid place for — you or — someone to build a country- 
house 1' 



54 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

James looked at her sideways, and placed a second piece of 
ham in his mouth. 

* Land ought to be very dear about there,' he said. 
What June had taken for personal interest was only the 

impersonal excitement of every Forsyte who hears of some- 
thing eligible in danger of passing into other hands. But 
she refused to see the disappearance of her chance, and con- 
tinued to press her point. 

*You ought to go into the country, Uncle James. I 
wish I had a lot of money, I wouldn't live another day in 
London.' 

James was stirred to the depths of his long thin figure ; he 
had no idea his niece held such downright views. 

* Why don't you go into the country !' repeated June : * it 
would do you a lot of good ?' 

* Why ?' began James in a fluster. * Buying land — what 
good d'you suppose I can do buying land, building houses ? — 
I couldn't get four per cent, for my money !' 

* What does that matter ? You'd get fresh air.' 

* Fresh air !' exclaimed James ; ' what should I do with 
fresh air ' 

' I should have thought anybody liked to have fresh air,* 
said June scornfully. 

James wiped his napkin all over his mouth. 

' You don't know the value of money,' he said, avoiding 
her eye. 

' No ! and I hope I never shall !' and, biting her lip with 
inexpressible mortification, poor June was silent. 

Why were her own relations so rich, and Phil never knew 
where the money was coming from for to-morrow's tobacco. 
Why couldn't they do something for him ? But they were 
so selfish. Why couldn't they build country houses ? She 
had all that nal've dogmatism which is so pathetic, and some- 
times achieves such great results. Bosinney, to whom she 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 55 

turned in her discomfiture, was talking to Irene, and a chill 
fell on June's spirit. Her eyes grew steady with anger, like 
old Jolyon's when his will was crossed. 

James, too, was much disturbed. He felt as though some- 
one had threatened his right to invest his money at five per 
cent. Jolyon had spoiled her. None of his girls would 
have said such a thing. James had always been exceedingly 
liberal to his children, and the consciousness of this made him 
feel it all the more deeply. He trifled moodily with his 
strawberries, then, deluging them with cream, he ate them 
quickly; they, at all events should not escape him. 

No wonder he was upset. Engaged for fifty-four years 
(he had been admitted a solicitor on the earliest day sanctioned 
by the law) in arranging mortgages, preserving investments at 
a dead level of high and safe interest, conducting negociations 
on the principle of securing the utmost possible out of other 
people compatible with safety to his clients and himself, in 
calculations as to the exact pecuniary possibilities of all the 
relations of life, he had come at last to think purely in terms 
of money. Money was now his light, his medium for seeing, 
that without which he was really unable to see, really not 
cognisant of phenomena; and to have this thing, 'I hope I 
shall never know the value of money !' said to his face, 
saddened and exasperated him. He knew it to be nonsense, 
or it would have frightened him. What was the world 
coming to ! Suddenly recollecting the story of young 
Jolyon, however, he felt a little comforted, for what could 
you expect with a father like that ! This turned his thought? 
into a channel still less pleasant. What was all this talk 
about Soames and Irene ? 

As in all self-respecting families, an emporium had been 
established where family secrets were bartered, and family 
stock priced. It was known on Forsyte 'Change that Irene 
regretted her marriage. Her regret was disapproved of. She 



56 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

ought to have known her own mind j no dependable woman 
made these mistakes. 

James reflected sourly that they had a nice house (rather 
small) in an excellent position, no children, and no money 
troubles. Soames was reserved about his affairs, but he must 
be getting a very warm man. He had a capital income from 
the business — for Soames, like his father, was a member of 
that well-known firm of solicitors, Forsyte, Bustard and 
Forsyte — and had always been very careful. He had done 
quite unusually well with some mortgages he had taken up, 
too — a little timely foreclosure — most lucky hits ! 

There was no reason why Irene should not be happy, yet 
they said she'd been asking for a separate room. He knew 
where that ended. It wasn't as if Soames drank. 

James looked at his daughter-in-law. That unseen glance 
of his was cold and dubious. Appeal and fear were in it, and 
a sense of personal grievance. Why should he be worried 
like this? It was very likely all nonsense; women were 
funny things ! They exaggerated so, you didn't know what 
to believe; and then, nobody told him anything, he had to 
find out everything for himself. Again he looked furtively 
at Irene, and across from her to Soames. The latter, listen- 
ing to Aunt Juley, was looking up under his brows in the 
direction of Bosinney. 

* He's fond of her, I know,' thought James. * Look at 
the way he's always giving her things.' 

And the extraordinary unreasonableness of her disaffection 
struck him with increased force. It was a pity, too, she was 
a taking little thing, and he, James, would be really quite 
fond of her if she'd only let him. She had taken up lately 
with June ; that was doing her no good, that was certainly 
doing her no good. She was getting to have opinions of her 
own. He didn't know what she wanted with anything of 
the sort. She'd a good home, and everything she could 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 57 

wish for. He felt that her friends ought to be chosen for 
her. To go on like this was dangerous. 

June, indeed, with her habit of championing the unfortu- 
nate, had dragged from Irene a confession, and, in return, 
had preached the necessity of facing the evil, by separation, it 
need be. But in the face of these exhortations, Irene had 
kept a brooding silence, as though she found terrible the 
thought of this struggle carried through in cold blood. He 
would never give her up, she had said to June. 

'Who cares r' June cried; Met him do what he likes — 
you've only to stick to it !' And she had not scrupled to 
say something of this sort at Timothy's ; James, when he 
heard of it, had felt a natural indignation and horror. 

What if Irene were to take it into her head to — he could 
hardly frame the thought — to leave Soames ? But he felt 
this thought so unbearable that he at once put it away ; the 
shady visions it conjured up, the sound of family tongues 
buzzing in his ears, the horror of the conspicuous happening 
so close to him, to one of his own children ! Luckily, she 
had no money — a beggarly fifty pound a year ! And he 
thought of the deceased Heron, who had had nothing to leave 
her, with contempt. Brooding over his glass, his long legs 
twisted under the table, he quite omitted to rise when the 
ladies left the room. He would have to speak to Soam^es — 
would have to put him on his guard ; they could not go on 
like this, now that such a contingency had occurred to him. 
And he noticed with sour disfavour that June had left her 
wine-glasses full of wine. 

' That little thing's at the bottom of it all,' he mused ; 
^ Irene'd never have thought of it herself.' James was a man 
of imagination. 

The voice of Swithin roused him from his reverie. 

* I gave four hundred pounds for it,' he was saying. ^ Of 
course it's a regular work of art.' 

3"- 



58 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

' Four hundred ! H'm ! that's a lot of money !' chimed 
in Nicholas. 

The object alluded to was an elaborate group of statuary 
in Italian marble, which, placed upon a lofty stand (also of 
marble), diffused an atmosphere of culture throughout the 
room. The subsidiary figures, of which there were six, 
female, nude, and of highly ornate workmanship, were all 
pointing towards the central figure, also nude, and female, 
who was pointing at herself ; and all this gave the observer 
a very pleasant sense of her extreme value. Aunt Juley, 
nearly opposite, had had the greatest difficulty in not looking 
at it all the evening. 

Old Jolyon spoke ; it was he who had started the dis- 
cussion. 

' Four hundred fiddlesticks ! Don't tell me you gave four 
hundred for that ?' 

Between the points of his collar Swithin's chin made the 
second painful oscillatory movement of the evening. * Four 
— hundred — pounds, of English money ; not a farthing less. 
I don't regret it. It's not common English — it's genuine 
modern Italian 1' 

Soames raised the corner of his lip in a smile, and looked 
across at Bosinney. The architect was grinning behind the 
fumes of his cigarette. Now, indeed, he looked more like a 
buccaneer. 

' There's a lot of work about it,' remarked James hastily, 
who was really moved by the size of the group. * It'd sell 
v/ell at Jobson's.' 

*The poor foreign dey-vil that made it,' went on Swithin, 
^ asked me five hundred — I gave him four. It's worth eight. 
Looked half-starved, poor dey-vil !' 

' Ah !' chimed in Nicholas suddenly, * poor, seedy-lookin' 
chaps, these artists ; it's a v/onder to me how they live. 
Now, there's young Flageoletti, that Fanny and the girls are 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 59 

always havin' in, to play the fiddle ; if he makes a hundred 
a year it's as much as ever he does !' 

James shook his head. ' Ah !' he said, ^I don't know how 
they live !' 

Old Jolyon had risen, and, cigar in mouth, went to inspect 
the group at close quarters. 

' Wouldn't have given two for it !' he pronounced at last. 

Soames saw his father and Nicholas glance at each other 
anxiously ; and, on the other side of Swithin, Bosinney, still 
shrouded in smoke. 

' I wonder what he thinks of it ?' thought Soames, who 
knew well enough that this group was hopelessly vieux jeu ; 
hopelessly of the last generation. There was no longer any 
sale at Jobson's for such works of art. 

Swithin's answer came at last. * You never knew any- 
thing about a statue. You've got your pictures, and 
that's all 1' 

Old Jolyon walked back to his seat, puffing his cigar. It 
was not likely that he was going to be drawn into an argu- 
ment with an obstinate beggar like Swithin, pig-headed as a 
mule, who had never known a statue from a — straw hat. 

^ Stucco !' was all he said. 

It had long been physically impossible for Swithin to start ; 
his fist came down on the table. 

' Stucco ! I should like to see anything you've got in 
your house half as good !' 

And behind his speech seemed to sound again that rumbling 
violence of primitive generations. 

It was James who saved the situation. 

' Now, what do you say, Mr. Bosinney ? You're an archi- 
tect ; you ought to know all about statues and things !' 

Every eye was turned upon Bosinney ; all waited with a 
strange, suspicious look for his answer. 

And Soames, speaking for the first time, asked : 



6o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

' Yes, Bosinney, what do you sayi?' 

Bosinney replied coolly : 

' The work is a remarkable one.' 

His words were addressed to Swithin, his eyes smiled slyly 
at old Jolyon ; only Soames remained unsatisfied. 

' Remarkable for what ?' 

* For its naivete.' 

The answer was followed by an impressive silence ; 
Swithin alone was not sure whether a compliment was 
intended. 



CHAPTER IV 

PROJECTION OF THE HOUSE 

SoAMEs Forsyte walked out of his green-painted front door 
three days after the dinner at Swithin's, and looking back 
from across the Square, confirmed his impression that the 
house wanted painting. 

He had left his wife sitting on the sofa in the drawing- 
room, her hands crossed in her lap, manifestly waiting for 
him to go out. This was not unusual. It happened, in 
fact, every day. 

He could not understand what she found wrong with him. 
It was not as if he drank ! Did he run into debt, or gamble, 
or swear ; was he violent ; were his friends rackety ; did he 
btay out at night ? On the contrary. 

The profound, subdued aversion which he felt in his wife 
was a mystery to him, and a source of the most terrible 
irritation. That she had made a mistake, and did not love 
him, had tried to love him and could not love him, was 
obviously no reason. 

He that could imagine so outlandish a cause for his wife's 
not getting on with him was certainly no Forsyte. 

Soames was forced, therefore, to set the blame entirely 
down to his wife. He had never met a woman so capable 
of inspiring affection. They could not go anywhere with- 
out his seeing how all the men were attracted by her ; their 
looks, manners, voices, betrayed it ; her behaviour under this 

6i 



62 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

attention had been beyond reproach. That she was one of 
those women — not too common in the Anglo-Saxon race — 
born to be loved and to love, who when not loving are not 
living, had certainly never even occurred to him. Her 
power of attraction he regarded as part of her value as his 
property ; but it made him, indeed, suspect that she could 
give as well as receive ; and she gave him nothing ! ' Then 
why did she marry me ?' was his continual thought. He 
had forgotten his courtship ; that year and a half when 
he had besieged and lain in wait for her, devising schemes 
for her entertainment, giving her gifts, proposing to her 
periodically, and keeping her other admirers away with 
his perpetual presence. He had forgotten the day when, 
adroitly taking advantage of an acute phase of her dislike to 
her home surroundings, he crowned his labours with success. 
If he remembered anything, it was the dainty capriciousness 
with which the gold-haired, dark-eyed girl had treated him. 
He certainly did not remember the look on her face — strange, 
passive, appealing — when suddenly one day she had yielded, 
and said that she would marry him. 

It had been one of those real devoted wooings which books 
and people praise, when the lover is at length rewarded for 
hammering the iron till it is malleable, and all must be 
happy ever after as the wedding bells. 

Soames walked eastwards, mousing doggedly along on the 
shady side. 

The house wanted doing up, unless he decided to move 
into the country, and build. 

For the hundredth time that month he turned over this 
problem. There was no use in rushing into things ! He 
was very comfortably off, with an increasing income getting 
on for three thousand a year ; but his invested capital was 
not perhaps so large as his father believed — James had a 
tendency to expect that his children should be better off 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 63 

than they were. * I can manage eight thousand easily 
enough,' he thought, ' without calling in either Robertson's 
or NichoU's.' 

He had stopped to look in at a picture shop, for 5oames 
was an ' amateur ' of pictures, and had a little room in 
No. 62, Montpellier Square, full of canvases, stacked against 
the wall, which he had no room to hang. He brought 
them home with him on his way back from the City, 
generally after dark, and would enter this room on Sunday 
afternoons, to spend hours turning the pictures to the light, 
examining the marks on their backs, and occasionally making 
notes. 

They were nearly all landscapes with figures in the 
foreground, a sign of scone mysterious revolt against London, 
its tall houses, its interminable streets, where his life and 
the lives of his breed and class were passed. Every now 
and then he would take one or two pictures away with 
him in a cab, and stop at Jobson's on his way into the 
City. 

He rarely showed them to anyone ; Irene, whose opinion 
he secretly respected and perhaps for that reason never 
solicited, had only been into the room on rare occasions, 
in discharge of some wifely duty. She was not asked to 
look at the pictures, and she never did. To Soames this 
was another grievance. He hated that pride of hers, and 
secretly dreaded it. 

In the plate-glass window of the picture shop his image 
stood and looked at him. 

His sleek hair under the brim of the tall hat had a sheen 
like the hat itself; his cheeks, pale and flat, the line of his 
clean-shaven lips, his firm chin with its grayish shaven tinge, 
and the buttoned strictness of his black cut-away coat, 
conveyed an appearance of reserve and secrecy, of imperturb- 
able, enforced composure ; but his eyes, cold, gray, strained- 



64 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

looking, with a line in the brow between them, examined 
him wistfully, as if they knew of a secret weakness. 

He noted the subjects of the pictures, the names of the 
painters, made a calculation of their values, but without the 
satisfaction he usually derived from this inward appraisement, 
and walked on. 

No. 62 would do well enough for another year, if he 
decided to build ! The times were good for building, money 
had not been so dear for years ; and the site he had seen at 
Robin Hill, when he had gone down there in the spring 
to inspect the Nicholl mortgage — what could be better ! 
Within twelve miles of Hyde Park Corner, the value of the 
land certain to go up, would always fetch more than he gave 
for it ; so that a house, if built in really good style, was a 
first-class investment. 

The notion of being the one member of his family with a 
country house weighed but little with him ; for to a true 
Forsyte, sentiment, even the sentiment of social position, was 
a luxury only to be' indulged in after his appetite for more 
material pleasure had been satisfied. 

To get Irene out of London, away from opportunities 
of going about and seeing people, away from her friends 
and those who put ideas into her head ! That was the 
thing ! She was too thick with June 1 June disliked 
him. He returned the sentiment. They were of the same 
blood. 

It would be everything to get Irene out of town. The 
house would please her, she would enjoy messing about with 
the decoration, she was very artistic ! 

The house must be in good style, something that would 
always be certain to command a price, something unique, 
like that last house of Parkes, which had a tower ; but Parkes 
had himself said that his architect was ruinous. You never 
knew where you were with those fellows j if they had a 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 65 

name they ran you into no end of expense and were conceited 
into the bargain. 

And a common architect was no good — the memory of 
Parkes' tower precluded the employment of a common 
architect. 

This was why he had thought of Bosinney. Since the 
dinner at Swithin's he had made enquiries, the result of 
which had been meagre, but encouraging : * One of the 
new school.' 

' Clever r' 

* As clever as you like, — a bit — a bit up in the air !"' 

He had not been able to discover what houses Bosinney 
had built, nor what his charges were. The impression he 
gathered was that he would be able to make his own terms. 
The more he reflected on the idea, the more he liked it. It 
would be keeping the thing in the family, with Forsytes 
almost an instinct ; and he would be able to get ' favoured- 
nation,' if not nominal terms — only fair, considering the 
chance to Bosinney of displaying his talents, for this house 
must be no common edifice. 

Soames reflected complacently on the work it would be 
sure to bring the young man ; for, like every Forsyte, he 
could be a thorough optimist when there was anything to be 
had out of it. 

Bosinney's office was in Sloane Street, close at hand, so 
that he would be able to keep his eye continually on the 
plans. 

Again, Irene would not be so likely to object to leave 
London if her greatest friend's lover were given the job. 
June's marriage might depend on it. Irene could not 
decently stand in the way of June's marriage; she would 
never do that, he knew her too well. And June would be 
pleased ; of this he saw the advantage. 

Bosinney looked clever, but he had also — and it was one 



66 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of his great attractions — an air as if he did not quite know 
on which side his bread were buttered ; he should be easy to 
deal with in money matters. Soames made this reflection 
in no defrauding spirit ; it was the natural attitude of his 
mind — of the mind of any good business man — of all those 
thousands of good business men through whom he was 
threading his way up Ludgate Hill. 

Thus he fulfilled the inscrutable laws of his great class — 
of human nature itself — when he reflected, with a sense of 
comfort, that Bosinney would be easy to deal with in money 
matters. 

While he elbowed his way on, his eyes, which he usually 
kept fixed on the ground before his feet, were attracted 
upwards by the dome of St. Paul's. It had a peculiar 
fascination for him, that old dome, and not once, but twice 
or three times a week, would he halt in his daily pilgrimage 
tio enter beneath and stop in the side aisles for five or ten 
minutes, scrutinizing the names and epitaphs on the monu- 
ments. The attraction for him of this great church was 
inexplicable, unless it enabled him to concentrate his 
thoughts on the business of the day. If any affair ol 
peculiar moment, or demanding peculiar acuteness, was 
weighing on his mind, he invariably went in, to wander 
v/ith mouse-like attention from epitaph to epitaph. Then 
retiring in the same noiseless way, he would hold steadily on 
up Cheapside, a thought more of dogged purpose in his gait, 
as though he had seen something which he had made up his 
mind to buy. 

He went in this morning, but, instead of stealing from 
monument to monument, turned his eyes upwards to the 
columns and spacings of the walls, and remained motionless. 

His uplifted face, with the awed and wistful look which 
faces take on themselves in church, was whitened to a chalky 
hue in the vast building. His gloved hands were clasped in 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 67 

front over the handle of his umbrella. He lifted them. 
Some sacred inspiration perhaps had come to him. 

' Yes,' he thought, ' I must have room, to hang my 
pictures.' 

That evening, on his return from the City, he called at 
Bosinney's office. He found the architect in his shirt-sleeves, 
smoking a pipe, and ruling off lines on a plan. Soames 
refused a drink, and came at once to the point. 

* If you've nothing better to do on Sunday, come down 
with me to Robin Hill, and give me your opinion on a 
building site.' 

' Are you going to build r' 

^ Perhaps,' said Soames ; ' but don't speak of it. I just 
want your opinion.' 

*■ Quite so,' said the architect. 
Soames peered about the room. 

* You're rather high up here,' he remarked. 

Any information he could gather about the nature and 
scope of Bosinney's business would be all to the good. 

' It does well enough for me so far,' answered the 
architect. * You're accustomed to the swells.' 

He knocked out his pipe, but replaced it empty between 
his teeth ; it assisted him perhaps to carry on the conversa- 
tion. Soames noted a hollow in each cheek, made as it were 
by suction. 

' What do you pay for an office like this ?' said he. 

* Fifty too much,' replied Bosinney. 
This answer impressed Soames favourably. 

* I suppose it is dear,' he said. ' I'll call for you on 
Sunday about eleven.' 

The following Sunday therefore he called for Bosinney in 
a hansom, and drove him to the station. On arriving at 
Robin Hill, they found no cab, and started to walk the mile 
and a half to the site. 



68 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

It was the ist of August — a perfect day, with a burning 
sun and cloudless sky — and in the straight, narrow road 
leading up the hill their feet kicked up a yellow dust. 

* Gravel soil,' remarked Soames, and sideways he glanced 
at the coat Bosinney wore. Into the side-pockets of this 
coat were thrust bundles of papers, and under one arm was 
carried a queer-looking stick. Soames noted these and other 
peculiarities. 

No one but a clever man, or, indeed, a buccaneer, would 
have taken such liberties with his appearance ; and though 
these eccentricities were revolting to Soames, he derived a 
certain satisfaction from them, as evidence of qualities by 
which he must inevitably profit. If the fellow could build 
houses, what did his clothes matter ? 

*I told you,' he said, 'that I want this house to be a 
surprise, so don't say anything about it. I never talk of my 
affairs until they're carried through.' 

Bosinney nodded. 

* Let women into your plans,' pursued Soames, * and you 
never know where it'll end.' 

'Ah !' said Bosinney, ' women are the devil 1' 

This feeling had long been at the bottom of Soames's 
heart ; he had never, however, put it into words. 

' Oh !' he muttered, ' so you're beginning to ' He 

stopped, but added, with an uncontrollable burst of spite : 
' June's got a temper of her own — always had.' 

' A temper's not a bad thing in an angel.' 

Soames had never called Irene an angel. He could not so 
have violated his best instincts, letting other people into the 
secret of her value, and giving himself away. He made no 
reply. 

They had struck into a half-made road across a warren. 
A cart-track led at right-angles to a gravel pit, beyond which 
the chimneys of a cottage rose amongst a clump of trees at 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 69 

the border of a thick wood. Tussocks of feathery grass 
covered the rough surface of the ground, and out of these 
the larks soared into the haze of sunshine. On the far 
horizon, over a countless succession of fields and hedges, 
rose a line of downs. 

Soames led till they had crossed to the far side, and there 
he stopped. It was the chosen site ; but now that he was 
about to divulge the spot to another he had become uneasy. 

' The agent lives in that cottage,' he said ; * he'll give us 
some lunch — we'd better have lunch before we go into this 
matter.' 

He again took the lead to the cottage, where the agent, a 
tall man named Oliver, with a heavy face and grizzled beard, 
welcomed them. During lunch, which Soames hardly 
touched, he kept looking at Bosinney, and once or twice 
passed his silk handkerchief stealthily over his forehead. 
The meal came to an end at last, and Bosinney rose. 

* I dare say you've got business to talk over,' he said ; ' I'll 
just go and nose about a bit.' Without waiting for a reply 
he strolled out. 

Soames was solicitor to this estate, and he spent nearly an 
hour in the agent's company, looking at ground-plans and 
discussing the Nicholl and other mortgages ; it was as it 
were by an afterthought that he brought up the question of 
the building site. 

' Your people,' he said, * ought to come down in their price 
to me^ considering that I shall be the first to build.' 

Oliver shook his head. 

' The site you've fixed on, sir,' he said, * is the cheapest 
we've got. Sites at the top of the slope are dearer by a 
good bit.' 

' Mind,' said Soames, ' I've not decided ; ' it's quite 
possible I shan't build at all. The ground-rent's very high.' 

* Well, Mr. Forsyte, I shall be sorry if you go oft, and I 



70 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

think you'll make a mistake, sir. There's not a bit of land 
near London with such a view as this, nor one that's cheaper, 
all things considered ; we've only to advertise, to get a mob 
of people after it.' 

They looked at each other. Their faces said very plainly : 
* I respect you as a man of business ; and you can't expect 
me to believe a word you say.' 

' Well,' repeated Soames, * I haven't made up my mind ; 
the thing will very likely go oflF!' With these words, taking 
up his umbrella, he put his chilly hand into the agent's, 
withdrew it without the faintest pressure, and went out into 
the sun. 

He walked slowly back towards the site in deep thought. 
His instinct told him that what the agent had said was true. 
A cheap site. And the beauty of it was, that he knew the 
agent did not really think it cheap ; so that his own intuitive 
knowledge was a victory over the agent's. 

' Cheap or not, I mean to have it,' he thought. 

The larks sprang up in front of his feet, the air was full of 
butterflies, a sweet fragrance rose from the wild grasses. The 
sappy scent of the bracken stole forth from the wood, 
where, hidden in the depths, pigeons were cooing, and from 
afar on the warm breeze came the rhythmic chiming of church 
bells. 

Soames walked with his eyes on the ground, his lips open- 
ing and closing as though in anticipation of a delicious 
morsel. But when he arrived at the site, Bosinney was 
nowhere to be seen. After waiting some little time, he 
crossed the warren in the direction of the slope. He would 
have shouted, but dreaded the sound of his voice. 

The warren was as lonely as a prairie, its silence only 
broken by the rustle of rabbits bolting to their holes, and 
the song of the larks. 

Soames, the pioneer-leader of the great Forsyte army 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 71 

advancing to the civilization of this wilderness, felt his spirit 
daunted by the loneliness, by the invisible singing, and the 
hot, sweet air. He had begun to retrace his steps when he 
at last caught sight of Bosinney. 

The architect was sprawling under a large oak tree, whose 
trunk, with a huge spread of bough and foliage, ragged with 
age, stood on the verge of the rise. 

Soames had to touch him on the shoulder before he 
looked up. 

^ Hallo ! Forsyte,' he said, * I've found the very place for 
your house ! Look here !' 

Soames stood and looked, then he said, coldly : 

' You may be very clever, but this site will cost me half 
as much again.' 

* Hang the cost, man. Look at the view !' 

Almost from their feet stretched ripe corn, dipping to a 
small dark copse beyond. A plain of fields and hedges 
spread to the distant gray-blue downs. In a silver streak to 
the right could be seen the line of the river. 

The sky was so blue, and the sun so bright, that an eternal 
summer seemed to reign ovefr this prospect. Thistledown 
floated round them, enraptured by the serenity of the ether. 
The heat danced over the corn, and, pervading all, was a 
soft, insensible hum, like the murmur of bright minutes 
holding revel between earth and heaven. 

Soames looked. In spite of himself, something swelled in 
his breast. To live here in sight of all this, to be able to 
point it out to his friends, to talk of it, to possess it ! His 
cheeks flushed. The warmth, the radiance, the glow, were 
sinking into his senses as, four years before, Irene's beauty 
had sunk into his senses and made him long for her. He 
stole a glance at Bosinney, whose eyes, the eyes of the coach- 
man's ' half-tame leopard,' seemed running wild over the 
landscape. The sunlight had caught the promontories of the 



72 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

fellow's face, the bumpy cheekbones, the point of his chin, 
the vertical ridges above his brow ; and Soames watched this 
ru2:2;ed, enthusiastic, careless face with an unpleasant feeling. 

A long, soft ripple of wind flowed over the corn, and 
brou2;ht a pufF of warm air into their faces. 

' I could build you a teaser here,' said Bosinney, breaking 
the silence at last. 

' I daresay,' replied Soames, drily. ' You haven't got to 
pay for it.' 

' For about eight thousand I could build you a palace.' 

Soames had become very pale — a struggle was going on 
within him. He dropped his eyes, and said stubbornly : 

* I can't afford it.' 

And slowly, with his mousing walk, he led the way back 
to the first site. 

They spent some time there going into particulars of the 
projected house, and then Soames returned to the agent's 
cottage. 

He came out in about half an hour, and, joining Bosinney, 
started for the station. 

* Well,' he said, hardly opening his lips, * Fve taken that 
site of yours, after all.' 

And again he was silent, confusedly debating how it was 
that this fellow, whom by habit he despised, should have 
overborne his own decision. 



CHAPTER V 

A FORSYTE MENAGE 

Like the enlightened thousands of his class and generation 
in this great city of London, who no longer believe in red 
velvet chairs, and know that groups of modern Italian marble 
are ^vieux jeu^' Soames Forsyte inhabited a house which did 
what it could. It owned a copper door knocker of indi- 
vidual design, windows which had been altered to open 
outwards, hanging flower boxes filled with fuchsias, and at 
the back (a great feature) a little court tiled with jade-green 
tiles, and surrounded by pink hydrangeas in peacock-blue 
tubs. Here, under a parchment-coloured Japanese sunshade 
covering the whole end, inhabitants or visitors could be 
screened from the eyes of the curious while they drank 
tea and examined at their leisure the latest of Soames's little 
silver boxes. 

The inner decoration favoured the First Empire and 
William Morris. For its size, the house was commodious ; 
there were countless nooks resembling birds* nests, and little 
things made of silver were deposited like eggs. 

In this general perfection two kinds of fastidiousness were 
at war. There lived here a mistress who would have dwelt 
daintily on a desert island ; a master whose daintiness was, 
as it were, an investment, cultivated by the owner for his 
advancement, in accordance with the laws of competition. 
This competitive daintiness had caused Soames in his Marl- 

73 



74 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

borough days to be the first boy into white waistcoats in 
summer, and corduroy waistcoats in winter, had prevented 
him from ever appearing in public with his tie climbing up 
his collar, and induced him to dust his patent leather boots 
before a great multitude assembled on Speech Day to hear 
him recite Moliere. 

Skin-like immaculateness had grown over Soames, as over 
many Londoners : impossible to conceive of him with a hair 
out of place, a tie deviating one-eighth of an inch from the 
perpendicular, a collar unglossed ! He would not have gone 
without a bath for worlds — it was the fashion to take baths ; 
and how bitter was his scorn of people who omitted them ! 

But Irene could be imagined, like some nymph, bathing 
in wayside streams, for the joy of the freshness and of seeing 
her own fair body. 

In this conflict throughout the house the woman had gone 
to the wall. As in the struggle between Saxon and Celt 
still going on within the nation, the more impressionable and 
receptive temperament had had forced on it a conventional 
superstructure. 

Thus the house had acquired a close resemblance to 
hundreds of other houses with the same high aspirations, 
having become : ' That very charming little house of the 
Soames Forsytes, quite individual, my dear — really elegant !' 

For Soames Forsyte — read James Peabody, Thomas Atkins, 
or Emmanuel Spagnoletti, the name in fact of any upper- 
middle class Englishman in London with any pretensions to 
taste J and though the decoration be different, the phrase is 
jus:. 

On the evening of August 8, a week after the expedition 
to Robin Hill, in the dining-room of this house — 'quite 
mdividual, my dear — really elegant !' — Soames and Irene 
were seated at dinner. A hot dinner on Sundays was a 
little distinguishing elegance common to this house and 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 75 

many others. Early in married life Soames had laid down 
the rule : ' The servants must give us hot dinner on Sundays 
— they've nothing to do but play the concertina.' 

The custom had produced no revolution. For — to Soames 
a rather deplorable sign — servants were devoted to Irene, 
who, in defiance of all safe tradition, appeared to recognise 
their right to a share in the weaknesses of human nature. 

The happy pair were seated, not opposite each other, but 
rectangularly, at the handsome rosewood table ; they dined 
without a cloth — a distinguishing elegance — and so far had 
not spoken a word. 

Soames liked to talk during dinner about business, or what 
he had been buying, and so long as he talked Irene's silence 
did not distress him. This evening he had found it impos- 
sible to talk. The decision to build had been weighing on 
his mind all the week, and he had made up his mind to 
tell her. 

His nervousness about this disclosure irritated him pro- 
foundly ; she had no business to make him feel like that — a 
wife and a husband being one person. She had not looked 
at him once since they sat down ; and he wondered what 
on earth she had been thinking about all the time. It was 
hard, when a man worked as he did, making money for her — 
yes, and with an ache in his heart — that she should sit there, 
looking — looking as if she saw the walls of the room closing 
in. It was enough to make a man get up and leave the 
table.. 

The light from the rose-shaded lamp fell on her neck and 
arms — Soames liked her to dine in a low dress, it gave him 
an inexpressible feeling of superiority to the majority of 
his acquaintance, whose wives were contented with their 
best high frocks or with tea-gowns, when they dined at home. 
Under that rosy light her amber-coloured hair and fair skin 
made strange contrast with her dark brown eyes. 



76 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Could a man own anything prettier than this dining-table 
with its deep tints, the starry, soft-petalled roses, the ruby- 
coloured glass, and quaint silver furnishing ; could a man own 
anything prettier than the woman who sat at it ? Gratitude 
was no virtue among Forsytes, who, competitive, and full of 
common-sense, had no occasion for it ; and Soames only 
experienced a sense of exasperation amounting to pain, that 
he did not own her as it was his right to own her, that he 
could not, as by stretching out his hand to that rose, pluck 
her and snifF the very secrets of her heart. 

Out of his other property, out of all the things he had 
collected, his silver, his pictures, his houses, his investments, 
he got a secret and intimate feeling ; out of her he got none. 

In this house of his there was writing on every wall. His 
business-like temperament protested against a mysterious 
warning that she was not made for him. He had married 
this woman, conquered her, made her his own, and it seemed 
to him contrary to the most fundamental of all laws, the law 
of possession, that he could do no more than own her body — 
if indeed he could do that, which he was beginning to doubt. 
If any one had asked him if he wanted to own her soul, the 
question would have seemed to him both ridiculous and senti- 
mental. But he did so want, and the writing said he never 
would. 

She was ever silent, passive, gracefully averse ; as though 
terrified lest by word, motion, or sign she might lead him to 
believe that she was fond of him ; and he asked himself : 
Must I always go on like this? 

Like most novel readers of his generation (and Soames was 
a great novel reader), literature coloured his view of life ; and 
he had imbibed the belief that it was only a question of time. 
In the end the husband always gained the aflFection of his 
wife. Even in those cases — a class of book he was not very 
fond of — which ended in tragedy, the wife always died with 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 77 

poignant regrets on her lips, or if it were the husband who 
died — unpleasant thought — threw herself on his body in an 
agony of remorse. 

He often took Irene to the theatre, instinctively choosing 
the modern Society plays with the modern Society conjugal 
problem, so fortunately different from any conjugal problem 
in real life. He found that they too always ended in the 
same way, even when there was a lover in the case. While 
he was watching the play Soames often sympathized with 
the lover ; but before he reached home again, driving with 
Irene in a hansom, he saw that this would not do, and he 
was glad the play had ended as it had. There was one class 
of husband that had just then come into fashion, the strong, 
rather rough, but extremely sound man, who was peculiarly 
successful at the end of the play ; with this person Soames 
was really not in sympathy, and had it not been for his own 
position, would have expressed his disgust with the fellow. 
But he was so conscious of how vital to himself was the 
necessity for being a successful, even a Strong,* husband, 
that he never spoke of a distaste born perhaps by the 
perverse processes of Nature out of a secret fund of brutality 
in himself. 

But Irene's silence this evening was exceptional. He 
had never before seen such an expression on her face. And 
since it is always the unusual which alarms, Soames was 
alarmed. He ate his savoury, and hurried the maid as she 
swept off the crumbs with the silver sweeper. When she 
had left the room, he filled his glass with wine and said : 

^ Anybody been here this afternoon ?* 

' June.' 

* What did she want ?' It was an axiom with the Forsytes 
that people did not go anywhere unless they wanted some- 
thing. * Came to talk about her lover, I suppose ?' 

Irene made no reply. 



78 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* It looks to me,' continued Soames, ' as if she were 
sweeter on him than he is on her. She's always following 
him about.' 

Irene's eyes made him feel uncomfortable. 

* You're no business to say such a thing !' she exclaimed. 

* Why not ? Anybody can see it.' 

'They cannot. And if they could, it's disgraceful to 
say so.' 

Soames's composure gave way. 

* You're a pretty wife !' he said. But secretly he won- 
dered at the heat of her reply ; it was unlike her. ' You're 
cracked about June ! I can tell you one thing : now that 
she has the Buccaneer in tow, she doesn't care twopence 
about you, and you'll find it out. But you won't see so 
much of her in future ; we're going to live in the country.' 

He had been glad to get his news out under cover of this 
burst of irritation. He had expected a cry of dismay ; the 
silence with which his pronouncement was received alarmed 
him. 

' You don't seem interested,' he was obliged to add. 

' I knew it already.' 

He looked at her sharply. 

' Who told you ?' 

* June.' 

' How did she know ?* 

Irene did not answer. Baffled and uncomfortable, he said : 
*It's a fine thing for Bosinney; it'll be the making of 
him. I suppose she's told you all about it r' 
*Yes.' 
There was another pause, and then Soames said : 

* I suppose you don't want to go ?' 
Irene made no reply. 

* Well, I can't tell what you want. You never seem 
contented here.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 79 

* Have my wishes anything to do with it ?' 

She took the vase of roses and left the room. Soames 
remained seated. Was it for this that he had signed that 
contract r Was it for this that he was going to spend some 
ten thousand pounds ? Bosinney's phrase came back to him : 
* Women are the devil !' 

But presently he grew calmer. It might have been 
worse. She might have flared up. He had expected some- 
thing more than this. It was lucky, after all, that June had 
broken the ice for him. She must have wormed it out of 
Bosinney ; he might have known she would. 

He lighted his cigarette. After all, Irene had not made a 
scene ! She would come round — that was the best of her ; 
she was cold, but not sulky. And, puffing the cigarette 
smoke at a lady-bird on the shining table, he plunged into a 
reverie about the house. It was no good worrying ; he would 
go and make it up presently. She would be sitting out there 
in the dark, under the Japanese sunshade, knitting. A 
beautiful, warm night. . . . 

In truth, June had come in that afternoon with shining 
eyes, and the words : * Soames is a brick ! It's splendid for 
Phil — the very thing for him !' 

Irene's face remaining dark and puzzled, she went on : 

' Your new house at Robin Kill, of course. What : 
Don't you know :' 

Irene did no: know. 

* Oh ! then, I suppose I oughtn't to have told you !' 
Looking impatiently at her friend, she cried : ' You look as 
if you didn't care. Don't you see, it's what I've been pray- 
ing for — the very chance he's been wanting all this time. 
Now you'll see what he can do ;' and thereupon she poured 
out the whole story. 

Since her own engagement she had not seemed much 
interested in her friend's position ; the hours she spent with 



8o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Irene were given to confidences of her own ; and at times^ 
for all her affectionate pity, it was impossible to keep out of 
her smile a trace of compassionate contempt for the woman 
who had made such a mistake in her life — such a vast, 
ridiculous mistake. 

* He's to have all the decorations as well — a free hand. 

It's perfect ' June broke into laughter, her little figure 

quivered gleefully ; she raised her hand, and struck a blow at 
a muslin curtain. * Do you know I even asked Uncle 

James ' But, with a sudden dislike to mentioning that 

incident, she stopped ; and presently, finding her friend so 
unresponsive, went away. She looked back from the pave- 
ment, and Irene was still standing in the doorway. In 
response to her farewell wave, Irene put her hand to her 
brow, and, turning slowly, shut the door. . . . 

Soames went to the drawing-room presently, and peered 
at her through the window. 

Out in the shadow of the Japanese sunshade she was sitting 
very still, the lace on her white shoulders stirring with the 
soft rise and fall of her bosom. 

But about this silent creature sitting there so motionless, 
in the dark, there seemed a warmth, a hidden fervour 
of feeling, as if the whole of her being had been stirred, 
and some change were taking place in its very depths. 

He stole back to the dining-room unnoticed. 



CHAPTER VI 

JAMES AT LARGE 

It was not long before Soames's determination to build went 
the round of the family, and created the flutter that any 
decision connected with property should make among 
Forsytes. 

It was not his fault, for he had been determined that no 
one should know. June, in the fulness of her heart, had 
told Mrs. Small, giving her leave only to tell Aunt Ann — 
she thought it would cheer her, the poor old sweet ! for Aunt 
Ann had kept her room now for many days. 

Mrs. Small told Aunt Ann at once, who, smiling as she 
lay back on her pillows, said in her distinct, trembling old 
voice : 

*It's very nice for dear June; but I hope they will be 
careful — it's rather dangerous !' 

When she was left alone again, a frown, like a cloud 
presaging a rainy morrow, crossed her face. 

While she was lying there so many days the process of 
recharging her will went on all the time ; it spread to her 
face, too, and tightening movements were always in action 
at the corners of her lips. 

The maid Smither, who had been in her service since 
girlhood, and was spoken of as * Smither — a good girl — 
but so slow !* — the maid Smither performed every morning 
with extreme punctiliousness the crowning ceremony of that 

8i 4 



82 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

ancient toilet. Taking from the recesses of their pure white 
band-box those flat, gray curls, the insignia of personal 
dignity, she placed them securely in her mistress's hands, and 
turned her back. 

And every day Aunts Juley and Hester were required to 
come and report on Timothy; what news there was of 
Nicholas ; whether dear June had succeeded in getting Jolyon 
to shorten the engagement, now that Mr. Bosinney was build- 
ing Soames a house ; whether young Roger's wife was really 
— expecting ; how the operation on Archie had succeeded ; 
and what Swithin had done about that empty house in Wig- 
more Street, where the tenant had lost all his money and 
treated him so badly ; above ail, about Soames ; was Irene 
still — still asking for a separate room ? And every morning 
Smither was told : * I shall be coming down this afternoon, 
Smither, about two o'clock. I shall want vour arm, after 
all these days in bed !' 

After telling Aunt Ann, Mrs. Small had spoken of the 
house in the strictest confidence to Mrs. Nicholas, who in 
her turn had asked Winifred Dartie for confirmation, sup- 
posing, of course, that, being Soames's sister, she would know 
all about it. Through her it had in due course come round 
to the ears of James. He had been a good deal agitated. 

* Nobody,' he said, * told him anything.' And, rather 
than go direct to Soames himself, of whose taciturnity he 
was afraid, he took his umbrella and went round to 
Timothy's. 

He found Mrs. Septimus and Hester (who had been told 
— she was so safe, she found it tiring to talk) ready, and indeed 
eager, to discuss the news. It was very good of dear Soames, 
they thought, to employ Mr. Bosinney, but rather risky. 
What had George named him ? ' The Buccaneer !' How 
droll ! But George was always droll ! However, it would 
be all in the family — they supposed they must really look 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 83 

upon Mr. Bosinney as belonging to the family, though it 
seemed strange. 

James here broke in : 

* Nobody knows anything about him. I don't see what 
Soames wants with a young man like that. I shouldn't be 
surprised if Irene had put her oar in. I shall speak to ' 

* Soames/ interposed Aunt Juley, * teld Mr. Bosinney that 
he didn't wish it mentioned. He wouldn't like it to be 
talked about, I'm sure, and if Timothy knew he would be 
rery vexed, I ' 

James put his hand behind his ear : 

* What ?' he said. ' I'm getting very deaf. I suppose I 
don't hear people. Emily's got a bad toe. We shan't be 
able to start for Wales till the end of the month. There's 
always something !' And, having got what he wanted, he 
took his hat and went away. 

It was a fine afternoon, and he walked across the Park 
towards Soames's, where he intended to dine, for Emily's toe 
kept her in bed, and Rachel and Cicely were on a visit in the 
country. He took the slanting path from the Bayswater 
side of the Row to the Knightsbridge Gate, across a pasture 
of short, burnt grass, dotted with blackened sheep, strewn 
with seated couples and strange waifs lying prone on their 
faces, like corpses on a field over which the wave of battle 
has rolled. 

He walked rapidly, his head bent, looking neither to the 
right nor left. The appearance of this park, the centre of 
his own battle-field, where he had all his life been fighting, 
excited no thought or speculation in his mind. These 
corpses flung down there from out the press and turmoil of 
the struggle, these pairs of lovers sitting cheek by jowl for 
an hour of idle Elysium snatched from the monotony of 
their treadmill, awakened no fancies in his mind ; he had 
outlived that kind of imagination ; his nose, like the nose 



g4 THE FORSYTE S.\GA 

of a sheep, was fastened to the pastures on which he 
browsed. 

One of his tenants had lately shown a disposition to be 
behind-hand in his rent, and it had become a grave question 
whether he had not better turn him out at once, and so run 
th€ risk of not rc-letr!ng before Christmas. Swithin had just 
been let in verv badly, but it had ser.ed him right — he had 
held on too long. 

He pondered this as he walked steadily, holding his 
umbrella carefuUv bv the wood, just below the crook of 
the handle, so as to keep the ferule off the ground, and not 
fray the silk in the middle. And, with his thin, high 
shoulders stooped, his long legs moving with swift mechani- 
cal precision, this passage through the Park, where the sim 
shone with a clear fiame on so much idleness — on so many 
human evidences of the remorseless battle of Property raging 
beyond its rin^ — was like the flight of some land bird across 
the sea. 

He felt a touch on tiie arm as he came out at Albert Gate. 
It was Soames, who, crossing from the shady side of Picca- 
dilly, where he had been walking home from the o-r.ce, had 
suddenly appeared alongside. 

* Your mother's in bed,' said James ; * I was just coming 
to you, but I suppose I shall be in the way.' 

The outward relations between James and his son were 
marked by a lack of sentiment peculiarly Forsytean, but for 
all that the tw^o were by no means unattached. Perhaps 
they regarded one another as an investment ; certainly they 
were solicitous of each other's welfare, glad of each other's 
company. Thev had never exchanged two words upon the 
more intimate problems of life, or revealed in each other's 
presence the existence of any deep feeling. 

Something bevond the power of word-analysis bound them 
together, something hidden deep in the fibre of nations and 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY S5 

families — for blood, they sav, is thicker than water — and 
neither of them was a cold-blooded man. Indeed, in James 
love of his children was now the prime morive of his exist- 
ence. To have creatures who were parts of himself, to 
whom he might transmit the money he saved, was at the 
root of his saving ; and, at seventy-five, what was left that 
could give him pleasure, but — saving ? The kernel of life 
was in this saving for his children. 

Than James Forsyte, notwithstanding ail his* Jonah-isms," 
there was no saner man (if the leading symptom of sanity, as we 
are told, is self-preservation, though without doubt Timothy 
went too far) in all this London, of which he owned so 
much, and loved with such a dumb love, as the centre of his 
opportunities. He had the marvellous instinctive sanity of 
the middle class. In him — more than in Jolyon, with his 
masterful will and his moments of tenderness and philosophy 
— more than in Swithin, the martyr to crankiness — Nicholas, 
the suflFerer firom ability — and Roger, the victim of enterprise 
— beat the true pulse of compromise ; of all the brothers he 
was least remarkable in mind and person, and for that reason 
more likeiv to live for ever. 

To James, more than to anv of the others, was * the 
family ' significant and dear. There had always been some- 
thing primitive and cosy in his attitude towards life ; he 
loved the family hearth, he loved gossip, and he loved 
grumbling. All his decisions were formed of a cream which 
he skimmed oflF the family mind ; and, through that family, 
oflF the minds of thousands of other families of similar fibre. 
Year after year, week after week, he went to Timothy's, 
and in his brother's front drawing-room — his legs twisted, his 
long white whiskers framing his clean-shaven mouth — would 
sit watching the family pot siimner, the cream rising to the 
top ; and he would go away sheltered, refreshed, conatorted, 
with an indefinable sense of comfort. 



86 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Beneath the adamant of his self-preserving instinct there 
was much real softness in James ; a visit to Timothy's was 
like an hour spent in the lap of a mother ; and the deep 
craving he himself had for the protection of the family wing 
reacted in turn on his feelings towards his own children ; it 
was a nightmare to him to think of them exposed to the 
treatment of the world, in money, health, or reputation. 
When his old friend John Street's son volunteered for special 
service, he shook his head querulously, and wondered what 
John Street was about to allow it ; and when young Street 
was assagaied, he took it so much to heart that he made a 
point of calling everywhere with the special object of saying, 
* He knew how it would be — he'd no patience with them !' 

When his son-in-law Dartie had that financial crisis, due 
to speculation in Oil Shares, James made himself ill worry- 
ing over it ; the knell of all prosperity seemed to have 
sounded. It took him three months and a visit to Baden- 
Baden to get better ; there was something terrible in the 
idea that but for his, James's, money, Dartie's name might 
have appeared in the Bankruptcy List. 

Composed of a physiological mixture so sound that if had 
an earache he thought he was dying, he regarded the occa- 
sional ailments of his wife and children as in the nature ot 
personal grievances, special interventions of Providence for 
the purpose of destroying his peace of mind ; but he did not 
believe at all in the ailments of people outside his own 
immediate family, affirming them in every case to be due to 
neglected liver. 

His universal comment was : * What can they expect ? 1 
have it myself, if I'm not careful !' 

When he went to Soames's that evening he felt that life 
was hard on him : There was Emily with a bad toe, and 
Rachel gadding about in the country ; he got no sympathy 
from anybody ; and Ann, she was ill — he did not believe 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 87 

she would last through the summer ; he had called there three 
times now without her being able to see him ! And this 
idea of Soames's, building a house, that would have to be 
looked into. As to the trouble with Irene, he didn't know 
what was to come of that — anything might come of it ! 

He entered 62, Montpellier Square with the fullest inten- 
tions of being miserable. 

It was already half-past seven, and Irene, dressed for 
dinner, was seated in the drawing-room. She was wearing 
her gold-coloured frock — for, having been displayed at a 
dinner-party, a soiree, and a dance, it was now to be worn 
at home — and she had adorned the bosom with a cascade of 
lace, on which James's eyes riveted themselves at once. 

* Where do you get your things r' he said in an aggravated 
voice. 'I never see Rachel and Cicely looking half so 
well. That rose-point, now — that's not real !' 

Irene came close, to prove to him that he was in error. 

And, in spite of himself, James felt the influence of her 
deference, of the faint seductive perfume exhaling from her. 
No self-respecting Forsyte surrendered at a blow ; so he 
merely said : He didn't know — he expected she was spending 
a pretty penny on dress. 

The gong sounded, and, putting her white arm within 
his, Irene took him into the dining-room. She seated him 
in Soames's usual place, round the corner on her left. The 
light fell softly there, so that he would not be worried by 
the gradual dying of the day ; and she began to talk to him 
about himself. 

Presently, over James came a change, like the mellowing 
that steals upon a fruit in the sun ; a sense of being caressed, 
and praised, and petted, and all without the bestowal of a 
single caress or word of praise. He felt that what he was 
eating was agreeing with him ; he could not get that feeling 
at home ; he did not know when he had enjoyed a glass of 



83 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

champagne so much, and, on inquiring the brand and price, 
was surprised to find that it was one of which he had a large 
stock himself, but could never drink ; he instantly formed 
the resolution to let his wine merchant know that he had 
been swindled. 

Looking up from his food, he remarked : 

* You've a lot of nice things about the place. Now, 
what did you give for that sugar-sifter ? Shouldn't wonder 
if it was worth money !* 

He was particularly pleased with the appearance of a 
picture on the wail opposite, which he himself had given them : 

' Vd no idea it was so good !' he said. 

They rose to go into the drawing-room, and James 
followed Irene closely. 

* That's what I call a capital little dinner,' he murmured, 
breathing pleasantly down on her shoulder ; 'nothing heavy — 
and not too Frenchified. But / can't get it at home. I pay 
my cook sixty pounds a year, but she can't give me a dinner 
like that !' 

He had as yet made no allusion to the building of the 
house, nor did he when Soames, pleading the excuse of 
business, betook himself to the room at the top, where he 
kept his pictures. 

James was left alone with his daughter-in-law. The 
glow of the wine, and of an excellent liqueur, was still 
within him. He felt quite warm towards her. She was 
really a taking little thing ; she listened to you, and seemed 
to understand what you were saying ; and, while talking, he 
kept examining her figure, from her bronze-coloured shoes to 
the waved gold of her hair. She was leaning back in an 
Empire chair, her shoulders poised against the top — her body, 
flexibly straight and unsupported from the hips, swaying 
when she moved, as though giving to the arms of a lover. 
Her hps were smiling, her eyes half-closed. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 89 

It may have been a recognition of danger in the very- 
charm of her attitude, or a tw^ang of digestion, that caused 
a sudden dumbness to fall on James. He did not remember 
ever having been quite alone with Irene before. And, as he 
looked at her, an odd feeling crept over him, as though he 
had come across something strange and foreign. 

Now what was she thinking about — sitting back like that ? 

Thus when he spoke it was in a sharper voice, as if he 
had been awakened from a pleasant dream. 

' What d'you do with yourself all day ?' he said. * You 
never come round to Park Lane !' 

She seemed to be making very lame excuses, and James 
did not look at her. He did not want to believe that she 
was really avoiding them — it would mean too much. 

' I expect the fact is, you haven't time,' he said ; ' you're 
always about with June. I expect you're useful to her with 
her young man, chaperoning, and one thing and another. 
They tell me she's never at home now ; your Uncle Jolyon 
he doesn't like it, I fancy, being left so much alone as he is. 
They tell me she's always hanging about for this young 
Bosinney ; I suppose he comes here every day. Now, what 
do you think of him ? D'you think he knows his own 
mind ? He seems to me a poor thing. I should say the 
gray mare was the better horse !' 

The colour deepened in Irene's face ; and James watched 
her suspiciously. 

* Perhaps you don't quite understand Mr. Bosinney,' she said. 

* Don't understand him !' James hurried out : ' Why 
not ? — you can see he's one of these artistic chaps. They 
say he's clever — they all think they're clever. You know 
more about him than I do,' he added ; and again his 
suspicious glance rested on her. 

* He is designing a house for Soames,' she said softly, 
evidently trying to smooth things over. 

4* 



90 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

*That brings me to what I was going to say,' continued 
James ; * I don't know what Soames wants with a young 
man like that ; why doesn't he go to a first-rate man ?' 

* Perhaps Mr. Bosinney is first-rate !' 
James rose, and took a turn with bent head. 

* That's it,' he said, ' you young people, you all stick to- 
gether ; you all think you know best !' 

Halting his tall, lank figure before her, he raised a finger, 
and levelled it at her bosom, as though bringing an indictment 
against her beauty : 

* All I can say is, these artistic people, or whatever they 
call themselves, they're as unreliable as they can be ; and 
my advice to you is, don't you have too much to do with him !' 

Irene smiled ; and in the curve of her lips was a strange 
provocation. She seemed to have lost her deference. Her 
breast rose and fell as though with secret anger ; she drew 
her hands inwards from their rest on the arms of her chair 
until the tips of her fingers met, and her dark eyes looked 
unfathomably at James. 

The latter gloomily scrutinized the floor. 

* I tell you my opinion,' he said, ' it's a pity you haven't 
got a child to think about, and occupy you !' 

A brooding look came instantly on Irene's face, and even 
James became conscious of the rigidity that took possession 
of her whole figure beneath the softness of its silk and lace 
clothing. 

He was frightened by the effect he had produced, and, like 
most men with but little courage, he sought at once to 
justify himself by bullying. 

* You don't seem to care about going about. Why don't 
you drive down to Hurlingham with us? And go to the 
theatre now and then. At your time of life you ought to 
take an interest in things. You're a young woman !' 

The brooding look darkened on her face ; he grew nervous. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 91 

* Well, I know nothing about it,' he said ; 'nobody tells 
me anything. Soames ought to be able to take care of him- 
self. If he can't take care of himself he mustn't look to me — 
that's all ' 

Biting the corner of his forefinger he stole a cold, sharp 
look at his daughter-in-law. 

He encountered her eyes fixed on his own, so dark and 
deep, that he stopped, and broke into a gentle perspiration. 

' Well, I must be going,' he said after a short pause, and a 
minute later rose, with a slight appearance of surprise, as 
though he had expected to be asked to stop. Giving his 
hand to Irene, he allowed himself to be conducted to the 
door, and let out into the street. He would not have a cab, 
he would walk, Irene was to say good-night to Soames for 
him, and if she wanted a little gaiety, well, he would drive 
her down to Richmond any day. 

He walked home, and going upstairs, woke Emily out of 
the first sleep she had had for four and twenty hours, to tell 
her that it was his impression things were in a bad way at 
Soames' ; on this theme he descanted for half an hour, 
until at last, saying that he would not sleep a wink, he turned 
on his side and instantly began to snore. 

In Montpellier Square Soames, who had come from the 
picture room, stood invisible at the top of the stairs, watching 
Irene sort the letters brought by the last post. She turned 
back into the drawing-room ; but in a minute came out, and 
stood as if listening. Then she came stealing up the stairs, 
with a kitten in her arms. He could see her face bent over 
the little beast, which was purring against her neck. Why 
couldn't she look at him like that ? 

Suddenly she saw him, and her face changed. 

' Any letters for me ?' he said. 

'Three.' 

He stood aside, and without another word she passed on 
into the bedroom. 



CHAPTER VII 

OLD jolyon's peccadillo 

Old Jolyon came out of Lord's cricket ground that same 
afternoon with the intention of going home. He had not 
reached Hamilton Terrace before he changed his mind, and 
hailing a cab, gave the driver an address in Wistaria Avenue. 
He had taken a resolution. 

June had hardly been at home at all that week ; she had 
given him nothing of her company for a long time past, not, 
in fact, since she had become engaged to Bosinney. He 
never asked her for her company. It was not his habit to 
ask people for things ! She had just that one idea now — 
Bosinney and his affairs — and she left him stranded in his 
great house, with a parcel of servants, and not a soul to 
speak to from morning to night. His Club was closed for 
cleaning ; his Boards in recess ; there was nothing, there- 
fore, to take him into the City. June had wanted him to 
go away j she would not go herself, because Bosinney was in 
London. 

But where was he to go by himself? He could not go 
abroad alone ; the sea upset his liver ; he hated hotels. 
Roger went to a hydropathic — he was not going to begin 
that at his time of life, those new-fangled places were all 
humbug ! 

With such formulas he clothed to himself the desolation of 
his spirit ; the lines down his face deepening, his eyes day by 

9a 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 93 

day looking forth with the melancholy that sat so strangely 
on a face that was wont to be strong and serene. 

And so that afternoon he took this journey through St. 
John's Wood, in the golden light that sprinkled the rounded 
green bushes of the acacias before the little houses, in the 
summer sunshine that seemed holding a revel over the little 
gardens ; and he looked about him with interest ; for this 
was a district which no Forsyte entered without open dis- 
approval and secret curiosity. 

His cab stopped in front of a small house of that peculiar 
buff colour which implies a long immunity from paint. It 
had an outer gate, and a rustic approach. 

He stepped out, his bearing extremely composed ; his 
massive head, with its drooping moustache and wings of 
white hair, very upright, under an excessively large top 
hat ; his glance firm, a little angry. He had been driven 
into this ! 

' Mrs. Jolyon Forsyte at home ?' 

' Oh, yes, sir ! — what name shall I say, if you please, sir ?* 

Old Jolyon could not help twinkling at the little maid as 
he gave his name. She seemed to him such a funny little 
toad ! 

And he followed her through the dark hall, into a small 
double drawing-room, where the furniture was covered in 
chintz, and the little maid placed him in a chair. 

' They're all in the garden, sir ; if you'll kindly take a seat, 
I'll tell them.' 

Old Jolyon sat down in the chintz-covered chair, and 
looked around him. The whole place seemed to him, as he 
would have expressed it, pokey ; there was a certain — he 
could not tell exactly what — air of shabbiness, or rather of 
making two ends meet, about everything. As far as he 
could see, not a single piece of furniture was worth a five- 
pound note. The walls, distempered rather a long time ago, 



94 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

were decorated with water-colour sketches ; across the ceih'ng 
meandered a long crack. 

These little houses were all old, second-rate concerns ; he 
should hope the rent was under a hundred a year ; it hurt 
him more than he could have said, to think of a Forsyte — 
his own son — living in such a place. 

The little maid came back. Would he please to go down 
into the garden ? 

Old Jolyon marched out through the French windows. 
In descending the steps he noticed that they wanted 
painting. 

Young Jolyon, his wife, his two children, and his dog 
Balthasar, were all out there under a pear-tree. 

This walk towards them was the most courageous act of 
old Jolyon's life ; but no muscle of his face moved, no 
nervous gesture betrayed him. He kept his deep-set eyes 
steadily on the enemy. 

In those two minutes he demonstrated to perfection all 
that unconscious soundness, balance, and vitality of fibre 
that made of him and so many others of his class the core of 
the nation. In the unostentatious conduct of their own 
affairs, to the neglect of everything else, they typified the 
essential individualism, born in the Briton from the natural 
isolation of his country's life. 

The dog Balthasar sniffed round the edges of his trousers ; 
this friendly and cynical mongrel — offspring of a liaison 
between a Russian poodle and a fox-terrier — had a nose for 
the unusual. 

The strange greetings over, old Jolyon seated himself in a 
wicker chair, and his two grandchildren, one on each side of 
his knees, looked at him silently, never having seen so old 
a man. 

They were unlike, as though recognising the difference 
set between them by the circumstances of their births. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 95 

Jolly, the child of sin, pudgy-faced, with his tow-coloured 
hair brushed off his forehead, and a dimple in his chin, had 
an air of stubborn amiability, and the eyes of a Forsyte ; 
little Holly, the child of wedlock, was a dark-skinned, 
solemn soul, with her mother's gray and wistful eyes. 

The dog Balthasar, having walked round the three small 
flower-beds, to show his extreme contempt for things at 
large, had also taken a seat in front of old Jolvon, and, 
oscillating a tail curled by Nature tightly over his back, was 
staring up with eyes that did not blink. 

Even in the garden, that sense of things being pokey 
haunted old Jolyon ; the wicker chair creaked under his 
weight ; the garden-beds looked ^ daverdy '; on the far side, 
under the smut-stained wall, cats had made a path. 

While he and his grandchildren thus regarded each other 
with the peculiar scrutiny, curious yet trustful, that passes 
between the very young and the very old, young Jolyon 
watched his wife. 

The colour had deepened in her thin, oval face, with its 
straight brows, and large, gray eyes. Her hair, brushed in 
fine, high curves back from her forehead, was going gray, 
like his own, and this grayness made the sudden vivid colour 
in her cheeks painfully pathetic. 

The look on her face, such as he had never seen there 
before, such as she had always hidden from him, was full 
of secret resentments, and longings, and fears. Her eyes, 
under their twitching brows, stared painfully. And she was 
silent. 

Jolly alone sustained the conversation ; he had many 
possessions, and was anxious that his unknown friend with 
extremely large moustaches, and hands all covered with blue 
veins, who sat with legs crossed like his own father (a habit 
he was himself trying to acquire), should know it ; but being 
a Forsyte, though not yet quite eight years old, he made no 



96 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

mention of the thing at the moment dearest to his heart — 
a camp of soldiers in a shop-window, which his father had 
promised to buy. No doubt it seemed to him too precious ; 
a tempting of Providence to mention it yet. 

And the sunlight played through the leaves on that little 
party of the three generations grouped tranquilly under the 
pear-tree, which had long borne no fruit. 

Old Jolyon's furrowed face was reddening patchily, as old 
men's faces redden in the sun. He took one of Jolly's hands 
in his own ; the boy climbed on to his knee ; and little 
Holly, mesmerized by this sight, crept up to them ; the 
sound of the dog Balthasar's scratching arose rhythmically. 

Suddenly young Mrs. Jolyon got up and hurried indoors. 
A minute later her husband muttered an excuse, and followed. 
Old Jolyon was left alone with his grandchildren. 

And Nature with her quaint irony began working in him 
one of her strange revolutions, following her cyclic laws into 
the depths of his heart. And that tenderness for little 
children, that passion for the beginnings of life which had 
once made him forsake his son and follow June, now 
worked in him to forsake June and follow these littler 
things. Youth, like a flame, burned ever in his breast, and 
to youth he turned, to the round little limbs, so reckless, 
that wanted care, to the small round faces so unreasonably 
solemn or bright, to the treble tongues, and the shrill, 
chuckling laughter, to the insistent tugging hands, and the 
feel of small bodies against his legs, to all that was young 
and young, and once more young. And his eyes grew soft, 
his voice, and thin, veined hands soft, and soft his heart 
within him. And to those small creatures he became at 
once a place of pleasure, a place where they were secure, 
and could talk and laugh and play ; till, like sunshine, there 
radiated from old Jolyon's wicker chair the perfect gaiety 
of three hearts. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 97 

But with young Jolyon following to his wife's room it 
was different. 

He found her seated on a chair before her dressing-glass, 
with her hands before her face. 

Her shoulders were shaking with sobs. This passion of 
hers for suffering was mysterious to him. He had been 
through a hundred of these moods ; how he had survived 
them he never knew, for he could never believe they were 
moods, and that the last hour of his partnership had not 
struck. 

In the night she would be sure to throw her arms round 
his neck, and say : ' Oh ! Jo, how I make you suffer !' as 
she had done a hundred times before. 

He reached out his hand, and, unseen, slipped his razor- 
case into his pocket. 

^ I can't stay here,' he thought, * I must go down !' With- 
out a word he left the room, and went back to the lawn. 

Old Jolyon had little Holly on his knee ; she had taken 
possession of his watch ; Jolly, very red in the face, was 
trying to show that he could stand on his head. The dog 
Balthasar, as close as might be to the tea-table, had fixed his 
eyes on the cake. 

Young Jolyon felt a malicious desire to cut their enjoyment 
short. 

What business had his father to come and upset his wife 
like this ? It was a shock, after all these years ! He ought 
to have known ; he ought to have given them warning ; but 
when did a Forsyte ever imagine that his conduct could 
upset anybody ! And in his thoughts he did old Jolyon 
wrong. 

He spoke sharply to the children, and told them to go in to 
their tea. Greatly surprised, for they had never heard their 
father speak sharply before, they went off, hand in hand, 
little Holly looking back over her shoulder. 



98 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Young Jolyon poured out the tea. 

^ My wife's not the thing to-day,' he said, but he knew 
well enough that his father had penetrated the cause of that 
sudden withdrawal, and almost hated the old man for sitting 
there so calmly. 

* You've got a nice little house here,' said old Jolyon with 
a shrewd look ; ' I suppose you've taken a lease of it !' 

Young Jolyon nodded. 

* I don't like the neighbourhood,' said old Jolyon ; ' a 
ramshackle lot.' 

Young Jolyon replied : ' Yes, we're a ramshackle lot.' 

The silence was now only broken by the sound of the dog 
Balthasar's scratching. 

Old Jolyon said simply : ' I suppose I oughtn't to have 
come here Jo ; but I get so lonely !' 

At these words young Jolyon got up and put his hand on 
his father's shoulder. 

In the next house someone was playing over and over 
again : ' La Donna ^ mobile ' on an untuned piano ; and the 
little garden had fallen into shade, the sun now only reached 
the wall at the end, whereon basked a crouching cat, her 
vellow eyes turned sleepily down on the dog Balthasar. 
There was a drowsy hum of very distant traffic ; the 
creepered trellis round the garden shut out everything but sky^ 
and house, and pear-tree, with its top branches still gilded by 
the sun. 

For some time they sat there, talking but little. Then 
old Jolyon rose to go, and not a word was said about his 
coming again. 

He walked away very sadly. What a poor miserable 
place ! And he thought of the great, empty house in 
Stanhope Gate, fit residence for a Forsyte, with its huge 
billiard-room and drawing-room that no one entered from 
one week's end to another. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 99 

That woman, whose face he had rather liked, was too 
thin-skinned by half ; she gave Jo a bad time he knew ! 
And those sweet children ! Ah ! what a piece of awful 
folly ! 

He walked towards the Edgware Road, between rows of 
little houses, all suggesting to him (erroneously no doubt, but 
the prejudices of a Forsyte are sacred) shady histories of some 
sort or kind. 

Society, forsooth, the chattering hags and jackanapes — 
had set themselves up to pass judgment on his flesh and blood ! 
A parcel of old women ! He stumped his umbrella on the 
ground, as though to drive it into the heart of that unfortu- 
nate body, which had dared to ostracize his son and his son's 
son, in whom he could have lived again ! 

He stumped his umbrella fiercely ; yet he himself had 
followed Society's behaviour for fifteen years — had only- 
to-day been false to it 1 

He thought of June, and her dead mother, and the whole 
story, with all his old bitterness. A wretched business ! 

He was a long time reaching Stanhope Gate, for, with 
native perversity, being extremely tired, he walked the whole 
way. 

After washing his hands in the lavatory downstairs, he 
went to the dining-room to wait for dinner, the only room 
he used when June was out — it was less lonely so. The 
evening paper had not yet come ; he had finished the 
Times, there was therefore nothing to do. 

The room faced the backwater of traffic, and was very 
silent. He disliked dogs, but a dog even would have been 
company. His gaze, travelling round the walls, rested on a 
picture entitled : * Group of Dutch fishing boats at sunset ' ; 
the chef d'oeuvre of his collection. It gave him no pleasure. 
He closed his eyes. He was lonely ! He oughtn't to 
complain, he knew, but he couldn't help it : He was a 



100 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

poor thing — had always been a poor thing — no pluck ! 
Such was his thought. 

The butler came to lay the table for dinner, and seeing 
his master apparently asleep, exercised extreme caution in his 
movements. This bearded man also wore a moustache, 
which had given rise to grave doubts in the minds of many 
members of the family — especially those who, like Soames, 
had been to public schools, and were accustomed to niceness 
in such matters. Could he really be considered a butler? 
Playful spirits alluded to him as : ' Uncle Jolyon's Non- 
conformist ' ; George, the acknowledged wag, had named 
him : * Sankey.' 

He moved to and fro between the great polished sideboard 
and the great polished table inimitably sleek and soft. 

Old Jolyon watched him, feigning sleep. The fellow 
was a sneak — he had always thought so — who cared about 
nothing but rattling through his work, and getting out to his 
betting or his woman or goodness knew what ! A slug ! 
Fat too ! And didn't care a pin about his master ! 

But then against his will, came one of those moments of 
philosophy which made old Jolyon different from other 
Forsytes : 

After all why should the man care ? He wasn't paid to 
care, and why expect it ? In this world people couldn't look for 
affection unless they paid for it. It might be different in the 
next — he didn't know, he couldn't tell ! And again he shut 
his eyes. 

Relentless and stealthy, the butler pursued his labours, 
taking things from the various compartments of the sideboard. 
His back seemed always turned to old Jolyon ; thus, he 
robbed his operations of the unseemliness of being carried on 
in his master's presence ; now and then he furtively breathed 
on the silver, and wiped it with a piece of chamois leather. 
He appeared to pore over the quantities of wine in the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY loi 

decanters, which he carried carefully and rather high, letting 
his beard droop over them protectingly. When he had 
finished, he stood for over a minute watching his master, and 
in his greenish eyes there was a look of contempt : 

After all, this master of his was an old buffer, who hadn't 
much left in him ! 

Soft as a tom-cat, he crossed the room to press the bell. 
His orders were ' dinner at seven.' What if his master were 
asleep ; he would soon have him out of that ; there was the 
night to sleep in ! He had himself to think of, for he was 
due at his Club at half-past eight ! 

In answer to the ring, appeared a page boy with a silver 
soup tureen. The butler took it from his hands and placed 
it on the table, then, standing by the open door, as though 
about to usher company into the room, he said in a solemn 
voice : 

* Dinner is on the table, sir !' 

Slowly old Jolyon got up out of his chair, and sat down 
at the table to eat his dinner. 



CHAPTER VIII 

PLANS OF THE HOUSE 

All Forsytes, as is generally admitted, have shells, like that 
extremely useful little animal which is made into Turkish 
delight ; in other words, they are never seen, or if seen 
would not be recognised, without habitats, composed ot 
circumstance, property, acquaintances, and wives, which 
seem to move along with them in their passage through a 
world composed of thousands of other Forsytes with their 
habitats. Without a habitat a Forsyte is inconceivable — he 
would be like a novel without a plot, which is well-known 
to be an anomaly. 

To Forsyte eyes Bosinney appeared to have no habitat, he 
seemed one of those rare and unfortunate men who go through 
life surrounded by circumstance, property, acquaintances, 
and wives that do not belong to them. 

His rooms in Sloane Street, on the top floor, outside which, 
on a plate, was his name, * Philip Baynes Bosinney, Archi- 
tect,' were not those of a Forsyte. He had no sitting-room 
apart from his office, but a large recess had been screened off 
to conceal the necessaries of life — a couch, an easy chair, his 
pipes, spirit case, novels, and slippers. The business part of 
the room had the usual furniture ; an open cupboard with 
pigeon-holes, a round oak table, a folding wash-stand, some 
hard chairs, a standing desk of large dimensions covered with 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 103 

drawings and designs. June had twice been to tea there 
under the chaperonage of his aunt. 

He was believed to have a bedroom at the back. 

As far as the family had been able to ascertain his income, 
it consisted of two consulting appointments at twenty 
pounds a year, together with an odd fee once in a way, 
and — more worthy item — a private annuity under his father's 
will of one hundred and fifty pounds a year. 

What had transpired concerning that father was not so 
reassuring. It appeared that he had been a Lincolnshire 
country doctor of Cornish extraction, striking appearance, 
and Byronic tendencies — a well-known figure, in fact, in his 
county. Bosinney's uncle by marriage, Baynes, of Baynes 
and Bildeboy, a Forsyte in instincts if not in name, had but 
little that was worthy to relate of his brother-in-law. 

' An odd fellow !* he would say : ' always spoke of his 
three eldest boys as "good creatures, but so dull"; they're 
all doing capitally in the Indian Civil ! Philip was the only 
one he liked. I've heard him talk in the queerest way ; he 
once said to me : " My dear fellow, never let your poor wife 
know what you're thinking of!" But I didn't follow his 
advice ; not I ! An eccentric man ! He would say to 
Phil : " Whether you live like a gentleman or not, my boy, 
be sure you die like one !" and he had himself embalmed in 
a frock coat suit, with a satin cravat and a diamond pin. 
Oh, quite an original, I can assure you !' 

Of Bosinney himself Baynes would speak warmly, with a 
certain compassion : * He's got a streak of his father's By ronism. 
Why, look at the way he threw up his chances when he left 
my office ; going ofFlike that for six months with a knapsack, 
and all for what ? — to study foreign architecture — foreign ! 
What could he expect ? And there he is — a clever young 
fellow — doesn't make his hundred a year ! Now this 
engagement is the best thing that could have happened — 



104 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

keep him steady ; he's one or those that go to bed all day 
and stay up all night, simply because they've no method ; 
but no vice about him — not an ounce of vice. Old Forsyte's 
a rich man !' 

Mr. Baynes made himself extremely pleasant to June, who 
frequently visited his house in Low^ndes Square at this period. 

' This house of Mr. Soames's — what a capital man of busi- 
ness — is the very thing for Philip,' he would say to her ; 
* you mustn't expect to see too much of him just now, my 
dear young lady. The good cause — the good cause ! The 
young man must make his way. When I was his age I was 
at work day and night. My dear wife used to say to me, 
"Bobby, don't work too hard, think of your health"; but I 
never spared myself !' 

June had complained that her lover found no time to 
come to Stanhope Gate. 

The first time he came again they had not been together 
a quarter of an hour before, by one of those coincidences of 
which she was a mistress, Mrs. Septimus Small arrived. 
Thereon Bosinney rose and hid himself, according to 
previous arrangement, in the little study, to wait for her 
departure. 

' My dear,' said Aunt Juley, * how thin he is ! I've often 
noticed it with engaged people ; but you mustn't let it get 
worse. There's Barlow's extract of veal ; it did your Uncle 
Swithin a lot of good.' 

June, her little figure erect before the hearth, her small 
face quivering grimly, for she regarded her Aunt's untimely 
visit in the light of a personal injury, replied with scorn : 

*It's because he's busy; people who can do anything 
worth doing are never fat !' 

Aunt Juley pouted ; she herself had always been thin, but 
the only pleasure she derived from the fact was the oppor- 
tunity of longing to be stouter. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 105 

' I don't think,' she said mournfully, * that you ought to 
let them call him "The Buccaneer"; people might think it 
odd, now that he's going to build a house for Soames. I do 
hope he will be careful ; it's so important for him ; Soames 
has such good taste !' 

' Taste !' cried June, flaring up at once ; ' I wouldn't give 
that for his taste, or any of the family's !' 

Mrs. Small was taken aback. 

' Your Uncle Swithin,' she said, ' always had beautiful 
taste ! And Soames's little house is lovely ; you don't mean 
to say you don't think so !' 

* H'mph !' said June, * that's only because Irene's there !' 
Aunt Juley tried to say something pleasant : 

* And how will dear Irene like living in the country ?' 
June gazed at her intently, with a look in her eyes as if 

her conscience had suddenly leaped up into them ; it passed ; 
and an even more intent look took its place, as if she had 
stared that conscience out of countenance. She replied 
imperiously : 

' Of course she'll like it ; why shouldn't she ?' 

Mrs. Small grew nervous. 

' I didn't know,' she said ; ' I thought she mightn't like to 
leave her friends. Your Uncle James says she doesn't take 
enough interest in life. We think — I mean Timothy thinks 
— she ought to go out more. I expect you'll miss her very 
much !' 

June clasped her hands behind her neck. 

* I do wish,' she cried, * Uncle Timothy wouldn't talk 
about what doesn't concern him !' 

Aunt Juley rose to the full height of her tall figure. 
' He never talks about what doesn't concern him,' she said. 
June was instantly compunctious ; she ran to her aunt and 
kissed her. 

' I'm very sorry, auntie ; but I wish they'd let Irene alone.* 



io6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Aunt Juley, unable to think of anything further on the 
subject that would be suitable, was silent ; she prepared for 
departure, hooking her black silk cape across her chest, and, 
taking up her green reticule : 

' And how is your dear grandfather ?' she asked in the 
hall, *I expect he's very lonely now that all your time is 
taken up with Mr. Bosinney.' She bent and kissed her 
niece hungrily, and with little, mincing steps passed away. 

The tears sprang up in June's eyes ; running into the little 
study, where Bosinney was sitting at the table drawing birds 
on the back of an envelope, she sank down by his side and 
cried : 

* Oh, Phil ! it's all so horrid !' Her heart was as warm 
as the colour of her hair. 

On the following Sunday morning, while Soames was 
shaving, a message was brought him to the effect that 
Mr. Bosinney was below, and would be glad to see him. 
Opening the door into his wife's room, he said: 

* Bosinney's downstairs. Just go and entertain him while 
I finish shaving. I'll be down in a minute. It's about the 
plans, I expect.' 

Irene looked at him, without reply, put the finishing touch 
to her dress and went downstairs. 

He could not make her out about this house. She had 
said nothing against it, and, as far as Bosinney was con- 
cerned, seemed friendly enough. 

From the window of his dressing-room he could see them 
talking together in the little court below. 

He hurried on with his shaving, cutting his chin twice. 
He heard them laugh, and thought to himself : * Well, 
they get on all right, anyway !' 

As he expected, Bosinney had come round to fetch him 
to look at the plans. 

He took his hat and went over. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 107 

The plans were spread on the oak table in the architect's 
room ; and pale, imperttirbable, inquiring, Soames bent over 
them for a long time without speaking. 

He said at last in a puzzled voice : 

* It's an odd sort of house !' 

A rectangular house of two stories was designed in a 
quadrangle round a covered-in court. This court, encircled 
by a gallery on the upper floor, was roofed with a glass 
roof, supported by eight columns running up from the 
ground. 

It was indeed, to Forsyte eyes, an odd house. 

* There's a lot of room cut to waste,' pursued Soames. 
Bosinney began to walk about, and Soames did not like 

the expression on his face. 

* The principle of this house,' said the architect, * was that 
you should have room to breathe — like a gentleman !' 

Soames extended his finger and thumb, as if measuring 
the extent of the distinction he should acquire, and replied : 

* Oh ! yes ; I see.' 

The peculiar look came into Bosinney's face which 
marked all his enthusiasms. 

* I've tried to plan you a house here with some self-respect 
of its own. If you don't like it, you'd better say so. It's 
certainly the last thing to be considered — who wants self- 
respect in a house, when you can squeeze in an extra 
lavatory?' He put his finger suddenly down on the left 
division of the centre oblong : * You can swing a cat here. 
This is for your pictures, divided from this court by curtains ; 
draw them back and you'll have a space of fifty-one by 
twenty-three six. This double-faced stove in the centre, 
here, looks one way towards the court, one way towards the 
picture room j this end wall is all window ; you've a south- 
east light from that, a north light from the court. The 
rest of your pictures you can hang round the gallery 



io8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

upstairs, or in the other rooms. In architecture/ he went on — 
and though looking at Soames he did not seem to see him^ 
which gave Soames an unpleasant feeling — * as in life, you'll 
o-et no self-respect without regularity. Fellows tell you 
that's old fashioned. It appears to be peculiar any way ; it 
never occurs to us to embody the main principle of life in our 
buildings ; we load our houses with decoration, gimcracks, 
corners, anything to distract the eye. On the contrary the 
eye should rest ; get your effects with a few strong lines. The 
whole thing is regularity — there's no self-respect without it.' 

Soames, the unconscious ironist, fixed his gaze on Bosinney's 
tie, which was far from being in the perpendicular ; he was 
unshaven too, and his dress not remarkable for order. 
Architecture appeared to have exhausted his regularity. 

' Won't it look like a barrack r' he inquired. 
• He did not at once receive a reply. 

* I can see what it is,' said Bosinney, * you want one of 
Littlemaster's houses — one of the pretty and commodious 
sort, where the servants will live in garrets, and the front 
door be sunk so that you may come up again. By all 
means try Littlemaster, you'll find him a capital fellow, I've 
known him all my life !' 

Soames was alarmed. He had really been struck by the 
plans, and the concealment of his satisfaction had been merely 
instinctive. It was difficult for him to pay a compliment. 
He despised people who were lavish with their praises. 

He found himself now in the embarrassing position of one 
who must pay a compliment or run the risk of losing a good 
thing. Bosinney was just the fellow who might tear up the 
plans and refuse to act for him ; a kind of grown-up child ! 

This grown-up childishness, to which he felt so superior, 
exercised a peculiar and almost mesmeric effect on Soames, 
for he had never felt anything like it in himself. 

' Well,' he stammered at last, ' it's — it's certainly original.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 109 

He had such a private distrust and even dislike of the 
\vord ' original ' that he felt he had not really given himself 
aw^ay by this remark. 

Bosinney seemed pleased. It w^as the sort of thing that 
would please a fellow like that ! And his success encouraged 
Soames. 

*It's — a big place,' he said. 

*■ Space, air, light,' he heard Bosinney murmur, * you can't 
live like a gentleman in one of Littlemaster's — he builds for 
manufacturers.' 

Soames made a deprecating movement ; he had been 
identified with a gentleman ; not for a good deal of money 
now would he be classed with manufacturers. But his 
innate distrust of general principles revived. What the 
deuce was the good of talking about regularity and self- 
respect ? It looked to him as if the house would be cold. 

' Irene can't stand the cold !' he said. 

* Ah !' said Bosinney sarcastically. ' Your wire ? She 
doesn't like the cold ? I'll see to that ; she shan't be cold. 
Look here !' he pointed to four marks at regular intervals on 
the walls of the court. ' I've given you hot-water pipes in 
aluminium casings ; you can get them with very good 
designs.' 

Soames looked suspiciously at these marks. 

* It's all very well, all this,' he said, * but what's it going to 
cost r' 

The architect took a sheet ot paper from his pocket : 

* The house, of course, should be built entirely of stone, 
but, as I thought you wouldn't stand that, I've compromised 
for a facing. It ought to have a copper roof, but I've made 
it green slate. As it is, including metal work, it'll cost you 
eight thousand five hundred.' 

' Eight thousand five hundred ?' said Soames. * Why, 
I gave you an outside limit of eight !' 



no THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* Can't be done for a penny less,' replied Bosinney coolly. 
* You must take it or leave it !' 

It was the only way, probably, that such a proposition 
could have been made to Soames. He was nonplussed. 
Conscience told him to throw the whole thing up. But the 
design was good, and he knew it — there was completeness 
about it, and dignity ; the servants' apartments were excellent 
too. He would gain credit by living in a house like that — 
with such individual features, yet perfectly well-arranged. 

He continued poring over the plans, while Bosinney went 
mto his bedroom to shave and dress. 

The two walked back to Montpellier Square in silence, 
Soames watching him out of the corner of his eye. 

The Buccaneer was rather a good-looking fellow — so he 
thought — when he was properly got up. 

Irene was bending over her flowers when the two men 
came in. 

She spoke of sending across the Park to fetch June. 

* No, no,' said Soames, * we've still got business to talk 
over !' 

At lunch he was almost cordial, and kept pressing 
Bosinney to eat. He was pleased to see the architect in 
such high spirits, and left him to spend the afternoon with 
Irene, while he stole off to his pictures, after his Sunday 
habit. At tea-time he came down to the drawing-room, and 
found them talking, as he expressed it, nineteen to the dozen. 

Unobserved in the doorway, he congratulated himself 
that things were taking the right turn. It was lucky she 
and Bosinney got on ; she seemed to be falling into line 
with the idea of the new house. 

Quiet meditation among his pictures had decided him to 
spring the five hundred if necessary ; but he hoped that the 
afternoon might have softened Bosinney's estimates. It was 
so purely a matter which Bosinney could remedy if he 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY in 

liked ; there must be a dozen ways in which he could 
cheapen the production of a house without spoiling the effect. 

He awaited, therefore, his opportunity till Irene was hand- 
ing the architect his first cup of tea. A chink of sunshine 
through the lace of the blinds warmed her cheek, shone in 
the gold of her hair, and in her soft eyes. Possibly the same 
gleam deepened Bosinney's colour, gave the rather startled 
look to his face. 

Soames hated sunshine, and he at once got up to draw the 
blind. Then he took his own cup of tea from his wife, and 
said, more coldly than he had intended : 

' Can't you see your way to do it for eight thousand after 
all ? There must be a lot of little things you could alter.' 

Bosinney drank off his tea at a gulp, put down his cup, 
and answered : 

' Not one !' 

Soames saw that his suggestion had touched some unintel- 
ligible point of personal vanity. 

* Well,' he agreed, with sulky resignation ; ' you must 
have it your own way, I suppose.' 

A few minutes later Bosinney rose to go, and Soames rose 
too, to see him off the premises. The architect seemed in 
absurdly high spirits. After watching him walk away at a 
swinging pace, Soames returned moodily to the drawing- 
room, where Irene was putting away the music, and, moved 
by an uncontrollable spasm of curiosity, he asked : 

' Well, what do you think of " The Buccaneer "?' 

He looked at the carpet while waiting for her answer, and 
he had to wait some time. 

' I don't know,' she said at last. 

' Do you think he's good-looking ?' 

Irene smiled. And it seemed to Soames that she was 
mocking him. 

' Yes,' she answered ; ' very.' 



CHAPTER IX 

DEATH OF AUNT ANN 

"There came a morning at the end of September when Aunt 
Ann was unable to take from Smither's hands the insignia of 
personal dignity. After one look at the old face, the doctor, 
hurriedly sent for, announced that Miss Forsyte had passed 
away in her sleep. 

Aunts Juley and Hester were overwhelmed by the shock. 
They had never imagined such an ending. Indeed, it is 
doubtful whether they had ever realized that an ending was 
bound to come. Secretly they felt it unreasonable of Ann to 
have left them like this without a word, without even a 
struggle. It was unlike her. 

Perhaps what really affected them so profoundly was the 
thought that a Forsyte should have let go her grasp on life. 
If one, then why not all ! 

It was a full hour before they could make up their minds 
to tell Timothy. Ir only it could be kept rrom him ! If 
only it could be broken to him by degrees ! 

And long they stood outside his door whispering together. 
And when it was over they whispered together again. 

He would feel it more, they were afraid, as time went on. 
Still, he had taken it better than could have been expected. 
He would keep his bed, of course ! 

They separated, crying quietly. 

Aunt Juley stayed in her room, prostrated by the blow. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 113 

Her face, discoloured by tears, was divided into compartments 
by the little ridges of pouting flesh which had swollen with 
emotion. It was impossible to conceive of life without 
Ann, who had lived with her for seventy-three years, broken 
only by the short interregnum of her married life, which 
seemed now so unreal. At fixed intervals she went to her 
drawer, and took from beneath the lavender bags a fresh 
pocket-handkerchief. Her warm heart could not bear the 
thought that Ann was lying there so cold. 

Aunt Hester, the silent, the patient, that backwater of the 
family energy, sat in the drawing-room, where the blinds 
were drawn ; and she, too, had wept at first, but quietly, 
without visible effect. Her guiding principle, the conserva- 
tion of energy, did not abandon her in sorrow. She sat, 
slim, motionless, studying the grate, her hands idle in the 
lap of her black silk dress. They would want to rouse her 
into doing something, no doubt. As if there were any good 
in that ! Doing something would not bring back Ann ! 
Why worry her ? 

Five o'clock brought three of the brothers, Jolyon and 
James and Swithin : Nicholas was at Yarmouth, and Roger 
had a bad attack of gout. Mrs. Hayman had been by herself 
earlier in the day, and, after seeing Ann, had gone away, 
leaving a message for Timothy — which was kept from him 
— that she ought to have been told sooner. In fact, there 
was a feeling amongst them all that they ought to have been 
told sooner, as though they had missed something ; and 
James said : 

^ I knew how it'd be ; I told you she wouldn't last through 
the summer.' 

Aunt Hester made no reply ; it was nearly October, but 
what was the good of arguing ; some people were never 
satisfied. 

She sent up to tell her sister that the brothers were there. 

5 



114 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Mrs. Small came down at once. She had bathed her face, 
which was still swollen, and though she looked severely at 
Swithin's trousers, for they were of light blue — he had come 
straight from the club, where the news had reached him — 
she wore a more cheerful expression than usual, the instinct 
for doing the wrong thing being even now too strong for her. 

Presently all five went up to look at the body. Under 
the pure white sheet a quilted counterpane had been placed, 
for now, more than ever, Aunt Ann had need of warmth ; 
and, the pillows removed, her spine and head rested flat, with 
the semblance of their life-long inflexibility ; the coif band- 
ing the top of her brow was drawn on either side to the 
level of the ears, and between it and the sheet her face, 
almost as white, was turned with closed eyes to the faces of 
her brothers and sisters. In its extraordinary peace the face 
was stronger than ever, nearly all bone now under the 
scarce-wrinkled parchment of skin — square jaw and chin, 
cheekbones, forehead with hollow temples, chiselled nose — 
the fortress of an unconquerable spirit that had yielded to 
death, and in its upward sightlessness seemed trying to regain 
that spirit, to regain the guardianship it had just laid down. 

Swithin took but one look at the face, and left the room ; 
the sight, he said afterwards, made him very queer. He 
w'^nt downstairs shaking the whole house, and, seizing his 
hat, clambered into his brougham, without giving any direc- 
tions to the coachman. He was driven home, and all the 
evening sat in his chair without moving. 

He could take nothing for dinner but a partridge, with an 
imperial pint of champagne. . . . 

Old Jolyon stood at the bottom of the bed, his hands 
folded in front of him. He alone of those in the room 
remembered the death of his mother, and though he looked 
at Ann, it was of that he was thinking. Ann was an old 
woman, but death had come to her at last — death came to 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 115 

all ! His face did not move, his gaze seemed travelling from 
/ery far. 

Aunt Hester stood beside him. She did not cry now, 
tears were exhausted — her nature refused to permit a further 
escape of force ; she twisted her hands, looking, not at Ann, 
but from side to side, seeking some way of escaping the 
effort of realization. 

Of all the brothers and sisters James manifested the most 
emotion. Tears rolled down the parallel furrows of his thin 
face ; where he should go now to tell his troubles he did not 
know ; Juley was no good, Hester worse than useless ! He 
felt Ann's death more than he had ever thought he should ; 
this would upset him for weeks ! 

Presently Aunt Hester stole out, and Aunt Juley began 
moving about, doing * what was necessary,* so that twice 
she knocked against something. Old Jolyon, roused from 
his reverie, that reverie of the long, long past, looked sternly 
at her, and went away. James alone was left by the bed- 
side; glancing stealthily round, to see that he was not 
observed, he twisted his long body down, placed a kiss on 
the dead forehead, then he, too, hastily left the room. 
Encountering Smither in the hall, he began to ask her about 
the funeral, and, finding that she knew nothing, complained 
bitterly that, if they didn't take care, everything would go 
wrong. She had better send for Mr. Soames — he knew all 
about that sort of thing ; her master was very much upset, 
he supposed — he would want looking after; as for her 
mistresses, they were no good — they had no gumption ! 
They would be ill too, he shouldn't wonder. She had 
better send for the doctor; it was best to take things in 
time. He didn't think his sister Ann had had the best 
opinion; if she'd had Blank she would have been alive now. 
Smither might send to Park Lane any time she wanted 
advice. Of course, his carriage was at their service for the 



n6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

funeral. He supposed she hadn't such a thing as a glass of 
claret and a biscuit — he had had no lunch ! 

The days before the funeral passed quietly. It had long 
been known, of course, that Aunt Ann had left her little 
property to Timothy. There was, therefore, no reason for 
the slightest agitation. Soames who was sole executor, took 
charge of all arrangements, and in due course sent out the 
following invitation to every male member of the family : 

'To 

' Tour presence is requested at the funeral of Miss Ann 
Forsyte^ in Highgate Cemetery, at noon of Oct. 1st. 
Carriages will meet at " The Bowcr^'' Bayswater Roady 
at 10.45. No flowers by request. 

* R.sy.p: 

The morning came, cold, with a high, gray, London sky, 
and at half-past ten the first carriage, that of James, drove 
up. It contained James and his son-in-law Dartie, a fine 
man, with a square chest, buttoned very tightly into a frock 
coat, and a sallow, fattish face adorned with dark, well- 
curled moustaches, and that incorrigible commencement of 
whisker which, eluding the strictest attempts at shaving, 
seems the mark of something deeply ingrained in the per- 
sonality of the shaver, being especially noticeable in men who 
speculate. 

Soames, in his capacity of executor, received the guests, 
for Timothy still kept his bed ; he would get up after the 
funeral ; and Aunts Juley and Hester would not be coming 
down till all was over, when it was understood there would 
be lunch for anyone who cared to come back. The next to 
arrive was Roger, still limping from the gout, and encircled 
by three of his sons — young Roger, Eustace, and Thomas. 
George, the remaining son, arrived almost immediately 
afterwards in a hansom, and paused in the hall to ask Soames 
how he found undertaking pay. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 117 

They disliked each other. 

Then came two Haymans — Giles and Jesse — perfectly 
silent, and very well dressed, with special creases down their 
evening trousers. Then old Jolyon alone. Next, Nicholas, 
with a healthy colour in his face, and a carefully veiled 
sprightliness in every movement of his head and body.. 
One of his sons followed him, meek and subdued. 
Swithin Forsyte and Bosinney arrived at the same moment, 
and stood bowing precedence to each other, but on the door 
opening they tried to enter together ; they renewed their 
apologies in the hall, and Swithin, settling his stock, which 
had become disarranged in the struggle, very slowly mounted 
the stairs. The other Hayman ; two married sons of 
Nicholas, together with Tweetyman, Spender, and Warry, 
the husbands of married Forsyte and Hayman daughters. 
The company was then complete, twenty-one in all, not a 
male member of the family being absent but Timothy and 
young Jolyon. 

Entering the scarlet and green drawing-room, whose 
apparel made so vivid a setting for their unaccustomed 
costumes, each tried nervously to find a seat, desirous of 
hiding the emphatic blackness of his trousers. There 
seemed a sort of indecency in that blackness and in the 
colour of their gloves — a sort of exaggeration of the feelings ; 
and many cast shocked looks of secret envy at ' the Buc- 
caneer,' who had no gloves, and was wearing gray trousers. 
A subdued hum of conversation rose, no one speaking of the 
departed, but each asking after the other, as though thereby 
casting an indirect libation to this event, which they had 
come to honour. 

And presently James said : 

' Well, I think we ought to be starting.' 

They went downstairs, and, two and two, as they had 
been told off in strict precedence, mounted the carriages. 



ii8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

The hearse started at a foot's pace ; the carriages moved 
slowly after. In the first went old Jolyon with Nicholas; 
in the second, the twins, Swithin and James ; in the third, 
Roger and young Roger ; Soames, young Nicholas, George, 
and Bosinney followed in the fourth. Each of the other 
carriages, eight in all, held three or four of the family; 
behind them came the doctor's brougham ; then, at a decent 
interval, cabs containing family clerks and servants ; and at 
the very end, one containing nobody at all, but bringing the 
total cortege up to the number of thirteen. 

So long as the procession kept to the highway of the 
Bayswater Road, it retained the foot's pace, but, turning 
into less important thoroughfares, it soon broke into a trot, 
and so proceeded, with intervals of walking in the more 
fashionable streets, until it arrived. In the first carriage old 
Jolyon and Nicholas were talking of their wills. In the 
second the twins, after a single attempt, had lapsed into 
complete silence ; both were rather deaf, and the exertion of 
making themselves heard was too great. Only once James 
broke this silence : 

* I shall have to be looking about for some ground some- 
where. What arrangements have you made, Swithin ?' 

And Swithin, fixing him with a dreadful stare, answered : 

* Don't talk to me about such things !' 

In the third carriage a disjointed conversation was carried 
on in the intervals of looking out to see how far they had 
got, George remarking, * Well, it was really time that the 
poor old lady " went." ' He didn't believe in people living 
beyond seventy. Young Nicholas replied mildly that the 
rule didn't seem to apply to the Forsytes. George said he 
himself intended to commit suicide at sixty. Young 
Nicholas, smiling and stroking a long chin, didn't think 
his father would like that theory ; he had made a lot 
of money since he was sixty. Well, seventy was the out- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 119 

side limit; it was then time, George said, for them to go 
and leave their money to their children. Soames, hitherto 
silent, here joined in ; he had not forgotten the remark about 
the * undertaking,' and, lifting his eyelids almost imperceptibly, 
said it was all very well for people who never made money 
to talk. He himself intended to live as long as he could. 
This was a hit at George, who was notoriously hard up. 
Bosinney muttered abstractedly * Hear, hear !' and, George 
yawning, the conversation dropped. 

Upon arriving, the cofEn was borne into the chapel, and, 
two by two, the mourners filed in behind it. This guard of 
men, all attached to the dead by the bond of kinship, was an 
impressive and singular sight in the great city of London, 
with its overwhelming diversity of life, its innumerable 
vocations, pleasures, duties, its terrible hardness, its terrible 
call to individualism. 

The family had gathered to triumph over all this, to give 
a show of tenacious unity, to illustrate gloriously that law 
of property underlying the growth of their tree, by which 
it had thriven and spread, trunk and branches, the sap 
flowing through all, the full growth reached at the appointed 
time. The spirit of the old woman lying in her last sleep 
had called them to this demonstration. It was her final appeal 
to that unity which had been their strength — it was her final 
triumph that she had died while the tree was yet whole. 

She was spared the watching of the branches jut out 
beyond the point of balance. She could not look into the 
hearts of her followers. The same law that had worked in 
her, bringing her up from a tall, straight-backed slip or a girl 
to a woman strong and grown, from a woman grown to a 
woman old, angular, feeble, almost witch-like, with individu- 
ality all sharpened and sharpened, as all rounding from the 
world's contact fell off from her — that same law would work, 
was working, in the family she had watched like a mother. 



120 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

She had seen it young, and growing, she had seen it strong 
and grown, and before her old eyes had time or strength to 
see any more, she died. She would have tried, and who 
knows but she might have kept it young and strong, with 
her old fingers, her trembling kisses — a little longer ; alas ! 
not even Aunt Ann could fight with Nature. 

' Pride comes before a fall !' In accordance with this, the 
greatest of Nature's ironies, the Forsyte family had gathered 
for a last proud pageant before they fell. Their faces to right 
and left, in single lines, were turned for the most part 
impassively toward the ground, guardians of their thoughts ; 
but here and there, one looking upward, with a line between 
his brows, seemed to see some sight on the chapel walls too 
much for him, to be listening to something that appalled. 
And the responses, low-muttered, in voices through which 
rose the same tone, the same unseizable family ring, sounded 
weird, as though murmured in hurried duplication by a 
single person. 

The service in the chapel over, the mourners filed up 
again to guard the body to the tomb. The vault stood open, 
and, round it, men in black were waiting. 

From that high and sacred field, where thousands of the 
upper-middle class lay in their last sleep, the eyes of the 
Forsytes travelled down across the flocks of graves. There — 
spreading to the distance, lay London, with no sun over it, 
mourning the loss of its daughter, mourning with this family, 
so dear, the loss of her who was mother and guardian. A 
hundred thousand spires and houses, blurred in the great 
gray web of property, lay there like prostrate worshippers 
before the grave of this, the oldest Forsyte of them all. 

A few words, a sprinkle of earth, the thrusting of the 
coffin home, and Aunt Ann had passed to her last rest. 

Round the vault, trustees of that passing, the five brothers 
stood, with white heads bowed ; they would see that Ann 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 121 

was comfortable where she was going. Her little property 
must stay behind, but otherwise, all that could be should 
be done. 

Then severally, each stood aside, and putting on his hat, 
turned back to inspect the new inscription on the marble of 
the family vault : 

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF 

ANN FORSYTE, 

THE DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE 

JoLYON AND AnN FoRSYTE, 

WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE ZjTH DAY OF 

SEPTEMBER, I 886, 

AGED EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS AND FOUR DAYS. 

Soon perhaps, someone else would be wanting an inscription. 
It was strange and intolerable, for they had not thought 
somehow, that Forsytes could die. And one and all they 
had a longing to get away from this painfulness, this 
ceremony which had reminded them of things they could 
not bear to think about — to get away quickly and go about 
their business and forget. 

It was cold, too ; the wind, like some slow, disintegrating 
force, blowing up the hill over the graves, struck them with 
its chilly breath ; they began to split into groups, and as 
quickly as possible to fill the waiting carriages. 

Swithin said he should go back to lunch at Timothy's, 
and he offered to take anybody with him in his brougham. 
It was considered a doubtful privilege to drive with Swithin 
in his brougham, which was not a large one ; nobody 
accepted, and he went off alone. James and Roger followed 

6* 



122 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

immediately after ; they also would drop into lunch. The 
others gradually melted away, old Jolyon taking three 
nephews to fill up his carriage ; he had a want of those 
young faces. 

Soames, who had to arrange some details in the cemetery 
office, walked away with Bosinney. He had much to talk 
over with him, and, having finished his business, they strolled 
to Hampstead, lunched together at the Spaniard's Inn, and 
spent a long time in going into practical details connected 
with the building of the house ; they then proceeded to the 
tram-line, and came as far as the Marble Arch, where 
Bosinney went off to Stanhope Gate to see June. 

Soames felt in excellent spirits when he arrived home, and 
confided to Irene at dinner that he had had a good talk with 
Bosinney, who really seemed a sensible fellow ; they had 
had a capital walk too, which had done his liver good — he 
had been short of exercise for a long time — and altogether a 
very satisfactory day. If only it hadn't been for poor Aunt 
Ann, he would have taken her to the theatre ; as it was, 
they must make the best of an evening at home. 

< The Buccaneer asked after you more than once,' he said 
suddenly. And moved by some inexplicable desire to assert 
his proprietorship, he rose from his chair and planted a kiss 
on his wife's shoulder. 



PART II 



CHAPTER I 

PROGRESS OF THE HOUSE 

The winter had been an open one. Things in the trade 
were slack ; and as Soames had reflected before making up 
his mind, it had been a good time for building. The shell 
of the house at Robin Hill was thus completed by the end 
of April. 

Now that there was something to be seen for his money, 
he had been coming down once, twice, even three times a 
week, and would mouse about among the debris for hours, 
careful never to soil his clothes, moving silently through the 
unfinished brickwork of doorways, or circling round the 
columns in the central court. 

And he would stand before them for minutes together, as 
though peering into the real quality of their substance. 

On April 30 he had an appointment with Bosinney to go 
over the accounts, and five minutes before the proper time he 
entered the tent which the architect had pitched for himself 
close to the old oak tree. 

The accounts were already prepared on a folding table, 
and with a nod Soames sat down to study them. It was 
some time before he raised his head. 

*I can't make them out,' he said at last ; * they come to 
nearly seven hundred more than they ought !' 

After a glance at Bosinney's face, he went on quickly : 

* If you only make a firm stand against these builder chaps 

125 



126 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

you'll get them down. They stick you with everything if 
vou don't look sharp. Take ten per cent, off all round. I 
si:an't mind it's coming out a hundred or so over the mark !' 

Bosinney shook his head : 

'I've taken off every farthing I can !' 

Soames pushed back the table with a movement of 
anger, w^hich sent the account sheets fluttering to the 
ground. 

' Then all I can say is,' he flustered out, ' you've made a 
pretty mess of it !' 

* I've told you a dozen times,' Bosinney answered sharply, 
*that there'd be extras. I've pointed them out to you over 
and over again !' 

* I know that,' growled Soames ; ' I shouldn't have ob- 
jected to a ten pound note here and there. How was I to 
know that by " extras " you meant seven hundred pounds :' 

The qualities of both men had contributed to this not 
inconsiderable discrepancy. On the one hand, the archi- 
tect's devotion to his idea, to the image of a house which he 
had created and believed in — had made him nenous of being 
stopped, or forced to the use of make-shifts ; on the other, 
Soames's not less true and whole-hearted devotion to the 
very best article that could be obtained for the money, had 
rendered him averse to believing that things worth thirteen 
shillings could not be bought with twelve. 

*I wish rd never undertaken your house,' said Bosinney 
suddenly. ' You come down here worrying me out of my 
life. You want double the value for your money anybody 
else w^ould, and now that you've got a house that for its size 
is not to be beaten in the county, you don't want to pay for it. 
If you're anxious to be off your bargain, I daresay I can find 

the balance above the estimates myself, but I'm d d if I 

do another stroke of work for you I' 

Soames regained his composure. Knowing that Bosinney 



TxHE MAN OF PROPERTY 127 

had no capital, he regarded this as a wild suggestion. He 
saw, too, that he would be kept indefinitely out of this house 
on which he had set his heart, and just at the crucial point 
when the architect's personal care made all the difference. 
In the meantime there was Irene to be thought of! She had 
been vtrj queer lately. He really believed it was only 
because she had taken to Bosinney that she tolerated the idea 
of the house at all. It would not do to make an open breach 
with her. 

'You needn't get into a rage,' he said. *If I'm willing 
to put up with it, I suppose you needn't cry out. AH I 
meant was that when you tell me a thing is going to cost so 
much, I like to — well, in fact, I — like to know where 
".am.' 

' Look here I' said Bosinney, and Soames was both annoyed 
and surprised by the shrewdness of his glance. * You've got 
my services dirt cheap. For the kind of work I've put into 
this house, and the amount of time I've given to it, vou'd 
have had to pay Littlemaster or some other fool four times as 
much. What you want, in fact, is a first-rate man for a 
fourth-rate fee, and that's exactly what you've got V 

Soames saw that he really meant what he said, and, angry 
though he was, the consequences of a row rose before him 
too vividly. Hq saw his house unfinished, his wife rebellious, 
himself a laughing-stock. 

' Let's go over it,' he said sulkily, ' and see how the money's 
gone.' 

' Very well,' assented Bosinney. ' But we'll hurry up, if 
you don't mind. I have to get back in time to rake June to 
the theatre.' 

Soames cast a stealthy look at him, and said : ' Coming to 
our place, I suppose to meet her :' He was always coming 
to their place ! 

There had been rain the night before — a spring rain, and 



128 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

the earth smelt of sap and wild grasses. The warm, soft 
breeze swung the leaves and the golden buds of the old oak 
tree,' and in the sunshine the blackbirds were whistling their 
hearts out. 

It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an in- 
effable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes 
him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling 
out his arms to embrace he knows not what. The earth 
gave forth a fainting warmth, stealing up through the chilly 
garment in which winter had wrapped her. It was her long 
caress of invitation, to draw men down to lie within her 
arms, to roll their bodies on her, and put their lips to her 
breast. 

On just such a day as this Soames had got from Irene the 
promise he had asked her for so often. Seated on the fallen 
trunk of a tree, he had promised for the twentieth time that 
if their marriage were not a success, she should be as free as 
if she had never married him ! 

* Do you swear it ?* she had said, A few days back she 
had reminded him of that oath. He had answered : ' Non- 
sense ! I couldn't have sworn any such thing !' By some 
awkward fatality he remembered it now. What queer things 
men would swear for the sake of women ! He would have 
sworn it at any time to gain her ! He would swear it now, 
if thereby he could touch her — but nobody could touch her, 
she was cold-hearted ! 

And memories crowded on him with the fresh, sweet 
savour of the spring wind — memories of his courtship. 

In the spring of the year 1881 he was visiting his old 
schoolfellow and client, George Liversedge, of Branksome, 
who, with the view of developing his pine-woods in the 
neighbourhood of Bournemouth, had placed the formation of 
the company necessary to the scheme in Soames's hands. 
Mrs. Liversedge, with a sense of the fitness of things, had 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 129 

given a musical tea in his honour. Late in the course of this 
function, which Soames, no musician, had regarded as an 
unmitigated bore, his eye had been caught by the face of 
a girl dressed in mourning, standing by herself. The lines 
of her tall, as yet rather thin figure, showed through the 
wispy, clinging stuff of her black dress, her black-gloved 
hands were crossed in front of her, her lips slightly parted, 
and her large, dark eyes wandered from face to face. Her 
hair, done low on her neck, seemed to gleam above her black 
collar like coils of shining metal. And as Soames stood 
looking at her, the sensation that most men have felt at one 
time or another went stealing through him — a peculiar satis- 
faction of the senses, a peculiar certainty, which novelists 
and old ladies call love at first sight. Still stealthily watching 
her, he at once made his way to his hostess, and stood 
doggedly waiting for the music to cease. 

* Who is that girl with yellow hair and dark eyes?' he 
asked. 

' That — oh ! Irene Heron. Her father. Professor Heron, 
died this year. She lives with her stepmother. She's a nice 
girl, a pretty girl, but no money !' 

* Introduce me, please,' said Soames. 

It was very little that he found to say, nor did he find 
her responsive to that little. But he went away with the 
resolution to see her again. He effected his object by 
chance, meeting her on the pier with her stepmother, who 
had the habit ot walking there from twelve to one of a 
forenoon. Soames made this lady's acquaintance with 
alacrity, nor was it long before he perceived in her the 
ally he was looking for. His keen scent for the commercial 
side of family life soon told him that Irene cost her step- 
mother more than the fifty pounds a year she brought her j 
it also told him that Mrs. Heron, a woman yet in the prime 
of life, desired to be married again. The strange ripening 



I30 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

beauty of her stepdaughter stood in the way of this desirable 
consummation. And Soames, in his stealthy tenacity, laid 
his plans. 

He left Bournemouth without having given himself away, 
but in a month's time came back, and this time he spoke, 
not to the girl, but to her stepmother. He had made up his 
mind, he said ; he would wait any time. And he had long 
to wait, watching Irene bloom, the lines of her young figure 
softening, the stronger blood deepening the gleam of her 
eyes, and warming her face to a creamy glow ; and at each 
visit he proposed to her, and when that visit was at an end, 
took her refusal away with him, back to London, sore at 
heart, but steadfast and silent as the grave. He tried to 
come at the secret springs of her resistance ; only once had 
he a gleam of light. It was at one of those assembly dances, 
which afford the only outlet to the passions of the population 
of seaside watering-places. He was sitting with her in an 
embrasure, his senses tingling with the contact of the waltz. 
She had looked at him over her slowly waving fan ; and he 
had lost his head. Seizing that moving wrist, he pressed his 
lips to the flesh of her arm. And she had shuddered — to 
this day he had not forgotten that shudder — nor the look so 
passionately averse she had given him. 

A year after that she had yielded. What had made her 
yield he could never make out ; and from Mrs. Heron, a 
woman of some diplomatic talent, he learnt nothing. Once 
after they were married he asked her, ' "What made you 
refuse me so often r' She had answered by a strange silence. 
An enigma to him from the day that he first saw her, she 
was an enigma to him still. . . . 

Bosinney was waiting for him at the door ; and on his 
rugged, good-looking face was a queer, yearning, yet happy 
look, as though he too saw a promise of bliss in the spring 
sky, sniffed a coming happiness in the spring air. Soames 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 131 

looked at him waiting there. What was the matter with the 
fellow that he looked so happy r What was he waiting for 
with that smile on his lips and in his eyes ? Soames could 
not see that for which Bosinney was waiting as he stood 
there drinking-in the flower-scented wind. And once more 
he felt baffled in the presence of this man whom by habit he 
despised. He hastened on to the house. 

^ The only colour for those tiles,' he heard Bosinney say, 
' is ruby with a gray tint in the stuflF, to give a transparent 
effect. I should like Irene's opinion. I'm ordering the 
purple leather curtains for the doorway of this court ; and if 
you distemper the drawing-room ivory cream over paper, 
you'll get an illusive look. You want to aim all through 
the decorations at what I call — charm.' 

Soames said : ' You mean that my wife has charm !' 

Bosinney evaded the question. 

* You should have a clump of iris plants in the centre of 
that court.' 

Soames smiled superciliously. 

*ril look into Beech's some time,' he said, *and see what's 
appropriate !' 

They found little else to say to each other, but on the 
way to the Station Soames asked : 

* I suppose you find Irene very artistic ?' 

' Yes.' The abrupt answer was as distinct a snub as sav- 
ing : * If you want to discuss her you can do it with some 
one else !' 

And the slow, sulky anger Soames had felt all the after- 
noon burned the brighter within him. 

Neither spoke again till they were close to the Station, 
then Soames asked : 

* When do you expect to have finished ?' 

* By the end of June, if you really wish me to decorate as 
well.' 



132 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Soamcs nodded. ' But you quite understand,* he said^ 
' that the house is costing me a lot beyond what I contem- 
plated. I may as well tell you that I should have thrown it 
up, only I'm not in the habit of giving up what IVe set my 
mind on !' 

Bosinney made no reply. And Soames gave him askance 
a look of dogged dislike — for in spite of his fastidious air and 
that supercilious, dandified taciturnity, Soames, with his set 
lips and his squared chin, was not unlike a bulldog. . . . 

When, at seven o'clock that evening, June arrived at 62, 
Montpellier Square, the maid Bilson told her that Mr. Bos- 
inney was in the drawing-room ; the mistress — she said — 
was dressing, and would be down in a minute. She would 
tell her that Miss June was here. 

June stopped her at once. 

'All right, Bilson,' she said, 'I'll just go in. You needn't 
hurry Mrs. Soames.' 

She took off her cloak, and Bilson, with an understanding 
look, did not even open the drawing-room door for her, but 
ran downstairs. 

June paused for a moment to look at herself in the little 
old-fashioned silver mirror above the oaken rug chest — a 
slim, imperious young figure, with a small resolute face, in a 
white frock, cut moon-shaped at the base of a neck too 
slender for her crown of twisted red-gold hair. 

She opened the drawing-room door softly, meaning to take 
him by surprise. The room was filled with a sweet hot 
scent of flowering azaleas. 

She took a long breath of the perfume, and heard Bosin- 
ney's voice, not in the room, but quite close, saying : 

' Ah ! there were such heaps of things I wanted to talk 
about, and now we shan't have time !' 

Irene's voice answered : ' Why not at dinner ?' 

* How can one talk ' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 133 

June's first thought was to go away, but instead she crossed 
to the long window opening on the little court. It was from 
there that the scent of the azaleas came, and, standing with 
their backs to her, their faces buried in the golden-pink 
blossoms, stood her lover and Irene. 

Silent but unashamed, with flaming cheeks and angry 
eyes, the girl watched. 

* Come on Sunday by yourself — we can go over the house 
together * 

June saw Irene look up at him through her screen of 
blossoms. It was not the look of a coquette, but — far worse 
to the watching girl — of a woman fearful lest that -look 
should say too much. 

* IVe promised to go for a drive with Uncle * 

* The big one ! Make him bring you ; it*s only ten miles 
— the very thing for his horses.* 

* Poor old Uncle Swithin !* 

A wave of the azalea scent drifted into June's face j she 
felt sick and dizzy. 

* Do ! ah ! do !* 
' But why ?' 

* I must see you there — I thought you'd like to help 
me ' 

The answer seemed to the girl to come softly, with a 
tremble from amongst the blossoms : * So I do !* 

And she stepped into the open space of the window. 

' How stuffy it is here !* she said ; * I can't bear this 
scent !' 

Her eyes, so angry and direct, swept both their faces. 

* Were you talking about the house ? / haven't seen it 
yet, you know — shall we all go on Sunday ?' 

From Irene's face the colour had flown. 

* I am going for a drive that day with Uncle Swithin,' she 
answered. 



134 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

' Uncle Swithin ! What does he matter ? You can throw 
him over !* 

* I am not in the habit of throwing people over !' 

There was a sound of footsteps and June saw Soames 
standing just behind her. 

* Well ! if you are all ready/ said Irene, looking from one 
to the other with a strange smile, * dinner is too !' 



CHAPTER II 

June's treat 

Dinner began in silence ; the women facing one another, 
and the men. 

In silence the soup was finished — excellent, if a little thick ; 
and fish was brought. In silence it was handed. 

Bosinney ventured : ^ It's the first Spring day.' 

Irene echoed softly : * Yes — the first spring day.' 

' Spring !' said June : * there isn't a breath of air !' No 
one replied. 

The fish was taken away, a fine fresh sole from Dover. 
And Bilson brought champagne, a bottle swathed around the 
neck with white. 

Soames said : ' You'll find it dry.' 

Cutlets were handed, each pink-frilled about the legs. 
They were refused by June, and silence fell. 

Soames said : * You'd better take a cutlet, June ; there's 
nothing coming.' 

But June again refused, so they were borne away. And 
then Irene asked : * Phil, have you heard my black- 
bird?' 

Bosinney answered : * Rather — he's got a hunting- 
song. As I came round I heard him in the Square.* 

' He's such a darling !' 

' Salad, sir ?' Spring chicken was removed. 

But Soames was speaking : * The asparagus is very poor. 

135 



1^0 



TK£ FOKSYTZ SAGA 



Bosinncy, glass of sr.errT with tout s.vee: : June, you rc 
drinking nothing !' 

Tunc iaid : ' Ycu kir.rw I r.ever do. Wine's such horrid 
sm5" !' 

.\n arr'f :~2:'.:r:c c^~e ur:.- 2 si'ver disli. And 
smilinrlr Irer.e f^ i : ' T~e 2z^.?:ls z:e >c w underfill this 

TCSJ !' 

To this 3:s:- - :t -.irmurcd : ' ^Tondcmil ! Tlic scent's 
extraordinary V 

Tune said : * Hc^- :sh jou like the s:er.: : Sugar, r.e^ise, 
Bion.' 

Suirar was iianie:: ~er, ar.z ^:.2rr.es :t7r.i:£.cz: ' Xhis 
char:-:r"^ :::: ' 

Tr.e :-i:.:::e .v^ reinoved. Long silence followed, 
Irene, becoming, said : * Take out the 37;=. lea, Bilson. Miss 
June can't bear the scent.' 

* No ; let it stay,' said Tnne. 

Olives frcm France, with Russian caviare, were placed 
on little plates. And Soames remarked : * Why can't we 
have the St^nish ?' But no one answerei. 

Tne ciives -sere removed. Lifting her nimbler June 
deman cei : ' Give me some water, pleas-e.' Water was 
2Tven her. A silver traj was brought, with German plums. 
There '-^2^ 2. iengthy pause. Li ptn^cz harmony all were 
eating tr.t~ 

BDsinnt ::_-:r: _: -.r.t stines : ' Tn.s year — next y«^r 



l-rr nnished scftlv : ' Never. There was such a glorious 
r.rt: The skv's all rjhv srii 
He ar^s-prered! 'Underne 



tne 'i^rjt. 
Tune zr^td scornfully ; ' A 



Egrptian cigarettes were handed in a silver box. Soames, 
taking cne, rennarkef : ' ^Tis.: time's your "lay b^n :' 



THE MAN OF ?RO?E?xTY 137 

No one replied, and Turkish coffee followed in er.Em-ii^i 
cups. 

Irene, smiling quietly, said : ' If onlr ' 

' Only what r' said June. 

' If only it could always be the spring I* 

Brandy was handed ; it was pale and old. 

Soames said : ' Bosinney, better take some brandy.' 

Bosinney took a glass ; they all arose. 

* You w^int a cab :' asked Soames. 

June answered: 'No. My cloak, please, Bilscn.' H^- 
cloak was brought. 

Irene, from the window, murmured : * Such a lonely 
night ! The stars are coming out !' 

Soames added : 'Well, I hope youll both enjoy yourselves.* 

From the door June answered : * Thanks. Come, PhiL' 

' Bosinney cried : ' Tm coming.* 

Soames smiled a sneering smile, and said : ' I wish you 
luck ': 

And at the door Irene watched tnem go. 

Bosinney called : ' Good night !* 

' Good night :' she answered softly. . . , 

June made her lover take her on the top of a *bus, saying 5i:e 
wanted air, and there sat silent, with her fiaxre to the breeze. 

The driver turned once or twice, with the intentirr. ::' 
venturing a remark, but thought better of it. They were a 
lively couple ! The spring had got into his blood, too ; he 
felt the need for leuing steam escape, and clucked his 
tongue, flourishing his whip, wheeling his horses, and even 
they, poor things, had smelled the spring, and for a brirf 
half-hour spurned the pavement with happy hoofs. 

The whole town was aiive; the boughs, curled upward 
with their decking of young leaves, awaited some gift the 
breeze could bring. New-lighted lamps were gaining 
mastery, and the hices of the crowd showed pale under thai 



138 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

glare, while on high the great white clouds slid swiftly, 
softly, over the purple sky. 

Men in evening dress had thrown back overcoats, stepping 
jauntily up the steps of Clubs ; working folk loitered ; and 
women — those women who at that time of night are solitary 
— solitary and moving eastward in a stream — swung slowly 
along, with expectation in their gait, dreaming of good wine 
and a good supper, or, for an unwonted minute, of kisses 
given for love. 

Those countless figures, going their ways under the lamps 
and the moving sky, had one and all received some restless 
blessing from the stir of spring. And one and all, like those 
clubmen with their opened coats, had shed something of 
caste, and creed, and custom, and by the cock of their hats, 
the pace of their walk, their laughter, or their silence, re- 
vealed their common kinship under the passionate heavens. 

Bosinney and June entered the theatre in silence, and 
mounted to their seats in the upper boxes. The piece had 
just begun, and the half-darkened house, with its rows of 
creatures peering all one way, resembled a great garden of 
flowers turning their faces to the sun. 

June had never before been in the upper boxes. From 
the age of fifteen she had habitually accompanied her grand- 
father to the stalls, and not common stalls, but the best seats 
in the house, towards the centre of the third row, booked by 
old Jolyon, at Grogan and Boyne's, on his way home from 
the City, long before the day ; carried in his overcoat pocket, 
together with his cigar-case and his old kid gloves, and handed 
to June to keep till the appointed night. And in those stalls 
— an erect old figure with a serene white head, a little figure, 
strenuous and eager, with a red-gold head — they would sit 
through every kind of play, and on the way home old Jolyon 
would say of the principal actor : ^ Oh, he's a poor stick ! 
You should have seen little Bobson !' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 139 

She had looked forward to this evening with keen delight ; 
it was stolen, chaperone-less, undreamed of at Stanhope 
Gate, where she was supposed to be at Soames's. She had 
expected reward for her subterfuge, planned for her lover's 
sake ; she had expected it to break up the thick, chilly cloud, 
and make the relations between them — which of late had 
been so puzzling, so tormenting — sunny and simple again as 
they had been before the winter. She had come with the 
intention of saying something definite ; and she looked at 
the stage with a furrow between her brows, seeing nothing, 
her hands squeezed together in her lap. A swarm of jealous 
suspicions stung and stung her. 

If Bosinney was conscious of her trouble he made no sign. 

The curtain dropped. The first act had come to an end. 

* It's awfully hot here !' said the girl ; * I should like to 
go out.' 

She was very white, and she knew — for with her nerves 
thus sharpened she saw everything — that he was both uneasy 
and compunctious. 

At the back of the theatre an open balcony hung over the 
street ; she took possession of this, and stood leaning there 
without a word, waiting for him to begin. 

At last she could bear it no longer. 

* I want to say something to you, Phil,' she said. 
' Yes r' 

The defensive tone of his voice brought the colour flying 
to her cheek, the words flying to her lips : * You don't give 
me a chance to be nice to you ; you haven't for ages now !' 

Bosinney stared down at the street. He made no answer. 

June cried passionately : * You know I want to do every- 
thing for you — that I want to be everything to you ' 

A hum rose from the street, and, piercing it with a sharp 
* ping,' the bell sounded for the raising of the curtain. June 
did not stir. A desperate struggle was going on within her. 



140 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Should she put everything to the proof? Should she chal- 
lenge directly that influence, that attraction which was 
drawing him away from her ? It was her nature to chal- 
lenge, and she said : * Phil, take me to see the house on 
Sunday !' 

With a smile quivering and breaking on her lips, and 
trying, how hard ! not to show that she was watching, she 
searched his face, saw it waver and hesitate, saw a troubled 
line come between his brows, the blood rush into his face. 
He answered : * Not Sunday, dear ; some other day !' 

* Why not Sunday ? I shouldn't be in the way on 
Sunday.* 

He made an evident effort, and said : 'I have an engage- 
ment.' 

' You are going to take ' 

His eyes grew angry ; he shrugged his shoulders, and 
answered : ' An engagement that will prevent my taking 
you to see the house !' 

June bit her lip till the blood came, and walked back to 
her seat without another word, but she could not help the 
tears of rage rolling down her face. The house had been 
mercifully darkened for a crisis, and no one could see her 
trouble. 

Yet in this world of Forsytes let no man think himself 
immune from observation. 

In the third row behind, Euphemia, Nicholas's youngest 
daughter, with her married sister, Mrs. Tweetyman, were 
watching. 

They reported at Timothy's, how they had seen June and 
her fiance at the theatre. 

* In the stalls ?' ' No, not in the ' < Oh ! in the dress 

circle, of course. That seemed to be quite fashionable now- 
adays with young people !' 

Well — not exactly. In the Anyway, that engagement 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 141 

wouldn't last long. They had never seen anyone look so 
thunder and Hghtningy as that little June ! With tears or 
enjoyment in their eyes, they related how she had kicked a 
man's hat as she returned to her seat in the middle of an act, 
and how the man had looked. Euphemia had a noted, silent 
laugh, terminating most disappointingly in squeaks ; and when 
Mrs. Small, holding up her hands, said : * My dear ! Kicked 
a ha-at ?' she let out such a number of these that she had to 
be recovered with smelling-salts. As she went away, she said 
to Mrs. Tweetyman : ' " Kicked a ha-at !" Oh ! I shall 
die.' 

For * that little June ' this evening, that was to have been 
* her treat,' was the most miserable she had ever spent. God 
knows she tried to stifle her pride, her suspicion, her jealousy! 

She parted from Bosinney at old Jolyon's door without 
breaking down ; the feeling that her lover must be conquered 
was strong enough to sustain her till his retiring footsteps 
brought home the true extent of her wretchedness. 

The noiseless * Sankey ' let her in. She would have 
slipped up to her own room, but old Jolyon, who had heard 
her entrance, was in the dining-room doorway. 

*Come in and have your milk,' he said. 'It's been kept 
hot for you. You're very late. Where have you been ?' 

June stood at the fireplace, with a foot on the fender and 
an arm on the mantelpiece, as her grandfather had done 
when he came in that night of the opera. She was too near 
a breakdown to care what she told him. 

' We dined at Soames's.' 

' H'm ! the man of property ! His wife there — and 
Bosinney r' 

' Yes.' 

Old Jolyon's glance was fixed on her with the penetrating 
gaze from which it was so difficult to hide ; but she was not 
looking at him, and when she turned her face, he dropped 



142 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

his scrutiny at once. He had seen enough, and too much. 
He bent down to lift the cup of milk for her from the hearth, 
and, turning away, grumbled : * You oughtn't to stay out so 
late ; it makes you fit for nothing.' 

He was invisible now behind his paper, which he turned 
with a vicious crackle ; but when June came up to kiss him, 
he said: * Good-night, my darling,' in a tone so tremulous 
and unexpected, that it was all the girl could do to get out of 
the room without breaking into the fit of sobbing that lasted 
her well on into the night. 

When the door was closed, old Jolyon dropped his paper, 
and stared long and anxiously in front of him. 

* The beggar !' he thought. * I always knew she'd have 
trouble with him !' 

Uneasy doubts and suspicions, the more poignant that he 
felt himself powerless to check or control the march of 
events, came crowding upon him. 

Was the fellow going to jilt her ? He longed to go and 
say to him : * Look here, you sir ! Are you going to jilt my 
grand-daughter ?' But how could he ? Knowing little or 
nothing, he was yet certain, with his unerring astuteness, that 
there was something going on. He suspected Bosinney of 
being too much at Montpellier Square. 

* This fellow,' he thought, ' may not be a scamp ; his face 
is not a bad one, but he's a queer fish. I don't know what 
to make of him. I shall never know what to make of him ! 
They tell me he works like a nigger, but I see no good coming 
of it. He's unpractical, he has no method. When he comes 
here, he sits as glum as a monkey. If I ask him what wine 
he'll have, he says : " Thanks, any wine." If I offer him a 
cigar, he smokes it as if it were a twopenny German thing. 
I never see him looking at June as he ought to look at her ; 
and yet, he's not after her money. If she were to make a 
sign, he'd be off his bargain to-morrow. But she won't — 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 143 

not she ! She'll stick to him ! She's as obstinate as fate— 
she'll never let go !' 

Sighing deeply, he turned the paper ; in its columns per- 
chance he might find consolation. 

And upstairs in her room June sat at her open window, 
where the spring wind came, after its revel across the Park, 
to cool her hot cheeks and burn her heart. 



CHAPTER HI 

DRIVE WITH SWITHIN 

Two lines of a certain song in a certain famous old school's 
song-book run as follows : 

' How the buttons on his blue frock shone, tra-la-la ! 
How he carolled and he sang, like a bird ! . . .' 

Swithin did not exactly carol and sing like a bird, but he 
felt almost like endeavouring to hum a tune, as he stepped 
out of Hyde Park Mansions, and contemplated his horses 
drawn up before the door. 

The afternoon was as balmy as a day in June, and to 
complete the simile of the old song, he had put on a blue 
frock-coat, dispensing with an overcoat, after sending Adolf 
down three times to make sure that there was not the least 
suspicion of east :n the wind ; and the frock-coat was 
buttoned so tightly around his personable form, that, if the 
buttons did not shine, they might pardonably have done so. 
Majestic on the pavement he fitted on a pair of dog-skin 
gloves ; with his large bell-shaped top hat, and his great 
stature and bulk he looked too primeval for a Forsyte. 
His thick white hair, on which Adolf had bestowed a touch 
of pomatum, exhaled the fragrance of opoponax and cigars — 
the celebrated Swithin brand, for which he paid one hundred 
and forty shillings the hundred, and of which old Jolyon had 
unkindly said, he wouldn't smoke them at a gift j they 
wanted the stomach of a horse ! . . 

144 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 145 



< Adolf!' 
' Sare !' 



* The new plaid rug !' 

He would never teach that fellow to look smart ; and 
Mrs. Soames he felt sure, had an eye ! 

' The phaeton hood down ; I am going — to — drive — a — 
lady !' 

A pretty woman would want to show off her frock ; and 
well — he was going to drive a lady ! It was like a new 
beginning to the good old days. 

Ages since he had driven a woman ! The last time, if he 
remembered, it had been Juley ; the poor old soul had been 
as nervous as a cat the whole time, and so put him out of 
patience that, as he dropped her in the Bayswater Road, he 

had said : * Well I'm d d if I ever drive you again !' 

And he never had, not he ! 

Going up to his horses' heads, he examined their bits ; not 
that he knew anything about bits — he didn't pay his coach- 
man sixty pounds a year to do his work for him, that had 
never been his principle. Indeed, his reputation as a horsey 
man rested mainly on the fact that once, on Derby Day, he 
had been welshed by some thimble-riggers. But someone at 
the Club, after seeing him drive his grays up to the door — he 
always drove gray horses, you got more style for the money, 
some thought — had called him ' Four-in-hand Forsyte.' The 
name having reached his ears through that fellow Nicholas 
Treffry, old Jolyon's dead partner, the great driving man — 
notorious for more carriage accidents than any man in the 
kingdom — Swithin had ever after conceived it right to act 
up to it. The name had taken his fancy, not because he had 
ever driven four-in-hand, or was ever likely to, but because 
of something distinguished in the sound. Four-in-hand 
Forsyte ! Not bad ! Born too soon, Swithin had missed 
his vocation. Coming upon London twenty years later, 

6 



146 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

he could not have failed to have become a stockbroker, but at 
the time when he was obliged to select, this great profession 
had not as yet become the chief glory of the upper-middle 
class. He had literally been forced into auctioneering. 

Once in the driving seat, with the reins handed to him, 
and blinking over his pale old cheeks in the full sunlight, he 
took a slow look round. Adolf was already up behind; 
the cockaded groom at the horses' heads stood ready to let 
go; everything was prepared for the signal, and Swithin 
gave it. The equipage dashed forward, and before you 
could say Jack Robinson, with a rattle and flourish drew up 
at Soames's door. 

Irene came out at once, and stepped in — he afterward 
described it at Timothy's — ^as light as — er — Taglioni, no 
fuss about it, no wanting this or wanting that ;' and above 
all, Swithin dwelt on this, staring at Mrs. Septimus in a way 
that disconcerted her a good deal, ' no silly nervousness !' 
To Aunt Hester he portrayed Irene's hat. ' Not one of your 
great flopping things, sprawling about, and catching the dust, 

that women are so fond of nowadays, but a neat little ' 

he made a circular motion of his hand, ' white veil — capital 
taste.' 

'What was it made of?' inquired Aunt Hester, who 
manifested a languid but permanent excitement at any 
mention of dress. 

' Made of ?' returned Swithin ; * now hov/ should / know ?' 

He sank into silence so profound that Aunt Hester began to 
be afraid he had fallen into a trance. She did not try to 
rouse him herself, it not being her custom. 

' I wish somebody would come,' she thought ; * I don't 
like the look of him !' 

But suddenly Swithin returned to life. ' Made of ?' he 
wheezed out slowly, ' what should it be made of?' 

They had not gone four miles before Sv/ithin received the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 147 

impression that Irene liked driving with him. Her face was 
so soft behind that white veil, and her dark eyes shone so in 
the Spring light, that whenever he spoke she raised them to 
him and smiled. 

On Saturday morning Soames had found her at her 
writing-table with a note written to Swithin, putting him oft. 
Why did she want to put him off? he asked. She might 
put her own people off when she liked, he would not have 
her putting off his people ! 

She had looked at him intently, had torn up the note, and 
said : ' Very well !' 

And then she began writing another. He took a casual 
glance presently, and saw that it was addressed to Bosinney. 

' What are you writing to him about ?' he asked. 

Irene, looking at him again with that intent look, said 
quietly : ' Something he wanted me to do for him !' 

* Humph !' said Soames. ' Commissions ! You'll have 
your work cut out if you begin that sort of thing !' He 
said no more. 

Swithin opened his eyes at the mention of Robin Hill ; it 
was a long way for his horses, and he always dined at half- 
past seven, before the rush at the Club began ; the new chef 
took more trouble with an early dinner — a lazy rascal ! 

He would like to have a look at the house, however. A 
house appealed to any Forsyte, and especially to one who 
had been an auctioneer. After all he said the distance was 
nothing. When he was a younger m.an he had had riDoms 
at Richmond for many years, kept his carriage and pair 
there, and drove them up and down to business every day 
of his life. Four-in-hand Forsyte they called him ! His 
T-cart, his horses had been known from Hyde Park Corner 

to the Star and Garter. The Duke of Z wanted to 

get hold of them, would have given him double the money, 
but he had kept them ; know a good thing when you have 



148 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

it, eh ? A look of solemn pride came portentously on his 
shaven square old face, he rolled his head in his stand-up 
collar, like a turkey-cock preening himself. 

She was really a charming woman ! He enlarged upon 
her frock afterwards to Aunt Juley, who held up her hands 
at his way of putting it. 

Fitted her like a skin — tight as a drum ; that was how he 
liked 'em, all of a piece, none of your daverdy, scarecrow 
women ! He gazed at Mrs. Septimus Small, who took 
after James — long and thin. 

' There's style about her,' he went on, ' fit for a king ! 
And she's so quiet with it too !' 

' She seems to have made quite a conquest of you, any 
way,' drawled Aunt Hester from her corner. 

Swithin heard extremely well when anybody attacked him. 

' What's that ?' he said. ' I know a — pretty — woman 
when I see one, and all I can say is, I don't see the young 
man about that's fit for her ; but perhaps — you — do, come, 
perhaps — you — do !' 

* Oh ?' murmured Aunt Hester, *ask Juley !* 

Long before they reached Robin Hill, however, the un- 
accustomed airing had made him terribly sleepy ; he drove 
with his eyes closed, a life-time of deportment alone keeping 
his tall and bulky form from falling askew. 

Bosinney, who was watching, came out to meet them, 
and all three entered the house together ; Swithin in front 
making play with a stout gold-mounted Malacca cane, put 
into his hand by Adolf, for his knees were feeling the effects 
of their long stay in the same position. He had assumed his 
fur coat, to guard against the draughts of the unfinished house. 

The staircase — he said — was handsome ! the baronial 
style 1 They would want some statuary about ! He came 
to a standstill between the columns of the doorway into the 
inner court, and held out his cane inquiringly. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 149 

What was this to be — this vestibule, or whatever they 
called it ? But gazing at the skylight, inspiration came 
to him. 

< Ah ! the billiard-room !' 

When told it was to be a tiled court with plants in the 
centre, he turned to Irene : 

* Waste this on plants ? You take my advice and have a 
billiard table here !' 

Irene smiled. She had lifted her veil, banding it like a 
nun's coif across her forehead, and the smile of her dark eyes 
below this seemed to Swithin more charming than ever. He 
nodded. She would take his advice he saw. 

He had little to say of the drawing or dining-rooms, which 
he described as * spacious'; but fell into such raptures as he 
permitted to a man of his dignity, in the wine-cellar, to 
which he descended by stone steps, Bosinney going first 
with a light. 

* You'll have room here,' he said, ' for six or seven hundred 
dozen — a very pooty little cellar !' 

Bosinney having expressed the wish to show them the 
house from the copse below, Swithin came to a stop. 

' There's a fine view from here,' he remarked ; ' you 
haven't such a thing as a chair ?' 

A chair was brought him from Bosinney's tent. 

' You go down,' he said blandly ; * you two ! I'll sit here 
and look at the view.' 

He sat down by the oak tree, in the sun ; square and 
upright, with one hand stretched out, resting on the nob ot 
his cane, the other planted on his knee ; his fur coat thrown 
open, his hat, roofing with its flat top the pale square of his 
face ; his stare, very blank, fixed on the landscape. 

He nodded to them as they went off down through the 
fields. He was, indeed, not sorry to be left thus for a quiet 
moment of reflection. The air was balmy, not too much 



150 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

heat in the sun ; the prospect a fine one, a remarka — . His 
head fell a little to one side ; he jerked it up and thought : 
Odd ! He — ah ! They were waving to him from the 
bottom ! He put up his hand, and moved it more than 
once. They were active — the prospect was remar — . His 
head fell to the left, he jerked it up at once ; it fell to the 
right. It remained there ; he was asleep. 

And asleep, a sentinel on the top of the rise, he appeared 
to rule over this prospect — remarkable — like some image 
blocked out by the special artist of primeval Forsytes in 
Pagan days, to record the domination of mind over matter ! 

And all the unnumbered generations of his yeoman ances- 
tors, wont of a Sunday to stand akimbo surveying their little 
plots of land, their gray unmoving eyes hiding their instinct 
with its hidden roots of violence, their instinct for possession 
to the exclusion of all the world — all these unnumbered 
generations seemed to sit there with him on the top of 
the rise. 

But from him, thus slumbering, his jealous Forsyte spirit 
travelled far, into God-knows-what jungle of fancies ; with 
those two young people, to see v/hat they were doing down 
there in the copse — in the copse where the Spring was run- 
ning riot with the scent of sap and bursting buds, the song of 
birds innumerable, a carpet of bluebells and sweet growing 
things, and the sun caught like gold in the tops of the trees ; 
to see what they were doing, walking along there so close 
together on the path that was too narrow ; walking along 
there so close that they were always touching ; to watch 
Irene's eyes, like dark thieves, stealing the heart out of the 
Spring. And a great unseen chaperon, his spirit was there, 
stopping with them to look at the little furry corpse of a 
mole, not dead an hour, with his mushroom and silver coat 
untouched by the rain or dew ; watching over Irene's bent 
head, and the soft look of her pitying eyes ; and over that 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 151 

young man's head, gazing at her so hard, so strangely. 
Walking on with them, too, across the open space where a 
wood-cutter had been at work, where the bluebells v/ere 
trampled down, and a trunk had swayed and staggered down 
from its gashed stump. Climbing it with them, over, and 
on to the very edge of the copse, whence there stretched an 
undiscovered country, from far away in which came the 
sounds, ' Cuckoo — cuckoo !' 

Silent, standing with them there, and uneasy at their 
silence ! Very queer, very strange ! 

Then back again, as though guilty, through the wood — 
back to the cutting, still silent, amongst the songs of birds 
that never ceased, and the wild scent — hum ! what was it 
— like that herb they put in — back to the log across the path. 

And then unseen, uneasy, flapping above them, trying to 
make noises, his Forsyte spirit watched her balanced on the 
log, her pretty figure swaying, smiling down at that young 
man gazing up with such strange, shining eyes; slipping 
now — a-ah ! falling, o-oh ! sliding — down his breast ; her 
soft, warm body clutched, her head bent back from his 
lips ; his kiss ; her recoil ; his cry : * You must know — I 
love you !' Must know — indeed, a pretty ? Love ! Hah ! 

Swithin awoke ; virtue had gone out of him. He had a 
taste in his mouth. Where was he ? 

Damme ! He had been asleep ! 

He had dreamed something about a new soup, with a 
taste of mint in it. 

Those young people — where had they got to ? His left 
leg had pins and needles. 

' Adolf !' The rascal v/as not there ; the rascal was 
asleep somewhere. 

He stood up, tall, square, bulky in his fur, looking 
anxiously dov/n over the fields, and presently he saw them 
coming. 



152 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Irene was in front ; that young fellow — what had they 
nicknamed him — ^The Buccaneer'? — looked precious hang- 
dog there behind her ; had got a flea in his ear, he shouldn't 
wonder. Serve him right, taking her down all that way to 
look at the house ! The proper place to look at a house 
from was the lawn. 

They saw him. He extended his arm, and moved it 
spasmodically to encourage them. But they had stopped. 
What were they standing there for, talking — talking? 
They came on again. She had been giving him a rub, he 
had not the least doubt of it, and no wonder, over a house 
like that — a great ugly thing, not the sort of house he was 
accustomed to. 

He looked intently at their faces, with his pale, immovable 
stare. That young man looked very queer ! 

' You'll never make anything of this !' he said tartly, 
pointing at the mansion ; ' too new-fangled !' 

Bosinney gazed at him as though he had not heard ; and 
Swithin afterwards described him to Aunt Hester as ' an 
extravagant sort of fellow — very odd way of looking at you 
— a bumpy beggar !' 

What gave rise to this sudden piece of psychology he did 
not state ; possibly Bosinney's prominent forehead and cheek- 
bones and chin, or something hungry in his face, which 
quarrelled with Swithin's conception of the calm satiety that 
should characterize the perfect gentleman. 

He brightened up at the mention of tea. He had a con- 
tempt for tea — his brother Jolyon had been in tea ; made a 
lot of money by it — but he was so thirsty, and had such a 
taste in his mouth, that he was prepared to drink anything. 
He longed to inform Irene of the taste in his mouth — she 
was so sympathetic — but it would not be a distinguished 
thing to do ; he rolled his tongue round, and faintly smacked 
it against his palate. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 153 

In a far corner of the tent Adolf was bending his cat-like 
moustaches over a kettle. He left it at once to draw the 
cork of a pint-bottle of champagne. Swithin smiled, and, 
nodding at Bossiney, said : * Why, you're quite a Monte 
Cristo 1' This celebrated novel — one of the half-dozen he 
had read — had produced an extraordinary impression on his 
mind. 

Taking his glass from the table, he held it away from him 
to scrutinize the colour ; thirsty as he was, it was not likely 
that he was going to drink trash ! Then, placing it to his 
lips, he took a sip. 

'A very nice wine,' he said at last, passing it before his 
nose ; * not the equal of my Heidsieck !' 

It was at this moment that the idea came to him which he 
afterwards imparted at Timothy's in this nutshell : 'I shouldn't 
wonder a bit if that architect chap were sweet upon Mrs. 
Soames !' 

And from this moment his pale, round eyes never ceased 
to bulge with the interest of his discovery. 

* The fellow,' he said to Mrs. Septimus, * follows her about 
with his eyes like a dog — the bumpy beggar ! I don't 
wonder at it — she's a very charming woman, and, I should 
say, the pink of discretion !' A vague consciousness of per- 
fume clinging about Irene, like that from a flower with half- 
closed petals and a passionate heart, moved him to the creation 
of this image. ' But I wasn't sure of it,' he said, * till I saw 
him pick up her handkerchief.' 

Mrs. Small's eyes boiled with excitement. 

* And did he give it her back ?' she asked. 

* Give it back?' said Swithin: *I saw him slobber on it 
when he thought I wasn't looking !' 

Mrs. Small gasped — too interested to speak. 

* But she gave him no encouragement,' went on Swithin ; 
he stopped, and stared for a minute or two in the way that 

6* 



154 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

alarmed Aunt Hester so — he had suddenly recollected that, 
as they were starting back in the phaeton, she had given 
Bosinney her hand a second time, and let it stay there too. . . . 
He had touched his horses smartly with the whip, anxious to 
get her all to himself. But she had looked back, and she had 
not answered his first question ; neither had he been able to 
see her face — she had kept it hanging down. 

There is somewhere a picture, which Swithin has not seen, 
of a man sitting on a rock, and by him, immersed in the still, 
green water, a sea-nymph lying on her back, with her hand 
on her naked breast. She has a half-smile on her face — a 
smile of hopeless surrender and of secret joy. Seated by 
Swithin's side, Irene may have been smiling like that. 

When, warmed by champagne, he had her all to him- 
self, he unbosomed himself of his wrongs ; of his smothered 
resentment against the new chef at the club ; his worry 
over the house in Wigmore Street, where the rascally 
tenant had gone bankrupt through helping his brother-in- 
law — as if charity did not begin at home ; of his deafness, 
too, and that pain he sometimes got in his right side. She 
listened, her eyes swimming under their lids. He thought 
she was thinking deeply of his troubles, and pitied himself 
terribly. Yet in his fur coat, with frogs across the breast, 
his top hat aslant, driving this beautiful woman, he had never 
felt more distinguished. 

A coster, however, taking his girl for a Sunday airing, 
seemed to have the same impression about himself. This 
person had flogged his donkey into a gallop alongside, and sat, 
upright as a waxwork, in his shallopy chariot, his chin settled 
pompously on a red handkerchief, like Swithin's on his full 
cravat ; while his girl, with the ends of a fly-blown boa 
floating out behind, aped a woman of fashion. Her swain 
moved a stick with a ragged bit of string dangling from the 
end, reproducing with strange fidelity the circular flourish 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 155 

of Swithin's whip, and rolled his head at his lady with a leer 
that had a weird likeness to Swithin's primeval stare. 

Though for a time unconscious of the lowly ruffian's 
presence, Swithin presently took it into his head that he was 
being guyed. He laid his whip-lash across the mare's flank. 
The two chariots, however, by some unfortunate fatality 
continued abreast. Swithin's yellow, puffy face grew red ; 
he raised his whip to lash the costermonger, but was saved 
from so far forgetting his dignity by a special intervention of 
Providence. A carriage driving out through a gate forced 
phaeton and donkey-cart into proximity ; the wheels grated, 
the lighter vehicle skidded, and was overturned. 

Swithin did not look round. On no account would he 
have pulled up to help the ruffian. Serve him right if he had 
broken his neck ! 

But he could not if he would. The grays had taken 
alarm. The phaeton swung from side to side, and people 
raised frightened faces as they went dashing past. Swithin's 
great arms, stretched at full length, tugged at the reins. His 
cheeks were puffed, his lips compressed, his swollen face was 
of a dull, angry red. 

Irene had her hand on the rail, and at every lurch she 
gripped it tightly. Swithin heard her ask : 

* Are we going to have an accident. Uncle Swithin ?' 

He gasped out between his pants : ' It's nothing ; a — little 
fresh !' 

* I've never been in an accident.' 

' Don't you move !' He took a look at her. She was 
smiling, perfectly calm. ' Sit still,' he repeated. ' Never 
fear, I'll get you home !' 

And in the midst of all his terrible efforts, he was surprised 
to hear her answer in a voice not like her own : 

'/ dont care if I never get homeP 

The carriage giving a terrific lurch, Swithin's exclamation 



156 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

was jerked back into his throat. The horses, winded by the 
rise of a hill, now steadied to a trot, and finally stopped of 
their own accord. 

* When ' — Swithin described it at Timothy's — ' I pulled 
'em up, there she was as cool as myself. God bless my soul ! 
she behaved as if she didn't care whether she broke her neck 
or not ! What was it she said : " I don't care if I never get 
home !" ' Leaning over the handle of his cane, he wheezed 
out, to Mrs. Small's terror : ' And I'm not altogether 
surprised, with a finickin' feller like young Soames for a 
husband !' 

It did not occur to him to wonder what Bosinney had 
done after they had left him there alone ; whether he had 
gone wandering about like the dog to which Swithin had 
compared him; wandering down to that copse where the 
spring was still in riot, the cuckoo still calling from afar ; 
gone down there with her handkerchief pressed to his lips, 
its fragrance mingling with the scent of mint and thyme. 
Gone down there with such a wild, exquisite pain in his 
heart that he could have cried out among the trees. Or 
what, indeed, the fellow had done. In fact, till he came to 
Timothy's, Swithin had forgotten all about him. 



CHAPTER IV 

JAMES GOES TO SEE FOR HIMSELF 

Those ignorant of Forsyte 'Change would not, perhaps, 
foresee all the stir made by Irene's visit to the house. 

After Swithin had related at Timothy's the full story 
of his memorable drive, the same, w^ith the least suspicion of 
curiosity, the merest touch of malice, and a real desire to do 
good, was passed on to June. 

' And what a dreadful thing to say, my dear !' ended Aunt 
Juley ; * that about not going home. What did she mean r' 

It was a strange recital for the girl. She heard it flushing 
painfully, and, suddenly, with a curt handshake, took her 
departure. 

' Almost rude !' Mrs. Small said to Aunt Hester, when 
June was gone. 

The proper construction was put on her reception of the 
news. She was upset. Something was therefore very wrong. 
Odd ! She and Irene had been such friends ! 

It all tallied too well with whispers and hints that had been 
going about for some time past. Recollections of Euphemia's 
account of the visit to the theatre — Mr. Bosinney always at 
Soames's? Oh, indeed ! Yes, of course, he would be — 
about the house ! Nothing open. Only upon the greatest, 
the most important provocation was it necessary to say any- 
thing open on Forsyte 'Change. This machine was too 
nicely adjusted ; a hint, the merest trifling expression of regret 

157 



158 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

or doubt, sufficed to set the family soul — so sympathetic — 
vibrating. No one desired that harm should come of these 
vibrations — far from it ; they were set in motion with the 
best intentions, with the feeling that each member of the 
family had a stake in the family soul. 

And much kindness lay at the bottom of the gossip ; it 
would frequently result in visits of condolence being made, 
in accordance with the customs of Society, thereby con- 
ferring a real benefit upon the sufferers, and affording 
consolation to the sound, who felt pleasantly that someone 
at all events was suffering from that from which they them- 
selves were not suffering. In fact, it was simply a desire to 
keep things well-aired, the desire which animates the Public 
Press, that brought James, for instance, into communication 
with Mrs. Septimus, Mrs. Septimus with the little Nicholases, 
the little Nicholases with who-knows-whom, and so on. 
That great class to which they had risen, and now belonged, 
demanded a certain candour, a still more certain reticence. 
This combination guaranteed their membership. 

Many of the younger Forsytes felt, very naturally, and 
would openly declare, that they did not want their affairs 
pried into ; but so powerful was the invisible, magnetic 
current of family gossip, that for the life of them they could not 
help knowing all about everything. It was felt to be hopeless. 

One of them (young Roger) had made an heroic attempt 
to free the rising generation, by speaking of Timothy as an 
' old cat.' The effort had justly recoiled upon himself ; the 
words, coming round in the most delicate way to Aunt 
Juley's ears, were repeated by her in a shocked voice to Mrs. 
Roger, whence they returned again to young Roger. 

And, after all, it was only the wrong-doers who suffered ; 
as, for instance, George, when he lost all that money play- 
ing billiards ; or young Roger himself, when he was so dread- 
fully near to marrying the girl to whom, it was whispered, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 159 

he was already married by the laws of Nature ; or again 
Irene, who was thought, rather than said, to be in danger. 

All this was not only pleasant but salutary. And it made 
so many hours go lightly at Timothy's in the Bayswater 
Road ; so many hours that must otherwise have been sterile 
and heavy to those three who lived there ; and Timothy's 
was but one of hundreds of such homes in this City of 
London — the homes of neutral persons of the secure classes, 
who are out of the battle them.selves, and must find their 
reason for existing, in the battles of others. 

But for the sweetness of family gossip, it must indeed have 
been lonely there. Rumours and tales, reports, surmises — 
were they not the children of the house, as dear and precious 
as the prattling babes the brother and sisters had missed in 
their own journey ? To talk about them, was as near as 
they could get to the possession of all those children and 
grandchildren after whom their soft hearts yearned. For 
though it is doubtful whether Timothy's heart yearned, it is 
indubitable that at the arrival of each fresh Forsyte child he 
was quite upset. 

Useless for young Roger to say, 'Old cat !' — for Euphe- 
mia to hold up her hands and cry : ' Oh ! those three !' and 
break into her silent laugh with the squeak at the end. 
Useless, and not too kind. 

The situation which at this stage might seem, and 
especially tO| Forsyte eyes, strange — not to say ' impossible ' 
— was, in view of certain facts, not so strange after all. 

Some things had been lost sight of. 

And first, in the security bred of many harmless marriages, 
it had been forgotten that Love is no hot-house flower, but a 
wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine^ 
sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind 
A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the 
hedge of our gardens, we call a flower ; and when it blooms 



i6o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

outside we call a weed ; but, flower or weed, whose scent 
and colour are always wild ! 

And further — the facts and figures of their own lives being 
against the perception of this truth — it was not generally 
recognised by Forsytes that, where this wild plant sprii gs, 
men and women are but moths around the pale, flame-like 
blossom. 

It was long since young Jolyon's escapade — there was 
danger of a tradition again arising that people in their posi- 
tion never cross the hedge to pluck that flower ; that one 
could reckon on having love, like measles, once in due season, 
and getting over it comfortably for all time — as with measles, 
on a soothing mixture of butter and honey — in the arms of 
wedlock. 

Of all those whom this strange rumour about Bosinney 
and Mrs. Soames reached, James was the most affected. He 
had long forgotten how he had hovered, lanky and pale, in 
side whiskers of chestnut hue, round Emily, in the days 
of his own courtship. He had long forgotten the small 
house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the 
early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten 
the early days, not the small house, a Forsyte never forgot a 
house — he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four 
hundred pounds. 

He had long forgotten those days, with their hopes and 
fears and doubts about the prudence of the match (for Emily, 
though pretty, had nothing, and he himself at that time 
was making a bare thousand a year), and that strange, irre- 
sistible attraction that had drawn him on, till he felt he 
must die if he could not marry the girl with the fair hair, 
looped so neatly back, the fair arms emerging from a skin- 
tight bodice, the fair form decorously shielded by a cage of 
really stupendous circumference. 

James had passed through the fire, but he had passed also 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY i6i 

through the river of years that washes out the fire ; he had 
experienced the saddest experience of all — forgetfulness of 
what it was like to be in love. 

Forgotten ! Forgotten so long, that he had forgotten 
even that he had forgotten. 

And now this rumour had come upon him, this rumour 
about his son's wife ; very vague, a shadow dodging among 
the palpable, straightforward appearances of things, unreal, 
unintelligible as a ghost, but carrying with it, like a ghost, 
inexplicable terror. 

He tried to bring it home to his mind, but it was no more 
use than trying to apply to himself one of those tragedies he 
read of daily in his evening paper. He simply could not. 
There could be nothing in it. It was all their nonsense. 
She didn't get on with Soames as well as she might, but she 
was a good little thing — a good little thing ! 

Like the not inconsiderable majority of men, James 
relished a nice little bit of scandal, and would say, in a 
matter-of-fact tone, licking his lips, *Yes, yes — she and 
young Dyson ; they tell me they're living at Monte Carlo !' 

But the significance of an affair of this sort — of its past, 
its present, or its future — had never struck him. What it 
meant, what torture and raptures had gone to its construc- 
tion, what slow, overmastering fate had lurked within the 
facts, very naked, sometimes sordid, but generally spicy, 
presented to his gaze. He was not in the habit of blaming, 
praising, drawing deductions, or generalizing at all about such 
things ; he simply listened rather greedily, and repeated what 
he was told, finding considerable benefit from the practice, as 
from the consumption of a sherry and bitters before a meal. 

Now, however, that such a thing — or rather the rumour, 
the breath of it — had come near him personally, he felt as in 
a fog, which filled his mouth full of a bad, thick flavour, 
and made it difficult to draw breath. 



i62 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

A scandal ! A possible scandal ! 

To repeat this word to himself thus was the only way in 
which he could focus or make it thinkable. He had for- 
gotten the sensations necessary for understanding the pro- 
gress, fate, or meaning of any such business; he simply 
could no longer grasp the possibilities of people running any 
risk for the sake of passion. 

Amongst all those persons of his acquaintance, who went 
into the City day after day and did their business there, 
whatever it was, and in their leisure moments bought shares, 
and houses, and ate dinners, and played games, as he was 
told, it would have seemed to him ridiculous to suppose that 
there were any who would run risks for the sake of anything 
so recondite, so figurative, as passion. 

Passion ! He seemed, indeed, to have heard of it, and 
rules such as ' A young man and a young woman ought 
never to be trusted together ' were fixed in his mind as the 
parallels of latitude are fixed on a map (for all Forsytes, 
when it comes to * bed-rock ' matters of fact, have quite a 
fine taste in realism) ; but as to anything else — well, he could 
only appreciate it at all through the catch-word * scandal.' 

Ah ! but there was no truth in it — could not be. He 
was not afraid ; she was really a good little thing. But 
there it was when you got a thing like that into your mind. 
And James was of a nervous temperament — one of those 
men whom things will not leave alone, who suffer tortures 
from anticipation and indecision. For fear of letting some- 
thing slip that he might otherwise secure, he was physically 
unable to make up his mind until absolutely certain that, by 
not making it up, he would suffer loss. 

In life, however, there were many occasions when the 
business of making up his mind did not even rest with him- 
self, and this was one of them. 

What could he do ? Talk it over with Soames ? That 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 163 

would only make matters worse. And, after all, there was 
nothing in it, he felt sure. 

It was all that house. He had mistrusted the idea from 
the first. What did Soames want to go into the country 
for ? And, if he must go spending a lot of money building 
himself a house, why not have a first-rate man, instead of 
this young Bosinney, whom nobody knew anything about ? 
He had told them how it would be. And he had heard that 
the house was costing Soames a pretty penny beyond what 
he had reckoned on spending. 

This fact, more than any other, brought home to James 
the real danger of the situation. It was always like this with 
these ' artistic ' chaps ; a sensible man should have nothing 
to say to them. He had warned Irene, too. And see what 
had come of it ! 

And it suddenly sprang into James's mind that he ought 
to go and see for himself. In the midst of that fog of 
uneasiness in which his mind was enveloped the notion 
that he could go and look at the house afforded him inex- 
plicable satisfaction. It may have been simply the decision 
to do something — more possibly the fact that he was going 
to look at a house — that gave him relief. 

He felt that in staring at an edifice of bricks and mortar, 
of wood and stone, built by the suspected man himself, he 
would be looking into the heart of that rumour about Irene. 

Without saying a word, therefore, to anyone, he took a 
hansom to the station and proceeded by train to Robin Hill ; 
thence — there being no ' flies,' in accordance with the custom 
of the neighbourhood — he found himself obliged to walk. 

He started slowly up the hill, his angular knees and high 
shoulders bent complainingly, his eyes fixed on his feet, yet 
neat for all that, in his high hat and his frock-coat, on which 
was the speckless gloss imparted by perfect superintendence. 
Emily saw to that ; that is, she did not, of course, see to it — 



i64 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

people of good position not seeing to each other's buttons, 
and Emily was of good position — but she saw that the 
butler saw to it. 

He had to ask his way three times ; on each occasion he 
repeated the directions given him, got the man to repeat 
them, then repeated them a second time, for he was naturally 
of a talkative disposition, and one could not be too careful in 
a new neighbourhood. 

He kept assuring them that it was a new house he was 
looking for ; it was only, however, when he was shown the 
roof through the trees that he could feel really satisfied that 
he had not been directed entirely wrong. 

A heavy sky seemed to cover the world with the gray 
whiteness of a whitewashed ceiling. There was no fresh- 
ness or fragrance in the air. On such a day even British 
workmen scarcely cared to do more than they were obliged, 
and moved about their business without the drone of talk 
that whiles away the pangs of labour. 

Through spaces of the unfinished house, shirt-sleeved 
figures worked slowly, and sounds arose — spasmodic knock- 
ings, the scraping of metal, the sawing of wood, with the 
rumble of wheelbarrows along boards ; now and again the 
foreman's dog, tethered by a string to an oaken beam, 
whimpered feebly, with a sound like the singing of a kettle. 

The fresh-fitted window-panes, daubed each with a white 
patch in the centre, stared out at James like the eyes of a 
blind dog. 

And the building chorus went on, strident and mirth- 
less under the gray-white sky. But the thrushes, hunting 
amongst the fresh-turned earth for worms, were silent quite. 

James picked his way among the heaps of gravel — the 
drive was being laid — till he came opposite the porch. Here 
he stopped and raised his eyes. There was but little to see 
from this point of view, and that little he took in at once; 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 165 

but he stayed in this position many minutes, and who shall 
know of what he thought. 

His china-blue eyes under white eyebrows that jutted out 
in little horns, never stirred ; the long upper lip of his 
wide mouth, between the fine white whiskers, twitched once 
or twice ; it was easy to see from that anxious, rapt expres- 
sion, whence Soames derived the handicapped look which 
sometimes came upon his face. James might have been 
saying to himself : ' I don*t know — life's a tough job.' 

In this position Bosinney surprised him. 

James brought his eyes down from whatever bird's-nest 
they had been looking for in the sky to Bosinney's face, on 
which was a kind of humorous scorn. 

' How do you do, Mr. Forsyte ? Come down to see for 
yourself ?' 

It was exactly what James, as we know, had come for, 
and he was made correspondingly uneasy. He held out his 
hand, however, saying : 

* How are you ?' without looking at Bosinney. 

The latter made way for him with an ironical smile. 

James scented something suspicious in this courtesy. * I 
should like to walk round the outside first,' he said, ' and see 
what you've been doing 1' 

A flagged terrace of rounded stones with a list of two or 
three inches to port had been laid round the south-east and 
south-west sides of the house, and ran with a bevelled edge 
into mould, which was in preparation for being turfed ; along 
this terrace James led the way. 

* Now what did this cost ?' he asked, when he saw the 
terrace extending round the corner. 

* What should you think ?' inquired Bosinney. 

* How should I know V replied James somewhat non- 
plussed ; * two or three hundred, I dare say !' 

* The exact sum 1' 



i66 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

James gave him a sharp look, but the architect appeared 
unconscious, and he put the answer down to mishearing. 

On arriving at the garden entrance, he stopped to look at 
the view. 

' That ought to come down,' he said, pointing to the oak-tree. 

' You think so ? You think that with the tree there you 
don't get enough view for your money ?' 

Again James eyed him suspiciously — this young man had 
a peculiar way of putting things : ' Well,' he said, with a 
perplexed, nervous emphasis, *I don't see what you want 
with a tree.' 

* It shall come down to-morrow,' said Bosinney. 

James was alarmed. * Oh,' he said, ' don't go saying I 
said it was to come down ! / know nothing about it !' 

' No ?' 

James went on in a fluster : ' Why, what should I know 
about it ? It's nothing to do with me ! You do it on your 
own responsibility.' 

* You'll allow me to mention your name ?' 

James grew more and more alarmed : ' I don't know what 
you want mentioning my name for,' he muttered ; * you'd 
better leave the tree alone. It's not your tree !' 

He took out a silk handkerchief and wiped his brow. 
They entered the house. Like Swithin, James was im- 
pressed by the inner court-yard. 

' You must have spent a dooce of a lot of money here,' he 
said, after staring at the columns and gallery for some time. 

* Now, what did it cost to put up those columns ?' 

' I can't tell you off-hand,' thoughtfully answered Bosinney, 

* but I know it was a deuce of a lot !' 

' I should think so,' said James. ' I should ' He 

caught the architect's eye, and broke off. And now, when- 
ever he came to anything of which he desired to know the 
cost, he stifled that curiosity. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 167 

Bosinney appeared determined that he should see every- 
thing, and had not James been of too ^ noticing * a nature, 
he would certainly have found himself going round the 
house a second time. He seemed so anxious to be asked 
questions, too, that James felt he must be on his guard. He 
began to suffer from his exertions, for, though wiry enough 
for a man of his long build, he was seventy-five years old. 

He grew discouraged ; he seemed no nearer to anything, 
had not obtained from his inspection any of the knowledge 
he had vaguely hoped for. He had merely increased his 
dislike and mistrust of this young man, who had tired him 
out with his politeness, and in whose manner he now 
certainly detected mockery. 

The fellow was sharper than he had thought, and better- 
looking than he had hoped. He had a ' don't care ' appear- 
ance that James, to whom risk was the most intolerable 
thing in life, did not appreciate ; a peculiar smile, too, coming 
when least expected ; and very queer eyes. He reminded 
James, as he said afterwards, of a hungry cat. This was as 
near as he could get, in conversation with Emily, to a descrip- 
tion of the peculiar exasperation, velvetiness, and mockery, 
of which Bosinney 's manner had been composed. 

At last, having seen all that was to be seen, he came out 
again at the door where he had gone in j and now, feeling 
that he was wasting time and strength and money, all for 
nothing, he took the courage of a Forsyte in both hands, 
and, looking sharply at Bosinney, said : 

' I dare say you see a good deal of my daughter-in-law ; 
now, what does she think of the house ? But she hasn't 
seen it, I suppose r' 

This he said, knowing all about Irene's visit — not, of 
course, that there was anything in the visit, except that 
extraordinary remark she had made about ^ not caring to get 
home ' — and the story of how June had taken the news ! 



1 68 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He had determined, by this way of putting the question, 
to give Bosinney a chance, as he said to himself. 

The latter was long in answering, but kept his eyes with 
uncomfortable steadiness on James. 

* She has seen the house, but I can't tell you what she 
thinks of it.' 

Nervous and baffled, James was constitutionally prevented 
from letting the matter drop. 

*■ Oh !' he said, * she has seen it ? Soames brought her 
down, I suppose ?' 

Bosinney smilingly replied : * Oh, no T 

* What, did she come down alone ?' 
'Oh, no!' 

* Then — who brought her ?' 

*I really don't know whether I ought to tell you who 
brought her.' 

To James, who knew that it was Swithin, this answer 
appeared incomprehensible. 

' Why !' he stammered, ' you know that ' but he 

stopped, suddenly perceiving his danger. 

' Well,' he said, ' if you don't want to tell me, I suppose 
you won't ! Nobody tells me anything.' 

Somewhat to his surprise Bosinney asked him a ques- 
tion. 

* By the by,' he said, ' could you tell me if there are likely 
to be any more of you coming down ? I should like to be 
on the spot !' 

'Any more?' said James bewildered, 'who should there be 
more ? I don't know of any more. Good-bye.' 

Looking at the ground he held out his hand, crossed the 
palm of it with Bosinney's, and taking his umbrella just 
above the silk, walked away along the terrace. 

Before he turned the corner he glanced back, and saw 
Bosinney following him slowly — ' slinking along the wall ' as 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 169 

he put ft to himself, * like a great cat.' He paid no attention 
when the young fellow raised his hat. 

Outside the drive, and out of sight, he slackened his pace 
still more. Very slowly, more bent than when he came, 
lean, hungry, and disheartened, he made his way back to the 
station. 

The Buccaneer, watching him go so sadly home, felt sorry 
perhaps for his behaviour to the old man. 



CHAPTER V 

SOAMES AND BOSINNEY CORRESPOND 

James said nothing to his son of this visit to the houst ; out. 
having occasion to go to Timothy's one morning on a matter 
connected vi^ith a drainage scheme which was being forced 
by the sanitary authorities on his brother, he mentioned it 
there. 

It was not, he said, a bad house. He could see that a good 
deal could be miade of it. The fellow was clever in his way, 
though what it was going to cost Soames before it was done 
with he didn't know. 

Euphemia Forsyte, who happened to be in the room — she 
had come round to borrow the Rev. Mr. Scoles' last novel, 
' Passion and Paregoric,' which was having such a vogue — 
chimed in. 

' I saw Irene yesterday at the Stores ; she and Mr. Bosinncy 
were having a nice little chat in the Groceries.' 

It was thus, simply, that she recorded a scene which had 
really made a deep and complicated impression on her. She 
had been hurrying to the silk department of the Church and 
Commercial Stores — that Institution than which, with its 
admirable system, admitting only guaranteed persons on a 
basis of payment before delivery, no emporium can be 
more highly recommended to Forsytes — to match a piece of 
prunella silk for her mother, who was waiting in the carriage 
outside. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 171 

Passing through the Groceries her eye was unpleasantly 
attracted by the back view of a very beautiful figure. It 
was so charmingly proportioned, so balanced, and so well 
clothed, that Euphemia's instinctive propriety was at once 
alarmed; such figures, she knew, by intuition rather than 
experience, were rarely connected with virtue — certainly 
never in her mind, for her own back was somewhat difficult 
to fit. 

Her suspicions were fortunately confirmed. A young 
man coming from the Drugs had snatched off" his hat, and 
was accosting the lady with the unknown back. 

It was then that she saw with whom she had to deal ; the 
lady was undoubtedly Mrs. Soames, the young man Mr. 
Bosinney. Concealing herself rapidly over the purchase of a 
box of Tunisian dates, for she was impatient of awkwardly 
meeting people with parcels in her hands, and at the busy 
time of the morning, she was thus quite unintentionally an 
interested observer of their little interview. 

Mrs. Soames, usually somewhat pale, had a delightful 
colour in her cheeks; and Mr. Bosinney's manner was 
strange, though attractive (she thought him rather a dis- 
tinguished-looking man, and George's name for him, ' The 
Buccaneer ' — about which there was something romantic — 
quite charming). He seemed to be pleading. Indeed, they 
talked so earnestly — or, rather, he talked so earnestly, for Mrs. 
Soames did not say much — that they caused, inconsiderately, 
an eddy in the traffic. One nice old General, going towards 
Cigars, was obliged to step quite out of the way, and chancing 
to look up and see Mrs. Soames's face, he actually took off 
his hat, the old fool ! So like a man ! 

But it was Mrs. Soames' eyes that worried Euphemia. 
She never once looked at Mr. Bosinney until he moved on, 
and then she looked after him. And, oh, that look ! 

On that look Euphemia had spent much anxious thought. 



172 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

It is not too much to say that it had hurt her with its dark, 
lingering softness, for all the world as though the woman 
wanted to drag him back, and unsay something she had been 
saying. 

Ah, well, she had had no time to go deeply into the 
matter just then, with that prunella silk on her hands ; but 
she was ' very intriguee — very !' She had just nodded to 
Mrs. Soames, to show her that she had seen ; and, as she 
confided, in talking it over afterwards, to her chum Francie 
(Roger's daughter), * Didn't she look caught out just ? . . .' 

James, most averse at the first blush to accepting any news 
confirmatory of his own poignant suspicions, took her up at 
once. 

*■ Oh,' he said, * they'd be after wall-papers no doubt.' 

Euphemia smiled. * In the Groceries ?' she said softly ; 
and, taking * Passion and Paregoric ' from the table, added : 
' And so you'll lend me this, dear Auntie ? Good-bye !' 
and went away. 

James left almost immediately after ; he was late as 
it was. 

When he reached the office of Forsyte, Bustard and 
Forsyte, he found Soames sitting in his revolving chair, 
drawing up a defence. The latter greeted his father with a 
curt good-morning, and, taking an envelope from his pocket, 
said : 

* It may interest you to look through this.' 
James read as follows : 

* 309D, Sloane Street, 
* May I 5. 

* Dear Forsyte, 

* The construction of your house being now com- 
pleted, my duties as architect have come to an end. If I am 
to go on with the business of decoration, which at youi 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 173 

request I undertook, I should like you to clearly understand 
that I must have a free hand. 

* You never come down without suggesting something 
that goes counter to my scheme. I have here three letters 
from you, each of which recommends an article I should 
never dream of putting in. I had your father here yesterday 
afternoon, who made further valuable suggestions. 

' Please make up your mind, therefore, whether you want 
me to decorate for you, or to retire, which on the whole I 
should prefer to do. 

' But understand that, if I decorate, I decorate alone, 
without interference of any sort. 

* If I do the thing, I will do it thoroughly, but I must 
have a free hand. 

' Yours truly, 

* Philip Bosinney.' 

The exact and immediate cause of this letter cannot, of 
course, be told, though it is not improbable that Bosinney 
may have been moved by some sudden revolt against his 
position towards Soames — that eternal position of Art 
towards Property — which is so admirably summed up, ca 
the back of the most indispensable of modern appliances, in 
a sentence comparable to the very finest in Tacitus : 

Thos. T. Sorrow, 

Inventor. 

Bert. M. Padland, 

Proprietor. 

* What are you going to say to him ?' James asked. 
Soames did not even turn his head. * I haven't made up 

my mind,' he said, and went on with his defence. 

A client of his, having put some buildings on a piece of 
ground that did not belong to him, had been suddenly and 



174 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

most irritatingly warned to take them off again. After care- 
fully going into the facts, however, Soames had seen his way 
to advise that his client had what was known as a title by 
possession, and that, though undoubtedly the ground did not 
belong to him, he was entitled to keep it, and had better do 
so ; and he was now following up this advice by taking steps 
io — as the sailors say — * make it so.' 

He had a distinct reputation for sound advice ; people 
saying of him : ' Go to young Forsyte — a long-headed 
fellow !' and he prized this reputation highly. 

His natural taciturnity was in his favour ; nothing could 
be more calculated to give people, especially people with 
property (Soames had no other clients), the impression that 
he was a safe man. And he was safe. Tradition, habit, 
education, inherited aptitude, native caution, all joined to 
form a solid professional honesty, superior to temptation from 
the very fact that it was built on an innate avoidance of 
risk. How could he fall, when his soul abhorred circum- 
stances which render a fall possible — a man cannot fall off 
the floor ! 

And those countless Forsytes, who, in the course of 
innumerable transactions concerned with property of all 
sorts (from wives to water rights), had occasion for the 
services of a safe man, found it both reposeful and profitable 
to confide in Soames. That slight superciliousness of his, 
com^bined with an air of mousing amongst precedents, v/as 
ill his favour too — a man would not be supercilious unless he 
knew ! 

He vv^as really at the head of the business, for though 
James still came nearly every day to see for himself, he did 
little now but sit in his chair, twist his legs, slightly confuse 
things already decided, and presently go away again, and the 
other partner. Bustard, was a poor thing, who did a great 
deal of work, but whose opinion was never taken. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 175 

So Soames went steadily on with his defence. Yet it 
would be idle to say that his mind was at ease. He was 
suffering from a sense of impending trouble, that had haunted 
him for som.e time past. He tried to think it physical — a 
condition of his liver — but knev/ that it was not. 

He looked at his v/atch. In a quarter of an hour he was 
due at the General Meeting of the Nev/ Colliery Company 
— one of Uncle Jolyon's concerns ; he should see Uncle 
Jolyon there, and say somiething to him about Bosinney — he 
iiad not made up his mind what, but something — in any 
case he should not answer this letter until he had seen Uncle 
Jolyon. He got up and methodically put away the draft of 
his defence. Going into a dark little cupboard, he turned up 
the light, washed his hands with a piece of brown Windsor 
soap, and dried them on a roller towel. Then he brushed 
his hair, paying strict attention to the parting, turned down 
the light, took his hat, and saying he would be back at half- 
past two, stepped into the Poultr)-. 

It was not far to the Offices of the New Collier}' Com- 
pany in Ironmonger Lane, where, and not at the Cannon 
Street Hotel, in accordance with the m.ore ambitious practice 
of other companies, the General Meeting was always held. 
Old Jolyon had from the first set his face against the Press. 
What business — he said — had the Public with his concerns ! 

Soames arrived on the stroke of time, and took his seat 
alongside the Board, who, in a row, each Director behind his 
own inkpot, faced their Shareholders. 

In the centre of this row old Jolyon, conspicuous in his 
black, tightly-buttoned frock-coat and his white moustaches, 
was leaning back with finger tips crossed on a copy of the 
Directors' report and accounts. 

On his right hand, always a little larger than life, sat the 
Secretary, * Down-by-the-starn ' Hemmings ; an all-too-sad 
sadness beaming in his fine eyes ; his iron-gray beard, in 



176 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

mourning like the rest of him, giving the feeling of an all- 
too-black tie behind it. 

The occasion indeed was a melancholy one, only six weeks 
having elapsed since that telegram had come from Scorrier, 
the mining expert, on a private mission to the Mines, 
informing them that Pippin, their Superintendent, had 
committed suicide in endeavouring, after his extraordinary 
two years' silence, to write a letter to his Board. That 
letter was on the table now ; it would be read to the Share- 
holders, who would of course be put into possession of ail 
the facts. 

Hemmings had often said to Soames, standing with his 
coat-tails divided before the fireplace : 

'What our Shareholders don't know about our affairs 
isn't worth knowing. You may take that from me, Mr. 
Soames.' 

On one occasion, old Jolyon being present, Soames recol- 
lected a little unpleasantness. His uncle had looked up 
sharply and said : ' Don't talk nonsense, Hemmings ! You 
mean that what they do know isn't worth knowing !' O-ld 
Jolyon detested humbug. 

Hemmings, angry-eyed, and wearing a smile like that of a 
trained poodle, had replied in an outburst of artificial applause: 
' Come, now, that's good, sir — that's very good. Your uncle 
if/// have his joke 1' 

The next time he had seen Soames he had taken the 
opportunity of saying to him : ' The chairman's getting 
very old — I can't get him to understand things ; and he's so 
wilful — but what can you expect, with a chin like his ?' 

Soames had nodded. 

Everyone knew that Uncle Jolyon's chin was a caution. 
He was looking worried to-day, in spite of his General Meet- 
ing look; he (Soames) should certainly speak to him about 
Bosinney. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 177 

Beyond old Jolyon on the left was little Mr. Booker, and 
he, too, wore his General Meeting look, as though searching 
for some particularly tender shareholder. And next him was 
the deaf director, with a frown ; and beyond the deaf director, 
again, was old Mr. Bleedham, very bland, and having an air 
of conscious virtue — as well he might, knowing that the 
brown-paper parcel he always brought to the Board-room 
was concealed behind his hat (one of that old-fashioned class 
of flat-brimmed top-hats which go with very large bow ties, 
clean-shaven lips, fresh cheeks, and neat little white whiskers). 

Soames always attended the general meeting ; it was con- 
sidered better that he should do so, in case ^ anything should 
arise !' He glanced round with his close, supercilious air at 
the v/alls of the room, where hung plans of the mine and 
harbour, together with a large photograph of a shaft leading 
to a working that had proved quite remarkably unprofitable. 
This photograph — a witness to the eternal irony underlying 
commercial enterprise — still retained its position on the wall, 
an etiigy of the directors' pet, but dead, lamb. 

And now old Jolyon rose, to present the report and 
accounts. 

Veiling under a Jove-like serenity that perpetual anta- 
gonism deep-seated in the bosom of a director towards his 
shareholders, he faced them calmly. Soames faced them too. 
He knew most of them by sight. There was old Scrubsole, 
a tar man, v/ho always came, as Hemmings would say, 'to 
make himself nasty,' a cantankerous-looking old fellow with 
a red face, a jowl, and an enormous low-crowned hat reposing 
on his knee. And the Rev. Mr. Boms, who always proposed 
a ^'ote of thanks to the chairman, in which he invariably 
expressed the hope that the Board would not forget to elevate 
their employees, using the word with a double e, as being 
more vigorous and Anglo-Saxon (he had the strong Impe- 
rialistic tendencies of his cloth). It was his salutary custom 

7 



178 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

to buttonhole a director afterwards, and ask him whether he 
thought the coming year would be good or bad ; and, accord- 
ing to the trend of the answer, to buy or sell three shares 
within the ensuing fortnight. 

And there was that military man. Major O'Bally, who 
could not help speaking, if only to second the re-election of 
the auditor, and who sometimes caused serious consternation 
by taking toasts — proposals rather — out of the hands of per- 
sons who had been flattered with little slips of paper, entrust- 
ing the said proposals to their care. 

These made up the lot, together with four or five strong, 
silent shareholders, with whom Soames could sympathize — 
men of business, who liked to keep an eye on their affairs 
for themselves, without being fussy — good, solid men, who 
came to the City every day and went back in the evening to 
good, solid wives. 

Good, solid wives ! There was something in that thought 
which roused the nameless uneasiness in Soames again. 

What should he say to his uncle ? What answer should 
he make to this letter ? 

... * If any shareholder has any question to put, I shall 
be glad to answer it.' A soft thump. Old Jolyon had let 
the report and accounts fall, and stood twisting tortoise-shell 
glasses between thumb and forefinger. 

The ghost of a smile appeared on Soames's face. They 
had better hurry up with their questions ! He well knew 
his uncle's method (the ideal one) of at once saying : * I 
propose, then, that the report and accounts be adopted !' 
Never let them get their wind — shareholders were notoriously 
wasteful of time ! 

A tall, white-bearded man, with a gaunt, dissatisfied face, 
arose : 

^ I believe I am in order, Mr. Chairman, in raising a 
question on this figure of j/^5,000 in the accounts. "To the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 179 

widow and family " ' (he looked sourly round), * " of our 
late superintendent," who so — er — ill-advisedly (I say — ill- 
advisedly) committed suicide, at a time when his services 
were of the utmost value to this Company. You have 
stated that the agreement which he has so unfortunately cut 
short with his own hand was for a period of five years, of 

which one only had expired — I ' 

Old Jolyon made a gesture of impatience. 

* I believe I am in order, Mr. Chairman — I ask whether 
this amount paid, or proposed to be paid, by the Board to 
the — er — deceased — is for services which might have been 
rendered to the Company had he not committed suicide ?' 

* It is in recognition of past serv^ices, which we all know — 
you as well as any of us — to have been of vital value.' 

' Then, sir, all I have to say is, that the services being 
past, the amount is too much.' 

The shareholder sat down. 

Old Jolyon waited a second and said : *I now propose 
that the report and ' 

The shareholder rose again : * May I ask if the Board 
realizes that it is not their money which — I don't hesitate to 
say that if it were their money ' 

A second shareholder, with a round, dogged face, whom 
Soames recognised as the late Superintendent's brother-in- 
law, got up and said warmly : ^ In my opinion, sir, the sum 
is not enough !' 

The Rev. Mr. Boms now rose to his feet. * If I may 
venture to express myself,' he said, * I should say that the fact 
of the — er — deceased having committed suicide should weigh 
very heavily — very heavily with our worthy chairman. I 
have no doubt it has weighed with him, for — I say this for 
myself and I think for everyone present (hear, hear) — he 
enjoys our confidence in a high degree. We all desire, I 
shoiild hope, to be charitable. But I feel sure' (he looked 



I So THE FORSYTE SAGA 

severely at the late Superintendent's brother-in-law) *■ that he 
will in some way, by some written expression, or better perhaps 
by reducing the amount, record our grave disapproval that so 
promising and valuable a life should have been thus impiously 
removed from a sphere where both its own interests and — if 
I may so — our interests so imperatively demanded its con- 
tinuance. We should not — nay, we may not — countenance 
so grave a dereliction of all duty, both human and divine.' 

The reverend gentleman resumed his seat. The late 
Superintendent's brother-in-law again rose : ^ What I have 
said I stick to,' he said ; * the amount is not enough !' 

The first shareholder struck in : ' I challenge the legality 
of the payment. In my opinion this payment is not legal. 
The Company's solicitor is present ; I believe I am in order 
in asking him the question.' 

All eyes were now turned upon Soames, Something had 
arisen ! 

He stood up, close-lipped and cold ; his nerves inwardly 
fluttered, his attention tweaked away at last from contempla- 
tion of that cloud looming on the horizon of his mind. 

' The point,' he said in a low, thin voice, ' is by no 
means clear. As there is no possibility of future considera- 
tion being received, it is doubtful whether the payment is 
strictly legal. If it is desired, the opinion of the court could 
be taken.' 

The superintendent's brother-in-law frowned, and said in 
a meaning tone : * We have no doubt the opinion of the 
court could be taken. Aday I ask the name of the gentleman 
who has given us that striking piece of information r Mr. 
Soames Forsyte ? Indeed !' He looked from Soames to old 
Jolyon in a pointed manner. 

A flush coloured Soames's pale cheeks, but his supercilious- 
ness did not waver. Old Jolyon fixed his eyes on the 
speaker. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 



ibi 



* If,' he said, ' the late Superintendent's brother-in-law 
has nothing more to say, I propose that the report and 
accounts ' 



At this moment, however, there rose one of those five 
silent, stolid shareholders, who had excited Soames's sympathy. 
He said : 

^ I deprecate the proposal altogether. We are expected to 
give charity to this man's wife and children, who, you tell 
us, were dependent on him. They may have been ; I do 
not care whether they were or not. I object to the whole 
thing on principle. It is high time a stand was made against 
this sentimental humanitarianism. The countrj^ is eaten up 
with it. I object to my money being paid to these people of 
whom I know nothing, who have done nothing to earn it. 
I object in toto; it is not business. I now move that the 
report and accounts be put back, and amended by striking 
out the grant altogether/ 

Old Jolyon had remained standing while the strong, silent 
man v/as speaking. The speech awoke an echo in all 
hearts, voicing, as it did, the worship of strong men, the 
m.o'.ement against generosity, which had at that time already 
commenced among the saner members of the community. 

The words ' it is not business ' had moved even the 
Board ; privately everyone felt that indeed it was not. But 
they knew also the chairman's domineering temxper and 
tenacity. He, too, at heart must feel that it was not 
business; but he was committed to his own proposition. 
Would he go back upon it ? It was thought to be 
unlikely. 

All waited with interest. Old Jolyon held up his hand ; 
dark-rimmed glasses depending between his fin2;er and 
thumb quivered slightly with a suggestion of menace. 

He addressed the strong, silent shareholder. 

' Knowing, as you do, the efforts of our late Superin- 



1 82 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

tendent upon the occasion of the explosion at the mines, do 
you seriously wish me to put that amendment, sir ?' 

ado/ 

Old Jolyon put the amendment. 

* Does anyone second this r' he asked, looking calmly 
round. 

And it was then that Soames, looking at his uncle, felt 
the power of will that was in that old man. No one 
stirred. Looking straight into the eyes of the strong, silent 
shareholder, Old Jolyon said : 

* I now move, " That the report and accounts for the year 
1886 be received and adopted." You second that ? Those 
in favour signify the same in the usual way. Contrary — no. 
Carried. The next business, gentlemen ' 

Soames smiled. Certainly Uncle Jolyon had a way with 
him ! 

But now his attention relapsed upon Bosinney. Odd how 
that fellow haunted his thoughts, even in business hours. 

Irene's visit to the house — but there was nothing in that, 
except that she might have told him ; but then, again, she 
never did tell him anything. She was more silent, more 
touchy, every day. He wished to God the house were 
finished, and they were in it, away from London. Town 
did not suit her ; her nen^es were not strong enough. That 
nonsense of the separate room had cropped up again ! 

The meeting was breaking up now. Underneath the 
photograph of the lost shaft Hemmings was button-holed by 
the Rev. Mr. Boms. Little Mr. Booker, his bristling eye- 
brows wreathed in angry smiles, was having a parting turn- 
up with old Scrubsole. The two hated each other like 
poison. There was some matter of a tar-contract between 
them, little Mr. Booker having secured it from the Board 
for a nephew of his, over old Scrubsole's head. Soames had 
heard that from Hemmings, who liked a gossip, more especi- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 183 

ally about his Directors, except, indeed, old Jolyon, of whom 
he was afraid. 

Soames awaited his opportunity. The last shareholder 
was vanishing through the door, when he approached his 
uncle, who was putting on his hat. 

' Can I speak to you for a minute. Uncle Jolyon r' 

It is uncertain what Soames expected to get out of this 
interview. 

Apart from that somewhat mysterious awe in which 
Forsytes in general held old Jolyon, due to his philosophic 
twist, or perhaps — as Hemmings would doubtless have said — 
to his chin, there was, and always had been, a subtle 
antagonism between the younger man and the old. It had 
lurked under their dry manner of greeting, under their non- 
committal allusions to each other, and arose perhaps from 
old Jolyon's perception of the quiet tenacity (^ obstinacy,' he 
rather naturally called it) of the young man, of a secret 
doubt whether he could get his own way with him. 

Both these Forsytes, wide asunder as the poles in many 
respects, possessed in their different ways — to a greater degree 
than the rest of the family — that essential quality of 
tenacious and prudent insight into * affairs,' which is the 
high-water mark of their great class. Either of them, with 
a little luck and opportunity, was equal to a lofty career; 
either of them would have made a good financier, a great 
contractor, a statesman, though old Jolyon, in certain of 
his moods — when under the influence of a cigar or of 
Nature — would have been capable of, not perhaps despising, 
but certainly of questioning, his own high position, while 
Soames, who never smoked cigars, would not. 

Then, too, in old Jolyon's mind there was always the 
secret ache, that the son of James — of James, whom he had 
always thought such a poor thing, should be pursuing the 
paths of success, while his own son i 



i84 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

And last, not least — for he was no more outside the 
radiation of family gossip than any other Forsyte — he had 
now heard the sinister, indefinite, but none the less dis- 
turbing rumour about Bosinney, and his pride was v/ounded 
to the quick. 

Characteristically, his irritation turned not against Irene 
but against Soames. The idea that his nephew's wife (why 
couldn't the fellow take better care of her — oh ! quaint 
injustice ! as though Soames could possibly take more care !) 
— should be drawing to herself June's lover, was intolerably 
humiliating. And seeing the danger, he did not, like 
James, hide it away in sheer nervousness, but owned with 
the dispassion of his broader outlook, that it was not un- 
likely ; there was something very attractive about Irene ! 

He had a presentiment on the subject of Soames's com- 
munication as they left the Board Room together, and went 
out into the noise and hurry of Cheapside. They walked 
together a good minute without speaking, Soames with his 
mousing, mincing step, and old Jolyon upright and using his 
umbrella languidly as a walking-stick. 

They turned presently into comparative quiet, for old 
Jolyon's way to a second Board led him in the direction of 
Moorgate Street. 

Then Soames, without lifting his eyes, began : * I've had 
this letter from Bosinney. You see what he says ; I thought 
I'd let you know. I've spent a lot more than I intended on 
this house, and I want the position to be clear.' 

Old Jolyon ran his eyes unwillingly over the letter : 
* What he says is clear enough,' he said. 

* He talks about " a free hand," ' replied Soames. 

Old Jolyon looked at him. The long-suppressed irritation 
and antagonism towards this young fellow, whose affairs 
were beginning to intrude upon his own, burst from him. 

' Well, if you don't trust him, why do you employ him ?' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 185 

Soames stole a sideway look : ' It's much too late to go 
into that,' he said, ' I only want it to be quite understood 
that if I give him a free hand, he doesn't let me in. I 
thought if you were to speak to him, it would carry more 
weight !' 

* No,' said old Jolyon abruptly ; ' I'll have nothing to do 
with it !' 

The words of both uncle and nephew gave the impression 
of unspoken meanings, far more important, behind. And 
the look they interchanged was like a revelation of this con- 
sciousness. 

^ Well,' said Soames ; * I thought, for June's sake, I'd tell 
you, that's all ; I thought you'd better know I shan't stand 
any nonsense !' 

' What is that to me ?' old Jolyon took him up. 

* Oh ! I don't know,' said Soames, and flurried by that 
sharp look he was unable to say more. ' Don't say I didn't 
tell you,' he added sulkily, recovering his composure. 

' Tell me 1' said old Jolyon. * I don't know what you 
mean. You come worrying me about a thing like this. / 
don't want to hear about your affairs; you must manage 
them yourself !' 

' Very well,' said Soames immovably, * I will 1' 

* Good-morning, then,' said old Jolyon, and they parted. 
Soames retraced his steps, and going into a celebrated 

eating-house, asked for a plate of smoked salmon and a glass 
of Chablis ; he seldom ate much in the middle of the day, 
and generally ate standing, finding the position beneficial to 
his liver, which was very sound, but to which he desired to 
put down all his troubles. 

When he had finished he went slowly back to his office, 
with bent head, taking no notice of the swarming thousands 
on the pavements, who in their turn took no notice of 
him. 



1 86 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

The evening post carried the following reply to Bosinney : 

'Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte, 
* Commissioners for Oaths, 

' 200 1, Branch Lane, Poultry, E.G., 
'May 17, 1887. 
< Dear Bosinney, 

* I have received your letter, the terms of w^hich not 
a little surprise me. I was under the impression that you 
had, and have had all along, a "free hand"; for I do not 
recollect that any suggestions I have been so unfortunate as 
to make have met with your approval. In giving you, in 
accordance with your request, this " free hand," I wish you 
to clearly understand that the total cost of the house as 
handed over to me completely decorated, inclusive of your 
fee (as arranged between us), must not exceed twelve thou- 
sand pounds — ^12,000. This gives you an ample margin, 
and, as you know, is far more than I originally contemplated. 
*I am, 

' Yours truly, 

' SoAMEs Forsyte.' 

On the following day he received a note from Bosinney : 

* Philip Baynes Bosinney, 
* Architect, 
* 309D, Sloane Street, S.W., 
' May 1 8. 
*Dear Forsyte, 

' If you think that in such a delicate matter as decora- 
tion I can bind myself to the exact pound, I am afraid you 
are mistaken. I can see that you are tired of the arrange- 
ment, and of me, and I had better, therefore, resign. 
* Yours faithfully, 

' Philip Baynes Bossiney.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 187 

Soames pondered long and painfully over his answer, and 
late at night in the dining-room, when Irene had gone to 
bed, he composed the following : 

*62, MONTPELLIER SqUARE, S.W., 

'May 19, 1887. 
*Dear Bosinney, 

* I think that in both our interests it would be 
extremely undesirable that matters should be so left at this 
stage. I did not mean to say that if you should exceed the 
sum named in my letter to you by ten or twenty or even 
fifty pounds, there would be any difficulty between us. This 
being so, I should like you to reconsider your answer. You 
have a " free hand " in the terms of this correspondence, and 
I hope you will see your way to completing the decorations, 
in the matter of which I know it is difficult to be absolutely 
exact. 

^ Yours truly, 

^ SoAMEs Forsyte.' 

Bosinney's answer, which came in the course of the next 
day, was : 

* May 20. 
'Dear Forsyte, 
' Very well. 

*Ph. Bosinney.' 



CHAPTER VI 

OLD JOLYON AT THE ZOO 

Old Jolyon disposed of his second Meeting — an ordinary 
Board — summarily. He was so dictatorial that his fellow 
Directors were left in cabal over the increasing domineering- 
ness of old Forsyte, which they were far from intending to 
stand much longer, they said. 

He went out by Underground to Portland Road Station, 
whence he took a cab and drove to the Zoo. 

He had an assignation there, one of those assignations that 
had lately been growing more frequent, to which his increas- 
ing uneasiness about June and the * change in her,' as he 
expressed it, was driving him. 

She buried herself away, and was growing thin ; if he 
spoke to her he got no answer, or had his head snapped off, 
or she looked as if she would burst into tears. She was as 
changed as she could be, all through this Bosinney. As for 
telling him about anything, not a bit of it ! 

And he would sit for long spells brooding, his paper unread 
before him, a cigar exrinct between his lips. She had been 
such a companion to him ever since she was three years old ! 
And he loved her so ! 

Forces regardless of family or class or custom were beating 
down his guard; impending events over which he had no 
control threw their shadows on his head. The irritation of 
one accustomed to have his way was roused against he knew 
not what. 

i8g 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 189 

Chafing at the slowness of his cab, he reached the Zoo 
door; but, with his sunny instinct for seizing the good of 
each moment, he forgot his vexation as he walked towards 
the tryst. 

From the stone terrace above the bear-pit his son and his 
two grandchildren came hastening down when they saw old 
Jolyon coming, and led him away towards the lion-house. 
They supported him on either side, holding one to each of 
his hands, whilst Jolly, perverse like his father, carried his 
grandfather's umbrella in such a way as to catch people's 
legs with the crutch of the handle. 

Young Jolyon followed. 

It was as good as a play to see his father with the children, 
but such a play as brings smiles with tears behind. An old 
man and two small children walking together can be seen at 
any hour of the day ; but the sight of old Jolyon, with Jolly 
and Holly, seemed to young Jolyon a special peep-show of 
the things that lie at the bottom of our hearts. The com- 
plete surrender of that erect old figure to those little figures 
on either hand was too poignantly tender, and, being a man 
of an habitual reflex action, young Jolyon swore softly under 
his breath. The show affected him in a way unbecoming 
to a Forsyte, who is nothing if not undemonstrative. 

Thus they reached the lion-house. 

There had been a morning fete at the Botanical Gardens, 
and a large number of Forsy — that is, of well-dressed people 
who kept carriages — had brought them on to the Zoo, so as 
to have more, if possible, for their money, before going back 
to Rutland Gate or Bryanston Square. 

' Let's go to the Zoo,' they had said to each other ; * it'll 
be great fun !' It was a shilling day ; and there would not 
be all those horrid common people. 

In front of the long line of cages they were collected in 
rows, watching the tawny, ravenous beasts behind the bars 



190 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

await their only pleasure of the four-and-twenty hours. 
The hungrier the beast, the greater the fascination. But 
whether because the spectators envied his appetite, or, more 
humanely, because it was so soon to be satisfied, young 
Jolyon could not tell. Remarks kept falling on his ears : 

* That's a nasty-looking brute, that tiger 1' * Oh, what a 
love ! Look at his little mouth T ' Yes, he's rather nice ! 
Don't go too near, mother.' 

And frequently, with little pats, one or another would 
clap their hands to their pockets behind and look round, as 
though expecting young Jolyon or some disinterested-looking 
person to relieve them of the contents. 

A well-fed man in a white waistcoat said slowly through 
his teeth : ' It's all greed ; they can't be hungry. Why, 
they take no exercise.' At these words a tiger snatched a 
piece of bleeding liver, and the fat man laughed. His wife, 
in a Paris-model frock and gold nose-nippers, reproved him : 

* How can you laugh, Harry ? Such a horrid sight l' 

Young Jolyon frowned. 

The circumstances of his life, though he had ceased to 
take a too personal view of them, had left him subject to an 
intermittent contempt ; and the class to which he had 
belonged — the carriage class — especially excited his sarcasm. 

To shut up a lion or tiger in confinement was surely a 
horrible barbarity. But no cultivated person would admit this. 

The idea of its being barbarous to confine wild aninals 
had probably never even occurred to his father for instance ; 
he belonged to the old school, who considered it at once 
humanizing and educational to confine baboons and panthers, 
holding the view, no doubt, that in course of time they might 
induce these creatures not so unreasonably to die of misery 
and heart-sickness against the bars of their cages, and put the 
society to the expense of getting others ! In his eyes, as in 
the eyes of all Forsytes, the pleasure of seeing these beautiful 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 191 

creatures in a state of captivity far outweighed the incon- 
venience of imprisonment to beasts vi^hom God had so 
improvidently placed in a state of freedom ! It was for the 
animals' good, removing them at once from the countless 
dangers of open air and exercise, and enabling them to 
exercise their functions in the guaranteed seclusion of a 
private compartment ! Indeed, it was doubtful what wild 
animals were made for but to be shut up in cages ! 

But as young Jolyon had in his constitution the elements 
of impartiality, he reflected that to stigmatize as barbarity 
that which was merely lack of imagination must be wrong ; 
for none who held these views had been placed in a similar 
position to the animals they caged, and could not, therefore, 
be expected to enter into their sensations. 

It was not until they were leaving the gardens — Jolly 
and Holly in a state of blissful delirium — that old Jolyon 
found an opportunity of speaking to his son on the matter 
next his heart. ' I don't know what to make of it,' he said ; 
' if she's to go on as she's going on now, I can't tell what's 
to come. I wanted her to see the doctor, but she won't. 
She's not a bit like me. She's your mother all over. Obstinate 
as a mule ! If she doesn't want to do a thing, she won't, 
and there's an end of it !' 

Young Jolyon smiled ; his eyes had wandered to his 
father's chin. *A pair of you,' he thought, but he said 
nothing. 

* And then,' went on old Jolyon, ' there's this Bosinney. 
I should like to punch the fellow's head, but I can't, I sup- 
pose, though — I don't see why you shouldn't,' he added 
doubtfully. 

' What has he done ? Far better that it should come to 
an end, if they don't hit it off !' 

Old Jolyon looked at his son. Now they had actually 
come to discuss a subject connected with the relations 



192 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

between the sexes he felt distrustful. Jo would be sure to 
hold some loose view or other. 

* Well, I don't know what you think,' he said ; * I dare say 
your sympathy's with him — shouldn't be surprised ; but 1 
think he's behaving precious badly, and if he comes my way 
I shall tell him so.' He dropped the subject. 

It was impossible to discuss with his son the true nature 
and meaning of Bosinney's defection. Had not his son done 
the very same thing (worse, if possible) fifteen years ago ? 
There seemed no end to the consequences of that piece of 
folly 1 

Young Jolyon was also silent ; he had quickly penetrated 
his father's thought, for, dethroned from the high seat of an 
obvious and uncomplicated view of things, he had become 
both perceptive and subtle. 

The attitude he had adopted towards sexual matters fifteen 
years before, however, was too different from his father's. 
There was no bridging the gulf. 

He said coolly: 'I suppose he's fallen in love with some 
other woman ?' 

Old Jolyon gave him a dubious look : ' I can't tell,' he 
said ; ' they say so !' 

' Then, it's probably true,' remarked young Jolyon unex- 
pectedly ; * and I suppose they've told you who she is ?' 

* Yes,' said old Jolyon — * Soames's wife !' 

Young Jolyon did not whistle. The circumstances of his 
own life had rendered him incapable of whistling on such a 
subject, but he looked at his father, while the ghost of a smile 
hovered over his face. 

If old Jolyon saw, he took no notice. 

* She and June were bosom friends !' he muttered. 

' Poor little June !' said young Jolyon softly. He thought 
of his daughter still as a babe of three. 
Old Jolyon came to a sudden halt. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 193 

*I don't believe a word of it,' he said, * it's some old 
woman's tale. Get me a cab, Jo, I'm tired to death !' 

They stood at a corner to see if an empty cab would 
come along, while carriage after carriage drove past, bearing 
Forsytes of all descriptions from the Zoo. The harness, the 
liveries, the gloss on the horses' coats, shone and glittered in 
the May sunlight, and each equipage, landau, sociable, 
barouche, Victoria, or brougham, seemed to roll out proudly 
from its wheels : 

* I and my horses and my men you know, 
Indeed the whole turn-out have cost a pot. 
But we were worth it every penny. Look 
At Master and at Missis now, the dawgs ! 
Ease with security — ah! that's the ticket!' 

And such, as everyone knows, is fit accompaniment for a 
perambulating Forsyte. 

Amongst these carriages was a barouche coming at a 
greater pace than the others, drawn by a pair of bright bay 
horses. It swung on its high springs, and the four people 
who filled it seemed rocked as in a cradle. 

This chariot attracted young Jolyon's attention ; and 
suddenly, on the back seat, he recognised his Uncle James, 
unmistakable in spite of the increased whiteness of his 
whiskers ; opposite, their backs defended by sunshades, 
Rachel Forsyte and her elder but married sister, Winifred 
Dartie, in irreproachable toilettes, had posed their heads 
haughtily, like two of the birds they had been seeing at the 
Zoo ; while by James's side reclined Dartie, in a brand-new 
frock coat buttoned tight and square, with a large expanse of 
carefully shot linen protruding below each wristband. 

An extra, if subdued, sparkle, an added touch of the best 
gloss or varnish characterized this vehicle, and seemed to 
distinguish it from all the others, as though by some happy 
extravagance — like that which marks out the real ' work of 



194 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

art ' fron the ordinary * picture ' — it were designated as the 
typical car, the very throne of Forsytedom. 

Old Jolyon did not see them pass ; he was petting poor 
Holly who was tired, but those in the carriage had taken in 
the little group ; the ladies' heads tilted suddenly, there was 
a spasmodic screening movement of parasols ; James's face 
protruded naively, like the head of a long bird, his mouth 
slowly opening. The shield-like rounds of the parasols grew 
smaller and smaller, and vanished. 

Young Jolyon saw that he had been recognised, even by 
Winifred, who could not have been more than fifteen when 
he had forfeited the right to be considered a Forsyte. 

There was not much change in them! He remembered 
the exact look of their turn-out all that time ago : Horses, 
men, carriage — all different now, no doubt — but of the 
precise stamp of fifteen years before ; the same neat display, 
the same nicely calculated arrogance — ease with security ! 
The swing exact, the pose of the sunshades exact, exact the 
spirit of the whole thing. 

And in the sunlight, defended by the haughty shields of 
parasols, carriage after carriage went by. 

' Uncle James has just passed, with his female folk,' said 
young Jolyon. 

His father looked black. * Did your uncle see us ? Yes ? 
Hmph ! What's he want, coming down into these parts ?' 

An empty cab drove up at this moment, and old Jolyon 
stopped it. 

' I shall see you again before long, my boy !' he said. 
* Don't you go paying any attention to what I've been 
saying about young Bosinney — I don't believe a word of it !' 

Kissing the children, who tried to detain him, he stepped 
in and was borne away. 

Young Jolyon, who had taken Holly up in his arms, stood 
motionless at the corner, looking after the cab. 



CHAPTER VII 

AFTERNOON AT TIMOTHY's 

If old Jolyon, as he got into his cab, had said : * I wonU 
believe a word of it !' he would more truthfully have 
expressed his sentiments. 

The notion that James and his womankind had seen him 
in the company of his son had awakened in him not only the 
impatience he always felt when crossed, but that secret 
hostility natural between brothers, the roots of which — little 
nursery rivalries — sometimes toughen and deepen as life goes 
on, and, all hidden, support a plant capable of producing in 
season the bitterest fruits. 

Hitherto there had been between these six brothers no 
more unfriendly feeling than that caused by the secret and 
natural doubt that the others might be richer than them- 
selves ; a feeling increased to the pitch of curiosity by the 
approach of death — that end of all handicaps — and the great 
' closeness ' of their man of business, who, with some saga- 
city, would profess to Nicholas ignorance of James's income, 
to James ignorance of old Jolyon's, to Jolyon ignorance of 
Roger's, to Roger ignorance of Swithin's, while to Swithin 
he would say most irritatingly that Nicholas must be a rich 
man. Timothy alone was exempt, being in gilt-edged 
securities. 

But now, between two of them at least, had arisen a very 
different sense of injury. From the moment when James 

195 



196 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

had the impertinence to pry into his affairs — as he put it — 
old Jolyon no longer chose to credit this story about Bosin- 
ney. His grand-daughter slighted through a member of 
' that fellow's ' family ! He made up his mind that Bosin- 
ney was maligned. There must be some other reason for 
his defection. 

June had flown out at him, or something ; she was as 
touchy as she could be 1 

He would, however, let Timothy have a bit of his mind, 
and see if he would go on dropping hints ! And he would 
not let the grass grow under his feet either, he would go 
there at once, and take very good care that he didn't have to 
go again on the same errand. 

He saw James's carriage blocking the pavement in front 
of * The Bower.' So they had got there before him — cack- 
ling about having seen him, he dared say ! And further on, 
Swithin's grays were turning their noses towards the noses 
of James's bays, as though in conclave over the family, while 
their coachmen were in conclave above. 

Old Jolyon, depositing his hat on the chair in the narrow 
hall, where that hat of Bosinney's had so long ago been mis- 
taken for a cat, passed his thin hand grimly over his face 
with its great drooping white moustaches, as though to 
remove all traces of expression, and made his way upstairs. 

He found the front drawing-room full. It was full 
enough at the best of times — without visitors — without any 
one in it — for Timothy and his sisters, following the tradi- 
tion of their generation, considered that a room was not 
quite * nice ' unless it was ' properly ' furnished. It held, 
therefore, eleven chairs, a sofa, three tables, two cabinets, 
innumerable knicknacks, and part of a large grand piano. 
And now, occupied by Mrs. Small, Aunt Hester, by Swithin, 
James, Rachel, Winifred, Euphemia, who had come in again 
to return ' Passion and Paregoric ' which she had read at 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 197 

lunch, and her chum Frances, Roger's daughter (the musical 
Forsyte, the one who composed songs), there was only one 
chair left unoccupied, except, of course, the two that nobody 
ever sat on — and the only standing room was occupied by 
the cat, on whom old Jolyon promptly stepped. 

In these days it was by no means unusual for Timothy to 
have so many visitors. The family had always, one and all, 
had a real respect for Aunt Ann, and now that she was 
gone, they were coming far more frequently to The Bower, 
and staying longer. 

Swithin had been the first to arrive, and seated torpid in a 
red satin chair with a gilt back, he gave every appearance of 
lasting the others out. And symbolizing Bosinney's name 
*the big one,' with his great stature and bulk, his thick 
white hair, his puffy immovable shaven face, he looked 
more primeval than ever in the highly upholstered room. 

His conversation, as usual of late, had turned at once upon 
Irene, and he had lost no time in giving Aunts Juley and 
Hester his opinion with regard to this rumour he heard was 
going about. No — as he said — she might want a bit of 
flirtation — a pretty woman must have her fling ; but more 
than that he did not believe. Nothing open ; she had too 
much good sense, too much proper appreciation of what was 

due to her position, and to the family ! No sc he was 

going to say * scandal ' but the very idea was so preposterous 
that he waved his hand as though to say — * but let that 
pass !' 

Granted that Swithin took a bachelor's view of the situa- 
tion — still what indeed was not due to that family in which 
so many had done so well for themselves, had attained 
a certain position ? If he had heard in dark, pessimistic 
moments the words * yeomen ' and 'very small beer ' used in 
connection with his origin, did he believe them ? 

No ! he cherished, hugging it pathetically to his bosom, 



198 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

the secret theory that there was something distinguished 
somewhere in his ancestry. 

*Must be,' he once said to young Jolyon, before the latter 
went to the bad. 'Look at us, we've got on ! There 
must be good blood in us somewhere.' 

He had been fond of young Jolyon : the boy had been in 
a good set at College, had known that old ruffian Sir Charles 
Fiste's sons — a pretty rascal one of them had turned out, 
too ; and there was style about him — it was a thousand 
pities he had run off with that foreign girl — a governess too ! 
If he must go off like that why couldn't he have chosen 
someone who would have done them credit ! And what 
was he now ? — an underwriter at Lloyd's ; they said he 
even painted pictures — pictures ! Damme ! he might have 
ended as Sir Jolyon Forsyte, Bart., with a seat in Parlia- 
ment, and a place in the country ! 

It was Swithin who, following the impulse which sooner 
or later urges thereto some member of every great family, 
went to the Heralds' Office, where they assured him that he 
was undoubtedly of the same family as the well-known 
Forsites with an ' i,' whose arms were ' three dexter buckles 
on a sable ground gules,' hoping no doubt to get him to take 
them up. 

Swithin, however, did not do this, but having ascertained 
that the crest was a ' pheasant proper,' and the motto * For 
Forsite,' he had the pheasant proper placed upon his carriage 
and the buttons of his coachman, and both crest and motto 
on his writing-paper. The arms he hugged to himself, 
partly because, not having paid for them, he thought it would 
look ostentatious to put them on his carriage, and he hated 
ostentation, and partly because he, like any practical man all 
over the country, had a secret dislike and contempt for things 
he could not understand — he found it hard, as anyone might, 
to swallow * three dexter buckles on a sable ground gules.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 199 

He never forgot, however, their having told him that if he 
paid for them he would be entitled to use them, and it 
strengthened his conviction that he was a gentleman. 
Imperceptibly the rest of the family absorbed the * pheasant 
proper,' and some, more serious than others, adopted the motto; 
old Jolyon, however, refused to use the latter, saying that it 
was humbug — meaning nothing, so far as he could see. 

Among the older generation it was perhaps known at 
bottom from what great historical event they derived their 
crest; and if pressed on the subject, sooner than tell a lie — 
they did not like telling lies, having an impression that only 
Frenchmen and Russians told them — they would confess 
hurriedly that Swithin had got hold of it somehow. 

Among the younger generation the matter was wrapped 
in a discretion proper. They did not want to hurt the 
feelings of their elders, nor to feel ridiculous themselves; 
they simply used the crest. . . 

* No,' said Swithin, * he had had an opportunity of seeing 
for himself, and what he should say was, that there was 
nothing in her manner to that young Buccaneer or Bosinney 
or whatever his name was, different from her manner to 
himself; in fact, he should rather say. . . .' But here the 
entrance of Frances and Euphemia put an unfortunate stop 
to the conversation, for this was not a subject which could 
be discussed before young people. 

And though Swithin was somewhat upset at being stopped 
like this on the point of saying something important, he soon 
recovered his affability. He was rather fond of Frances — 
Francie, as she was called in the family. She was so smart, 
and they told him she made a pretty little pot of pin-money 
by her songs ; he called it very clever of her. 

He rather prided himself indeed on a liberal attitude 
towards women, not seeing any reason why they shouldn't 
paint pictures, or write tunes, or books even, for the matter 



200 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of that, especially if they could turn a useful penny by it; 
not at all — kept them out of mischief. It was not as if they 



were men 



* Little Francie,' as she was usually called with good- 
natured contempt, was an important personage, if only as a 
standing illustration of the attitude of Forsytes towards the 
Arts. She was not really * little,' but rather tall, with dark 
hair for a Forsyte, which, together with a gray eye, gave her 
what was called * a Celtic appearance.' She wrote songs 
with titles like * Breathing Sighs,' or ^ Kiss me, Mother, ere 
I die,' with a refrain like an anthem : 

* Kiss me, Mother, ere I die ; 
Kiss me — kiss me, Mother, ah! 
Kiss, ah ! kiss me e — ere I — 
Kiss me, Mother, ere I d — d — die !* 

She wrote the words to them herself, and other poems. 
In lighter moments she wrote waltzes, one of which, the 
' Kensington Coil,' was almost national to Kensington, 
having a sweet dip in it. Thus : 



E^^H^f 



It was very original. Then there were her 'Songs for 
Little People,' at once educational and witty, especially 
' Gran'ma's Porgie,' and that ditty, almost prophetically 
imbued with the coming Imperial spirit, entitled ' Black him 
in his little eye.' 

Any publisher would take these, and reviews like ' High 
Living,' and the ' Ladies Genteel Guide ' went into raptures 
over : ' Another of Miss Francie Forsyte's spirited ditties, 
sparkling and pathetic. We ourselves were moved to tears 
and laughter. Miss Forsyte should go far.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 201 

With the true instinct of her breed, Francie had made a 
point of knowing the right people — people who would write 
about her, and talk about her, and people in Society, too — 
keeping a mental register of just where to exert her fascina- 
tions, and an eye on that steady scale of rising prices, which 
in her mind's eye represented the future. In this way she 
caused herself to be universally respected. 

Once, at a time when her emotions were whipped by an 
attachment — for the tenor of Roger's life, with its whole- 
hearted collection of house property, had induced in his 
only daughter a tendency towards passion — she turned to 
great and sincere work, choosing the sonata form, for the 
violin. This was the only one of her productions that 
troubled the Forsytes. They felt at once that it would not sell. 
Roger, who liked having a clever daughter well enough, 
and often alluded to the amount of pocket-money she made 
for herself, was upset by this violin sonata. 

' Rubbish like that !' he called it. Francie had borrowed 
young Flageoletti from Euphemia, to play it in the drawing- 
room at Prince's Gardens. 

As a matter of fact Roger was right. It was rubbish, 
but — annoying ! the sort of rubbish that wouldn't sell. As 
every Forsyte knows, rubbish that sells is not rubbish at all — 
far from it. 

And yet, in spite of the sound com.mon sense that fixed the 
worth of art at what it would fetch, some of the Forsytes — 
Aunt Hester, for instance, who had always been musical — ■ 
could not help regretting that Francie's music was not 
* classical'; the same with her poems. But then, as Aunt 
Hester said, they didn't see any poetry nowadays, all the 
poems were * little light things.' There was nobody who 
could write a poem like * Paradise Lost,' or *Childe Harold'; 
either of which made you feel that you really had read some- 
thing. Still, it was nice for Francie to have something to 



202 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

occupy her ; while other girls were spending money shopping 
she was making it ! And both Aunt Hester and Aunt 
Juley were always ready to listen to the latest story of how 
Francie had got her price increased. 

They listened now, together with Swithin, who sat pre- 
tending not to, for these young people talked so fast and 
mumbled so, he never could catch what they said ! 

* And I can't think,' said Mrs. Septimus, * how you do it. 
I should never have the audacity !' 

Francie smiled lightly. * I'd much rather deal with a man 
than a woman. Women are so sharp !' 

* My dear,' cried Mrs. Small, ' I'm sure we're not.' 
Euphemia went off into her silent laugh, and, ending with 

the squeak, said, as though being strangled : ' Oh, you'll 
kill me some day, auntie.' 

Swithin saw no necessity to laugh ; he detested people 
laughing when he himself perceived no joke. Indeed, he 
detested Euphemia altogether, to whom he always alluded 
as * Nick's daughter, what's she called — the pale one ?' He 
had just missed being her godfather — indeed, would have 
been, had he not taken a firm stand against her outlandish 
name. He hated becoming a godfather. Swithin then said 
to Francie with dignity : ' It's a fine day — er — for the time 
of year.' But Euphemia, who knew perfectly well that he 
had refused to be her godfather, turned to Aunt Hester, and 
began telling her how she had seen Irene — Mrs. Soames — 
at the Church and Commercial Stores. 

' And Soames was with her ?' said Aunt Hester, to whom 
Mrs. Small had as yet had no opportunity of relating the 
incident. 

' Soames with her ? Of course not !' 

* But was she all alone in London ?' 

* Oh, no ; there was Mr. Bosinney with her. She was 
perfectly dressed.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 203 

But Swithin, hearing the name Irene, looked severely at 
Euphemia, who, it is true, never did look well in a dress, 
whatever she may have done on other occasions, and said : 

* Dressed like a lady, I've no doubt. It's a pleasure to see her.' 

At this moment James and his daughters were announced. 
Dartie, feeling badly in want of a drink, had pleaded an 
appointment with his dentist, and, being put down at the 
Marble Arch, had got into a hansom, and was already seated 
in the window of his club in Piccadilly. 

His wife, he told his cronies, had wanted to take him to 
pay some calls. It was not in his line — not exactly. Haw ! 

Hailing the waiter, he sent him out to the hall to see 
what had won the 4.30 race. He was dog-tired, he said, 
and that was a fact ; had been drivin' about with his wife 
to *• shows ' all the afternoon. Had put his foot down at 
last. A fellow must live his own life. 

At this moment, glancing out of the bay window — for 
he loved this seat whence he could see everybody pass — his 
eye unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, chanced to light 
on the figure of Soames, who was mousing across the road 
from the Green Park side, with the evident intention of 
coming in, for he, too, belonged to * The Iseeum.' 

Dartie sprang to his feet ; grasping his glass, he muttered 
something about * that 4.30 race,' and swiftly withdrew 
to the card-room, where Soames never came. Here, in 
complete isolation and a dim light, he lived his own life till 
half past seven, by which hour he knew Soames must 
certainly have left the club. 

It would not do, as he kept repeating to himself whenever 
he felt the impulse to join the gossips in the bay-window 
getting too strong for him — it absolutely would not do, with 
finances as low as his, and the * old man ' (James) rusty ever 
since that business over the oil shares, which was no fault of 
his, to risk a row with Winifred. 



204 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

If Soames were to see him in the club it would be sure to 
come round to her that he wasn't at the dentist's at all. He 
never knew a family where things * came round ' so. 
Uneasily, amongst the green baize card-tables, a frown on 
his olive-coloured face, his check trousers crossed, and patent- 
leather boots shining through the gloom, he sat biting his 
forefinger, and wondering where the deuce he was to get 
the money if Erotic failed to win the Lancashire Cup. 

His thoughts turned gloomily to the Forsytes. What a 
set they were ! There was no getting anything out of 
them — at least, it was a matter of extreme difficulty. They 

were so d d particular about money matters; not a 

sportsman amongst the lot, unless it were George. That 
fellow Soames, for instance, would have a fit if you tried to 
borrow a tenner from him, or, if he didn't have a fit, he 
looked at you with his cursed supercilious smile, as if you 
were a lost soul because you were in want of money. 

And that wife of his (Dartie's mouth watered involun- 
tarily), he had tried to be on good terms with her, as one 
naturally would with any pretty sister-in-law, but he would 
be cursed if the — (he mentally used a coarse word) — would 
have anything to say to him — she looked at him, indeed, as if 
he were dirt — and yet she could go far enough, he wouldn't 
mind betting. He knew women ; they weren't made with 
soft eyes and figures like that for nothing, as that fellow 
Soames would jolly soon find out, if there were anything in 
what he had heard about this Buccaneer Johnny. 

Rising from his chair, Dartie took a turn across the room, 
ending in front of the looking-glass over the marble chimney- 
piece ; and there he stood for a long time contemplating in 
the glass the reflection of his face. It had that look, peculiar 
to some men, of having been steeped in linseed oil, with its 
waxed dark moustaches and the little distinguished com- 
mencements of side whiskers ; and concernedly he felt the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 205 

promise of a pimple on the side of his slightly curved and 
fattish nose. 

In the meantime old Jolyon had found the remaining 
chair in Timothy's commodious drawing-room. His advent 
had obviously put a stop to the conversation, decided 
avv^kv^^ardness having set in. Aunt Juley, with her well- 
known kind-heartedness, hastened to set people at their ease 
again. 

* Yes, Jolyon,' she said, ' we were just saying that you 
haven't been here for a long time ; but we mustn't be sur- 
prised. You're busy, of course ? James was just saying 
what a busy time of year ' 

* Was he r' said old Jolyon, looking hard at James. * It 
wouldn't be half so busy if everybody minded their own 
business.' 

James, brooding in a small chair from which his knees ran 
uphill, shifted his feet uneasily, and put one of them down 
on the cat, which had unwisely taken refuge from old 
Jolyon beside him. 

' Here, you've got a cat here,' he said in an injured voice, 
withdrawing his foot nervously as he felt it squeezing into 
the soft, furry body. 

* Several,' said old Jolyon, looking at one face and another ; 
* I trod on one just now.' 

A silence followed. 

Then Mrs. Small, twisting her fingers and gazing round 
with pathetic calm, asked : ' And how is dear June ?' 

A twinkle of humour shot through the sternness of old 
Jolyon's eyes. Extraordinary old woman, Juley ! No one 
quite like her for saying the wrong thing ! 

' Bad !' he said ; ' London don't agree with her — too many 
people about, too much clatter and chatter by half.' He laid 
emphasis on the words, and again looked James in the face. 

Nobody spoke. 



2o6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

A feeling of its being too dangerous to take a step in any 
direction, or hazard any remark, had fallen on them all. 
Something of the sense of the impending, that comes over the 
spectator of a Greek tragedy, had entered that upholstered 
room, filled with those white-haired, frock-coated old men, 
and fashionably attired women, who were all of the same blood, 
between all of whom existed an unseizable resemblance. 

Not that they were conscious of it — the visits of such 
fateful, bitter spirits are only felt. 

Then Swithin rose. He would not sit there, feeling like 
that — he was not to be put down by anyone ! And, 
manoeuvring round the room with added pomp, he shook 
hands with each separately. 

* You tell Timothy from me,' he said, * that he coddles 
himself too much 1' Then, turning to Francie, whom he 
considered ' smart,' he added : * You come with me for a 
drive one of these days.' But this conjured up the vision 
of that other eventful drive which had been so much talked 
about, and he stood quite still for a second, with glassy eyes, 
as though waiting to catch up with the significance of what 
he himself had said ; then, suddenly recollecting that he 
didn't care a damn, he turned to old Jolyon : ' Well, 
good-bye, Jolyon ! You shouldn't go about without an 
overcoat ; you'll be getting sciatica or something !' And, 
kicking the cat slightly with the pointed tip of his patent 
leather boot, he took his huge form away. 

When he had gone everyone looked secretly at the others, 
to see how they had taken the mention of the word * drive ' 
— the word which had become famous, and acquired an over- 
whelming importance, as the only official — so to speak — news 
in connection with the vague and sinister rumour clinging to 
the family tongue. 

Euphemia, yielding to an impulse, said with a short laugh: 
^I'm glad Uncle Swithin doesn't ask me to go for drives.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 207 

Mrs. Small, to reassure her and smooth over any little 
awkwardness the subject might have, replied : * My dear, he 
likes to take somebody well dressed, who will do him a little 
credit. I shall never forget the drive he took me. It was an 
experience 1' And her chubby round old face was spread 
for a moment with a strange contentment ; then broke into 
pouts, and tears came into her eyes. She was thinking of 
that long ago driving tour she had once taken with Septimus 
Small. 

James, who had relapsed into his nervous brooding in the 
little chair, suddenly roused himself: * He's a funny fellow, 
Swithin,' he said, but in a half-hearted way. 

Old Jolyon's silence, his stern eyes, held them all in a 
kind of paralysis. He was disconcerted himself by the effect 
of his own words — an effect which seemed to deepen the 
importance of the very rumour he had come to scotch ; but 
he was still angry. 

He had not done with them yet — No, no — he would give 
them another rub or two ! 

He did not wish to rub his nieces, he had no quarrel with 
them — a young and presentable female always appealed to 
old Jolyon's clemency — but that fellow James, and, in a less 
degree perhaps, those others, deserved all they would get. 
And lie, too, asked for Timothy. 

As though feeling that some danger threatened her younger 
brother. Aunt Juley suddenly offered him tea : ' There it is,' 
she said, ' all cold and nasty, waiting for you in the back 
drawing-room, but Smither shall make you some fresh.' 

Old Jolyon rose : ' Thank you,' he said, looking straight 
at James, ' but I've no time for tea, and — scandal, and the 
rest of it ! It's time I was at home. Good-bye, Julia ; 
good-bye, Hester ; good-bye, Winifred.' 

Without more ceremonious adieux, he marched out. 

Once again in his cab, his anger evaporated, for so it ever 



2o8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

was with his wrath — when he had rapped out, it was gone. 
Sadness came over his spirit. He had stopped their mouths, 
maybe, but at what a cost ! At the cost of certain know- 
ledge that the rumour he had been resolved not to believe 
was true. June was abandoned, and for the wife of that 
fellow's son 1 He felt it was true, and hardened himiself to 
treat it as if it were not ; but the pain he hid beneath this 
resolution began slowly, surely, to vent itself in a blind 
resentment against James and his son. 

The six women and one man left behind in the little 
drawing-room began talking as easily as might be after such 
an occurrence, for though each one of them knew for a fact 
that he or she never talked scandal, each one of them also 
knew that the other six did ; all were therefore angry and at a 
loss. James only was silent, disturbed to the bottom of his soul. 

Presently Francie said: * Do you know, I think Uncle 
Jolyon is terribly changed this last year. What do you 
think. Aunt Hester?' 

Aunt Hester made a little movement of recoil: 'Oh, ask 
your Aunt Julia !' she said ; ' I know nothing about it.' 

No one else was afraid of assenting, and James muttered 
gloomily at the floor: ' He's not half the man he was.' 

'• I've noticed it a long time,' went on Francie ; ' he's aged 
tremendously.' 

Aunt Juley shook her head ; her face seemed suddenly to 
have become one immense pout. 

' Poor dear Jolyon,' she said, ' somebody ought to see to it 
for him !' 

There was again silence; then, as though in terror of 
being left solitarily behind, all five visitors rose simultaneously, 
and took their departure. 

Mrs. Small, Aunt Hester and their cat v/ere left once 
more alone, the sound of a door closing in che distance 
announced the approach of Timothy. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 209 

That evening, when Aunt Hester had just got off to sleep 
in the back bedroom that used to be Aunt Juley's before 
Aunt Juley took Aunt Ann's, her door was opened, and 
Mrs. Small, in a pink night-cap, a candle in her hand, 
entered : * Hester !' she said. * Hester !' 

Aunt Hester faintly rustled the sheet. 

' Hester,' repeated Aunt Juley, to make quite sure that 
she had awakened her, ' I am quite troubled about poor dear 
Jolyon. What^ Aunt Juley dwelt on the word, ' do you 
think ought to be done ?' 

Aunt Hester again rustled the sheet, her voice was heard 
faintly pleading : * Done ? How should I know ?' 

Aunt Juley turned away satisfied, and closing the door 
with extra gentleness so as not to disturb dear Hester, let it 
slip through her fingers and fall to with a ' crack.' 

Back in her own room, she stood at the window gazing at 
the moon over the trees in the Park, through a chink in the 
muslin curtains, close drawn lest anyone should see. And 
there, with her face all round and pouting in its pink cap, 
and her eyes wet, she thought of * dear Jolyon,' so old and 
so lonely, and how she could be of some use to him ; and 
how he would come to love her, as she had never been 
loved since — since poor Septimus went away. 



CHAPTER VIII 

DANCE AT Roger's 

Roger's house in Prince's Gardens was brilliantly alight. 
Large numbers of wax candles had been collected and placed 
in cut-glass chandeliers, and the parquet floor of the long, 
double drawing-room reflected these constellations. An 
appearance of real spaciousness had been secured by moving 
out all the furniture on to the upper landings, and enclosing 
the room with those strange appendages of civilization 
known as ^ rout ' seats. 

In a remote corner, embowered in palms, was a cottage 
piano, with a copy of the ' Kensington Coil ' open on the 
music-stand. 

Roger had objected to a band. He didn't see in the least 
what they wanted with a band ; he wouldn't go to the 
expense, and there was an end of it. Francie (her mother, 
whom Roger had long since reduced to chronic dyspepsia, 
went to bed on such occasions), had been obliged to content 
herself with supplementing the piano by a young man who 
played the cornet, and she so arranged with palms that any- 
one who did not look into the heart of things might imagine 
there were several musicians secreted there. She made up 
her mind to tell them to play loud — there was a lot of music 
in a cornet, if the m^an would only put his soul into it. 

In the more cultivated American tongue, she was 
* through ' at last — through that tortuous labyrinth of 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 21 r 

make-shifts, which must be traversed before fashionable 
display can be combined with the sound economy of a 
Forsyte. Thin but brilliant, in her maize-coloured frock 
with much tulle about the shoulders, she went from place 
to place, fitting on her gloves, and casting her eye over 
it all. 

To the hired butler (for Roger only kept maids) she spoke 
about the wine. Did he quite understand that Mr. Forsyte 
wished a dozen bottles of the champagne from Whiteley's to 
be put out ? But if that were finished (she did not suppose 
it would be, most of the ladies would drink water, no doubt), 
but if it were, there was the champagne cup, and he must 
do the best he could with that. 

She hated having to say this sort of thing to a butler, it 
was so infra dig. ; but what could you do with father ? 
Roger, indeed, after making himself consistently disagreeable 
about the dance, would come down presently, with his 
fresh colour and bumpy forehead, as though he had been its 
promoter ; and he would smile, and probably take the 
prettiest woman in to supper ; and at two o'clock, just as 
they were getting into the swing, he would go up secretly to 
he musicians and tell them to play 'God save the Queen,* 
and go away. 

Francie devoutly hoped he might soon get tired, and slip 
off to bed. 

The three or four devoted girl friends who were staying 
in the house for this dance, had partaken with her, in a 
small, abandoned room upstairs, of tea and cold chicken-legs, 
hurriedly served ; the men had been sent out to dine at 
Eustace's Club, it being felt that they must be fed up. 

Punctually on the stroke of nine arrived Mrs. Small 
alone. She made elaborate apologies for the absence of 
Timothy, omitting all mention of Aunt Hester, who, at the 
last minute, had said she could not be bothered. Francie 



212 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

received her effusively, and placed her on a rout seat, where 
she left her, pouting and solitary in lavender-coloured satin — 
the first time she had worn colour since Aunt Ann's death. 

The devoted maiden friends came now from their rooms, 
each by magic arrangement in a differently coloured frock, but 
all with the same liberal allowance of tulle on the shoulders 
and at the bosom — for they were, by some fatality, lean to a 
girl. They were all taken up to Mrs. Small. None stayed 
with her more than a few seconds, but clustering together, 
talked and twisted their programmes, looking secretly at the 
door for the first appearance of a man. 

Then arrived in a group a number of Nicholases, always 
punctual — the fashion up Ladbroke Grove way ; and close 
behind them Eustace and his men, gloomy and smelling 
rather of smoke. 

Three or four of Francie's lovers now appeared, one after 
the other ; she had made each promise to come early. They 
were all clean-shaven and sprightly, with that peculiar kind 
of young-man sprightliness which had recently invaded 
Kensington ; they did not seem to mind each other's 
presence in the least, and wore their ties bunching out 
at the ends, white waistcoats, and socks with clocks. All 
had handkerchiefs concealed in their cuffs. They moved 
buoyantly, each armoured in professional gaiety, as though 
he had come to do great deeds. Their faces when they 
danced, far from wearing the traditional solemn look of the 
dancing Englishman, were irresponsible, charming, sauve; 
they bounded, twirling their partners at great pace, without 
pedantic attention to the rhythm of the music. 

At other dancers they looked with a kind of airy scorn — 
they, the light brigade, the heroes of a hundred Kensington 
* hops' — from whom alone could the right manner and smile 
and step be hoped. 

After this the stream came fast ; chaperones silting up 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 



213 



along the wall facing the entrance, the volatile element 
swelling the eddy in the larger room. 

Men were scarce, and wallflowers wore their peculiar, 
pathetic expression, a patient, sourish smile which seemed to 
say : 'Oh, no ! don't mistake me, / know you are not 
coming up to me. I can hardly expect that !' And Francie 
would plead with one of her lovers, or with some callow 
youth : ' Now, to please me, do let me introduce you to 
Miss Pink ; such a nice girl, really T and she would bring 
him up, and say : ' Miss Pink — Mr. Gathercole. Can you 
spare him a dance V Then Miss Pink, smiling her forced 
smile, colouring a little, answered : * Oh ! I think so !' and 
screening her empty card, wrote on it the name of Gather- 
cole, spelling it passionately in the district that he proposed, 
about the second extra. 

But when the youth had murmured that it was hot, and 
passed, she relapsed into her attitude of hopeless expectation, 
into her patient, sourish smile. 

Mothers, slowly fanning their faces, watched their 
daughters, and in their eyes could be read all the story of 
those daughters' fortunes. As for themselves, to sit hour 
after hour, dead tired, silent, or talking spasmodically — what 
did it matter, so long as the girls were having a good time ! 
But to see them neglected and passed by ! Ah ! they 
smiled, but their eyes stabbed like the eyes of an offended 
swan ; they longed to pluck young Gathercole by the slack 
of his dandified breeches, and drag him to their daughters — 
the jackanapes ! 

And all the cruelties and hardness of life, its pathos and un- 
equal chances, its conceit, self-forgetfulness, and patience, were 
presented on the battle-field of this Kensington ball-room. 

Here and there, too, lov-ers — not lovers like Francie's, a 
peculiar breed, but simply lovers — trembling, blushing, silent, 
sought each other by flying glances, sought to meet and 



214 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

touch in the mazes of the dance, and now and again dancing 
together, struck some beholder by the light in their eyes. 

Not a second before ten o'clock came the James's — Emily, 
Rachel, Winifred (Dartie had been left behind, having on a 
former occasion drunk too much champagne at Roger's), 
and Cicely the youngest, making her debut ; behind them, 
following in a hansom from the paternal mansion where they 
had dined, Soames and Irene. 

All these ladies had shoulder-straps and no tulle — thus 
showing at once, by a bolder exposure of flesh, that they 
came from the more fashionable side of the Park. 

Soames, sidling back from the contact of the dancers, took 
up a position against the wall. Guarding himself with his 
pale smile, he stood watching. Waltz after waltz began 
and ended, couple after couple brushed by with smiling lips, 
laughter, and snatches of talk ; or with set lips, and eyes 
searching the throng ; or again, with silent parted lips, and 
eyes on each other. And the scent of festivity, the odour of 
flowers, and hair, of essences that women love, rose suffocat- 
ingly in the heat of the summer night. 

Silent, with something of scorn in his smile, Soames 
seemed to notice nothing ; but now and again his eyes, find- 
ing that which they sought, would fix themselves on a point 
in the shifting throng, and the smile die off his lips. 

He danced with no one. Some fellows danced with their 
wives ; his sense of ' form ' had never permitted him to dance 
with Irene since their marriage, and the God of the Forsytes 
alone can tell whether this was a relief to him or not. 

She passed, dancing with other men, her dress, iris-coloured, 
floating away from her feet. She danced well ; he was tired 
of hearing women say with an acid smile : * How beauti- 
fully your wife dances, Mr. Forsyte — it's quite a pleasure to 
watch her !' Tired of answering them with his sidelong 
glance : * You think so ?' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 215 

A young couple close by flirted a fan by turns, making an 
unpleasant draught. Francie and one of her lovers stood 
near. They were talking of love. 

He heard Roger's voice behind, giving an order about 
supper to a servant. Everything was very second-class ! He 
wished that he had not come ! He had asked Irene whether 
she wanted him ; she had answered with that maddening 
smile of hers: ' Oh, no !' 

Why had he come ? For the last quarter of an hour he 
had not even seen her. Here was George advancing with 
his Quilpish face ; it was too late to get out of his way. 

* Have you seen " The Buccaneer ?" said this licensed 
wag ; * he's on the warpath — hair cut and everything !' 

Soames said he had not, and crossing the room, half-empty 
in an interval of the dance, he went out on the balcony, and 
looked down into the street. 

A carriage had driven up with late arrivals, and round the 
door hung some of those patient watchers of the London 
streets who spring up to the call of light or music ; their 
faces, pale and upturned above their black and rusty figures, 
had an air of stolid watching that annoyed Soames : Why 
were they allowed to hang about; why didn't the bobby 
move them on ? 

But the policeman took no notice of them ; his feet were 
planted apart on the strip of crimson carpet stretched across 
the pavement ; his face, under the helmet, wore the same 
stolid, watching look as theirs. 

Across the road, through the railings, Soames could see 
the branches of trees shining, faintly stirring in the breeze, 
by the gleam of the street lamps ; beyond, again, the upper 
lights of the houses on the other side, so many eyes looking 
down on the quiet blackness of the garden ; and over all, the 
sky, that wonderful London sky, dusted with the innumer- 
able reflection of countless lamps; a dome woven over 



2i6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

between its stars with the refraction of human needs and 
human fancies — immense mirror of pomp and misery that 
night after night stretches its kindly mocking over miles of 
houses and gardens, mansions and squalor, over Forsytes, 
policemen, and patient watchers in the streets. 

Soames turned away, and, hidden in the recess, gazed into 
the lighted room. It was cooler out there. He saw the 
new arrivals, June and her grandfather, enter. What had 
made them so late ? They stood by the doorway. They 
looked fagged. Fancy Uncle Jolyon turning out at this 
time of night ! Why hadn't June come to Irene, as she 
usually did, and it occurred to him suddenly that he had seen 
nothing of June for a long time now. 

Watching her face with idle malice, he saw it change, 
grow so pale that he thought she would drop, then flame out 
crimson. Turning to see at what she was looking, he saw 
his wife on Bosinney's arm, coming from the conservatory at 
the end of the room. Her eyes were raised to his, as though 
answering some question he had asked, and he was gazing at 
her intently. 

Soam.es looked again at June. Her hand rested on old 
Jolyon's arm ; she seemed to be making a request. He saw 
a surprised look on his uncle's face ; they turned and passed 
through the door out of his sight. 

The music began again — a waltz — and, still as a statue in 
the recess of the window, his face unmoved, but no smile on 
his lips, Soames waited. Presently, within a yard of the 
dark balcony, his wife and Bosinney passed. He caught the 
perfume of the gardenias that she wore, saw the rise and 
fall of her bosom, the languor in her eyes, her parted lips, 
and a look on her face that he did not know. To the slow, 
swinging measure they danced by, and it seemed to him that 
they clung to each other ; he saw her raise her eyes, soft and 
dark, to Bosinney's, and drop them again. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 217 

Very white, he turned back to the balcony, and leaning on 
it, gazed down on the Square ; the figures were still there 
looking up at the light with dull persistency, the policeman's 
face, too, upturned, and staring, but he saw nothing of them. 
Below, a carriage drew up, two figures got in, and drove 
away. ... 

That evening June and old Jolyon sat down to dinner at 
the usual hour. The girl was in her customary high-necked 
frock, old Jolyon had not dressed. 

At breakfast she had spoken of the dance at Uncle 
Roger's, she wanted to go ; she had been stupid enough, she 
said, not to think of asking anyone to take her. It was too 
late now. 

Old Jolyon lifted his keen eyes. June was used to go to 
dances with Irene as a matter of course ! And deliberately 
fixing his gaze on her, he asked : ' Why didn't she get 
Irene ?' 

No ! June did not want to ask Irene ; she would only 
go if — if her grandfather wouldn't mind just for once — for 
a little time ! 

At her look, so eager and so worn, old Jolyon had 
grumblingly consented. He did not know what she wanted, 
he said, with going to a dance like this, a poor affair, he 
would wager ; and she no more fit for it than a cat ! What 
she wanted was sea air, and after his general meeting of the 
Globular Gold Concessions he was ready to take her. She 
didn't want to go away ? Ah ! she would knock herself up ! 
Stealing a mournful look at her, he went on with his break- 
fast. 

June went out early, and wandered restlessly about in the 
heat. Her little light figure that lately had moved so 
languidly about its business, was all on fire. She bought 
herself some flowers. She wanted — she meant to look her 
best. He would be there ! She knew well enough that he 



2i8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

had a card. She would show him that she did not care. 
But deep down in her heart she resolved that evening to win 
him back. She came in flushed, and talked brightly all 
lunch ; old Jolyon was there, and he was deceived. 

In the afternoon she was overtaken by a desperate fit of 
sobbing. She strangled the noise against the pillows of her 
bed, but when at last it ceased she saw in the glass a swollen 
face with reddened eyes, and violet circles round them. She 
stayed in the darkened room till dinner time. 

All through that silent meal the struggle went on within 
her. She looked so shadowy and exhausted that old Jolyon 
told * Sankey ' to countermand the carriage, he would not 
have her going out. She was to go to bed ! She made no 
resistance. She went up to her room, and sat in the dark. 
At ten o'clock she rang for her maid. 

* Bring some hot water, and go down and tell Mr. 
Forsyte that I feel perfectly rested. Say that if he's too 
tired I can go to the dance by myself.' 

The maid looked askance, and June turned on her 
imperiously. * Go,' she said, ' bring the hot water at once !' 

Her ball-dress still lay on the sofa, and with a sort of 
fierce care she arrayed herself, took the flowers in her hand, 
and went down, her small face carried high under its burden 
of hair. She could hear old Jolyon in his room as she 
passed. 

Bewildered and vexed, he was dressing. It was past ten, 
they would not get there till eleven ; the girl was mad. But 
he dared not cross her — the expression of her face at dinner 
haunted him. 

With great ebony brushes he smoothed his hair till it 
shone like silver under the light ; then he, too, came out on 
the gloomy staircase. 

June met him below, and, without a word, they went to 
the carriage. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 219 

When, after that drive which seemed to last for ever, she 
entered Roger's drawing-room, she disguised under a mask 
of resolution a very torment of nervousness and emotion. 
The feeling of shame at what might be called * running 
after him ' was smothered by the dread that he might not be 
there, that she might not see him after all, and by that 
dogged resolve — somehow, she did not know how — to win 
him back. 

The sight of the ballroom, with its gleaming floor, gave 
her a feeling of joy, of triumph, for she loved dancing, and 
when dancing she floated, so light was she, like a strenuous, 
eager little spirit. He would surely ask her to dance, and 
if he danced with her it would all be as it was before. She 
looked about her eagerly. 

The sight of Bosinney coming with Irene from the con- 
servatory, with that strange look of utter absorption on his 
face, struck her too suddenly. They had not seen — no one 
should see — her distress, not even her grandfather. 

She put her hand on Jolyon's arm, and said very low : 

* I must go home, Gran ; I feel ill.* 

He hurried her away, grumbling to himself that he had 
known how it would be. 

To her he said nothing ; only when they were once more 
in the carriage, which by some fortunate chance had lingered 
near the door, he asked her : ' What is it, my darling ?' 

Feeling her whole slender body shaken by sobs, he was 
terribly alarmed. She must have Blank to-morrow. He 
would insist upon it. He could not have her like this. . . . 
There, there ! 

June mastered her sobs, and, squeezing his hand fever- 
ishly, she lay back in her corner, her face muflled in a shawl. 

He could only see her eyes, fixed and staring in the dark, 
but he did not cease to stroke her hand with his thin fingers. 



CHAPTER IX 

EVENING AT RICHMOND 

Other eves besides the eyes ot" June and ot Soames had 
seen ' those two ' (as Euphemia had already begun to call 
them) coming from the conser\-atory ; other eyes had noticed 
the look on Bosinney's face. 

There are moments when Nature reveals the passion 
hidden beneath the careless calm of her ordinar}^ moods — 
violent spring flashing white on almond-blossom through the 
purple clouds ; a snowv, moonlit peak, with its single star, 
soaring up to the passionate blue ; or against the flames 
of sunset, an old yew-stree standing dark guardian of some 
iierv secret. 

There are moments, too, when, in a picture-galler}^, a 
w^ork, noted by the casual spectator as ' * * * Titian — re- 
markably fine,' breaks through the defences of some Forsyte 
better lunched perhaps than his fellows, and holds him spell- 
bound in a kind of ecstacy. There are things, he feels — 
there are things here which — well, which are things. 
Something unreasoning, unreasonable, is upon him ; when 
he tries to define it with the precision of a practical man, it 
eludes him, slips away, as the glow of the wine he has 
drunk is slipping away, leaving him cross, and conscious of 
his liver. He feels that he has been extravagant, prodigal of 
something ; virtue has gone out of him. He did not desire 
this glimpse of what lay under the three stars of his cata- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 221 

logue. God forbid that he should know anything about the 
forces of Nature ! God forbid that he should admit for a 
moment that there are such things ! Once admit that, and 
where was he ? One paid a shilling for entrance, and 
another for the programme. 

The look which June had seen, which other Forsytes had 
seen, was like the sudden flashing of a candle through a hole 
in some imaginary' canvas, behind which it was being moved 
— the sudden flaming-out of a vague, erratic glow, shadow)- 
and enticing. It brought home to onlookers the conscious- 
ness that dangerous forces were at work. For a moment 
they noticed it with pleasure, with interest, then felt they 
must not notice it all. 

It supplied, however, the reason of June's coming so late 
and disappearing again without dancing, without even 
shaking hands with her lover. She was ill, it was said, and 
no wonder. 

But here they looked at each other guiltily. Thev had 
no desire to spread scandal, no desire to be ill-natured. 
Who would have ? And to outsiders no word was breathed, 
unwritten law keeping them silent. 

Then came the news that June had gone to the seaside 
with old Jolyon. 

He had carried her ofF to Broadstairs, for which place 
there was just then a feeling, Yarmouth having lost caste, in 
spite of Nicholas, and no Forsyte going to the sea without 
intending to have an air for his money such as would render 
him bilious in a week. That fatally aristocratic tendency of 
the first Forsyte to drink Madeira had left his descendants 
undoubtedly accessible. 

So June went to the sea. The family awaited develop- 
ments ; there was nothing else to do. 

But how far — how far had * those two ' gone r How far 
) were they going to go r Could they really be going at ail ? 



222 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Nothing could surely come of it, for neither of them had 
any money. At the most a flirtation, ending, as all such 
attachments should, at the proper time. 

Soames's sister, Winifred Dartie, who had imbibed with 
the breezes of Mayfair — she lived in Green Street — more 
fashionable principles in regard to matrimonial behaviour 
than were current, for instance, in Ladbroke Grove, laughed 
at the idea of there being anything in it. The ' little thing * 
— Irene was taller than herself, and it was real testimony to 
the solid worth of a Forsyte that she should always thus be 
a ' little thing' — the little thing was bored. Why shouldn't 
she amuse herself ? Soames was rather tiring ; and as to 
Mr. Bosinney — only that buffoon George would have called 
him the Buccaneer — she maintained that he was very chic. 

This dictum — that Bosinney was chic — caused quite a 
sensation. It failed to convince. That he was * good- 
looking in a way ' they were prepared to admit, but that 
anyone could call a man with his pronounced cheekbones, 
curious eyes, and soft felt hats chk was only another instance 
of Winifred's extravagant way of running after something 
new. 

It was that famous summer when extravagance was 
fashionable, when the very earth was extravagant, chestnut- 
trees spread with blossom, and flowers drenched in perfume, 
as they had never been before ; when roses blew in every 
garden ; and for the swarmfng stars the nights had hardly 
space ; when every day and all day long the sun, in full 
armour, swung his brazen shield above the Park, and people 
did strange things, lunching and dining in the open air. 
Unprecedented was the tale of cabs and carriages that 
streamed across the bridges of the shining river, bearing the 
upper-middle class in thousands to the green glories of 
Bushey, Richmond, Kew, and Hampton Court. Almost 
every family with any pretensions to be of the carriage-class 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 223 

paid one visit that year to the horse-chestnuts at Bushey, or 
took one drive amongst the Spanish chestnuts of Richmond 
Park. Bov^ling smoothly, if dustily, along, in a cloud of 
their ov^n creation, they would stare fashionably at the 
antlered heads which the great slow deer raised out of a 
forest of bracken that promised to autumn lovers such cover 
as was never seen before. And now and again, as the 
amorous perfume of chestnut flowers and fern was drifted 
too near, one would say to the other : * My dear ! What a 
peculiar scent !' 

And the lime-flowers that year were of rare prime, near 
honey-coloured. At the corners of London squares they 
gave out, as the sun went down, a perfume sweeter than the 
honey bees had taken — a perfume that stirred a yearning 
unnamable in the hearts of Forsytes and their peers, taking 
the cool after dinner in the precincts of those gardens to 
which they alone had keys. 

And that yearning made them linger amidst the dim shapes 
of flower-beds in the failing daylight, made them turn, and 
turn, and turn again, as though lovers were waiting for them 
— waiting for the last light to die away under the shadow ot 
the branches. 

Some vague sympathy evoked by the scent of the limes, 
some sisterly desire to see for herself, some idea of demon- 
strating the soundness of her dictum that there was * nothing 
in it ' ; or merely the craving to drive down to Richmond, 
irresistible that summer, moved the mother of the little 
Darties (of little Publius, of Imogen, Maud, and Benedict) 
to write the following note to her sister-in-law : 

' J une 30. 
* Dear Irene, 

' I hear that Soames is going to Henley to-morrow for 
the night. I thought it would be great fun if we made up 



224 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

a little party and drove down to Richmond. Will you ask 
Mr. Bosinney, and I will get young Flippard. 

* Emily (they called their mother Emily — it was so chic) 
will lend us the carriage. I will call for you and your young 
man at seven o'clock. 

* Your affectionate sister, 

' Winifred Dartie. 

* Montague believes the dinner at the Crown and Sceptre 
to be quite eatable.' 

Montague was Dartie's second and better-known name — 
his first being Moses ; for he was nothing if not a man of 
the world. 

Her plan met with more opposition from Providence than 
so benevolent a scheme deserved. In the first place young 
Flippard wrote : 

'Dear Mrs. Dartie, 

' Awfully sorry. Engaged two deep. 
* Yours, 

* Augustus Flippard.' 

It was late to send into the byeways and hedges to remedy 
this misfortune. With the promptitude and conduct of a 
mother, Winifred fell back on her husband. She had, indeed, 
the decided but tolerant temperament that goes with a good 
deal of profile, fair hair, and greenish eyes. She was seldom 
or never at a loss ; or if at a loss, was always able to convert 
it into a gain. 

Dartie, too, was in good feather. Erotic had failed to win 
the Lancashire Cup. Indeed, that celebrated animal, owned 
as he was by a pillar of the turf, who had secretly laid many 
thousands against him, had not even started. The forty- 
eight hours that followed his scratching were among the 
darkest in Dartie's life. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 225 

Visions of James haunted him day and night. Black 
thoughts about Soames mingled with the faintest hopes. On 
the Friday night he got drunk, so greatly was he affected. 
But on Saturday morning the true Stock Exchange instinct 
triumphed within him. Owing some hundreds, which by 
no possibility could he pay, he went into town and put them 
all on Concertina for the Saltown Borough Handicap. 

As he said to Major Scrotton, with whom he lunched at 
the Iseeum : * That little Jew boy, Nathans, had given him 
the tip. He didn't care a cursh. He wash in — a mucker. 
If it didn't come up — well then, damme, the old man would 
have to pay !' 

A bottle of Pol Roger to his own cheek had given him a 
new contempt for James. 

It came up. Concertina was squeezed home by her neck 
— a terrible squeak ! But, as Dartie said : There was nothing 
like pluck ! 

He was by no means averse to the expedition to Richmond. 
He would ' stand ' it himself ! He cherished an admiration 
for Irene, and wished to be on more playful terms with her. 

At half-past five the Park Lane footman came round to 
say : Mrs. Forsyte was very sorry, but one of the horses 
was coughing ! 

Undaunted by this further blow, Winifred at once 
despatched little Publius (now aged seven) with the nursery 
governess to Montpellier Square. 

They would go down in hansoms and meet at the Crown 
and Sceptre at 7.45. 

Dartie, on being told, was pleased enough. It was better 
than going down with your back to the horses ! He had no 
objection to driving down with Irene. He supposed they 
would pick up the others at Montpellier Square, and swop 
hansoms there ? 

Informed that the meet was at the Crown and Sceptre, 



226 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

and that he would have to drive w^ith his wife, he turned 
sulky, and said it was d d slow ! 

At seven o'clock they started, Dartie offering to bet the 
driver half-a-crown he didn't do it in the three-quarters of 
an hour. 

Twice only did husband and wife exchange remarks on 
the way. 

Dartie said: * It'll put Master Soames's nose out of joint 
to hear his wife's been drivin' in a hansom with Master 
Bosinney !' 

Winifred replied : ' Don't talk such nonsense, Monty !' 

' Nonsense !' repeated Dartie. ' You don't know women, 
my fine lady !' 

On the other occasion he merely asked : * How am I 
looking ? A bit puffy about the gills ? That fizz old 
George is so fond of is a windy wine !' 

He had been lunching with George Forsyte at the Haver- 
snake. 

Bosinney and Irene had arrived before them. They were 
standing in one of the long French windows overlooking the 
river. 

Windows that summer were open all day long, and all 
night too, and day and night the scents of flowers and trees 
came in, the hot scent of parching grass, and the cool scent 
of the heavy dews. 

To the eye of the observant Dartie his two guests did not 
appear to be making much running, standing there close 
together, without a word. Bosinney was a hungry-looking 
creature — not much go about him I 

He left them to Winifred, however, and busied himself to 
order the dinner. 

A Forsyte will require good, if not delicate feeding, but a 
Dartie will tax the resources of a Crown and Sceptre. 
Living, as he does, from hand to mouth, nothing is too good 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 227 

for him to eat ; and he will eat it. His drink, too, will need 
to be carefully provided ; there is much drink in this country 
* not good enough ' for a Dartie ; he will have the best. 
Paying for things vicariously, there is no reason why he 
should stint himself. To stint yourself is the mark of a 
fool, not of a Dartie. 

The best of everything ! No sounder principle on which 
a man can base his life, whose father-in-law has a very 
considerable income, and a partiality for his grandchildren. 

With his not unable eye Dartie had spotted this weakness 
in James the very first year after little Publius's arrival (an 
error) ; he had profited by his perspicacity. Four little 
Darties were now a sort of perpetual insurance. 

The feature of the feast was unquestionably the red 
mullet. This delectable fish, brought from a considerable 
distance in a state of almost perfect preservation, was first 
fried, then boned, then served in ice, with Madeira punch in 
place of sauce, according to a recipe known to a few men of 
the world. 

Nothing else calls for remark except the payment of the 
bill by Dartie. 

He had made himself extremely agreeable throughout the 
meal ; his bold, admiring stare seldom abandoning Irene's 
face and figure. As he was obliged to confess to himself, he 
got no change out of her — she was cool enough, as cool as 
her shoulders looked under their veil of creamy lace. He 
expected to have caught her out in some little game with 
Bosinney ; but not a bit of it, she kept up her end remark- 
ably well. As for that architect chap, he was as glum as a 
bear with a sore head — Winifred could barely get a word 
out of him ; he ate nothing, but he certainly took his liquor, 
and his face kept getting whiter, and his eyes looked queer. 

It was all very amusing. 

For Dartie himself was in capital form, and talked freely, 



228 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

with a certain poignancy, being no fool. He told two or 
three stories verging on the improper, a concession to the 
company, for his stories were not used to verging. He pro- 
posed Irene's health in a mock speech. Nobody drank it, 
and Winifred said : ' Don't be such a clown, Monty !' 

At her suggestion they went after dinner to the public 
terrace overlooking the river. 

' I should like to see the common people making love,' she 
said, * it's such fun !' 

There were numbers of them walking in the cool, after 
the day's heat, and the air was alive with the sound of voices, 
coarse and loud, or soft as though murmuring secrets. 

It was not long before Winifred's better sense — she was 
the only Forsyte present — secured them an empty bench. 
They sat down in a row. A heavy tree spread a thick 
canopy above their heads, and the haze darkened slowly over 
the river. 

Dartie sat at the end, next to him Irene, then Bosinney, 
then Winifred. There was hardly room for four, and the 
man of the world could feel Irene's arm crushed against his 
own ; he knew that she could not withdraw it without 
seeming rude, and this amused him ; he devised every now 
and again a movement that would bring her closer still. He 
thought : ' That Buccaneer Johnny shan't have it all to 
himself ! It's a pretty tight fit, certainly !' 

From far down below on the dark river came drifting the 
tinkle of a mandoline, and voices singing the old round : 

*A boat, a boat, unto the ferry, 
For we'll go over and be merry, 
And laugh, and quaft, and drink brown sherry!* 

And suddenly the moon appeared, young and tender, 
floating up on her back from behind a tree ; and as though 
she had breathed, the air was cooler, but down that cooler 
air came always the warm odour of the limes. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 229 

Over his cigar Dartie peered round at Bosinney, who was 
sitting with his arms crossed, staring straight in front of him, 
and on his face the look of a man being tortured. 

And Dartie shot a glance at the face between, so veiled by 
the overhanging shadow that it was but like a darker piece 
of the darkness shaped and breathed on ; soft, mysterious, 
enticing. 

A hush had fallen on the noisy terrace, as if all the strollers 
were thinking secrets too precious to be spoken 

And Dartie thought : * Women !' 

The glow died above the river, the singing ceased ; the 
young moon hid behind a tree, and all was dark. He pressed 
himself against Irene. 

He was not alarmed at the shuddering that ran through 
the limbs he touched, or at the troubled, scornful look of her 
eyes. He felt her trying to draw herself away, and smiled. 

It must be confessed that the man of the world had drunk 
quite as much as was good for him. 

With thick lips parted under his well-curled moustaches, 
and his bold eyes aslant upon her, he had the malicious look 
of a satyr. 

Along the pathway of sky between the hedges of the tree 
tops the stars clustered forth ; like mortals beneath, they 
seemed to shift and swarm and whisper. Then on the 
terrace the buzz broke out once more, and Dartie thought : 
*Ah ! he's a poor, hungr^Mooking devil, that Bosinney !' 
and again he pressed himself against Irene. 

The movement deserved a better success. She rose, and 
they all followed her. 

The man of the world was more than ever determined to 
see what she was made of. Along the terrace he kept close 
at her elbow. He had within him much good wine. There 
was the long drive home, the long drive and the warm dark 
and the pleasant closeness of the hansom cab — with its insula- 



230 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

tion from the world devised by some great and good man. 
That hungry architect chap might drive with his wife — he 
wished him joy of her ! And conscious that his voice was 
not too steady, he was careful not to speak ; but a smile had 
become fixed on hrs thick lips. 

They -strolled along toward the cabs awaiting them at the 
farther end. His plan had the merit of all great plans, an 
almost brutal simplicity — he would merely keep at her elbow 
till she got in, and get in quickly after her. 

But when Irene reached the cab she did not get in ; she 
slipped, instead, to the horse's head. Dartie was not at the 
moment sufficiently master of his legs to follow. She stood 
stroking the horse's nose, and, to his annoyance, Bosinney 
was at her side first. She turned and spoke to him rapidly, 
in a low voice ; the words ' That man ' reached Dartie. He 
stood stubbornly by the cab step, waiting for her to come 
back. He knew a trick worth two of that ! 

Here, in the lamp-light, his figure (no more than medium 
height), well squared in its white evening waistcoat, his light 
overcoat flung over his arm, a pink flower in his button-hole, 
and on his dark face that look of confident, good-humoured 
insolence, he was at his best — a thorough man of the world. 

Winifred was already in her cab. Dartie reflected that 
Bosinney would have a poorish time in that cab if he didn't 
look sharp 1 Suddenly he received a push which nearly 
overturned him in the road. Bosinney's voice hissed in his 
ear : * I am taking Irene back ; do you understand ?' He 
saw a face white with passion, and eyes that glared at him 
like a wild cat's. 

' Eh ?' he stammered. * What ? Not a bit 1 You take 
my wife!' 

* Get away !' hissed Bosinney — * or I'll throw you into the 
road !' 

Dartie recoiled ; he saw as plainly as possible that the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 231 

fellow meant it. In the space he made Irene had slipped by, 
her dress brushed his legs. Bosinney stepped in after her. 

^ Go on !' he heard the Buccaneer cry. The cabman 
flicked his horse. It sprang forward. 

Dartie stood for a moment dumbfounded ; then, dashing 
at the cab where his wife sat, he scrambled in. 

* Drive on !' he shouted to the driver, 'and don't you lose 
sight of that fellow in front !' 

Seated by his wife's side, he burst into imprecations. 
Calming himself at last with a supreme effort, he added : ' A 
pretty mess you've made of it, to let the Buccaneer drive 
home with her; why on earth couldn't you keep hold of 
him? He's mad with love; any fool can see that!' 

He drowned Winifred's rejoinder with fresh calls to the 
AlmJghty ; nor was it until they reached Barnes that he 
ceased a Jeremiad, in the course of which he had abused 
her, her father, her brother, Irene, Bosinney, the name of 
Forsyte, his own children, and cursed the day when he had 
ever married. 

Winifred, a woman of strong character, let him have his 
say, at the end of which he lapsed into sulky silence. His 
angry eyes never deserted the back of that cab, which, like a 
lost chance, haunted the darkness in front of him. 

Fortunately he could not hear Bosinney's passionate plead- 
ing — that pleading which the man of the world's conduct 
had let loose like a flood ; he could not see Irene shivering, 
as though some garment had been torn from her, nor her 
eyes, black and mournful, like the eyes of a beaten child. 
He could not hear Bosinney entreating, entreating, always 
entreating; could not hear her sudden, soft weeping, nor see 
that poor, hungry-looking devil, awed and trembling, humbly 
touching her hand. 

In Montpellier Square their cabman, following his instruc- 
tions to the letter, faithfully drew up behind the cab in front. 



232 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

The Darties saw Bosinney spring out, and Irene follow, and 
hasten up the steps with bent head. She evidently had her 
key in her hand, for she disappeared at once. It was impos- 
sible to tell whether she had turned to speak to Bosinney. 

The latter came walking past their cab; both husband 
and wife had an admirable view of his face in the light of a 
street lamp. It was working with violent emotion. 

* Good-night, Mr. Bosinney!* called Winifred. 
Bosinney started, clawed off his hat, and hurried on. He 

had obviously forgotten their existence. 

' There !' said Dartie, ' did you see the beast's face ? What 
did I say ? Fine games !' He improved the occasion. 

There had so clearly been a crisis in the cab that Winifred 
was unable to defend her theory. 

She said : ' I shall say nothing about it. I don't see any 
use in making a fuss !' 

With that view Dartie at once concurred ; looking upon 
James as a private preserve, he disapproved of his being 
disturbed by the troubles of others. 

* Quite right,' he said ; ' let Soames look after himself. 
He's jolly well able to !' 

Thus speaking, the Darties entered their habitat in Green 
Street, the rent of which was paid by James, and sought a 
well-earned rest. The hour was midnight, and no Forsytes 
remained abroad in the streets to spy out Bosinney's wander- 
ings ; to see him return and stand against the rails of the 
Square garden, back from the glow of the street lamp ; to see 
him stand there in the shadow of trees, watching the house 
where in the dark was hidden she whom he would have given 
the world to see for a single minute — she who was now to 
him the breath of the lime-trees, the meaning of the light and 
the darkness, the very beating of his own heart. 



CHAPTER X 

DIAGNOSIS OF A FORSYTE 

It is in the nature of a Forsyte to be ignorant that he is 
a Forsyte ; but young Jolyon was well aware of being one. 
He had not known it till after the decisive step which had 
made him an outcast ; since then the knowledge had been 
with him continually. He felt it throughout his alliance, 
throughout all his dealings, with his second wife, who 
was emphatically not a Forsyte. 

He knew that if he had not possessed in great measure the 
eye for what he wanted, the tenacity to hold on to it, the sense 
of the folly of wasting that for which he had given so big a 
price — in other words, the 'sense of property' — he could 
never have retained her (perhaps never would have desired to 
retain her) with him through all the financial troubles, 
slights, and misconstructions of those fifteen years; never 
have induced her to marry him on the death of his first wife ; 
never have lived it all through, and come up, as it were, 
thin, but smiling. 

He was one of those men who, seated cross-legged like 
miniature Chinese idols in the cages of their own hearts, are 
ever smiling at themselves a doubting smile. Not that this 
smile, so intimate and eternal, interfered with his actions, 
which, like his chin and his temperament, were quite a 
peculiar blend of softness and determination, 

233 



234 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He was conscious, too, of being a Forsyte in his work, 
that painting of water-colours to which he devoted so much 
energy, always with an eye on himself, as though he could 
not take so unpractical a pursuit quite seriously, and always 
with a certain queer uneasiness that he did not make more 
money at it. 

It was, then, this consciousness of what it meant to be a 
Forsyte, that made him receive the following letter from old 
Jolyon, with a mixture of sympathy and disgust : 

•Sheldrake House, 

' Broadstairs, 

' July 1 . 

* My Dear Jo,' 

(The Dad's handwriting had altered very little in the 
thirty odd years that he remembered it.) 

^ We have been here now a fortnight, and have had 
good weather on the whole. The air is bracing, but my 
liver is out of order, and I shall be glad enough to get back 
to town. I cannot say much for June, her health and spirits 
are very indifferent, and I don't see what is to come of it. 
She says nothing, but it is clear that she is harping on this 
engagement, which is an engagement and no engagement, 
and — goodness knows what. I have grave doubts whether 
she ought to be allowed to return to London in the present 
state of affairs, but she is so self-willed that she might take 
it into her head to come up at any moment. The fact is 
someone ought to speak to Bosinney and ascertain what he 
means. I'm afraid of this myself, for I should certainly rap 
him over the knuckles, but I thought that you, knowing him 
at the Club,- might put in a word, and get to ascertain what 
the fellow is about. You will of course in no way commit 
June. I shall be glad to hear from you in the course of a few 
days whether you have succeeded in gaining any information. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 235 

The situation is very distressing to me, I worry about it at 
night. With my love to Jolly and Holly. 
' I am, 

' Your affect, father, 

* JoLYON Forsyte.' 

Young Jolyon pondered this letter so long and seriously 
that his wife noticed his preoccupation, and asked him what 
was the matter. He replied : ^ Nothing.' 

It was a fixed principle with him never to allude to June. 
She might take alarm, he did not know what she might 
think ; he hastened, therefore, to banish from his manner all 
traces of absorption, but in this he was about as successful as 
his father would have been, for he had inherited all old 
Jolyon's transparency in matters of domestic finesse ; and 
young Mrs. Jolyon, busying herself over the affairs of the 
house, went about with tightened lips, stealing at him un- 
fathomable looks. 

He started for the Club in the afternoon with the letter in 
his pocket, and without having made up his mind. 

To sound a man as to * his intentions ' was peculiarly 
unpleasant to him ; nor did his own anomalous position 
diminish this unpleasantness. It was so like his family, so like 
all the people they knew and mixed with, to enforce what 
they called their rights over a man, to bring him up to the 
mark; so like them to carry their business principles into 
their private relations ! 

And how that phrase in the letter — ' You will, of course, 
in no way commit June ' — gave the whole thing away. 

Yet the letter, with the personal grievance, the concern 
for June, the ' rap over the knuckles,' was all so natural. No 
W( nder his father wanted to know what Bosinney meant, no 
wonder he was angry. 

It was difficult to refuse ! But why give the thing to him 



236 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

to do ? That was surely quite unbecoming ; but so long as 
a Forsyte got what he was after, he was not too particular 
about the means, provided appearances were saved. 

How should he set about it, or how refuse ? Both 
seemed impossible. So, young Jolyon ! 

He arrived at the Club at three o'clock, and the first 
person he saw was Bosinney himself, seated in a corner, 
staring out of the window. 

Young Jolyon sat down not far off, and began nervously 
to reconsider his position. He looked covertly at Bosinney 
sitting there unconscious. He did not know him very well, 
and studied him attentively for perhaps the first time; an 
unusual-looking man, unlike in dress, face, and manner to 
most of the other members of the Club — young Jolyon him- 
self, however different he had become in mood and temper, 
had always retained the neat reticence of Forsyte appearance. 
He alone among Forsytes was ignorant of Bosinney's nick- 
name. The man was unusual, not eccentric, but unusual ; 
he looked worn, too, haggard, hollow in the cheeks beneath 
those broad, high cheekbones, though without any appear- 
ance of ill-health, for he was strongly built, with curly 
hair that seemed to show all the vitality of a fine constitu- 
tion. 

Something in his face and attitude touched young Jolyon. 
He knew what suffering was like, and this man looked as if 
he were suffering. 

He got up and touched his arm. 

Bosinney started, but exhibited no sign of embarrassment 
on seeing who it was. 

Young Jolyon sat down. 

* I haven't seen you for a long time,' he said. ' How are 
you getting on with my cousin's house ?' 

' It'll be finished in about a v/eek.' 

* I congratulate you !' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 237 

* Thanks — I don't know that it's much of a subject for 
congratulation.' 

* No r' queried young Jolyon ; ' I should have thought 
you'd be glad to get a long job like that off your hands ; but 
I suppose you feel it much as I do when I part with a 
picture — a sort of child ?' 

He looked kindly at Bosinney. 

' Yes,' said the latter more cordially, * it goes out from 
you and there's an end of it. I didn't know you painted.' 
' Only water-colours ; I can't say I believe in m.y work.' 

* Don't believe in it ? Then how can you do it ? Work's 
no use unless you believe in it !' 

* Good,' said young Jolyon ; ' it's exactly what I've always 
said. By-the-bye, have you noticed that whenever one says 
*' Good," one always adds " it's exactly what I've always 
said"! But if you ask me how I do it, I answer, because 
I'm a Forsyte.' 

' A Forsyte ! I never thought of you as one !' 

* A Forsyte,' replied young Jolyon, ^ is not an uncommon 
animal. There are hundreds among the members of this 
Club. Hundreds out there in the streets ; you meet them 
wherever you go !' 

' And how do you tell them, may I ask ?' said Bosinney. 

' By their sense of property. A Forsyte takes a practical — 
one might say a commonsense — view of things, and a practical 
view of things is based fundamentally on a sense of property, 
A Forsyte, you will notice, never gives himself away.' 

' Joking r' 

Young Jolyon's eye twinkled. 

* Not much. As a Forsyte myself, I have no business to 
talk. But I'm a kind of thoroughbred mongrel ; now, 
there's no mistaking you. You're as different from me as I 
am from my Uncle James, who is the perfect specimen of a 
Forsyte. His sense of property is extreme, while you have 



238 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

practically none. Without me in between, you would seem 
like a different species. Fm the missing link. We are, of 
course, all of us the slaves of property, and I admit that it's a 
question of degree, but what I call a " Forsyte " is a man 
who is decidedly more than less a slave of property. He 
knows a good thing, he knows a safe thing, and his grip on 
property — it doesn't matter whether it be wives, houses, 
money, or reputation — is his hall-mark.' 

' Ah !' murmured Bosinney. * You should patent the word.' 

* I should like,' said young Jolyon, * to lecture on it : 
" Properties and quality of a Forsyte. This little animal, 
disturbed by the ridicule of his own sort, is unaffected in his 
motions by the laughter of strange creatures (you or I). 
Hereditarily disposed to myopia, he recognises only the 
persons and habitats of his own species, amongst which he 
passes an existence of competitive tranquillity.'" 

' You talk of them,' said Bosinney, * as if they were half 
England.' 

*They are,' repeated young Jolyon, *half England, and 
the better half, too, the safe half, the three per cent, half, the 
half that counts. It's their wealth and security that makes 
everything possible ; makes your art possible, makes literature, 
science, even religion, possible. Without Forsytes, who 
believe in none of these things, but turn them all to use, 
where should we be ? My dear sir, the Forsytes are the 
middlemen, the commercials, the pillars of society, the 
corner-stones of convention ; everything that is admirable 1' 

' I don't know whether I catch your drift,' said Bosinney, 
* but I fancy there are plenty of Forsytes, as you call them, 
in my profession.' 

* Certainly,' replied young Jolyon. * The great majority 
of architects, painters, or writers have no principles, like any 
other Forsytes. Art, literature, religion, survive by virtue of 
the few cranks who really believe in such things, and the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 239 

many Forsytes who make a commercial use of them. At a 
low estimate, three-fourths of our Royal Academicians are 
Forsytes, seven-eighths of our novelists, a large proportion of 
the press. Of science I can't speak ; they are magnificently 
represented in religion ; in the House of Commons perhaps 
more numerous than anywhere; the aristocracy speaks for 
itself. But I'm not laughing. It is dangerous to go against 
the majority — and what a majority !' He fixed his eyes on 
Bosinney : ' It's dangerous to let anything carry you away — 
a house, a picture, a — woman !' 

They looked at each other. And, as though he had done 
that which no Forsyte did — given himself away, young 
Jolyon drew into his shell. Bosinney broke the silence. 

^ Why do you take your own people as the type ?' said he. 

* My people,' replied young Jolyon, *are not very extreme, 
and they have their own private peculiarities, like every other 
family, but they possess in a remarkable degree those two 
qualities which are the real tests of a Forsyte — the power of 
never being able to give yourself up to anything soul and 
body, and the " sense of property." ' 

Bosinney smiled : * How about the big one, for instance ?' 

* Do you mean Swithin ?' asked young Jolyon. * Ah ! in 
Swithin there's something primeval still. The town and 
middle-class life haven't digested him yet. All the old 
centuries of farmwork and brute force have settled in him, and 
there they've stuck, for all he's so distinguished.' 

Bosinney seemed to ponder. ' Well, you've hit your 
cousin Soames off to the life,' he said suddenly. * He II 
never blow his brains out.' 

Young Jolyon shot at him a penetrating glance. 

* No,' he said ; ' he won't. That's why he's to be reckoned 
with. Look out for their grip ! It's easy to laugh, but don't 
mistake me. It doesn't do to despise a Forsyte ; it doesn't 
do to disregard them !' 



240 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* Yet you've done it yourself !' 

Young Jolyon acknowledged the hit by losing his smile. 

* You forget,' he said with a queer pride, * I can hold on, 
too — I'm a Forsyte myself. We're all in the path of great 
forces. The man who leaves the shelter of the wall — well 
— you know what I mean. I don't,' he ended very low, as 
though uttering a threat, ' recommend every man to — go — 
my — way. It depends.' 

The colour rushed into Bosinney's face, but soon receded, 
leaving it sallow-brown as before. He gave a short laugh, 
that left his lips fixed in a queer, fierce smile ; his eyes 
mocked young Jolyon. 

' Thanks,' he said. * It's deuced kind of you. But 
you're not the only chaps that can hold on.' He rose. 

Young Jolyon looked after him as he walked away, and, 
resting his head on his hand, sighed. 

In the drowsy, almost empty room the only sounds were 
the rustle of newspapers, the scraping of matches being 
struck. He stayed a long time without moving, living over 
again those days when he, too, had sat long hours watching 
the clock, waiting for the minutes to pass — long hours full of 
the torments of uncertainty, and of a fierce, sweet aching ; 
and the slow, delicious agony of that season came back to 
him with its old poignancy. The sight of Bosinney, with 
his haggard face, and his restless eyes always wandering to 
the clock, had roused in him a pity, with which was mingled 
strange, irresistible envy. 

He knew the signs so well. Whither was he going — to 
what sort of fate ? What kind of woman was it who was 
drawing him to her by that magnetic force which no con- 
sideration of honour, no principle, no interest could with- 
stand ; from which the only escape was flight. 

Flight ! But why should Bosinney fly ? A man fled 
when he was in danger of destroying hearth and home, when 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 241 

there were children, when he felt himself trampling down 
ideals, breaking something. But here, so he had heard, it 
was all broken to his hand. 

He himself had not fled, nor would he fly if it were all to 
come over again. Yet he had gone further than Bosinney, 
had broken up his own unhappy home, not someone else's. 
And the old saying came back to him : ' A man's fate lies 
in his own heart.' 

In his own heart ! The proof of the pudding was in the 
eating — Bosinney had still to eat his pudding. 

His thoughts passed to the woman, the woman whom he 
did not know, but the outline of whose story he had heard. 

An unhappy marriage ! No ill-treatment — only that inde- 
finable malaise, that terrible blight which killed all sweetnes* 
under Heaven ; and so from day to day, from night to night, 
from week to week, from year to year, till death should 
end it ! 

But young Jolyon, the bitterness of whose own feelings 
time had assuaged, saw Soames's side of the question too. 
Whence should a man like his cousin, saturated with all the 
prejudices and beliefs of his class, draw the insight or inspira- 
tion necessary to break up this life ? It was a question of 
imagination, of projecting himself into the future beyond 
the unpleasant gossip, sneers, and tattle that followed on 
such separations, beyond the passing pangs that the lack of 
the sight of her would cause, beyond the grave disapproval of 
the worthy. But few men, and especially few men of 
Soames's class, had imagination enough for that. A deal 
of mortals in this world, and not enough imagination to 2,0 
round ! And sweet Heaven, what a difference between 
theory and practice ; many a man, perhaps even Soames, 
held chivalrous views on such m.atters, who when the shoe 
pinched found a distinguishing factor that made or himself 
an exception. 

9 



242 TxHE FORSYTE SAGA 

Then, too, he distrusted his iudgment. He had been 
through the experience himself, had tasted to the dregs the 
bitterness of an unhappy marriage, and how could he take 
the wide and dispassionate view of those who had never 
been within sound of the battle ? His evidence was too 
first-hand — like the evidence on military matters of a soldier 
who has been through much active service, against that of 
civilians who have not sufxered the disadvantage of seeing 
things too close. Most people would consider such a 
marriage as that of Soames and Irene quite fairly successful ; 
he had money, she had beauty ; it v/as a case for compro- 
mise. There was no reason why they should not jog 
along, even if they hated each other. It would not matter if 
they went their own ways a little so long as the decencies were 
observed — the sanctity of the marriage tie, of the common 
hom.e, respected. Half the m.arriages of the upper classes 
were conducted on these lines : Do not offend the suscepti- 
bilities of Society ; do not offend the susceptibilities of the 
Church. To avoid offending these is worth the sacrifice 
of any private feelings. The advantages of the stable home 
are visible, tangible, so many pieces of property ; there is no 
risk in the statu quo. To break up a home is at the best 
a dangerous experiment, and seliish into the bargain. 

This v/as the case for the defence, and young Jolyon 
sighed. 

* The core of it all,' he thought, * is property, but there 
are many people who would not like it put that v/ay. To 
them it is " the sanctity of the marriage tie " ; but the 
sanctity of the marriage tie is dependent on the sanctity of 
the family^ and the sanctity of the family is dependent on the 
sanctity of property. And yet I imagine all these people are 
followers of One who never owned anything. It is curious !' 

And again young Jolyon sighed. 

'Ami I going on my way home to ask any poor devils 



THE Pv4AN OF PROPERTY 



■4i 



I meet to share my dinner, which will then be too little for 
myself, or, at all events, for m.y v/ife, who is necessary to 
tny health and happiness ? It may be that after all Soamics 
does well to exercise his rights and support by his practice 
the sacred principle of property v/hich benefits us all, v/ith 
the exception of those who — suffer by the process.' 

And so he left his chair, threaded his way through the 
maze of seats, took his hat, and languidly up the hot streets 
crowded with carriages, reeking with dusty odours, wended 
his way home. 

Before reaching Wistaria Avenue he removed old Jolyon's 
letter from his pocket, and tearing it carefully into tiny 
pieces, scattered them in the dust of the road. 

He let himxSelf in with his key, and called his wife's 
name. But slie had gone out, taking Jolly and Holly, and 
the house was empty ; alone in the garden the dog Balthasar 
lay in the shade snapping at flies. 

Young Jolyon took his seat there, too, under the pear- 
tree that bore no fruit. 



CHAPTER Xi 

BOSINNEY ON PAROLE 

The day after the evening at Richmond Soames returned 
from Henley by a morning train. Not constitutionally 
interested in amphibious sports, his visit had been one of 
business rather than pleasure, a client of some importance 
having asked him down. 

He went straight to the City, but finding things slack, he 
left at three o'clock, glad of this chance to get home quietly. 
Irene did not expect him. Not that he had any desire to 
to spy on her actions, but there was no harm in thus un- 
expectedly surveying the scene. 

After changing to Park clothes he went into the drawing- 
room. She was sitting idly in the corner of the sofa, her 
favourite seat ; and there were circles under her eyes, as 
though she had not slept. 

He asked : ' How is it you're in ? Are you expecting 
somebody ?' 

< Yes — that is, not particularly.' 

' Who ?' 

' Mr. Bosinney said he might come.' 

' Bosinney. He ought to be at work.' 

To this she made no answer. 

' Well,' said Soames, ' I want you to come out to the 
Stores with me, and after that we'll go to the Park,' 

' I don't want to go out ; I have a headache.' 

244. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 245 

Soames replied: 'If ever I want you to do anything, 
you've always got a headache. It'll do you good to come 
and sit under the trees.' 

She did not answer. 

Soames was silent for some minutes; at last he said: 'I 
don't know what your idea of a wife's duty is. I never 
have known !' 

He had not expected her to reply, but she did. 

* I have tried to do what you want ; it's not my fault that 
I haven't been able to put my heart into it.' 

' Whose fault is it, then r' He watched her askance. 
' Before we were married you promised to let me go if 
our marriage was not a success. Is it a success r' 
Soames frowned. 

* Success,' he stammered — * it would be a success if you 
behaved yourself properly!' 

' I have tried,' said Irene. * Will you let me go ?' 

Soames turned away. Secretly alarmed, he took refuge in 
bluster. 

*■ Let you go ? You don't know what you're talking 
about. Let you go? How can I let you go? We're 
married, aren't we ? Then, what are you talking about ? 
For God's sake, don't let's have any of this sort of nonsense ! 
Get your hat on, and come and sit in the Park.' 

' Then, you won't let me go r' 

He felt her eyes resting on him with a strange, touching 
look. 

* Let you go!' he said; 'and what on earth would you do 
with yourself if I did ? You've got no money !' 

' I could manage somehow.' 

He took a swift turn up and down the room ; then came 
and stood before her. 

' Understand,' he said, ' once and for all, I won't have you 
say this sort of thing. Go and get your hat on !' 



246 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

She did not move. 

^ I suppose,' said Soames, ^ you don't want to miss Bosinney 
if he comes !' 

Irene got up slowly and left the room. She came down 
with her hat on. 

They went out. 

In the Park, the motley hour of miid-afternoon, when 
foreigners and other pathetic folli drive, thinking themselves 
to be in fashion, had passed ; the right, the proper, hour had 
come, was nearly gone, before Soames and Irene seated 
themselves under the Achilles statue. 

It was some time since he had enjoyed her company in the 
Park. That was one of the past delights of the first tv^o 
seasons of his married life, when to feel him.self the possessor 
of this gracious creature before all London had been his 
greatest, though secret, pride. How many afternoons had 
he not sat beside her, extremely neat, with light gray gloves 
and faint, supercilious smile, nodding to acquaintances, and 
now and again removing his hat ! 

His light gray gloves were still on his hands, and on his lips 
his smile sardonic, but where the feeling in his heart ? 

The seats were emptying fast, but still he kept her there, 
silent and pale, as though to work out a secret punishment. 
Once or twice he made some comment, and she bent her 
head, or answered ' Yes ' with a tired smile. 

Along the rails a man was walking so fast that people 
stared after him when he passed. 

'Look at that ass!' said Soames; * he must be mad to 
walk like that in this heat !' 

He turned ; Irene had made a rapid miovement. 

' Hallo !' he said : * it's our friend the Buccaneer !' 

And he sat still, with his sneering smile, conscious that 
Irene was sitting still, and smiling too. 

* Will she bow to him ?' he thought. 



THE :\IAN OF PROPERTY 



247 



Bosinney reached the end of the rails, and came v/alking 
back amongst the chairs, quartering his ground like a pointer. 
When he saw them he stopped dead, and raised his hat. 

The smile never left Soames's face ; he also took ofi his hat. 

Bosinney came up, looking exhausted, like a man after 
hard physical exercise; the sweat stood in drops on his 
brov/, and Soames' smile seemed to say : ' You've had a 
trying tim^e, m^y friend!'. . . * What are you doing in the 
Park?' he asked. ' ¥/e thought you despised such frivolity !' 

Bosinney did not seem to hear ; he made his answer to 
Irene : ' I've been round to your place ; I hoped I should 
find you in.' 

3cmeix>dy tapped Soames on the back, and spoke to him : 
and in the exchange of those platitudes over his shoulder, he 
missed her answer, and took a resolution. 

' We're just going in,' he said to Bosinney ; ' you'd better 
come back to dinner with us.' Into that invitation he put a 
strange bravado, a stranger pathos : ' You can't deceive me,' 
his look and voice seemed saying, ' but see — I trust you — I'm 
not afraid of you !' 

They started back to Montpellier Square together, Irene 
betv/een them. In the crowded streets Soames went on in 
front. He did not listen to their conversation ; the strange 
resolution of trustfulness he had taken seemed to animate 
even his secret conduct. Like a gambler, he said to himself: 
' It's a card I dare not throw away — I must play it for what 
It's worth. I have not too many chances.' 

He dressed slowly, heard her leave her room and go down- 
stairs, and, for full five minutes after, dawdled about in his 
dressing-room.. Then be went down, purposely shutting 
the door loudly to show that he was com.ing. He found 
them standing by the hearth, perhaps talking, perhaps not j 
he could not say. 



248 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He played his part out in the farce, the long evening 
through — his manner to his guest more friendly than it had 
ever been before ; and when at last Bosinney went, he said : 
* You must come again soon ; Irene likes to have you to talk 
about the house !' Again his voice had the strange bravado 
and the stranger pathos ; but his hand was as cold as ice. 

Loyal to his resolution, he turned away from their part- 
ing, turned away from his wife as she stood under the 
hanging lamp to say good-night — away from the sight of 
her golden head shining so under the light, of her smiling 
mournful lips ; away from the sight of Bosinney's eyes 
looking at her, so like a dog's looking at its master. 

And he went to bed with the certainty that Bosinney was 
in love with his wife. 

The summer night was hot, so hot and still that through 
ever}^ opened window came in but hotter air. For long 
hours he lay listening to her breathing. 

She could sleep, but he must lie awake. And, lying 
awake, he hardened himself to play the part of the serene 
and trusting husband. 

In the small hours he slipped out of bed, and passing intc 
his dressing-room, leaned by the open window. 

He could hardly breathe. 

A night four years ago came back to him — the night but 
one before his marriage ; as hot and stifling as this. 

He remembered how he had lain in a long cane chair in 
the window of his sitting-room off Victoria Street. Down 
below in a side street a man had banged at a door, a woman 
had cried out ; he remembered, as though it were now, the 
sound of the scuffle, the slam of the door, the dead silence that 
followed. And then the early water-cart, cleansing the reek 
of the streets, had approached through the strange-seeming, 
useless lamp-light ; he seemed to hear again its rumble, 
nearer and nearer, till it passed and slowly died away. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 249 

He leaned far out of the dressing-room window, over the 
little court below, and saw the first light spread. The cut- 
lines of dark walls and roofs were blurred for a moment, then 
came out sharper than before. 

He remembered how that other night he had watched the 
lamps paling all the length of Victoria Street ; how he had 
hurried on his clothes and gone down into the street, down 
past houses and squares, to the street where she was staying, 
and there had stood and looked at the front of the little house, 
as still and gray as the face of a dead man. 

And suddenly it shot through his m.ind, like a sick man's 
fancy : What's he doing : — that fellow who haunts me, who 
was here this evening, who's in love with my wife — prowl- 
ing out there, perhaps, looking for her as I know he was 
looking for her this afternoon ; watching my house now, for 
all I can tell ! 

He stole across the landing to the front of the house, steal- 
thily drew aside a blind, and raised a window. 

The gray light clung about the trees of the square, as 
though Night, like a great downy moth, had brushed them 
with her wings. The lamps were still alight, all pale, but 
not a soul stirred — no living thing in sight ! 

Yet suddenly, very faint, far off in the deathly stillness, he 
heard a cry writhing, like the voice of some wandering soul 
barred out of heaven, and crying for its happiness. There it 
was again — again ! Soam^es shut the window shuddering. 

Then he thought : * Ah ! it's only the peacocks, across the 
water.' 



9' 



CHAPTER XII 

JUNE PAYS SOME CALLS 

Old Jolyon stood in the narrow hall at Broadstairs, inhaling 
that odour of oilcloth and herrings which permeates all 
respectable seaside lodging-houses. On a chair — a shiny- 
leather chair, displaying its horsehair through a hole in the 
top left-hand corner — stood a black despatch case. This he 
was filling with papers, with the Times, and a bottle of Eau- 
de-Cologne. He had meetings that day of the * Globular 
Gold Concessions ' and the * New Colliery Company, 
Limited,' to which he was going up, for he never missed a 
Board ; to * miss a Board ' would be one more piece of 
evidence that he was growing old, and this his jealous 
Forsyte spirit could not bear. 

His eyes, as he filled that black despatch case, looked as if 
at any moment they might blaze up with anger. So gleams 
the eye of a schoolboy, baited by a ring of his companions ; 
but he controls himself, deterred by the fearful odds against 
him. And old Jolyon controlled himself, keeping down, 
with his masterful restraint now slowly wearing out, the 
irritation fostered in him by the conditions of his life. 

He had received from his son an unpractical letter, in 
which by rambling generalities the boy seemed trying to get 
out of answering a plain question. * I've seen Bosinney,' he 
said ; * he is not a criminal. The more I see of people the 
more I am convinced that they are never good or bad — 

250 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 251 

merely comic, or pathetic. You probably don't agree with 
me!' 

Old Jolyon did not ; he considered it cynical to so express 
oneself; he had not yet reached that point of old age when 
even Forsytes, bereft of those illusions and principles which 
they have cherished carefully for practical purposes but never 
believed in, bereft of all corporeal enjoyment, stricken to the 
very heart by having nothing left to hope for — break through 
the barriers of reserve and say things they would never have 
believed themselves capable of saying. 

Perhaps he did not believe in * Goodness ' and ' Badness ' 
any more than his son ; but as he would have said : He 
didn't know — couldn't tell ; there might be something in it ; 
and why, by an unnecessary expression of disbelief, deprive 
yourself of possible advantage ? 

Accustomed to spend his holidays among the mountains, 
though (like a true Forsyte) he had never attempted any- 
thing too adventurous or too foolhardy, he had been pas- 
sionately fond of them. And when the wonderful view 
(mentioned in Baedeker — * fatiguing but repaying') was 
disclosed to him after the effort of the climb, he had doubt- 
less felt the existence of some great, dignified principle 
crowning the chaotic strivings, the petty precipices, and 
ironic little dark chasms of life. This was as near to 
religion, perhaps, as his practical spirit had ever gone. 

But it was many years since he had been to the mountains. 
He had taken June there two seasons running, after his wife 
died, and had realized bitterly that his walking days were 
over. 

To that old mountain-given confidence in a supreme 
order of things he had long been a stranger. 

He knew himself to be old, yet he felt young ; and this 
troubled him. It troubled and puzzled him, too, to think 
that he, who. had always been so careful, should be father 



252 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

and grandfather to such as seemed born to disaster. He had 
nothing to say against Jo — who could say anything against 
the boy, an amiable chap ? — but his position was deplorable, 
and this business of June's nearly as bad. It seemed like a 
fatality, and a fatality was one of those things no man of his 
character could either understand or put up with. 

In writing to his son he did not really hope that anything 
would come of it. Since the ball at Roger's he had seen too 
clearly how the land lay — he could put two and two 
together quicker than most men — and, with the example of 
his own son before his eyes, knew better than any Forsyte 
of them all that the pale flame singes men's wings whether 
they will or no. 

In the days before June's engagement, when she and Mrs. 
Soames were always together, he had seen enough of Irene to 
feel the spell she cast over men. She was not a flirt, not 
even a coquette — words dear to the heart of his generation, 
which loved to define things by a good, broad, inadequate 
word — but she was dangerous. He could not say why. 
Tell him of a quality innate in some women — a seductive 
power beyond their own control ! He would but answer : 
* Humbug !' She was dangerous, and there was an end of 
it. He wanted to close his eyes to that affair. If it was, it 
was ; he did not want to hear any more about it — he only 
wanted to save June's position and her peace of mind. He 
still hoped she might once more become a comfort to 
himself. 

And so he had written. He got little enough out of the 
answer. As to what young Jolyon had made of the inter- 
view, there was practically only the queer sentence : ' I 
gather that he's in the stream.' The stream ! What 
stream ? What was this new-fangled way of talking ? 

He sighed, and folded the last of the papers under the flap 
of the bag ; he knew well enough what was meant. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 253 

June came out of the dining-room, and helped him on 
with his summer coat. From her costume, and the ex- 
pression of her little resolute face, he saw at once what was 
coming. 

' Fm going with you,' she said. 

^ Nonsense, my dear ; I go straight into the City. I can't 
have you racketing about !' 

* I must see old Mrs. Smeech.' 

* Oh, your precious " lame ducks " !' grumbled out old 
Jolyon. He did not believe her excuse, but ceased his 
opposition. There was no doing anything with that per- 
tinacity of hers. 

At Victoria he put her into the carriage which had been 
ordered for himself — a characteristic action, for he had no 
petty selfishnesses. 

' Now, don't you go tiring yourself, my darling,' he said, 
and took a cab on into the City. 

June went first to a back-street in Paddington, where 
Mrs. Smeech, her Mame duck,' lived — an aged person, con- 
nected with the charring interest ; but after half an hour 
spent in hearing her habitually lamentable recital, and 
dragooning her into temporary comfort, she went on to 
Stanhope Gate. The great house was closed and dark. 

She had decided to learn something at all costs. It was 
better to face the worst, and have it over. And this was 
her plan : To go first to Phil's aunt, Mrs. Baynes, and, fail- 
ing information there, to Irene herself. She had no clear 
notion of what she would gain by these visits. 

At three o'clock she was in Lowndes Square. With a 
woman's instinct when trouble is to be faced, she had put 
on her best frock, and went to the battle with a glance as 
courageous as old Jolyon's itself. Her tremors had passed 
into eagerness. 

Mrs. Baynes, Bosinney's aunt (Louisa was her name), 



254 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

was in her kitchen when June was announced, organizing 
the cook, for she was an excellent housewife, and, as Baynes 
always said, there was * a lot in a good dinner.' He did his 
best work after dinner. It was Baynes who built that 
remarkably fine row of tall crimson houses in Kensington 
which compete with so many others for the title of ' the 
ugliest in London.' 

On hearing June's name, she went hurriedly to her 
bedroom, and, taking two large bracelets from a red morocco 
case in a locked drawer, put them on her white wrists — for 
she possessed in a remarkable degree that * sense of property,' 
which, as we know, is the touchstone of Forsyteism, and the 
foundation of good morality. 

Her figure, of medium height and broad build, with a 
tendency to embonpoint, was reflected by the mirror of her 
white-wood wardrobe, in a gown made under her own 
organization, of one of those half-tints, reminiscent of the 
distempered walls of corridors in large hotels. She raised 
her hands to her hair, which she wore a la Princesse de 
Galles, and touched it here and there, settling it more firmly 
on her head, and her eyes were full of an unconscious 
realism, as though she were looking in the face one of life's 
sordid facts, and making the best of it. In youth her cheeks 
had been of cream and roses, but they were mottled now by 
middle-age, and again that hard, ugly directness came into 
her eyes as she dabbed a powder-pufF across her forehead. 
Putting the pufF down, she stood quite still before the glass, 
arranging a smile over her high, important, nose, her chin, 
(never large, and now growing smaller with the increase of 
her neck), her thin-lipped, down-drooping mouth. Quickly, 
not to lose the effect, she grasped her skirts strongly in both 
hands, and went downstairs. 

. She had been hoping for this visit for some time past. 
Whispers had reached her that things were not all right 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 255 

between her nephew and his fiancee. Neither of them had 
been near her for weeks. She had asked Phil to dinner 
many times ; his invariable answer had been * Too busy.' 

Her instinct was alarmed, and the instinct in such matters 
of this excellent woman was keen. She ought to have been 
a Forsyte ; in young Jolyon's sense of the word, she certainly 
had that privilege, and merits description as such. 

She had married off her three daughters in a way that 
people said was beyond their deserts, for they had the profes- 
sional plainness only to be found, as a rule, among the female 
kind of the more legal callings. Her name was upon the 
committees of numberless charities connected with the 
Church — dances, theatricals, or bazaars — and she never lent 
her name unless sure beforehand that everything had been 
thoroughly organized. 

She believed, as she often said, in putting things on a 
commercial basis; the proper function of the Church, of 
charity, indeed, of everything, was to strengthen the fabric 
of ' Society.' Individual action, therefore, she considered 
immoral. Organization was the only thing, for by organiza- 
tion alone could you feel sure that you were getting a return 
for your money. Organization — and again, organization ! 
And there is no doubt that she was what old Jolyon called 
her — ^a "dab" at that ' — he went further, he called her 'a 
humbug.' 

The enterprises to which she lent her name were organized 
so admirably that by the time the takings were handed over, 
they were indeed skim milk divested of all cream of human 
kindness. But as she often justly remarked, sentiment was 
to be deprecated. She was, in fact, a little academic. 

This great and good woman, so highly thought of in 
ecclesiastical circles, was one of the principal priestesses in 
the temple of Forsyteism, keeping alive day and night a 
sacred flame to the God of Property, whose altar is inscribed 



256 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

with those inspiring words : * Nothing for nothing, and 
really remarkably little for sixpence.' 

When she entered a room it was felt that something sub- 
stantial had come in, which was probably the reason of her 
popularity as a patroness. People liked something substantial 
when they had paid money for it ; and they would look at 
her — surrounded by her staff in charity ball-rooms, with her 
high nose and her broad, square figure, attired in an uniform 
covered with sequins- —as though she were a general. 

The only thing against her was that she had not a double 
name. She was a power in upper-middle class society, with 
its hundred sets and circles, all intersecting on the common 
battlefield of charity functions, and on that battlefield brush- 
ing skirts so pleasantly with the skirts of Society with the 
capital * S.' She was a power in society with the smaller 's,' 
that larger, more significant, and more powerful body, 
where the commercially Christian institutions, maxims, and 
* principle ' 'which Mrs. Baynes embodied, were real life- 
blood, circulating freely, real business currency, not merely 
the sterilized imitation that flowed in the veins of smaller 
Society with the larger * S.' People who knew her felt her 
to be sound — a sound woman, who never gave herself away, 
nor anything else, if she could possibly help it. 

She had been on the worst sort of terms with Bosinney's 
father, who had not infrequently made her the object of an 
unpardonable ridicule. She alluded to him now that he was 
gone as her * poor, dear, irreverend brother.' 

She greeted June with the careful effusion of which she 
was a mistress, a little afraid of her as far as a woman of her 
eminence in the commercial and Christian world could be 
afraid — for so slight a girl June had a great dignity, the 
fearlessness of her eyes gave her that. And Mrs. Baynes, 
too, shrewdly recognised that behind the uncompromising 
frankness of June's manner there was much of the Forsyte. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 257 

If the girl had been merely frank and courageous, Mrs. 
Baynes would have thought her ' cranky,' and despised her ; 
if she had been merely a Forsyte, like Francie — let us say — 
she would have patronized her from sheer weight of metal ; 
but June, small though she was — Mrs. Baynes habitually 
admired quantity — gave her an uneasy feeling ; and she 
placed her in a chair opposite the light. 

There was another reason for her respect — which Mrs. 
Baynes, too good a churchwoman to be worldly, would 
have been the last to admit — she often heard her husband 
describe old Jolyon as extremely well off, and was biassed 
towards his granddaughter for the soundest of all reasons. 
To-day she felt the emotion with which we read a novel 
describing a hero and an inheritance, nervously anxious lest, 
by some frightful lapse of the novelist, the young man should 
be left without it at the end. 

Her manner was warm ; she had never seen so clearly 
before how distinguished and desirable a girl this was. She 
asked after old Jolyon's health. A wonderful man for his 
age ; so upright, and young looking, and how old was he ? 
Eighty-one ! She would never have thought it ! They 
were at the sea ! Very nice for them ; she supposed June 
heard from Phil every day ? Her light gray eyes became 
more prominent as she asked this question ; but the girl met 
the glance without flinching. 

* No,' she said, ' he never writes !' 

Mrs. Baynes's eyes dropped ; they had no intention of 
doing so, but they did. They recovered immediately. 

^ Of course not. That's Phil all over — he was always like 
that !' 

^ Was he ?' said June. 

The brevity of the answer caused Mrs. Baynes's bright 
sm.ile a moment's hesitation ; she disguised it by a quick 
movement, and spreading her skirts afresh, said : ' Why, my 



258 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

dear — he's quite the most harum-scarum person; one never 
pays the slightest attention to what he does !' 

The conviction came suddenly to June that she vi^as 
wasting her time ; even were she to put a question point- 
blank, she would never get anything out of this woman. 

' Do you see him ?* she asked, her face crimsoning. 

The perspiration broke out on Mrs. Baynes's forehead 
beneath the powder. 

' Oh, yes ! I don't remember when he was here last — 
indeed, we haven't seen much of him lately. He's so busy 
with your cousin's house ; I'm told it'll be finished directly. 
We must organize a little dinner to celebrate the event ; do 
come and stay the night with us !' 

* Thank you,' said June. Again she thought : * I'm only 
wasting my time. This woman will tell me nothing.' 

She got up to go. A change came over Mrs. Baynes. 
She rose too ; her lips twitched, she fidgeted her hands. 
Something was evidently very wrong, and she did not dare 
to ask this girl, who stood there, a slim, straight little figure, 
with her decided face, her set jaw, and resentful eyes. She 
was not accustomed to be afraid of asking questions — all 
organization was based on the asking of questions ! 

But the issue was so grave that her nerve, normally 
strong, was fairly shaken ; only that morning her husband 
had said : 'Old Mr. Forsyte must be worth well over a 
hundred thousand pounds !' 

And this girl stood there, holding out her hand — holding 
out her hand 1 

The chance might be slipping away — she couldn't tell — 
the chance of keeping her in the family, and yet she dared 
not speak. 

Her eyes followed June to the door. 

It closed. 

Then with an exclamation Mrs. Baynes ran forward, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 259 

wobbling her bulky frame from side to side, and opened it 
again. 

Too late ! She heard the front door click, and stood still, 
an expression of real anger and mortification on her face. 

June went along the Square with her bird-like quickness. 
She detested that woman now — whom in happier days she 
had been accustomed to think so kind. Was she always to 
be put off thus, and forced to undergo this torturing sus- 
pense ? 

She would go to Phil himself, and ask him what he meant. 
She had the right to know. She hurried on down Sloane 
Street till she came to Bosinney's number. Passing the 
swing-door at the bottom, she ran up the stairs, her heart 
thumping painfully. 

At the top of the third flight she paused for breath, and 
holding on to the banisters, stood listening. No sound 
came from above. 

With a very white face she mounted the last flight. She 
saw the door, with his name on the plate. And the resolu- 
tion that had brought her so far evaporated. 

The full meaning of her conduct came to her. She felt 
hot all over ; the palms of her hands were moist beneath 
the thin silk covering of her gloves. 

She drew back to the stairs, but did not descend. Lean- 
ing against the rail she tried to get rid of a feeling of being 
choked ; and she gazed at the door with a sort of dreadful 
courage. No ! she refused to go down. Did it matter what 
people thought of her ? They would never know ! No 
one would help her if she did not help herself ! She would 
go through with it. 

Forcing herself, therefore, to leave the support of the wall, 
she rang the bell. The door did not open, and all her shame 
and fear suddenly abandoned her ; she rang again and again, 
as though in spite of its emptiness she could drag some 



a6o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

response out of that closed room, some recompense for the 
shame and fear that visit had cost her. It did not open ; 
she left off ringing, and, sitting down at the top of the 
stairs, buried her face in her hands. 

Presently she stole down, out into the air. She felt as 
though she had passed through a bad illness, and had no 
desire now but to get home as quick as she could. The 
people she met seemed to know where she had been, what 
she had been doing ; and suddenly — over on the opposite 
side, going towards his rooms from the direction of Mont- 
pellier Square — she saw Bosinney himself. 

She made a movement to cross into the traffic. Their 
eyes met, and he raised his hat. An omnibus passed, ob- 
scuring her view ; then, from the edge of the pavement, 
through a gap in the traffic, she saw him walking on. 

And June stood motionless, looking after him. 



CHAPTER XIII 

PERFECTION OF THE HOUSE 

^ One mockturtle, clear ; one oxtail ; two glasses of port.' 

In the upper room at French's, where a Forsyte could still 
get heavy English food, James and his son were sitting down 
to lunch. 

Of all eating-places James liked best to come here j there 
was something unpretentious, well-flavoured, and filling 
about it, and though he had been to a certain extent cor- 
rupted by the necessity for being fashionable, and the trend 
of habits keeping pace with an income that would increase, 
he still hankered in quiet City moments after the tasty 
fleshpots of his earlier days. Here you were served by hairy 
English waiters in aprons ; there was sawdust on the floor, 
and three round gilt looking-glasses hung just above the line 
of sight. They had only recently done away with the 
cubicles, too, in which you could have your chop, prime 
chump, with a floury potato, without seeing your neighbours, 
like a gentleman. 

He tucked the top corner of his napkin behind the third 
button of his waistcoat, a practice he had been obliged to 
abandon years ago in the West End. He felt that he should 
relish his soup — the entire morning had been given to winding 
up the estate of an old friend. 

After filling his mouth with household bread, stale, he at 
once began : *• How are you going down to Robin Hill ? You 

261 



262 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

going to take Irene? You'd better take her. I should 
think there'll be a lot that'll want seeing to.' 

Without looking up, Soames answered : * She won't go.' 

* Won't go ? What's the meaning of that ? She's going 
to live in the house, isn't she ?' 

Soames made no reply. 

*I don't know what's coming to women nowadays,' 
mumbled James ; * I never used to have any trouble with 
them. She's had too much liberty. She's spoiled ' 

Soames lifted his eyes : * I won't have anything said 
against her,' he said unexpectedly. 

The silence was only broken now by the supping of 
James's soup. 

The waiter brought the two glasses of port, but Soames 
stopped him. 

'That's not the way to serve port,' he said; * take them 
away, and bring the bottle.' 

Rousing himself from his reverie over the soup, James 
took one of his rapid shifting surveys of surrounding facts. 

' Your mother's in bed,' he said ; ' you can have the 
carriage to take you down. I should think Irene'd like the 
drive. This young Bosinney'll be there, I suppose, to show 
you over ?' 

Soames nodded. 

* I should like to go and see for myself what sort of a 
job he's made finishing off,' pursued James. * I'll just drive 
round and pick you both up.' 

' I am going down by train,' replied Soames. ' If you like 
to drive round and see, Irene might go with you, I can't tell.' 

He signed to the waiter to bring the bill, which James paid. 

They parted at St. Paul's, Soames branching off to the 
station, James taking his omnibus westwards. 

He had secured the corner seat next the conductor, where 
his long legs made it difficult for anyone to get in, and at all 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 263 

who passed him he looked resentfully, as if they had no 
business to be using up his air. 

He intended to take an opportunity this afternoon of 
speaking to Irene. A word in time saved nine ; and now 
that she was going to live in the country there was a chance 
for her to turn over a new leaf! He could see that Soames 
wouldn't stand very much more of her goings on ! 

It did not occur to him to define what he meant by her 
* goings on ' ; the expression was wide, vague, and suited to a 
Forsyte. And James had more than his common share of 
courage after lunch. 

On reaching home, he ordered out the barouche, with 
special instructions that the groom was to go too. He wished 
to be kind to her, and to give her every chance. 

When the door of No. 62 was opened he could distinctly 
hear her singing, and said so at once, to prevent any chance 
of being denied entrance. 

Yes, Mrs. Soames was in, but the maid did not know if 
she was seeing people. 

James, moving with the rapidity that ever astonished the 
observers of his long figure and absorbed expression, went 
forthwith into the drawing-room without permitting this to 
be ascertained. He found Irene seated at the piano with her 
hands arrested on the keys, evidently listening to the voices 
in the hall. She greeted him without smiling. 

* Your mother-in-law's in bed,' he began, hoping at once 
to enlist her sympathy. * I've got the carriage here. Now, 
be a good girl, and put on your hat and come with me for a 
drive. It'll do you good !' 

Irene looked at him as though about to refuse, but, seeming 
to change her mind, went upstairs, and came down again 
with her hat on. 

* Where are you going to take me ?' she asked. 

< We'll just go down to Robin Hill,' said James, splutter- 



264 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

ing out his words very quick ; ' the horses want exercise, ana 
I should like to see what they've been doing down there.' 

Irene hung back, but again changed her mind, and went 
out to the carriage, James brooding over her closely, to make 
quite sure. 

It was not before he had got her more than half way that he 
began : ' Soames is very fond of you — he won't have anything 
said against you ; why don't you show him more affection ?' 

Irene flushed, and said in a low voice : * I can't show what 
I haven't got.' 

James looked at her sharply ; he felt that now he had her 
in his own carriage, with his own horses and servants, he 
was really in command of the situation. She could not put 
him off; nor would she make a scene in public. 

' I can't think what you're about,' he said. * He's a very 
good husband !' 

Irene's answer was so low as to be almost inaudible among 
the sounds of traffic. He caught the words : ' You are not 
married to him!' 

* What's that got to do with it ? He's given you every- 
thing you want. He's always ready to take you anywhere, 
and now he's built you this house in the country. It's not 
as if you had anything of your own.' 

^No.' 

Again James looked at her ; he could not make out the 
expression on her face. She looked almost as if she were 
going to cry, and yet — 

' I'm sure,' he muttered hastily, * we've all tried to be kind 
to you.' 

Irene's lips quivered ; to his dismay James saw a tear steal 
down her cheek. He felt a choke rise in his own throat. 

' We're all fond of you,' he said, * if you'd only ' — he was 
going to say, * behave yourself,' but changed it to — Mf you'd 
only be more of a wife to him.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 265 

Irene did not answer, and James, too, ceased speaking. 
There was something in her silence which disconcerted 
him ; it was not the silence of obstinacy, rather that of 
acquiescence in all that he could find to say. And yet he 
felt as if he had not had the last word. He could not 
understand this. 

He was unable, however, to long keep silence. 

' I suppose that young Bosinney,' he said, ' will be getting 
married to June now r' 

Irene's face changed. * I don't know,' she said ; ' you 
should ask her^ 

* Does she write to you ?' 
^No.' 

* How's that r' said James. * I thought you and she were 
such great friends.' 

Irene turned on him. *- Again,' she said, ^ you should ask 
her r 

' Well,' flustered James, frightened by her look, ' it's very 
odd that I can't get a plain answer to a plain question, but 
there it is.' 

He sat ruminating over his rebuff, and burst out at 
last : 

' Well, I've warned you. You won't look ahead. Soames 
he doesn't say much, but I can see he won't stand a great 
deal more of this sort of thing. You'll have nobody but 
yourself to blame, and, what's more, you'll get no sympathy 
from anybody.' 

Irene bent her head with a little smiling bow. ' I am 
very much obliged to you.' 

James did not know what on earth to answer. 

The bright hot morning had changed slowly to a gray, 
oppressive afternoon ; a heavy bank of clouds, with the 
yellow tinge of coming thunder, had risen in the south, and 
was creeping up. The branches of the trees drooped 



266 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

motionless across the road without the smallest stir of 
foliage. A faint odour of glue from the heated horses clung 
in the thick air ; the coachman and groom, rigid and un- 
bending, exchanged stealthy murmurs on the box, without 
ever turning their heads. 

To James's great relief they reached the house at last ; 
the silence and impenetrability of this woman by his side, 
whom he had alv/ays thought so soft and mild, alarmed him. 

The carriage put them down at the door, and they 
entered. 

The hall was cool, and so still that it was like passing 
into a tomb ; a shudder ran down James's spine. He quickly 
lifted the heavy leather curtains betv/een the columns into 
the inner court. 

He could not restrain an exclamation of approval. 

The decoration was really in excellent taste. The dull 
ruby tiles that extended from the foot of the walls to the 
verge of a circular clump of tall iris plants, surrounding in 
turn a sunken basin of white marble filled with water, were 
obviously of the best quality. He admired extremely the 
purple leather curtains drawn along one entire side, framing 
a huge white-tiled stove. The central partitions of the sky- 
light had been slid back, and the warm air from outside 
penetrated into the very heart of the house. 

He stood, his hands behind him, his head bent back on 
his high, narrow shoulders, spying the tracery on the columns 
and the pattern of the frieze which ran round the ivory- 
coloured walls under the gallery. Evidently, no pains had 
been spared. It was quite the house of a gentleman. He 
went up to the curtains, and, having discovered how they 
were worked, drew them asunder and disclosed the picture- 
gallery, ending in a great window taking up the whole end 
of the room. It had a black oak floor, and its walls, again, 
were of ivory white. He went on throwing open doors, and 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 2,67 

peeping in. Everything was in apple-pie order, ready for 
immediate occupation. 

He turned round at last to speak to Irene, and saw her 
standing over in the garden entrance, with her husband and 
Bosinney. 

Though not remarkable for sensibility, James felt at once 
that something v/as v/rong. He went up to them, and, 
vaguely alarmed, ignorant of the nature of the trouble, made 
an attempt to smooth things over. 

' How are you, Mr. Bosinney ?' he said, holding out his 
hand. ' You've been spending money pretty freely down 
here, I should say !' 

Soames turned his back, and walked away. James looked 
from Bosinney's frowning face to Irene, and, in his agitation, 
spoke his thoughts aloud : ' Well, I can't tell what's the 
matter. Nobody tells me anything 1' And, making off" 
after his son, he heard Bosinney's short laugh, and his ' Well, 

thank God ! You look so ' Most unfortunately he 

lost the rest. 

What had happened r He glanced back. Irene was very 
close to the architect, and her face not like the face he 
knew of her. He hastened up to his son. 

Soames v/as pacing the picture-gallery. 

^ What's the matter ?' said James. ' What's all this ?' 

Soames looked at him with his supercilious calm unbroken, 
but James knew well enough that he was violently angry. 

' Our friend,' he said, ' has exceeded his instructions again, 
that's all. So much the worse for him this tim^e.' 

He turned round and walked back towards the door. 
James followed hurriedly, edging himself in front. He saw 
Irene take her finger from before her lips, heard her say 
somxCthing in her ordinary voice, and began to speak before 
he reached them : 

' There's a storm coming on. We'd better get home. 



268 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

We can't take you, I suppose, Mr. Bosinney ? No, I sup^ 
pose not. Then, good-bye !' He held out his hand. 
Bosinney did not take it, but, turning with a laugh, said : 

< Good-bye, Mr. Forsyte. Don't get caught in the 
storm I' and walked away. 

* Well,' began James, * I don't know ' 

But the sight of Irene's face stopped him. Taking hold 
of his daughter-in-law by the elbow, he escorted her towards 
the carriage. He felt certain, quite certain, they had been 
making some appointment or other. . . . 

Nothing in this world is more sure to upset a Forsyte than 
the discovery that something on which he has stipulated to 
spend a certain sum has cost more. And this is reasonable, 
for upon the accuracy of his estimates the whole policy ot 
his life is ordered. If he cannot rely on definite values of 
property, his compass is amiss ; he is adrift upon bitter waters 
without a helm. 

After writing to Bosinney in the terms that have already 
been chronicled, Soames had dismissed the cost of the house 
from his mind. He believed that he had made the matter 
of the final cost so very plain that the possibility of its being 
again exceeded had really never entered his head. On hear- 
ing from Bosinney that his limit of twelve thousand pounds 
would be exceeded by something like four hundred, he had 
grown white with anger. His original estimate of the cost 
of the house completed had been ten thousand pounds, and 
he had often blamed himself severely for allowing himself to 
be led into repeated excesses. Over this last expenditure, 
however, Bosinney had put himself completely in the wrong. 
How on earth a fellow could make such an ass of himself 
Soames could not conceive ; but he had done so, and all 
the rancour and hidden jealousy that had been burning 
against him for so long was now focussed in rage at this 
crowning piece of extravagance. The attitude of the con- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 269 

fident and friendly husband was gone. To preserve property 
— his wife — he had assumed it, to preserve property of 
another kind he lost it now. 

^ Ah !' he had said to Bosinney when he could speak, ^ and 
I suppose you're perfectly contented with yourself. But I 
iTiay as well tell you that you've altogether mistaken your 
man 1' 

What he meant by those words he did not quite know at 
the time, but after dinner he looked up the correspondence 
between himself and Bosinney to make quite sure. There 
could be no two opinions about it — the fellow had made 
himself liable for that extra four hundred, or, at all events, 
for three hundred and fifty of it, and he would have to make 
it good. 

He was looking at his wife's face when he came to this 
conclusion. Seated in her usual seat on the sofa, she was 
altering the lace on a collar. She had not once spoken to 
him all the evening. 

He went up to the mantelpiece, and contemplating his 
face in the mirror said : ' Your friejid the Buccaneer has 
made a fool of himself; he will have to pay for it !' 

She looked at him scornfully, and answered : * I don't 
know what you are talking about !' 

* You soon will. A mere trifle, quite beneath your con- 
tempt — four hundred pounds.' 

' Do you mean that you are going to make him pay that 
tovv^ards this hateful house ?' 
' I do.' 

* And you know he's got nothing ?' 
' Yes.' 

' Then you are meaner than I thought you.' 
Soames turned from the mirror, and unconsciously taking 
a china cup from the mantelpiece, clasped his hands around 
it, as though praying. He saw her bosom rise and fall, her 



270 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

eyes darkening with anger, and raking no notice of the 
taunt, he asked quietly : 

' Are you carrying on a flirtation with Bosinney ?' 

' No, I am not !' 

rier eyes met his, and he looked avvav. He neither 
belie\'ed nor disbelieved her, but lie knew that he had made 
a mistake in asking ; he never ha.i known, never would 
know, what she was thinkina;. The sisrht of her inscrutable 
face, the thought of all the hundreds of evenings he had seen 
her sitting there like that soft and passive, but so unreadable, 
unknown, enraged him beyond measure. 

'I believe you are made of stone,' he said, clenching his 
fingers so hard that he broke the fragile cup. The pieces 
fell into the grate. And Irene smiled. 

* You seem to forget,' she said, * that cup is not !' 

Soames gripped her arm. * A good beating,' he said, 
* is the only thing that would bring you to your senses,' but 
turning on his heel, he left the room. 



CHAPTEP. XIV 

SOAMES SITS ON THE STAIRS 

SoAMEs went upstairs that night with the feehng that he had 
gone too far. He was prepared to offer excuses for his words. 

He turned out the gas still burning in the passage outside 
their room. Pausing, with his hand on the knob of the 
door, he tried to shape his apology, for he had no intention 
of letting her see that he was nervous. 

But the door did not open, nor when he pulled it and 
turned the handle firmly. She must have locked it for some 
reason, and forgotten. 

Entering his dressing-room, where the gas was also alight 
and burning low, he went quickly to the other doer. That 
too was locked. Then he noticed that the camp bed which 
he occasionally used was prepared, and his sleeping-suit laid 
out upon it. He put his hand up to his forehead, and 
brought it away wet. It dawned on him that he was barred 
out. 

He went back to the door, and rattling the handle 
stealthily, called : * Unlock the door j do you hear? Unlock 
the door !' 

There was a faint rustling, but no answer. 

' Do you hear ? Let me in at once — I insist on being 
let in !' 

He could catch the sound of her breathing close to the 
door, like the breathing of a creature threatened by danger. 



272 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

There was something terrifying in this inexorable silence, 
in the impossibility of getting at her. He went back to the 
other door, and putting his whole weight against it, tried to 
burst it open. The door was a new one — he had had them 
renewed himself, in readiness for their coming in after the 
honeymoon. In a rage he lifted his foot to kick in the 
panel ; the thought of the servants restrained him, and he 
felt suddenly that he was beaten. 

Flinging himself down in the dressing-room, he took up a 
book. 

But instead of the print he seemed to see his wife — with 
her yellow hair flowing over her bare shoulders, and her 
great dark eyes — standing like an animal at bay. And the 
whole meaning of her act of revolt came to him. She 
meant it to be for good. 

He could not sit still, and went to the door again. He 
could still hear her, and he called : ' Irene ! Irene !' 

He did not mean to make his voice pathetic. In ominous 
answer, the faint sounds ceased. He stood with clenched 
hands, thinking. 

Presently he stole round on tiptoe, and running suddenly 
at the other door, made a supreme effort to break it open. 
It creaked, but did not yield. 'He sat down on the stairs and 
buried his face in his hands. 

For a long time he sat there in the dark, the moon through 
the skylight above laying a pale smear that lengthened slowly 
towards him down the stairway. He tried to be philoso- 
phical. 

Since she had locked her doors she had no further claim 
as a wife, and he would console himself with other 
women ! 

It was but a spectral journey he made among such delights 
— he had no appetite for these exploits. He had never had 
much, and he had lost the habit. He felt that he could 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 273 

never recover it. His hunger could only be appeased by his 
wife, inexorable and frightened, behind these shut doors. 
No other woman could help him. 

This conviction came to him with terrible force out there 
in the dark. 

His philosophy left him ; and surly anger took its place. 
Her conduct was immoral, inexcusable, worthy of any 
punishment within his power. He desired no one but her, 
and she refused him ! 

She must really hate him, then ! He had never believed 
it yet. He did not believe it now. It seemed to him in- 
credible. He felt as though he had lost for ever his power 
of judgment. If she, so soft and yielding as he had always 
judged her, could take this decided step — what could not 
happen ? 

Then he asked himself again if she were carrying on an 
intrigue with Bosinney. He did not believe that she was j 
he could not afford to believe such a reason for her conduct 
— the thought was not to be faced. 

It would be unbearable to contemplate the necessity of 
making his marital relations public property. Short of the 
most convincing proofs he must still refuse to believe, for he 
did not wish to punish himself. And all the time at heart 
— he did believe. 

The moonlight cast a grayish tinge over his figure, hunched 
against the staircase wall. 

Bosinney was in love with her ! He hated the fellow, 
and would not spare him now. He could and would refuse 
to pay a penny piece over twelve thousand and fifty pounds 
— the extreme limit fixed in the correspondence ; or rather he 
would pay, he would pay and sue him for damages. He would 
go to Jobling and Boulter and put the matter in their hands. 

He would ruin the impecunious beggar ! And suddenly 

though what connection between the thoughts ? — he reflected 

10 



274 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

that Irene had no money either. They were both beggars. 
This gave him a strange satisfaction. 

The silence was broken by a faint creaking through the 
wall. She was going to bed at last. Ah ! Joy and pleasant 
dreams ! If she threw the door open wide he would not go 
in now ! 

But his lips, that were twisted in a bitter smile, twitched ; 
he covered his eyes with his hands. . . . 

It was late the following afternoon when Soames stood in 
the dining-room window gazing gloomily into the Square. 

The sunlight still showered on the plane-trees, and in the 
breeze their gay broad leaves shone and swung in rhyme to a 
barrel organ at the corner. It was playing a waltz, an old 
waltz that was out of fashion, with a fateful rhythm in the 
notes ; and it went on and on, though nothing indeed but 
leaves danced to the tune. 

The woman did not look too gay, for she was tired ; and 
from the tall houses no one threw her down coppers. She 
moved the organ on, and three doors off began again. 

It was the waltz they had played at Roger's when Irene 
had danced with Bosinney ; and the perfume of the garde- 
nias she had worn came back to Soames, drifted by the 
malicious music, as it had been drifted to him then, when 
she passed, her hair glistening, her eyes so soft, drawing 
Bosinney on and on down an endless ballroom. 

The organ woman plied her handle slowly ; she had 
been grinding her tune all day — grinding it in Sloane Street 
hard by, grinding it perhaps to Bosinney himself. 

Soames turned, took a cigarette from the carven box, and 
walked back to the window. The tune had mesmerized him, 
and there came into his view Irene, her sunshade furled, 
hastening homewards down the Square, in a soft, rose- 
coloured blouse with drooping sleeves, that he did not know. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 275 

She stopped before the organ, took out her purse, and gave 
the woman money. 

Soames shrank back and stood where he could see into the 
hall. 

She came in with her latch-key, put down her sunshade, 
and stood looking at herself in the glass. Her cheeks were 
flushed as if the sun had burned them ; her lips were parted 
in a smile. She stretched her arms out as though to embrace 
herself, with a laugh that for all the world was like a sob. 

Soames stepped forward. 

^ Very — pretty !' he said. 

But as though shot she spun round, and would have passed 
him up the stairs. He barred the way. 

* Why such a hurry r' he said, and his eyes fastened on a 
curl of hair fallen loose across her ear. 

He hardly recognised her. She seemed on fire, so deep 
and rich the colour of her cheeks, her eyes, her lips, and oi 
the unusual blouse she wore. 

She put up her hand and smoothed back the curl. She 
was breathing fast and deep, as though she had been running, 
and with every breath perfume seemed to come from her 
hair, and from her body, like perfume from an opening 
flower. 

' I don't like that blouse,' he said slowly, * it's a soft, shape- 
less thing !' 

He lifted his finger towards her breast, but she dashed his 
hand aside. 

' Don't touch me !' she cried. 

He caught her wrist ; she wrenched it away. 

* And where may you have been ?' he asked. 

* In heaven — out of this house !' With those words she 
fled upstairs. 

Outside — in thanksgiving — at the very door, the organ- 
grinder was playing the waltz. 



276 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

And Soames stood motionless. What prevented him from 
following her ? 

Was it that, with the eyes of faith, he saw Bosinney look- 
ing down from that high window in Sloane Street, straining 
his eyes for yet another glimpse of Irene's vanished figure, 
cooling his flushed face, dreaming of the moment when she 
flung herself on his breast — the scent of her still in the air 
around, and the sound of her laugh that was like a sob. 



PART III 



i /.v-i; 



CHAPTER I 

MRS. MACANDER's EVIDENCE 

Many people, no doubt, including the editor of the * Ultra 
V^ivisectionist,' then in the bloom of its first youth, would 
say that Soames was less than a man not to have removed 
the locks from his wife's doors, and after beating her soundly 
resumed wedded happiness. 

Brutality is not so deplorably diluted by humaneness as 
it used to be, yet a sentimental segment of the population 
may still be relieved to learn that he did none of these things. 
For active brutality is not popular with Forsytes ; they are 
too circumspect, and, on the whole, too soft-hearted. And 
in Soames there was some common pride, not sufficient to 
make him do a really generous action, but enough to prevent 
his indulging in an extremely mean one, except, perhaps, in 
very hot blood. Above all this true Forsyte refused to feel 
himself ridiculous. Short of actually beating his wife, he 
perceived nothing to be done ; he therefore accepted the 
situation without another word. 

Throughout the summer and autumn he continued to 
go to the office, to sort his pictures, and ask his friends to 
dinner. 

He did not leave town ; Irene refused to go away. The 
house at Robin Hill, finished though it was, remained emptv 
and ownerless. Soames had brought a suit against the 

279 



28o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Buccaneer, in which he claimed from him the sum of 
three hundred and fifty pounds. 

A firm of solicitors, Messrs. Freak and Able, had put in 
a defence on Bosinney's behalf. Admitting the facts, they 
raised a point on the correspondence which, divested of 
legal phraseology, amounted to this: To speak of 'a free 
hand in the terms of this correspondence' is an Irish 
bull. 

By a chance, fortuitous but not improbable in the close 
borough of legal circles, a good deal of information came 
to Soames's ear anent this line of policy, the working partner 
in his firm. Bustard, happening to sit next at dinner at 
Walmisley's, the Taxing Master, to young Chankery, of 
the Common Law Bar. 

The necessity for talking what is known as * shop,' which 
comes on all lawyers with the removal of the ladies, caused 
Chankery, a young and promising advocate, to propound an 
impersonal conundrum to his neighbour, whose name he 
did not know, for, seated as he permanently was in the 
background. Bustard had practically no name. 

He had, said Chankery, a case coming on with a 'very 
nice point.' He then explained, preserving every professional 
discretion, the riddle in Soames's case. Everyone, he said, 
to whom he had spoken, thought it a nice point. The 

issue was small unfortunately, ' though d d serious for 

his client he believed ' — Walmisley's champagne was bad 
but plentiful — A judge would make short work of it, he was 
afraid. He intended to make a big effort — the point was 
a nice one. What did his neighbour say ? 

Bustard, a model of secrecy, said nothing. He related 
the incident to Soames, however, with some malice, for this 
quiet man was capable of human feeling, ending with his 
own opinion that the point wm * a very nice one.' 

In accordance with his resolve, our Forsyte had put his 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 281 

interests into the hands of Jobling and Boulter. From the 
moment of doing so he regretted that he had not acted for 
himself. On receiving a copy of Bosinney's defence he 
went over to their offices. 

Boulter, who had the matter in hand, Jobling having died 
some years before, told him that in his opinion it was rather 
a nice point ; he would like counsel's opinion on it. 

Soames told him to go to a good man, and they went to 
Waterbuck, Q.C-, marking him ten and one, who kept the 
papers six weeks and then wrote as follows : 

*In my opinion the true interpretation of this correspon- 
dence depends very much on the intention of the parties, 
and will turn upon the evidence given at the trial. I am 
of opinion that an attempt should be made to secure from 
the architect an admission that he understood he was not 
to spend at the outside more than twelve thousand and fifty 
pounds. With regard to the expression, " a free hand in the 
terms of this correspondence," to which my attention is 
directed, the point is a nice one ; but I am of opinion that 
upon the whole the ruling in " Boileau v. The Blasted 
Cement Co., Ltd.," will apply.' 

Upon this opinion they acted, administering interroga- 
tories, but to their annoyance Messrs. Freak and Able 
answered these in so masterly a fashion that nothing whatever 
was admitted and that without prejudice. 

It was on October i that Soames read Waterbuck's 
opinion, in the dining-room before dinner. It made him 
nervous ; not so much because of the case of * Boileau v. The 
Blasted Cement Co., Ltd.,' as that the point had lately 
begun to seem to him, too, a nice one ; there was about it 
just that pleasant flavour of subtlety so attractive to the best 
legal appetites. To have his own impression confirmed by 
Waterbuck, Q.C., would have disturbed any man. 

He sat thinking it over, and staring at the empty grate, 

10* 



282 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

for though autumn had come, the weather kept as gloriously 
fine that year as though it were still high August. It was 
not pleasant to be disturbed ; he desired too passionately to 
set his foot on Bosinney's neck. 

Though he had not seen the architect since the last 
afternoon at Robin Hill, he was never free from the sense 
of his presence — never free from the memory of his worn 
face with its high cheek bones and enthusiastic eyes. It 
would not be too much to say that he had never got rid of 
the feeling of that night when he heard the peacock's cry 
at dawn — the feeling that Bosinney haunted the house. And 
every man's shape that he saw in the dark evenings walking 
past, seemed that of him whom George had so appropriately 
named the Buccaneer. 

Irene still met him, he was certain ; where, or how, he 
neither knew, nor asked, deterred by a vague and secret 
dread of too much knowledge. It all seemed subterranean 
nowadays. 

Sometimes when he questioned his wife as to where she 
had been, which he still made a point of doing, as every 
For'syte should, she looked very strange. Her self-possession 
was wonderful, but there were moments when, behind the 
mask of her face, inscrutable as it had always been to him, 
lurked an expression he had never been used to see there. 

She had taken to lunching out too ; when he asked Bilson 
if her mistress had been in to lunch, as often as not she 
would answer : * No, sir.' 

He strongly disapproved of her gadding about by herself, 
and told her so. But she took no notice. There was some- 
thing that angered, amazed, yet almost amused, him about 
the calm way in which she disregarded his wishes. It was 
really as if she were hugging to herself the thought of a 
triumph over him. 

He rose from the perusal of Waterbuck, Q.C.'s opinion, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 283 

and, going upstairs, entered her room, for she did not lock 
her doors till bed-time — she had the decency, he found, to 
save the feelings of the servants. She was brushing her 
hair, and turned to him with strange fierceness. 

^ What do you want ?' she said. * Please leave my room !' 
He answered : * I want to know how long this state of 
things between us is to last ? I have put up with it long 
enough.' 

* Will you please leave my room ?' 

* Will you treat me as your husband ?' 
*No.' 

* Then, I shall take steps to make you.' 
*DoP 

He stared, amazed at the calmness of her answer. Her 
lips were compressed in a thin line ; her hair lay in fluffy 
masses on her bare shoulders, in all its strange golden con- 
trast to her dark eyes — those eyes alive with the emotions of 
fear, hate, contempt, and odd, haunting triumph. 

* Now, please, will you leave my room ?' 
He turned round, and went sulkily out. 

He knew very well that he had no intention of taking 
steps, and he saw that she knew too — knew that he was 
afraid to. 

It was a habit with him to tell her the doings of his day : 
how such and such clients had called ; how he had arranged 
a mortgage for Parkes ; how that long-standing suit of 
Fryer v. Forsyte was getting on, which, arising in the pre- 
ternaturally careful disposition of his property by his great- 
uncle Nicholas, who had tied it up so that no one could get 
at it at all, seemed likely to remain a source of income for 
several solicitors till the Day of Judgment. 

And how he had called in at Jobson's, and seen a Boucher 
sold, which he had just missed buying of Talleyrand and 
Sons in Pall Mall. 



284 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He had an admiration for Boucher, Watteau, and all that 
school. It was a habit with him to tell her all these matters, 
and he continued to do it even now, talking for long spells 
at dinner, as though by the volubility of words he could 
conceal from himself the ache in his heart. 

Often, if they were alone, he made an attempt to kiss 
her when she said good-night. He may have had some 
vague notion that some night she would let him ; or perhaps 
only the feeling that a husband ought to kiss his wife. Even 
if she hated him, he at all events ought not to put himself 
in the wrong by neglecting this ancient rite. 

And why did she hate him? Even now he could not 
altogether believe it. It was strange to be hated! — the 
emotion was too extreme ; yet he hated Bosinney, that 
Buccaneer, that prowling vagabond, that night- wanderer. 
For in his thoughts Soames always saw him lying in wait — 
wandering. Ah, but he must be in very low water! Young 
Burkitt, the architect, had seen him coming out of a third- 
rate restaurant, looking terribly down in the mouth ! 

During all the hours he lay awake, thinking over the 
situation, which seemed to have no end — unless she should 
suddenly come to her senses — never once did the thought of 
separating from his wife seriously enter his head. . . . 

And the Forsytes ! What part did they play in this stage 
of Soames's subterranean tragedy ? 

Truth to say, little or none, for they were at the sea. 

From hotels, hydropathics, or lodging-houses, they were 
bathing daily ; laying in a stock of ozone to last them through 
the winter. 

Each section, in the vineyard of its own choosing, grew 
and culled and pressed and bottled the grapes of a pet sea-air. 

The end of September began to witness their several returns. 

In rude health and small omnibuses, with considerable 
colour in their cheeks, they arrived daily from the various 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 285 

termini. The following morning saw them back at their 
vocations. 

On the next Sunday Timothy's was thronged from lunch 
till dinner. 

Amongst other gossip, too numerous and interesting to 
relate, Mrs. Septimus Small mentioned that Soames and Irene 
had not been away. 

It remained for a comparative outsider to supply the next 
evidence of interest. 

It chanced that one afternoon late in September, Mrs. 
MacAnder, Winifred Dartie's greatest friend, taking a con- 
stitutional, with young Augustus Flippard, on her bicycle in 
Richmond Park, passed Irene and Bosinney walking from 
the bracken towards the Sheen Gate. 

Perhaps the poor little woman was thirsty, for she had 
ridden long on a hard, dry road, and, as all London knows, 
to ride a bicycle and talk to young Flippard will try the 
toughest constitution ; or perhaps the sight of the cool 
bracken grove, whence * those two ' were coming down, 
excited her envy. The cool bracken grove on the top of 
the hill, with the oak boughs for roof, where the pigeons 
were raising an endless wedding hymn, and the autumn, 
humming, whispered to the ears of lovers in the fern, while 
the deer stole by. The bracken grove of irretrievable de- 
lights, of golden minutes in the long marriage of heaven and 
earth ! The bracken grove, sacred to stags, to strange tree- 
stump fauns leaping around the silver whiteness of a birch-tree 
nymph at summer dusk ! 

This lady knew all the Forsytes, and having been at 
June's * at home,' was not at a loss to see with whom she 
had to deal. Her own marriage, poor thing, had not been 
successful, but having had the good sense and ability to force her 
husband into pronounced error, she herself had passed through 
the necessary divorce proceedings without incurring censure. 



286 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

She was therefore a judge of all that sort of thing, and 
lived in one of those large buildings, where in small sets of 
apartments, are gathered incredible quantities of Forsytes, 
whose chief recreation out of business hours is the discussion 
of each others' affairs. 

Poor little woman, perhaps she was thirsty, certainly she 
was bored, for Flippard was a wit. To see ' those two ' in 
so unlikely a spot was quite a merciful ' pick-me-up.' 

At the MacAnder, like all London, Time pauses. 

This small but remarkable woman merits attention ; 
her all-seeing eye and shrewd tongue were inscrutably the 
means of furthering the ends of Providence. 

With an air of being in at the death, she had an almost 
distressing power of taking care of herself. She had done 
more, perhaps, in her way than any woman about town to 
destroy the sense of chivalry which still clogs the wheel of 
civilization. So smart she was, and spoken of endearingly as 
< the little MacAnder !' 

Dressing tightly and well, she belonged to a Woman's 
Club, but was by no means the neurotic and dismal type of 
member who was always thinking of her rights. She took 
her rights unconsciously, they came natural to her, and she 
knew exactly how to make the most of them without 
exciting anything but admiration amongst that great class to 
whom she was affiliated, not precisely perhaps by manner, 
but by birth, breeding, and the true, the secret gauge, a sense 
of property. 

The daughter of a Bedfordshire solicitor, by the daughter 
of a clergyman, she had never, through all the painful 
experience of being married to a very mild painter with a 
cranky love of Nature, who had deserted her for an actress, 
lost touch with the requirements, beliefs, and inner feeling 
of Society ; and, on attaining her liberty, she placed herself 
without effort in the very thick of Forsyteism. 

Always in good spirits, and * full of information,' she was 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 287 

universally welcomed. She excited neither surprise nor dis- 
approbation when encountered on the Rhine or at Zermatt, 
either alone, or travelling with a lady and two gentlemen ; 
it was felt that she was perfectly capable of taking care of 
herself; and the hearts of all Forsytes warmed to that 
wonderful instinct, which enabled her to enjoy everj^thing 
without giving anything away. It was generally felt that 
to such women as Mrs. MacAnder should we look for the 
perpetuation and increase of our best type of woman. She 
had never had any children. 

If there was one thing more than another that she could 
not stand it was one of those soft v/omen with what men 
called * charm ' about them, and for Mrs. Soames she always 
had an especial dislike. 

Obscurely, no doubt, she felt that if charm were once 
admitted as the criterion, smartness and capability must go 
to the wall ; and she hated — with a hatred the deeper that at 
times this so-called charm seemed to disturb all calculations — 
the subtle seductiveness which she could not altogether over- 
look in Irene. 

She said, however, that she could see nothing in the 
woman — there was no * go ' about her — she would never be 
able to stand up for herself — anyone could take advantage 
of her, that was plain — she could not see in fact what men 
found to admire ! 

She was not really ill-natured, but, in maintaining her 
position after the trying circumstances of her married life, 
she had found it so necessary to be * full of information,* that 
the idea of holding her tongue about * those two ' in the 
Park never occurred to her. 

And it so happened that she was dining that very evening 
at Timothy's, where she went sometimes to * cheer the old 
things up,' as she was wont to put it. The same people 
were always asked to meet her: Winifred Dartie and her 
husband ; Francie, because she belonged to the artistic circles, 



288 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

for Mrs. MacAnder was known to contribute articles on 
dress to *The Ladies' Kingdom Come'; and for her to flirt 
with, provided they could be obtained, two of the Hayman 
boys, who, though they never said anything, were believed 
to be fast and thoroughly intimate with all that was latest in 
smart Society. 

At twenty-five minutes past seven she turned out the 
electric light in her little hall, and wrapped in her opera 
cloak with the chinchilla collar, came out into the corridor, 
pausing a moment to make sure she had her latch-key. 
These little self-contained flats were convenient ; to be sure, 
she had no light and no air, but she could shut it up when- 
ever she liked and go away. There was no bother with 
servants, and she never felt tied as she used to when poor, 
dear Fred was always about, in his mooney way. She 
retained no rancour against poor dear Fred, he was such a 
fool ; but the thought of that actress drew from her, even 
now, a little, bitter, derisive smile. 

Firmly snapping the door to, she crossed the corridor, 
with its gloomy, yellow-ochre walls, and its infinite vista ot 
brown, numbered doors. The lift was going down; and 
wrapped to the ears in the high cloak, with every one of her 
auburn hairs in its place, she waited motionless for it to stop 
at her floor. The iron gates clanked open ; she entered. 
There were already three occupants, a man in a great white 
waistcoat, with a large, smooth face like a baby's, and two 
old ladies in black, with mittened hands. 

Mrs. MacAnder smiled at them ; she knew everybody ; 
and all these three, who had been admirably silent before, 
began to talk at once. This was Mrs. MacAnder's successful 
secret. She provoked conversation. 

Throughout a descent of five stories the conversation 
continued, the lift boy standing with his back turned, his 
cynical face protruding through the bars. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 289 

At the bottom they separated, the man in the white 
waistcoat sentimentally to the billiard-room, the old ladies to 
dine and say to each other : * A dear little woman !* ' Such 
a rattle !' and Mrs. MacAnder to her cab. 

When Mrs. MacAnder dined at Timothy's, the conversa- 
tion (although Timothy himself could never be induced to 
be present) took that wider, man-of-the-world tone current 
among Forsytes at large, and this, no doubt, was what put 
her at a premium there. 

Mrs. Small and Aunt Hester found it an exhilarating change. 
' If only,' they said, ' Timothy would meet her !' It was 
felt that she would do him good. She could tell you, for 
instance, the latest story of Sir Charles Fiste's son at Monte 
Carlo ; who was the real heroine of Tynemouth Eddy's 
fashionable novel that everyone was holding up their hands 
over, and what they were doing in Paris about wearing 
bloomers. She was so sensible, too, knowing all about that 
vexed question, whether to send young Nicholas's eldest into 
the navy as his mother wished, or make him an accountant 
as his father thought would be safer. She strongly depre- 
cated the navy. If you were not exceptionally brilliant or 
exceptionally well connected, they passed you over so dis- 
gracefully, and what was it after all to look forward to, even 
if you became an admiral — a pittance ! An accountant had 
many more chances, but let him be put with a good firm, 
where there was no risk at starting ! 

Sometimes she would give them a tip on the Stock 
Exchange ; not that Mrs. Small or Aunt Hester ever took it. 
They had indeed no money to invest ; but it seemed to 
bring them into such exciting touch with the realities of 
life. It was an event. They would ask Timothy, they 
said. But they never did, knowing in advance that it would 
upset him. Surreptitiously, however, for weeks after they 
^ould look in that paper, which they took with respect 



290 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

on account of its really fashionable proclivities, to see 
whether 'Bright's Rubies' or *The Woollen Mackin- 
tosh Company ' were up or down. Sometimes they could 
not find the name of the company at all ; and they would 
wait until James or Roger or even Swithin came in, and 
ask them in voices trembling with curiosity how that ' Bolivia 
Lime and Speltrate' was doing — they could not find it in 
the paper. 

And Roger would answer : * What do you want to know 
for ? Some trash 1 You'll go burning your fingers — in- 
vesting your money in lime, and things you know nothing 
about ! Who told you ?' and ascertaining what they had 
been told, he would go away, and, making inquiries in the 
City, would perhaps invest some of his own money in the 
concern. 

It was about the middle of dinner, just in fact as the saddle 
of mutton had been brought in by Smither, that Mrs. 
MacAnder, looking airily round, said : ' Oh ! and whom 
do you think I passed to-day in Richmond Park ? You'll 
never guess — Mrs. Soames and — Mr. Bosinney. They 
must have been down to look at the house !' 

Winifred Dartie coughed, and no one said a word. It 
was the piece of evidence they had all unconsciously been 
waiting for. 

To do Mrs. McAnder justice, she had been to Switzer- 
land and the Italian lakes with a party of three, and had not 
heard of Soames's rupture with his architect. She could 
not tell, therefore, the profound impression her words would 
make. 

Upright and a little flushed, she moved her small, shrewd 
eyes from face to face, trying to gauge the eflPect of her 
words. On either side of her a Hayman bo}^, his lean, 
taciturn, hungry face turned towards his plate, ate his 
mutton steadily. 

These two, Giles and Jesse, were so alike and so inseparable 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 291 

that they were known as the Dromios. They never talked, 
and seemed always completely occupied in doing nothing. 
It was popularly supposed that they were cramming for an 
important examination. They walked without hats for long 
hours in the Gardens attached to their house, books in their 
hands, a fox-terrier at their heels, never saying a word, and 
smoking all the time. Every morning, about fifty yards 
apart, they trotted down Campden Hill on two lean hacks, 
with legs as long as their own, and every morning about an 
hour later, still fifty yards apart, they cantered up again. 
Every evening, wherever they had dined, they might be 
observed about half-past ten, leaning over the balustrade of 
the Alhambra promenade. 

They were never seen otherwise than together ; in this 
way passing their lives, apparently perfectly content. 

Inspired by some dumb stirring within them of the feel- 
ings of gentlemen, they turned at this painful moment to 
Mrs. MacAnder, and said in precisely the same voice : 
' Have you seen the ?' 

Such was her surprise at being thus addressed that she put 
down her fork ; and Smither, who was passing, promptly 
removed her plate. Mrs. MacAnder, howe\'er, with pre- 
sence of mind, said instantly : ' I must have a little more of 
that nice mutton.* 

But afterwards in the drawing-room she sat down by 
Mrs. Small, determined to get to the bottom of the matter. 
And she began : 

' What a charming woman, Mrs. Soames ; such a sympa- 
thetic temperament 1 Soames is a really lucky man !' 

Her anxiety for information had not made sufficient allow- 
ance for that inner Forsyte skin which refuses to share its 
troubles with outsiders ; Mrs. Septimus Small, drawing her- 
self up with a creak and rustle of her whole person, said, 
shivering in her dignity : 

* My dear, it is a subject we do not talk about !' 



CHAPTER II 

NIGHT IN THE PARK 

Although with her infallible instinct Mrs. Small had said 
the very thing to make her guest * more intriguee than ever,' 
it is difficult to see how else she could truthfully have spoken. 

It was not a subject which the Forsytes could talk about 
even among themselves — to use the word Soames had in- 
vented to characterize to himself the situation, it was 
' subterranean.' 

Yet, within a week of Mrs. McAnder's encounter in 
Richmond Park, to all of them — save Timothy, from whom 
it was carefully kept — to James on his domestic beat from 
the Poultry to Park Lane, to George the wild one, on his 
daily adventure from the bow window at the Haversnake to 
the billiard room at the * Red Pottle,' was it known that 
* those two ' had gone to extremes. 

George (it was he who invented many of those striking 
expressions still current in fashionable circles) voiced the 
sentiment more accurately than any one when he said to 
his brother Eustace that *the Buccaneer' was * going it'; 
he expected Soames was about ' fed up.' 

It was felt that he must be, and yet, what could be done ? 
He ought perhaps to take steps ; but to take steps would be 
deplorable. 

Without an open scandal which they could not see their 
way to recommending, it was difficult to see what steps 

29* 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 293 

could be taken. In this impasse, the only thing was to say- 
nothing to Soames, and nothing to each other ; in fact, to 
pass it over. 

By displaying towards Irene a dignified coldness, some 
impression might be made upon her ; but she was seldom 
now to be seen, and there seemed a slight difficulty in seeking 
her out on purpose to show her coldness. Sometimes in the 
privacy of his bedroom James would reveal to Emily the 
real suffering that his son's misfortune caused him. 

' / can't tell,' he would say ; ' it worries me out of my 
life. There'll be a scandal, and that'll do him no good. I 
shan't say anything to him. There might be nothing in it. 
What do you think ? She's very artistic, they tell me. 
What? Oh, you're a "regular Juley"! Well, I don't 
know ; I expect the worst. This is what comes of having 
no children. I knew how it would be from the first. They 
never told me they didn't mean to have any children — 
nobody tells me anything !' 

On his knees by the side of the bed, his eyes open and 
fixed with worry, he would breathe into the counterpane. 
Clad in his nightshirt, his neck poked forward, his back 
rounded, he resembled some long white bird. 

* Our Father ' he repeated, turning over and over 

again the thought of this possible scandal. 

Like old Jolyon, he, too, at the bottom of his heart set the 
blame of the tragedy down to family interference. What 
business had that lot — he began to think of the Stanhope 
Gate branch, including young Jolyon and his daughter, as 
'that lot ' — to introduce a person like this Bosinney into the 
family ? (He had heard George's soubriquet, * The Buc- 
caneer,' but he could make nothing of that — the young man 
was an architect.) 

He began to feel that his brother Jolyon, to whom he 
had always looked up and on whose opinion he had relied, 
was not quite what he had expected. 



294 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Not having his eldest brother's force of character, he was 
more sad than angry. His great comfort was to go to 
Winifred's, and take the little Darties in his carriage over to 
Kensington Gardens, and there, by the Round Pond, he 
could often be seen walking with his eyes fixed anxiously on 
little Publius Dartie's sailing-boat, which he had himself 
freighted with a penny, as though convinced that it would 
never again come to shore ; while little Publius — who James 
delighted to say was not a bit like his father — skipping along 
under his lee, would try to get him to bet another that it 
never would, having found that it always did. And James 
would make the bet ; he always paid — sometimes as many 
as three or four pennies in the afternoon, for the game 
seemed never to pall on little Publius — and always in pay- 
ing he said : * Now, that's for your money-box. Why, 
you're getting quite a rich man !' The thought of his little 
grandson's growing wealth was a real pleasure to him. But 
little Publius knew a sweet-shop, and a trick worth two of 
that. 

And they would walk home across the Park, James's figure, 
with high shoulders and absorbed and worried face, exercising 
its tall, lean protectorship, pathetically unregarded, over the 
robust child-figures of Imogen and little Publius. 

But those Gardens and that Park were not sacred to 
James. Forsytes and tramps, children and lovers, rested 
and wandered day after day, night after night, seeking one 
and all some freedom from labour, from the reek and turmoil 
of the streets. 

The leaves browned slowly, lingering with the sun and 
summer-like warmth of the nights. 

On Saturday, October 5, the sky that had been blue all 
day deepened after sunset to the bloom of purple grapes. 
There was no moon, and a clear dark, like some velvety 
garment, was wrapped around the trees, whose thinned 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 295 

branches, resembling plumes, stirred not in the still, warm 
air. All London had poured into the Park, draining the 
cup of summer to its dregs. 

Couple after couple, from every gate, they streamed along 
the paths and over the burnt grass, and one after another, 
silently out of the lighted spaces, stole into the shelter of the 
feathery trees, where, blotted against some trunk, or under 
the shadow of shrubs, they were lost to all but themselves in 
the heart of the soft darkness. 

To fresh-comers along the paths, these forerunners formed 
but part of that passionate dusk, whence only a strange 
murmur, like the confused beating of hearts, came forth. 
But when that murmur reached each couple in the lamp- 
light, their voices wavered, and ceased ; their arms enlaced, 
their eyes began seeking, searching, probing the blackness. 
Suddenly, as though drawn by invisible hands, they, too, 
stepped over the railing, and, silent as shadows, were gone 
from the light. 

The stillness, enclosed in the far, inexorable roar of the 
town, was alive with the myriad passions, hopes, and loves 
of multitudes of struggling human atoms ; for in spite of 
the disapproval of that great body of Forsytes, the Municipal 
Council — to whom Love had long been considered, next to 
the Sewage Question, the gravest danger to the community 
— a process was going on that night in the Park, and in a 
hundred other parks, without which the thousand factories, 
churches, shops, taxes, and drains, of which they were 
custodians, were as arteries without blood, a man without a 
heart. 

The instincts of self-forgetfulness, of passion, and of lov^e, 
hiding under the trees, away from the trustees of their 
remorseless enemy, the * sense of property,' were holding a 
stealthy revel, and Soames, returning from Bayswater — for 
he had been alone to dine at Timothy's — walking home 



296 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

along the water, with his mind upon that coming lawsuit, 
had the blood driven from his heart by a low laugh and the 
sound of kisses. He thought of writing to The Times the 
next morning, to draw the attention of the Editor to the 
condition of our parks. He did not, however, for he had a 
horror of seeing his name in print. 

But starved as he was, the whispered sounds in the still- 
ness, the half-seen forms in the dark, acted on him like some 
morbid stimulant. He left the path along the water and 
stole under the trees, along the deep shadow of little planta- 
tions, where the boughs of chestnut trees hung their great 
leaves low, and there was blacker refuge, shaping his course 
in circles that had for their object a stealthy inspection of 
chairs side by side against tree-trunks, of enlaced lovers, who 
stirred at his approach. 

Now he stood still on the rise overlooking the Serpentine, 
where, in full lamp-light, black against the silver water, sat 
a couple who never moved, the woman's face buried on the 
man's neck — a single form, like a carved emblem of passion, 
silent and unashamed. 

And, stung by the sight, Soames hurried on deeper into 
the shadow of the trees. 

In this search, who knows what he thought and what he 
sought ? Bread for hunger — light in darkness ? Who knows 
what he expected to find — impersonal knowledge of the 
human heart — the end of his private subterranean tragedy — 
for, again, who knew, but that each dark couple, unnamed, 
unnameable, might not be he and she ? 

But it could not be such knowledge as this that he was 
seeking — the wife of Soames Forsyte sitting in the Park like 
a common wench 1 Such thoughts were inconceivable ; 
and from tree to tree, with his noiseless step, he passed. 

Once he was sworn at ; once the whisper, ' If only it 
could always be like this !' sent the blood flying again from 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 297 

his heart, and he waited there, patient and dogged, for the 
two to move. But it was only a poor thin slip of a shop- 
girl in her draggled blouse that passed him, clinging to her 
lover's arm. 

A hundred other lovers too whispered that hope in the 
stillness of the trees, a hundred other lovers clung to each 
other. 

But shaking himself with sudden disgust, Soames returned 
to the path, and left that seeking for he knew not what. 



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300 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

removing every morning Nature's rain of leaves ; piling 
them in heaps, w^hence from slow fires rose the sweet, acrid 
smoke that, like the cuckoo's note for spring, the scent of 
lime trees for the summer, is the true emblem of the fall. 
The gardeners' tidy souls could not abide the gold and green 
and russet pattern on the grass. The gravel paths must lie 
unstained, ordered, methodical, without knowledge of the 
realities of life, nor of that slow and beautiful decay that 
flings crowns underfoot to star the earth with fallen glories, 
whence, as the cycle rolls, will leap again wild spring. 

Thus each leaf that fell was marked from the moment 
when it fluttered a good-bye and dropped, slow turning, 
from its twig. 

But on that little pond the leaves floated in peace, and 
praised heaven with their hues, the sunlight haunting over 
them. 

And so young Jolyon found them. 

Coming there one morning in the middle of October, he 
was disconcerted to find a bench about twenty paces from 
his stand occupied, for he had a proper horror of anyone 
seeing him at work. 

A lady in a velvet jacket was sitting there, with her eyes 
fixed on the ground. A flowering laurel, however, stood 
between, and, taking shelter behind this, young Jolyon 
prepared his easel. 

His preparations were leisurely ; he caught, as every true 
artist should, at anything that might delay for a moment the 
effort of his work, and he found himself looking furtively at 
this unknown dame. 

Like his father before him, he had an eye for a face. This 
face was charming ! 

He saw a rounded chin nestling in a cream ruflRe, a delicate 
face with large dark eyes and soft lips. A black ' picture ' 
hat concealed the hair ; her figure was lightly poised against 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 301 

the back of the bench, her knees were crossed ; the tip of a 
patent leather shoe emerged beneath her skirt. There was 
something, indeed, inexpressibly dainty about the person of 
this lady, but young Jolyon's attention was chiefly riveted 
by the look on her face, which reminded him of his wife. 
It was as though its owner had come into contact with 
forces too strong for her. It troubled him, arousing vague 
feelings of attraction and chivalry. Who was she ? And 
what doing there, alone ? 

Two young gentlemen of that peculiar breed, at once 
forward and shy, found in the Regent's Park, came by on 
their way to lawn tennis, and he noted with disapproval 
their furtive stares of admiration. A loitering gardener 
halted to do something unnecessary to a clump of pampas 
grass; he, too, wanted an excuse for peeping. A gentle- 
man, old, and, by his hat, a professor of horticulture, passed 
three times to scrutinize her long and stealthily, a queer 
expression about his lips. 

With all these men young Jolyon felt the same vague 
irritation. She looked at none of them, yet was he certain 
that every man who passed would look at her like that. 

Her face was not the face of a sorceress, who in every look 
holds out to men the offer of pleasure ; it had none of the 
*■ devil's beauty ' so highly prized among the first Forsytes of 
the land ; neither was it of that type, no less adorable, asso- 
ciated with the box of chocolate ; it was not of the spiritually 
passionate, or passionately spiritual order, peculiar to house- 
decoration and modern poetry ; nor did it seem to promise to 
the playwright material for the production of the interesting 
and neurasthenic figure, who commits suicide in the last act. 

In shape and colouring, in its soft persuasive passivity, its 
sensuous purity, this woman's face reminded him of Titian's 
* Heavenly Love,' a reproduction of which hung over the 
sideboard in his dining-room. And her attraction seemed to 



302 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

be in this soft passivity, in the feeling she gave that to pressure 
she must yield. 

For what or w^hom was she waiting, in the silence, with 
the trees dropping here and there a leaf, and the thrushes 
strutting close on grass touched with the sparkle of the 
autumn rime? 

Then her charming face grew eager, and, glancing round, 
with almost a lover's jealousy, young Jolyon saw Bosinney 
striding across the grass. 

Curiously he watched the meeting, the look in their eyes, 
the long clasp of their hands. They sat down close together, 
linked for all their outward discretion. He heard the rapid 
murmur of their talk ; but what they said he could not catch. 

He had rowed in the galley himself ! He knew the long 
hours of waiting and the lean minutes of a half-public meet- 
ing ; the tortures of suspense that haunt the unhallowed lover. 

It required, however, but a glance at their two faces to see 
that this was none of those affairs of a season that distract 
men and women about town ; none of those sudden appe- 
tites that wake up ravening, and are surfeited and asleep 
again in six weeks. This was the real thing ! This was 
what had happened to himself! Out of this anything 
might come ! 

Bosinney was pleading, and she so quiet, so soft, yet im- 
movable in her passivity, sat looking over the grass. 

Was he the man to carry her off, that tender, passive 
being, who would never stir a step for herself? Who had 
given him all herself, and would die for him, but perhaps 
would never run away with him 1 

It seemed to young Jolyon that he could hear her saying : 
* But, darling, it would ruin you V For he himself had ex- 
perienced to the full the gnawing fear at the bottom of each 
woman's heart that she is a drag on the man she loves. 

And he peeped at them no more ; but their soft, rapid talk 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 303 

came to his ears, with the stuttering song of some bird that 
seemed trying to remember the notes of spring : Joy — 
tragedy? Which — which? 

And gradually their talk ceased ; long silence followed. 

* And where does Soames come in ?' young Jolyon thought. 
^ People think she is concerned about the sin of deceiving her 
husband ! Little they know of women ! She's eating, after 
starvation — taking her revenge ! And Heaven help her — for 
he'll take his.' 

He heard the swish of silk, and, spying round the laurel, 
saw them walking away, their hands stealthily joined. . . . 

At the end of July old Jolyon had taken his grand-daughter 
to the mountains ; and on that visit (the last they ever paid) 
June recovered to a great extent her health and spirits. In 
the hotels, filled with British Forsytes — for old Jolyon could 
not bear a * set of Germans,' as he called all foreigners — she 
was looked upon with respect — the only grand-daughter of 
that fine-looking, and evidently wealthy, old Mr. Forsyte. 
She did not mix freely with people — to mix freely with 
people was not June's habit — but she formed some friendships, 
and notably one in the Rhone Valley, with a PVench girl 
who was dying of consumption. 

Determining at once that her friend should not die, she 
forgot, in the institution of a campaign against Death, much 
of her own trouble. 

Old Jolyon watched the new intimacy with relief and 
disapproval ; for this additional proof that her life was to be 
passed amongst * lame ducks ' worried him. Would she 
never make a friendship or take an interest in something 
that would be of real benefit to her ? 

' Taking up with a parcel of foreigners,' he called it. He 
often, however, brought home grapes or roses, and presented 
ihem to this * Mam'zelle ' with an ingratiating twinkle. 

Towards the end of September, in spite of June's disap- 



304 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

proval, Mademoiselle Vigor breathed her last in the little 
hotel at St. Luc, to which they had moved her ; and June 
took her defeat so deeply to heart that old Jolyon carried her 
away to Paris. Here, in contemplation of the ' Venus de 
Milo ' and the ' Madeleine,' she shook off her depression, 
and when, towards the middle of October, they returned to 
town, her grandfather believed that he had effected a cure. 

No sooner, however, had they established themselves in 
Stanhope Gate than he perceived to his dismay a return of 
her old absorbed and brooding manner. She would sit, 
staring in front of her, her chin on her hand, like a little 
Norse spirit, grim and intent, while all around in the electric 
light, then just installed, shone the great drawing-room 
brocaded up to the frieze, full of furniture from Baple and 
Pullbred's. And in the huge gilt mirror were reflected those 
Dresden china groups of young men in tight knee breeches, 
at the feet of full- bosomed ladies nursing on their laps pet 
lambs, which old Jolyon had bought when he was a bachelor 
and thought so highly of in these days of degenerate taste. 
He was a man of most open mind, who, more than any 
Forsyte of them all had moved with the times, but he 
could never forget that he had bought these groups at Job- 
son's, and given a lot of money for them. He often said to 
June, with a sort of disillusioned contempt : 

* You don't care about them ! They're not the gimcrack 
things you and your friends like, but they cost me seventy 
pounds !' He was not a man who allowed his taste to be 
warped when he knew for solid reasons that it was sound. 

One of the first things that June did on getting home was 
to go round to Timothy's. She persuaded herself that it 
was her duty to call there, and cheer him with an account 
of all her travels ; but in reality she went because she knew 
of no other place where, by some random speech, or round- 
about question, she could glean news of Bosinney. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 305 

They received her most cordially : And how was her 
dear grandfather ? He had not been to see them since May. 
Her Uncle Timothy was very poorly, he had had a lot of 
trouble with the chimney-sweep in his bedroom ; the stupid 
man had let the soot down the chimney ! It had quite 
upset her uncle. 

June sat there a long time, dreading, yet passionately 
hoping, that they would speak of Bosinney. 

But paralyzed by unaccountable discretion, Mrs. Septimus 
Small let fall no word, neither did she question June about 
him. In desperation the girl asked at last whether Soames 
and Irene were in town — she had not yet been to see 
anyone. 

It was Aunt Hester who replied : Oh, yes, they were in 
town, they had not been away at all. There was some 
little difficulty about the house, she believed. June had 
heard, no doubt ! She had better ask her Aunt Juley 1 

June turned to Mrs. Small, who sat upright in her chair, 
her hands clasped, her face covered with innumerable pouts. 
In answer to the girl's look she maintained a strange silence, 
and when she spoke it was to ask June whether she had 
worn night-socks up in those high hotels where it must be 
so cold of a night. 

June answered that she had not, she hated the stuffy 
things ; and rose to leave. 

Mrs. Small's infallibly chosen silence was far more omi- 
nous to her than anything that could have been said. 

Before half an hour was over she had dragged the truth 
from Mrs. Baynes in Lowndes Square, that Soames was 
bringing an action against Bosinney over the decoration of 
the house. 

Instead of disturbing her, the news had a strangely calm- 
ing effect ; as though she saw in the prospect of this struggle 
new hope for herself. She learnt that the case was expected 

II 



3o6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

to come on in about a month, and there seemed little or no 
prospect of Bosinney's success. 

' And whatever he'll do I can't think,' said Mrs. Baynes ; 
■* it's very dreadful for him, you know — he's got no money 
— he's very hard up. And we can't help him, I'm sure. 
I'm told the money-lenders won't lend if you have no 
security, and he has none — none at all.' 

Her embonpoint had increased of late ; she was in the full 
swing of autumn organization, her writing-table literally 
strewn with the menus of charity functions. She looked 
meaningly at June, with her round eyes of parrot-gray. 

The sudden flush that rose on the girl's intent young face 
— she must have seen spring up before her a great hope — the 
sudden sweetness of her smile, often came back to Lady 
Baynes in after years (Baynes was knighted when he built 
that public Museum of Art which has given so much 
employment to officials, and so little pleasure to those 
working classes for whom it was designed). 

The memory of that change, vivid and touching, like the 
breaking open of a flower, or the first sun after long winter, 
the memory, too, of all that came after, often intruded itself, 
unaccountably, inopportunely on Lady Baynes, when her 
mind was set upon the most important things. 

This was the very afternoon of the day that young Jolyon 
witnessed the meeting in the Botanical Gardens, and on this 
day, too, old Jolyon paid a visit to his solicitors, Forsyte, 
Bustard, and Forsyte, in the Poultry. Soames was not in, 
he had gone down to Somerset House ; Bustard was buried 
up to the hilt in papers and that inaccessible apartment, 
where he was judiciously placed, in order that he might do 
as much work as possible ; but James was in the front office, 
biting a finger, and lugubriously turning over the pleadings 
in Forsyte v. Bosinney. 

This sound lawyer had only a sort of luxurious dread of 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 307 

the ' nice point,' enough to set up a pleasurable feeling of 
fuss ; for his good practical sense told him that if he himself 
were on the Bench he would not pay much attention to it. 
But he was afraid that this Bosinney would go bankrupt 
and Soames would have to find the money after all, and 
costs into the bargain. And behind this tangible dread 
there was always that intangible trouble, lurking in the back- 
ground, intricate, dim, scandalous, like a bad dream, and of 
which this action was but an outward and visible sign. 

He raised his head as old Jolyon came in, and muttered : 
* How are you, Jolyon ? Haven't seen you for an age. 
You've been to Switzerland, they tell me. This young 
Bosinney, he's got himself into a mess. I knew how it 
would be !' He held out the papers, regarding his elder 
brother with nervous gloom. 

Old Jolyon read them in silence, and while he read them 
James looked at the floor, biting his fingers the while. 

Old Jolyon pitched them down at last, and they fell with 
a thump amongst a mass of aflRdavits in ' re Buncom.be, 
deceased,' one of the many branches of that parent and 
profitable tree, ' Fryer v. Forsyte.' 

* I don't know what Soames is about,' he said, ' to make 
a fuss over a few hundred pounds. I thought he was a man 
of property.' 

James's long upper lip twitched angrily ; he could not 
bear his son to be attacked in such a spot. 

' It's not the money ' he began, but meeting his 

brother's glance, direct, shrewd, judicial, he stopped. 

There was a silence. 

* I've come in for my Will,' said old Jolyon at last, tugging 
at his moustache. 

James's curiosity was roused at once. Perhaps nothing in 
this life was more stimulating to him than a Will ; it was 
the supreme deal with property, the final inventory of a man's 



3o8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

belongings, the last word on what he was worth. He sounded 
the bell.^ 

* Bring in Mr. Jolyon's Will,' he said to an anxious, dark- 
haired clerk. 

* You going to make some alterations r' And through 
his mind there flashed the thought : * Now, am I worth as 
much as he ?' 

Old Jolyon put the Will in his breast pocket, and James 
twisted his long legs regretfully. 

* You've made some nice purchases lately, they tell me,' 
he said. 

* I don't know where vou get your information from,' 
answered old Jolyon sharply. ' When's this action coming 
on ? Next month ? I can't tell what you've got in your 
minds. You must manage your own affairs ; but if you 
take my advice, you'll settle it out of Court. Good-bye !* 
With a cold handshake he was gone. 

James, his fixed gray-blue eye corkscrewing round some 
secret anxious image, began again to bite his finger. 

Old Jolyon took his Will to the offices of the New 
Colliery Company, and sat down in the empty Board Room 
to »-ead it through. He answered * Down-by-the-starn ' 
Hemmings so tartly when the latter, seeing his Chairman 
seated there, entered with the new Superintendent's first 
report, that the Secretar}'- withdrew with regretful dignity ; 
and sending for the transfer clerk, blew him up till the poor 
youth knew not where to look. 

It was not — bv George — as he (Down-by-the-starn) would 
have him know, for a whipper-snapper of a young fellow 
like him, to come down to that office, and think that he was 
God Almighty. He (Down-by-the-starn) had been head of 
that office for more years than a boy like him could count, 
and if he thought that when he had finished all his work, he 
could sit there doing nothing, he did not know him, 
Hemmings (Down-by-the-starn), and so forth. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 309 

On the other side of the green baize door old Jolyon sat 
at the long, mahogany-and-leather board table, his thick, 
loose-jointed, tortoise-shell eye-glasses perched on the bridge 
of his nose, his gold pencil moving down the clauses of his 
Will. 

It was a simple aflfair, for there were none of those 
vexatious little legacies and donations to charities, which 
fritter away a man's possessions, and damage the majestic 
effect of that little paragraph in the morning papers accorded 
to Forsytes who die with a hundred thousand pounds. 

A simple affair. Just a bequest to his son of twenty 
thousand, and * as to the residue of my property of whatso- 
ever kind whether realty or personalty or partaking of the 
nature of either — upon trust to pay the proceeds rents annual 
produce dividends or interest thereof and thereon to my said 
grand-daughter June Forsyte or her assigns during her life 
to be for her sole use and benefit and without, etc. . . . and 
from and after her death or decease upon trust to convey 
assign transfer or make over the said last-mentioned lands 
hereditaments premises trust moneys stocks funds investments 
and securities or such as shall then stand for and represent 
the same unto such person or persons whether one or more 
for such intents purposes and uses and generally in such 
manner way and form in all respects as the said June 
Forsyte notwithstanding coverture shall by her last Will and 
Testament or any writing or writings in the nature of a 
Will testament or testamentar)^ disposition to be by her duly 
made signed and published direct appoint or make over give 
and dispose of the same And in default etc. . . . Pro- 
vided always . . .' and so on, in seven folios of brief and 
simple phraseology^ 

The will had been drawn by James in his palmy days. 
He had foreseen almost every contingency. 

Old Jolyon sat a long time reading this Will j at last he 



310 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

took half a sheer of paper rrom the rack, and made a 
prolonged pencil note ; then buttoning up the Will, he 
caused a cab to be called and drove to the offices of Paramor 
and Herring, in Lincoln's Inn Fields. Jack Herring was 
cezdy but his nephew was still in the firm, and old Jolyon 
was closeted with him for half an hour. 

He had kept the hansom, and on coming out, gave the 
driver the address — 3, Wistaria Avenue. 

He fe.: a strange, slow satisfacrion, as though he had 
scored a victorv over James and the man of property. They 
should not poke their noses into his affairs any more ; he had 
iust cancelled their trusteeships of his Will ; he would take 
the whole of his business out of their hands, and put it into 
the hands of votmg Herring, and he would move the busi- 
ness of his Companies too. If that young Soames were such a 
man of propertv, he would never miss a thousand a year or 
so ; and under his great white moustache old Jolyon grimly 
smiled. He felt that what he was doing was in the nature 
of retriburive iusrice, richly deser\-ed. 

Slowlv, surelv, with the secret inner process that works 
the destruction of an old tree, the poison of the wounds to 
his happiness, his will, his pride, had corroded the comely 
edifice of his philosophy. Life had worn him down on one 
side, rill, like that familv of which he was the head, he had 
est balance. 

To him, borne northwards towards his son's house, the 
thought of the new disposition of property, which he had 
iust set in motion, appeared vaguely in the light of a stroke 
of punishment, levelled at that family and that Society, of 
which Tames and his son seemed to him the representatives. 
He had mace a restitution to young Jolyon, and restitution to 
young Jolyon satisfied his secret craving for revenge — revenge 
against Time, sorrow, and interference, against all that in- 
calculable sum of disapproval rhar had been bestowed by the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 311 

world for fifteen vears on his only son. It presented 
itself as the one possible way of asserting once more the 
domination of his will ; of forcing James, and Soames, and 
the family, and all those hidden masses of Forsytes — a great 
stream rolling against the single dam of his obstinacy — ^to 
recognize once and for all that he wruli he master. It was 
sweet to think that at last he was going to make the boy a 
richer man by far than that son of James, that * man of 
property.' And it was sweet to give to Jo, for he loved 
his son. 

Neither young Jolyon nor his wife were in (young Jolyoa 
indeed was not back from the Botanical}, but the little maid 
told him that she expected the master at any moment : 

* He's always at 'ome to tea, sir, to play with the children,' 

Old Jolyon said he would wait ; and sax down patiently 
enough in the faded, shabby drawing-room, where, now that 
the summer chintzes were removed, the old chairs and sofas 
revealed all their threadbare deficiencies. He longed to send 
for the children ; to have them there beside him, their supple 
bodies against his knees ; to hear Jolly's : ' Hallo, Gran I' 
and see his rush ; and feel Holly's soft little hand stealing up 
against his cheek. But he would not. There was solem- 
nity in what he had come to do, and imtil it was over he 
would not play. He amused himself bv thinking how w^'th 
two strokes of his pen he was going to restore the look of 
caste so conspicuously absent from everything in that little 
house ; how he could fill these rooms, or others in some 
larger mansion, with triumphs of art from Baple and Pull- 
bred's ; how he could send little Jolly to Harrow and 
Oxford (he no longer had faith in Eton and Cambridge, for 
his son had been there) ; how he could procure little Holly 
the best musical instmcrion, the child had a remarkable 
aptitude. 

As these visions crowded before him, causing emotion to 



312 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

swell his heart, he rose, and stood at the window, looking 
down into the little walled strip of garden, where the pear- 
tree, bare of leaves before its time, stood with gaunt branches 
in the slow gathering mist of the autumn afternoon. The 
dog Balthasar, his tail curled tightly over a piebald, furry 
back, was walking at the further end, sniffing at the plants, 
and at intervals placing his leg for support against the wall. 

And old Jolyon mused. 

What pleasure was there left but to give ? It was pleasant 
to give, when you could find one who would be thankful for 
what you gave — one of your own flesh and blood ! There 
was no such satisfaction to be had out of giving to those who 
did not belong to you, to those who had no claim on you 1 
Such giving as that was a betrayal of the individualistic con- 
victions and actions of his life, of all his enterprise, his 
labour, and his moderation, of the great and proud fact that, 
like tens of thousands of Forsytes before him, tens of thou- 
sands in the present, tens of thousands in the future, he had 
always made his own, and held his own, in the world. 

And, while he stood there looking down on the smut- 
covered foliage of the laurels, the black-stained grass-plot, the 
progress of the dog Balthasar, all the suffering of the fifteen 
years that he had been baulked of legitimate enjoyment 
mingled its gall with the sweetness of the approaching 
moment. 

Young Jolyon came at last, pleased with his work, and 
fresh from long hours in the open air. On hearing that his 
father was in the drawing-room, he inquired hurriedly 
whether Mrs. Forsyte was at home, and being informed 
that she was not, heaved a sigh of relief. Then putting his 
painting materials carefully in the little coat-closet out of 
sight, he went in. 

With characteristic decision old Jolyon came at once to 
the point. 'I've been altering my arrangements, Jo,' he 
said. * You can cut your coat a bit longer in the future — 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 313 

Fm settling a thousand a year on you at once. June 
will have fifty thousand at my death, and you the rest. 
That dog of yours is spoiling the garden. I shouldn't keep 
a dog, if I were you !' 

The dog Balthasar, seated in the centre of the lawn, was 
examining his tail. 

Young Jolyon looked at the animal, but saw him dimly, 
for his eyes were misty. 

' Yours won't come short of a hundred thousand, my boy,' 
said old Jolyon ; * I thought you'd better know. I haven't 
much longer to live at my age. I shan't allude to it again. 
How's your wife ? and — give her my love.' 

Young Jolyon put his hand on his father's shoulder, and, 
as neither spoke, the episode closed. 

Having seen his father into a hansom, young Jolyon came 
back to the drawing-room and stood, where old Jolyon had 
stood, looking down on the little garden. He tried to 
realize all that this meant to him, and, Forsyte that he was, 
vistas of property were opened out in his brain ; the years 
of half rations through which he had passed had not sapped 
his natural instincts. In extremely practical form, he thought 
of travel, of his wife's costume, the children's education, a 
pony for Jolly, a thousand things ; but in the midst of all he 
thought, too, of Bosinney and his mistress, and the broken 
song of the thrush. Joy — tragedy ! Which ? Which ? 

The old past — the poignant, suffering, passionate, wonder- 
ful past, that no money could buy, that nothing could 
restore in all its burning sweetness — had come back before 
him. 

When his wife came in he went straight up to her and 
took her in his arms ; and for a long time he stood without 
speaking, his eyes closed, pressing her to him, while she 
looked at him with a wondering, adoring, doubting look in 
her eyes. 

II* 



CHAPTER IV 

VOYAGE INTO THE INFERNO 

The morning after a certain night on which Soames at 
last asserted his rights and acted like a man, he breakfasted 
alone. 

He breakfasted by gaslight, the fog of late November 
wrapping the town as in some monstrous blanket till the 
trees of the Square even were barely visible from the 
dining-room window. ~ 

He ate steadily, but at times a sensation as though he 
could not swallow attacked him. Had he been right to 
yield to his overmastering hunger of the night before, and 
break down the resistance which he had suffered now too 
long from this woman who was his lawful and solemnly 
constituted helpmate ? 

He was strangely haunted by the recollection of her face, 
from before which, to soothe her, he had tried to pull her 
hands — of her terrible smothered sobbing, the like of which 
he had never heard, and still seemed to hear ; and he was 
still haunted by the odd, intolerable feeling of remorse and 
shame he had felt, as he stood looking at her by the flame 
of the single candle, before silently slinking away. 

And somehow, now that he had acted like this, he was 
surprised at himself. 

Two nights before, at Winifred Dartie's, he had taken 
Mrs. MacAnder into dinner. She had said to him, looking 

314 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 315 

in his face with her sharp, greenish eyes: *And so your 
wife is a great friend of that Mr. Bosinney's ?' 

Not deigning to ask what she meant, he had brooded over 
her words. 

They had roused in him a fierce jealousy, which, with 
the peculiar perversion of this instinct, had turned to fiercer 
desire. 

Without the incentive of Mrs. MacAnder's words he 
might never have done what he had done. Without their 
incentive and the accident of finding his wife's door for once 
unlocked, which had enabled him to steal upon her asleep. 

Slumber had removed his doubts, but the morning brought 
them again. One thought comforted him : No one would 
know — it was not the sort of thing that she would speak about. 

And, indeed, when the vehicle of his daily business 
life, that needed so imperatively the grease of clear and 
practical thought, started rolling once more with the read- 
ing of his letters, those nightmare-like doubts began to 
assume less extravagant importance at the back of his mind. 
The incident was really not of great moment ; women 
made a fuss about it in books ; but in the cool judgment of 
right-thinking men, of men of the world, of such as he 
recollected often received praise in the Divorce Court, he 
had but done his best to sustain the sanctity of marriage, to 
prevent her from abandoning her duty, possibly, if she were 
still seeing Bosinney, from . No, he did not regret it. 

Now that the first step towards reconciliation had been 
taken, the rest would be comparatively — comparatively 

He rose and walked to the window. His nerve had been 
shaken. The sound of smothered sobbing was in his ears 
again. He could not get rid of it. 

He put on his fur coat, and went out into the fog ; 
having to go into the City, he took the underground railway 
from Sloane Square station. 



3i6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

In his corner of the first-class compartment filled with 
City men the smothered sobbing still haunted him, so he 
opened The Times with the rich crackle that drowns all 
lesser sounds, and, barricaded behind it, set himself steadily 
to con the news. 

He read that a Recorder had charged a grand jury on 
the previous day with a more than usually long list or 
offences. He read of three murders, five manslaughters, 
seven arsons, and as many as eleven — a surprisingly high 
number — rapes, in addition to many less conspicuous crimes, 
to be tried during a coming Sessions ; and from one piece of 
news he went on to another, keeping the paper well before 
his face. 

And still, inseparable from his reading, was the memory of 
Irene's tear-stained face, and the sounds from her broken heart. 

The day was a busy one, including, in addition to the 
ordinary affairs of his practice, a visit to his brokers, Messrs. 
Grin and Grinning, to give them instructions to sell his 
shares in the New Colliery Co., Ltd., whose business he 
suspected, rather than knew, was stagnating (this enterprise 
afterwards slowly declined, and was ultimately sold for a 
song to an American syndicate) ; and a long conference at 
Waterbuck, Q.C.'s chambers, attended by Boulter, by Fiske, 
the junior counsel, and Waterbuck, Q.C., himself. 

The case of Forsyte v. Bosinney was expected to be 
reached on the morrow, before Mr. Justice Bentham. 

Mr. Justice Bentham, a man of common-sense rather 
than too great legal knowledge, was considered to be about 
the best man they could have to try the action. He was 
a ' strong ' judge. 

Waterbuck, Q.C., in pleasing conjunction with an almost 
rude neglect of Boulter and Fiske, paid to Soames a good 
deal of attention, by instinct or the sounder evidence of 
rumour, feeling him to be a man of property. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 317 

He held with remarkable consistency to the opinion he 
had already expressed in writing, that the issue would depend 
to a great extent on the evidence given at the trial, and in 
a few well-directed remarks he advised Soames not to be 
too careful in giving that evidence. * A little bluffness, 
Mr. Forsyte,' he said, ^ a little bluffness,' and after he had 
spoken he laughed firmly, closed his lips tight, and scratched 
his head just below where he had pushed his wig back, for 
all the world like the gentleman-farmer for whom he loved 
to be taken. He was considered perhaps the leading man 
in breach of promise cases. 

Soames used the underground again in going home. 

The fog was worse than ever at Sloane Square station. 
Through the still, thick blurr, men groped in and out ; 
women, very few, grasped their reticules to their bosoms 
and handkerchiefs to their mouths ; crowned with the weird 
excrescence of the driver, haloed by a vague glow of lamp- 
light that seemed to drown in vapour before it reached the 
pavement, cabs loomed dim-shaped ever and again, and 
discharged citizens bolting like rabbits to their burrows. 

And these shadowy figures, wrapped each in his own little 
shroud of fog, took no notice of each other. In the great 
warren, each rabbit for himself, especially those clothed in 
the more expensive fur, who, afraid of carriages on foggy 
days, are driven underground. 

One figure, however, not far from Soames, waited at the 
station door. 

Some buccaneer or lover, of whom each Forsyte thought : 
' Poor devil ! looks as if he were having a bad time !' Their 
kind hearts beat a stroke faster for that poor, waiting, anxious 
lover in the fog; but they hurried by, well knowing that 
they had neither time nor money to spare for any suffering 
but their own. 

Only a policeman, patrolling slowly and at intervals, took 



3i8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

an interest in that waiting figure, the brim of whose slouch 
hat half hid a face reddened by the cold, all thin, and 
haggard, over which a hand stole now and again to smooth 
away anxiety, or renew the resolution that kept him waiting 
there. But the waiting lover (if lover he were) was used to 
policemen's scrutiny, or too absorbed in his anxiety, for he 
never flinched. A hardened case, accustomed to long trysts, 
to anxiety, and fog, and cold, if only his mistress came at last. 
Foolish lover ! Fogs last until the spring ; there is also snow 
and rain, no comfort anywhere ; gnawing fear if you bring 
her out, gnawing fear if you bid her stay at home ! 

* Serve him right; he should arrange his affairs better!' 

So any respectable Forsyte. Yet, if that sounder citizen 
could have listened at the waiting lover's heart, out there in 
the fog and the cold, he would have said again : ' Yes, poor 
devil ! he's having a bad time !' 

Soames got into his cab, and, with the glass down, crept 
along Sloane Street, and so along the Brompton Road, and 
home. He reached his house at five. 

His wife was not in. She had gone out a quarter of an 
hour before. Out at such a time of night, into this terrible 
fog ! What was the meaning of that ? 

He sat by the dining-room fire, with the door open, dis- 
turbed to the soul, trying to read the evening paper. A 
book was no good — in daily papers alone was any narcotic 
to such worry as his. From the customary events recorded 
in the journal he drew some comfort. ' Suicide of an actress ' 
— * Grave indisposition of a Statesman ' (that chronic sufferer) 
— * Divorce of an army officer' — 'Fire in a colliery' — he 
read them all. They helped him a little — prescribed by the 
greatest of all doctors, our natural taste. 

It was nearly seven when he heard her come in. 

The incident of the night before had long lost its import- 
ance under stress of anxiety at her strange sortie into the 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 319 

fog. But now that Irene was home, the memory of her 
broken-hearted sobbing came back to him, and he felt 
nervous at the thought of facing her. 

She was already on the stairs ; her gray fur coat hung to 
her knees, its high collar almost hid her face, she wore a 
thick veil. 

She neither turned to look at him nor spoke. No ghost 
or stranger could have passed more silently. 

Bilson came to lay dinner, and told him that Mrs. Forsyte 
was not coming down ; she was having the soup in her room. 

For once Soames did not ' change ' ; it was, perhaps, the 
first time in his life that he had sat down to dinner with 
soiled cufFs, and, not even noticing them, he brooded long 
over his wine. He sent Bilson to light a fire in his picture- 
room, and presently went up there himself. 

Turning on the gas, he heaved a deep sigh, as though 
amongst these treasures, the backs of which confronted him 
in stacks, around the little room, he had found at length his 
peace of mind. He went straight up to the greatest treasure 
of them all, an undoubted Turner, and, carrying it to the 
easel, turned its face to the light. There had been a move- 
ment in Turners, but he had not been able to make up his 
mind to part with it. He stood for a long time, his pale, 
clean-shaven face poked forward above his stand-up collar, 
looking at the picture as though he were adding it up ; a 
wistful expression came into his eyes ; he found, perhaps, 
that it came to too little. He took it down from the easel to 
put it back against the wall ; but, in crossing the room, 
stopped, for he seemed to hear sobbing. 

It was nothing — only the sort of thing that had been 
bothering him in the morning. And soon after, putting the 
high guard before the blazing fire, he stole downstairs. 

Fresh for the morrow ! was his thought. It was long 
before he went to sleep. ... 



320 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

It is now to George Forsyte that the mind must turn for 
light on the events of that fog-engulfed afternoon. 

The wittiest and most sportsmanlike of the Forsytes had 
passed the day reading a novel in the paternal m.ansion at 
Princes' Gardens. Since a recent crisis in his financial 
affairs he had been kept on parole by Roger, and compelled 
to reside * at home.' 

Towards five o'clock he went out, and took train at South 
Kensington Station (for everyone to-day went Underground). 
His intention was to dine, and pass the evening playing 
billiards at the Red Pottle — that unique hostel, neither club, 
hotel, nor good gilt restaurant. 

He got out at Charing Cross, choosing it in preference to 
his more usual St. James's Park, that he might reach Jermyn 
Street by better lighted ways. 

On the platform his eyes — for in combination with a com- 
posed and fashionable appearance, George had sharp eyes, 
and was always on the look-out for fillips to his sardonic 
humour — his eyes were attracted by a man, who, leaping from 
a first-class compartment, staggered rather than walked 
towards the exit. 

* So ho, my bird !' said George to himself ; * why, it's 
" the Buccaneer !" ' and he put his big figure on the trail. 
Nothing afforded him greater amusement than a drunken man. 

Bosinney, who wore a slouch hat, stopped in front of him, 
spun round, and rushed back towards the carriage he had just 
left. He was too late. A porter caught him by the coat ; 
the train was already moving on. 

George's practised glance caught sight of the face of a 
lady clad in a gray fur coat at the carriage window. It was 
Mrs. Soames — and George felt that this was interesting ! 

And now he followed Bosinney more closely than ever — 
up the stairs, past the ticket collector into the street. In 
that progress, however, his feelings underwent a change ; no 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 321 

longer merely curious and amused, he felt sorry for the 
poor fellow he was shadowing. ' The Buccaneer ' was 
not drunk, but seemed to be acting under the stress of 
violent emotion ; he was talking to himself, and all that 
George could catch were the words * Oh, God !' Nor did 
he appear to know what he was doing, or w^here going ; but 
stared, hesitated, moved like a man out of his mind ; and 
from being merely a joker in search of amusement, George 
felt that he must see the poor chap through. 

He had ' taken the knock ' — ' taken the knock !' And he 
wondered what on earth Mrs. Soames had been saying, what 
on earth she had been telling him in the railway carriage. 
She had looked bad enough herself ! It made George sorry 
to think of her travelling on with her trouble all alone. 

He followed close behind Bosinney's elbow — a tall, 
burly figure, saying nothing, dodging warily — and shadowed 
him out into the fog. There was something here beyond a 
jest ! He kept his head admirably, in spite of some excite- 
ment, for in addition to compassion, the instincts of the 
chase were roused within him. 

Bosinney walked right out into the thoroughfare — a vast 
muffled blackness, where a man could not see six paces 
before him ; where, all around, voices or whistles mocked 
the sense of direction ; and sudden shapes came rolling slow 
upon them ; and now and then a light showed like a dim 
island in an infinite dark sea. 

And fast into this perilous gulf of night walked Bosinney, 
and fast after him walked George. If the fellow meant to 
put his ' twopenny ' under a bus, he would stop it if he 
could ! Across the street and back the hunted creature 
strode, not groping as other men were groping in that gloom^ 
but driven forward as though the faithful George behind 
wielded a knout ; and this chase after a haunted man began to 
have for George the strangest fascination. 



322 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

But it was now that the affair developed in a way which ever 
afterwards caused it to remain green in his mind. Brought 
to a stand-still in the fog, he heard words which threw a 
sudden light on these proceedings. What Mrs. Soames had 
said to Bosinney in the train was now no longer dark. 
George understood from those mutterings that Soames had 
exercised his rights over an estranged and unwilling wife in 
the greatest — the supreme act of property. 

His fancy wandered in the fields of this situation ; it im- 
pressed him ; he guessed something of the anguish, the sexual 
confusion and horror in Bosinney's heart. And he thought. 
'Yes, it's a bit thick ! I don't wonder the poor fellow is 
half-cracked !' 

He had run his quarry to earth on a bench under one of 
the lions in Trafalgar Square, a monster sphynx astray like 
themselves in that gulf of darkness. Here, rigid and silent, 
sat Bosinney, and George, in whose patience was a touch of 
strange brotherliness, took his stand behind. He was not 
lacking in a certain delicacy — a sense of form — that did not 
permit him to intrude upon this tragedy, and he waited, 
quiet as the lion above, his fur collar hitched above his ears 
concealing the fleshy redness of his cheeks, concealing all but 
his eyes with their sardonic, compassionate stare. And men 
kept passing back from business on the way to their clubs — 
men whose figures shrouded in cocoons of fog came into 
view like spectres, and like spectres vanished. Then even in 
his compassion George's Quilpish humour broke forth in a 
sudden longing to pluck these spectres by the sleeve, and say : 

* Hi, you Johnnies ! You don't often see a show like 
this ! Here's a poor devil whose mistress has just been 
telling him a pretty little story of her husband ; walk up, 
walk up ! He's taken the knock, you see.' 

In fancy he saw them gaping round the tortured lover ; 
and grinned as he thought of some respectable, newly- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 323 

married spectre enabled by the state of his own affections to 
catch an inkling of what was going on within Bosinney ; he 
fancied he could see his mouth getting wider and wider, and 
the fog going down and down. For in George was all that 
contempt of the middle-class — especially of the married 
middle-class — peculiar to the wild and sportsmanlike spirits 
in its ranks. 

But he began to be bored. Waiting was not what he had 
bargained for. 

* After all,' he thought, 'the poor chap will get over it ; 
not the first time such a thing has happened in this little 
city !' But now his quarry again began muttering words of 
violent hate and anger. And following a sudden impulse 
George touched him on the shoulder. 

Bosinney spun round. 

* Who are you ? What do you want ?* 

George could have stood it well enough in the light of 
the gas lamps, in the light of that every-day world of which 
he was so hardy a connoisseur ; but in this fog, where all 
was gloomy and unreal, where nothing had that matter-of- 
fact value associated" by Forsytes with earth, he was a 
victim to strange qualms, and as he tried to stare back into 
the eyes of this maniac, he thought : 

* If I see a bobby, I'll hand him over ; he's not fit to be at 
large.' 

But waiting for no answer, Bosinney strode off into the 
fog, and George followed, keeping perhaps a little further off, 
yet more than ever set on tracking him down. 

* He can't go on long like this,' he thought. ' It's God's own 
miracle he's not been run over already.' He brooded no more 
on policemen, a sportsman's sacred fire alive again within him. 

Into a denser gloom than ever Bosinney held on at a furious 
pace; but his pursuer perceived more method in his madness 
— he was clearly making his way westwards. 



324 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* He's really going for Soames !' thought George. The 
idea was attractive. It would be a sporting end to such a 
chase. He had always disliked his cousin. 

The shaft of a passing cab brushed against his shoulder 
and made him leap aside. He did not intend to be killed for 
the Buccaneer, or anyone. Yet, with hereditary tenacity, 
he stuck to the trail through vapour that blotted out every- 
thing but the shadow of the hunted man and the dim moon 
of the nearest lamp. 

Then suddenly, with the instinct of a town-stroller, George 
knew himself to be in Piccadilly. Here he could find his 
way blindfold ; and freed from the strain of geographical 
uncertainty, his mind returned to Bosinney's trouble. 

Down the long avenue of his man-about-town experience, 
bursting, as it were, through a smirch of doubtful amours, 
there stalked to him a memory of his youth. A memory, 
poignant still, that brought the scent of hay, the gleam of 
moonlight, a summer magic, into the reek and blackness of 
this London fog — the memory of a night when in the 
darkest shadow of a lawn he had overheard from a woman's 
lips that he was not her sole possessor. And for a moment 
George walked no longer in black Piccadilly, but lay again, 
with hell in his heart, and his face to the sweet-smelling, 
dewy grass, in the long shadow of poplars that hid the moon. 

A longing seized him to throw his arm round the Buc- 
caneer, and say, ' Come, old boy. Time cures all. Let's 
go and drink it ofFl' 

But a voice yelled at him, and he started back. A cab 
rolled out of blackness, and into blackness disappeared. And 
suddenly George perceived that he had lost Bosinney. He 
ran forward and back, felt his heart clutched by a sickening 
fear, the dark fear that lives in the wings of the fog. Per- 
spiration started out on his brow. He stood quite still, 
listening with all his might. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 325 

' And then,' as he confided to Dartie the same evening in 
the course of a game of bilb'ards at the Red Pottle, * I lost 
him/ 

Dartie twirled complacently at his dark moustache. He 
had just put together a neat break of twenty-three, failing at 
a * jenny.' * And who was she T he asked. 

George looked slowly at the * man of the world's ' fattish, 
sallow face, and a little grim smile lurked about the curves of 
his cheeks and his heavy-lidded eyes. 

* No, no, my fine fellow,' he thought. * I'm not going to 
tell you.' For though he mixed with Dartie a good deal, he 
thought him a bit of a cad. 

* Oh, some little love-lady or other,' he said, and chalked 
his cue. 

* A love-lady 1' exclaimed Dartie — he used a more figura- 
tive expression. ' I made sure it was our friend Soa ' 

* Did you ?' said George, curtly. *Then, damme, you've 
made an error !' 

He missed his shot. He was careful not to allude to the 
subject again till, towards eleven o'clock, having, in his poetic 
phraseology, * looked upon the drink when it was yellow,' he 
drew aside the blind, and gazed out into the street. The 
murky blackness of the fog was but faintly broken by the 
lamps of the Red Pottle,' and no shape of mortal man or 
thing was in sight. 

* I can't help thinking of that poor Buccaneer,' he said. 
* He may be wandering out there now in that fog. If 
he's not a corpse,' he added with strange dejection. 

' Corpse !' said Dartie, in whom the recollection of his 
defeat at Richmond flared up. * He's all right. Ten to one 
if he wasn't tight !' 

George turned on him, looking really formidable, with a 
sort of savage gloom on his big face. 

* Dry up !' he said. * Don't I tell you he's " taken the 
knock !" ' 



CHAPTER V 

THE TRIAL 

On the morning of his case, which was second in the list, 
Soames was again obliged to start without seeing Irene, and 
it was just as well, for he had not as yet made up his mind 
what attitude to adopt towards her. 

He had been requested to be in court by half-past ten, 
to provide against the event of the first action (a breach of 
promise) collapsing, which however it did not, both sides 
showing a courage that afforded Waterbuck, Q.C., an 
opportunity for improving his already great reputation in 
this class of case. He was opposed by Ram, the other 
celebrated breach of promise man. It was a battle of giants. 

The Court delivered judgment just before the luncheon 
interval. The jury left the box for good, and Soames went 
out to get something to eat. He met James standing at the 
little luncheon-bar, like a pelican in the wilderness of the 
galleries, bent over a sandwich with a glass of sherry before 
him. The spacious emptiness of the great central hall, over 
which father and son brooded as they stood together, was 
marred now and then for a fleeting moment by barristers 
in wig and gown hurriedly bolting across, by an occasional 
old lady or rusty-coated man^ looking up in a frightened 
way, and by two persons, bolder than their generation, 
seated in an embrasure arguing. The sound of their voices 
arose, together with a scent as of neglected v/ells, which, 

526 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 327 

mingling with the odour of the galleries, combined to form the 
savour, like nothing butthe emanation of a refined cheese, so in- 
dissoluble connected with the administration of British justice. 

It was not long before James addressed his son. 

' When's your case coming on ? I suppose it'll be on 
directly. I shouldn't wonder if this Bosinney'd say any- 
thing ; I should think he'd have to. He'll go bankrupt if 
it goes against him.' He took a large bite at his sandv/ich 
and a mouthful of sherry. ' Your mother,' he said, ' wants 
you and Irene to come and dine to-night.' 

A chill smile played round Soames's lips ; he looked back 
at his father. Anyone who had seen the look, cold and 
furtive, thus interchanged, might have been pardoned for 
not appreciating the real understanding between them. 
James finished his sherry at a draught. 

^ How much r' he asked. 

On returning to the court Soames took at once his rightful 
seat on the front bench beside his solicitor. He ascertained 
where his father was seated with a glance so sidelong as to 
commit nobody. 

James, sitting back with his hands clasped over the handle 
of his umbrella, was brooding on the end of the bench 
immediately behind counsel, whence he could get away at 
once when the case was over. He considered Bosinney's 
conduct in every way outrageous, but he did not wish to run 
up against him, feeling that the meeting would be awkward. 

Next to the Divorce Court, this court was, perhaps, the 
favourite emporium of justice, libel, breach of promise, and 
other commercial actions being frequently decided there. 
Quite a sprinkling or persons unconnected with the law 
occupied the back benches, and the hat of a woman or two 
could be seen in the gallery. 

The two rows of seats immediately in front of James were 
gradually filled by barristers in wigs, who sat down to make 



328 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

pencil notes, chat, and attend to their teeth ; but his interest 
was soon diverted from these lesser lights of justice by the 
entrance of Waterbuck, Q.C., with the wings of his silk 
gown rustling, and his red, capable face supported by two 
short, brown whiskers. The famous Q.C. looked, as James 
freely admitted, the very picture of a man who could heckle 
a witness. 

For all his experience, it so happened that he had never 
seen Waterbuck, Q.C, before, and, like many Forsytes in the 
lower branch of the profession, he had an extreme admiration 
for a good cross-examiner. The long, lugubrious folds in 
his cheeks relaxed somewhat after seeing him, especially as he 
now perceived that Soames alone was represented by silk. 

Waterbuck, Q.C, had barely screwed round on his elbow 
to chat with his Junior before Mr. Justice Bentham himself 
appeared — a thin, rather hen-like man, with a little stoop, 
clean-shaven under his snowy wig. Like all the rest of the 
court, Waterbuck rose, and remained on his feet until the 
judge was seated. James rose but slightly ; he was already 
comfortable, and had no opinion of Bentham, having sat 
next but one to him at dinner twice at the Bumley Tomms'. 
Burnley Tomm was rather a poor thing, though he had 
been so successful. James himself had given him his first 
brief. He was excited, too, for he had just found out that 
Bosinney was not in court. 

^ Now, what's he mean by that ?' he kept on thinking. 

The case having been called on, Waterbuck, Q.C, push- 
ing back his papers, hitched his gown on his shoulder, and, 
with a semi-circular look around him, like a man who is 
going to bat, arose and addressed the court. 

The facts, he said, were not in dispute, and all that his 
lordship would be asked was to interpret the correspondence 
which had taken place between his client and the defendant, 
an architect, with reference to the decoration of a house. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 329 

He would, however, submit that this correspondence could 
only mean one very plain thing. After briefly reciting the 
history of the house at Robin Hill, which he described as a 
mansion, and the actual facts of expenditure, he went on as 
follows : 

' My client, Mr. Soames Forsyte, is a gentleman, a man of 
property, who would be the last to dispute any legitimate 
claim that might be made against him, but he has met with 
such treatment from his architect in the matter of this house, 
over which he has, as your lordship has heard, already spent 
some twelve — some twelve thousand pounds, a sum consider- 
ably in advance of the amount he had originally contem- 
plated, that as a matter of principle — and this I cannot too 
strongly emphasize — as a matter of principle, and in the 
interests of others, he has felt himself compelled to bring this 
action. The point put forward in defence by the architect 
I will suggest to your lordship is not worthy of a moment's 
serious consideration.' He then read the correspondence. 

His client, ^ a man of recognised position,' was prepared to 
go into the box, and to swear that he never did authorize, 
that it was never in his mind to authorize, the expenditure of 
any money beyond the extreme limit of twelve thousand and 
fifty pounds, which he had clearly fixed ; and not further to 
waste the time of the court, he would at once call 
Mr. Forsyte. 

Soames then went into the box. His whole appearance 
was striking in its composure. His face, just supercilious 
enough, pale and clean-shaven, with a little line between the 
eyes, and compressed lips ; his dress in unostentatious order, 
one hand neatly gloved, the other bare. He answered the 
questions put to him in a somewhat low, but distinct voice. 
His evidence under cross-examination savoured of taciturnity. 

* Had he not used the expression, " a free hand " ?' 

*No.' 



330 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* Come, come !' 

The expression he had used was ' a free hand in the terms 
of this correspondence.' 

' Would he tell the court that that was English ?' 

' Yes !' 

' What did he say it meant ?' 

* What it said !' 

* Was he prepared to deny that it was a contradiction in 
terms ?' 

'Yes.' 

* He was not an Irishman ?' 
*No.' 

* Was he a well-educated man ?' 
*Yes!' 

* And yet he persisted in that statement ?' 
'Yes.' 

Throughout this and much more cross-examination, which 
turned again and again around the ' nice point,' James sat 
with his hand behind his ear, his eyes fixed upon his son. 

He was proud of him ! He could not but feel that in 
similar circumstances he himself would have been tempted 
to enlarge his replies, but his instinct told him that this 
taciturnity was the very thing. He sighed with relief, how- 
ever, when Soames, slowly turning, and without any change 
of expression, descended from the box. 

When it came to the turn of Bosinney's Counsel to 
address the Judge, James redoubled his attention, and he 
searched the Court again and again to see if Bosinney were 
not somewhere concealed. 

Young Chankery began nervously ; he was placed by 
Bosinney's absence in an awkward position. He therefore 
did his best to turn that absence to account. 

He could not but fear — he said — that his client had met 
with an accident. He had fully expected him there to give 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 331 

evidence ; they had sent round that morning both to Mr. 
Bosinney's office and to his rooms (though he knew they 
were one and the same, he thought it was as well not to say 
so), but it was not known where he was, and this he con- 
sidered to be ominous, knowing how anxious Mr. Bosinney 
had been to give his evidence. He had not, however, been 
instructed to apply for an adjournment, and in default of 
such instruction he conceived it his duty to go on. The 
plea on which he somewhat confidently relied, and* which 
his client, had he not unfortunately been prevented in some 
way from attending, would have supported by his evidence, 
was that such an expression as a ^ free hand ' could not be 
limited, fettered, and rendered unmeaning, by any verbiage 
which might follow it. He would go further and say that 
the correspondence showed that whatever he might have 
said in his evidence, Mr. Forsyte had in fact never contem- 
plated repudiating liability on any of the work ordered or 
executed by his architect. The defendant had certainly 
never contemplated such a contingency, or, as was demon- 
strated by his letters, he would never have proceeded with 
the work — a work of extreme delicacy, carried out with 
great care and efficiency, to meet and satisfy the fastidious 
taste of a connoisseur, a rich man, a man of property. He 
felt strongly on this point, and feeling strongly he used, per- 
haps, rather strong words when he said that this action was 
of a most unjustifiable, unexpected, indeed unprecedented 
character. If his Lordship had had the opportunity that 
he himself had made it his duty to take, to go over this very 
fine house and see the great delicacy and beauty of the 
decorations executed by his client — an artist in his most 
honourable profession — he felt convinced that not for one 
moment would his Lordship tolerate this, he would use no 
stronger word than, daring attempt to evade legitimate 
responsibility. 



332 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Taking the text of Soames's letters, he lightly touched on 
* Boileau v. The Blasted Cement Company, Limited.' ^ It 
is doubtful,' he said, ' what that authority has decided ; in 
any case I would submit that it is just as much in my favour 
as in my friend's.' He then argued the ' nice point ' closely. 
With all due deference he submitted that Mr. Forsyte's 
expression nullified itself. His client not being a rich man, 
the matter was a serious one for him ; he was a ver)- talented 
architect, whose professional reputation was undoubtedly 
somewhat at stake. He concluded with a perhaps too per- 
sonal appeal to the Judge, as a lover of the arts, to show 
himself the protector of artists, from what was occasionally 
— he said occasionally — the too iron hand of capital. 
'What,' he said, 'will be the position of the artistic 
professions, if men of property like this Mr. Forsyte refuse, 
and are allowed to refuse, to earn;' out the obligations of 
the commissions which they have given:' . . . He would 
now call his client, in case he should at the last moment 
have found himself able to be present. 

The name Philip Baynes Bosinnev was called three times 
by the Ushers, and the sound of the calling echoed with 
strange melancholy throughout the Court and Galleries. 

The crying of this name, to which no answer was 
returned, had upon James a curious effect : it was like 
calling for your lost dog about the streets. And the creepy 
feeling that it gave him, of a man missing, grated on his 
sense of comfort and security — on his cosiness. Though he 
could not have said why, it made him feel uneasy. 

He looked now at the clock — a quarter to three ! It 
would be all over in a quarter of an hour. Where could 
the young fellow be r 

It was only when Mr. Justice Bentham delivered 
judgment that he got over the turn he had received. 

Behind the wooden plateau by which he was fenced from 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 333 

more ordinary mortals the learned Judge leaned forward. 
The electric light, just turned on above his head, fell on his 
face, and mellowed it to an orange hue beneath the snowy 
crown of his wig ; the amplitude of his robes grew before 
the eye ; his whole figure, facing the comparative dusk of 
the court, radiated like some majestic and sacred body. He 
cleared his throat, took a sip of water, broke the nib of a 
quill against the desk, and, folding his bony hands before 
him, began. 

To James he suddenly loomed much larger than he had 
ever thought Bentham would loom. It was the maiesty of 
the law ; and a person endowed with a nature far less 
matter-of-fact than that of James might have been excused 
for failing to pierce this halo, and disinter therefrom the 
somewhat ordinary Forsyte, who walked and talked in every- 
day life under the name of Sir Walter Bentham. 
He delivered judgment in the following words : 
'The facts in this case are not in dispute. On May 15 
last the defendant wrote to the plaintiff, requesting to be 
allowed to withdraw from his professional position in regard 
to the decoration of the plaintifiPs house, unless he were 
given "a free hand." The plaintiff, on May 17, wrote 
back as follows : " In giving you, in accordance with your 
request, this free hand, I wish you to clearly understand that 
the totaJ cost of the house as handed over to me completely 
decorated, inclusive of your fee (as arranged between us) 
must not exceed twelve thousand pounds." To this letter 
the defendant replied on May 18: "If you think that in 
such a delicate matter as decoration I can bind myself to the 
exact pound, I am afraid you are mistaken." On May 19 
the plaintiff wrote as follows : " I did not mean to say that 
if you should exceed the sum named in my letter to you by 
ten or twenty or even fifty pounds there would be anv diffi- 
culty between us. You have a free hand in the terms ot 



334 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

this correspondence, and I hope you will see your way to 
completing the decorations." On May 20 the defendant 
replied thus shortly : " Very well." 

' In completing these decorations, the defendant incurred 
liabilities and expenses which brought the total cost of this 
house up to the sum of twelve thousand four hundred 
pounds, all of which expenditure has been defrayed by the 
plaintiff. This action has been brought by the plaintiff to 
recover from the defendant the sum of three hundred and 
fifty pounds expended by him in excess of a sum of twelve 
thousand and fifty pounds, alleged by the plaintiff to have 
been fixed by this correspondence as the maximum sum that 
the defendant had authority to expend. 

'The question for me to decide is whether or no the 
defendant is liable to refund to the plaintiff this sum. In 
my judgment he is so liable. 

* What in effect the plaintiff has said is this : " I give you 
a free hand to complete these decorations, provided that you 
keep within a total cost to me of twelve thousand pounds. 
If you exceed that sum by as much as fifty pounds, I will 
not hold you responsible ; beyond that point you are no 
agent of mine, and I shall repudiate liability." It is not 
quite clear to me whether, had the plaintiff in fact repu- 
diated liability under his agent's contracts, he would, under 
all the circumstances, have been successful in so doing ; but 
he has not adopted this course. He has accepted liability, 
and fallen back upon his rights against the defendant under 
the terms of the latter's engagement. 

' In my judgment the plaintiff is entitled to recover this 
sum from the defendant. 

* It has been sought, on behalf of the defendant, to show 
that no limit of expenditure was fixed or intended to be 
fixed by this correspondence. If this were so, I can find no 
reason for the plaintiff's importation into the correspondence 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 335 

of the figures of twelve thousand pounds and subsequently 
of fifty pounds. The defendant's contention would render 
these figures meaningless. It is manifest to me that by his 
letter of May 20 he assented to a very clear proposition, by 
the terms of which he must be held to be bound. 

' For these reasons there will be judgment for the plaintiff 
for the amount claimed with costs.' 

James sighed, and stooping, picked up his umbrella which 
had fallen with a rattle at the words ' importation into this 
correspondence.' 

Untangling his legs, he rapidly left the Court ; without 
waiting for his son, he snapped up a hansom cab (it was a 
clear, gray afternoon) and drove straight to Timothy's where 
he found Swithin ; and to him, Mrs. Septimus Small, and 
Aunt Hester, he recounted the whole proceedings, eating 
two muffins not altogether in the intervals of speech. 

* Soames did very well,' he ended ; * he's got his head 
screwed on the right way. This won't please Jolyon. It's 
a bad business for that young Bosinney ; he'll go bankrupt, 
I shouldn't wonder,' and then after a long pause, during 
which he had stared disquietly into the fire, he added : 

* He wasn't there — now why ?' 

There was a sound of footsteps. The figure of a thick- 
set man, with the ruddy brown face of robust health, was 
seen in the back drawing-room. The forefinger of his up- 
raised hand was outlined against the black of his frock coat. 
He spoke in a grudging voice. 

' Well, James,' he said ; ' I can't — I can't stop.' And 
turning round, he walked out. 

It was Timothy. 

James rose from his chair. * There !' he said ; * there ! 

I knew there was something wro ' He checked himself, 

and was silent, staring before him, as though he had seen s 
portent. 



CHAPTER VI 

SOAMES BREAKS THE NEWS 

On leaving the Courts Soames did not go straight home. 
He felt disinclined for the City, and drawn by need for 
sympathy in his triumph, he, too, made his way, but slowly 
and on foot, to Timothy's in the Bayswater Road. 

His father had just left ; Mrs. Small and Aunt Hester, in 
possession of the whole story, greeted him warmly. They 
were sure he was hungry after all that evidence. Smither 
should toast him some more muffins, his dear father had 
eaten them all. He must put his legs up on the sofa ; and 
he must have a glass of prune brandy too. It was so 
strengthening. 

Swithin was still present, having lingered later than his 
wont, for he felt in want of exercise. On hearing this sug- 
gestion, he ^ pished.' A pretty pass young men were coming 
to ! His own liver was out of order, and he could not bear 
the thought of anyone else drinking prune brandy. 

He went away almost immediately, saying to Soames : 
* And how's your wife r You tell her from me that if she's 
dull, and likes to come and dine with me quietly, I'll give 
her such a bottle of champagne as she doesn't get every 
day.' Staring down from his height on Soames he con- 
tracted his thick, puffy, yellow hand as though squeezing 
within it all this small fry, and throwing out his chest he 
waddled slowly away. 

336 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 337 

Mrs. Small and Aunt Hester were left horrified. Swithin 
was so droll ! 

They themselves were longing to ask Soames how Irene 
would take the result, yet knew that they must not ; he 
would perhaps say something of his own accord, to throw 
some light on this, the present burning question in their 
lives, the question that from necessity of silence tortured 
them almost beyond bearing ; for even Timothy had now 
been told, and the effect on his health was little short of 
alarming. And what, too, would June do ? This, also, 
was a most exciting, if dangerous speculation ! 

They had never forgotten old Jolyon's visit, since when 
he had not once been to see them ; they had never forgotten 
the feeling it gave all who were present, that the family was no 
longer what it had been — that the family was breaking up. 

But Soames gave them no help, sitting with his knees 
crossed, talking of the Barbizon school of painters, whom he 
had just discovered. These were the coming men, he said ; 
he should not wonder if a lot of m^oney were made over 
them ; he had his eye on two pictures by a man called 
Corot, charming things ; if he could get them at a reasonable 
price he was going to buy them — they would, he thought, 
fetch a big price some day. 

Interested as they could not but be, neither Mrs. Septimus 
Small nor Aunt Hester could entirely acquiesce in being thus 
put off. 

It was interesting — most interesting — and then Soames 
was so clever that they were sure he would do somethins; 
with those pictures if anybody could ; but what was his plan 
now that he had won his case ; was he going to leave 
London at once, and live in the countr}', or what was he 
going to do ? 

Soames answered that he did not know, he thought they 
should be moving soon. He rose and kissed his aunts. 

12 



338 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

No sooner had Aunt Juley received this emblem of depar- 
ture than a change came over her, as though she were being 
visited by dreadful courage ; every little roll of flesh on her 
face seemed trying to escape from an invisible, confining mask. 

She rose to the full extent of her more than medium 
height, and said : * It has been on my mind a long time, 
dear, and if nobody else will tell you, I have made up my 
mind that ' 

Aunt Hester interrupted her : ' Mind, Julia, you do it — ' 
she gasped — * on your own responsibility 1' 

Mrs. Small went on as though she had not heard : ' I 
think you ought to know, dear, that Mrs. MacAnder saw 
Irene walking in Richmond Park with Mr. Bosinney.' 

Aunt Hester, who had also risen, sank back in her chair, 
and turned her face away. Really Juley was too — she 
should not do such things when she — Aunt Hester, was in 
the room ; and, breathless with anticipation, she waited for 
what Soames would answer. 

He had flushed the peculiar flush which always centred 
between his eyes ; lifting his hand, and, as it were, selecting 
a finger, he bit a nail delicately ; then, drawling it out 
between set lips, he said : ' Mrs. MacAnder is a cat T 

Without waiting for any reply, he left the room. 

When he went into Timothy's he had made up his mind 
what course to pursue on getting home. He would go up 
to Irene and say : 

' Well, I've won my case, and there's an end of it ! I 
don't v/ant to be hard on Bosinney ; I'll see if we can't 
come to some arrangement ; he shan't be pressed. And 
now let's turn over a new leaf ! We'll let the house, and 
get out of these fogs. We'll go down to Robin Hill at 
once. I — I never meant to be rough with you 1 Let's 

shake hands — and ' Perhaps she would let him kiss her, 

and forget ! 



THE xVIAN OF PROPERTY 339 

When he came out of Timothy's his intentions were no 
longer so simple. The smouldering jealousy and suspicion 
of months blazed up within him. He would put an end to 
that sort of thing once and for all ; he would not have her 
drag his name in the dirt ! If she could not or would not 
love him, as was her duty and his right — she should not play 
him tricks with any one else ! He would tax her v/ith it ; 
threaten to divorce her ! That would make her behave ; 
she would never face that. But — but — what if she did ? 
He was staggered ; this had not occurred to him. 

What if she did ? What if she made him a confession : 
How would he stand then ? He would have to brin2; a 
divorce ! 

A divorce ! Thus close, the word was paralyzing, so 
utterly at variance with all the principles that had hitherto 
guided his life. Its lack of compromise appalled him ; he 
felt like the captain of a ship, going to the side of his vessel, 
and, with his own hands throwing over the most precious or 
his bales. This jettisoning of his property with his own 
hand seemed uncanny to Soames. It would injure him in 
his profession. He would have to get rid of the house at 
Robin Hill, on which he had spent so much money, so much 
anticipation — and at a sacrifice. And she ! She would no 
longer belong to him, not even in name ! She would pass 
out of his life, and he — he should never see her again ! 

He traversed in the cab the length of a street without 
getting beyond the thought that he should never see her 
again ! 

But perhaps there was nothing to confess, even now very 
likely there was nothing to confess. Was it wise to push 
things so far ? Was it wise to put himself into a position 
where he might have to eat his words r The result of this 
case would ruin Bosinney ; a ruined man was desperate, but 
— what could he do r He might go abroad, ruined men 



340 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

always went abroad. What could they do — if indeed it was 
' they ' — without money r It would be better to wait and 
see how things turned out. If necessary, he could have her 
watched. The agony of his jealousy (for all the world like 
the crisis of an aching tooth) came on again ; and he almost 
cried out. But he must decide, fix on some course of action 
before l>e got home. When the cab drew up at the door, he 
had decided nothing. 

He entered, pale, his hands moist with perspiration, dread- 
ing to meet her, burning to meet her, ignorant of what he 
was to say or do. 

The maid Bilson was in the hall, and in answer to his 
question : ^ Where is your mistress r' told him that Mrs. 
Forsyte had left the house about noon, taking with her a 
trunk and bag. 

Snatching the sleeve of his fur coat away from her grasp^ 
he confronted her : 

* What V he exclaimed ; ^ what's that you said ?' Suddenly 
recollecting that he must not betray emotion, he added : 
'What message did she leave?' and noticed with secret 
terror the startled look of the maid's eyes. 

' Mrs. Forsyte left no message, sir.' 

' No message ; very well, thank you, that will do. I shall 
be dining out.' 

The maid went downstairs, leaving him still in his fur 
coat, idly turning over the visiting cards in the porcelain 
bowl that stood on the carved oak rug chest in the hall. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bareham Culcher. Lady Bellis. 

Mrs. Septimus Small. Miss Hermione Bellis. 

Mrs. Baynes. Miss Winifred Bellis. 

Mr. Solomon Thornworthy. Miss Ella Bellis. 

Who the devil were all these people ? He seemed to have 
forgotten all familiar things. The words *■ no message — a 
trunk, and a bag,' played hide-and-seek in his brain. It was 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 341 

incredible that she had left no message, and, still in his fur 
coat, he ran upstairs two steps at a time, as a young married 
man when he comes home will run up to his wife's room. 

Everj^thing was dainty, fresh, sweet-smelling ; everything 
in perfect order. On the great bed with its lilac silk quilt, 
was the bag she had made and embroidered with her own 
hands to hold her sleeping things ; her slippers ready at the 
foot ; the sheets even turned over at the head as though 
expecting her. 

On the table stood the silver-mounted brushes and bottles 
from her dressing bag, his own present. There must, then, 
be some mistake. What bag had she taken ? He went to 
the bell to summon Bilson, but remembered in time that he 
must assume knowledge of where Irene had gone, take it 
all as a matter of course, and grope out the meaning for 
himself. 

He locked the doors, and tried to think, but felt his brain 
going round ; and suddenly tears forced themselves into his 
eyes. 

Hurriedly pulling off his coat, he looked at himself in the 
mirror. 

He was too pale, a greyish tinge all over his face ; he 
poured out water, and began feverishly washing. 

Her silver-mounted brushes smelt faintly of the perfumed 
lotion she used for her hair ; and at this scent the burning 
sickness of his jealousy seized him again. 

Struggling into his fur, he ran downstairs and out into the 
street. 

He had not lost all command of himself, however, and as 
he went down Sloane Street he framed a story for use, in 
case he should not find her at Bosinney's. But if he should ? 
His power of decision again failed ; he reached the house 
without knowing what he should do if he did find her there. 

It was after office hours, and the street door was closed j 



342 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

the woman who opened it could not say whether Mr. Bos- 
inney were in or no ; she had not seen him that day, not 
for two or three days ; she did not attend to him now, 
nobody attended to him, he 

Soames interrupted her, he would go up and see for him- 
self. He went up with a dogged, white face. 

The top floor was unlighted, the door closed, no one 
answered his rin2;in2;, he could hear no sound. He was 
obliged to descend, shivering under his fur, a chill at his 
heart. Hailing a cab, he told the man to drive to Park 
Lane. 

On the way he tried to recollect when he had last given 
her a cheque ; she could not have more than three or four 
pounds, but there were her jewels ; and with exquisite 
torture he remembered how much money she could raise on 
these ; enough to take them abroad ; enough for them to 
live on for months ! He tried to calculate ; the cab stopped, 
and he got out with the calculation unmade. 

The butler asked whether Mrs. Soames was in the cab, 
the master had told him they were both expected to dinner. 

Soames answered : * No, Mrs. Forsyte has a cold.' 

The butler was sorry. 

Soames thought he was looking at him inquisitively, and 
remembering that he was not in dress clothes, asked : * Any- 
body here to dinner, Warmson ?' 

' Nobody but Mr. and Mrs. Dartie, sir.' 

Again it seemed to Soames that the butler was looking 
curiously at him. His composure gave way. 

' What are you looking at ?' he said. ' What's the matter 
with me, eh ?' 

The butler blushed, hung up the fur coat, murmured 
something that sounded like : ' Nothing, sir, I'm sure, sir,' 
and stealthily withdrew. 

Soames walked upstairs. Passing the drawing-room with- 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 343 

out a look, he went straight up to his mother's and father's 
bedroom. 

James, standing sideways, the concave h'nes of his tall, 
lean figure displayed to advantage in shirt-sleeves and evening 
waistcoat, his head bent, the end of his white tie peeping 
askew from underneath one white Dundreary whisker, his 
eyes peering with intense concentration, his lips poutins, 
was hooking the top hooks of his wife's bodice. Soames 
stopped ; he felt half-choked, whether because he had come 
upstairs too fast, or for some other reason. He — he himself 
had never — never been asked to 

He heard his father's voice, as though there were a pin in 
his mouth, saying : * Who's that ? Who's there ? What 
d'you want ?' His mother's : * Here, Felice, come and hook 
this ; your master'll never get done.' 

He put his hand up to his throat, and said hoarsely : 

at's I— Soames!' 

He noticed gratefully the affectionate surprise in Emily's : 
* Well, my dear boy ?' and James's, as he dropped the hook : 
^ What, Soames ! What's brought you up ? Aren't you 
well ?' 

He answered mechanically : * I'm all right,' and looked at 
them, and it seemed impossible to bring out his news. 

James, quick to take alarm, began : ' You don't look well. 
I expect you've taken a chill — it's liver, I shouldn't wonder. 
Your mother'U give you ' 

But Emily broke in quietly : ' Have you brought Irene r* 

Soames shook his head. 

* No,' he stammered, * she — she's left me !' 

Emily deserted the mirror before which she was standing. 
Her tall, full figure lost its majesty and became very human 
as she came running over to Soames. 

* My dear boy ! My dear boy !' 

She put her lips to his forehead, and stroked his hand. 



344 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

James, too, had turned full towards his son ; his face 
looked older. 

' Left you ?' he said. ' What d'you mean — left you ? 
You never told me she was going to leave you.' 

Soames answered surlily : ' How could I tell ? What's to 
be done ?' 

James began walking up and down ; he looked strange 
and stork-like without a coat. ' What's to be done !' he 
muttered. * How should I know what's to be done ? 
What's the good of asking me ? Nobody tells me anything, 
and then they come and ask me what's to be done ; and I 
should like to know how I'm to tell them ! Here's your 
mother, there she stands ; she doesn't say anything. What 
/ should say you've got to do is to follow her.' 

Soames smiled ; his peculiar, supercilious smile had never 
before looked pitiable. 

* I don't know where she's gone,' he said. 

' Don't know where she's gone !' said James. * How 
d'you mean, don't know where she's gone ? Where d'you 
suppose she's gone ? She's gone after that young Bosinney, 
that's where she's gone. I knew how it would be.' 

Soames, in the long silence that followed, felt his mother 
pressing his hand. And all that passed seemed to pass as 
though his own power of thinking or doing had gone to 
sleep. 

His father's face, dusky red, twitching as if he were going 
to cry, and words breaking out that seemed rent from him 
by some spasm in his soul. 

* There'll be a scandal ; I always said so.' Then, no one 
saying anything : ' And there you stand, you and your 
mother !' 

And Emily's voice, calm, rather contemptuous : ' Come, 
now, James ! Soames will do all that he can.' 

And James, staling at the floor, a little brokenly : ' Weil, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 345 

I can't help you ; I'm getting old. Don't you be in too 
great a hurry, my boy.' 

And his mother's voice again : * Soames will do all he can 
to get her back. We won't talk of it. It'll all come right, 
I dare say.' 

And James : ' Well, I can't see how it can come right. And 
if she hasn't gone off with that young Bosinney, my advice 
to you is not to listen to her, but to follow her and get her 
back.* 

Once more Soames felt his mother stroking his hand, in 
token of her approval, and as though repeating some form of 
sacred oath, he muttered between his teeth : * I will !' 

All three went down to the drawing - room together. 
There, were gathered the three girls and Dartie ; had 
Irene been present, the family circle would have been 
complete. 

James sank into his armchair, and except for a word of 
cold greeting to Dartie, whom he both despised and dreaded, 
as a man likely to be always in want of money, he said 
nothing till dinner was announced. Soames, too, was silent ; 
Emily alone, a woman of cool courage, maintained a con- 
versation with Winifred on trivial subjects. She was never 
more composed in her manner and conversation than that 
evening. 

A decision having been come to not to speak of Irene's 
flight, no view was expressed by any other member of the 
family as to the right course to be pursued ; there can be 
little doubt, from the general tone adopted in relation to 
events as they afterwards turned out, that James's advice : 
* Don't you listen to her, follow her and get her back 1' 
would, with here and there an exception, have been regarded 
as sound, not only in Park Lane, but amongst the Nicholases, 
the Rogers, and at Timothy's. Just as it would surely have 
been endorsed by that wider body of Forsytes all over 

12* 



346 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

London, who were merely excluded from judgment by 
ignorance of the story. 

In spite then of Emily's efforts, the dinner was served by 
Warmson and the footman almost in silence. Dartie was 
sulky, and drank all he could get ; the girls seldom talked to 
each other at any time. James asked once where June was, 
and what she was doing with herself in these days. No one 
could tell him. He sank back into gloom. Only when 
Winifred recounted how little Publius had given his bad 
penny to a beggar, did he brighten up. 

' Ah !' he said, ' that's a clever little chap. I don't know 
what'll become of him, if he goes on like this. An intelli- 
gent little chap, I call him !' But it was only a flash. 

The courses succeeded one another solemnly, under the 
electric light, which glared down on the table, but barely 
reached the principal ornament on the walls, a so-called * Sea 
Piece by Turner,' almost entirely composed of cordage and 
drowning men. Champagne was handed, and then a bottle 
of James's prehistoric port, but as by the chill hand of some 
skeleton. 

At ten o'clock Soames left ; twice in reply to questions, 
he had said that Irene was not well ; he felt he could no 
longer trust himself. His mother kissed him with her large 
soft kiss, and he pressed her hand, a flush of warmth in his 
cheeks. He walked away in the cold wind, which whistled 
desolately round the corners of the ^treets, under a sky of 
clear steel-blue, alive with stars ; he noticed neither their 
frosty greeting, nor the crackle of the curled-up plane-leaves, 
nor the night-women hurrying in their shabby furs, nor the 
pinched faces of vagabonds at street corners. Winter was 
come ! But Soames hastened home, oblivious ; his hands 
trembled as he took the late letters from the gilt wire cage 
into which they had been thrust through the slit in the door. 

None from Irene. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 347 

He went into the dining-room ; the fire was bright there, 
his chair drawn up to it, slippers ready, spirit case, and carven 
cigarette box on the table ; but after staring at it all for a 
minute or two, he turned out the light and went upstairs. 
There was a fire too in his dressing-room, but her room was 
dark and cold. It was into this room that Soames went. 

He made a great illumination with candles, and for a long 
time continued pacing up and down between the bed and 
the door. He could not get used to the thought that she 
had really left him, and as though still searching for some 
message, some reason, some reading of all the mystery of his 
married life, he began opening every recess and drawer. 

There were her dresses ; he had always liked, indeed in- 
sisted, that she should be well-dressed — she had taken very 
few ; two or three at most, and drawer after drawer, full of 
linen and silk things, was untouched. 

Perhaps after all it was only a freak, and she had gone to 
the seaside for a few days' change. If only that were so, 
and she were really coming back, he would never again do 
as he had done that fatal night before last, never again run 
that risk — though it was her duty, her duty as a wife ; 
though she did belong to him — he would never again run 
that risk ; she was evidently not quite right in her head ! 

He stooped over the drawer where she kept her jewels; 
it was not locked, and came open as he pulled ; the jewel 
box had the key in it. This surprised him until he remem- 
bered that it was sure to be empty. He opened it. 

It was far from empty. Divided, in little green velvet 
compartments, were all the things he had given her, even her 
watch, and stuck into the recess that contained the watch 
was a three-cornered note addressed * Soames Forsyte,' in 
Irene's handwriting. 

*I think I have taken nothing that you or your people have 
given me.' And that was all. 



348 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He looked at the clasps and bracelets of diamonds and 
pearls, at the little flat gold watch with a great diamond set 
in sapphires, at the chains and rings, each in its nest, and the 
tears rushed up in his eyes and dropped upon them. 

Nothing that she could have done, nothing that she had 
done, brought home to him like this the inner significance of 
her act. • For the moment, perhaps, he understood nearly all 
there was to understand — understood that she loathed him, 
that she had loathed him for years, that for all intents and 
purposes they were like people living in different worlds, 
that there was no hope for him, never had been ; even, that 
she had suffered — that she was to be pitied. 

In that moment of emotion he betrayed the Forsyte in 
him — forgot himself, his interests, his property — was capable 
of almost anything ; was lifted into the pure ether of the 
selfless and unpractical. 

Such moments pass quickly. 

And as though with the tears he had purged himself of 
weakness, he got up, locked the box, and slowly, almost 
trembling, carried it with him into the other room. 



CHAPTER VII 

June's victory 

June had waited for her chance, scanning the duller columns 
of the Journals, morning and evening with an assiduity 
which at first puzzled old Jolyon ; and when her chance 
came, she took it with all the promptitude and resolute 
tenacity of her character. 

She will always remember best in her life that morning 
when at last she saw amongst the reliable Cause List of the 
Times newspaper, under the heading of Court XIIL, Mr. 
Justice Bentham, the case of Forsyte v. Bosinney. 

Like a gambler who stakes his last piece of money, she 
had prepared to hazard her all upon this throw ; it was not 
her nature to contemplate defeat. How, unless with the 
instinct of a woman in love, she knew that Bosinney's dis- 
comfiture in this action was assured, cannot be told — on this 
assumption, however, she laid her plans^as upon a certainty. 

Half past eleven found her at watch in the gallery of 
Court XIIL, and there she remained till the case of Forsyte 
V. Bosinney was over. Bosinney's absence did not disquiet 
her ; she had felt instinctively that he would not defend 
himself. At the end of the judgment she hastened down, 
and took a cab to his rooms. 

She passed the open street-door and the offices on the 
three lower floors without attracting notice ; not till she 
reached the top did her difficulties begin. 

349 



350 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Her ring was not answered ; she had now to make up her 
mind whether she would go down and ask the caretaker in 
the basement to let her in to await Mr. Bosinney's return, 
or remain patiently outside the door, trusting that no one 
would come up. She decided on the latter course. 

A quarter of an hour had passed in freezing vigil on the 
landing, before it occurred to her that Bosinney had been 
used to leave the key of his rooms under the door-mat. She 
looked and found it there. For some minutes she could not 
decide to make use of it ; at last she let herself in and left 
the door open that anyone who came might see she was there 
on business. 

This was not the same June who had paid the trembling 
visit five months ago ; those months of suffering and restraint 
had made her less sensitive ; she had dwelt on this visit so 
long, with such minuteness, that its terrors were discounted 
beforehand. She was not there to fail this time, for if she 
failed no one could help her. 

Like some mother beast on the watch over her young, her 
little quick figure never stood still in that room, but wandered 
from wall to wall, from window to door, fingering now one 
thing, now another. There was dust everywhere, the room 
could not have been cleaned for weeks, and June, quick to 
catch at anything that should buoy up her hope, saw in it a 
sign that he had been obliged, for economy's sake, to give up 
his servant. 

She looked into the bedroom ; the bed was roughly made, 
as though by the hand of man. Listening intently, she darted 
in, and peered into his cupboards. A few shirts and collars, 
a pair of muddy boots — the room was bare even of garments. 

She stole back to the sitting-room, and now she noticed 
the absence of all the little things he had set store by. The 
clock that had been his mother's, the field-glasses that had 
hung over the sofa ; two really valuable old prints of Harrow, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 351 

where his father had been at school, and last, not least, the 
piece of Japanese pottery she herself had given him. All 
were gone ; and in spite of the rage roused within her cham- 
pioning soul at the thought that the world should treat him 
thus, their disappearance augured happily for the success of 
her plan. 

It was while looking at the spot where the piece of Japa- 
nese pottery had stood that she felt a strange certainty of 
being watched, and, turning, saw Irene in the open doorway. 

The two stood gazing at each other for a minute in 
silence ; then June walked forward and held out her hand. 
Irene did not take it. 

When her hand was refused, June put it behind her. Her 
eyes grew steady with anger ; she waited for Irene to speak ; 
and thus waiting, took in, with who-knows-what rage of 
jealousy, suspicion, and curiosity, every detail of her friend's 
face and dress and figure. 

Irene was clothed in her long gray fur ; the travelling cap 
on her head left a wave of gold hair visible above her fore- 
head. The soft fullness of the coat made her face as small 
as a child's. 

Unlike June's cheeks, her cheeks had no colour in them, 
but were ivory white and pinched as if with cold. Dark circles 
lay round her eyes. In one hand she held a bunch of violets. 

She looked back at June, no smile on her lips ; and with 
those great dark eyes fastened on her, the girl, for all her 
startled anger, felt something of the old spell. 

She spoke first, after all. 

* What have you come for r' But the feeling that she 
herself was being asked the same question, made her add 

* This horrible case. I came to tell him — he has lost it.' 

Irene did not speak, her eyes never moved from June's 
face, and the girl cried : 

* Don't stand there as if you were made of stone !' 



352 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Irene laughed : * I wish to God I were !' 

But June turned away : * Stop !' she cried, ^ don't tell me ! 
I don't want to hear ! I don't want to hear what you've 
come for. I don't want to hear !' And like some uneasy 
spirit, she began swiftly walking to and fro. Suddenly she 
broke out : 

^ I was here first. We can't both stay here together !' 

On Irene's face a smile wandered up, and died out like a 
flicker of firelight. She did not move. And then it was 
that June perceived under the softness and immobility of this 
figure something desperate and resolved ; something not to 
be turned away, something dangerous. She tore off her hat, 
and, putting both hands to her brow, pressed back the bronze 
mass of her hair. 

^You have no right here !' she cried defiantly. 

Irene answered : * I have no right anywhere * 

* What do you mean ?' 

* I have left Soames. You always wanted me to !' 
June put her hands over her ears. 

' Don't ! I don't want to hear anything — I don't want 
to know anything. It's impossible to fight with you ! What 
makes you stand like that ? Why don't you go r' 

Irene's lips moved ; she seemed to be saying : * Where 
should I go r' 

June turned to the window. She could see the face of a 
clock down in the street. It was nearly four. At any 
moment he might come ! She looked back across her 
shoulder, and her face was distorted with anger. 

But Irene had not moved ; in her gloved hands she cease- 
lessly turned and twisted the little bunch of violets. 

The tears of rage and disappointment rolled down June's 
cheeks. 

^ How could you come ?' she said. * You have been a 
false friend to me !' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 353 

Again Irene laughed. June saw that she had played a 
wrong card, and broke down. 

^ Why have you come r' she sobbed. * You've ruined my 
life, and now you want to ruin his !' 

Irene's mouth quivered ; her eyes met June's with a look 
so mournful that the girl cried out in the midst of her 
sobbing, ' No, no !' 

But Irene's head bent till it touched her breast. She 
turned, and went quickly out, hiding her lips with the little 
bunch of violets. 

June ran to the door. She heard the footsteps going 
down and down. She called out : * Come back, Irene ! 
Come back !' 

The footsteps died away. . . . 

Bewildered and torn, the girl stood at the top of the stairs. 
Why had Irene gone, leaving her mistress of the field ? 
What did it mean ? Had she really given him up to her ? 

Or had she ? And she was the prey of a gnawins; 

uncertainty. . . . Bosinney did not come. . . . 

About six o'clock that afternoon old Jolyon returned from 
Wistaria Avenue, where now almost every day he spent 
some hours, and asked if his grand-daughter were upstairs. 
On being told that she had just come in, he sent up to her 
room to request her to come down and speak to him. 

He had made up his mind to tell her that he was recon- 
ciled with her father. In future bygones must be bygones. 
He would no longer live alone, or practically alone, in this 
great house ; he was going to give it up, and take one in the 
country for his son, where they could all go and live 
together. If June did not like this, she could have an 
allowance and live by herself. It wouldn't make much 
difference to her, for it was a long time since she had shown 
him any affection. 

But when June came down, her face was pinched and 



354 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

piteous ; there was a strained, pathetic look in her eyes. 
She snuggled up in her old attitude on the arm of his chair, 
and what he said compared but poorly with the clear, 
authoritative, injured statement he had thought out with 
much care. His heart felt sore, as the great heart of a 
mother-bird feels sore when its youngling flies and bruises its 
wing. His words halted, as though he were apologizing for 
having at last deviated from the path of virtue, and suc- 
cumbed, in defiance of sounder principles, to his more 
natural instincts. 

He seemed nervous lest, in thus announcing his intentions, 
he should be setting his grand-daughter a bad example ; and 
now that he came to the point, his way of putting the 
suggestion that, if she didn't like it, she could live by herself 
and lump it, was delicate in the extreme. 

* And if, by any chance, my darling,' he said, ' you found 
you didn't get on with them, why, I could make that all 
right. You could have what you liked. We could find a 
little flat in London where you could set up, and I could be 
running to continually. But the children,' he added, * are 
dear little things !' 

Then, in the midst of this grave, rather transparent, 
explanation of changed policy, his eyes twinkled. *This'll 
astonish Timothy's weak nerves. That precious young 
thing will have something to say about this, or I'm a 
Dutchman !' 

June had not yet spoken. Perched thus on the arm of 
his chair, with her head above him, her face was invisible. 
But presently he felt her warm cheek against his own, and 
knew that, at all events, there was nothing very alarming in 
her attitude towards his news. He began to take courage. 

* You'll like your father,' he said — 'an amiable chap. 
Never was much push about him, but easy to get on with. 
You'll find him artistic and all that.' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 355 

And old Jolyon bethought him of the dozen or so water- 
colour drawings all carefully locked up in his bedroom ; for 
now that his son was going to become a man of property he 
did not think them quite such poor things as heretofore. 

*As to your — your stepmother,' he said, using the word 
with some little difficulty, * I call her a refined woman — a 
bit of a Mrs. Gummidge, I shouldn't wonder — but very 
fond of Jo. And the children,' he repeated — indeed, this 
sentence ran like music through all his solemn self-justifica- 
tion — * are sweet little things !' 

If June had known, those words but reincarnated that 
tender love for little children, for the young and weak, 
which in the past had made him desert his son for her tiny 
self, and now, as the cycle rolled, was taking him from her. 

But he began to get alarmed at her silence, and asked 
impatiently : *Well, what do you say ?',, 

June slid down to his knee, and she in her turn began her 
tale. She thought it would all go splendidly ; she did not see 
any difficulty, and she did not care a bit what people thought. 

Old Jolyon wriggled. H'm ! then people would think ! 
He had thought that after all these years perhaps they 
wouldn't ! Well, he couldn't help it 1 Nevertheless, he 
could not approve of his grand- daughter's way of puttino- it 
— she ought to mind what people thought ! 

Yet he said nothing. His feelings were too mixed, too 
inconsistent for expression. 

No — went on June — she did not care ; what business wab 
it of theirs ? There was only one thing — and with her cheek 
pressing against his knee, old Jolyon knew at once that this 
something was no trifle : As he was gomg to buy a house in 
the country, would he not — to please her — buy that splendid 
house of Soames' at Robin Hill ? It was finished, it was 
perfectly beautiful, and no one would live in it now. They 
would all be so happy there ! 



356 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Old Jolyon was on the alert at once. Wasn't the * man 
of property ' going to live in his new house, then ? He 
never alluded to Soames now but under this title. 

* No ' — June said — ' he was not ; she knew that he was 
not !' 

How did she know ? 

She could not tell him, but she knew. She knew nearly 
for certain ! It was most unlikely ; circumstances had 
changed ! Irene's words still rang in her head : * I have 
left Soames ! Where should I go ?' 

But she kept silence about that. 

If her grandfather would only buy it and settle that 
wretched claim that ought never to have been made on 
Phil ! It would be the very best thing for everybody, and 
everything — everything might come straight ! 

And June put her lips to his forehead, and pressed them 
close. 

But old Jolyon freed himself from her caress, his face wore 
the judicial look which came upon it when he dealt with 
affairs. He asked : What did she mean ? There was 
something behind all this — had she been seeing Bosinney ? 

June answered : ' No ; but I have been to his rooms.' 

* Been to his rooms ? Who took you there ?' 

June faced him steadily. * I went alone. He has lost that 
case. I don't care whether it was right or wrong. I want 
to help him ; and / will P 

Old Jolyon asked again : * Have you seen him ?' His 
glance seemed to pierce right through the girl's eyes into her 
soul. 

Again June answered : * No ; he was not there. I waited, 
but he did not come.' 

Old Jolyon made a movement of relief. She had risen 
and looked down at him ; so slight, and light, and young, 
but so fixed, and so determined ; and disturbed, vexed, as he 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 357 

was, he could not frown away that fixed look. The feeling 
of being beaten, of the reins having slipped, of being old and 
tired, mastered him. 

^ Ah r he said at last, * you'll get yourself into a mess one 
of these days, I can see. You want your own way in 
everything.' 

Visited by one of his strange bursts of philosophy, he 
added : * Like that you were born ; and like that you'll stay 
until you die !' 

And he, who in his dealings with men of business, with 
Boards, with Forsytes of all descriptions, with such as were 
not Forsytes, had always had his own way, looked at his 
indomitable grandchild sadly — for he felt in her that quality 
which above all others he unconsciously admired. 

* Do you know what they say is going on r' he said slowly. 
June crimsoned. 

* Yes — no. I know — and I don't know — I don't care !' 
and she stamped her foot. 

' I believe,' said old Jolyon, dropping his eyes, ' that you'd 
have him if he were dead 1' 

There was a long silence before he spoke again. 

* But as to buying this house — you don't know what you're 
talking about 1' 

June said that she did. She knew that he could get it if 
he wanted. He would only have to give what it cost. 

' What it cost ! You know nothing about it. I won't go 
to Soames — I'll have nothing more to do with that young man.' 

' But you needn't ; you can go to Uncle James. If you 
can't buy the house, will you pay this law-suit claim ? I 
know he is terribly hard up — I've seen it. You can stop 
it out of my money !' 

A twinkle came into old Jolyon's eyes. 

' Stop it out of your money ! A pretty way ! And 
what will you do, pray, without your money V 



358 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

But secretly, the idea of wresting the house from James 
and his son had begun to take hold of him. He had heard 
on Forsyte 'Change much comment, much rather doubtful 
praise of this house. It was * too artistic,' but a fine place. 
To take from the ' man of property ' *hat on which he had 
set his heart, would be a crowning triumph over James, 
practical proof that he was going to make a man of property 
of Jo, to put him back in his proper position, and there to 
keep him secure. Justice once for all on those who had 
chosen to regard his son as a poor, penniless outcast ! 

He would see, he would see ! It might be out of the 
question ; he was not going to pay a fancy price, but if it 
could be done, why, perhaps he would do it ! 

And still more secretly he knew that he could not refuse 
her. 

But he did not commit himself. He would think it over 
- — he said to June. 



CHAPTER VIII 

bosinney's departure 

Old Jolyon was not given to hasty decisions ; it is probable 
that he would have continued to think over the purchase of 
the house at Robin Hill, had not June's face told him that 
he would have no peace until he acted. 

At breakfast next morning she asked him what time she 
should order the carriage. 

* Carriage !' he said, with some appearance of innocence ; 
* what for ? rm not going out !' 

She answered : ' If you don't go early, you won't catch 
Uncle James before he goes into the City.' 

* James ! what about your Uncle James ?' 

' The house,' she replied, in such a voice that he no 
longer pretended ignorance. 

' I've not made up my mind,' he said. 

*• You must ! You must ! Oh ! Gran — think of me !' 

Old Jolyon grumbled out : ' Think of you — I'm always 
thinking of you, but you don't think of yourself; you don't 
think what you're letting yourself in for. Well, order the 
carriage at ten !* 

At a quarter past he was placing his umbrella in the 
stand at Park Lane — he did not choose to relinquish his hat 
and coat ; telling Warmson that he wanted to see his 
master, he went, without being announced, into the study, 
and sat down. 

35P 



36o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

James was still in the dining-room talking to Soames, who 
had come round again before breakfast. On hearing who 
his visitor was, he muttered nervously : ' Now, what's he 
want, I wonder ?' 

He then got up. 

' Well,' he said to Soames, * don't you go doing anything 
m a hurry. The first thing is to find out where she is — I 
should go to Stainer's about it ; they're the best men, if 
they can't find her, nobody can.' And suddenly moved to 
strange softness, he muttered to himself: 'Poor little thing ! 
/ can't tell what she was thinking about !' and went out 
blowing his nose. 

Old Jolyon did not rise on seeing his brother, but held 
out his hand, and exchanged with him the clasp of a 
Forsyte. 

James took another chair by the table, and leaned his 
head on his hand. 

* Well,' he said, * how are you ? We don't see much of 
you nowadays 1' 

Old Jolyon paid no attention to the remark. 

* How's Emily ?' he asked ; and waiting for no reply, 
went on : * I've come to see you about this affair of young 
Bosinney's. I'm told that new house of his is a white 
elephant.' 

* I don't know anything about a white elephant,' said 
James, 'I know he's lost his case, and I should say he'll go 
bankrupt.' 

Old Jolyon was not slow to seize the opportunity this 
gave him. 

' I shouldn't wonder a bit !' he agreed ; ' and if he goes 
bankrupt, the " man of property " — that is, Soames'U be out 
of pocket. Now, what I was thinking was this : If he's not 
going to live there ' 

Seeing both surprise and suspicion in James's eye, he 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 361 

quickly went on : ^ I don't want to know anything ; I 
suppose Irene's put her foot down — it's not material to me. 
But I'm thinking of a house in the country myself, not too 
far from London, and if it suited me I don't say that I 
mightn't look at it, at a price.' 

James listened to this statement with a strange mixture of 
doubt, suspicion, and relief, merging into a dread of some- 
thing behind, and tinged with the remains of his old 
undoubted reliance upon his elder brother's good faith and 
judgment. There was anxiety, too, as to what old Jolyon 
could have heard and how he had heard it ; and a sort of 
hopefulness arising from the thought that if June's connec- 
tion with Bosinney were completely at an end, her grand- 
father would hardly seem anxious to help the young 
fellow. Altogether he was puzzled ; as he did not like 
either to show this, or to commit himself in any way, he 
said : 

* They tell me you're altering your Will in favour of your 
son.' 

He had not been told this ; he had merely added the fact 
of having seen old Jolyon with his son and grandchildren to 
the fact that he had taken his Will away from Forsyte, 
Bustard and Forsyte. The shot went home. 

* Who told you that ?' asked old Jolyon. 

' I'm sure I don't know,' said James ; * I can't remember 
names — I know somebody told me. Soames spent a lot of 
money on this house ; he's not likely to part with it except 
at a good price.' 

' Well,' said old Jolyon, * if he thinks I'm going to pay a 
fancy price, he's mistaken. I've not got the money to 
throw away that he seems to have. Let him try and sell it 
at a forced sale, and see what he'll get. It's not every man's 
house, I hear !' 

James, who was secretly also of this opinion, answered : 



362 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* It's a gentleman's house. Soames is here now if you'd like 
to see him.' 

' No,' said old Jolyon, * I haven't got as far as that ; and 
I'm not likely to, I can see that very well if I'm met in this 
manner !' 

James was a little cowed ; when it came to the actual 
figures of a commercial transaction he was sure of himself, 
for then he was dealing with facts, not with men ; but pre- 
liminary negotiations such as these made him nervous — he 
never knew quite how far he could go. 

' Well,' he said, ^ I know nothing about it. Soames, he 
tells me nothing ; I should think he'd entertain it — it's a 
question of price.' 

' Oh !' said old Jolyon, * don't let him make a favour of 
rt 1' He placed his hat on his head in dudgeon. 

The door was opened and Soames came in. 

' There's a policeman out here,' he said with his half 
smile, * for Uncle Jolyon.' 

Old Jolyon looked at him angrily, and James said : 'A 
policeman? I don't know anything about a policeman. 
But I suppose you know something about him,' he added to 
old Jolyon with a look of suspicion : ' I suppose you'd better 
see him !' 

In the hall an Inspector of Police stood stolidly regarding 
with heavy-lidded pale-blue eyes the fine old English 
furniture picked up by James at the famous Mavrojano 
sale in Portman Square. ' You'll find my brother in there,' 
said James. 

The Inspector, raised his fingers respectfully to his peaked 
cap, and entered the study. 

James saw him go in with a strange sensation. 

^ Well,' he said to Soames, * I suppose we must wait and 
see what he wants. Your uncle's been here about the 
house 1' 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY ^3 

He returned with Soames into the dining-room, but could 
not rest. 

* Now what does he want P he murmured again. 

* Who ?' replied Soames : * the Inspector ? They sent 
him round from Stanhope Gate, that's all I know. That 
" nonconformist " of Uncle Jolyon's has been pilfering, I 
shouldn't wonder !' 

But in spite of his calmness, he too was ill at ease. 

At the end of ten minutes old Jolyon came in. 

He walked up to the table, and stood there perfectly silent 
pulling at his long white moustaches. James gazed up at 
him with opening mouth ; he had never seen his brother 
look like this. 

Old Jolyon raised his hand, and said slowly : 

* Young Bosinney has been run over in the fog and 
killed.' 

Then standing above his brother and his nephew, and 
looking down at them with his deep eyes: 'There's — 
some — talk — of — suicide,' he said. 

James's jaw dropped. * Suicide ! What should he do 
that for ?' 

Old Jolyon answered sternly : * God knows, if you and 
your son don't !* 

But James did not reply. 

For all men of great age, even for all Forsytes, life has 
had bitter experiences. The passer-by, who sees them 
wrapped in cloaks of custom, wealth, and comfort, would 
never suspect that such black shadows had fallen on their 
roads. To every man of great age — to Sir Walter Bentham 
himself — the idea of suicide has once at least been present in 
the ante-room of his soul ; on the threshold, waiting to 
enter, held out from the inmost chamber by some chance 
reality, some vague fear, some painful hope. To Forsytes 
that final renunciation of property is hard. Oh ! it is hard ! 



364 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Seldom — perhaps never — can they achieve it ; and yet, how 
near have they not sometimes been ! 

So even with James ! Then in the medley of his thoughts, 
he broke out : * Why I saw it in the paper yesterday : " Run 
over in the fog !" They didn't know his name !' He turned 
from one face to the other in his confusion of soul ; but 
instinctively all the time he was rejecting that rumour of 
suicide. He dared not entertain this thought, so against his 
interest, against the interest of his son, of every Forsyte. He 
strove against it ; and as his nature ever unconsciously 
rejected that which it could not with safety accept, so 
gradually he overcame this fear. It was an accident 1 It 
must have been ! 

Old Jolyon broke in on his reverie. 

* Death was instantaneous. He lay all yesterday at the 
hospital. There was nothing to tell them who he was. I am 
going there now ; you and your son had better come too.' 

No one opposing this command he led the way from the 
room. 

The day was still and clear and bright, and driving over 
to Park Lane from Stanhope Gate, old Jolyon had had the 
carriage open. Sitting back on the padded cushions, finish- 
ing his cigar, he had noticed with pleasure the keen crispness 
of the air, the bustle of the cabs and people ; the strange, 
almost Parisian, alacrity that the first fine day will bring into 
London streets after a spell of fog or rain. And he had felt 
so happy ; he had not felt like it for months. His confession 
to June was off his mind ; he had the prospect of his son's, 
above all, of his grandchildren's company in the future — (he 
had appointed to meet young Jolyon at the Hotch Potch 
that very morning to discuss it again) ; and there was the 
pleasurable excitement of a coming encounter, a coming 
victory, over James and the * man of property ' in the matter 
of the house. 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 365 

He had the carriage closed now ; he had no heart to look 
on gaiety ; nor was it right that Forsytes should be seen 
driving with an Inspector of Police. 

In that carriage the Inspector spoke again of the death : 

* It was not so very thick just there. The driver says the 
gentleman must have had time to see what he was about, he 
seemed to walk right into it. It appears that he was very 
hard up, we found several pawn tickets at his rooms, his 
account at the bank is overdrawn, and there's this case in 
to-day's papers ; ' his cold blue eyes travelled from one to 
another of the three Forsytes in the carriage. 

Old Jolyon watching from his corner saw his brother's 
face change, and the brooding, worried, look deepen on it. 
At the Inspector's words, indeed, all James's doubts and 
fears revived. Hard — up — pawn — tickets — an overdrawn 
account ! These words that had all his life been a far-off 
nightmare to him, seemed to make uncannily real that 
suspicion of suicide which must on no account be enter- 
tained. He sought his son's eye ; but lynx-eyed, taciturn, 
immovable, Soames gave no answering look. And to old 
Jolyon watching, divining the league of mutual defence 
between them, there came an overmastering desire to have 
his own son at his side, as though this visit to the dead man's 
body was a battle in which otherwise he must single-handed 
meet those two. And the thought of how to keep June's 
name out of the business kept whirring in his brain. James 
had his son to support him ! Why should he not send 
for Jo ? 

Taking out his card-case, he pencilled the following 
message : 

* Come round at once. I've sent the carriage for you.* 
On getting out he gave this card to his coachman, telling 

him to drive as fast as possible to the Hotch Potch Club, and 
if Mr. Jolyon Forsyte were there to give him the card 



366 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

and bring him at once. If not there yet, he was to wait 
till he came. 

He followed the others slowly up the steps, leaning on 
his umbrella, and stood a moment to get his breath. The 
Inspector said : * This is the mortuary, sir. But take your 
time.' 

In the bare, white-walled room, empty of all but a streak 
of sunshine smeared along the dustless floor, lay a form 
covered by a sheet. With a huge steady hand the Inspector 
took the hem and turned it back. A sightless face gazed up 
at them, and on either side of that sightless defiant face the 
three Forsytes gazed down ; in each one of them the secret 
emotions, fears, and pity of his own nature rose and fell like 
the rising, falling waves of life, whose wash those white walls 
barred out now for ever from Bosinney. And in each one 
of them the trend of his nature, the odd essential spring, that 
moved him in fashions minutely, unalterably different from 
those of every other human being, forced him to a different 
attitude of thought. Far from the others, yet inscrutably 
close, each stood thus, alone with death, silent, his eyes 
lowered. 

The Inspector asked softly : 

* You identify the gentleman, sir ?' 

Old Jolyon raised his head and nodded. He looked at his 
brother opposite, at that long lean figure brooding over the 
dead man, with face dusky red, and strained gray eyes ; and at 
the figure of Soames white and still by his father's side. And 
all that he had felt against those two was gone like smoke in 
the long white presence of Death. Whence comes it, how 
comes it — Death ? Sudden reverse of all that goes before ; 
blind setting forth on a path that leads to — where ? Dark 
quenching of the fire ! The heavy, brutal crushing-out that 
all men must go through, keeping their eyes clear and brave 
unto the end ! Small and of no import, insects though they 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 367 

are ! And across old Jolyon's face there flitted a gleam, for 
Soames, murmuring to the Inspector, crept noiselessly 
away. 

Then suddenly James raised- his eyes. There was a queer 
appeal in that suspicious troubled look : ' I know I'm no 
match for you,' it seemed to say. And, hunting for a hand- 
kerchief he wiped his brow ; then, bending sorrowful and 
lank over the dead man, he too turned and hurried out. 

Old Jolyon stood, still as death, his eyes fixed on the body. 
Who shall tell of what he was thinking ? Of himself, when 
his hair was brown like the hair of that young fellow dead 
before him ? Of himself, with his battle just beginning, 
the long, long battle he had loved ; the battle that was over 
for this young man almost before it had begun r Of his 
grand-daughter, with her broken hopes r Of that other 
woman ? Of the strangeness, and the pity of it ? And 
the irony, inscrutable, and bitter of that end r Justice 1 
There was no justice for men, for they were ever in the 
dark! 

Or perhaps in his philosophy he thought : Better to 
be out of it all ! Better to have done with it, like this 
poor youth. . . . 

Some one touched him on the arm. 

A tear started up and wetted his eyelash. 'Well,' he 
said, ' I'm no good here. I'd better be going. You'll come 
to me as soon as you can, Jo,' and with his head bowed he 
went away. 

It was young Jolyon's turn to take his stand beside the 
dead man, round whose fallen body he seemxcd to see all 
the Forsytes breathless, and prostrated. The stroke had 
fallen too swiftly. 

The forces underlying every tragedy — forces that take 
no denial, working through cross currents to their ironical 
end, had met and fused with a thunder-clap, flung out the 



368 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

victim, and flattened to the ground all those that stood 
around. 

Or so at all events young Jolyon seemed to see them, 
lying around Bosinney's body. 

He asked the Inspector to tell him what had happened, 
and the latter, like a man who does not every day get such a 
chance, again detailed such facts as were known. 

* There's more here, sir, however,' he said, 'than meets 
the eye. I don't believe in suicide, nor in pure accident, 
myself. It's more likely I think that he was suffering under 
great stress of mind, and took no notice of things about him. 
Perhaps you can throw some light on these.' 

He took from his pocket a little packet and laid it on the 
table. Carefully undoing it, he revealed a lady's handker- 
chief, pinned through the folds with a pin of discoloured 
Venetian gold, the stone of which had fallen from the 
socket. A scent of dried violets rose to young Jolyon's 
nostrils. 

* Found in his breast pocket,* said the Inspector ; ' the 
name has been cut away !' 

Young Jolyon with difficulty answered : * I'm afraid I 
cannot help you !' But vividly there rose before him the face 
he had seen light up, so tremulous and glad, at Bosinney's 
coming ! Of her he thought more than of his own 
daughter, more than of them all — of her with the dark, soft 
glance, the delicate passive face, waiting for the dead man, 
waiting even at that moment, perhaps, still and patient in 
the sunlight. 

He walked sorrowfully away from the hospital towards 
his father's house, reflecting that this death would break up 
the Forsyte family. The stroke had indeed slipped past 
their defences into the very wood of their tree. They 
might flourish to all appearance as before, preserving a brave 
show before the eyes of London, but the trunk was dead, 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 369 

withered by the same flash that had stricken down Bosinney. 
And now the saplings would take its place, each one a new 
custodian of the sense of property. 

Good forest of Forsytes ! thought young Jolyon — 
soundest timber of our land ! 

Concerning the cause of this death — his family would 
doubtless reject with vigour the suspicion of suicide, which 
was so compromising ! They would take it as an accident, a 
stroke of fate. In their hearts they would even feel it an 
intervention of Providence, a retribution — had not Bosinney 
endangered their two most priceless possessions, the pocket 
and the hearth ? And they would talk of * that unfortunate 
accident of young Bosinney's,' but perhaps they would not 
talk — silence might be better ! 

As for himself, he regarded the bus-driver's account of the 
accident as of very little value. For no one so madly in love 
committed suicide for want of money ; nor was Bosinney 
the sort of fellow to set much store by a financial crisis. 
And so he too rejected this theory of suicide, the dead man's 
face rose too clearly before him. Gone in the heyday of 
his summer — and to believe thus that an accident had cut 
Bosinney off in the full sweep of his passion was more 
than ever pitiful to young Jolyon. 

Then came a vision of Soames' home as it now was, and 
must be hereafter. The streak of lightning had flashed its 
clear uncanny gleam on bare bones with grinning spaces 
between, the disguising flesh was gone. . . . 

In the dining-room at Stanhope Gate old Jolyon was 
sitting alone when his son came in. He looked very wan 
in his great armchair. And his eyes travelling round the 
walls with their pictures of still life, and the masterpiece 
' Dutch fishing-boats at Sunset ' seemed as though passing 
their gaze over his life with its hopes, its gains, its achieve- 
ments. 

13 



370 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

* Ah ! Jo !' he said, * is that you r I've told poor little 
June, But that's not all of it. Are you going to Soames' ? 
She's brought it on herself, I suppose ; but somehow I can't 
bear to think of her, shut up there — and all alone.' And 
holding up his thin, veined hand, he clenched it. 



CHAPIER IX 

Irene's return 

After leaving James and old Jolyon in the mortuary of the 
hospital, Soames hurried aimlessly along the streets. 

The tragic event of Bosinney's death altered the com- 
plexion of everything. There was no longer the same 
feeling that to lose a minute would be fatal, nor would he 
now risk communicating the fact of his wife's flight to any- 
one till the inquest was over. 

That morning he had risen early, before the postman 
came, had taken the first-post letters from the box himself, 
and, though there had been none from Irene, he had made 
an opportunity of telling Bilson that her mistress was at the 
sea ; he would probably, he said, be going down himself 
from Saturday to Monday. This had given him time to 
breathe, time to leave no stone unturned to find her. 

But now, cut off from taking steps by Bosinney's death — 
that strange death, to think of which was like putting a hot 
iron to his heart, like lifting a great weight from it — he did 
not know how to pass his day ; and he wandered here and 
there through the streets, looking at every face he met, 
devoured by a hundred anxieties. 

And as he wandered, he thought of him who had finished 
his wandering, his prowling, and would never haunt his 
house again. 

Already in the afternoon he passed posters announcing the 

371 



372 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

identity of the dead man, and bought the papers to see what 
they said. He would stop their mouths if he could, and he 
went into the City, and was closeted with Boulter for a long 
time. 

On his way home, passing the steps of Jobson's about 
half past four, he met George Forsyte, who held out an 
evening paper to Soames, saying : 

' Here 1 Have you seen this about the poor Buccaneer ?* 

Soames answered stonily : * Yes.' 

George stared at him. He had never liked Soames ; he 
now held him responsible for Bosinney's death. Soames had 
done for him — done for him by that act of property that had 
sent the Buccaneer to run amok that fatal afternoon. 

* The poor fellow,' he was thinking, * was so cracked with 
jealousy, so cracked for his vengeance, that he heard nothing 
of the omnibus in that infernal fog.' 

Soames had done for him 1 And this judgment was in 
George's eyes. 

* They talk of suicide here,' he said at last. * That cat 
won't jump.' 

Soames shook his head. * An accident,' he muttered, 

Clenching his fist on the paper, George crammed it into 
his pocket. He could not resist a parting shot. 

' H'mm ! All flourishing at home ? Any little 
Soameses yet ?' 

With a face as white as the steps of Jobson's, and a lip 
raised as if snarling, Soames brushed past him and was gone. 

On reaching home, and entering the little lighted hall 
with his latchkey, the first thing that caught his eye was 
his wife's gold-mounted umbrella lying on the rug chest. 
Flinging off his fur coat, he hurried to the drawing-room. 

The curtains were drawn for the night, a bright fire of 
cedar-logs burned in the grate, and by its light he saw Irene 
sitting in her usual corner on the sofa. He shut the door 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 



373 



softly, and went towards her. She did not move, and did 
not seem to see him. 

' So you've come back ?' he said. * Why are you sitting 
here in the dark ?* 

Then he caught sight of her face, so white and motionless 
that it seemed as though the blood must have stopped flowing 
in her veins ; and her eyes, that looked enormous, like the 
great, wide, startled brown eyes of an owl. 

Huddled in her gray fur against the sofa cushions, she had 
a strange resemblance to a captive owl, bunched in its soft 
feathers against the wires of a cage. The supple erectness 
of her figure was gone, as though she had been broken by 
cruel exercise ; as though there were no longer any reason 
for being beautiful, and supple, and erect. 

* So you've come back,' he repeated. 

She never looked up, and never spoke, the firelight playing 
over her motionless figure. 

Suddenly she tried to rise, but he prevented her ; it was 
then that he understood. 

She had come back like an animal wounded to death, 
not knowing where to turn, not knowing what she was 
doing. The sight of her figure, huddled in the fur, was 
enough. 

He knew then for certain that Bosinney had been her 
lover ; knew that she had seen the report of his death — 
perhaps, like himself, had bought a paper at the draughty 
corner of a street, and read it. 

She had come back then of her own accord, to the cage 
she had pined to be free of — and taking in all the tremendous 
significance of this, he longed to cry : ' Take your hated 
body, that I love, out of my house ! Take away that pitiful 
white face, so cruel and soft — before I crush it. Get out of 
my sight ; never let me see you again !' 

And, at those unspoken words, he seemed to see her rise 



374 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

and move away, like a woman in a terrible dream, from 
which she was fighting to awake — rise and go out into the 
dark and cold, without a thought of him, without so much 
as the knowledge of his presence. 

Then he cried, contradicting what he had not yet spoken, 
* No ; stay there !' And turning away from her, he sat 
down in his accustomed chair on the other side of the 
hearth. 

They sat in silence. 

And Soames thought : * Why is all this ? Why should I 
suffer so ? What have I done ? It is not my fault !' 

Again he looked at her, huddled like a bird that is shot 
and dying, whose poor breast you see panting as the air is 
taken from it, whose poor eyes look at you who have shot 
it, with a slow, soft, unseeing look, taking farewell of all that 
is good — of the sun, and the air, and its mate. 

So they sat, by the firelight, in the silence, one on each 
side of the hearth. 

And the fume of the burning cedar logs, that he loved so 
well, seemed to grip Soames by the throat till he could bear 
it no longer. And going out into the hall he flung the door 
wide, to gulp down the cold air that came in ; then with- 
out hat or overcoat went out into the Square. 

Along the garden rails a half-starved cat came rubbing 
her way towards him, and Soames thought : * Suffering ! 
when will it cease, my suffering ?' 

At a front door across the way v/as a man of his 
acquaintance named Rutter, scraping his boots, with an air 
of ' I am master here.' And Soames walked on. 

From far in the clear air the bells of the church where 
he and Irene had been married were pealing in * practice' 
for the advent of Christ, the chimes ringing out above the 
sound of traffic. He felt a craving for strong drink, to lull 
him to indifference, or rouse him to fury. If only he could 



THE MAN OF PROPERTY 375 

burst out of himself, out of this web that for the first time in 
his life he felt around him. If only he could surrender te 
the thought : * Divorce her — turn her out ! She has for- 
gotten you. Forget her ! ' 

If only he could surrender to the thought : * Let her go — 
she has suffered enough !' 

If only he could surrender to the desire : * Make a slave 
of her — she is in your power !' 

If only even he could surrender to the sudden vision : 
* What does it all matter ?' Forget himself for a minute, 
forget that it mattered what he did, forget that whatever 
he did he must sacrifice something. 

If only he could act on an impulse ! 

He could forget nothing ; surrender to no thought, vision, 
or desire ; it was all too serious ; too close around him, an 
unbreakable cage. 

On the far side of the Square newspaper boys were calling 
their evening wares, and the ghoulish cries mingled and 
jangled with the sound of those church bells. 

Soames covered his ears. The thought flashed across him 
that but for a chance, he himself, and not Bosinney, might 
be lying dead, and she, instead of crouching there like a shot 
bird with those dying eyes 

Something soft touched his legs, the cat was rubbing 
herself against them. And a sob that shook him from head 
to foot burst from Soames' chest. Then all was still again 
in the dark, where the houses seemed to stare at him, each 
with a master and mistress of its own, and a secret story of 
happiness or sorrow. 

And suddenly he saw that his own door was open, and 
black against the light from the hall a man standing with his 
back turned. Something slid too in his breast, and he stole 
up close behind. 

He could see his own fur coat flung across the carved oak 



376 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

chair ; the Persian rugs, the silver bowls, the rows of porce- 
lain plates arranged along the walls, and this unknown man 
who was standing there. 

And sharply he asked : * What is it vou want, sir ?* 

The visitor turned. It was young Jolyon. 

* The door was open,' he said. ' Might I see your wife 
for a minute, I have a message for her ?' 

Soames gave him a strange, sidelong stare. 

* My wife can see no one,' he muttered doggedly. 
Young Jolyon answered gently : ' I shouldn't keep her a 

minute.' 

Soames brushed by him and barred the way. 

' She can see no one,' he said again. 

Young Jolyon's glance shot past him into the hall, and 
Soames turned. There in the drawing-room doorway stood 
Irene, her eyes were wild and eager, her lips were parted, her 
hands outstretched. In the sight of both men that light 
vanished from her face ; her hands dropped to her sides ; 
she stood like stone. 

Soames spun round, and met his visitor's eyes, and at the 
look he saw in them, a sound like a snarl escaped him. He 
drew his lips back in the ghost of a smile. 

* This is my house,' he said ; * I manage my own affairs. 
I've told you once — I tell you again ; we are not at 
home.' 

And in young Jolyon's face he slammed the door. 



INTERLUDE 
INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 



•* And summer's lease hath all too short a date." 

Shakespeare. 



13^ 



TO 

ANDRfi CHEVRILLON 



I 

On the last day of May in the early 'nineties, about six 
o'clock of the evening, old Jolyon Forsyte sat under the oak 
tree before the terrace of his house at Robin Hill. He was 
waiting for the midges to bite him, before abandoning the 
glory of the afternoon. His thin brown hand, where blue 
veins stood out, held the end of a cigar in its tapering, long- 
nailed fingers — a pointed polished nail had survived with him 
from those earlier Victorian days when to touch nothing, 
even with the tips of the fingers, had been so distinguished. 
His domed forehead, great white moustache, lean cheeks, and 
long lean jaw were covered from the westering sunshine by 
an old brown Panama hat. His legs were crossed ; in all 
his attitude was serenity and a kind of elegance, as of an old 
man who every morning put eau de Cologne upon his silk 
handkerchief. At his feet lay a woolly brown and white dog 
trying to be a Pomeranian — the dog Balthasar, between 
whom and old Jolyon primal aversion had changed into 
attachment with the years. Close to his chair was a swing, 
and on the swing was seated one of Holly's dolls — called 
' DufFer Alice ' — with her body fallen over her legs and her 
doleful nose buried in a black petticoat. She was never out 
of disgrace, so it did not matter to her how she sat. Below 
the oak tree the lawn dipped down a bank, stretched to the 
fernery, and, beyond that refinement, became fields, dropping 
to the pond, the coppice, and that prospect — ' Fine, remark- 
able ' — at which Swithin Forsyte, from under this very tree, 
had stared five years ago when he drove down with Irene 
to look at the house. Old Jolyon had heard of his brother's 
exploit — that drive which had become quite celebrated on 

379 



380 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Forsyte * Change.' Swithin ! And the fellow had gone 
and died, last November, at the age of only seventy-nine, 
renew^ing the doubt whether Forsytes could live for ever, 
which had first arisen when Aunt Ann passed away. Died ! 
and left only Jolyon and James, Roger and Nicholas and 
Timothy, Julia, Hester, Susan ! And old Jolyon thought : 
* Eighty-five ! I don't feel it — except when I get that 
pain.' 

His memory went searching. He had not felt his age 
since he had bought his nephew Soames's ill-starred house 
and settled into it here at Robin Hill over three years ago. 
It was as if he had been getting younger every spring, living 
in the country with his son and his grandchildren — June, 
and the little ones of the second marriage. Jolly and Holly ; 
living down here out of the racket of London and the 
cackle of Forsyte ' Change,' free of his Boards, in a delicious 
atmosphere of no work and all play, with plenty of occupa- 
tion in the perfecting and mellowing of the house and its 
twenty acres, and in ministering to the whims of Holly and 
Jolly. All the knots and crankiness, which had gathered in 
his heart during that long and tragic business of June, 
Soames, Irene his wife, and poor young Bosinney, had been 
smoothed out. Even June had thrown off her melancholy 
at last — witness this travel in Spain she was taking now with 
her father and her step-mother. Curiously perfect peace 
was left by their departure; blissful, yet blank, because his 
son was not there. Jo was never anything but a comfort 
and a pleasure to him nowadays — an amiable chap ; but 
women, somehow — even the best — got a little on one's 
nerves, unless of course one admired them. 

Far-off a cuckoo called ; a wood pigeon was cooing from 
the first elm tree in the field, and how the daisies and butter- 
cups had sprung up after the last mowing ! The wind had 
got into the sou'-west, too — a delicious air, sappy ! He 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 381 

pushed his hat back and let the sun fall on his chin and 
cheek. Somehow, to-day, he wanted company — wanted a 
pretty face to look at. People treated the old as if they 
wanted nothing. And with the un-Forsytean philosophy 
which ever intruded on his soul, he thought : * One's never 
had enough ! With a foot in the grave one'll want some- 
thing, I shouldn't be surprised !' Down here — away from 
the exigencies of affairs — his grandchildren, and the flowers, 
trees, birds of his little domain, to say nothing of sun and 
moon and stars above them, said, ' Open, sesame,' to him 
day and night. And sesame had opened — how much, per- 
haps, he did not know. He had always been responsive to 
what they had begun to call * Nature,' genuinely, almost 
religiously responsive, though he had never lost his habit of 
calling a sunset a sunset and a view a view, however deeply 
they might move him. But nowadays Nature actually made 
him ache, he appreciated it so. Every one ot these calm, 
bright, lengthening days, with Holly's hand in his, and the 
dog Balthasar in front looking studiously for what he never 
found, he would stroll, watching the roses open, fruit 
budding on the walls, sunlight brightening the oak leaves 
and saplings in the coppice, watching the water-lily leaves 
unfold and glisten, and the silvery young corn of the one 
wheatfield ; listening to the starlings and skylarks, and the 
Alderney cows chewing the cud, flicking slow their tufted 
tails ; and every one of these fine days he ached a little from 
sheer love of it all, feeling perhaps, deep down, that he had 
not very much longer to enjoy it. The thought that some 
day — perhaps not ten years hence, perhaps not five — all this 
world would be taken away from him, before he had ex- 
hausted his powers of loving it, seemed to him in the nature 
of an injustice, brooding over his horizon. If anything came 
after this life, it wouldn't be what he wanted ; not Robin 
Hill, and flowers and birds and pretty faces — too few, even 



382 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

now, of those about him ! With the years his dislike of 
humbug had increased ; the orthodoxy he had worn in the 
'sixties, as he had worn side-whiskers out of sheer exuberance,, 
had long dropped off, leaving him reverent before three 
things alone — beauty, upright conduct, and the sense of 
property ; and the greatest of these now was beauty. He 
had always had wide interests, and, indeed, could still read 
The Times, but he was liable at any moment to put it down 
if he heard a blackbird sing. Upright conduct — property — 
somehow, they were tiring ; the blackbirds and the sunsets 
never tired him, only gave him an uneasy feeling that he 
could not get enough of them. Staring into the stilly 
radiance of the early evening and at the little gold and white 
flowers on the lawn, a thought came to him : This weather 
was like the music of * Orfeo,' which he had recently heard 
at Covent Garden. A beautiful opera, not like Meyerbeer, 
nor even quite Mozart, but, in its way, perhaps even more 
lovely ; something classical and of the Golden Age about it, 
chaste and mellow, and the Ravogli * almost worthy of the 
old days ' — highest praise he could bestow. The yearning 
of Orpheus for the beauty he was losing, for his love going 
down to Hades, as in life love and beauty did go — the 
yearning which sang and throbbed through the golden music, 
stirred also in the lingering beauty of the world that evening. 
And with the tip of his cork-soled, elastic-sided boot he in- 
voluntarily stirred the ribs of the dog Balthasar, causing the 
animal to wake and attack his fleas ; for though he was sup- 
posed to have none, nothing could persuade him of the fact. 
When he had finished, he rubbed the place he had been 
scratching against his master's calf, and settled down again 
with his chin over the instep of the disturbing boot. And 
into old Jolyon's mind came a sudden recollection — a face 
he had seen at that opera three weeks ago — Irene, the wife 
of his precious nephew Soames, that man of property I 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 383 

Though he had not met her since the day of the " At 
Home " in his old house at Stanhope Gate, which celebrated 
his granddaughter June's ill-starred engagement to young 
Bosinney, he had remembered her at once, for he had always 
admired her — a very pretty creature. -After the death of 
young Bosinney, whose mistress she had so reprehensibly 
become, he had heard that she had left Soames at once. 
Goodness only knew what she had been doing since. That 
sight of her face — a side-view — in the row in front, had been 
literally the only reminder these three years that she was still 
alive. No one ever spoke of her. And yet Jo had told him 
something once — something which had upset him com- 
pletely. The boy had got it from George Forsyte, he 
believed, who had seen Bosinney in the fog the day he was 
run over — something which explained the young fellow's 
distress — an act of Soames towards his wife — a shocking act. 
Jo had seen her, too, that afternoon, after the news was out, 
seen her for a moment, and his description had always 
lingered in old Jolyon's mind — * wild and lost * he had called 
her. And next day June had gone there — bottled up her 
feelings and gone there, and the maid had cried and told her 
how her mistress had slipped out in the night and vanished. 
A tragic business altogether ! One thing was certain — 
Soames had never been able to lay hands on her again. And 
he was living at Brighton, and journeying up and down — a 
fitting fate, the man of property ! For when he once 
took a dislike to anyone — as he had to his nephew — old 
Jolyon never got over it. He remembered still the sense of 
relief with which he had heard the news of Irene's dis- 
appearance — it had been shocking to think of her a prisoner 
in that house to which she must have wandered back, when 
Jo saw her, wandered back for a moment — like a wounded 
animal to its hole after seeing that news, * Tragic Death of 
an Architect,' in the street. Her face had struck him very 



384 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

much the other night — more beautiful than he had remem- 
bered, but like a mask, with something going on beneath it. 
A young woman still — twenty-eight perhaps. Ah, well ! 
Very likely she had another lover by now. But at this sub- 
versive thought — for married women should never love, 
once, even, had been too much — his instep rose, and with it 
the dog Balthasar's head. The sagacious animal stood up 
and looked into old Jolyon's face. " Walk :" he seemed to 
sav ; and old Jolvon answered : " Come on, old chap !" 

Slowly, as was their wont, they crossed among the con- 
stellations of buttercups and daisies, and entered the fernery. 
This feature, where very little grew as yet, had been iudi- 
ciouslv dropped below the level of the lawn so that it might 
come up again on the level of the other lawn and give the 
impression of irregularity, so important in horticulture. Its 
rocks and earth were beloved of the dog Balthasar, who 
sometimes found a mole there. Old Jolyon made a point of 
passing through it because, though it was not beautiful, he 
intended that it should be, some dav, and he would think : 
* I must get Varr to come down and look at it ; he's better 
than Beech.' For plants, like houses and human complaints, 
required the best expert consideration. It was inhabited by 
snails, and if accompanied by his grandchildren, he would 
point to one and tell them the story of the little boy who 
said : ' Have plummers got leggers, Mother r' * No, sonny.' 
' Then darned if I haven't been and swallowed a snileybob.' 
And when they skipped and clutched his hand, thinking of 
the snileybob going down the little boy's ' red lane,' his eyes 
would twijikle. Emerging from the ferner}^, he opened the 
wicket gate, which just there led into the first field, a large 
and park-like area, out of which, within brick walls, the 
vegetable garden had been carved. Old Jolyon avoided this, 
which did not suit his mood, and made down the hill towards 
the pond. Balthasar, who knew a water-rat or two, gam- 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 385 

boiled in front, at the gait which marks an oldish dog who 
takes the same walk every day. Arrived at the cdzQ, old 
Jolyon stood, noting another water-lily opened since yester- 
day ; he would show it to Holly to-morrow, when * his little 
sweet ' had got over the upset which had followed on her 
eating a tomato at lunch — her little arrangements were very 
delicate. Now that Jolly had gone to school — his first term 
— Holly was with him nearly all daylong, and he missed her 
badly. He felt that pain too, which often bothered him 
now, a little dragging at his left side. He looked back up 
the hill. Really, poor young Bosinney had made an uncom- 
monly good job of the house ; he would have done very well 
for himself if he had lived ! And where was he now r 
Perhaps, still haunting this, the site of his last work, of his 
tragic love aflfair. Or was Philip Bosinney's spirit diffused 
in the general ? Who could say r That dog was getting his 
legs muddy ! And he moved towards the coppice. There 
had been the most delightful lot of bluebells, and he knew 
where some still lingered like little patches of sky fallen in 
between the trees, away out of the sun. He passed the cow- 
and hen-houses there installed, and pursued a thin path into 
the thick of the saplings, making for one of those bluebell 
plots. Balthasar, preceding him once more, uttered a low 
growl. Old Jolyon stirred him with his foot, but the dog 
remained motionless, just where there was no room to pass, 
and the hair rose slowly along the centre of his woolly back. 
Whether from the growl and the look of the dog's stivered 
hair, or from the sensation which a man feels in a wood, old 
Jolyon also felt something move along his spine. And then 
the path turned, and there was an old mossy log, and on it a 
woman sitting. Her face was turned away, and he had just 
time to think : * She's trespassing — I must have a board put 
up !' before she turned. Powers above ! The face he had 
seen at the opera — the ver}- woman he had just been thinking 



386 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of ! In that confused moment he saw things blurred, as if a 
spirit — queer effect — the slant of sunlight perhaps on her 
violet-grey frock ! And then she rose and stood smiling, 
her head a little to one side. Old Jolyon thought : * How 
pretty she is !' She did not speak, neither did he ; and he 
realised why with a certain admiration. She was here no 
doubt because of some memory, and did not mean to try and 
get out of it by vulgar explanation. 

** Don't let that dog touch your frock," he said ; " he's 
got wet feet. Come here, you !" 

But the dog Balthasar went on towards the visitor, who 
put her hand down and stroked his head. Old Jolyon said 
quickly : 

" I saw you at the opera the other night ; you didn't 
notice me." 

" Oh, yes 1 I did." 

He felt a subtle flattery in that, as though she had added r 
" Do you think one could miss seeing you ?" 

" They're all in Spain," he remarked abruptly. " I'm 
alone ; I drove up for the opera. The Ravogli's good. 
Have you seen the cow-house ?" 

In a situation so charged with mystery and something 
very like emotion he moved instinctively towards that bit of 
property, and she moved beside him. Her figure swayed 
faintly, like the best kind of French figures ; her dress, too, 
was a sort of French grey. He noticed two or three silver 
threads in her amber-coloured hair, strange hair with those 
dark eyes of hers, and that creamy-pale face. A suddert 
sidelong look from the velvety brown eyes disturbed him. 
It seemed to come from deep and afar, from another world 
almost, or at all events from someone not living very much 
in this. And he said mechanically : 

" Where are you living now ?" 

" I have a little flat in Chelsea." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 387 

He did not want to hear what she was doing, did not 
want to hear anything ; but the perverse word came out : 

" Alone ?" 

She nodded. It was a relief to know that. And it came 
into his mind that, but for a twist of fate, she would have 
been mistress of this coppice, showing this cow-house to 
him, a visitor. 

" All Alderneys," he muttered ; " they give the best milk. 
This one's a pretty creature. Woa, Myrtle !" 

The fawn-coloured cow, with eyes as soft and brown as 
Irene's own, was standing absolutely still, not having long 
been milked. She looked round at them out of the corner 
of those lustrous, mild, cynical eyes, and from her grey lips 
a little dribble of saliva threaded its way towards the straw. 
The scent of hay and vanilla and ammonia rose in the dim 
light of the cool cow-house ; and old Jolyon said : 

" You must come up and have some dinner with me. 
I'll send you home in the carriage." 

He perceived a struggle going on within her ; natural, no 
doubt, with her memories. But he wanted her company ; 
a pretty face, a charming figure, beauty ! He had been 
alone all the afternoon. Perhaps his eyes were wistful, for 
she answered : " Thank you, Uncle Jolyon. I should 
like to." 

He rubbed his hands, and said : 

" Capital ! Let's go up, then 1" And, preceded by the 
dog Balthasar, they ascended through the field. The sun 
was almost level in their faces now, and he could see, not 
only those silver threads, but little lines, just deep enough to 
stamp her beauty with a coin-like fineness — the special 
look of life unshared with others. ' I'll take her in by the 
terrace,' he thought : *I won't make a common visitor of 
her.' 

" What do you do all day ?" he said. 



388 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" Teach music ; I have another interest, too." 

" Work !" said old Jolyon, picking up the doll from off the 
swing, and smoothing its black petticoat. " Nothing like it, 
is there ? I don't do any now. I'm getting on. What 
interest is that ?" 

"Trying to help women who've come to grief." Old 
Jolyon did not quite understand. " To grief ?" he repeated ; 
then realised with a shock that she meant exactly what he 
would have meant himself if he had used that expression. 
Assisting the Magdalenes of London ! What a weird and 
terrifying interest ! And, curiosity overcoming his natural 
shrinking, he asked : 

" Why ? What do you do for them ?" 

" Not much. I've no money to spare. I can only give 
sympathy and food sometimes." 

Involuntarily old Jolyon's hand sought his purse. He said 
hastily : " How d'you get hold of them ?" 

" I go to a hospital." 

« A hospital ! Phew !" 

" What hurts me most is that once they nearly all had 
some sort of beauty." 

Old Jolyon straightened the doll. " Beauty !" he ejacu- 
lated : " Ha ! Yes ! A sad business !" and he moved 
towards the house. Through a French window, under sun- 
blinds not yet drawn up, he preceded her into the room 
where he was wont to study The Times and the sheets of an 
agricultural magazine, with huge illustrations of mangold- 
wurzels, and the like, which provided Holly with material 
for her paint brush. 

" Dinner's in half an hour. You'd like to wash your 
hands ! I'll take you to June's room." 

He saw her looking round eagerly ; what changes since 
she had last visited this house with her husband, or her lover, 
or both perhaps — he did not know, could not say ! All that 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 389 

was dark, and he wished to leave it so. But what changes ! 
And in the hall he said : 

" My boy Jo*s a painter, you know. He's got a lot of 
taste. It isn't mine, of course, but I've let him have 
his way." 

She was standing very still, her eyes roaming through the 
hall and music room, as it now was — all thrown into one, 
under the great skylight. Old Jolyon had an odd impres- 
sion of her. Was she trying to conjure somebody from the 
shades of that space where the colouring was all pearl-grey 
and silver ? He would have had gold himself ; more lively 
and solid. But Jo had French tastes, and it had come out 
shadowy like that, with an effect as of the fume of cigarettes 
the chap was always smoking, broken here and there by a 
little blaze of blue or crimson colour. It was not his dream ! 
Mentally he had hung this space with those gold-framed 
masterpieces of still and stiller life which he had bought in 
days when quantity was precious. And now where were 
they ? Sold for a song ! For that something which made 
him, alone among Forsytes, move with the times had warned 
him against the struggle to retain them. But in his study he 
still had * Dutch Fishing Boats at Sunset.' 

He began to mount the stairs with her, slowly, for he felt 
his side. 

" These are the bathrooms," he said, " and other arrange- 
ments. I've had them tiled. The nurseries are along there. 
And this is Jo's and his wife's. They all communicate. But 
you remember, I expect." 

Irene nodded. They passed on, up the gallery, and 
entered a large room with a small bed, and several win- 
dows. 

"This is mine," he said. The walls were covered with 
the photographs of children, and water-colour sketches, and 
he added doubtfully : 



390 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" These are Jo's. The view's first-rate. You can see the 
Grand Stand at Epsom in clear weather." 

The sun was down now, behind the house, and over the 
* prospect ' a luminous haze had settled, emanation of the 
long and prosperous day. Few houses showed, but fields and 
trees faintly glistened, away to a loom of downs. 

" The country's changing," he said abruptly, " but there 
it'll be when we're all gone. Look at those thrushes — the 
birds are sweet here in the mornings. I'm glad to have 
washed my hands of London." 

Her face was close to the window pane, and he was struck 
by its mournful look. * Wish I could make her look happy !' 
he thought. * A pretty face, but sad 1' And taking up his 
can of hot water he went out into the gallery. 

" This is June's room," he said, opening the next door 
and putting the can down ; " I think you'll find everything." 
And closing the door behind her he went back to his own 
room. Brushing his hair with his great ebony brushes, and 
dabbing his forehead with eau de Cologne, he mused. She 
had come so strangely — a sort of visitation, mysterious, even 
romantic, as if his desire for company, for beauty, had been 
fulfilled by — whatever it was which fulfilled that sort of 
thing. And before the mirror he straightened his still up- 
right figure, passed the brushes over his great white mous- 
tache, touched up his eyebrows with eau de Cologne, and 
rang the bell. 

" I forgot to let them know that I have a lady to dinner 
with me. Let cook do something extra, and tell Beacon to 
have the landau and pair at half-past ten to drive her back 
to Town to-night. Is Miss Holly asleep r" 

The maid thought not. And old Jolyon, passing down 
the gallery, stole on tiptoe towards the nursery, and opened 
the door whose hinges he kept specially oiled that he might 
slip in and out in the evenings without being heard. 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 391 

But Holly was asleep, and lay like a miniature Madonna, 
of that type which the old painters could not tell from 
Venus, when they had completed her. Her long dark lashes 
clung to her cheeks ; on her face was perfect peace — her 
little arrangements were evidently all right again. And old 
Jolyon, in the twilight of the room, stood adoring her ! It 
was so charming, solemn, and loving — that little face. He 
had more than his share of the blessed capacity of living 
again in the young. They were to him his future life — all 
of a future life that his fundamental pagan sanity perhaps 
admitted. There she was with everything before her, and 
his blood — some of it — in her tiny veins. There she was, 
his little companion, to be made as happy as ever he could 
make her, so that she knew nothing but love. His heart 
swelled, and he went out, stifling the sound of his patent 
leather boots. In the corridor an eccentric notion attacked 
him : To think that children should come to that which 
Irene had told him she was helping ! Women who were all, 
once, little things like this one sleeping there ! ' I must give 
her a cheque 1' he mused ; * can't bear to think of them T 
They had never borne reflecting on, those poor outcasts ; 
wounding too deeply the core of true refinement hidden 
under layers of conformity to the sense of property — wound 
ing too grievously the deepest thing in him — a love o^ 
beauty which could give him, even now, a flutter of the 
heart, thinking of his evening in the society of a pretty 
woman. And he went downstairs, through the swing- 
doors, to the back regions. There, in the wine-cellar, was 
a hock worth at least two pounds a bottle, a Steinberg 
Cabinet, better than any Johannisberg that ever went down 
throat ; a wine of perfect bouquet, sweet as a nectarine — 
nectar indeed ! He got a bottle out, handling it like a baby, 
and holding it level to the light, to look. Enshrined in its 
coat of dust, that mellow-coloured, slender-necked bottle 



392 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

gave him deep pleasure. Three years to settle down again 
since the move from Town — ought to be in prime con- 
dition ! Thirty-five years ago he had bought it — thank God 
he had kept his palate, and earned the right to drink it. She 
would appreciate this ; not a spice of acidity in a dozen. 
He wiped the bottle, drew the cork with his own hands, put 
his nose down, inhaled its perfume, and went back to the 
music room. 

Irene was standing by the piano ; she had taken off her 
hat and a lace scarf she had been wearing, so that her gold- 
coloured hair was visible, and the pallor of her neck. In her 
grey frock she made a pretty picture for old Jolyon, against 
the rosewood of the piano. 

He gave her his arm, and solemnly they went. The 
room, which had been designed to enable twenty-four people 
to dine in comfort, held now but a little round table. In his 
present solitude the big dining-table oppressed old Jolyon ; 
he had caused it to be removed till his son came back. Here 
in the company of two really good copies of Raphael 
Madonnas he was wont to dine alone. It was the only dis- 
consolate hour of his day, this summer weather. He had 
never been a large eater, like that great chap S with in, or 
Sylvanus Heythorp, or Anthony Thornworthy, those 
cronies of past times ; and to dine alone, overlooked by the 
Madonnas, was to him but a sorrowful occupation, which 
he got through quickly, that he might come to the more 
spiritual enjoyment of his coffee and cigar. But this evening 
was a different matter ! His eyes twinkled at her across the 
little table, and he spoke of Italy and Switzerland, telling her 
stories of his travels there, and other experiences which he 
could no longer recount to his son and grand-daughter 
because they knew them. This fresh audience was precious 
to him ; he had never become one of those old men who 
ramble round and round the fields of reminiscence. Him- 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 393 

self quickly fatigued by the insensitive, he instinctively 
avoided fatiguing others, and his natural flirtatiousness to- 
wards beaut)' guarded him specially in his relations v^ith a 
woman. He would have liked to draw her out, but though 
she murmured and smiled and seemed to be enjoying what 
he told her, he remained conscious of that mysterious re- 
moteness which constituted half her fascination. He could 
not bear women who threw their shoulders and eyes at you, 
and chattered away ; or hard-mouthed women who laid 
down the law and knew more than you did. There was 
only one quality in a woman that appealed to him — charm ; 
and the quieter it was, the more he liked it. And this one 
had charm, shadowy as afternoon sunlight on those Italian 
hills and valleys he had loved. The feeling, too, that she 
was, as it were, apart, cloistered, made her seem nearer to 
himself, a strangely desirable companion. When a man is 
very old and quite out of the running, he loves to feel secure 
from the rivalries of youth, for he would still be first in the 
heart of beauty. And he drank his hock, and watched her 
lips, and felt nearly young. But the dog Balthasar lay 
watching her lips too, and despising in his heart the inter- 
ruptions of their talk, and the tilting of those greenish glasses 
full of a golden fluid which was distasteful to him. 

The light was just failing when they went back into the 
music room. And, cigar in mouth, old Jolyon said : 

" Play me some Chopin." 

By the cigars they smoke, and the composers they love, ye 
shall know the texture of men's souls. Old Jolyon could not 
bear a strong cigar or Wagner's music. He loved Beethoven 
and Mozart, Handel and Gluck, and Schumann, and, for 
some occult reason, the operas of Meyerbeer ; but of late 
years he had been seduced by Chopin, just as in painting he 
had succumbed to Botticelli. In yielding to these tastes he 
had been conscious of divergence from the standard of the 



394 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Golden Age. Their poetiy was not that of Milton and 
Byron and Tennyson ; of Raphael and Titian ; Mozart and 
Beethoven. It was, as it were, behind a veil ; their poetry 
hit no one in the face, but slipped its fingers under the ribs 
and turned and twisted, and melted up the heart. And, 
never certain that this was healthy, he did not care a rap so 
long as he could see the pictures of the one or hear the music 
of the other. 

Irene sat down at the piano under the electric lamp 
festooned with pearl-grey, and old Jolyon, in an arm-chair, 
whence he could see her, crossed his legs and drew slowly 
at his cigar. She sat a few moments with her hands on the 
keys, evidently searching her mind for what to give him. 
Then she began, and within old Jolyon there arose a 
sorrowful pleasure, not quite like anything else in the world. 
He fell slowly into a trance, interrupted only by the move- 
ment of his hand taking the cigar out of his mouth at long 
intervals, and replacing it. She was there, and the hock 
within him, and the scent of tobacco ; but there, too, was a 
world of sunshine lingering into moonlight, and pools with 
storks upon them, and bluish trees above, glowing with blurs 
of wine-red roses, and fields of lavender where milk-white 
cows were grazing, and a woman all shadowy, with dark 
eyes and a white neck, smiled, holding out her arms ; and 
through air which was like music a star dropped, and was 
caught on a cow's horn. He opened his eyes. Beautiful 
piece ; she played well — the touch of an angel ! And he 
closed them again. He felt miraculously sad and happy, as 
one does, standing under a lime tree in full honey flower. 
Not live one's own life again, but just stand there and bask 
in the smile of a woman's eyes, and enjoy the bouquet ! 
And he jerked his hand ; the dog Balthasar had reached up 
and licked it. 

" Beautiful !" he said • " Go on — more Chopin !" 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 395 

She began to play again. This time the resemblance 
between her and * Chopin ' struck him. The swaying he 
had noticed in her walk was in her playing too, and the 
Nocturne she had chosen, and the soft darkness of her eyes, 
the light on her hair, as of moonlight from a golden moon. 
Seductive, yes ; but nothing of Delilah in her or in that 
music. A long blue spiral from his cigar ascended and dis- 
persed. * So we go out 1' he thought. ' No more beauty ! 
Nothing ?' 

Again Irene stopped. 

" Would you like some Gluck ? He used to write his 
music in a sunlit garden, with a bottle of Rhine wine beside 
him." 

" Ah ! yes. Let's have * Orfeo.' '* Round about him 
now were fields of gold and silver flowers, white forms 
swaying in the sunlight, bright birds flying to and fro. All 
was summer. Lingering waves of sweetness and regret 
flooded his soul. Some cigar ash dropped, and taking out a 
silk handkerchief to brush it off, he inhaled a mingled scent 
as of snuff and eau de Cologne. ' Ah !' bethought, * Indian 
summer — that's all!' And he said: "You haven't played 
me ' Che faro.' " 

She did not answer ; did not move. He was conscious of 
something — some strange upset. Suddenly he saw her rise 
and turn away, and a pang of remorse shot through him. 
What a clumsy chap ! Like Orpheus, she of course — she too 
was looking for her lost one m this hall of memory ! And, 
disturbed to the heart, he got up from his chair. She had 
gone to the great window at the far end. Gingerly he 
followed. Her hands were folded over her breast ; he could 
just see her cheek, very white. And, quite emotionalised,^ 
he said : " There, there, my love !" The words had 
escaped him mechanically, for they were those he used to 
Holly when she had a pain, but their effect was instan- 



396 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

taneously distressing. She raised her arms, covered her face 
with them, and wept. 

Old Jolyon stood gazing at her with eyes very deep from, 
age. The passionate shame she seemed feeling at her 
abandonment, so unlike the control and quietude of her 
whole presence, was as if she had never before broken down 
in the presence of another being. 

"There, there — there, there !" he murmured ; and putting 
his hand out reverently, touched her. She turned, and 
leaned the arms which covered her face against him. Old 
Jolyon stood very still, keeping one thin hand on her 
shoulder. Let her cry her heart out — it would do her good ! 
And the dog Balthasar, puzzled, sat down on his stern to 
examine them. 

The window was still open, the curtains had not been 
drawn, the last of daylight from without mingled with faint 
intrusion from the lamp within ; there was a scent of new- 
mown grass. With the wisdom of a long life, old Jolyon did 
not speak. Even grief sobbed itself out in time ; only Time 
was good for sorrow — Time who saw the passing of each 
mood, each emotion in turn ; Time the layer-to-rest. 
There cam.e into his mind the words : * As panteth the hart 
after cooling streams' — but they were of no use to him. 
Then, conscious of a scent of violets, he knew she was drying 
her eyes. He put his chin forward, pressed his moustache 
against her forehead, and felt her shake with a quivering of 
her whole body, as of a tree which shakes itself free of rain- 
drops. She put his hand to her lips, as if saying : * All over 
now ! Forgive me !' 

The kiss filled him with a strange comfort ; he led her 
back to where she had been so upset. And the dog Balthasar, 
following, laid the bone of one of the cutlets they had eaten 
at their feet. 

Anxious to obliterate the memory of that emotion, he 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 397 

could think of nothing better than china ; and moving with 
her slowly from cabinet to cabinet, he kept taking up bits of 
Dresden and Lowestoft and Chelsea, turning them round 
and round with his thin, veined hands, whose skin, faintly 
freckled, had such an aged look. 

" I bought this at Jobson's," he would say ; " cost me 
thirty pounds. It's very old. That dog leaves his bones 
all over the place. This old * ship-bowl * I picked up at the 
sale when that precious rip, the Marquis, came to grief. 
But you don't remember. Here's a nice piece of Chelsea. 
Now, what would you say this was r" And he was 
comforted, feeling that, with her taste, she was taking a 
real interest in these things ; for, after all, nothing better 
composes the nerves than a doubtful piece of china. 

When the crunch of the carriage wheels was heard at last, 
he said : 

" You must come again ; you must come to lunch, then 
I can show you these by daylight, and my little sweet — she's 
a dear little thing. This dog seems to have taken a fancy 
to you." 

For Balthasar, feeling that she was about to leave, was 
rubbing his side against her leg. Going out under the 
porch with her, he said : 

"He'll get you up in an hour and a quarter. Take this 
for your protegees^'* and he slipped a cheque for fifty pounds 
into her hand. He saw her brightened eyes, and heard her 
murmur : " Oh 1 Uncle Jolyon !" and a real throb of pleasure 
went through him. That meant one or two poor creatures 
helped a little, and it meant that she would come again. He 
put his hand in at the window and grasped hers once more. 
The carriage rolled away. He stood looking at the moon 
and the shadows of the trees, and thought : * A sweet night ! 
She !' 



II 

Two days of rain, and summer set in bland and sunny. 
Old Jolyon walked and talked with Holly. At first he felt 
taller and full of a new vigour; then he felt restless. Almost 
every afternoon they would enter the coppice, and walk as 
far as the log. * Well, she's not there 1' he would think, * of 
course not !' And he would feel a little shorter, and drag his 
feet walking up the hill home, with his hand clapped to his 
left side. Now and then the thought would move in him : 
* Did she come — or did I dream it ?' and he would stare at 
space, while the dog Balthasar stared at him. Of course she 
would not come again ! He opened the letters from Spain 
with less excitement. They were not returning till July ; 
he felt, oddly, that he could bear it. Every day at dinner 
he screwed up his eyes and looked at where she had sat. 
She was not there, so he unscrewed his eyes again. 

On the seventh afternoon he thought : * I must go up and 
get some boots.' He ordered Beacon, and set out. Passing 
from Putney towards Hyde Park he reflected : * I might as 
well go to Chelsea and see her.' And he called out : " Just 
drive me to where you took that lady the other night." 
The coachman turned his broad red face, and his juicy lips 
answered : "The lady in grey, sir?" 

"Yes, the lady in grey." What other ladies were there ! 
Stodgy chap ! 

The carriage stopped before a small three-storied block of 
flats, standing a little back from the river. With a practised 
eye old Jolyon saw that they were cheap. * I should think 
about sixty pound a year,' he mused ; and, entering, he 
looked at the name-board. The name * Forsyte ' was not on 

398 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 399 

it, but against ' First Floor, Flat C ' were the words : * Mrs. 
Irene Heron.' Ah ! She had taken her maiden name again ! 
And somehow this pleased him. He went upstairs slowly, 
feeling his side a little. He stood a moment, before ringing, 
to lose the sensation of drag and fluttering there. She would 
not be in ! And then — boots ! The thought was black. 
What did he want with boots at his age ? He could not 
wear out all those he had. 

" Your mistress at home ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Say Mr. Jolyon Forsyte." 

*' Yes, sir, will you come this way ?" 

Old Jolyon followed a very little maid — not more than 
sixteen one would say — into a very small drawing-room 
where thesunblinds were drawn. It held a cottage piano and 
little else save a vague fragrance and good taste. He stood 
in the middle, with his top hat in his hand, and thought : 
* I expect she's very badly off !' There was a mirror above 
the fireplace, and he saw himself reflected. An old-looking 
chap ! He heard a rustle, and turned round. She was so 
close that his moustache almost brushed her forehead, just 
under the threads of silver in her hair. 

"I was driving up," he said. "Thought I'd look in on you, 
and ask you how you got up the other night." 

And, seeing her smile, he felt suddenly relieved. She 
was really glad to see him, perhaps. 

" Would you like to put on your hat and come for a drive 
in the Park ?" 

But while she was gone to put her hat on, he frowned. 
The Park ! James and Emily ! Mrs. Nicholas, or some 
other member of his precious family would be there very 
likely, prancing up and down. And they would go and 
wag their tongues about having seen him with her, after- 
wards. Better not ! He did not wish to revive the echoes 



400 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of the past on Forsyte 'Change. He removed a white hair 
from the lapel of his closely buttoned-up frock coat, and 
passed his hand over his cheeks, moustaches, and square chin. 
It felt very hollow there under the cheekbones. He had 
not been eating much lately — he had better get that little 
whippersnapper who attended Holly to give him a tonic. 
But she had come back, and when they were in the carriage, 
he said : 

" Suppose we go and sit in Kensington Gardens instead ?" 
and added with a twinkle : " No prancing up and down 
there," as if she had been in the secret of his thoughts. 

Leaving the carriage, they entered those select precincts, 
and strolled towards the water. 

" You've gone back to your maiden name, I see," he said : 
" I'm not sorry." 

She slipped her hand under his arm : " Has June forgiven 
me. Uncle Jolyon ?" 

He answered gently : " Yes — yes ; of course, why not ?" 
" And have you ?" 

" I ? I forgave you as soon as I saw how the land really 
lay." And perhaps he had ; his instinct had always been to 
forgive the beautiful. 

She drew a deep breath. " I never regretted — I couldn't. 
Did you ever love very deeply. Uncle Jolyon ?" 

At that strange question old Jolyon stared before him. 
Had he ? He did not seem to remember that he ever had. 
But he did not like to say this to the young woman whose 
hand was touching his arm, whose life was suspended, as it 
were, by memory of a tragic love. And he thought : * If I 
had met you when I was young, I — I might have made a fool 
of myself, perhaps.' And a longing to escape in generalities 
beset him. 

** Love's a queer thing," he said, " fatal thing often. It 
was the Greeks — wasn't it ? — made love into a goddess ; they 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 401 

were right, I dare say, but then they lived in the Golden 
Age." 

"Phil adored them." 

Phil ! The word jarred him, for suddenly — with his 
power to see all round a thing, he perceived why she was 
putting up with him like this. She wanted to talk about 
her lover ! Well ! If it was any pleasure to her ! And he 
said : " Ah ! There was a bit of the sculptor in him, I 
fancy." 

" Yes. He loved balance and symmetry ; he loved the 
whole-hearted way the Greeks gave themselves to art." 

Balance ! The chap had no balance at all, if he remem- 
bered ; as for symmetry — clean-built enough he was, no 
doubt ; but those queer eyes of his, and high cheek-bones — 
Symmetry ? 

" You're of the Golden Age, too. Uncle Jolyon." 

Old Jolyon looked round at her. Was she chaffing him ? 
No, her eyes were soft as velvet. Was she flattering him ? 
But if so, why ? There was nothing to be had out of an 
old chap like him. 

" Phil thought so. He used to say : * But I can never 
tell him that I admire him.' " 

Ah ! There it was again. Her dead lover ; her desire 
to talk of him ! And he pressed her arm, half resentful of 
those memories, half grateful, as if he recognised what a link 
they were between herself and him. 

" He was a very talented young fellow," he murmured. 
" It's hot ; I feel the heat nowadays. Let's sit down." 

They took two chairs beneath a chestnut tree whose 
broad leaves covered them from the peaceful glory of the 
afternoon. A pleasure to sit there and watch her, and feel 
that she liked to be with him. And the wish to increase 
that liking, if he could, made him go on : 

" I expect he showed you a side of him I never saw. 

14 



402 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He'd be at his best with you. His ideas of art were a little 
new — to me " — he had stifled the word ^ fangled.' 

" Yes : but he used to say you had a real sense of beauty." 
Old Jolyon thought : * The devil he did !' but answered 
with a twinkle : " Well, I have, or I shouldn't be sitting 
here with you," She was fascinating when she smiled w^ith 
her eyes, like that 1 

" He thought you had one of those hearts that never grow 
old. Phil had real insight." 

He was not taken in by this flatter}^ spoken out of the 
past, out of a longing to talk of her dead lover — not a bit ; 
and yet it was precious to hear, because she pleased his eyes 
and a heart which — quite true ! — had never grown old. 
Was that because — unlike her and her dead lover — he had 
never loved to desperation, had always kept his balance, his 
sense of symmetry : Well ! It had left him the power, at 
eighty-five, to admire beauty. And he thought, ' If I were 
a painter or a sculptor ! But I'm an old chap. Make hay 
while the sun shines.' 

A couple with arms entwined crossed on the grass before 
them, at the edge of the shadow from their tree. The sun- 
light fell cruelly on their pale, squashed, unkempt young 
faces. " We're an ugly lot i" said old Jolyon suddenly : 
" It amazes me to see how — love triumphs over that." 

" Love triumphs over everything !" 

" The young think so," he muttered. 

" Love has no age, no limit, and no death." 

With that glow in her pale face, her breast heaving, her 
eyes so large and dark and soft, she looked like Venus come 
to life ! But this extravagance brought instant reaction, and, 
twinkling, he said : " Well, if it had limits, we shouldn't be 
born ; for, by George ! it's aot a lot to put up with." 

Then, removing his top-hat, he brushed it round with a 
cuff The great clumsy thing heated his forehead ; in these 



INDIAN SUxMMER OF A FORSYTE 403 

days he often got a rush of blood to the head — his circulation 
was not what it had been. 

She still sat gazing straight before her, and suddenly she 
murmured : 

" It's strange enough that Pm alive." 

Those words of Jo's * Wild and lost ' came back to him. 

" Ah !" he said : " my son saw you for a moment — that 
day." 

" Was it your son ? I heard a voice in the hall ; I thought 
for a second it was — Phil." 

Old Jolyon saw her lips tremble. She put her hand over 
them, took it away again, and went on calmly : " That 
night I went to the Embankment ; a woman caught me by 
the dress. She told me about herself. When one knows 
what others suffer, one's ashamed." 

« One of those F' 

She nodded, and horror stirred within old Jolyon, the 
horror of one who has never known a struggle with despera- 
tion. Almost against his will he muttered : " Tell me, 
won't you r" 

" I didn't care whether I lived or died. When you're 
like that. Fate ceases to want to kill you. She took care of 
me three days — she never left me. I had no money. That's 
why I do what I can for them, now." 

But old Jolyon was thinking : * No money !' What fate 
could compare with that r Every other was involved in it. 

" I wish you had come to me,'* he said. " Why didn't 
you r" Irene did not answer. 

'* Because my name was Forsyte, I suppose ? Or was it 
June who kept you away r How are you getting on now r" 
His eyes involuntarily swept her body. Perhaps even now 
she was ! And yet she wasn't thin — not really ! 

" Oh ! with my fifty pounds a year, I make just enough." 
The answer did not reassure him ; he had lost confidence. 



404 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

And that fel'ow Soames ! But his sense or" justice srined con- 
demnation. No, she would certainly have died rather than 
take another penny from him. Soft as she looked, there 
must be strength in her somewhere — strength and fidelity. 
But what business had young Bosinnev to have got run over 
and left her stranded like this I 

" Well, you must come to me now," he 5a"d, " for any- 
thing you want, or I shall be quite cut up." And puttmg 
on his hat, he rose. " Let's go and get some tea. I told that 
lazy chap to put the horses up for an hour, and come for me 
at your place. We'll take a cab presently ; I can't walk as 
I used to." 

He enioyed that stroll to the Kensington end of the 
eardens — the sound of her voice, the glancing of her eyes, 
the subtle beauty of a charming form moving beside him. 
He enjoyed their tea at Ruuei's in the High Street, and 
came out thence with a grea: box of chocolates swung on his 
little finger. He enioyed the drive back to Chelsea in a 
hansom, smoking his cigar. She had promised ro come 
down next Sunday and play to him again, and already in 
thought he was plucking carnations and early roses for her 
to carry back to town. It was a pleasure to give her a little 
pleasure, if it Ucre pleasure from an old chap like him ! 
The carriage was already there when they arrived. Just 
like that fellow, who was always late when he was wanted I 
Old Jolvon went in for a minute to say good-bye. The 
little dark hall of the flat was impregnated with a disagreeable 
odour of patchouli, and on a bench against the wall — its only 
furniture — he saw a ligure sitting. He heard Irene say 
softly : " Just one minute." In the little drawing-room 
when the door was shut, he asked gravely : "One of your 
protighi r* 

" Yes. Now, thanks to you, I can do something for 
her." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 4S5 

He stood, staring and stroking that chin whose strength 
had frightened so many in its time. The idea of her thus 
actually in contact with this outcast grieved and frightened 
him. What could she do for them ? Nothing. Only soil 
and make trouble for herself, perhaps. And he said : *' Take 
care, my dear ! The world puts the worst construction on 
everything." 

" I knoV that." 

He was abashed by her quiet smile. " Well then — 
Sunday," he murmured : ** Good-bye." 

She put her cheek forward for him to kiss. 

" Good- bye," he said again ; " take care of yourself." 
And he went out, not looking towards the figure on the 
bench. He drove home by way of Hammersmith, that he 
might stop at a place he knew of and tell them to send her 
in two dozen of their best Burgundy. She must want 
picking-up sometimes ! Only in Richmond Park did he 
remember that he had gone up to order himself some boots, 
and was surprised that he could have had so paltry an idea. 



Ill 

The little spirits of the past which throng an old man's 
days had never pushed their faces up to his so seldom as in 
the seventy hours elapsing before Sunday came. The spirit 
of the future, with the charm of the unknown, put up her 
lips instead. Old Jolyon was not restless now, and paid no 
visits to the log, because she was coming to lunch. There is 
wonderful finality about a meal ; it removes a world of 
doubts, for no one misses meals except for reasons beyond 
control. He played many games with Holly on the lawn, 
pitching them up to her who was batting now so as to be ready 
to bowl to Jolly in the holidays. For she was not a Forsyte, 
but Jolly was — and Forsytes always bat, until they have 
resigned and reached the age of eighty-five. The dog 
Balthasar, in attendance, lay on the ball as often as he could, 
and the page-boy fielded, till his face was like the harvest 
moon. And because the time was getting shorter, each day 
was longer and more golden than the last. On Friday night 
he took a liver pill, his side hurt him rather, and though it 
was not the liver side, there is no remedy like that. Anyone 
telling him that he had found a new excitement in life and 
that excitement was not good for him, would have been met 
by one of those steady and rather defiant looks of his deep- 
set iron-grey eyes, which seemed to say : 'I know my own 
business best.' He always had and always would. 

On Sunday morning, when Holly had gone with her 
governess to church, he visited the strawberry beds. There, 
accompanied by the dog Balthasar, he examined the plants 
narrowly and succeeded in finding at least two dozen berries 

406 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 407 

which were really ripe. Stooping was not good for him, and 
he became very dizzy and red in the forehead. Having 
placed the strawberries in a dish on the dining-table, he 
washed his hands and bathed his forehead with eau de 
Cologne. There, before the mirror, it occurred to him that 
he was thinner. What a * threadpaper' he had been when 
he was young ! It was nice to be slim — he could not bear 
a fat chap ; and yet perhaps his cheeks were too thin ! She 
was to arrive by train at half-past twelve and walk up, 
entering from the road past Gage's farm at the far end of 
the coppice. And, having looked into June's room to see 
that there was hot water ready, he set forth to meet her, 
leisurely, for his heart was beating. The air smelled sweet, 
larks sang, and the Grand Stand at Epsom was visible. A 
perfect day ! On just such a one, no doubt, six years ago, 
Soames had brought young Bosinney down with him to look 
at the site before they began to build. It was Bosinney who 
had pitched .on the exact spot for the house — as June had 
often told him. In these days he Vv^as thinking much about 
that young fellow, as if his spirit were really haunting the 
field of his last work, on the chance of seeing — her. 
Bosinney — the one man who had possessed her heart, to 
whom she had given her whole self with rapture ! At his 
age one could not, of course, imagine such things, but there 
stirred in him a queer vague aching — as it were the ghost or 
an impersonal jealousy ; and a feeling too, more generous, 
of pity for that love so early lost. All over in a few poor 
months ! Well, well ! He looked at his watch before 
entering the coppice — only a quarter past, twenty-iive 
minutes to wait ! And then, turning the corner of the path, 
he saw her exactly w^here he had seen her the first time, on 
the log, and realised that she must have come by the earlier 
train to sit there alone for a couple of hours at least. Two 
hours of her society — missed ! What memory could make 



4o8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

that log so dear to her ? His face showed what he was 
thinking, for she said at once : 

" Forgive me, Uncle Jolyon ; it was here that I first 
knew." 

" Yes, yes ; there it is for you whenever you like. 
You're looking a little Londony ; you're giving too many 
lessons." 

That she should have to give lessons worried him. Lessons 
to a parcel of young girls thumping out scales with their 
thick fingers ! 

" Where do you go to give them ?" he asked. 

" They're mostly Jewish families, luckily." 

Old Jolyon stared ; to all Forsytes Jews seem strange and 
doubtful. 

" They love music, and they're very kind." 

" They had better be, by George !" He took her arm — 
his side always hurt him a little going uphill — and said : 

" Did you ever see anything like those, buttercups ? 
They came like that in a night." 

Her eyes seemed really to fty over the field, like bees after 
the flowers and the honey. " I wanted you to see them — 
wouldn't let them turn the cows in yet." Then, remem- 
bering that she had come to talk about Bosinney, he pointed 
to the clock-tower over the stables : 

" I expect he wouldn't have let me put that there — had no 
notion of time, if I remember." 

But, pressing his arm to her, she talked of flowers instead, 
and he knew it was done that he might not feel she came 
because of her dead lover. 

" The best flower I can show you," he said, with a sort 
of triumph, " is my little sweet. She'll be back from 
Church directly. There's something about her which 
reminds me a little of you," and it did not seem to him 
peculiar that he had put it thus, instead of saying : ' There's 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 409 

something about you which reminds me a little of her.' 
Ah ! And here she was ! 

Holly, followed closely by her elderly French governess, 
whose digestion had been ruined twenty-two years ago in 
the siege of Strasburg, came rushing towards them from 
under the oak tree. She stopped about a dozen yards away, 
to pat Balthasar and pretend that this was all she had in her 
mind. Old Jolyon, who knew better, said : 

"Well, my darling, here's the lady in grey I promised 
you." 

Holly raised herself and looked up. He watched the two 
of them with a twinkle, Irene smiling. Holly beginning 
with grave inquiry, passing to a shy smile too, and then to 
something deeper. She had a sense of beauty, that child — 
knew what was what ! He enjoyed the sight of the kiss 
between them. 

"Mrs. Heron, Mam'zelle Beauce. Well, Mam'zelle — 
good sermon r" 

For, now that he had not much more time before him, 
the only part of the service connected with this world 
absorbed what interest in church remained to him. 
Mam'zelle Beauce stretched out a spidery hand clad in a 
black kid glove — she had been in the best families — and the 
rather sad eyes of her lean yellowish face seemed to ask : 
" Are you well-brrred ?" Whenever Holly or Jolly did 
anything unpleasing to her — a not uncommon occurrence — 
she would say to them : " The little Tayleurs never did 
that — they were such well-brrred little children." Jolly 
hated the little Tayleurs ; Holly wondered dreadfully how 
it was she fell so short of them. * A thin rum little soul,' 
old Jolyon thought her — Mam'zelle Beauce. 

Luncheon was a successful meal, the mushrooms which 
he himself had picked in the mushroom house, his chosen 
strawberries, and another bottle of the Steinberg cabinet 

14* 



.1.10 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

filled him with a certain aromatic spirituality, 3.nd a convic- 
tion that he would have a touch of eczema to-morrow. 
After lunch they sat under the oak tree drinking Turkish 
coffee. It was no matter of grief to him when Mademoiselle 
Beauce withdrew to write her Sunday letter to her sister, 
whose future had been endangered in the past by swallowing 
a pin — an event held up daily in warning to the children to 
eat slowly and digest what they had eaten. At the foot of 
the bank, on a carriage rug, Holly and the dog Balthasar 
teased and loved each other, and in the shade old Jolyon 
with his legs crossed and his cigar luxuriously savoured, 
gazed at Irene sitting in the swing. A light, vaguely 
swaying, grey figure with a fleck of sunlight here and there 
upon it, lips just opened, eyes dark and soft under lids a little 
drooped. She looked content ; surely it did her good to 
come and see him ! The selfishness of age had not set its 
proper grip on him, for he could still feel pleasure in the 
pleasure of others, realising that what he wanted, though 
much, was not quite all that mattered. 

" It's quiet here," he said ; " you mustn't come down if 
you find it dull. But it's a pleasure to see you. My little 
sweet's is the only face that gives me any pleasure, except 
yours." 

p^rom her smile he knew that she was not beyond liking 
to be appreciated, and this reassured him. " That's not 
humbug," he said. "I never told a woman I admired her 
when I didn't. In fact I don't know when I've told a 
woman I admired her, except my wife in the old days ; and 
wives are funny." He was silent, but resumed abruptly : 

" She used to expect me to say it more often than I felt 
it, and there we were." Her face looked mysteriously 
troubled, and, afraid that he had said something painful, he 
hurried on : 

" When Tuy little sweet marries, I hope she'll find some- 



INDIAN SUxMMER OF A FORSYTE 411 

one who knov/s what women feel. I shan't be here to see 
it, but there's too much topsy-turvy dom in marriage ; I 
don't want her to pitch up against that." And, aware that 
he had made bad worse, he added : " That dog will scratch." 

A silence followed. Of what was she thinking, this 
pretty creature whose life was spoiled ; who had done with 
love, and yet was made for love ? Some day v^^hen he was 
gone, perhaps, she would find another mate — not so 
disorderly as that young fellow who had got himself run 
over. Ah ! but her husband ? 

" Does Soames never trouble you ?" he asked. 

She shook her head. Her face had closed up suddenly. 
For all her softness there was something irreconcilable about 
her. And a glimpse of light on the inexorable nature of sex 
antipathies strayed into a brain which, belonging to early 
Victorian civilisation — so much older than this of his old 
age — had never thought about such primitive things. 

" That's a comfort," he said. " You can see the Grand 
Stand to-day. Shall we take a turn round r" 

Through the flower and fruit garden, against whose high 
outer walls peach trees and nectarines were trained to the 
sun, through the stables, the vinery, the mushroom house, 
the asparagus beds, the rosery, the summer house, he 
conducted her — even into the kitchen garden to see the tiny 
green peas which Holly loved to scoop out of their pods 
with her finger, and lick up from the palm of her little 
brown hand. Many delightful things he showed her, while 
Holly and the dog Balthasar danced ahead, or came to them 
at intervals for attention, It was one of the happiest 
afternoons he had ever spent, but it tired him and he was 
glad to sit down in the music room and let her give him 
tea. A special little friend of Holly's had come in — a fair 
child with short hair like a boy's. And the two sported in 
the distance, under the stairs, on the stairs, and up in the 



412 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

gallery. Old Jolyon begged for Chopin. She played 
studies, mazurkas, waltzes, till the two children, creeping 
near, stood at the foot of the piano — their dark and golden 
heads bent forward, listening. Old Jolyon watched. 

" Let's see you dance, you two !" 

Shyly, with a false start, they began. Bobbing and 
circling, earnest, not vexy adroit, they went past and past 
his chair to the strains of that waltz. He watched them 
and the face of her who was playing turned smiling towards 
those little dancers, thinking : ' Sweetest picture I've seen 
for ages.' A voice said : 

" Hollee ! Mais enfin — qu'est-ce que tu fats la — danser^ 
le dimanche ! Fiens^ done /" 

But the children came close to old Jolyon, knowing that 
he would save them, and gazed into a face which was 
decidedly * caught out.' 

" Better the day, better the deed, Mam'zelle. It's all my 
doing. Trot along, chicks, and have your tea." 

And, when they were gone, followed by the dog 
Balthasar who took every meal, he looked at Irene with a 
twinkle and said : 

" Well, there we are ! Aren't they sweet ? Have you 
any little ones among your pupils ?" 

" Yes, three — two of them darlings." 

« Pretty .?" 

" Lovely 1" 

Old Jolyon sighed ; he had an insatiable appetite for the 
very young. "My little sweet,*' he said, "is devoted to 
music ; she'll be a musician some day. You wouldn't give 
me your opinion of her playing, I suppose ?" 

" Of course I will." 

" You wouldn't like " but he stifled the words * to 

give her lessons.' The idea that she gave lessons was 
unpleasant to him ; yet it would mean that he would see 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 413 

her regularly. She left the piano and came over to his 
chair. 

"I would like, very much ; but there is — June. When 
are they coming back ?" 

Old Jolyon frou^ned. " Not till the middle of next 
month. What does that matter ?" 

" You said June had forgiven me ; but she could never 
forget, Uncle Jolyon." 

Forget ! She must forget, if he wanted her to. 

But as if answering, Irene shook her head. " You know 
she couldn't ; one doesn't forget." 

Always that wretched past ! And he said with a sort of 
vexed finality : 

" Well, we shall see." 

He talked to her an hour or more, of the children, and a 
hundred little things, till the carriage came round to take 
her home. And when she had gone he went back to his 
chair, and sat there smoothing his face and chin, dreaming 
over the day. 

That evening after dinner he went to his study and took 
a sheet of paper. He stayed for some minutes without 
writing, then rose and stood under the masterpiece * Dutch 
Fishing Boats at Sunset.' He was not thinking of that 
picture, but of his life. He was going to leave her some- 
thing in his Will ; nothing could so have stirred the stilly 
deeps of thought and memory. He was going to leave her 
a portion of his wealth, of his aspirations, deeds, qualities, 
work — all that had made that wealth ; going to leave her, 
too, a part of all he had missed in life, by his sane and steady 
pursuit of it. Ah ! What had he missed ? * Dutch 
Fishing Boats ' responded blankly j he crossed to the 
French window, and drawing the curtain aside, opened it 
A wind had got up, and one of last year's oak leaves which 
had somehow survived the gardeners' brooms, was dragging 



414 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

itself with a tiny clicking rustle along the stone terrace in 
the twilight. Except for that it was very quiet out there, 
and he could smell the heliotrope watered not long since. 
A bat went by. A bird uttered its last * cheep.' And 
right above the oak tree the first star shone. Faust, in the 
opera, had bartered his soul for some fresh years of youth. 
Morbid notion ! No such bargain was possible, that was 
the real tragedy. No making oneself new again for love or 
life or anything. Nothing left to do but enjoy beauty from 
afar off while you could, and leave it something in your 
Will. But how much r And, as if he could not make 
that calculation looking out into the mild freedom of the 
country night, he turned back and went up to the chimney- 
piece. There were his pet bronzes — a Cleopatra with the 
asp at her breast ; a Socrates ; a greyhound playing with 
her puppy ; a strong man reining in some horses. 'They 
last !' he thought, and a pang went through his heart. 
They had a thousand years of life before them ! 

' How much r' Well ! enough at all events to save her 
getting old before her time, to keep the lines out of her face 
as long as possible, and grey from soiling that bright hair. 
He might live another five years. She would be well over 
thirty by then. * How much r' She had none of his blood 
in her ! In loyalty to the tenor of his life for forty years and 
more, ever since he married and founded that mysterious 
thing, a family, came this warning thought — None of his 
blood, no right to anything ! It was a luxury then, this 
notion. An extravagance, a petting of an old man's whim, 
one of those things done in dotage. His real future was 
vested in those who had his blood, in whom he would live 
on when he was gone. He turned away from the bronzes 
and stood looking at the old leather arm-chair in which 
he had sat and smoked so many hundreds of cigars. And 
suddenly he seemed to see her sitting there in her grey dress, 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 415 

fragrant, soft, dark-eyed, graceful, looking up at him. Why ! 
She cared nothing for him, really ; all she cared for was 
that lost lover of hers. But she was there, whether she 
would or no, giving him pleasure with her beauty and grace. 
One had no right to inflict an old man's company, no right 
to ask her down to play to him and let him look at her — for 
no reward ! Pleasure must be paid for in this world. 
* How much r' After all, there was plenty ; his son and 
his three grandchildren would never miss that little lump. 
He had made it himself, nearly eveiy^ penny ; he could leave 
it where he liked, allow himself this little pleasure. He 
went back to the bureau. * Weil, I'm going to,' he 
thought, Met them think what they like. I'm going to I' 
And he sat down. 

' How much r' Ten thousand, twenty thousand — how 
much r If only with his money he could buy one year, one 
month of youth. And startled by that thought, he wrote 
quickly : 

" Dear Herring, — Draw me a codicil to this effect : 'I 
leave to my niece Irene Forsyte, born Irene Heron, by 
which name she now goes, fifteen thousand pounds free of 
legacy duty.' 

"Yours faithfully, 

"JoLYON Forsyte." 

When he had sealed and stamped the envelope, he went 
back to the window and drew in a long breath. It was 
dark, but many stars* shone now. 



IV 

He woke at half-past two, an hour which long experience 
had taught him brings panic intensity to all awkward 
thoughts. Experience had also taught him that a further 
waking at the proper hour of eight showed the folly of such 
panic. On this particular morning the thought which 
gathered rapid momentum was that if he became ill, at his 
age not improbable, he would not see her. From this it 
was but a step to realisation that he would be cut off, too, 
when his son and June returned from Spain. How could 
he iustify desire for the company of one who had stolen — 
early morning does not mince words — June's lover : That 
lover was dead ; but June was a stubborn little thing ; 
warm-hearted, but stubborn as wood, and — quite true — not 
one who forgot ! By the middle of next month they would 
be back. He had barely five weeks lef: to enjoy the new 
interest which had come into what remained of his life. 
Darkness showed up to him absurdly clear the nature of his 
feeling. Admiration for beauty — a craving to see that which 
delighted his eyes. Preposterous, at his age ! And yet — 
what other reason was there for asking June to undergo 
such painful reminder, and how prevent his son and his 
son's wife from thinking him very queer r He would be 
reduced to sneaking up to London, which tired him ; and 
the least indisposition would cut him off even from that. 
He lay with eyes open, setting his jaw against the prospect, 
and calling himself an old fool, while his heart beat loudly, 
and then seemed to stop beating altogether. He had seen 
the dawn lighting the window chinks, heard the birds chirp 
and twitter, and the cocks crow, before he fell asleep a2ain, 

416 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 417 

and awoke tired but sane. Five weeks before he need 
bother, at his age an eternity ! But that early morning 
panic had left its mark, had slightly fevered the will of one 
who had always had his own way. He would see her as 
often as he wished ! Why not go up to town and make 
that codicil at his solicitor's, instead of writing about it ; she 
might like to go to the opera ! But, by train, for he would 
not have that fat chap Beacon grinning behind his back. 
Servants w^ere such fools ; and, as likely as not, they had 
known all the past history of Irene and young Bosinney — 
servants knew everj'thing, and suspected the rest. He wrote 
to her that morning : 

" My dear Irene, — I have to be up in town to-morrow. 
If you would like to have a look in at the opera, come and 
dine with me quietly . . ." 

But where r It was decades since he had dined anywhere 
in London save at his Club or at a private house. Ah ! 
that new-fangled place close to Covent Garden. . . . 

" Let me have a line to-morrow morning to the Piedmont 
Hotel whether to expect you there at 7 o'clock. 
" Yours aflfectionately, 

"JoLYON Forsyte." 

She would understand that he just wanted to give her a 
little pleasure ; for the idea that she should guess he had this 
itch to see her was instinctively unpleasant to him; it w^as 
not seemly that one so old should go out of his way to see 
beauty, especially in a woman. 

The journey next day, short though it was, and the visit 
to his lawyer's, tired him. It w^as hot too, and after dressing 
for dinner he lay dowm on the sofa in his bedroom to rest a 
little. He must have had a sort of fainting fit, for he came 
to himself feeling very queer, and with some difficulty rose 



41 8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

and rang the bell. Why ! it was past seven ! And there 
he was, and she would be waiting. But suddenly the 
dizziness came on again, and he was obliged to relapse on 
the sofa. He heard the maid's voice say : 

"Did you ring, sir ?" 

" Yes, come here " ; he could not see her clearly, for the 
cloud in front of his eyes. "Tm not well, I want some sal 
volatile." 

" Yes, sir." Her voice sounded frightened. 

Old Jolyon made an effort. 

" Don't go. Take this message to my niece — a lady 
waiting in the hall — a lady in grey. Say Mr. Forsyte is 
not well — the heat. He is very sorry ; if he is not down 
directly, she is not to wait dinner." 

When she was gone, he thought feebly : ' Why did I say 
a lady in grey ? — she may be in anything. Sal volatile !' 
He did not go off again, yet was not conscious of how Irene 
came to be standing beside him, holding smelling salts to his 
nose, and pushing a pillow up behind his head. He heard 
her say anxiously: "Dear Uncle Jolyon, what is it?" was 
dimly conscious of the soft pressure of her lips on his hand ; 
then drew in a long breath of smelling salts, suddenly 
discovered strength in them, and sneezed. 

" Ha 1" he said : " it's nothing. How did you get here .? 
Go down and dine — the tickets are on the dressing-table. 
I shall be all right in a minute." 

He felt her cool hand on his forehead, smelled violets, and 
sat divided between a sort of pleasure and a determination 
to be all right. 

" Why ! You are in grey !" he said : " Help me up." 
Once on his feet he gave himself a shake. 

" What business had I to go off like that !" And he 
moved very slowly to the glass. What a cadaverous chap ! 
Her voice, behind him, murmured : 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 419 

" You mustn't come down, Uncle ; you must rest." 

" Fiddlesticks ! A glass of champagne '11 soon set me to 
rights. I can't have you missing the opera." 

But the journey down the corridor was troublesome. 
What carpets they had in these new-fangled places, so thick 
that you tripped up in them at every step ! In the lift he 
noticed how concerned she looked, and said with a ghost of 
a twinkle : 

" I'm a pretty host." 

When the lift stopped he had to hold firmly to the seat 
to prevent it slipping under him ; but after soup and a 
glass of champagne he felt much better, and began to enjoy 
an infirmity which had brought such solicitude into her 
manner towards him. 

"I should have liked you for a daughter," he said 
suddenly ; and watching the smile in her eyes, went on : 

" You mustn't get wrapped up in the past at your time 
of life ; plenty of that when you get to my age. That's a 
nice dress — I like the style." 

" I made it myself." 

Ah ! A woman who could make herself a pretty frock 
had not lost her interest in life. 

"Make hay while the sun shines," he said; "and drink 
that up. I want to see some colour in your cheeks. We 
mustn't waste life ; it doesn't do. There's a new 
Marguerite to-night ; let's hope she won't be fat. And 
Mephisto — anything more dreadful than a fat chap playing 
the Devil I can't imagine." 

But they did not go to the opera after all, for in getting 
up from dinner the dizziness came over him again, and she 
insisted on his staying quiet and going to bed early. When 
he parted from her at the door of the hotel, having paid the 
cabman to drive her to Chelsea, he sat down again for a 
moment to enjoy the memory of her words : * You are such 



420 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

a darling to me, Uncle Jolyon.' Why ! Who wouldn't 
be 1 He would have liked to stay up another day and take 
her to the Zoo, but two days running of him would bore 
her to death ! No, he must wait till next Sunday ; she had 
promised to come then. They would settle those lessons 
for Holly, if only for a month. It would be something. 
That little Mam'zelle Beauce wouldn't like it, but she 
would have to lump it. And crushing his old opera hat 
against his chest, he sought the lift. 

He drove to Waterloo next morning, struggling with a 
desire to say: "Drive me to Chelsea." But his sense of 
proportion was too strong. Besides, he still felt shaky, and 
did not want to risk another aberration like that of last 
night, away from home. Holly, too, was expecting him, 
and what he had in his bag for her. Not that there was 
any cupboard love in his little sweet — she was a bundle of 
affection. Then, with the rather bitter cynicism of the old, 
he wondered for a second whether it was not cupboard love 
which made Irene put up with him. No, she was not that 
sort either. She had, if anything, too little notion of how 
to butter her bread, no sense of property, poor thing ! 
Besides, he had not breathed a word about that codicil, nor 
should he — sufficient unto the day was the good thereof. 

In the victoria which met him at the station Holly was 
restraining the dog Balthasar, and their caresses made 
'jubey' his drive home. All the rest of that fine hot day 
and most of the next he was content and peaceful, reposing 
in the shade, while the long lingering sunshine showered 
gold on the lawns and the flowers. But on Thursday 
evening at his lonely dinner he began to count the hours ; 
sixty-five till he would go down to meet her again in the 
little coppice, and walk up through the fields at her side. 
He had intended to consult the doctor about his fainting fit, 
but the fellow would be sure to insist on quiet, no excite- 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 421 

ment and all that ; and he did not mean to be tied by the 
leg, did not want to be told of an infirmity — if there were 
one, could not afford to hear it at his time of life, now that 
this new interest had come. And he carefully avoided 
making any mention of it in a letter to his son. It would 
only bring them back with a run ! How far this silence 
was due to consideration for their pleasure, how far to 
regard for his own, he did not pause to consider. 

That night in his study he had just finished his cigar and 
was dozing off, when he heard the rustle of a gown, and 
was conscious of a scent of violets. Opening his eyes he 
saw her, dressed in grey, standing by the fireplace, holding 
out her arms. The odd thing was that, though those arms 
seemed to hold nothing, they were curved as if round 
someone's neck, and her own neck was bent back, her lips 
open, her eyes closed. She vanished at once, and there 
were the mantelpiece and his bronzes. But those bronzes 
and the mantelpiece had not been there when she was, only 
the fireplace and the wall ! Shaken and troubled, he got 
up. * I must take medicine,' he thought ; * I can't be well.' 
His heart beat too fast, he had an asthmatic feeling in the 
chest ; and going to the window, he opened it to get som.e air. 
A dog was barking far away, one of the dogs at Gage's farm 
no doubt, beyond the coppice. A beautiful still night, but 
dark. * I dropped oflF,' he mused, ' that's it ! And yet I'll 
swear my eyes were open !* A sound like a sigh seemed to 
answer. 

" What's that r" he said sharply. " Who's there r" 

Putting his hand to his side to still the beating in his 

heart, he stepped out on to the terrace. Something soft 

scurried by in the dark. " Shoo !" It was that great grey cat. 

* Young Bosinney was like a great cat 1' he thought. *It 

was him in there, that she — that she was He's got her 

still !' He walked to the edge of the terrace, and looked 



422 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

down into the darkness ; he could just see the powdering of 
the daisies on the unmown lawn. Here to-day and gone 
to-morrow ! And there came the moon, who saw all, 
young and old, alive and dead, and didn't care a dump ! 
His own turn soon. ^ For a single day of youth he would 
give what was left ! And he turned again towards the 
house. He could see the windows of the night nursery up 
there. His little sweet would be asleep. * Hope that dog 
won't wake her !' he thought. ' What is it makes us love, 
and makes us die ? I must go to bed.' 

And across the terrace stones, growing grey in the moon- 
light, he passed back within. 



How should an old man live his days if not in dreaming 
of his well-spent past ? In that, at all events, there is no 
agitating warmth, only pale winter sunshine. The shell 
can withstand the gentle beatmg of the dynamos of 
memory. The present he should distrust ; the future shun. 
From beneath thick shade he should watch the sunlight 
creeping at his toes. If there be sun of summer, let him 
not go out into it, mistaking it for the Indian-summer sun ! 
Thus peradventure he shall decline softly, slowly, imper- 
ceptibly, until impatient Nature clutches his wind-pipe and 
he gasps away to death some early morning before the world 
is aired, and they put on his tombstone : ' In the fulness of 
years !' Yea ! If he preserve his principles in perfect 
order, a Forsyte may live on long after he is dead. 

Old Jolyon was conscious of all this, and yet there was 
in him that which transcended Forsytism. For it is written 
that a Forsyte shall not love beauty more than reason ; nor 
his own way more than his own health. And something 
beat within him in these days that with each throb fretted 
at the thinning shell. His sagacity knew this, but it knew 
too that he could not stop that beating, nor would if he 
could. And yet, if you had told him he was living on his 
capital, he would have stared you down. No, no ; a man 
did not live on his capital ; it was not done ! The shib- 
boleths of the past are ever more real than the actualities of 
the present. And he, to whom living on one's capital had 
always been anathema, could not have borne to have applied 
so gross a phrase to his own case. Pleasure is healthful ; 

423 



424 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

beauty good to see ; to live again in the youth of the young 
— and what else on earth was he doing ! 

Methodically, as had been the way of his whole life, he 
now arranged his time. On Tuesdays he journeyed up to 
town by train ; Irene came and dined with him. and they 
went to the opera. On Thursdays he drove to town, and, 
putting that fat chap and his horses up, met her in Kensing- 
ton Gardens, picking up the carriage after he had left her, 
and driving home again in time for dinner. He threw out 
the casual formula that he had business in London on those 
two days. On Wednesdays and Saturdays she came down 
to give Holly music lessons. The greater the pleasure he 
took in her society, the more scrupulously fastidious he 
became, just a matter-of-fact and friendly uncle. Not even 
in feeling, really, was he more — for, after all, there was his 
age. And yet, if she were late he fidgeted himself to death. 
If she missed coming, which happened twice, his eyes grew 
sad as an old dog's, and he failed to sleep. 

And so a month went by — a month of summer in the 
fields, and in his heart, with summer's heat and the fatigue 
thereof. Who could have believed a few weeks back that 
he would have looked forward to his son's and his grand- 
daughter's return with something like dread 1 There was 
such delicious freedom, such recovery of that independence 
a man enjoys before he founds a family, about these weeks 
of lovely weather, and this new companionship with one 
who demanded nothing, and remained always a little 
unknown, retaining the fascination of mystery. It was like 
a draught of wine to him who has been drinking water for 
so long that he has almost forgotten the stir wine brings to 
his blood, the narcotic to his brain. The flowers were 
coloured brighter, scents and music and the sunlight had a 
living value — were no longer mere reminders of past 
enjo^'ment. There was something now to live for which 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 425 

stirred him continually to anticipation. He lived in that, 
not in retrospection ; the difference is considerable to any 
so old as he. The pleasures of the table, never of much 
consequence to one naturally abstemious, had lost all value. 
He ate little, without knowing what he ate ; and e\'ery day 
grew thinner and more worn to look at. He was again a 
^threadpaper ' ; and to this thinned form his massive fore- 
head, with hollows at the temples, gave more dignity than 
ever. He was very well aware that he ought to see the 
doctor, but liberty was too sweet. He could not afford to 
pet his frequent shortness of breath and the pain in his side 
at the expense of liberty. Return to the vegetable existence 
he had led among the agricultural journals with the life-size 
mangold-wurzels, before this new attraction came into his 
life — no ! He exceeded his allowance of cigars. Two a 
day had always been his rule. Now he smoked three and 
sometimes four — a man will when he is filled with the 
creative spirit. But very often he thought : ' I must give 
up smoking, and coffee ; I must give up rattling up to 
town.' But he did not ; there was no one in any sort of 
authority to notice him, and this was a priceless boon. The 
servants perhaps wondered, but they were, naturally, dumb. 
Mam'zelle Beauce was too concerned with her own 
digestion, and too ' weli-brrred ' to make personal allusions. 
Holly had not as yet an eye for the relative appearance of 
him who was her plaything and her god. It was left for 
Irene herself to beg him to eat more, to rest in the hot part 
of the day, to take a tonic, and so forth. But she did not 
tell him that she was the cause of his thinness — for one 
cannot see the havoc oneself is working. A man of eighty- 
five has no passions, but the Beauty which produces passion 
works on in the old way, till death closes the eyes which 
crave the sight of Her. 

On the first day of the second week in July he received a 



42G THE FORSYTE SAGA 

letter from his son in Paris to say that they would all be 
back on Friday. This had always been more sure than 
Fate ; but, with the pathetic improvidence given to the old, 
that they may endure to the end, he had never quite ad- 
mitted it. Now he did, and something would have to be 
done. He had ceased to be able to imagine life without this 
new interest, but that which is not imagined sometimes 
exists, as Forsytes are perpetually finding to their cost. He 
sat in his old leather chair, doubling up the letter, and 
mumbling with his lips the end of an unlighted cigar. After 
to-morrow his Tuesday expeditions to town would have to 
be abandoned. He could still drive up, perhaps, once a 
week, on the pretext of seeing his man of business. But 
even that would be dependent on his health, for now they 
would begin to fuss about him. The lessons 1 The lessons 
must go on ! She must swallow down her scruples, and 
June must put her feelings in her pocket. She had done so 
once, on the day after the news of Bosinney's death ; what 
she had done then, she could surely do again now. Four 
years since that injury was inflicted on her — not Christian to 
keep the memory of old sores alive. June's will was strong, 
but his was stronger, for his sands were running out. Irene 
was soft, surely she would do this for him, subdue her natural 
shrinking, sooner than give him pain ! The lessons must 
continue ; for if they did, he was secure. And lighting his 
cigar at last, he began trying to shape out how to put it to 
them all, and explain this strange intimacy ; how to veil and 
wrap it away from the naked truth — that he could not bear 
to be deprived of the sight of beauty. Ah ! Holly ! Holly 
was fond of her. Holly liked her lessons. She would save 
him — his little sweet ! And with that happy thought he 
became serene, and wondered what he had been worrying 
about so fearfully. He must not worry, it left him always 
curiously weak, and as if but half present in his own body. 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 427 

That evening after dinner he had a return of the dizzi- 
ness, though he did not faint. He would not ring the bell, 
because he knew it would mean a fuss, and make his going 
up on the morrow more conspicuous. When one grew old, 
the whole world was in conspiracy to limit freedom, and for 
what reason ? — ^just to keep the breath in him a little longer. 
He did not want it at such cost. Only the dog Balthasar 
saw his lonely recovery from that weakness ; anxiously 
watched his master go to the sideboard and drink some 
brandy, instead of giving him a biscuit. When at last old 
Jolyon felt able to tackle the stairs he went up to bed. And, 
though still shaky next morning, the thought of the evening 
sustained and strengthened him. It was always such a 
pleasure to give her a good dinner — he suspected her of 
under-eating when she was alone ; and, at the opera to 
watch her eyes glow and brighten, the unconscious smiling 
of her lips. She hadn't much pleasure, and this was the 
last time he would be able to give her that treat. But 
when he was packing his bag he caught himself wishing 
that he had not the fatigue of dressing for dinner before 
him, and the exertion, too, of telling her about June's 
return. 

The opera that evening was * Carmen,' and he chose the 
last entracte to break the news, instinctively putting it off till 
the latest moment. She took it quietly, queerly ; in fact, he 
did not know how she had taken it before the wayward 
music lifted up again and silence became necessary. The 
mask was down over her face, that mask behind which so 
much went on that he could not see. She wanted time to 
think it over, no doubt ! He would not press her, for she 
would be coming to give her lesson to-m.orrow afternoon, 
and he should see her then when she had got used to the 
idea. In the cab he talked only of the Carmen ; he had 
seen better in the old days, but this one was not bad at all. 



428 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

When he took her hand to say good-night, she bent quickly- 
forward and kissed his forehead. 

" Good-bye, dear Uncle Jolyon, you have been so sweet 
to me." 

" To-morrow then," he said. " Good-night. Sleep 
well." She echoed softly : " Sleep well !" and in the cab 
window, already moving away, he saw her face screwed 
round towards him, and her hand put out in a gesture which 
seemed to linger. 

He sought his room slowly. They never gave him the 
same, and he could not get used to these * spick-and-spandy ' 
bedrooms with new furniture and grey-green carpets 
sprinkled all over with pink roses. He was wakeful and 
that wretched Habanera kept throbbing in his head. His 
French had never been equal to its words, but its sense he 
knew, if it had any sense, a gipsy thing — wild and unac- 
countable. Well, there wa^ in life something which upset 
all your care and plans — something which made men and 
women dance to its pipes. And he lay staring from deep- 
sunk eyes into the darkness where the unaccountable held 
sway. You thought you had hold of life, but it slipped 
away behind you, took you by the scrufF of the neck, forced 
you here and forced you there, and then, likely as not, 
squeezed life out of you ! It took the very stars like that, 
he shouldn't wonder, rubbed their noses together and flung 
them apart ; it had never done playing its pranks. Five 
million people in this great blunderbuss of a town, and all of 
them at the mercy of that Life-Force, like a lot of little 
dried peas hopping about on a board when you struck your 
fist on it. Ah, well ! Himself would not hop much longer 
— a good long sleep would do him good ! 

How hot it was up here ! — how noisy ! His forehead 
burned ; she had kissed it just where he always worried ; 
just there — as if she had known the very place and wanted 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 429 

to kiss it all away for him. But, instead, her lips left a patch 
of grievous uneasiness. She had never spoken in quite that 
voice, had never before made that lingering gesture, or 
looked back at him as she drove away. He got out of bed 
and pulled the curtains aside ; his room faced down over 
the river. There was little air, but the sight of that breadth 
of water flowing by, calm, eternal, soothed him. * The 
great thing,' he thought, * is not to make myself a nuisance. 
I'll think of my little sweet, and go to sleep.' But it was 
long before the heat and throbbing of the London night died 
out into the short slumber of the summer morning. And 
old Jolyon had but forty winks. 

When he reached home next day he went out to the 
flower garden, and with the help of Holly, who was very 
delicate with flowers, gathered a great bunch of carnations. 
They were, he told her, for * the lady in grey ' — a name 
still bandied between them ; and he put them in a bowl in 
his study where he meant to tackle Irene the moment she 
came, on the subject of June and future lessons. Their 
fragrance and colour would help. After lunch he lay down, 
for he felt very tired, and the carriage would not bring her 
from the station till four o'clock. But as the hour approached 
he grew restless, and sought the schoolroom, which over- 
looked the drive. The sunblinds were down, and Holly 
was there with Mademoiselle Beauce, sheltered from the 
heat of a stifling July day, attending to their silkworms. 
Old Jolyon had a natural antipathy to these methodical 
creatures, whose heads and colour reminded him of elephants ; 
who nibbled such quantities of holes in nice green leaves ; 
and smelled, as he thought, horrid. He sat down on a 
chintz-covered window-seat whence he could see the drive, 
and get what air there was ; and the dog Balthasar, who 
appreciated chintz on hot days, jumped up beside him. Over 
the cottage piano a violet dustsheet, faded almost to grey, 



430 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

was spread, and on ir the firs: lavender, whose scent filled 
the room. In spite ot the coolness here, perhaps because of 
that coolness, the beat of lire vehemently impressed his 
cbbed-down senses. Each sunbeam which came through 
the chinks had annoving brilliance ; that dog smelled very 
strong ; the lavender perfume was overpowering ; those 
silkworms heaving up their grey-green backs seemed horribly 
alive ; and Holly's dark head bent over them had a wonder- 
fully silky sheen. A mar\-ellous, cruelly strong thing w^as 
life when you were old and weak ; it seemed to mock you 
with its multitude of forms and its beating vitality. He had 
never, till those last few weeks, had this curious feeling of 
being with one half of him eagerly borne along in the stream 
of life, and with the other half left on the bank, watching 
that helpless progress. Only when Irene was with him did 
he lose his double consciousness. 

Holly turned her head, pointed with her little brown fist 
to the piano — for to point with a finger was not ' well-brrred ' 
— and said slyly : 

" Look at the ' lady in grey,' Gran ; isn't she pretty 
to-day r" 

Old Jolyon's heart gave a flutter, and for a second the room 
was clouded ; then it cleared, and he said with a twinkle : 

" Who's been dressing her up :" 

" Mam'zelle." 

^'Hollee! Don't be foolish 1'* 

That prim little Frenchwoman ! She hadn't yet got over 
the music lessons being taken away from her. That 
wouldn't help. His little sweet was the only friend they 
had. Well, they were her lessons. And he shouldn't budge 
— shouldn't budge for anything. He stroked the warm wool 
on Balthasar's head, and heard Holly say : 

'' When mother's home, there won't be any changes, will 
there : She doesn't like strangers, you know." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FOPvSYTE 431 

The child's words seemed to bring the chilly atmosphere 
of opposition about old Jolyon, and disclose all the menace 
to his new-found freedom. Ah ! He would have to resign 
himself to being an old man at the mercy of care and love, 
or fight to keep this new and prized companionship ; and to 
fight tired him to death. But his thin, worn face hardened 
into resolution till it appeared all jaw. This was his house, 
and his affair ; he should not budge ! He looked at his 
watch, old and thin like himself; he had owned it fifty 
years. Past four already ! And kissing the top of Holly's 
head in passing, he went down to the hall. He wanted to 
get hold of her before she went up to give her lesson. At 
the first sound of wheels he stepped out into the porch, and 
saw at once that the victoria was empty. 

'* The train's in, sir ; but the lady 'asn't come." 

Old Jolyon gave him a sharp upward look, his eyes seemed 
to push awav that fat chap's curiosity, and defH* him to see 
the bitter disappointment he was feeling. 

'' Very well," he said, and turned back into the house. 
He went to his study and sat down, quivering like a leaf. 
What did this mean r She might have lost her train, but he 
knew well enough she hadn't. ' Good-bve, dear Uncle 
Jolyon.' W hy ' Good-bye ' and not ^Good-night'? And 
that hand of hers lingering in the air. And her kiss. What 
did it mean r Vehement alarm and irritation took posses- 
sion of him. He got up and began to pace the Turkey 
carpet, between window and wall. She was going to give 
him up ! He felt it for certain — and he defenceless. An 
old man wanting to look on beauty ! It was ridiculous ! 
Age closed his mouth, paralysed his power to fight. He had 
no right to what was warm and living, no right to anything 
but memories and sorrow. He could not plead with her ; 
even an old man has his dignity. Defenceless ! For an 
hour, lost to bodily fatigue, he paced up and down, past the 



432 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

bowl of carnations he had plucked, which mocked him with 
their scent. Of all things hard to bear, the prostration of 
will-power is hardest, for one who has always had his way. 
Nature had got him in its net, and like an unhappy fish he 
turned and swam at the meshes, here and there, found no 
hole, no breaking point. They brought him tea at live 
o'clock, and a letter. For a moment hope beat up in him. 
He cut the envelope with the butter knife, and read : 

" Dearest Uncle Jolyon, — I can't bear to write any- 
thing that may disappoint you, but I was too cowardly to 
tell you last night. I feel I can't come down and give Holly 
any more lessons, now that June is coming back. Some 
things go too deep to be forgotten. It has been such a joy 
to see you and Holly. Perhaps I shall still see you some- 
times when you come up, though I'm sure it's not good for 
you ; I can see you are tiring yourself too much. I believe 
you ought to rest quite quietly all this hot weather, and 
now you have your son and June coming back you will be so 
happy. Thank you a million times for all your sweetness 
to me. 

" Lovingly your 

" Irene." 

So, there it was ! Not good for him to have pleasure and 
what he chiefly cared about ; to try and put off feeling the 
inevitable end of all things, the approach of death with its 
stealthy, rustling footsteps. Not good for him ! Not even 
she could see how she was his new lease of interest in life, 
the incarnation of all the beauty he felt slipping from him ! 
His tea grew cold, his cigar remained unlit ; and up and 
down he paced, torn between his dignity and his hold on 
life. Intolerable to be squeezed out slowly, without a say of 
your own, to live on when your will was in the hands of 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 433 

others bent on weighing you to the ground with care and 
love. Intolerable ! He would see what telling her the truth 
would do — the truth that he wanted the sight of her more 
than just a lingering on. He sat down at his old bureau and 
took a pen. But he could not write. There was something 
revolting in having to plead like this; plead that she should 
warm his eyes with her beauty. It was tantamount to con- 
fessing dotage. He simply could not. And instead, he 
wrote : 

" I had hoped that the memory of old sores would not be 
allowed to stand in the way of what is a pleasure and a profit 
to me and my little grand-daughter. But old men learn to 
forgo their whims ; they are obliged to, even the whim to 
live must be forgone sooner or later ; and perhaps the sooner 
the better. 

" My love to you, 

"JoLYON Forsyte." 

* Bitter,' he thought, * but I can't help it. I'm tired.' He 
sealed and dropped it into the box for the evening post, and 
hearing it fall to the bottom, thought : * There goes all I've 
looked forward to 1' 

That evening after dinner which he scarcely touched, 
after his cigar which he left half-smoked for it made him 
feel faint, he went very slowly upstairs and stole into the 
night-nursery. He sat down on the window-seat. A night- 
light was burning, and he could just see Holly's face, with 
one hand underneath the cheek. An early cockchafer 
buzzed in the Japanese paper with which they had filled the 
grate, and one of the horses in the stable stamped restlessly. 
To sleep like that child 1 He pressed apart two rungs of the 
Venetian blind and looked out. The moon was rising, blood- 
red. He had never seen so red a moon. The woods and 

15 



4^4 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

fields out there were dropping to sleep too, in the last glimmer 
of the summer light. And beauty, like a spirit, walked. 'I've 
had a long life,' he thought, ' the best of nearly everything. 
I'm an ungrateful chap ; I've seen a lot of beauty in my 
time. Poor young Bosinney said I had a sense of beauty. 
There's a man in the moon to-night !' A moth went by, 
another, another. ' Ladies in grey !' He closed his eyes. 
A feeling that he would never open them again beset him ; 
he let it grow, let himself sink ; then, with a shiver, dragged 
the lids up. There was something wrong with him, no 
doubt, deeply wrong ; he would have to have the doctor 
after all. It didn't much matter now ! Into that coppice 
the moonlight would have crept ; there would be shadows, 
and those shadows would be the only things awake. No 
birds, beasts, flowers, insects ; just the shadows — moving ; 
* Ladies in grey !' Over that log they would climb ; 
would whisper together. She and Bosinney ? Funny 
thought 1 And the frogs and little things would whisper 
too ! How the clock ticked, in here ! It was all eerie — out 
there in the light of that red moon ; in here, too, with the 
little steady night-light and the ticking clock and the nurse's 
dressing-gown hanging from the edge of the screen, tall, like 
a woman's figure. ' Lady in grey !' And a very odd 
thought beset him : Did she exist ? Had she ever come at 
all ? Or was she but the emanation of all the beauty he had 
loved and must leave so soon ? The violet-grey spirit with 
the dark eyes and the crown of amber hair, who walks the 
dawn and the moonlight, and at bluebell time ? What was 
she, who was she, did she exist ? He rose and stood a 
moment clutching the window-sill, to give him a sense of 
reality again ; then began tiptoeing towards the door. He 
stopped at the foot of the bed ; and Holly, as if conscious of 
his eyes fixed on her, stirred, sighed, and curled up closer in 
defence. He tiptoed on and passed out into the dark passage ; 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 435 

reached his room, undressed at once, and stood before a 
mirror in his night -shirt. What a scarecrow — with temples 
fallen in, and thin legs ! His eyes resisted his own image, 
and a look of pride came on his face. All was in league to 
pull him down, even his reflection in the glass, but he was 
not down — yet ! He got into bed, and lay a long time with- 
out sleeping, trying to reach resignation, only too well aware 
that fretting and disappointment were very bad for him. 

He woke in the morning so unrefreshed and strengthless 
that he sent for the doctor. After sounding him, the fellow 
pulled a face as long as your arm, and ordered him to stay in 
bed and give up smoking. That was no hardship ; there 
was nothing to get up for, and when he felt ill, tobacco 
always lost its savour. He spent the morning languidly with 
the sunblinds down, turning and re-turning The Times ^ not 
reading much, the dog Balthasar lying beside his bed. With 
his lunch they brought him a telegram, running thus : 
* Your letter received coming down this afternoon will be 
with you at four-thirty, Irene.' 

Coming down 1 After all ! Then she did exist — and 
he was not deserted. Coming down ! A glow ran through 
his limbs ; his cheeks and forehead felt hot. He drank his 
soup, and pushed the tray-table away, lying very quiet until 
they had removed lunch and left him alone ; but every now 
and then his eyes twinkled. Coming down I His heart 
beat fast, and then did not seem to beat at all. At three 
o'clock he got up and dressed deliberately, noiselessly. Holly 
and Mam'zelle would be in the schoolroom, and the servants 
asleep after their dinner, he shouldn't wonder. He opened 
his door cautiously, and went downstairs. In the hall the 
dog Balthasar lay solitary, and, followed by him, old Jolyon 
passed into his study and out into the burning afternoon. 
He meant to go down and meet her in the coppice, but felt 
at once he could not manage that in this heat. He sat 



436 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

down instead under the oak tree by the swing, and the dog 
Balthasar, who also felt the heat, lay down beside him. He 
sat there smiling. What a revel of bright minutes 1 What 
a hum of insects, and cooing of pigeons ! It was the 
quintessence of a summer day. Lovely 1 And he was 
happy — happy as a sand-boy, whatever that might be. She 
was coming ; she had not given him up ! He had every- 
thing in life he wanted — except a little more breath, and less 
weight — ^just here ! He would see her, when she emerged 
from the fernery, come, swaying just a little, a violet-grey 
figure passing over the daisies and dandelions and ' soldiers * 
on the lawn — the soldiers with their flowery crowns. He 
would not move, but she would come up to him and say ; 
* Dear Uncle Jolyon, I am sorry V and sit in the swing and 
let him look at her and tell her that he had not been very 
well but was all right now ; and that dog would lick her 
hand. That dog knew his master was fond of her ; that 
dog was a good dog. 

It was quite shady under the tree ; the sun could not get 
at him, only make the rest of the world bright so that he 
could see the Grand Stand at Epsom away out there, very 
far, and the cows cropping the clover in the field and swishing 
at the flies with their tails. He smelled the scent of limes, 
and lavender. Ah ! that was why there was such a racket 
of bees. They were excited — busy, as his heart was busy 
and excited. Drowsy, too, drowsy and drugged on honey 
and happiness ; as his heart was drugged and drowsy. 
Summer — summer — they seemed saying ; great bees and 
little bees, and the flies too ! 

The stable clock struck four ; in half an hour she would 
be here. He would have just one tiny nap, because he had 
had so little sleep of late ; and then he would be fresh for 
her, fresh for youth and beauty, coming towards him across 
the sunlit lawn — lady in grey ! And settling back in his 



INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE 437 

chair he closed his eyes. Some thistledown came on what 
little air there was, and pitched on his moustache more white 
than itself. He did not know ; but his breathing stirred it, 
caught there. A ray of sunlight struck through and lodged 
on his boot. A humble-bee alighted and strolled on the 
crown of his Panama hat. And the delicious surge of 
slumber reached the brain beneath that hat, and the head 
swayed forward and rested on his breast. Summer — 
summer ! So went the hum. 

The stable clock struck the quarter past. The dog 
Balthasar stretched and looked up at his master. The thistle- 
down no longer moved. The dog placed his chin over the 
sunlit foot. It did not stir. The dog withdrew his chin 
quickly, rose, and leaped on old Jolyon's lap, looked in his 
face, whined ; then, leaping down, sat on his haunches, 
gazing up. And suddenly he uttered a long, long howl. 

But the thistledown was still as death, and the face of his 
old master. 

Summer — summer — summer ! The soundless footsteps 
on the grass I 



BOOK II 
IN CHANCERY 

" Two households both alike in dignity. 

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny.** 

Romeo and Juliet, 



TO 

JESSIE AND JOSEPH CONRAD 



PART I 



The possessive instinct never stands still. Through flores- 
cence and feud, frosts and fires, it followed the laws of pro- 
gression even in the Forsyte family which had believed it 
fixed for ever. Nor can it be dissociated from environment 
any more than the quality of potato from the soil. 

The historian of the English eighties and nineties will, in 
his good time, depict the somewhat rapid progression from 
self-contented and contained provincialism to still more 
self-contented if less contained imperialism — in other 
words, the * possessive ' instinct of the nation on the move. 
And so, as if in conformity, was it with the Forsyte family. 
They were spreading not merely on the surface, but within. 

When, in 1895, Susan Hayman, the married Forsyte 
sister, followed her husband at the ludicrously low age of 
seventy-four, and was cremated, it made strangely little 
stir among the six old Forsytes left. For this apathy there 
were three causes. First: the almost surreptitious burial 
of old Jolyon in 1892 down at Robin Hill — first of the 
Forsytes to desert the family grave at Highgate. That 
burial, coming a year after Swithin's entirely proper funeral, 
had occasioned a great deal of talk on Forsyte 'Change, the 
abode of Timothy Forsyte on the Bayswater Road, London, 
which still collected and radiated family gossip. Opinions 
ranged from the lamentation of Aunt Juley to the out- 
spoken assertion of Francie that it was * a jolly good thing 
to stop all that stuffy Highgate business.' Uncle Jolyon 
in his later years — indeed, ever since the strange and lament- 

441 '5* 



442 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

able atlair between his granddaughter June's lover, young 
Bosinney, and Irene, his nephew Soames Forsyte's wife — 
had noticeably rapped the family's knuckles; and that way 
of his own which he had always taken had begun to seem 
to them a little w^ayward. The philosophic vein in him, of 
course, had always been too liable to crop out of the strata 
of pure Forsyteism, so they were in a way prepared for his 
interment in a strange spot. But the whole thing was an 
odd business, and when the contents of his Will became 
current coin on Forsyte 'Change, a shiver had gone round 
the clan. Out of his estate (^145,304 gross, with liabilities 
y^35 7s. 4d.) he had actually left ^15,000 to ' whomever 
do you think, my dear .? To Irene P that runaway wife of 
his nephew Soames; Irene, a woman who had almost dis- 
graced the family, and — still more amazing — was to him 
no blood relation. Not out and out, of course; only a life 
interest — only the income from it ! Still, there it was; 
and old Jolyon's claim to be the perfect Forsyte w^as ended 
once for all. That, then, was the first reason why the 
burial of Susan Hayman — at Woking — made little stir. 

The second reason was altogether more expansive and 
imperial. Besides the house on Campden Hill, Susan had 
a place (left her by Hayman when he died) just over the 
border in Hants, where the Hayman boys had learned to be 
such good shots and riders, as it was believed, which w^as 
of course nice for them and creditable to everybody; and 
the fact of o^vning something really countrified seemed 
somehow to excuse the dispersion of her remains — though 
what could have put cremation into her head they could 
not think ! The usual invitations, however, had been 
issued, and Soames had gone down and young Nicholas, 
and the Will had been quite satisfactory so far as it went, 
for she had only had a life interest; and everything had 
gone quite smoothly to the children in equal shares. 



IN CHANCERY 443 

The third reason why Susan's burial made little stir was 
the most expansive of all. It was summed up daringly by 
Euphemia, the pale, the thin: " Well, / think people have 
a right to their own bodies, even when they're dead." 
Coming from a daughter of Nicholas, a Liberal of the old 
school and most tyrannical, it was a startling remark — show- 
ing in a flash what a lot of water had run under bridges since 
the death of Aunt Ann in 'S6, just when the proprietorship 
of So imes over his wife's body was acquiring the uncertainty 
which had led to such disaster. Euphemia, of course, 
spoke like a child, and had no experience; for though well 
over thirty by now, her name was still Forsyte. But, making 
all allowances, her remark did undoubtedly show expansion 
of the principle of liberty, decentrahsation and shift in the 
central point of possession from others to oneself. When 
Nicholas heard his daughter's remark from Aunt Hester he 
had rapped out: " Wives and daughters I There's no end 
to their liberty in these days. I knew that ' Jackson ' case 
would lead to things — lugging in Habeas Corpus like that ! " 
He had, of course, never really forgiven the Married Woman's 
Property Act, which would so have interfered with him if 
he had not mercifully married before it was passed. But, 
in truth, there was no denying the revolt among the younger 
Forsytes against being owned by others; that, as it were. 
Colonial disposition to own oneself, which is the paradoxical 
forerunner of Imperialism, was making progress all the time. 
They were all now married, except George, confirmed to 
the Turf and the Iseeum Club; Francie, pursuing her musical 
career in a studio ofF the King's Road, Chelsea, and still 
taking 'lovers' to dances; Euphemia, living at home and 
complaining of Nicholas; and those two Dromios, Giles 
and Jesse Hayman. Of the third generation there were not 
very many — young Jolyon had three, Winifred Dartie four, 
young Nicholas six already, young Roger bad one, Marian 



444 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Tweetyman one; St. John Hayman two. But the rest of 
the sixteen married — Soames, Rachel and Cicely of James* 
family; Eust ce and Thomas of Roger's; Ernest, Archibald 
and Florence of Nicholas'; Augustus and Annabel Spender 
of the Hayman's — were going down the years unreproduced. 

Thus, of the ten old Forsytes twenty-one young Forsytes 
had been born; but of the twenty-one young Forsytes there 
were as yet only seventeen descendants; and it already 
seemed unlikely that there would be more than a further 
unconsidered trifle or so. A student of statistics must have 
noticed that the birth rate had varied in accordance with 
the rate of interest for your money. Grandfather ' Superior 
Dosset ' Forsyte in the early nineteenth century had been 
getting ten per cent, for his, hence ten children. Those 
ten, leaving out the four who had not married, and Juley, 
whose husband Septimus Small had, of course, died almost 
at once, had averaged from four to five per cent, for theirs, 
and produced accordingly. The twenty-one whom they 
produced were now getting barely three per cent, in the 
Consols to which their fathers had mostly tied the Settle- 
ments they made to avoid death duties, and the six of them 
who had been reproduced had seventeen children, or just 
the proper two and five-sixths per stem. 

There were other reasons, too, for this mild reproduction. 
A distrust of their earning powers, natural where a sufficiency 
is guaranteed, together with the knowledge that their fathers 
did not die, kept them cautious. If one had children and 
not much income, the standard of taste and comfort must 
of necessity go down; what was enough for two was not 
enough for four, and so on — it would be better to wait and 
see what Father did. Besides, it was nice to be able to take 
holidays unhampered. Sooner in fact than own children, 
they preferred to concentrate on the ownership of themselves, 
conforming to the growing tendency — fi-n de siecle^ as it 



IN CHANCERY 445 

was called. In this way, little risk was run, and one would be 
able to have a motor-car. Indeed, Eustace already had one, 
but it had shaken him horribly, and broken one of his eye 
teeth; so that it would be better to wait till they were a little 
safer. In the meantime, no more children ! Even young 
Nicholas was drawing in his horns, and had made no addition 
to his six for quite three years. 

The corporate decay, however, of the Forsytes, their 
dispersion rather, of which all this was symptomatic, had 
not advanced so far as to prevent a rally when Roger Forsyte 
died in 1899. It had been a glorious summer, and after 
holidays abroad and at the sea they were practically all 
back in London, when Roger with a touch of his old origin- 
ality had suddenly breathed his last at his own house in 
Princes Gardens. At Timothy's it was whispered sadly 
that poor Roger had always been eccentric about his diges- 
tion — had he not, for instance, preferred German mutton 
to all the other brands? 

Be that as it may, his funeral at Highgate had been perfect, 
and coming away from it Soames Forsyte made almost 
mechanically for his Uncle Timothy's in the Bayswater 
Road. The * Old Things ' — Aunt Juley and Aunt Hester — 
would like to hear about it. His father — ^James — at eighty- 
eight had not felt up to the fatigue of the funeral; and 
Timothy himself, of course, had not gone; so that Nicholas 
had been the only brother present. Still, there had been 
a fair gathering; and it would cheer Aunts Juley and Hester 
up to know. The kindly thought was not unmixed with the 
inevitable longing to get something out of everything you 
do, which is the chief characteristic of Forsytes, and indeed 
of the saner elements in every nation. In this practice of 
taking family matters to Timothy's in the Bayswater Road, 
Soames was but following in the footsteps of his father, who 
had been in the habit of going at least once a week to see his 



446 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

sisters at Timothy's, and had only given it up when he lost 
his nerve at eighty-six, and could not go out without Emily. 
To go with Emily was of no use, for who could really talk 
to anyone in the presence of his own wife f Like James in 
the old days, Soames found time to go there nearly every 
Sunday, and sit in the little drawing-room into which, with 
his undoubted taste, he had introduced a good deal of change 
and china not quite up to his own fastidious mark, and at 
least two rather doubtful Barbizon pictures, at Christmas- 
tides. He himself, who had done extremely well with the 
Barbizons,had for some years past moved towards theMarises, 
Israels, and Mauve, and was hoping to do better. In the 
riverside house which he now inhabited near Mapledurham 
he had a gallery, beautifully hung and lighted, to which 
few London dealers were strangers. It served, too, as a 
Sunday afternoon attraction in those week-end parties which 
his sisters, Winifred or Rachel, occasionally organised for 
him. For though he was but a taciturn showman, his quiet 
collected determinism seldom failed to influence his guests, 
who knew that his reputation was grounded not on mere 
aesthetic fancy, but on his power of gauging the future of 
market values. When he went to Timothy's he almost 
always had some little tale of triumph over a dealer to unfold, 
and dearly he loved that coo of pride with which his aunts 
would greet it. This afternoon, however, he was differently 
animated, coming from Roger's funeral in his neat dark 
clothes — not quite black, for after all an uncle was but an 
uncle, and his soul abhorred excessive display of feeling. 
Leaning back in a marqueterie chair and gazing down his 
uplifted nose at the sky-blue walls plastered with gold frames, 
he was noticeably silent. Whether because he had been to a 
funeral or not, the peculiar Forsyte build of his face was seen 
to the best advantage this afternoon — a face concave and 
long, with a jaw which divested of flesh would have seemed 



IN CHANCERY 447 

extravagant : altogether a chinny face, though not at all ill- 
looking. He was feeling more strongly than ever that 
Timothy's was hopelessly * rum-ti-too,' and the souls of 
his aunts dismally mid -Victorian. The subject on v^^hich 
alone he w^anted to talk — his own undivorced position — 
was unspeakable And yet it occupied his mind to the 
exclusion of all else. It was only since the Spring that this 
had been so, and a new feeling grown up which was egging 
him on towards what he knew might well be folly in a Forsyte 
of forty-five. More and more of late he had been conscious 
that he was ' getting on.' The fortune, already considerable 
when he conceived the house at Robin Hill which had finally 
wrecked his marriage with Irene, had mounted with sur- 
prising vigour in the twelve lonely years during which he 
had devoted himself to little else. He was worth to-day 
well over a hundred thousand pounds, and had no one to 
leave it to — no real object for going on with what was his 
religion. Even if he were to relax his efforts, money made 
money, and he felt that he would have a hundred and fifty 
thousand before he knew where he was. There had always 
been a strongly domestic, philoprogenitive side to Soames ; 
baulked and frustrated, it had hidden itself away, but now 
had crept out again in this his ' prime of life.' Concreted 
and focussed of late by the attraction of a girl's undoubted 
beauty, it had become a veritable prepossession. 

And this girl was French, not likely to lose her head, or 
accept any unlegalised position. Moreover, Soames him- 
self disliked the thought of that. He had tasted of the 
sordid side of sex during those long years of forced celibacy, 
secretively, and always with disgust, for he was fastidious, 
and his sense of law and order innate. He wanted no hole 
and corner liaison. A marriage at the Embassy in Paris, 
a few months' travel, and he could bring Annette back 
quite separated from a past which in truth was not too 



448 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

distinguished, for she only kept the accounts in her 
mother's Soho Restaurant; he could bring her back as some- 
thing very new and chic with her French taste and self- 
possession, to reign at ' The Shelter ' near Mapledurham. 
On Forsyte 'Change and among his riverside friends it 
would be current that he had met a charming French girl 
on his travels and married hei. There would be the flavour 
of romance, and a certain cachet about a French wife. No ! 
He was not at all afraid of that; it was only this cursed 
undivorced condition of his, and — and the question whether 
Annette would take him, which he dared not put to the 
touch until he had a clear and even dazzling future to 
offer her. 

In his aunts' drawing-room he heard with but muffled 
ears those usual questions : How was his dear father ? Not 
going out, of course, now that the weather was turning 
chilly ? Would Soames be sure to tell him that Hester 
had found boiled holly leaves most comforting for that pain 
in her side; a poultice every three hours, with red flannel 
afterwards. And could he relish just a- little pot of their 
very best prune preserve — ^it was so delicious this year, and 
had such a wonderful efl?ect. Oh ! and about the Darties — 
had, Soames heard that dear Winifred was having a most 
distressing time with Montague ? Timothy thought she 
really ought to have protection. It was said — but Soames 
mustn't take this for certain — that he had given some of 
Winifred's jewellery to a dreadful dancer. It was such a 
bad example for dear Val just as he was going to college. 
Soames had not heard t Oh, but he must go and see his 
sister and look into it at once ! And did he think these 
Boers were really going to resist ? Timothy was in quite a 
stew about it. The price of Consols was so high, and he had 
such a lot of money in them. Did Soames think they must 
go down if there was a war ? Soames nodded. But it would 



IN CHANCERY 449 

be over very quickly. It would be so bad for Timothy if 
it wasn't. And of course Soames' dear father would feel 
it very much at his age. Luckily poor dear Roger had been 
spared this dreadful anxiety. And Aunt Juley with a little 
handkerchief wiped away the large tear trying to climb 
the permanent pout on her now quite withered left cheek; 
she was remembering dear Roger, and all his originality, 
and how he used to stick pins into her when they were little 
together. Aunt Hester, with her instinct for avoiding the 
unpleasant, here chimed in: Did Soames think they would 
make Mr. Chamberlain Prime Minister at once ? He would 
settle it all so quickly. She would like to see that old 
Kruger sent to St. Helena. She could remember so well 
the news of Napoleon's death, and what a relief it had been 
to his grandfather. Of course she and Juley — " We were in 
pantalettes then, my dear " — had not felt it much at the 
time. 

Soames took a cup of tea from her, drank it quickly, and ate 
three of those macaroons for which Timothy's was famous. 
His faint, pale, supercilious smile had deepened just a little. 
Really, his family remained hopelessly provincial, however 
much of London they might possess between them. In 
these go-ahead days their provincialism stared out even more 
than it used to. Why, old Nicholas was still a Free Trader, 
and a member of that antediluvian home of Liberalism, 
the Remove Club — though, to be sure, the members were 
pretty well all Conservative now, or he himself could not 
have joined; and Timothy, they said, still wore a nightcap. 
Aunt Juley spoke again. Dear Soames was looking so well, 
hardly a day older than he did when dear Ann died, and they 
were all there together, dear Jolyon, and dear Swithin, 
and dear Roger. She paused and caught the tear which had 
climbed the pout on her right cheek. Did he — did he ever 
hear anything of Irene nowadays ? Aunt Hester visibly 



450 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

interposed her shoulder. Really, Juley was always saying 
something ! The smile left Soames' face, and he put his 
cup down. Here was his subject broached for him, and for 
all hi<? desire to expand, he could not take advantage. 

Aunt Juley went on rather hastily: 

" They say dear Jolyon first left her that fifteen thousand 
out and out; then of course he saw it would not be right, 
and made it for her life only." 

Had Soames heard that ? 

Soames nodded. 

'* Your cousin Jolyon is a widower now. He is her trustee; 
you knew that, of course ?" 

Soames shook his head. He did know, but wished to show 
no interest. Young Jolyon and he had not met since the 
day of Bosinney's death. 

" He must be quite middle-aged by now," went on Aunt 
Juley dreamily. " Let me see, he was born when your dear 
uncle lived in Mount Street; long before they went to 
Stanhope Gate — in December'47j*ust before the Commune. 
He's over fifty ! Fancy that 1 Such a pretty baby, and 
we were all so proud of him; the very first of you all." 
Aunt Juley sighed, and a lock of not quite her own hair 
came loose and straggled, so that Aunt Hester gave a little 
shiver. Soames rose, he was experiencing a curious piece of 
self-discovery. That old wound to his pride and self-esteem 
was not yet closed. He had come thinking he could talk 
of it, even wanting to talk of his fettered condition, and — 
behold ! he was shrinking away from this reminder by Aunt 
Juley, renowned for her Malapropisms. 

Oh, Soames was not going already ! 

Soames smiled a little vindictively, and said: 

" Yes. Good-bye. Remember me to Uncle Timothy ! " 
And, leaving a cold kiss on each forehead, whose wrinkles 
seemed to try and cling to his lips as if longing to be kissed 



IN CHANCERY 451 

away, he left them looking brightly after him — dear Soames> 
it had been so good of him to come to-day, when they were 

not feeling very ! 

With compunction tweaking at his chest Soames descended 
the stairs, where was always that rather pleasant smell of 
camphor and port wine, and house where draughts are not 
permitted. The poor old things — he had not meant to be 
unkind ! And in the street he instantly forgot them, re- 
possessed by the image of Annette and the thought of the 
cursed coil around him. Why had he not pushed the 
thing through and obtained divorce when that wretched 
Bosinney was run over, and there was evidence galore for the 
asking ! And he turned towards his sister Winifred Dartie's 
residence in Green Street, Mayfair. 



CHAPTER II 

EXIT A MAN OF THE WORLD 

That a man of the world so subject to the vicissitudes of 
fortune as Montague Dartie should still be living in a house 
he had inhabited twenty years at least would have been more 
noticeable if the rent, rates, taies, and repairs of that house 
had not been defrayed by his father-in-law. * By that simple 
if wholesale device James Forsyte had secured a certain 
stability in the lives of his daughter and his grandchildren. 
After all, there is something invalaable about a safe roof 
over the head of a sportsman so dashing as Dartie. Until 
the events of the last few days he had been almost super- 
naturally steady all this year. The fact was he had acquired 
a half share in a filly of George Forsyte's, who had gone 
irreparably on the turf, to the horror of Roger, now stilled 
by the grave. Sleeve-links, by Martyr, out of Shirt -on-fire, 
by Suspender, was a bay filly, three years old, who for a 
variety of reasons had never shown her true form. With half 
ownership of this hopeful animal, all the idealism latent 
somewhere in Dartie, as in every other man, had put up its 
head, and kept him quietly ardent for months past. When 
a man has something good to live for it is astonishing how 
sober he becomes; and what Dartie had was really good — a 
three to one chance for an autumn handicap, publicly 
assessed at twenty-five to one. The old-fashioned heaven 
was a poor thing beside it, and his shirt was on the daughter 
of Shirt-on-fire. But how much more than his shirt de- 
pended on this granddaughter of Suspender ! At that 
roving age of forty-five, trying to Forsytes — and, though 

452 



IN CHANCERY 453 

perhaps less distinguishable from any other age, trying even 
to Darties — Montague had fixed his current fancy on a 
dancer. It was no mean passion, but without money, and a 
good deal of it, likely to remain a love as airy as her skirts; 
and Dartie never had any money, subsisting miserably on 
what he could beg or borrow from Winifred — a woman of 
character, who kept him because he was the father of her 
children, and from a lingering admiration for those now- 
dying Wardour Street good looks which in their youth had 
fascinated her. She, together with anyone else who would 
lend him anything, and his losses at cards and on the turf, 
(extraordinary how some men make a good thing out of 
losses), were his whole means of subsistence; for James was 
now too old and nervous to approach, and Soames too 
formidably adamant. It is not too much to say that Dartie 
had been living on hope for months. He had never been 
fond of money for itself, had always despised the Forsytes 
with their investing habits, though careful to make such 
use of them as he could. What he liked about money was 
what it bought — personal sensation. 

" No real sportsman cares for money," he would say, 
borrowing a * pony ' if it was no use trying for a * monkey.' 
There was something delicious about Montague Dartie. He 
was, as George Forsyte said, a * daisy.' 

The morning of the Handicap dawned clear and bright, 
the last day of September, and Dartie, who had travelled 
to Newmarket the night before, arrayed himself in spotless 
checks and walked to an eminence to see his half of the fiUy 
take her final canter. If she won he would be a cool three 
thou, in pocket — a poor enough recompense for the sobriety 
and patience of these weeks of hope, while they had been 
nursing her for this race. But he had not been able to afford 
more. Should he * lay it off ' at the eight to one to which 
she had advanced ? This was his single thought while the 



454 



THE FORSYTE SAGA 



larks sang above him, and the grassy downs smelled sweet, 
and the pretty filly passed, tossing her head and glowing like 
satin. After all, if he lost it would not be he who paid, 
and to ' lay it oil ' would reduce his winnings to some fifteen 
hundred — hardly enough to purchase a dancer out and out. 
Even more potent was the itch in the blood of all the Darties 
for a real flutter. And turning to George he said: " She's 
a clipper. She'll win hands down; I shall go the whole 
hog." George, who had laid off every penny, and a few 
besides, and stood to win, however it came out, grinned down 
on him from his bulky height, with the words : " So ho, my 
wild one ! " for after a chequered apprenticeship weathered 
with the money of a deeply complaining Roger, his Forsyte 
blood was beginning to stand him in good stead in the pro- 
fession of owner. 

There are moments of disillusionment in the lives of m-en 
from which the sensitive recorder shrinks. Sufiice it to say 
that the good thing fell down. Sleeve-links finished In the 
ruck. Dartie's shirt was lost. 

Between the passing of these things, and the day when 
Soames turned his face towards Green Street, what had not 
happened ! 

When a man with the constitution of Montague Dartie 
has exercised self-control for months from religious motives, 
and remains unrewarded, he does not curse God and die, 
he curses God and lives, to the distress of his family. 

Winifred — a plucky woman, if a little too fashionable — 
who had borne the brunt of him for exactly twenty-one 
years, had never really believed that he would do what he 
now did. Like so many wives, she thought she knew the 
worst, but she had not yet known him in his forty-fifth 
year, when he, like other men, felt that it was now or never. 
Paying on the 2nd of October a visit of inspection to her 
jewel case, she was horrified to observe that her woman's 



IN CHANCERY 455 

crown and glory was gone — the pearls which Montagu 
had given her in '86, when Benedict was born, and which 
James had been compelled to pay for in the spring of '87, 
to save scandal. She consulted her husband at once. He 
* pooh-poohed ' the matter. They would turn up ! Nor 
till she said sharply : " Very well, then, Monty, I shall go 
down to Scotland Yard wyj^//," did he consent to take the 
matter in hand. Alas ! that the steady and resolved con- 
tinuity of design necessary to the accomplishment of sw^eep- 
ing operations should be liable to interruption by drink. 
That night Dartie returned home without a care in the 
world or a particle of reticence. Under normal conditions 
Winifred would merely have locked her door and let him 
sleep it off, but torturing suspense about her pearls had 
caused her to wait up for him. Taking a small revolver 
from his pocket and holding on to the dining table, he told 
her at once that he did not care a cursh whether she lived 
s'long as she was quiet; but he himself wash tired o' life. 
Winifred, holding on to the other side of the dining table, 
answ^ered : 

" Don't be a clown, Monty. Have you been to Scotland 
Yard r" 

Placing the revolver against his chest, Dartie had pulled 
the trigger several times. It was not loaded. Dropping it 
with an imprecation, he had muttered: " For shake o' the 
children," and sank into a chair. Winifred, having picked 
up the revolver, gave him some soda water. The liquor had 
a magical effect. Life had ill-used him; Winifred had never 
' unshtood'm.' If he hadn't the right to take the pearls 
he had given her himself, who had ? " That Spanish iilly 
had got'm. If Winifred had any 'jection he w'd cui — her — 
throat. What was the matter with that ? (Probably the 
first use of that celebrated phrase — so obscure are the origins 
of even the most classical language 1) 



456 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Winifred, who had learned self-containment in a hard 
school, looked up at him, and said: "Spanish filly! Do 
you mean that girl we saw dancing in the Pandemonium 
Ballet ? Well, you are a thief and a blackguard." It had 
been the last straw on a sorely loaded consciousness; reaching 
up from his chair Dartie seized his wife's arm, and recalling 
the achievements of his boyhood, twisted it. Winifred 
endured the agony with tears in her eyes, but no murmur. 
Watching for a moment of weakness, she wrenched it free; 
then placing the dining table between them, said between 
her teeth: " You are the limit, Monty." (Undoubtedly the 
inception of that phrase — so is English formed under the 
stress of circumstance.) Leaving Dartie with foam on his 
dark moustache she went upstairs, and, after locking her door 
and bathing her arm in hot water, lay awake all night, 
thinking of her pearls adorning the neck of another, and of the 
consideration her husband had presumably received therefor. 

The man of the world awoke with a sense of being lost to 
that world, and a dim recollection of having been called a 
* limit.' He sat for half an hour in the dawn and the 
armchair where he had slept — perhaps the unhappiest 
half-hour he had ever spent, for even to a Dartie there is 
something tragic about an end. And he knew that he had 
reached it. Never again would he sleep in his dining-room 
and wake with the light filtering through those curtains 
bought by Winifred at Nickens and Jarveys with the money 
of James. Never again eat a devilled kidney at that rose- 
wood table, after a roll in the sheets and a hot bath. He 
took his note case from his dress coat pocket. Four hundred 
pounds, in fives and tens — the remainder of the proceeds 
of his half of Sleeve-links, sold last night, cash down, to 
George Forsyte, who, having won over the race, had not 
conceived the sudden dislike to the animal which he himself 
now felt. The ballet was going to Buenos Aires the day 



IN CHANCERY 457 

after to-morrow, and he was going too. Full value for the 
pearls had not yet been received; he was only at the soup. 

He stole upstairs. Not daring to have a bath, or shave 
(besides, the water would be cold), he changed his clothes 
and packed stealthily all he could. It was hard to leave 
so many shining boots, but one must sacrifice something. 
Then, carrying a valise in either hand, he stepped out on 
to the landing. The house was very quiet — that house 
where he had begotten his four children. It was a curious 
moment, this, outside the room of his wife, once admired, 
if not perhaps loved, who had called him ' the limit.' He 
steeled himself with that phrase, and tiptoed on; but the 
next door was harder to pass. It was the room his daughters 
slept in. Maud was at school, but Imogen would be lying 
there; and moisture came into Dartie's early morning eyes. 
She was the most like him of the four, with her dark hair, 
and her luscious brown glance. Just coming out, a pretty 
thing ! He set down the two vaHses. This almost formal 
abdication of fatherhood hurt him. The morning light 
fell on a face which worked with real emotion. Nothing 
so false as penitence moved him; but genuine paternal 
feeling, and that melancholy of * never again.' He moist- 
ened his lips; and complete irresolution for a moment 
paralysed his legs in their check trousers. It was hard — hard 
to be thus compelled to leave his home ! " D— n it !" he 
muttered, " I never thought it would come to this." Noises 
above warned him that the maids were beginning to get up. 
And grasping the two valises, he tiptoed on downstairs. 
His cheeks were wet, and the knowledge of that was com- 
forting, as though it guaranteed the genuineness of his 
sacrifice. He lingered a little in the rooms below, to pack 
all the cigars he had, some papers, a crush hat, a silver 
cigarette box, a Ruff's Guide. Then, mixing himself 3 
stiff whisky and soda, and lighting a cigarette, he stood 



458 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

hesitating before 2 photograph of his two girls, in a silver 
frame. It belonged to Winifred. ' Never mind,' he 
thought; * she can get another taken, and I can't !' He 
slipped it into the valise. Then, putting on his hat and 
overcoat, he took two others, his best malacca cane, an um- 
brella, and opened the front door. Closing it softly behind 
him, he walked out, burdened as he had never been in all his 
life, and made his way round the corner to wait there for 
an early cab to come by. . . . 

Thus had passed Montague Dartie in the forty-fifth year 
of his age from the house which he had called his own. . . . 

When Winifred came down, and realised that he was not 
in the house, her first feeling was one of dull anger that he 
should thus elude the reproaches she had carefully prepared 
in those long wakeful hours. He had gone off to Newmarket 
or Brighton, with that woman as likely as not. Disgusting ! 
Forced to a complete reticence before Imogen and the 
servants, and aware that her father's nerves would never 
stand the disclosure, she had been unable to refrain from 
going to Timothy's that afternoon, and pouring out the 
story of the pearls to Aunts Juley and Hester in utter confi- 
dence. It was only on the following morning that she 
noticed the disappearance of that photograph. What did 
it mean ? Careful examination of her husband's relics 
prompted the thought that he had gone for good. As that 
conclusion hardened she stood quite still in the middle of 
his dressing-room, with all the drawers pulled out, to try 
and realise what she was feeling. By no means easy ! 
Though he was * the limit ' he was yet her property, and 
for the life of her she could not but feel the poorer. To be 
widowed yet not widowed at forty-two; with four children; 
made conspicuous, an object of commiseration ! Gone to 
the arms of a Spanish jade ! Memories, feelings, which she 
had thought quite dead, revived within her, painful, sullen. 



IN CHANCERY 459 

tenacious. Mechanically she closed drawer after drawer, 
went to her bed, lay on it, and buried her face in the pillows. 
She did not cry. -What was the use of that? When she 
^ot off her bed to go down to lunch she felt as if only one 
thing could do her good, and that was to have Val home. 
He — her eldest boy — who was to go to Oxford next month 
at James' expense, was at Littlehampton taking his final 
gallops with his trainer for Smalls, as he would have phrased 
it following his father's diction. She caused a telegram to 
be sent to him. 

" I must see about his clothes," she said to Imogen; " I 
can't have him going up to Oxford all anyhow. Those 
boys are so particular." 

" Val's got heaps of things," Imogen answered. 

" I know; but they want overhauling. I hope he'll come.*' 

" He'll come like a shot, Mother. But he'll probably 
skew his Exam." 

'* I can't help that," said Winifred. " I want him." 

With an innocent shrewd look at her mother's face, 
Imogen kept silence. It was father, of course ! Val did 
come ' like a shot ' at six o'clock. 

Imagine a cross between a pickle and a Forsyte and you 
have young Publius Valerius Dartie. A youth so named 
could hardly turn out otherwise. W^hen he was born, 
Winifred, in the heyday of spirits, and the craving for dis- 
tinction, had determined that her children should have 
names such as no others had ever had. (It was a mercy — 
she felt now — that she had just not named Imogen Thisbe.) 
But it was to George Forsyte, always a wag, that Val's christ- 
ening was due. It so happened that Dartie dining with him, 
a week after the birth of his son and heir, had mentioned this 
aspiration of Winifred's. 

" Call him Cato," said George, " it'll be damned piquant !" 
He had just won a tenner on a horse of that name. 



4^ THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" Cato !" Dartie had replied — they were a little * on ' 
as the phrase was even in those days — " it's not a Christian 
name." 

" Hallo you !" George called to a waiter in knee breeches. 
" Bring me the Encyc^fedia Brit, from the Library, letter C." 

The waiter brought it. 

" Here you are !" said George, pointing with his cigar: 
" Cato — Publius Valerius by Virgil out of Lydia. That's 
what you want. Publius Valerius is Christian enough." 

Dartie, on arriving home, had informed Winifred. She 
had been charmed. It was so * chic' And Publius 
Valerius became the baby's name, though it afterwards 
transpired that they had got hold of the inferior Cato. 
In 1890, however, when little Publius was nearly ten, the 
word * chic ' went out of fashion, and sobriety came in; 
Winifred began to have doubts. They were confirmed by 
little Publius himself who returned from his first term at 
school complaining that life was a burden to him — they 
called him Pubby. Winifred — a woman of real decision — 
promptly changed his school and his name to Val, the 
Publius being dropped even as an initial. 

At nineteen he was a limber, freckled youth with a wide 
mouth, light eyes, long dark lashes, a rather charming smile, 
considerable knowledge of what he should not know, and no 
experience of what he ought to do. Few boys had more 
narrowly escaped being expelled — the engaging rascal. 
After kissing his mother and pinching Imogen, he ran upstairs 
three at a time, and came down four, dressed for dinner. 
He was awfully sorry, but his * trainer,' who had come up 
too, had asked him to dine at the Oxford and Cambridge; 
it wouldn't do to miss — the old chap would be hurt. Wini- 
fred let him go with an unhappy pride. She had wanted 
him at home, but it was very nice to know that his tutor was 
80 fond of him. He went out with a wink at Imogen, saying: 



IN CHANCERY 461 

" I say, Mother, could I have two plover's eggs when I 
come in ? — cook's got some. They top up so jolly well. 
Oh ! and look here — have you any money ? — I had to borrow 
a fiver from old Snobby." 

Winifred, looking at him with fond shrewdness, answered: 

" My dear, you are naughty about money. But you 
shouldn't pay him to-night, anyway; you're his guest." 
How nice and slim he looked in his white waistcoat, and 
his dark thick lashes ! 

" Oh, but we may go to the theatre, you see, Mother; 
and I think I ought to stand the tickets; he's always hard 
up, you know." 

Winifred produced a five-pound note, saying: 

" Well, perhaps you'd better pay him, but you mustn't 
stand the tickets too." 

Val pocketed the fiver. 

« If I do, I can't," he said. " Good-night, Mum !" 

He went out with his head up and his hat cocked joyously, 
sniffing the air of Piccadilly like a young hound loosed into 
covert. Jolly good biz ! After that mouldy old slow hole 
down there ! 

He found his * tutor,' not indeed at the Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, but at the Goat's Club. This * tutor ' was a year 
older than himself, a good-looking youth, with fine brown 
eyes, and smooth dark hair, a small mouth, an oval face, 
languid, immaculate, cool to a degree, one of those young 
men who without effort establish moral ascendancy over 
their companions. He had missed being expelled from 
school a year before Val, had spent that year at Oxford, 
and Val could almost see a halo round his head. His name 
was Crum, and no one could get through money quicker. 
It seemed to be his only aim in life — dazzling to young Val, 
in whom, however, the Forsyte would stand apart, now and 
then, wondering where the value for that money was. 



462 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

They dined quietly, in style and taste; left the Club smok- 
ing cigars, with just two bottles inside them, and dropped 
into stalls at the Liberty. For Val the sound of comic 
songs, the sight of lovely legs were fogged and interrupted 
by haunting fears that he would never equal Crum's quiet 
dandyism. His idealism was roused; and when that is so, 
one is never quite at ease. Surely he had too wide a mouth, 
not the best cut of waistcoat, no braid on his trousers, and 
his lavender gloves had no thin black stitchings down the 
back. Besides, he laughed too much — Crum never laughed, 
he only smiled, with his regular dark brows raised a little so 
that they formed a gable over his just drooped lids. No ! he 
would never be Crum's equal. All the same it was a jolly 
good show, and Cynthia Dark simply ripping. Between 
the acts Crum regaled him with particulars of Cynthia's 
private life, and the awful knowledge became Val's that, 
if he liked, Crum could go behind. He simply longed to 
say: " I say, take me !" but dared not, because of his 
deficiencies; and this made the last act or two almost 
miserable. On coming out Crum said: " It's half an hour 
before they close; let's go on to the Pandemonium." They 
took a hansom to travel the hundred yards, and seats cost- 
ing seven-and-six apiece because they were going to stand, 
and walked into the Promenade. It was in these little things, 
this utter negligence of money, that Crum had such engaging 
polish. The ballet was on its last legs and night, and the 
traffic of the Promenade was suflFering for the moment. 
Men and women were crowded in three rows against the 
barrier. The whirl and dazzle on the stage, the half dark, the 
mingled tobacco fumes and women's scent, all that curious 
lure to promiscuity which belongs to Promenades, began 
to free young Val from his idealism. He looked admiringly 
in a young woman's face, saw she was not young, and quickly 
looked away. Shades of Cynthia Dark ! The young 



IN CHANCERY 463 

woman's arm touched his unconsciously; there was a scent 
of musk and mignonette. Val looked round the corner of 
his lashes. Perhaps she was young, after all. Her foot trod 
on his; she begged his pardon. He said: 

" Not at all; jolly good ballet, isn't it ?" 

" Oh, I'm tired of it; aren't you ?" 

Young Val smiled — his wide, rather charming smile. 
Beyond that he did not go — not yet convinced. The 
Forsyte in him stood out for greater certainty. And on 
the stage the ballet whirled its kaleidoscope of snow-white, 
salmon-pink, and emerald-green, and violet, and seemed 
suddenly to freeze into a stilly spangled pyramid. Applause 
broke out, and it was over ! Maroon curtains had cut it 
off. The semi-circle of men and women round the barrier 
broke up, the young woman's arm pressed his. A little 
way off disturbance seemed centring round a man with a 
pink carnation; Val stole another glance at the young 
woman, who was looking towards it. Three men, unsteady, 
emerged, walking arm in arm. The one in the centre wore 
the pink carnation, a w^hite waistcoat, a dark moustache; 
he reeled a little as he walked. Crum's voice said slow and 
level: " Look at that bounder, he's screwed !" Val turned 
to look. The * bounder ' had disengaged his arm, and was 
pointing straight at them. Crum's voice, level as ever, said: 

" He seems to know you !" The ' bounder ' spoke: 

" H'llo !" he said. " You f'Uows, look ! There's my 
young rascal of a son !" 

Val saw. It was his father ! He could have sunk into 
the crimson carpet. It was not the meeting in this place, 
not even that his father was ' screwed '; it was Crum's word 
* bounder,' which, as by heavenly revelation, he perceived 
at that moment to be true. Yes, his father looked a bounder 
with his dark good looks, and his pink carnation, and his 
square, self-assertive walk. And without a word he ducked 



464 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

behind the young woman and slipped out of the promenade. 
He heard the word, " Val !" behind him, and ran down 
deep-carpeted steps past the * chuckers-out,' into the Square. 
To be ashamed of his own father is perhaps the bitterest 
experience a young man can go through It seemed to 
Val, hurrying away, that his career had ended before it had 
begun. How could he go up to Oxford now amongst all 
those chaps, those splendid friends of Crum's, who would 
know that his father was a ' bounder '! And suddenly he 
hated Crum. Who the devil was Crum, to say that ? If Crum 
had been beside him at that moment, he would certainly 
have been jostled off the pavement. His own father — his 
own ! A choke came up in his throat, and he dashed his 
hands down deep into his overcoat pockets. Damn Crum ! 
He conceived the wild idea of running back and finding his 
father, taking him by the arm and walking about with him 
in front of Crum; but gave it up at once and pursued his 
way down Piccadilly. A young woman planted herself 
before him. " Not so angry, darling !" He shied, dodged 
her, and suddenly became quite cool. If Crum ever said a 
word, he would jolly well punch his head, and there would 
be an end of it. He walked a hundred yards or more, 
contented with that thought, then lost its comfort utterly. 
It wasn't simple like that ! He remembered how, at school, 
when some parent came down who did not pass the standard, 
it just clung to the fellow afterwards. It was one of those 
things nothing could remove. Why had his mother married 
his father, if he was a ' bounder ' ? It was bitterly unfair 
— jolly low-down on a fellow to give him a * bounder ' for 
father. The worst of it was that now Crum had spoken the 
word, he realised that he had long known subconsciously 
that his father was not * the clean potato.' It was the 
beastliest thing that had ever happened to him — beastliest 
thing that had ever happened to any fellow ! And, down- 



IN CHANCERY 465 

hearted as he had never yet been, he came to Green Street, 
and let himself in with a smuggled latchkey. In the dining- 
room his plover's eggs were set invitingly, with some cut 
bread and butter, and a little whisky at the bottom of a 
decanter— just enough, as Winifred had thought, for him 
to feel himself a man. It made him sick to look at them, 
and he went upstairs. 

Winifred heard him pass, and thought: " The dear boy's 
in. Thank goodness ! If he takes after his father I don't 
know what I shall do ! But he won't — he's like me. Dear 
Val !" 



16 



CHAPTER III 

SOAMES PREPARES TO TAKE STEPS 

When Soames entered his sister's little Louis Quinze drawing- 
room, with its small balcony, always flowered with hanging 
geraniums in the summer, and now with pots of Lilium 
Auratum, he was struck by the immutability of human 
affairs. It looked just the same as on his first visit to the 
newly m.arried Darties twenty-one years ago. He had 
chosen the furniture him.self, and so completely that no 
subsequent purchase had ever been able to change the 
room's atmosphere. Yes, he had founded his sister well. 
and she had wanted it. Indeed, it said a great deal for 
Winifred that after all this time with Dartie she remained 
well-founded. From the first Soames had nosed out 
Dartie's nature from underneath the plausibility, savoir 
faire^ and good looks which had dazzled Winifred, her 
mother, and even James, to the extent of permitting the 
fellow to marry his daughter without bringing anything Into 
settlement — a fatal thing to do. 

Winifred, whom he noticed next to the furniture, was 
sitting at her Buhl bureau with a letter in her hand. She 
rose and came towards him. Tall as himxself, strong in the 
cheekbones, well tailored, something in her face disturbed 
Soames. She crumpled the letter in her hand, but seemed 
to change her mind and held it out to him. He was her 
lawyer as well as her brother. 

Soames read, on Iseeum Club paper, these words: 

" You will not get chance to insult in my own again. I 
am leaving country to-morrow. It's played out. I'm 

466 



IN CHANCERY \6j 

tired of being insulted by you. You've brought on yourself. 
No self-respecting man can stand it. I shall not ask you for 
anything again. Good-bye. I took the photograph of the 
two girls. Give them my love. I don't care what your 
family say. It's all their doing. I'm going to live new life. 

" M. D." 

This after-dinner note had a splotch on it not yet quite 
dry. He looked at Winifred — the splotch had clearly come 
from her; and he checked the words: " Good riddance!" 
Then it occurred to him that with this letter she was enter- 
ing that very state which he himself so earnestly desired to 
quit — the state of a Forsyte who was not divorced. 

Winifred had turned away, and was taking a long sniff 
from a little gold-topped bottle. A dull commiseration, 
together with a vague sense of injury, crept about Soames' 
heart. He had come to her to talk of his own position, and 
get sympathy, and here was she in the same position, wanting 
of course to talk of it, and get sympathy from him. It 
was always like that ! Nobody ever seemed to think that 
he had troubles and interests of his own. He folded up the 
letter with the splotch inside, and said: 

" What's it all about, now ?" 

Winifred recited the story of the pearls calmly. 

" Do you think he's really gone, Soames ? You see the 
state he was in when he wrote that." 

Soames who, when he desired a thing, placated Providence 
by pretending that he did not think it likely to happen, 
answered: 

** I shouldn't think so. I might find out at his Club." 

" If George is there," said Winifred, " he would know." 

"George?" said Soames; "I saw him at his father's 
funeral." 

*' Then he's sure to be there." 



468 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Soames, whose good sense applauded his sister's acumen, 
said grudgingly: "Well, I'll go round. Have you said 
anything in Park Lane ?" 

" I've told Emily," returned Winifred, who retained that 
' chic ' way of describing her mother. " Father would 
have a fit." 

Indeed, anything untoward was now sedulously kept 
from James. With another look round at the furniture, 
as if to gauge his sister's exact position, Soames went out 
towards Piccadilly. The evening was drawing in — a touch 
of chill in the October haze. He walked quickly, with his 
close and concentrated air. He must get through, for he 
wished to dine in Soho. On hearing from the hall porter 
at the Iseeum that Mr. Dartie had not been in to-day, 
he looked at the trusty fellow and decided only to ask if 
Mr. George Forsyte was in the Club He was. Soames, 
who always looked askance at his cousin George, as one 
inclined to jest at his expense, followed the page-boy slightly 
reassured by the thought that George had just lost his father. 
He must have come in for about thirty thousand, besides 
what he had under that settlement of Roger's, which had 
avoided death duty. He found George in a bow- window, 
staring out across a half-eaten plate of muffins. His tall, 
bulky, black-clothed figure loomed almost threatening, 
though preserving still the supernatural neatness of the 
racing man. With a faint grin on his fleshy face, he 
said: 

" Hallo, Soames ! Have a muffin ?" 

" No, thanks," murmured Soames; and, nursing his hat, 
with the desire to say something suitable and sympathetic, 
added: 

'* How's your mother ?" 

" Thanks," said George; " so-so. Haven't seen you for 
ages. You never go racing. How's the City ?" 



IN CHANCERY 469 

Soames, scenting the approach of a jest, closed up, and 
answered: 

" I wanted to ask you about Dartie. I hear he's " 

" Flitted, made a bolt to Buenos Aires with the fair Lola. 
Good for Winifred and the little Darties. He's a treat." 

Soames nodded. Naturally inimical as these cousins 
were, Dartie made them kin. 

*' Uncle James'll sleep in his bed now," resumed George; 
*•' I suppose he's had a lot off you, too." 

Soames smiled. 

" Ah ! You saw him further," said George amicably. 
*' He's a real rouser. Young Val will want a bit of looking 
after. I was always sorry for Winifred. She's a plucky 
woman." 

Again Soames nodded. " 1 must be getting back to her," 
he said ; " she just wanted to know for certain. We may have 
to take steps. I suppose there's no mistake ?" 

" It's quite O.K.," said George — it was he who invented 
so many of those quaint sayings which have been assigned 
to other sources. " He was drunk as a lord last night; but 
he went off all right this morning. His ship's the Tuscarora ;" 
and, fishing out a card, he read mockingly : 

" ' Mr. Montague Dartie, Poste Restante, Buenos Aires.' 
I should hurry up with the steps, if I were you. He fairly 
fed me up last night." 

" Yes," said Soames; " but it's not always easy." Then, 
conscious from George's eyes that he had roused reminis- 
cence of his own affair, he got up, and held out his hand. 
George rose too. 

'' Remember me to Winifred. You'll enter her for the 
Divorce Stakes straight off if you ask me." 

Soames took a sidelong look back at him from the doorway. 
George had seated himself again and was staring before him ; 
he looked big and lonely in those black clothes. Soames 



470 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

had never known him so subdued. * I suppose he feels it in 
a way,' he thought. * They must have about fifty thousand 
each, all told. They ought to keep the estate together. 
If there's a war, house property will go down. Uncle 
Roger was a good judge, though.' And the face of Annette 
rose before him in the darkening street; her brown hair 
and her blue eyes with their dark lashes, her fresh lips and 
cheeks, dewy and blooming in spite of London, her perfect 
French figure. ' Take steps !' he thought. Re-entering 
Winifred's house he encountered Val, and they went in 
together. An idea had occurred to Soames. His cousin 
Jolyon was Irene's trustee, the first step would be to go 
down and see him at Robin Hill. Robin Hill ! The odd — 
the very odd feeling those words brought back I Robin Hill 
— the house Bosinney had built for him and Irene — the 
house they had never lived in — the fatal house I And 
Jolyon lived there now ! H'm ! And suddenly he thought: 
' They say he's got a boy at Oxford ! Why not take young 
Val down and introduce them ! It's an excuse ! Less 
bald — very much less bald !' So, as they went upstairs, 
he said to Val : 

" You've got a cousin at Oxford; you've never met him. 
I should like to take you down with me to-morrow to where 
he lives and introduce you. You'll find it useful." 

Val, receiving the idea with but moderate transports, 
Soames clinched it. 

" I'll call for you after lunch. It's in the country — not 
far; you'll enjoy it." 

On the threshold of the drawing-room he recalled with 
an effort that the steps he contemplated concerned Winifred 
at the moment, not himself. 

Winifred was still sitting at her Buhl bureau. 

" It's quite true," he said; "he's gone to Buenos Aires, 
started this morning — we'd better have him shadowed when 



IN CHANCERY 471 

he lands. I'll cable at once. Otherwise we may have a 
lot of expense. The sooner these things are done the better. 

I'm always regretting that I didn't " he stopped, and 

looked sidelong at the silent Winifred. " By the way," he 
went on, " can you prove cruelty ?" 

Winifred said in a dull voice: 

" I don't know. What is cruelty ?" 

" Well, has he struck you, or anything ?" 

Winifred shook herself, and her jaw grew square. 

" He twisted my arm. Or would pointing a pistol count ? 

Or being too drunk to undress himself, or No — I can't 

bring in the children." 

" No," said Soames; " no. I wonder ! Of course, there's 
legal separation — we can get that. But separation ! Um !" 

" What does it mean ?" asked Winifred desolately. 

" That he can't touch you, or you him; you're both of 
you married and unmarried." And again he grunted. 
What was it, in fact, but his own accursed position, legalised ! 
No, he would not put her into that ! 

" It must be divorce," he said decisively; " failing cruelty, 
there's desertion. There's a way of shortening the two 
years, now. We get the Court to give us restitution of 
conjugal rights. Then if he doesn't obey, we can bring a 
suit for divorce in six months' time. Of course you don't 
want him back. But they won't know that. Still, there's 
the risk that he might come. I'd rather try cruelty." 

Winifred shook her head. " It's so beastly." 

" Well," Soames murmured, " perhaps there isn't much 
risk so long as he's infatuated and got money. Don't say 
anything to anybody, and don't pay any of his debts." 

Winifred sighed. In spite of all she had been through, 
the sense of loss was heavy on her. And this idea of not 
paying his debts any more brought it home to her as nothing 
else yet had. Some richness seemed to have gone out of life . 



472 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Without her husband, without her pearls, without that 
intimate sense that she made a brave show above the domestic 
whirlpool, she would now have to face the world. She felt 
bereaved indeed. 

And into the chilly kiss he placed on her forehead, Soames 
put more than his usual warmth. 

" I have to go down to Robin Hill to-morrow," he said, 
" to see young Jolyon on business. He's got a boy at 
Oxford. I'd like to take Val with me and introduce him. 
Come down to * The Shelter ' for the week-end and bring 
the children. Oh ! by the way, no, that won't do; I've got 
some other people coming." So saying, he left her and 
turned towards Soho. 



CHAPTER IV 

SOHO 

Of all quarters in the queer adventurous amalgam called 
London, Soho is perhaps least suited to the Forsyte spirit. 
* So-ho, my wild one !' George would have said if he had 
seen his cousin going there. Untidy, full of Greeks, Ish- 
maelites, cats, Italians, tomatoes, restaurants, organs, coloured 
stuffs, queer names, people looking out of upper windows, 
it dwells remote from the British Body Politic. Yet has it 
haphazard proprietory instincts of its own, and a certain 
possessive prosperity which keeps its rents up when those of 
other quarters go down. For long years Soames' acquaint- 
anceship with Soho had been confined to its Western bastion, 
Wardour Street. Many bargains had he picked up there. 
Even during those seven years at Brighton after Bosinney's 
death and Irene's flight, he had bought treasures there 
sometimes, though he had no place to put them; for when 
the conviction that his wife had gone for good at last became 
firm within him, he had caused a board to be put up in 
Montpellier Square: 

FOR SALE 
The Lease of this Desirable Residence 

Enquire of Messrs. Lesson and Tukes, Court Street, Belgravla. 

It had sold within a week — that desirable residence, in 
the shadow of whose perfection a man and a woman had eaten 
their hearts out. 

Of a misty January evening, just before the board was 

473 i6» 



474 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

taken down, Soames had gone there once more, and stood 
against the Square railings, looking at its unlighted windows, 
chewing the cud of possessive memories which had turned 
so bitter in the mouth. Why had she never loved him ? 
Why ? She had been given all she had wanted, and in 
return had given him, for three long years, all he had wanted 
— except, indeed, her heart. He had uttered a little in- 
voluntary groan, and a passing policeman had glanced sus- 
piciously at him who no longer possessed the right to enter 
that green door with the carved brass knocker beneath the 
board * For sale !' A choking sensation had attacked his 
throat, and he had hurried away into the mist. That 
evening he had gone to Brighton to live. . . . 

Approaching Malta Street, Soho, and the Restaurant 
Bretagne, where Annette would be drooping her pretty 
shoulders over her accounts, Soames thought with wonder 
of those seven years at Brighton. How had he managed to 
go on so long in that town devoid of the scent of sweet- 
peas, where he had not even space to put his treasures ? 
True, those had been years with no time at all for looking 
at them — years of almost passionate money -making, during 
which Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte had become solicitors 
to more limited Companies than they could properly attend 
to. Up to the City of a morning in a Pullman car, down 
from the City of an evening in a Pullman car. Law papers 
again after dinner, then the sleep of the tired, and up again 
next morning. Saturday to Monday was spent at his Club 
in town — curious reversal of customary procedure, based 
on the deep and careful instinct that while working so hard 
he needed sea air to and from the station twice a day, and 
while resting must indulge his domestic affections. The 
Sunday visit to his family in Park Lane, to Timothy^'s, and 
to Green Street; the occasional visits elsewhere had seemed 
to him as necessary to health as sea air on weekdays. Even 



IN CHANCERY T 475 

since his migration to Mapledurham he had maintained those 

habits until — he had known Annette. Whether Annette 
had produced the revolution in his outlook, or that outlook 
had produced Annette,he knewno more than we know where 
a circle begins. It was intricate and deeply involved with 
the growing consciousness that property without anyone to 
leave it to is the negation of true Forsyteism. To have an 
heir, some continuance of self, who would begin where he 
left off — ensure, in fact, that he would not leave oif — had 
quite obsessed him for the last year and more. After 
buying a bit of Wedgwood one evening in April, he had 
dropped into Malta Street to look at a house of his father's 
which had been turned into a restaurant — a risky proceeding, 
and one not quite in accordance with the terms of the lease. 
He had stared for a little at the outside — painted a good 
cream colour, with two peacock-blue tubs containing little 
bay-trees in a recessed doorway — and at the words ' Restaur- 
ant Bretagne " above them in gold letters, rather favourably 
impressed. Entering, he had noticed that several people 
were already seated at little round green tables with little 
pots of fresh flowers on them and Brittany-ware plates, and 
had asked of a trim waitress to see the proprietor. They 
had shown him into a back room, where a girl was sitting at 
a simple bureau covered with papers, and a small round 
table was laid for two. The impression of cleanliness, order, 
and good taste was confirmed when the girl got up, saying, 
" You wish to see Mamati^ Monsieur ?" in a broken accent. 

" Yes," Soames had answered, " I represent your land- 
lord; in fact, Fm his son." 

" Won't you sit down, sir, please ? Tell Maman to 
come to this gentleman." 

He was pleased that the girl seemed impressed, because it 
showed business instinct; and suddenly he noticed that she 
was remarkably pretty — so remarkably pretty that his eyes 



476 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

found a difficulty in leaving her face. When she moved to 
put a chair for him, she swayed in a curious subtle way, as 
if she had been put together by someone with a special secret 
skill; and her face and neck, which was a little bared, looked 
as fresh as if they had been sprayed with dew. Probably at 
this moment Soames decided that the lease had not been 
violated; though to himself and his father he based the 
decision on the efficiency of those illicit adaptations in 
the building, on the signs of prosperity, and the obvious 
business capacity of Madame Lamotte. He did not, how- 
ever, neglect to leave certain matters to future consideration, 
which had necessitated further visits, so that the little back 
room had become quite accustomed to his spare, not unsolid, 
but unobtrusive figure, and his pale chinny face with clipped 
moustache and dark hair not yet grizzling at the sides. 

' U71 Monsieur tres distingui^^ Madame Lamotte found 
him; and presently, ' Trhs amtcal, tres gentil^^ watching 
his eyes upon her daughter. 

She was one of those generously built, fine -faced, dark- 
haired Frenchwomen, whose every action and tone of voice 
inspire perfect confidence in the thoroughness of their 
domestic tastes, their knowledge of cooking, and the careful 
increase of their bank balances. 

After those visits to the Restaurant Bretagne began, other 
visits ceased — without, indeed, any definite decision, for 
Soames, like all Forsytes, and the great majority of their 
countrymen, was a born empiricist. But it was this 
change in his mode of life which had gradually made him so 
definitely conscious that he desired to alter his condition 
from that of the unmarried married man to that of the 
married man remarried. 

Turning in to Malta Street on this evening of early 
October, 1899, he bought a paper to see if there were any 
after-development of the Dreyfus case — a question which 



IN CHANCERY 477 

he had always found useful in making closer acquaintance- 
ship with Madame Lamotte and her daughter, who were 
Catholic and anti-Dreyfusard. 

Scanning those columns, Soames found nothing French, 
but noticed a general fall on the Stock Exchange and an 
ominous leader about the Transvaal. He entered, thinking: 
* War's a certainty. I shall sel. my consols.' Not that he 
had many, personally, the rate of interest was too wretched; 
but he should advise his Companies — consols would assuredly 
go down. A look, as he passed the doorways of the restaurant, 
assured him that business was good as ever, and this, which 
in April would have pleased him, now gave him a certain 
uneasiness. If the steps which he had to take ended in his 
marrying Annette, he would rather see her mother safely 
back in France, a move to which the prosperity of the 
Restaurant Bretagne might become an obstacle. He would 
have to buy them out, of course, for French people only came 
to England to make money; and it would mean a higher 
price. And then that peculiar sweet sensation at the back 
of his throat, and a slight thumping about the heart, which 
he always experienced at the door of the little room, pre- 
vented his thinking how much it would cost. 

Going in, he was conscious of an abundant black skirt 
vanishing through the door into the restaurant, and of 
Annette with her hands up to her hair. It was the attitude 
in which of all others he admired her — so beautifully straight 
and rounded and supple. And he said: 

" I just came in to talk to your mother about pulling 
down that partition. No, don't call her." 

*' Monsieur will have supper with us ? It will be ready 
in ten minutes." Soames, who still held her hand, was 
overcome by an impulse which surprised him. 

" You look so pretty to-night," he said, " so very pretty. 
Do you know how pretty you look, Annette ?'* 



478 . THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Annette withdrew her hand, and blushed. "Monsieur 
is very good." 

" Not a bit good," said Soames, and sat down gloomily. 

Annette made a little expressive gesture with her hands; 
a smile was crinkling her red lips untouched by salve. 

And, looking at those lips, Soames said: 

" Are you happy over here, or do you want to go back 
to France?" 

" Oh, I like London. Paris, of course. But London is 
better than Orleans, and the English country is so beautiful. 
I have been to Richmond last Sunday." 

Soames went through a moment of calculating struggle. 
Mapledurham ! Dared he ? After all, dared he go so far 
as that, and show her what there was to look forward to ! 
Still ! Down there one could say things. In this room it 
was impossible. 

" I want you and your mother," he said suddenly, " to 
come for the afternoon next Sunday. My house is on the 
river, it's not too late in this weather; and I can show you 
some good pictures. What do you say ?" 

Annette clasped her hands. 

" It will be lovelee. The river is so beautiful." 

" That's understood, then. I'll ask Madame." 

He need say no more to her this evening, and risk giving 
himself away. But had he not already said too much .? 
Did one ask restaurant proprietors with pretty daughters 
down to one's country house without design ? Madame 
Lamotte would see, if Annette didn't. Well ! there was 
not much that Madame did not see. Besides, this was 
the second time he had stayed to supper with them; he 
owed them hospitality. . . . 

Walking home towards Park Lane — for he was staying at 
his father's — with the impression of Annette's soft clever 
hand within his own, his thoughts were pleasant, slightly 



IN CHANCERY 4.79 

sensnal, rather puzzled. Take steps ! What steps ? How ? 
Dirty linen washed in public ? Pah ! With his reputation 
for sagacity, for far-sightedness and the clever extrication of 
others, he, who stood for proprietary interests, to become 
the plaything of that Law of which he was a pillar ! There 
was something revolting in the thought ! Winifred's 
affair was bad enough ! To have a double dose of publicity 
in the family ! Would not a liaison be better than that — 
a liaison, and a son he could adopt ? But dark, solid, 
watchful, Madame Lamotte blocked the avenue of that 
vision. No ! that would not work. It was not as if Annette 
could have a real passion for him ; one could not expect that 
at his age. If her mother wished, if the worldly advantage 
were manifestly great — perhaps ! If not, refusal would be 
certain. Besides, he thought: * I'm not a villain. I don't 
want to hurt her; and I don't want anything underhand. 
But I do want her, and I want a son ! There's nothing for 
it but divorce — somehow — anyhow — divorce !' Under 
the shadow of the plane-trees, in the lamplight, he passed 
slowly along the railings of the Green Park. Mist clung 
there among the bluish tree shapes, beyond range of the 
lamps. How many hundred times he had walked past those 
trees from his father's house in Park Lane, when he was quite 
a young man ; or from his own house in Montpelller Square 
in those four years of married life ! And, to-night, making 
up his mind to free himself if he could of that long useless 
marriage tie, he took a fancy to walk on, in at Hyde Park 
Corner, out at Knightsbridge Gate, just as he used to when 
going home to Irene in the old days. What could she be 
like now ? — ^how had she passed the years since he last saw 
her, twelve years in all, seven already since Uncle Jolyon 
left her that money ! Was she still beautiful ? Would he 
know her if he saw her ? * I've not changed much,' he 
thought; * I expect she has. She made me suffer.' He 



48o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

remembered suddenly one night, the first on which he went 
out to dinner alone — an old Malburian dinner — the first 
year of their marriage. With what eagerness he had 
hurried back; and, entering softly as a cat, had heard her 
playing. Opening the drawing-room door noiselessly, he had 
stood watching the expression on her face, different from 
any he knew, so much more open, so confiding, as though 
to her music she was giving a heart he had never seen. And 
he remembered how she stopped and looked round, how her 
face changed back to that which he did know, and what an 
icy shiver had gone through him, for all that the next 
moment he was fondling her shoulders. Yes, she had made 
him suffer ! Divorce ! It seemed ridiculous, after all these 
years of utter separation ! But it would have to be. No 
other way ! ' The question,' he thought with sudden 
realism, * is — which of us ? She or me ? She deserted me. 
She ought to pay for it. There'll be someone, I suppose.' 
Involuntarily he uttered a little snarling sound, and, turning, 
made his way back to Park T.ane. 



CHAPTER V 

JAMES SEES VISIONS 

The butler himself opened the door, and closing it softly, 
detained Soames on the inner mat. 

" The master's poorly, sir," he murmured. " He wouldn't 
go to bed till you came in. He's still in the dining-room." 

Soames responded in the hushed tone to which the house 
was now accustomed. 

" What's the matter with him, Warmson ? '* 

" Nervous, sir, I think. Might be the funeral; might 
be Mrs. Dartie's comin' round this afternoon. I think he 
overheard something. I've took him in a negus. The 
mistress has just gone up." 

Soames hung his hat on a mahogany stag's-horn 

" All right, Warmson, you can go to bed; I'll take him up 
myself." And he passed into the dining-room. . . . 

James was sitting before the fire, in a big armchair, with a 
camel-hair shaw', very light and warm, over his frock-coated 
shoulders, on to which his long white whiskers drooped. 
His white hair, still fairly thick, glistened in the lamplight; 
a little moisture from his fixed, light grey eyes stained the 
cheeks, still quite well coloured, and the long deep furrows 
running to the corners of the clean-shaven lips, which moved 
as if mumbling thoughts. His long legs, thin as a crow's, in 
shepherd's plaid trousers, were bent at less than a right 
angle, and on one knee a spindly hand moved continually, 
with fingers wide apart and glistening tapered nails. Beside 
him, on a low stool, stood a half- finished glass of negus, 
bedewed with beads of heat. There he had been sitting, 

4S1 



4^2 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

with intervals for meals, all day. At eighty- eight he was 
still oreanically sound, but sutTering terribly from the 
thought that no one ever told him anything. It is, indeed, 
doubtful how he had become aware that Roger was being 
buried that day, for Emily had kept it from him. She was 
always keeping things from him. Emily was only seventy ! 
James had a grudge against his wife's youth. He felt some- 
times that he would never have married her if he had known 
that she would have so many years before her, when he had 
so few. It was not natural. She would live fifteen or 
twenty years after he was gone, and might spend a lot of 
money; she had always had extravagant tastes. For all he 
knew, she might want to buy one of these motor-cars. 
Cicely and Rachel and Imogen and all the young people — 
they all rode those bicycles now, and went off Goodness 
knew where. And now Roger was gone. He didn't know — 
couldn't tell ! The family was breaking up. Soames would 
know how much his uncle had left. Curiously, he thought of 
Roger as Soames' uncle, not as his own brother. Soames ! 
It was more and more the one soHd spot in a vanishing 
world. Soam^es was careful; he was a warm man; but he 
had no one to leave his money to. There it was ! He 
didn't know ! And there was that fellow Chamberlain i 
For James' political principles had been fixed between '70 
and '85, when ' that rascally Radical ' had been the chief 
thorn in the side of property, and he distrusted him to this 
day, in spite of his conversion; he would get the country into 
a mess, and make money go down before he had done with it. 
A stormy petrel of a chap ! Where was Soames ? He had 
gone to the funeral, of course, which they had tried to keep 
from him. He knew that perfectly well; he had seen his 
son's trousers. Roger ! Roger in his coflin ! He remem- 
bered how, when they came up from school together from 
the West, on the box seat of the old Slowflycr in iSz^ 



IN CHANCERY 483 

Roger had got into the * boot ' and gone to sleep. James 
uttered a thin cackle. A funny fellow — Roger — an original ! 
He didn't know ! Younger than himself, and in his coffin ! 
The family was breaking up. There was Val going to the 
university; he never came to see him now. He would cost 
a pretty penny up there. It was an extravagant age. And 
all the pretty pennies that his four grandchildren would 
cost him danced before James' eyes. He did not grudge 
them the money, but he grudged terribly the risk which the 
spending of that money might bring on them; he grudged 
the diminution of security. And now that Cicely had married, 
she might be having children too. He didn't know — 
couldn't tell ! Nobody thought of anything but spending 
money in these days, and racing about, and having what they 
called • a good time.' A motor-car went past the window. 
Ugly great lumbering thing, making all that racket ! But 
there it was, the country rattling to the dogs ! People in 
such a hurry that they couldn't even care for style — a neat 
turn-out like his barouche and bays was worth all those 
new-fangled things. And consols at 116 ! There must be 
a lot of money in the country. And now there was this old 
Kruger ! They had tried to keep old Kruger from him. 
But he knew better; there would be a pretty kettle of fish 
out there ! He had known how it would be when that fellow 
Gladstone — dead now, thank God ! — made such a mess of it 
after that dreadful business at Majuba. He shouldn't 
wonder if the Empire split up and went to pot. And this 
vision of the Empire going to pot filled a full quarter of an 
hour with qualms of the most serious character. He had 
eaten a poor lunch because of them. But it was after lunch 
that the real disaster to his nerves occurred. He had been 
dozing when he became aware of voices — low voices. Ah ! 
they never told him anything ! Winifred's and her mother's. 
" Monty ! " That fellow Dartie — always that fellow 



484 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Dartie ! The voices had receded; and James had been left 
alone, with his ears standing up like a hare's, and fear creep- 
ing about his inwards. Why did they leave him alone ? 
Why didn't they come and tell him ? And an awful thought, 
which through long years had haunted him, concreted again 
swiftly in his brain. Dartie had gone bankrupt — fraudu- 
lently bankrupt, and to save Winifred and the children, he — 
James — would have to pay ! Could he — could Soames turn 
him into a limited Company ? No, he couldn't ! There 
it was ! With every minute before Emily came back the 
spectre fiercened. Why, it might be forgery ! With eyes 
fixed on the doubted Turner in the centre of the wall, 
James suffered tortures. He saw Dartie in the dock, his 
grandchildren in the gutter, and himself in bed. He saw the 
doubted Turner being sold at Jobson's, and all the majestic 
edifice of property in rags. He saw in fancy Winifred 
unfashionably dressed, and heard in fancy Emily's voice 
saying: " Now, don't fuss, James !" She was always 
saying: " Don't fuss !" She had no nerves; he ought never 
to have married a woman eighteen years younger than him- 
self. Then Emily's real voice said : 

" Have you had a nice nap, James ?" 

Nap ! He was in torment, and she asked him that ! 

" What's this about Dartie ? " he said, and his eyes 
glared at her. 

Emily's self-possession never deserted her. 

" What have you been hearing ?" she asked blandly. 

" What's this about Dartie ?" repeated James. " He's 
gone bankrupt." 

" Fiddle !" 

James made a great effort, and rose to the full height of 
his stork-like figure. 

"You never tell me anything," he said; "he's gone 
bankrupt." 



IN CHANCERY 485 

The destruction of that fixed idea seemed to Emily all 
that mattered at the moment. 

" He has not," she answered firmly. " He*s gone to 
Buenos Aires." 

If she had said * He's gone to Mars ' she could not have 
dealt James a more stunning blow; his imagination, invested 
entirely in British securities, could as little grasp one place 
as the other. 

" What's he gone there for ?" he said. " He's got no 
money. What did he take ?" 

Agitated within by Winifred's news, and goaded by the 
constant reiteration of this jeremiad, Emily said calmly: 

** He took Winifred's pearls and a dancer." 

" What !" said James, and sat down. 

His sudden collapse alarmed her, and smoothing his fore- 
head, she said: 

" Now, don't fuss, James !" 

A dusky red had spread over James' cheeks and forehead. 

" I paid for them," he said tremblingly; "he's a thief! I — 

I knew how it would be. He'll be the death of me; he " 

words failed him and he sat quite still. Emily, who thought 
she knew him so well, was alarmed, and went towards the side- 
board where she kept some sal volatile. She could not see 
the tenacious Forsyte spirit working in that thin, tremulous 
shape against the extravagance of the emotion called up by 
this outrage on Forsyte principles — the Forsyte spirit deep 
in there, saying: ' You mustn't get into a fantod, it'll never 
do. You won't digest your lunch. You'll have a fit !' 
All unseen by her, it was doing better work in James than 
sal volatile. 

" Drink this," she said. 

James waved it aside. 

" What was Winifred about," he said, " to let him take 
her pearls ?" Emily perceived the crisis past. 



486 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

'' " She can have mine," she said comfortably. " I never 
wear them. She'd better get a divorce." 

" There you go !" said James. " Divorce ! We've 
never had a divorce in the family. Where's Soames f" 

" He'll be in directly." 

" No, he won't," said James, almost fiercely; " he's at the 
funeral. You think I know nothing." 

" Well," said Emily with calm, " you shouldn't get into 
such fusses when we tell you things." And plumping up his 
cushions, and putting the sal volatile beside him, she left 
the room. 

But James sat there seeing visions — of Winifred in the 
Divorce Court, and the family name in the papers; of the 
earth falling on Roger's coffin; of Val taking after his father; 
of the pearls he had paid for and would never see again; 
of money back at four per cent., and the country going to the 
dogs; and, as the afternoon wore into evening, and tea-time 
passed, and dinner-time, those visions became more and 
more mixed and menacing — of being told nothing, till he had 
nothing left of all his wealth, and they told him nothing of 
it. Where was Soames ? Why didn't he come in ? . . . 
His hand grasped the glass of negus, he raised it to drink, 
and saw his son standing there looking at him. A little 
sigh of relief escaped his lips, and putting the glass down, 
he said: 

" There you are ! Dartie's gone to Buenos Aires !" 

Soames nodded. "That's all right," he said; "good 
riddance." 

A wave of assuagement passed over James' brain. Soames 
knew. Soames was the only one of them all who had sense. 
Why couldn't he come and live at home ? He had no son 
of his own. And he said plaintively: 

" At my age I get nervous. I wish you were more at 
home, my boy." 



IN CHANCERY 487 

Again Soames nodded; the mask of his countenance 
betrayed no understanding, but he went closer, and as if 
hj accident touched his father's shoulder. 

" They sent their love to you at Timothy's," he said. 
" It went off all right. I've been to see Winifred. I'm 
going to take steps." And he thought: 'Yes, and you 
mustn't hear of them.' 

James looked up; his long white whiskers quivered, 
his thin throat between the points of his collar looked very 
gristly and naked. 

" I've been very poorly all day," he said; " they never tell 
me anything." 

Soames' heart twitched. 

" WeU, it's all right. There's nothing to worry about. 
Will you come up now?" and he put his hand under his 
father's arm. 

James obediently and tremulously raised himself, and 
together they went slowly across the room, which had a 
rich look in the firelight, and out to the stairs. Very 
slowly they ascended. 

" Good-night, my boy," said Jamics at his bedroom door. 

" Good-night, father," answered Soames. His hand 
stroked down the sleeve beneath the shawl; it seemed to 
have almost nothing in it, so thin was the arm. And, 
turning away from the light in the opening doorway, he went 
up the extra flight to his own bedroom. 

* I want a son,' he thought, sitting on the edge of his 
bed; ' I want a son.'' 



CHAPTER VI 

NO-LONGER-YOUNG JOLYON AT HOME 

Trees take little account of Time, and the old oak on the 
upper lawn at Robin Hill looked no day older than when 
Bosinney sprawled under it and said to Soames: * Forsyte, 
I've found the very place for your house.' Since then 
Swithin had dreamed, and old Jolyon died, beneath its 
branches. And now, close to the swing, no-longer-young 
Jolyon often painted there. Of all spots in the world it 
was perhaps the most sacred to him, for he had loved his 
father. 

Contemplating its great girth — crinkled and a little 
mossed, but not yet hollow — he would speculate on the 
passage of time. That tree had seen, perhaps, all real English 
history; it dated, he shouldn't wonder, from the days of 
Elizabeth at least. His own fifty years were as nothing to its 
wood. When the house behind it, which he now owned, 
was three hundred years of age instead of twelve, that tree 
might still be standing there, vast and hollow — for who 
would commit such sacrilege as to cut it down ? A Forsyte 
might perhaps still be living in that house, to guard it 
jealously. And Jolyon would wonder what the house would 
look like coated with such age." Wistaria was already about its 
walls — the new look had gone. Would it hold its own and 
keep the dignity Bosinney had bestowed on it, or would the 
giant London have lapped it round and made it into an 
asylum in the midst of a jerry-built wilderness ? Often, 
within and without of it, he was persuaded that Bosinney 
had been moved by the spirit when he built. He had 

4S8 



IN CHANCERY 489 

put his heart into that house, indeed I It might even become 
one of the * homes of England ' — a rare achievement for a 
house in these degenerate days of building. And the 
aesthetic spirit, moving hand in hand with his Forsyte sense 
of possessive continuity, dwelt with pride and pleasure on 
his ownership thereof. There was the smack of reverence 
and ancestor-worship (if only for one ancestor) in his desire 
to hand this house down to his son and his son's son. His 
father had loved the house, had loved the view, the grounds, 
that tree; his last years had been happy there, and no one 
had lived there before him. These last eleven years at 
Robin Hill had formed in Jolyon's life, as a painter, the 
important period of success. He was now in the very van 
of water-colour art, hanging on the line everywhere. His 
drawings fetched high prices. Specialising in that one 
medium with the tenacity of his breed, he had * arrived ' — 
rather late, but not too late for a member of the family 
which made a point of living for ever. His art had really 
deepened and improved. In conformity with his position 
he had grown a short fair beard, which was just beginning to 
grizzle, and hid his Forsyte chin; his brown face had lost the 
warped expression of his ostracised period — he looked, if 
anything, younger. The loss of his wife in 1894 had been 
one of those domestic tragedies which turn out in the end 
for the good of all. He had, indeed, loved her to the last, 
for his was an aifectionate spirit, but she had become in- 
creasingly difficult: jealous of her step-daughter June, 
jealous even of her own little daughter Holly, and making 
ceaseless plaint that he could not love her, ill as she was, 
and ' useless to everyone, and better dead.' He had 
mourned her sincerely, but his face had looked younger since 
she died. If she could only have believed that she made 
him happy, how much happier would the twenty years of 
their companionship have been ! 



490 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

June had never really got on well with her who had 
reprehensibly taken her own mother's place; and ever since 
old Jolyon died she had been established in a sort of studio 
in London. But she had come back to Robin Hill on her 
stepmother's death, and gathered the reins there into her 
small decided hands. Jolly was then at Harrow; Holly 
still learning from Mademoiselle Beauce. There had been 
nothing to keep Jolyon at home, and he had removed his 
grief and his paintbox abroad. There he had wandered, 
for the most part in Brittany, and at last had fetched up in 
Paris. He had stayed there several months, and come back 
with the younger face and the short fair beard. Essentially 
a man who merely lodged in any house, it had suited him 
perfectly that June should reign at Robin Hill, so that he 
was free to go off with his easel where and when he liked. 
She was inclined, it is true, to regard the house rather as 
an asylum for her protegh ; but his own outcast days had 
filled Jolyon for ever with sympathy towards an outcast, 
and June's * lame ducks ' about the place did not annoy him. 
By all means let her have them down and feed them up; 
and though his slightly cynical humour perceived that they 
ministered to his daughter's love of domination as well as 
moved her warm heart, he never ceased to admire her for 
having so many ducks. He fell, indeed, year by year into a 
more and more detached and brotherly attitude towards his 
own son and daughters, treating them with a sort of whimsical 
equality. When he went down to Harrow to see Jolly, he never 
quite knew w^hich of them was the elder, and would sit eating 
cherries with him out of one paper bag, with an affectionate 
and ironical smile twisting up an eyebrow and curling his 
lips a little. And he was always careful to have money in 
his pocket, and to be modish in his dress, so that his son need 
not blush for him. They were perfect friends, but never 
seemed to have occasion for verbal confidences, both having 



IN CHANCERY 491 

the competitive self-consciousness of Forsytes. They knew 
they would stand by each other in scrapes, but there was no 
need to talk about it. Jolyon had a striking horror — partly 
original sin, but partly the result of his early immorality — 
of the moral attitude. The most he could ever have said 
to his son would have been: 

* Look here, old man, don't forget you're a gentleman;' 
and then have wondered whimsically whether that was not 
a snobbish sentiment. The great cricket match was perhaps 
the most searching and awkward time they annually went 
through together, for Jolyon had been at Eton. They 
would be particularly careful during that match, continually 
saying: * Hooray ! Oh! hard luck, old man!' or 
' Hooray ! Oh ! bad luck. Dad !' to each other, when some 
disaster at which their hearts bounded happened to the 
opposing school. And Jolyon would wear a grey top hat, 
instead of his usual soft one, to save his son's feelings, for a 
black top hat he could not stomach. When Jolly went 
up to Oxford, Jolyon went up with him, amused, humble, 
and a little anxious not to discredit his boy amongst all 
these youths who seemed so much more assured and old than 
himself. He often thought, * Glad I'm a painter ' — for 
he had long dropped under- writing at Lloyds — ' it's so 
innocuous. You can't look down on a painter — you can't 
take him seriously enough.' For Jolly, who had a sort of 
natural lordliness, had passed at once into a very small set, 
who secretly amused his father. The boy had fair hair 
which curled a little, and his grandfather's deep-set iron- 
grey eyes. He was well-built and very upright, and always 
pleased Jolyon's aesthetic sense, so that he was a tiny bit 
afraid of him, as artists ever are of those of their own sex 
whom they admire physically. On that occasion, however, 
he actually did screw up his courage to give his son advice, 
and this was it: 



192 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

** Look here, old man, you're bound to get into debt; 
mind you come to me at once. Of course, I'll always pay 
them. But you might remember that one respects oneself 
more afterwards if one pays one's own way. And don't 
ever borrow, except from me, will you ?" 

And Jolly had said: 

*' All right. Dad, I won't," and he never had. 

" And there's just one other thing. I don't know much 
about morality and that, but there is this : It's always worth 
while before you do anything to consider whether it's going 
to hurt another person more than is absolutely necessary." 

Jolly had looked thoughtful, and nodded, and presently 
had squeezed his father's hand. And Jolyon had thought: 
* I wonder if I had the right to say that ?' He always had 
a sort of dread of losing the dumb confidence they had in 
each other; remembering how for long years he had lost 
his own father's, so that there had been nothing between 
them but love at a great distance. He under-estimated 
no doubt, the change in the spirit of the age since he himself 
went up to Cambridge in '65; and perhaps he under-esti- 
mated, too, his boy's power of understanding that he was 
tolerant to the very bone. It was that tolerance of his, and 
possibly his scepticism, which ever made his relations to- 
wards June so queerly defensive. She was such a decided 
mortal; knew her own mind so terribly well; wanted things 
so inexorably until she got them — and then, indeed, often 
dropped them like a hot potato. Her mother had been 
like that, whence had come all those tears. Not that his 
incompatibility with his daughter was anything like what it 
had been with the first Mrs. Young Jolyon, One could 
be amused where a daughter was concerned; in a wife's 
case one could not be amused. To see June set her heart 
and jaw on a thing until she got it was all right, because 
it was never anything which interfered fundamentally with 



IN CHANCERY 



493 



Jolyon's liberty — the one thing on which his jaw was also 
absolutely rigid, a considerable jaw, under that short 
grizzling beard. Nor was there ever any necessity for real 
heart-to-heart encounters. One could break away into 
irony — as indeed he often had to. But the real trouble with 
June was that she had never appealed to his aesthetic sense, 
though she might well have, with her red-gold hair and her 
viking-coloured eyes, and that touch of the Berserker in her 
spirit. It was very different with Holly, soft and quiet, shy 
and affectionate, with a playful imp in her somewhere. He 
watched this younger daughter of his through the duckling 
stage with extraordinary interest. Would she come out a 
swan ? With her sallow oval face and her grey wistful eyes 
and those long dark lashes, she might, or she might not. 
Only this last year had he been able to guess. Yes, she would 
be a swan — rather a dark one, always a shy one, but an 
authentic swan. She was eighteen now, and Mademoiselle 
Beauce was gone — the excellent lady had removed, after 
eleven years haunted by her continuous reminiscences of 
the ' well-brrred little Tayleurs,'to another family whose 
bosom would now be agitated by her reminiscences of the 
' well-brrred little Forsytes.' She had taught Holly to 
speak French like herself. 

Portraiture was not Jolyon's forte, but he had already 
drawn his younger daughter three times, and was drawing her 
a fourth, on the afternoon of October 4th, 1899, when a card 
was brought to him which caused his eyebrows to go up : 





MR. 


SOAMES 


FORSYTE 




Thi 


- Shelter, 




Connoisseurs' Club, 




Mapledurham. 


St. James's. 





494 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

But here the Forsyte Saga must digress again. . . , 
To return from a long travel in Spain to a darkened 
house, to a little daughter bewildered with tears, to the 
sight of a loved father lying peaceful in his last sleep, had 
never been, was never likely to be, forgotten by so impres- 
sionable and warm-hearted a man as Jolyon. A sense as of 
mystery, too, clung to that sad day, and about the end of 
one whose life had been so well-ordered, balanced, and above- 
board. It seemed incredible that his father could thus 
have vanished without, as it were, announcinc^ his intention, 
without last words to his son, and due farewells. And those 
incoherent allusions of little Holly to * the lady in grey,' 
of Mademoiselle Beauce to a Madame Errant (as it sounded) 
involved all things in a mist, lifted a little when he read 
his father's will and the codicil thereto. It had been 
his duty as executor of that will and codicil to inform 
Irene, wife of his cousin Soames, of her life interest in 
fifteen thousand pounds. He had called on her to explain 
that the existing investment in India Stock, ear-marked to 
meet the charge, would produce for her the interesting 
net sum of £^30 odd a year, clear of Income Tax. This was 
but the third time he had seen his cousin Soames* wife — if 
indeed she was still his wife, of which he was not quite sure. 
He remembered having seen her sitting in the Botanical 
Gardens waiting for Bosinney — a passive, fascinating figure, 
reminding him of Titian's * Heavenly Love,' and again, 
when, charged by his father, he had gone to Montpellier 
Square on the afternoon when Bosinney's death was known 
He still recalled vividly her sudden appearance in the drawing- 
room doorway on that occasion — her beautiful face, passing 
from wild eagerness of hope to stony despair; remembered 
the compassion he had felt, Soames' snarling smile, his 
words, * We are not at home,' and the slam of the front door. 
This third time he saw a face and form more beautiful — 



IN CHANCERY 495 

freed from that warp of wild hope and despair. Looking 
at her, he thought: * Yes, you are just what the dad 
would have admired !' And the strange story of his 
father's Indian summer became slowly clear to him. She 
spoke of old Jolyon with reverence and tears in her eyes, 
*' He was so wonderfully kind to me; I don't know why. 
He looked so beautiful and peaceful sitting in that chair 
under the tree; it was I who first came on him sitting there, 
you know. Such a lovely day. I don't think an end could 
have been happier. We should all like to go out like that." 

' Quite right !' he had thought. * We should all like to 
go out in full summer with beauty stepping towards us 
across a lawn.' 

And looking round the little, almost empty drawing-room, 
he had asked her what she was going to do now. " I am 
going to live again a little. Cousin Jolyon. It's wonderful 
to have money of one's own. I've never had any. I shall 
keep this flat, I think; I'm used to it; but I shall be able to 
go to Italy." 

" Exactly !" Jolyon had murmured, looking at her faintly 
smiling lips; and he had gone away thinking: 'A fascinating 
woman ! What a waste ! I'm glad the dad left her that 
money.' He had not seen her again, but every quarter 
he had signed her cheque, forwarding it to her bank, with 
a note to the Chelsea flat to say that he had done so; and 
always he had received a note in acknowledgment, generally 
from the flat, but sometimes from Italy: so that her person- 
ality had become embodied in slightly scented grey paper, an 
upright fine handwriting, and the words, ' Dear Cousin 
Jolyon.' Man of property that he now was, the slender 
cheque he signed often gave rise to the thought: 'Well, I 
suppose she just manages '; sliding into a vaeue wonder hovv 
she was faring otherwise in a world of men not wont to let 
beauty go unpossessed. At first Holly had spoken of her 



496 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

sometimes, bat ' ladies in grey ' soon fade from children's 
memories; and the tightening of June's lips in those first 
weeks after her grandfather's death whenever her former 
friend's name was mentioned, had discouraged allusion. 
Only once, indeed, had June spoken definitely: " I've 
forgiven her. I'm frightfully glad she's independent now.". . . 

On receiving Soames' card, Jolyon said to the maid — for 
he could not abide butlers — " Show him into the study, 
please, and say I'll be there in a minute"; and then he 
looked at HoUy and asked : 

" Do you remember ' the lady in grey,' who used to give 
you music-lessons r" 

'' Oh yes, why ? Has she come r'" 

Jolyon shook his head, and, changing his holland blouse 
for a coat, was silent, perceiving suddenly that such history 
was not for those young ears. His face, in fact, became 
whimsical perplexity incarnate while he journeyed towards 
the study. 

Standing by the french-window, looking out across the 
terrace at the oak-tree, were two figures, middle-aged and 
young, and he thought: 'Who's that boy? Surely they 
never had a child.' 

The elder figure turned. The meeting of those two 
Forsytes of the second generation, so much more sophisti- 
cated than the first, in the house built for the one and owned 
and occupied by the other, was marked by subtle defen- 
siveness beneath distinct attempt at cordiality. ' Has he 
come about his wife ?' Jolyon was thinking; and Soames, 
* How shall I begin ?' while Val, brought to break the ice, 
stood negligently scrutinising this ' bearded pard ' from 
under his dark, thick eyelashes. 

" This is \^al Dartie," said Soames, " my sister's son. He's 
just going up to Oxford. I thought I'd like him to know 
your boy." 



IN CHANCERY 497 

" Ah ! I'm sorry Jolly's away. What college ? " 

" B.N.C.," replied Val. 

" Jolly's at the * House,' but he'll be delighted to look you 
up." 

" Thanks awfully." 

" Holly's in — if you could put up with a female relation, 
she'd show you round. You'll find her in the hall if you go 
through the curtains, I was just painting her." 

With another " Thanks, awfully !" Val vanished, leaving 
the two cousins with the ice unbroken. 

" I see you've some drawings at the ' Water Colours,' " 
said Soames. 

Jolyon v/inced. He had been out of touch with the 
Forsyte family at large for twenty- six years, but they were 
connected in his mind with Frith's ' Derby Day ' and 
Landseer prints. He had heard from June that Soames 
was a connoisseur, which made it worse. He had become 
aware, too, of a curious sensation of repugnance. 

" I haven't seen you for a long time," he said. 

" No," answered Soames betw^een close lips, '* not since — 
as a matter of fact, it's about that I've come. You're her 
trustee, I'm told." 

Jolyon nodded. 

"Twelve years is a long time," said Soames rapidly: 
" I— I'm tired of it." 

Jolyon found no more appropriate answer than: 

" Won't you smoke?" 

" No, thanks." 

Jolyon himself Ht a cigarette. 

" I wish to be free," said Soames abruptly. 

" I don't see her," murmured Jolyon through the fume 
of his cigarette. 

" But you know where she lives, I suppose ?" 

Jolyon nodded. He did not mean to give her address 

17 



49^ THE FORSYTE SAGA 

without permission. Soames seemed to divine his 
thought. 

^' I don't want her address," he said; " I know it." 

*' What exactly do you want ?" 

" She deserted me. I want a divorce." 

" Rather late in the day, isn't it ?" 

" Yes," said Soames. And there was a silence. 

" I don't know much about these things — at least, I've 
forgotten," said Jolyon with a wry smile. He himself had 
had to wait for death to grant him a divorce from the first 
Mrs. Jolyon. " Do you wish me to see her about it ?" 

Soames raised his eyes to his cousin's face. 

*' I suppose there's someone," he said. 

A shrug moved Jolyon's shoulders. 

" I don't know at all. I imagine you may have both lived 
as if the other were dead. It's usual in these cases." 

Soames turned to the window. A few early fallen oak- 
leaves strewed the terrace already, and were rolling round in 
the wind. Jolyon saw the figures of Holly and Val Dartie 
moving across the lawn towards the stables. * I'm not going 
to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,' he thought. 
* I must act for her. The dad would have wished that.' 
And for a swift moment he seemed to see his father's figure 
in the old armchair, just beyond Soames, sitting with knees 
crossed, The Times in his hand. It vanished. 

" My father was fond of her," he said quietly. 

" Why he should have been I don't know," Soames 
answered without looking round. " She brought trouble 
to your daughter June; she brought trouble to everyone. 
I gave her all she wanted. I would have given her even — 
forgiveness — but she chose to leave me." 

In Jolyon compassion was checked by the tone of that 
close voice. What was there in the fellow that made it so 
difficult to be sorry for him ? 



IN CHANCERY 499 

" I can go and see her, if you like," he said. " I 
suppose she might be glad of a divorce, but I know 
nothing." 

Soames nodded. 

" Yes, please go. As I say, I know her address; but I've 
no wish to see her." His tongue was busy with his lips, as 
if they were very dry. 

" You'll have some tea ?" said Jolyon, stifling the words: 

* And see the house.' And he led the way into the hall. 
When he had rung the bell and ordered tea, he went to his 
easel to turn his drawing to the wall. He could not bear, 
somehow, that his work should be seen by Soames, w^ho was 
standing there in the middle of the great room which had 
been designed expressly to afford wall space for his ow^n 
pictures. In his cousin's face, with its unseizable family 
likeness to himself, and its chinny, narrow, concentrated 
look, Jolyon saw that which moved him to the thought: 

* That chap could never forget anything — nor ever give 
himself away. He's pathetic 1' 



CHAPTER VII 

THE COLT AND THE FILLY 

When young Val left the presence of the last generation 
he was thinking: * This is jolly dull! Uncle Soames does 
take the bun. I wonder what this filly's like ?' He anti- 
cipated no pleasure from her society; and suddenly he saw 
her standing there looking at him. Why, she was pretty 1 
What luck ! 

" I'm afraid you don't know me," he said. " My name's 
Val Dartie — I'm once removed, second cousin, something 
like that, you know. My mother's name was P^orsyte." 

Holly, whose slim brown hand remained in his because 
she was too shy to withdraw it, said: 

" I don't know any of my relations. Are there many ?" 

" Tons. They're awful — most of them. At least, I 
don't know — some of them. One's relations always are^ 
aren't they?" 

" I expect they think one awful too," said Holly. 

" I don't know why they should. No one could think 
you awful, of course." 

Holly looked at him — the wistful candour in those grey eyes 
gave young Val a sudden feeling that he must protect her. 

" I mean there are people and people," he added astutely. 
" Your dad looks awfully decent, for instance." 

" Oh yes !" said Holly fervently; " he is." 

A flush mounted in Val's cheeks — that scene in the Pande- 
monium promenade — the dark man with the pink carnation 
developing into his own father ! " But you know what the 
Forsytes are," he said almost viciously. " Oh ! I forgot; 

you don't." 

500 



IN CHANCERY 501 

" What are they ?" 

" Oh ! fearfully careful; not sportsmen a bit. Look at 
Uncle Soames !" 

" I'd like to," said Holly. 

Val resisted a desire to run his arm through hers. " Oh 
no," he said, " let's go out. You'll see him quite soon 
enough. What's your brother like ?" 

Holly led the way on to the terrace and down to the lawn 
without answering. How describe Jolly, who, ever since she 
remembered anything, had been her lord, master, and ideal f 

*' Does he sit on you ?" said Val shrewdly. " I shall be 
knowing him at Oxford. Have you got any horses ?" 

Holly nodded. " Would you like to see the stables ?" 

" Rather !" 

They passed under the oak-tree, through a thin 
shrubbery, into the stable-yard. There under a clock 
tower lay a flufiy brown-and-white dog, so old that he did 
not get up, but faintly waved the tail curled over his back. 

" That's Balthasar," said Holly; " he's so old— awfully old, 
nearly as old as I am. Poor old boy ! He's devoted to dad." 

" Balthasar ! That's a rum name. He isn't pure-bred, 
you know." 

" No ! but he's a darling," and she bent down to stroke 
the dog. Gentle and supple, with dark uncovered head and 
slim browned neck and hands, she seemed to Val strange 
and sweet, like a thing slipped between him and all previous 
knowledge. 

" When grandfather died," she said, " he wouldn't eat 
for two days. He saw him die, you know." 

" Was that old Uncle Jolyon ? Mother always says he 
was a topper." 

" He was," said Holly simply, and opened the stable door. 

In a loose-box stood a silver roan of about fifteen hands, 
with a long black tail and mane. " This is mine — Fairy." 



502 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" Ah ! " said Val, " she's a jolly palfrey. But you ought 
to bang her tail. She'd look much smarter." Then catch- 
ing her wondering look, he thought suddenly: * I don't 
know — anything she likes !' And he took a long sniff of 
the stable air. " Horses are ripping, aren't they ? My 
dad " he stopped. 

"Yes?" said Holly. 

An impulse to unbosom himself almost overcame him — 
but not quite. " Oh ! I don't know — he's often gone a mucker 
over them. Fm jolly keen on them too — riding and hunting. 
I like racing awfully, as well ; I should like to be a gentleman 
rider." And oblivious of the fact that he had but one more 
day in town, with two engagements, he plumped out: 

'* I say, if I hire a gee to-morrow, will you come a ride in 
Richmond Park ?" 

Holly clasped her hands. 

" Oh yes ! I simply love riding. But there's Jolly's horse; 
why don't you ride him ? Here he is. We could go after tea." 

Val looked doubtfully at his trousered legs. He had 
imagined them immaculate before her eyes in high brown 
feoots and Bedford cords. 

" I don't much like riding his horse," he said. " He 
mightn't like it. Besides, Uncle Soames wants to get back, 
I expect. Not that I believe in buckling under to him, 
you know. You haven't got an uncle, have you ? This 
is rather a good beast," he added, scrutinising Jolly's horse, 
a dark brown, which was showing the whites of its eyes. 
" You haven't got any hunting here, I suppose ?" 

" No; I don't know that I want to hunt. It must be 
awfully exciting, of course ; but it's cruel, isn't it ? June 
says so." 

" Cruel ?" ejaculated Val. " Oh ! that's all rot. Who's 
June ?" 

" My sister — my half-sister, you know — much older than 



IN CHANCERY 5^3 

me." She had put her hands up to both cheeks of Jolly's 
horse, and was rubbing her nose against its nose with a 
gentle snuffling noise which seemed to have an hypnotic 
effect on the animal. Val contemplated her cheek resting 
against the horse's nose, and her eyes gleaming round at 
him. * She's really a duck,' he thought. 

They returned to the house less talkative, followed this 
time by the dog Balthasar, walking more slowly than any- 
thing on earth, and clearly expecting them not to exceed 
his speed limit. 

" This is a ripping place," said Val from under the oak- 
tree, where they had paused to allow the dog Balthasar to 
come up. 

" Yes," said Holly, and sighed. " Of course I want to 
go everywhere. I wish I were a gipsy." 

" Yes, gipsies are jolly," replied Val, with a conviction 
which had just come to him; " you're rather like one, you 
know." 

Holly's face shone suddenly and deeply, like dark leaves 
gilded by the sun. 

" To go mad-rabbiting everywhere and see everything, 
and live in the open — oh ! wouldn't it be fun ?" 

" Let's do it," said Val. 

" Oh yes, let's !" 

" It'd be grand sport, just you and I." 

Then Holly perceived the quaintness and flushed. 

" Well, we've got to do it," said Val obstinately, but 
reddening too. " I believe in doing things you w^ant to 
do. What's down there ?" 

" The kitchen-garden, and the pond and the coppice, 
and the farm." 

" Let's go down !" 

Holly glanced back at the house. 

" It's tea-time, I expect; there's dad beckoning." 



504 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Val, uttering a growly sound, followed her towards the 
house. 

When they re-entered the hall gallery the sight of two 
middle-aged Forsytes drinking tea together had its magical 
effect, and they became quite silent. It was, indeed, an 
impressive spectacle. The two were seated side by side 
on an arrangement in marqueterie which looked like three 
silvery pink chairs made one, with a low tea-table in front 
of them. They seemed to have taken up that position, 
as far apart as the seat would permit, so that they need not 
look at each other too much; and they were eating and 
drinking rather than talking — Soames with his air of despis- 
ing the tea-cake as it disappeared, Jolyon of finding himself 
slightly amusing. To the casual eye neither would have 
seemed greedy, but both were getting through a good deal 
of sustenance. The two young ones having been supplied 
with food, the process went on silent and absorbative, till, 
with the advent of cigarettes, Jolyon said to Soames: 

" And how's Uncle James ?" 

*' Thanks, very shaky." 

" We're a wonderful family, aren't we ? The other 
day I was calculating the average age of the ten old Forsytes 
from my father's family Bible. I make it eighty-four 
already, and five still living. They ought to beat the 
record;" and looking whimsically at Soames, he added: 
" We aren't the men they were, you know." 

Soames smiled. * Do you really think I shall admit that 
I'm not their equal '; he seemed to be saying, * or that I've 
got to give up anything, especially life ?' 

" We may live to their age, perhaps," pursued Jolyon, 
" but self-consciousness is a handicap, you know, and that's 
the difference between us. We've lost conviction. How 
and when self-consciousness was born I never can make 
out. My father had a little, but I don't believe any other 
of the old Forsytes ever had a scrap. Never to see yourself 



IN CHANCERY 505 

as others see you, it's a wonderful preservative. The whole 
history of the last century is in the difference between us. 
And between us and you," he added, gazing through a 
ring of smoke at Val and Holly, uncomfortable under his 
quizzical regard, " there'll be — another difference. I wonder 
what." 

Soames took out his watch. 

" We must go," he said, " if we're to catch our train." 

" Uncle Soames never misses a train," muttered Val, with 
his mouth full. 

" Why should I ?" Soames answered simply. 

" Oh ! I don't know," grumbled Val, " other people do." 

At the front door he gave Holly's slim brown hand a long 
and surreptitious squeeze. 

" Look out for me to-morrow," he whispered; " three 
o'clock. I'll wait for you in the road; it'll save time. We'll 
have a ripping ride." He gazed back at her from the lodge 
gate, and, but for the principles of a man about town, would 
have waved his hand. He felt in no mood to tolerate his 
uncle's conversation. But he was not in danger. Soames 
preser^^ed a perfect muteness, busy with far-away thoughts. 

The yellow leaves came down about those two walking 

the mile and a half which Soames had traversed so often 

in those long-ago days when he came down to watch with 

secret pride the building of the house — that house which 

was to have been the home of him and her from whom he 

was now going to seek release. He looked back once, up 

that endless vista of autumn lane between the yellowing 

hedges. What an age ago ! ' I don't want to see her,' 

he had said to Jolyon. Was that true ? * I may have to,' 

he thought; and he shivered, seized by one of those queer 

shudderings that they say mean footsteps on one's grave. A 

chilly world ! A queer world ! And glancing sidelong at 

his nephew, he thought: ' Wish I were his age ! I wonder 

what she's like now I' 

17* 



CHAPTER VIII 

JOLYON PROSECUTES TRUSTEESHIP 

When those two were gone Jolyon did not return to his 
painting, for daylight was failing, but went to the study, 
craving unconsciously a revival of that momentary vision 
of his father sitting in the old brown leather chair with his 
knees crossed and his straight eyes gazing up from under the 
dome of his massive brow. Often in this little room, 
cosiest in the house, Jolyon would catch a moment of com- 
munion with his father. Not, indeed, that he had definitely 
any faith in the persistence of the human spirit — the feeling 
was not so logical — it was, rather, an atmospheric impact, 
like a scent, or one of those strong animistic impressions from 
forms, or effects of light, to which those with the artist's 
eye are especially prone. Here only — in this little unchanged 
room where his father had spent the most of his waking 
hours — could be retrieved the feeling that he was not quite 
gone, that the steady counsel of that old spirit and the 
warmth of his masterful lovability endured. 

What would his father be advising now, in this sudden 
recrudescence of an old tragedy — what would he say to this 
menace against her to whom he had taken such a fancy in 
the last weeks of his life ? ' I must do my best for her,' 
thought Jolyon; ' he left her to me in his will. But what 
is the best ?' 

And as if seeking to regain the sapience, the balance and 
shrewd common sense of that old Forsyte, he sat down in 
the ancient chair and crossed his knees. But he felt a mere 

shadow sitting there; nor did any inspiration come, while 

506 



IN CHANCERY loj 

the fingers of the wind tapped on the darkening panes of the 
french-window. 

' Go and see her ?' he thought, * or ask her to come down 
here ? What's her life been ? What is it now, I wonder ? 
Beastly to rake up things at this time of day.' Again the 
figure of his cousin standing with a hand on a front door 
of a fine olive-green leaped out, vivid, like one of those 
figures from old-fashioned clocks when the hour strikes; 
and his words sounded in Jolyon's ears clearer than any 
chime: * I manage my own afiairs. I've told you once, I 
tell you again: We are not at home.' The repugnance he 
had then felt for Soames — for his flat-cheeked, shaven face 
full of spiritual bidl-doggedness, for his spare, square, sleek 
figure slightly crouched as it were over the bone he could 
not digest — came now again, fresh as ever, nay, with an odd 
increase. * I dislike him,' he thought, ' I dislike him to the 
very roots of me. And that's lucky; it'll make it easier 
for me to back his wife.' Half- artist and half- Forsyte, 
Jolyon was constitutionally averse from what he termed 
* ructions ' ; unless angered, he conformed deeply to that 
classic description of the she- dog, ' Er'd ruther run than 
fight.' A little smile became settled in his beard. Ironical 
that Soames should come down here — to this house, built 
for himself ! How he had gazed and gaped at this ruin 
of his past intention; furtively nosing at the waUs and 
stairway, appraising ever)^thing ! And intuitively Jolyon 
thought: * I believe the fellow even now would like to be 
living here. He could never leave off longing for what he 
once owned ! Well, I must act, somehow or other; but it's 
a bore — a great bore.' 

Late that evening he wrote to the Chelsea fiat, asking i: 
Irene would see him. 

The old century which had seen the plant of individualism 
flower so wonderfully was setting in a sky orange with coming 



5o8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

storms. Rumours of war added to the briskness of a London 
turbulent at the close of the summer holidays. And the 
streets to Jolyon, who was not often up in town, had a 
feverish look, due to these new motor-cars and cabs, of which 
he disapproved aesthetically. He counted these vehicles 
from his hansom, and made the proportion of them one in 
twenty. ' They were one in thirty about a year ago,' 
he thought; ' they've come to stay. Just so much more 
rattling round of wheels and general stink ' — for he was 
one of those rather rare Liberals who object to anything 
new when it takes a material form; and he instructed his 
driver to get down to the river quickly, out of the traffic, 
desiring to look at the water through the mellowing screen 
of plane-trees. At the little block of flats which stood back 
some fifty yards from the Embankment, he told the cabman 
to wait, and went up to the first floor. 

Yes, Mrs. Heron was at home ! 

The effect of a settled if very modest income was at once 
apparent to him remembering the threadbare refinement in 
that tiny flat eight years ago when he announced her good 
fortune. Everything was now fresh, dainty, and smelled 
of flowers. The general effect was silvery with touches 
of black, hydrangea colour, and gold. * A woman of great 
taste,' he thought. Time had dealt gently with Jolyon, 
for he was a Forsyte. But with Irene Time hardly seemed 
to deal at all — or such was his impression. She appeared 
to him not a day older, standing there in mole-coloured 
velvet corduroy, with soft dark eyes and dark gold hair, 
with outstretched hand and a little smile. 

" Won't you sit down ?" 

He had probably never occupied a chair with a fuller 
sense of embarrassment. 

** You look absolutely unchanged," he said. 

" And you look younger, Cousin Jolyon." 



IN CHANCERY 509 

Jolyon ran his hands through his hair, whose thickness 
was still a comfort to him. 

" I'm ancient, but I don't feel it. That's one thing about 
painting, it keeps you young. Titian lived to ninety-nine, 
and had to have plague to kill him off. Do you know, the 
first time I ever saw you I thought of a picture by him ? " 

" When did you see me for the first time ?" 

" In the Botanical Gardens." 

" How did you know me, if you'd never seen me before ?" 

" By someone who came up to you." He was looking 
at her hardily, but her face did not change; and she said 
quietly: 

" Yes; many lives ago." 

" What is your recipe for youth, Irene ?" 

*' People who don't live are wonderfully preserved." 

H'm ! a bitter little saying ! People who don't live ! 
But an opening, and he took it. " You remember my 
Cousin Soames ?" 

He saw her smile faintly at that whimsicality, and at once 
went on: " He came to see me the day before yesterday ! 
He wants a divorce. Do you ?" 

" I ?" The word seemed startled out of her. " After 
twelve years ? It's rather late. Won't it be difficult ?" 

Jolyon looked hard into her face. " Unless " he said. 

" Unless I have a lover now. But I have never had one 
since." 

What did he feel at the simplicity and candour of those 
words ? Relief, surprise, pity ! Venus for twelve years 
without a lover ! 

" And yet," he said, " I suppose you would give a good 
deal to be free, too ?" 

" I don't know. What does it matter, now ?'* 

" But if you were to love again ?" 

** I should love." In that simple answer she seemed to 



510 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

sum up the whole philosophy of one on whom the world 
had turned its back. 

** Well ! Is there anything you would like me to say to 
him ?" 

" Only that I'm sorry he's not free. He had his chance 
once. I don't know why he didn't take it." 

" Because he was a Forsyte; we never part with things, 
you know, unless we want something in their place; and not 
always then." 

Irene smiled. " Don't you, Cousin Jolyon f — I think 
you do." 

*' Of course, I'm a bit of a mongrel — not quite a pure 
Forsyte. I never take the halfpennies off my cheques, I 
put them on," said Jolyon uneasily. 

" Well, what does Soames want in place of me now ?" 

" I don't know; perhaps children." 

She was silent for a little, looking down. 

"Yes," she murmured; "it's hard. I would help him 
to be free if I could." 

Jolyon gazed into his hat, his embarrassment was in- 
creasing fast; so was his admiration, his wonder, and his pity. 
She was so lovely, and so lonely; and altogether it was such 
a coil ! 

" Well," he said, " I shall have to see Soames. If there's 
anything I can do for you I'm always at your service. You 
must think of me as a wretched substitute for my father. 
At all events I'll let you know what happens when I speak 
to Soames. He may supply the material himself." 

She shook her head. 

" You see, he has a lot to lose; and I have nothing. I 
should like him to be free; but I don't see what I can do." 

" Nor I at the moment," said Jolyon, and soon after took 
his leave. He went down to his hansom. Half-past three ! 
Soames would be at his office still. 



IN CHANCERY 511 

" To the Poultry," he called through the trap. In front 
of the Houses of Parliament and in Whitehall, newsvendors 
were calling, * Grave situation in the Transvaal !' but the 
cries hardly roused him, absorbed in recollection of that 
very beautiful figure, of her soft dark glance, and the words: 
* I have never had one since.' What on earth did such a 
woman do with her life, backwatered like this ? Solitary, 
unprotected, with every man's hand against her or rather — 
reaching out to grasp her at the least sign. And year after 
year she went on like that ! 

The word * Poultry ' above the passing citizens brought 
him back to reality. 

* Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte,' in black letters on a 
ground the colour of peasoup, spurred him to a sort of 
vigour, and he went up the stone stairs muttering: " Fusty 
musty ownerships ! Well, we couldn't do without them !" 

*' I want Mr. Soames Forsyte," he said to the boy who 
opened the door. 

" What name ?" 

" Mr. Jolyon Forsyte." 

The youth looked at him curiously, never having seen a 
Forsyte with a beard, and vanished. 

The offices of * Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte ' had slowly 
absorbed the offices of * Tooting and Bowles,' and occupied 
the whole of the first floor The firm consisted now of 
nothing but Soames and a namber of managing and articled 
clerks. The complete retirement of James some six years 
ago had accelerated business, to which the final touch of 
speed had been imparted when Bustard dropped oif, worn 
out, as many believed, by the suit of * Fryer versus Forsyte,* 
more in Chancery than ever and less likely to benefit its 
beneficiaries. Soames, with his saner grasp of actualities^ 
had never permitted it to worry him; on the contrary, he 
had long perceived that Providence had presented hini 



512 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

therein with ^200 a year nett in perpetuity, and — why not ? 

When Jolyon entered, his cousin was drawing out a list 
of holdings in Consols, which in view of the rumours of war 
he was going to advise his companies to put on the market 
at once, before other companies did the same. He looked 
round, sidelong, and said: 

" How are you ? Just one minute. Sit down, won't 
you ?" And having entered three amounts, and set a ruler 
to keep his place, he turned towards Jolyon, biting the side 
of his flat fore-finger. 

"Yes?" he said. 

" I have seen her." 

Soames frowned. 

"Well?" 

" She has remained faithful to memory." 

Having said that Jolyon was ashamed. His cousin had 
flushed a dusky yellowish red. What had made him tease 
the poor brute ! " I was to tell you she is sorry you are not 
free. Twelve years is a long time. You know your law 
better than I do, and what chance it gives you." Soames 
uttered a curious little grunt, and the two remained a full 
minute without speaking. * Like wax !' thought Jolyon, 
watching that close face, where the flush was fast subsiding. 
* He'll never give me a sign of what he's thinking, or going 
to do. Like wax !' And he transferred his gaze to a plan 
of that flourishing town, * By-Street on Sea,' the future 
existence of which lay exposed on the wall to the possessive 
instincts of the firm's clients. The whimsical thought flashed 
through him : ' I wonder if I shall get a bill of costs for this — 
" To attending Mr. Jolyon Forsyte in the matter of my 
divorce, to receiving his account of his visit to my wife, 
and to advising him to go and see her again, sixteen and 
eightpence." ' 

Suddenly Soames said: "I can't go on like this. I tell 



IN CHANCERY 513 

you, I can't go on like this." His eyes were shifting from 
side to side, like an animal's when it looks for way of escape. 
'He really suffers,' thought Jolyon; 'I've no business to 
forget that, just because I don't like him.' 

" Surely," he said gently, " it lies with yourself. A man 
can always put these things through if he'll take it on him- 
self." 

Soames turned square to him, with a sound which seemed 
to come from somewhere very deep. 

" Why should I suffer more than I've suffered already ? 
Why should I ?" 

Jolyon could only shrug his shoulders. His reason agreed, 
his instinct rebelled; he could not have said why. 

" Your father," went on Soames, " took an interest in 
her — why, goodness knows ! And I suppose you do too ?" 
he gave Jolyon a sharp look. " It seems to me that one only 
has to do another person a wrong to get all the sympathy. 
I don't know in what way I was to blame — I've never known. 
I always treated her well. I gave her everything she could 
wish for. I wanted her." 

Again Jolyon's reason nodded; again his instinct shook its 
head. * What is it ?' he thought; ' there must be something 
wrong in me. Yet if there is, I'd rather be wrong than 
right.' 

" After all," said Soames with a sort of glum fierceness, 
" she was my wife." 

In a flash the thought went through his listener: * There 
it is ! Ownerships ! Well, we all own things. But — 
human beings ! Pah !' 

" You have to look at facts," he said drily, " or rather the 
want of them." 

Soames gave him another quick suspicious look. 

" The want of them r" he said. " Yes, but I am not so 
sure." 



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5i6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

barrenness of his speech; he felt that he could say * an awful 
lot of fetching things ' if he had but the chance again, and 
the thought that he must go back to Littlehampton on the 
morrow, and to Oxford on the twelfth — ' to that beastly 
exam,' too — without the faintest chance of first seeing her 
again, caused darkness to settle on his spirit even more 
quickly than on the evening. He should write to her, 
however, and she had promised to answer. Perhaps, too, 
she would come up to Oxford to see her brother. That 
thought was like the first star, which came out as he rode 
into Padwick's livery stables in the purlieus of Sloane Square. 
He got oS and stretched himself luxuriously, for he had 
ridden some twenty-five good miles. The Dartie within 
him made him chaffer for five minutes with young Padwick 
concerning the favourite for the Cambridgeshire; then with 
the words, " Put the gee down to my account," he walked 
away, a little wide at the knees, and flipping his boots with 
his knotty little cane. * I don't feel a bit inclined to go out,' 
he thought. ' I wonder if mother will stand fizz for my last 
night !' With * fizz ' and recollection, he could well pass 
a domestic evening. 

When he came down, speckless after his bath, he found his 
mother scrupulous in a low evening dress, and, to his annoy- 
ance, his Uncle Soames. They stopped talking when he 
came in; then his uncle said: 

" He'd better be told." 

At those words, which meant something about his father, 
of course, Val's first thought was of Holly. Was it anything 
beastly ? His mother began speaking. 

" Your father," she said in her fashionably appointed 
voice, while her fingers plucked rather pitifully at sea-green 
brocade, " your father, my dear boy, has — is not at New- 
market; he's on his way to South America. He — he's 
left us." 



IN CHANCERY 517 

Val looked from her to Soames. Left them ! Was he 
sorry ? Was he fond of his father ? It seemed to him that 
he did not know. Then, suddenly — as at a whiff of gardenias 
and cigars — his heart twitched within him, and he was 
sorry. One's father belonged to one, could not go off in 
this fashion — it was not done ! Nor had he always been the 
* bounder ' of the Pandemonium promenade. There were 
precious memories of tailors' shops and horses, tips at school, 
and general lavish kindness, when in luck. 

" But why ?" he said. Then, as a sportsman himself, 
was sorry he had asked. The mask of his mother's face was 
all disturbed; and he burst out: 

" All right, Mother, don't tell me ! Only, what does it 
mean ?" 

" A divorce, Val, I'm afraid." 

Val uttered a queer little grunt, and looked quickly at 
his uncle — that uncle whom he had been taught to look on 
as a guarantee against the consequences of having a father, 
even against the Dartie blood in his own veins. The fiat- 
cheeked visage seemed to wince, and this upset him. 

" It won't be pubHc, will it ?" 

So vividly before him had come recollection of his own 
eyes glued to the unsavoury details of many a divorce suit 
in the public Press. 

" Can't it be done quietly somehow ? It's so disgusting 
for — for mother, and — and everybody." 

" Everything will be done as quietly as it can, you may be 
sure." 

" Yes — but, why is it necessary at all ? Mother doesn't 
want to marry again." 

Himself, the girls, their name tarnished in the sight of his 
schoolfellows and of Crum, of the men at Oxford, of — 
Holly ! Unbearable ! What was to be gained by it ? 

" Do you. Mother ?" he said sharply. 



5i8 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Thus brought face to face with so much of her own feeling 
by the one she loved best in the world, Winifred rose from 
the Empire chair in which she had been sitting. She saw 
that her son would be against her unless he was told every- 
thing; and, yet, how could she tell him ? Thus, still plucking 
at the green brocade, she stared at Soames. Val, too, stared 
at Soames. Surely this embodiment of respectability and 
the sense of property could not wish to bring such a slur 
on his own sister ! 

Soames slowly passed a little inlaid paper-knife over the 
smooth surface of a marqueterie table; then, without 
looking at his nephew, he began: 

" You don't understand what your mother has had to put 
up \\dth these twenty years. This is only the last straw, 
Val." And glancing up sideways at Winifred, he added: 

" Shall I tell him?" 

Winifred was silent. If he were not told, he would be 
against her ! Yet, how dreadful to be told such things of 
his own father ! Clenching her lips, she nodded. 

Soames spoke in a rapid, even voice : 

" He has always been a burden round your mother's 
neck. She has paid his debts over and over again; he has 
often been drunk, abused and threatened her; and now he 
is gone to Buenos Aires with a dancer." And, as if distrust- 
ing the efficacy of those words on the boy, he went on quickly : 

" He took your mother's pearls to give to her." 

Val jerked up his hand, then. At that signal of distress 
Winifred cried out: 

" That'll do, Soames— stop !" 

In the boy, the Dartie and the Forsyte were struggling. 
For debts, drink, dancers, he had a certain sympathy; but 
the pearls — no ! That was too much ! And suddenly he 
found his mother's hand squeezing his. 

" You see," he heard Soames say, " we can't have it all 



IN CHANCERY 519 

begin over again. There's a limit ; we must strike while 
the iron's hot." 

Val freed his hand. 

" But — ^you're — never going to bring out that about the 
pearls ! I couldn't stand that — I simply couldn't !" 

Winifred cried out: 

" No, no, Val — oh no ! That's only to show you how 
impossible your father is !" And his uncle nodded. Some- 
what assuaged, Val took out a cigarette. His father had 
bought him that thin curved case. Oh ! it was unbearable — 
just as he was going up to Oxford ! 

" Can't mother be protected without ?" he said. " I 
could look after her. It could always be done later if it 
was really necessary." 

A smile played for a moment round Soames' Hps, and 
became bitter. 

" You don't know what you're talking of; nothing's so 
fatal as delay in such matters." 

" Why ?" 

" I teU you, boy, nothing's so fatal. I know from 
experience." 

His voice had the ring of exasperation. Val regarded him 
round- eyed, never having known his uncle express any sort 
of feeling. Oh ! Yes — he remembered now — there had 
been an Aunt Irene, and something had happened — some- 
thing which people kept dark; he had heard his father once 
use an unmentionable word of her. 

" I don't want to speak ill of your father," Soames went 
on doggedly, " but I know him well enough to be sure that 
he'll be back on your mother's hands before a year's over. 
You can imagine what that will mean to her and to all of 
you after this. The only thing is to cut the knot for good." 

In spite of himself, Val was impressed; and, happening to 
look at his mother's face, he got what was perhaps his first 



520 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

real insight into the fact that his own feelings were not 
always what mattered most. 

" All right, mother," he said; " we'll back you up Only, 
I'd like to know when it'll be. It's my first term, you know. 
I don't want to be up there when it comes off." 

" Oh ! my dear boy," murmured Winifred, " it is a bore 
for you." So, by habit, she phrased what, from the ex- 
pression of her face, was the most poignant regret. " Wher 
will it be, Soames ?" 

" Can't tell — not for months. We must get restitution 
first." 

' What the deuce is that ?' thought Val. ' What silly 
brutes lawyers are ! Not for months ! I know one thing: 
I'm not going to dine in !' And he said: 

" Awfully sorry, mother, I've got to go out to dinner 
now." 

Though it was his last night, Winifred nodded almost 
gratefully; they both felt that they had gone quite far enough 
in the expression of feeHng. 

Val sought the misty freedom of Green Street, reckless 
and depressed. And not till he reached Piccadilly did he 
discover that he had only eighteen-pence. One couldn't 
dine off eighteen-pence, and he was very hungry. He looked 
longingly at the windows of the Iseeum Club, where he had 
often eaten of the best with his father ! Those pearls ! 
There was no getting over them ! But the more he brooded 
and the further he walked the hungrier he naturally became. 
Short of traihng home, there were only two places where 
he could go — his grandfather's in Park Lane, and Timothy's 
in the Bayswater Road. Which was the less deplorable ? 
At his grandfather's he would probably get a better dinner 
on the spur of the moment. At Timothy's they gave you 
a jolly good feed when they expected you, not otherwise. 
He decided on Park Lane, not unmoved by the thought that 



IN CHANCERY 521 

to go up to Oxford without affording his grandfather a 
chance to tip him was hardly fair to either of them. His 
mother would hear he had been there, of course, and might 
think it funny; but he couldn't help that. He rang the 
bell. 

" Hullo, Warmson, any dinner for me, d'you think ?" 

" They're just going in, Master Val. Mr. Forsyte will 
be very glad to see you. He was saying at lunch that he 
never saw you nowadays." 

Val grinned: 

" Well, here I am. Kill the fatted calf, Warmson, let's 
have fizz." 

Warmson smiled faintly — in his opinion Val was a young 
limb. 

" I will ask Mrs. Forsyte, Master Val." 

" I say," Val grumbled, taking off his overcoat, " I'm 
not at school any more, you know." 

Warmson, not without a sense of humour, opened the 
door beyond the stag's-horn coatstand, with the words: 

" Mr. Valerus, ma'am." 

* Confound him !' thought Val, entering. 

A warm embrace, a " Well, Val !" from Emily, and a 
rather quavery " So there you are at last !" from James, 
restored his sense of dignity. 

" Why didn't you let us know ? There's only saddle 
of mutton. Champagne, Warmson;" said Emily. And 
they went in. 

At the great dining-table, shortened to its utmost, under 
which so many fashionable legs had rested, James sat at one 
end, Emily at the other, Val half-way between them; and 
something of the loneliness of his grandparents, now that 
all their four children were flown, reached the boy's spirit. 
* I hope I shall kick the bucket long before I'm as old as 
grandfather,' he thought. ' Poor old chap, he's as thin as 



522 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

a rail 1* And lowering his voice while his grandfather and 
Warmson were in discussion about sugar in the soup, he 
said to Emily: 

" It's pretty brutal at home, Granny. I suppose you 
know." 

" Yes, dear boy." 

" Uncle Soames was there when I left. I say, isn't 
there anything to be done to prevent a divorce ? Why is 
he so beastly keen on it ?" 

" Hush, my dear !" murmured Emily; " we're keeping it 
from your grandfather.'* 

James' voice sounded from the other end. 

" What's that ? What are you talking about ?" 

*' About Val's college," returned Emily. " Young 
Pariser was there, James; you remember — he nearly broke 
the Bank at Monte Carlo afterwards." 

James muttered that he did not know — Val must look after 
himself up there, or he'd get into bad ways. And he looked 
at his grandson with gloom, out of which affection distrust- 
fully glimmered. 

" What I'm afraid of," said Val to his plate, " is of being 
hard up, you know." 

By instinct he knew that the weak spot in that old man 
was fear of insecurity for his grandchildren. 

" Well," said James, and the soup in his spoon dribbled 
over, "you'll have a good allowance; but you must keep 
within it." 

" Of course," murmured Val; " if it is good. How much 
will it be, Grandfather ?" 

" Three hundred and fifty; it's too much. I had next 
to nothing at your age." 

Val sighed. He had hoped for four, and been afraid of 
three. " I don't know what your young cousin has," said 
James; " he's up there. His father's a rich man." 

" Aren't you ?" asked Val hardily. 



IN CHANCERY 523 

"I ?" replied James, flustered. "I've got so many expenses. 
Your father " and he was silent. 

" Cousin Jolyon's got an awfully jolly place. I went down 
there with Uncle Soames — ripping stables." 

" Ah !" murmured James profoundly. " That house — I 
knew how it would be !" And he lapsed into gloomy medita- 
tion over his fishbones. His son's tragedy, and the deep 
cleavage it had caused in the Forsyte family, had still the 
power to draw him down into a whirlpool of doubts and 
misgivings. Val, who hankered to talk of Robin Hill, because 
Robin Hill meant Holly, turned to Emily and said: 

" Was that the house built for Uncle Soames ?" And, 
receiving her nod, went on : "I wish you'd tell me about him, 
Granny. What became of Aunt Irene ? Is she still going ? 
He seems awfully worked-up about something to-night." 

Emily laid her finger on her lips, but the word Irene had 
caught James' ear. 

" What's that ?" he said, staying a piece of mutton close 
to his lips. " Who's been seeing her ? I knew we hadn't 
heard the last of that." 

" Now, James," said Emily, " eat your dinner. Nobody's 
been seeing anybody.'* 

James put down his fork. 

" There you go," he said. " I might die before you'd 
tell me of it. Is Soames getting a divorce ?" 

"Nonsense," said Emily with incomparable aplomb; 
" Soames is much too sensible." 

James had sought his own throat, gathering the long white 
whiskers together on the skin and bone of it. 

" She — she was always " he said, and with that 

enigmatic remark the conversation lapsed, for Warmson had 
returned. But later, when the saddle of mutton had been 
succeeded bysweet, savoury, and dessert, and Val had received 
a cheque for twenty pounds and his grandfather's kiss — like 
no other kiss in the world, from lips pushed out with a sort 



524 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of fearful suddenness, as if yielding to weakness — he returned 
to the charge in the hall. 

" Tell us about Uncle Soames, Granny. Why is he 
so keen on mother's getting a divorce ?" 

" Your Uncle Soames," said Emily, and her voice had in 
it an exaggerated assurance, " is a lawyer, my dear boy. 
He's sure to know best." 

" Is he ?" muttered Val. " But what did become of Aunt 
Irene ? I remember she was jolly good-looking." 

" She — er — " said Emily, " behaved very badly. We 
don't talk about it." 

" Well, I don't want everybody at Oxford to know about 
our affairs," ejaculated Val; " it's a brutal idea. Why 
couldn't father be prevented without its being made public ?" 

Emily sighed. She had always lived rather in an atmo- 
sphere of divorce, owing to her fashionable proclivities — so 
many of those whose legs had been under her table having 
gained a certain notoriety. When, however, it touched her 
own family, she liked it no better than other people. But 
she was eminently practical, and a woman of courage, who 
never pursued a shadow in preference to its substance. 

" Your mother," she said, " will be happier if she's quite 
free, Val. Good-night, my dear boy; and don't wear 
loud waistcoats up at Oxford, they're not the thing just 
now. Here's a little present." 

With another five pounds in his hand, and a little warmth 
in his heart, for he was fond of his grandmother, he went out 
into Park Lane. A wind had cleared the mist, the autumn 
leaves were rustling, and the stars were shining. With all 
that money in his pocket an impulse to * see life ' beset him; 
but he had not gone forty yards in the direction of Piccadilly 
when Holly's shy face, and her eyes with an imp dancing 
in their gravity, came up before him, and his hand seemed 
to be tingling again from the pressure of her warm gloved 
hand- * No, dash it !' he thought, * I'm going home !' 



CHAPTER X 

SOAMES ENTERTAINS THE FUTURE 

It was full late for the river, but the weather was lovely, 
and summer lingered below the yellowing leaves. Soames 
took many looks at the day from his riverside garden near 
Mapledurham that Sunday morning. With his own hands 
he put flowers about his little house-boat, and equipped the 
punt, in which, after lunch, he proposed to take them on the 
river. Placing those Chinese-looking cushions, he could 
not tell whether or no he wished to take Annette alone. 
She was so very pretty — could he trust himself not to say 
irrevocable words, passing beyond the limits of discretion ? 
Roses on the veranda were still in bloom, and the hedges 
evergreen, so that there was almost nothing of middle-aged 
autumn to chill the mood; yet was he nervous, fidgety, 
strangely distrustful of his powers to steer just the right 
course. This visit had been planned to produce in Annette 
and her mother a due sense of his possessions, so that they 
should be ready to receive with respect any overture he 
might later be disposed to make. He dressed with great 
care, making himself neither too young nor too old, very 
thankful that his hair was still thick and smooth and had no 
grey in it. Three times he went up to his picture-gallery. 
If they had any knowledge at all, they must see at once that 
his collection alonewas worth at least thirty thousand pounds. 
He minutely inspected, too, the pretty bedroom overlooking 
the river where they would take off their hats. It would be 
her bedroom if — if the matter went through, and she becam^e 
his wife. Going up to the dressing-table he passed his hand 

525 



526 .-- rCJ.SVn SAGA 

OTei liic —Ji :■ ::.'-Z'^i ~ ~ r : ' " . : ~ intc "wiiic}: were ftnct aD 
lindi of ri:^-. i : : .; :::::: _::. tT'i^ei £ srs": ili: ziade 
: liTi^r-. r-1-: ^^^c ! If czIt tie vrhole 
Iri :-: :: -i-L i-Z there -i^ls net liie 
-:r:e t: re rue r!ir:::ri frsr: ^rd with 



cMld: 



wDtL-d nexer 

He ir:Te tr tie rt^ti 



doirr: and ter 'rl~e e~er ~ere £e~~re. Waitinr ::r :Jie~ 

to crrze iz^m. to Inn:'::. 5:ir.t' :-::: in tlie zz^z ::T-rh- 
windr^ rf tjie d£iiing-r:':n ~ :~ei ;- tJist se-:-_:_: itl.rtt 
Tn rcuEiirie and ^o^rer? izt tree;: ~:l:i:i I— -~ :i~e r: t:ie 
full -whsn yoiiii and be^^rtr weie tiieie to sh^it it witii one. 
He i^d ord-ered ihs Itinrli "wdt-i ir: tense coniiderstfon: the 
vri^e ~L! £ "err rr>eci£l ^^"reme. tne ~iole appciitmeit! r: 

ex-lent. ' Me i^mt lL~:t:e i::t::ti rreme le menthe: 

1 : . ' t . : : " : : " tne r :"::.'- : : 1 2 : ~~ : ' t-7 r : ". ;• into tiieni. 
' Vt: t:.:_:nt SoEmt:. iL:::.t: "t:: :: l::iiDn and tiiat 
err: :: life, ^ni Ene'L re rt riled/ 

:: -re "i: '.z :et2:e 7:tr::. -r-:res. ""AlorahU! 
I r: .. ; — . H:-- e-tr-::-.r:- .! ti^if, is it not, 

i-jLner:e : Mr ^_' ^ rel ?.lr:e Cristo/' Annette 
nnmrnre r ; : ^ - - r i ' :: : . r = : 5 : ^ rr e: " nich be could 
nr: re^i Ht :-. r; :tr -: :.". : r rr-t r!-t: Btit to ptmt 
r- : rt:;:r: rtr me r: rnem lr:i:er :: :i-.:r:n? on those 
Zz - -■- - - - --■- -: : .-t- '-:- i :--:t of lc»t 

rrr ;::-■- w -^; - tr: :.: i ::.::: i; ::-;:isPang- 



IN CHANCERY 527 

bourne, diitdng dowlj back, wicli everr now and tie- i- 
autumn leaf dropping on Annette or on ker motlier's click 
amplitude. And Soames was not Laruy, worried by tiie 
thought: 'How — when — where — can I say — what:' They 
did not yet even know that he was married To tell them 
he was married might jeopardise his every chance: vet, ii he 
did not definitely make them understand that he wished for 
Annette's hand, it would be dropping inrc some cdier 
clutch before he was free to claim it. 

At tea, which they both took with lemon, Scames sncke 
of the Transvaal. 

" There'U be war," he said. 

Madame Lamotte lamented. 

" Ces tauvres gsns hergerj T'"' Ccnld thev net be left 
to themselves ? 

Soames smile i — tne qnesrion seemei :: - — absurd. 

Surely as a woman of business she understood that the 
British could not abandon their legitimate ccmmercial 
interests. 

" Ah I that !" But Madame Lamotte fcnnd that the 
English were a little hypocrite. They were talHne of jnstite 
and the Uitlanders, not of business. Monsieur was the nrst 
who had spoken to her of that, 

" The Boers are only half- civilised.'"' remarked Scames: 
" they stand in the way of progress. It will never do to let 
our suzerainty go." 

" What does that mean to say : Suzerainty \ What a 
strange word !" Soames became eloquent, roused bv these 
threats to the principle of possession, and stimulated bv 
Annette's eyes fixed on him- He was delighted when 
presently she said: 

" I think Monsieur is right. They should be tanrht i. 
lesson." She was sensible ! 

" Of course," he said, " we must act w-dth mtcerinc:: 



52S THE FCRSITE SAGA 



I'z: nr "iiiiro. ^ - ~us: be f.na "vviihcut b-iUTin?, Will 
r:u ::~e ur izi see ~t r:::ure5 :"* Mcri^r :::~ rze to 

■ :" :: :::rie treisures, lie soon percciTcc. init zl.cj A.iiew 

Ti-z- riised his last Miure, xhan remarkable 
fruzT ;: : • Hi-v-cart goi~g Home,' as if it were a lithograph. 
Ke ;-i:f :- :1~::": -^r.r. r~t to see how they would view the 
ie"i^;- .: : ::t:::~ — m Isriels whose price Ee had 
M::Jiri irce'iizr : := "ow almcst certain it had 

r±i.Eie- rcr T^-^e. 2z_ _ . . _ :r retier en zzt zzarket again. 
They did not vie" i: i: il. Tf-is %v:! ; 5J:::>: ^nd yet to 
live iz A--t::e i -■::.- ::;:t :: :::~ - : .:-i :; ztzzei than 

middle-clii; :c deal wiiii. A: zz.t tzi :: :r.e r^-;~ was 
a Meissoniei of which he was rather ii:.^zz.ti — 2\Ieissonier 
was so steaii-y £-cizg down. Miia~e lizi:tte stepped 
before it. 

" Meisfonier I Ah ] What a jewel ." She had he^ri : lie 
name; Seine? tcoV sdr^ntage of that mczient. Very gezrly 
tonching Az^tzzt'i ^rzi. ::e said: 

'• How do yon liie my place, Annette :'' 

Q"- ^ -5" £ — ~~ ^hrizix. 21-2. not res'DOiid * she .z z £.tz lz mm inil, 
lockei -:~-. azz zmm-rei: 

"WE: - :Ei i:: me i: : I: is s: beiurifm:^' 

"PerEiT; iizif: 11" " Smmt: Eiii. ^li storired. 

5: ireT" sEe 'vi:. m seE-T i-.t^ti — E.r fririTtzed him. 
Those c:mE:--:"tr-:--e t-e:. :i-t :_:' :: :m: ;:r^m- 'tm. 
her deli^ite cmres — iz.t '■^•"=.1 i i-iz.z::.:: Trzim^:::- :: mn:- 
cretion ! No! No! Onezi_5: :t m:e :: :zt i r:--m. — 
mni-"- ; irtr . ' _r _ z.\.z on, ne 'z.'.z'zz-'. i" " i— T«r.T;.:;e 
her." E.I.1 nt ;::-ei ever to Mmime Eiii:::e, m: ms 
rt-ni in f — : :: the Meissemer. 

"Ye:, mi: : :--- ^ T'^ -:"rE ::>:; E:m mm. Yea 
must cem; irim. mimmt. irm i.z : .im -iimi _r. Yon 
must both come ii-i mez.i * m^m:. 



IN CH.\NXERY 529 

Enchanted, would it not be beautiful to see them lighted ? 
By moonlight too, the river muft be rayishing ! 

Annette murmured: 

" Thou art sentimental, Mamanr* 

Sentimental • That black-robed, comelv, substantial 
Frenchwoman of the world ! And suddenly he was certain 
as he could be that there was no sentiment in either of them. 
All the better. Of what use sentiment ? And yet ! 

He drove to the station with them, and saw them into the 
train. To the tightened pressure of his hand it seemed 
that Annette's fingers responded just a little; her face ;ni-e£ 
at him through the darL 

He went back to the carriage, brooding. " Go en ho^e, 
Jordan," he said to the coachman; "I'll walk." Azi lit 
strode out into the darkening lanes, caution and the itsL-e 
of possession playing see-saw within him " Bon soir^ 
monsieur P"* How softly she had said it. To know 
what was in her mind ! The French — they were like cats — 
one could teU nothing ! But — hew pretty ! What a 
perfect young thing to hold in one's arms ! What a mother 
for his heir ! And he thought, with a smUe, of his family 
and their surprise at a French wife, and their curiosity, and 
of the way he would play with it and bu5et it — confound 
them ! The poplars sighed in the darkness; an owl hooted. 
Shadows deepened in the water. * I will and must be free,' 
he thought. * I won't hang about any longer. I'U go and 
see Irene. If you want things done, do them yotirselL I 
must live again — live and move and have my being.' And 
in echo to that queer biblicality church-hells ch:— ei :he 
call to evening prayer. 



iS 



CHAPTER XI 

AND VISITS THE PAST 

On a Tuesday evening after dining at his Club Soames set 
out to do what required more courage and perhaps less 
delicacy than anything he had yet undertaken in his life — 
save perhaps his birth, and one other action. He chose the 
evening, indeed, partly because Irene was more likely to be 
in, but mainly because he had failed to find sufficient 
resolution by daylight, had needed wine to give him extra 
daring. 

He left his hansom on the Embankment, and walked up 
to the Old Church, uncertain of the block of flats where 
he knew she lived. He found it hiding behind a much larger 
mansion: and having read the name, * Mrs. Irene Heron * 
— Heron, forsooth ! Her maiden name: so she used that 
again, did she ? — he stepped back into the road to look up 
at the windows of the first floor. Light was coming 
through in the corner flat, and he could hear a piano being 
played. He had never had a love of music, had secretly 
borne it a grudge in the old days when so often she had 
turned to her piano, making of it a refuge place into which 
she knew he could not enter. Repulse ! The long repulse, 
at first restrained and secret, at last open 1 Bitter memory 
came with that sound. It must be she playing, and thus 
almost assured of seeing her, he stood more undecided than 
ever. Shivers of anticipation ran through him; his tongue 
felt dry, his heart beat fast. * / have no cause to be afraid,' 
he thought. And then the lawyer .stirred within him. 
Was he doing a foolish thing ? Ought he not to have 

530 



IN CHANCERY ^ 531 

arranged a formal meeting in the presence of her trustee ? 
No ! Not before that fellow Jolyon, who sympathised with 
her ! Never ! He crossed back into the doorway, and, 
slowly, to keep down the beating of his heart, mounted the 
single flight of stairs and rang the bell. When the door was 
opened to him his sensations were regulated by the scent 
which came — that perfume — from away back in the past, 
bringing mufiled remembrance: fragrance of a drawing- 
room he used to enter, of a house he used to own — perfume 
of dried rose-leaves and honey ! 

" Say, Mr. Forsyte," he said, " your mistress will see me, 
I know." He had thought this out; she would think it was 



on 1 



Joly 

When the maid was gone and he was alone in the tiny 
hall, where the light was dim from one pearly-shaded sconce, 
and walls, carpet, everything was silvery, making the walled- 
in space all ghostly, he could only think ridiculously: * Shall 
I go in with my overcoat on, or take it off?' The music 
ceased, the maid said from the doorway: 

" Will you walk in, sir ?" 

Soames walked in. He noted mechanically that all was 
still silvery, and that the upright piano was of satinwood. 
She had risen and stood recoiled against it; her hand, placed 
on the keys as if groping for support, had struck a sudden 
discord, held for a moment, and released. The light from 
the shaded piano-candle fell on her neck, leaving her face 
rather in shadow. She was in a black evening dress, with a 
sort of mantilla over her shoulders — he did not remember 
ever having seen her in black, and the thought passed through 
him: * She dresses even when she's alone.' 

" You !" he heard her whisper. 

Many times Soames had rehearsed this scene in fancy. 
Rehear-sal served him not at all. He simply could not speak. 
He had never thought that the sight of this woman whom 



53« THE FORSYTE SAGA 

lis had once so passionatclv desired, so completely owned, 
and whom he had not seen for twelve jears, could a5ect him 
in this way. He had imagined himself speaking and acting, 
half as man of business, half as judge. And now it was as 
if he were in the presence not of a mere woman and erring 
wife, but of some force, subtle and elusive as atmosphere 
itself, within him and outside. A kind of defensive irony 
welled up in him. 

'• Yes, it's a queer visit ! I hope you're well." 

" Thank you. Will vou sit down r" 

She had moved away from the piano, and gone over to a 
window- seat, sinking on to it, with her hands clasped in her 
lap. Light fell on her there, so that Soames could see her 
face, ejes, hair, strangely as he remembered them, strangely 
beautiful. 

He sat down on the edge of a satin-wood chair, upholstered 
with silver-coloured stutt, close to where he was standing. 

" You have not changed," he said. 

" No : What have you come for '" 

" To discuss things." 

•' I have heard what you want from your cousin." 

"Well?" 

" I am willing. I have always been." 

The sound of her voice, reserved and close, the sight of her 
ngure watchfully poised, defensive, was helping him now. 
A thousand memories of her, ever on the watch against him, 
stirred, and he said bitterly: 

" Perhaps you will be good enough, then, to give me 
information on which I can act. The law must be complied 
with." 

" I have none to give you that you don't know of." 

" Twelve years ! Do you suppose I can believe that ?" 

" I don't suppose you mil believe anything I say; but it's 
the truth." 



IN CHANCERY 533 

Soames looked at her hard. He had said that she had not 
changed; now he perceived that she had. Not in face, 
except that it was more beautiful; not in form, except that 
it was a little fuller — no ! She had changed spiritually. 
There was more of her, as it were, something of activity and 
daring, where there had been sheer passive resistance. 
* Ah !' he thought, * that's her independent income ! 
Confound Uncle Jolyon I' 

" I suppose you're comfortably cS now ?" he said. 

** Thank you, yes." 

" Why didn't you let me provide for you ? I would have, 
in spite of everything.'* 

A faint smile came on her lips; but she did not answer. 

" You are still my wife," said Soames. Why he said that, 
what he meant by it, he knew neither when he spoke nor 
after. It was a truism almost preposterous, but its efiect 
was startling. She rose from the window- seat, and stood 
for a moment perfectly still, looking at him. He could see 
her bosom heaving. Then she turned to the window and 
threw it open. 

" Why do that ?" he said sharply. " You'll catch ccld in 
that dress. Pm not dangerous." And he uttered a little 
sad laugh. 

She echoed it — faintly, bitterly, 

" It was— habit." 

" Rather odd habit," said Soames as bitterly. " Shut 
the window I" 

She shut it and sat down again. She had developed power, 
this woman — this — wife of his ! He felt it issuing from her 
as she sat there, in a sort of armour. And almost uncon- 
sciously he rose and moved nearer; he wanted to see the 
expression on her face. Her eyes met his unflinching 
Heavens ! how clear they were, and what a dark brown 
aeainst that white skin, and that burnt-amber hair ! And 



534 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

how white her shoulders ! Funny sensation this ! He 
ought to hate her. 

" You had better tell me," he said ; " it's to your advantage 
to be free as well as to mine. That old matter is too old." 

" I have told you." 

" Do you mean to tell me there has been nothing — 
nobody ?" 

" Nobody. You must go to your own life." 

Stung by that retort, Soames moved towards the piano 
and back to the hearth, to and fro, as he had been wont in 
the old days in their drawing-room when his feelings were 
too much for him. 

" That won't do," he said. " You deserted me. In 
common justice it's for you " 

He saw her shrug those white shoulders, heard her 
murmur: 

" Yes. Why didn't you divorce me then ? Should I 
have cared ?" 

He stopped, and looked at her intently with a sort of 
curiosity. What on earth did she do with herself, if she 
really lived quite alone ? And why had he not divorced 
her ? The old feeling that she had never understood him, 
never done him justice, bit him while he stared at her. 

" Why couldn't you have made me a good wife ?" he said. 

" Yes; it was a crime to marry you. I have paid for it. 
You will find some way perhaps. You needn't mind my 
name, I have none to lose. Now I think you had better go." 

A sense of defeat — of being defrauded of his self -justifi- 
cation, and of something else beyond power of explanation 
to himself, beset Soames like the breath of a cold fog. 
Mechanically he reached up, took from the mantel-shelf 
a little china bowl, reversed it, and said: 

" Lowestoft. Where did you get this ? I bought its 
fellow at Jobson's." And, visited by the sudden memory 



IN CHANCERS 535 

of how, those many years ago, he and she had bought china 
together, he remained staring at the little bowl, as if it 
contained all the past. Her voice roused him. 

" Take it. I don't want it." 

Soames put it back on the shelf. 

'* Will you shake hands ?" he said. 

A faint smile curved her lips. She held out her hand. 
It was cold to his rather feverish touch. ' She's made of ice,' 
he thought — * she was always made of ice !' But even 
as that thought darted through him, his senses were assailed 
by the perfume of her dress and body, as though the warmth 
within her, which had never been for him, were struggling 
to show its presence. And he turned on his heel. He walked 
out and away, as if someone with a whip were after him, 
not even looking for a cab, glad of the empty Embankment 
and the cold river, and the thick-strewn shadows of the 
plane-tree leaves — confused, flurried, sore at heart, and 
vaguely disturbed, as though he had made some deep 
mistake whose consequences he could not foresee. And 
the fantastic thought suddenly assailed him: if instead of: 
* I think you had better go,' she had said, * I think you 
had better stay '! What should he have felt, what would he 
have done ? That cursed attraction of her was there 
for him even now, after all these years of estrangement and 
bitter thoughts. It was there, ready to mount to his head 
at a sign, a touch. " I was a fool to go !" he muttered. 
" I've advanced nothing. Who could imagine ? I never 

thought !" Memory, flown back to the first years of 

his marriage, played him torturing tricks. She had not 
deserved to keep her beauty — the beauty he had owned and 
known so well. And a kind of bitterness at the tenacity 
of his own admiration welled up in him. Most men would 
have hated the sight of her, as she had deserved. She had 
spoiled his life, wounded his pride to death, defrauded him 



536 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

of a son. And yet the mere .' lit of her, cold and resisting 
as ever, had this power to upset him utterly ! It was some 
damned magnetism she had ! And no wonder if, as she 
asserted, she had lived untouched these last twelve years. 
So Bosinney — cursed be his memory ! — had lived on all this 
time with her ! Soames could not tell whether he was glad 
of that knowledge or no. 

Nearing his Club at last he stopped to buy a paper. A 
headline ran: * Boers reported to repudiate suzerainty!' 
Suzerainty ! * Just like her !' he thought: ' she always did. 
Suzerainty ! I still have it by rights. She must be awfully 
lonely in that wretched little fiat !* 



CHAPTER XII 

ON FORSYTE 'CHANGE 

SoAMES belonged to two Clubs, ' The Connoisseurs,' which 
he put on his cards and seldom visited, and * The Remove.' 
which he did not put on his cards and frequented. He 
had joined this Liberal institution five years ago, having 
made sure that its members were now nearly all sound 
Conservatives in heart and pocket, if not in principle. 
Uncle Nicholas had put him up. The fine reading-room 
was decorated in the Adam style. 

On entering that evening he glanced at the tape for any 
news about the Transvaal, and noted that Consols were 
down seven-sixteenths since the morning. He was turning 
away to seek the reading-room when a voice behind him said: 

" Well, Soames, that went off all right." 

It was Uncle Nicholas, in a frock-coat and his special 
cut-away collar, with a black tie passed through a ring. 
Heavens ! How young and dapper he looked at eighty- 
two 1 

" I think Rogerd have been pleased," his uncle went on. 
" The thing was very well done. Blackley's ? I'll make a 
note of them. Buxton's done me no good. These Boers 
are upsetting me — that fellow Chamberlain's driving the 
country into war. What do you think ?" 

" Bound to come," murmured Soames. 

Nicholas passed his hand over his thin, clean-shaven cheeks, 
very rosy after his summer cure; a slight pout had gathered 
on his lips. This business had revived all his Liberal prin- 
ciples, 

537 'S« 



538 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" I mistrust that chap; he's a stormy petrel. House- 
property will go down if there's war. You'll have trouble 
with Roger's estate. I often told him he ought to get out of 
some of his houses. He was an opinionated beggar." 

* There was a pair of you !' th®ught Soames. But he 
never argued with an uncle, in that way preserving their 
opinion of him as * a long-headed chap,' and the legal care 
of their property. 

" They tell me at Timothy's," said Nicholas, lowering 
his voice, " that Dartie has gone off at last. That'll be a 
relief to your father. He was a rotten egg.^' 

Again Soames nodded. If there was a subject on which 
the Forsytes really agreed, it was the character of Montague 
Dartie. 

" You take care," said Nicholas, " or he'll turn up again. 
Winifred had better have the tooth out, I should say. No 
use preserving what's gone bad." 

Soames looked at him sideways. His nerves, exacerbated 
by the interview he had just come through, disposed him to 
see a personal allusion in those words. 
" I'm advising her," he said shortly. 

" Well," said Nicholas, " the brougham's waiting; I must 

get home. I'm very poorly. Remember me to your father." 

And having thus reconsecrated the ties of blood, he passed 

down the steps at his youthful gait and was wrapped into 

his fur coat by the junior porter. 

* I've never known Uncle Nicholas other than " very 
poorly," ' mused Soames, * or seen him look other than ever- 
lasting. What a family ! Judging by him, I've got thirty- 
eight years of health before me. Well, I'm not going to 
waste them.' And going over to a mirror he stood looking 
at his face. Except for a line or two, and three or four grey 
hairs in his little dark moustache, had he aged any more than 
Irene? The prime of life — he and she in the very prime 



IN CHANCERY 539 

of life ! And a fantastic thought shot into his mind. 
Absurd ! Idiotic ! But again it came. And genuinel7 
alarmed by the recurrence, as one is by the second fit of 
shivering which presages a feverish cold, he sat down on the 
weighing machine. Eleven stone ! He had not varied 
two pounds in twenty years. What age was she ? Nearly 
thirty-seven — not too old to have a child — not at all ! 
Thirty-seven on the ninth of next month. He remembered 
her birthday well — he had always observed it religiously, 
even that last birthday so soon before she left him, when he 
was almost certain she was faithless. Four birthdays in his 
house. He had looked forward to them, because his gifts 
had meant a semblance of gratitude, a certain attempt at 
warmth. Except, indeed, that last birthday — which had 
tempted him to be too religious ! And he shied away in 
thought. Memory heaps dead leaves on corpse-like deeds, 
from under which they do but vaguely offend the sense. 
And then he thought suddenly: ' I could send her a present 
for her birthday. After all, we're Christians ! Couldn't 
I — couldn't we join up again !' And he uttered a deep 
sigh sitting there. Annette ! Ah ! but between him 
and Annette was the need for that wretched divorce suit ! 
And how ? 

" A man tan always work these things, if he'll take it on 
himself," Jolyon had said. 

But why should he take the scandal on himself with his 
whole career as a pillar of the law at stake ? It was not 
fair ! It was quixotic ! Twelve years' separation in which 
he had taken no steps to free himself put out of court the 
possibility of using her conduct with Bosinney as a ground 
for divorcing her. By doing nothing to secure relief he 
had acquiesced, even if the evidence could now be gathered, 
which was more than doubtful. Besides, his own pride 
would never let him use that old incident, he had suffered 



540 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

from it too much. No ! Nothing but fresh misconduct 
on her part — but she had denied it; and — almost — he had 
believed her. Hung up ! Utterly hung up ! 

He rose from the scooped-out red velvet seat with a feeling 
of constriction about his vitals. He would never sleep with 
this going on in him ! And, taking coat and hat again, he 
went out, moving eastward. In Trafalgar Square he became 
aware of some special commotion travelling towards him out 
of the mouth of the Strand. It materialised in newspaper 
men calling out so loudly that no words whatever could be 
heard. He stopped to listen, and one came by. 

" Payper ! Special ! Ultimatium by Krooger ! Declar- 
ation of war !" Soames bought the paper. There it was 
in the stop press! His first thought was: * The Boers are 
committing suicide.' His second: ' Is there anything still I 
ought to sell ?' If so he had missed the chance — there would 
certainly be a slump in the City to-morrow. He swallowed 
this thought with a nod of defiance. That ultimatum was 
insolent — sooner than let it pass he was prepared to lose 
money. They wanted a lesson, and they would get it; 
but it would take three months at least to bring them to 
heel. There weren't the troops out there; always behind 
time, the Government ! Confound those newspaper rats ! 
What was the use of waking everybody up ? Breakfast 
to-morrow was quite soon enough. And he thought with 
alarm of his father. They would cry it down Park Lane. 
Hailing a hansom, he got in and told the man to drive there. 
James and Emily had just gone up to bed, and after 
communicating the news to Warmson, Soames prepared 
to follow. He paused by after-thought to say: 
" What do you think of it, Warmson ?" 
The butler ceased passing a hat brush over the silk hat 
Soames had taken off, and, inclining his face a little forward, 
said in a low voice: 



IN CHANCERY 541 

" Well, sir, they 'aven't a. chance, of course; but I'm 
told they're very good shots. I've got a son in the Innis- 
killings." 

" You, Warmson ? Why, I didn't know you were 
married." 

" No, sir. I don't talk of it. I expect he'll be going out.*' 

The slighter shock Soames had felt on discovering that he 
knew so little of one whom he thought he knew so well was 
lost in the slight shock of discovering that the war might 
touch one personally. Born in the year of the Crimean 
War, he had only come to consciousness by the time the 
Indian Mutiny was over; since then the many little wars of 
the British Empire had been entirely professional, quite 
unconnected with the Forsytes and all they stood for in the 
body politic. This war would surely be no exception. 
But his mind ran hastily over his family. Two of the 
Haymans, he had heard, were in some Yeomanry or other — 
it had always been a pleasant thought, there was a certain 
distinction about the Yeomanry; they wore, or used to wear, 
a blue uniform with silver about it, and rode horses. And 
Archibald, he remembered, had once on a time joined the 
Militia, but had given it up because his father, Nicholas, 
had made such a fuss about his * wasting his time peacocking 
about in a uniform.' Recently he had heard somewhere 
that young Nicholas' eldest, very young Nicholas, had 
become a Volunteer. * No,' thought Soames, mounting 
the stairs slowly, * there's nothing in that !' 

He stood on the landing outside his parents' bed and 
dressing rooms, debating whether or not to put his nose 
in and say a reassuring word Opening the landing window, 
he listened. The rumble from Piccadilly was all the sound 
he heard, and with the thought, ' If these motor-cars 
increase, it'll affect house property,' he was about to pass 
on up to the room always kept ready for him when he heard. 



:e forsyti saga 



jii-^ cill c: 1 ze.T5Teiidor. 

: TJie zruse . n^ izcciec en 



whire iJier: iz" rill:-.v. c::-: c: vt'iIz'sl :le r::z:s c: ]i:s 






T^e Bc^n 



-0- .--..- :Ii^e5:-. :-i:::-£a:Jirie5. 

Szi-ei. :::. li-iei - ^5 i.-tr. He vr.. taking it 



litzlr, " I sl^z": live to see iLt 



Xczic-e, ]i-ts : Ir Z be orer 



^•_ _• •» 

'• 7-e- :-?i: - itzz ziz Roberts. I: aZ ::niei frcm 



IN CK-^\XIRY 543 

¥oice, something of real anxietj. Ir ^ks a- if Le L^d said: 

*I shall iicTer see tke c:f :c"-'r~ rri:e:i- :-z :£:t iraiiL 
I shall liave to die cefort - _: : ; ; i ._: .: irite 

of the feeling that Janei zi ie: i : : : t ti : : _:; ; 1 1 : : : t : _:.7, 
thev were tcnched. Siames .. ez: -z :o zie :t: :. ;-i 
stroked his fathers hand which had siLz^zztz iziz^ . : : :: :.t 
b-edclothes, long and wriniled with Teins. 

" Mark mv words ?' said James, " ccnscli v. ill ^-_ :: z'=^z. 
For all I know. Val mar go and enlist." 

" Oh, ccme, James :' cried EmllT, ^* tch talk as ii 
there were canger." 

Her comfortable Tcice ittTz^ti :s 5c-::iie J^mes f:r cnce. 

" Well.*" he muttered, *" I told jon how ii ^:nld ze. I 
don't know, Pm sure — nohcdv tells me anrthing. .-irt jcn 
sleeping here, mj hojr :"' 

The crisis was past, he would now ccmzife nimseli :: jiis 
normal decree ot anxietr: and, assnnng ms latner '.r.kz ne 
was sleeping in the house, Soames pressed 'l^i hazz. azz went 
op to his room. 

The following aftemocn .:zt:;;Z zze greaieit crcwd 
Timothj-'s had known for ziizj a veir. On nid&nal 
occasions, snch as thds, it was, indeez. ilmis: :n:T::.:zir :o 
aroid going there. Not that there ^as anj danger. ; : :: tier. 
onlv jnst enough to make it necesarv :c assnre e^iz :\i.tz 
that there was ncne. 

befcre — Siizies had said it was bound tc ccme. 7... ;.i 
Kmger was in his dotage — whj, ze ziz.-: ct -"zTeniy-nTc d. 
he was a dav ! ^'Nicholas w=5 elg-ty-c-vcO What had 
Timothr said: He had hid 2. z: after Majnba. These 
Boers were a grasping lot . The dirk -haired Frande, who 
had arrired on his heels, with the ccztradicticzs tczch which 
became the free spirit of a danehter c: Rcrer. chimed zz; 
"Kettle azd ret! Uncle'' Xichc las. ^ -^^Tiat rnce the 



544 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Uitlanders ?" What price, indeed ! A new expression, and 
believed to be due to her brother George. 

Aunt Juley thought Francie ought not to say such a thing. 
Dear Mrs. MacAnder's boy, Charlie MacAnder, was one, 
and no one could call him grasping. At this Francie uttered 
one of her mots^ scandalising, and so frequently repeated: 

" Well, his father's a Scotchman, and his mother's a cat." 

Aunt Juley covered her ears, too late, but Aunt Hester 
s-Jiiled; as for Nicholas, he pouted — witticism of which he 
was not the author was hardly to his taste. Just then 
Marian Tweetyman arrived, followed almost immediately 
by young Nicholas. On seeing his son, Nicholas rose. 

" Well, I must be going," he said, " Nick here will tell 
you what'll win the race." And with this hit at his eldest, 
who, as a pillar of accountancy, and director of an insurance 
company, was no more addicted to sport than his father 
had ever been, he departed. Dear Nicholas ! What race 
was that ? Or was it only one of his jokes ? He was a wonder- 
ful man for his age ! How many lumps would dear Marian 
take ? And how were Giles and Jesse ? Aunt Juley 
supposed their Yeomanry would be very busy now guarding 
the coast, though of course the Boers had no ships. But 
one never knew what the French might do if they had the 
chance, especially since that dreadful Fashoda scare, which 
had upset Timothy so terribly that he had made no invest- 
ments for months afterwards. It was the ingratitude of the 
Boers that was so dreadful, after everything had been done 
for them — Dr. Jameson imprisoned, and he was so nice, 
Mrs. MacAnder had always said. And Sir Alfred Milner 
sent out to talk to them — such a clever man ! She didn't 
know what they wanted. 

But at this moment occurred one of those sensations — 
so precious at Timothy's — which ^reat occasions sometimes 
bring forth: 



IN CHANCERY 545 

" Miss June Forsyte." 

Aunts Julej and Hester were on their feet at once, trembling 
from smothered resentment, and old affection bubbhng up, 
and pride at the return of a prodigal June ! Well, this was 
a surprise ! Dear June — after all these years ! And how 
well she was looking ! Not changed at all ! It was almost 
on their lips to add, ' And how is your dear grandfather ?' 
forgetting in that giddy moment that poor dear Jolyon had 
been in his grave for seven years now. 

Ever the most courageous and downright of all the 
Forsytes, June, with her decided chin and her spirited eyei 
and her hair like flames, sat down, slight and short, on a 
gilt chair with a bead-worked seat, for all the world as if 
ten years had not elapsed since she had been to see them — 
ten years of travel and independence and devotion to 
lame ducks. Those ducks of late had been all definitely 
painters, etchers, or sculptors, so that her impatience 
with the Forsytes and their hopelessly inartistic outlook 
had become intense. Indeed, she had almost ceased to 
believe that her family existed, and looked round her now 
with a sort of challenging directness which brought exquisite 
discomfort to the roomful. She had not expected to meet 
any of them but * the poor old things '; and why she had 
come to see them she hardly knew, except that, while on 
her way from Oxford Street to a studio in Latimer Road, 
she had suddenly remembered them with compunction aa 
two long-neglected old lame ducks. 

Aunt Juley broke the hush again: "We've just been 
saying, dear, how dreadful it is about these Boers ! And 
what an impudent thing of that old Kruger I" 

" Impudent !" said June. " I think he's quite right. 
What business have we to meddle with them ? If he turned 
out all those wretched Uitlanders it would serve them right. 
They're only after money." 



546 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

The silence of sensation was broken by Francie saying: 

" What ? Are you a pro-Boer ?" (undoubtedly the first 
use of that expression). 

" Well ! Why can't we leave them alone ?" said June, 
just as, in the open doorway, the maid said: " Mr. Soames 
Forsyte." Sensation on sensation ! Greeting was almost 
held up by curiosity to see how June and he would take this 
encounter, for it was shrewdly suspected, if not quite known, 
that they had not met since that old and lamentable affair 
of her fiance Bosinney with Soames' wife. They were seen 
to just touch each other's hands, and look each at the other's 
left eye only. Aunt Juley came at once to the rescue: 

" Dear June is so original. Fancy, Soames, she thinks 
the Boers are not to blame." 

" They only want their independence," said June; " and 
why shouldn't they have it ?" 

" Because," answered Soames, with his smile a little on 
one side, " they happen to have agreed to our suzerainty." 

" Suzerainty !" repeated June scornfully; " we shouldn't 
like anyone's suzerainty over us." 

" They got advantages in payment," replied Soames; 
" a contract is a contract." 

*' Contracts are not always just," flamed June, " and 
when they're not, they ought to be broken. The Boers 
are much the weaker. We could afford to be generous." 

Soames sniffed. " That's mere sentiment," he said. 

Aunt Hester, to whom nothing was more awful than any 
kind of disagreement, here leaned forward and remarked 
decisively. 

" What lovely weather it has been for the time of year ?" 

But June was not to be diverted. 

" I don't know why sentiment should be sneered at. 
It's the best thing in the world." She looked defiantly 
round, and Aunt Juley had to intervene again: 



IN CHANCERY 547 

" Have you bought any pictures lately, Soames ?" 
Her incomparable instinct for the wrong subject had not 
failed her. Soames flushed. To disclose the name of his 
latest purchases would be like walking into the jaws of 
disdain. For somehow they all knew of June's predilection 
for * genius ' not yet on its legs, and her contempt for 

* success ' unless she had had a finger in securing it. 

" One or two," he muttered. 

But June's face had changed; the Forsyte within her was 
seeing its chance. Why should not Soames buy some of 
the pictures of Eric Cobbley — her last lame duck ? And 
she promptly opened her attack: Did Soames know his work ? 
It was so wonderful. He was the coming man. 

Oh yes, Soames new his work. It was in his view 

* splashy,' and would never get hold of the public. 

June blazed up. 

" Of course it won't; that's the last thing one would wish 
for. I thought you were a connoisseur, not a picture- dealer." 

" Of course Soames is a connoisseur," Aunt Juley said 
hastily; " he has wonderful taste — he can always tell before- 
hand what's going to be successful." 

" Oh !" gasped June, and sprang up from the bead- 
covered chair, " I hate that standard of success. Why 
can't people buy things because they like them ?" 

" You mean," said Francie, " because you like them." 

And in the slight pause young Nicholas was heard saying 
gently that Violet (his fourth) was taking lessons in pastel, 
he didn't know if they were any use. 

•* Well, good-bye, Auntie," said June; " I must get on," 
and kissing her aunts, she looked defiantly round the room, 
said " Good-bye " again, and went. A breeze seemed to 
pass out with her, as if everyone had sighed. 

The third sensation came before anyone had time to speak: 

" Mr. James Forsyte." 



548 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

James came in using a stick slightly and wrapped in a fur 
coat which gave him a fictitious bulk. 

Everyone stood up. James was so old; and he had not 
been at Timothy's for nearly two years. 

" It's hot in here," he said. 

Soames divested him of his coat, and as he did so could not 
help admiring the glossy way his father was turned out. 
James sat down, all knees, elbows, frock-coat, and long white 
whiskers. 

" What's the meaning of that ?" he said. 

Though there was no apparent sense in his words, they all 
knew that he was referring to June. His eyes searched his 
son's face. 

" I thought I'd come and see for myself. What have they 
answered Kruger ?" 

Soames took out an evening paper, and read the headline. 

" * Instant action by our Government — state of war 
existing !' " 

" Ah !" said James, and sighed. " I was afraid they'd 
cut and run like old Gladstone. We shall finish with them 
this time." 

All stared at him. James ! Always fussy, nervous, 
anxious ! James with his continual, * I told you how it 
would be !' and his pessimism, and his cautious investments. 
There was something uncanny about such resolution in this 
the oldest living Forsyte. 

" Where's Timothy ?" said James. " He ought to pay 
attention to this." 

Aunt Juley said she didn't know; Timothy had not said 
much at lunch to-day. Aunt Hester rose and threaded 
her way out of the room, and Francie said rather maliciously: 

" The Boers are a hard nut to crack, Uncle James." 

" H'm !" muttered James. " Where do you get your 
information ? Nobody tells me." 



IN CHANCERY 549 

Young Nicholas remarked in his mild voice that Nick 
(his eldest) was now going to drill regularly. 

" Ah !" muttered James, and stared before him — his 
thoughts were on Val. " He's got to look after his mother," 
he said, " he's got no time for drilling and that, with that 
father of his." This cryptic saying produced silence, until 
he spoke again. 

" What did June want here ?" And his eyes rested with 
suspicion on all of them in turn. " Her father's a rich man 
now." The conversation turned on Jolyon, and when he 
had been seen last. It was supposed that he went abroad 
and saw all sorts of people now that his wife was dead; 
his water-colours were on the line, and he was a successful 
man. Francie went so far as to say: 

" I should like to see him again; he was rather a dear." 

Aunt Juley recalled how he had gone to sleep on the sofa 
one day, where James was sitting. He had always been very 
amiable; what did Soames think ? 

Knowing that Jolyon was Irene's trustee, all felt the 
delicacy of this question, and looked at Soames with interest. 
A faint pink had come up in his cheeks, 

" He's going grey," he said. 

Indeed ! Had Soames seen him ? Soames nodded, and 
the pink vanished. 

James said suddenly: " Well — I don't know, I can't tell." 

It so exactly expressed the sentiment of everybody present 
that there was something behind everything, that nobody 
responded. But at this moment Aunt Hester returned. 

" Timothy," she said in a low voice, " Timothy has 
bought a map, and he's put in — he's put in three flags." 

Timothy had ! A sigh went round the company. 

If Timothy had indeed put in three flags already, well ! — 
it showed what the nation could do when it was roused. 
The war was as good as over. 



CHAPTER XIII 

JOLYON FINDS OUT WHERE HE IS 

JoLYON Stood at the window in Holly's old night nursery, 
converted into a studio, not because it had a north light, but 
for its view over the prospect away to the Grand Stand at 
Epsom. He shifted to the side window which overlooked 
the stableyard, and whistled down to the dog Balthasar 
who lay for ever under the clock tower. The old dog looked 
up and wagged his tail. * Poor old boy !' thought Jolyon, 
shifting back to the other window. 

He had been restless all this week, since his attempt to 
prosecute trusteeship, uneasy in his conscience which was 
ever acute, disturbed in his sense of compassion which was 
easily excited, and with a queer sensation as if his feeling 
for beauty had received some definite embodiment. Autumn 
was getting hold of the old oak-tree, its leaves were browning. 
Sunshine had been plentiful and hot this summer. As with 
trees, so with men's lives ! ' / ought to live long,' thought 
Jolyon; * I'm getting mildewed for want of heat. If I 
can't work, I shall be off to Paris.' But memory of Paris 
gave him no pleasure. Besides, how could he go ? He 
must stay and see what Soames was going to do. ' I'm 
her trustee. I can't leave her unprotected,' he thought. 
It had been striking him as curious how very clearly he could 
still see Irene in her little drawing-room which he had only 
twice entered. Her beauty must have a sort of poignant 
harmony ! No literal portrait would ever do her justice; 
the essence of her was — ah ! yes, what ? . . . The noise of 
hoofs called him back to the other window. Holly was 

550 



IN CHANCERY 551 

riding into the yard on her long- tailed ' palfrey.' She 
looked up and he waved to her. She had been rather 
silent lately; getting old, he supposed, beginning to want her 
future, as they all did — youngsters ! Time was certainly 
the devil ! And with the feeling that to waste this swift - 
travelling commodity was unforgivable folly, he took up his 
brush. But it was no use; he could not concentrate his 
eye — besides, the light was going. ' I'll go up to town,* 
he thought. In the hall a servant met him. 

" A lady to see you, sir; Mrs. Heron." 

Extraordinary coincidence ! Passing into the picture- 
gallery, as it was still called, he saw Irene standing over by 
the window. 

She came towards him saying: 

" I've been trespassing; I came up through the coppice 
and garden. I always used to come that way to see Uncle 
Jolyon." 

"You couldn't trespass here," replied Jolyon; "history 
makes that impossible. I was just thinking of you." 

Irene smiled. And it was as if something shone through; 
not mere spirituality — serener, completer, more alluring. 

" History !" she murmured. " I once told Uncle 
Jolyon that love was for ever. Well, it isn't. Only 
aversion lasts." 

Jolyon stared at her. Had she got over Bosinney at 
last? 

" Yes !" he said, " aversion's deeper than love or hate 
because it's a natural product of the nerves, and we don't 
change them." 

" I came to tell you that Soames has been to see 
me. He said a thing that frightened me. He said : ' You 
are still my wife '! " 

" What !" ejaculated Jolyon. " You ought not to live 
alone." And he continued ro stare at her, afflicted by the 



SS2 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

thought that where Beauty was, nothing ever ran quite 
straight, which, no doubt, was why so many people looked 
on it as immoral. 

'' What more ?" 

" He asked me to shake hands." 

" Did you ?" 

"Yes. When he came in I'm sure he didn't want to; 
he changed while he was there." 

" Ah ! you certainly ought not to go on living there 
alone." 

" I know no woman I could ask; and I can't take a lover 
to order, Cousin Jolyon." 

" Heaven forbid !" said Jolyon, " What a damnable 
position ! Will you stay to dinner ? No } Well, let 
me see you back to town; I wanted to go up this 
evening." 

"Truly?" 

" Truly. I'll be ready in five minutes." 

On that walk to the station they talked of pictures and 
music, contrasting the English and French characters and 
the difference in their attitude to Art. But to Jolyon the 
colours in the hedges of the long straight lane, the twittering 
of chaffinches who kept pace with them, the perfume of 
weeds being already burned, the turn of her neck, the 
fascination of those dark eyes bent on him now and then, 
the lure of her whole figure, made a deeper impression 
than the remarks they exchanged. Unconsciously he held 
himself straighter, walked with a more elastic step. 

In the train he put her through a sort of catechism as to 
what she did with her days. 

Made her dresses, shopped, visited a hospital, played her 
piano, translated from the French. She had regular work 
from a publisher, it seemed, which supplemented her income 
a little. She seldom went out in the evenin?. " I've been 



IN CHANCERY 553 

living alone so long, you see, that I don't mind it a bit. 
I believe I'm naturally solitary." 

" I don't believe that," said Jolyon. " Do you know 
many people ?" 

" Very few." 

At Waterloo they took a hansom, and he drove with her 
to the door of her mansions. Squeezing her hand at 
parting, he said: 

" You know, you could always come to us at Robin Hill; 
you must let me know everything that happens. Good- 
bye, Irene." 

" Good-bye," she answered softly. 

Jolyon climbed back into his cab, wondering why he had 
not asked her to dine and go to the theatre with him. 
Solitary, starved, hung-up life that she had ! " Hotch 
Potch Club," he said through the trap-door. As his hansom 
debouched on to the Embankment, a man in top -hat and 
overcoat passed, walking quickly, so close to the wall that he 
seemed to be scraping it. 

' By Jove !' thought Jolyon ; * Soames himself ! What's 
he up to now ?' And, stopping the cab round the corner, 
he got out and retraced his steps to where he could see the 
entrance to the mansions. Soames had halted in front of 
them, and was looking up at the light in her windows. 
' If he goes in,' thought Jolyon, * what shall I do ? What 
have I the right to do ?' What the fellovv- had said was true. 
She was still his wife, absolutely without protection from 
annoyance ! * Well, if he goes in,' he thought, * I follow .' 
And he began moving towards the m.ansions. Again Soames 
advanced; he was in the very entrance now. But 
suddenly he stopped, spun round on his heel, and came 
back towards the river. * What now V thought Jolyon 
* In a dozen steps he'll recognise me.' And he turned tail. 
His cousin's footsteps kept pace with his own. But he 



554 



THE FORSYTE SAGA 



reached his cab, and got in before Soames had turned the 
corner. " Go on !" he said through the trap. Soames' 
figure ranged up alongside. 

" Hansom !" he said. " Engaged ? Hallo V 

" Hallo !" answered Jolyon. " You ?" 

The quick suspicion on his cousin's face, white in the 
lamplight, decided him. 

" I can give you a lift," he said, " if you're going West." 

" Thanks," answered Soames, and got in. 

" I've been seeing Irene," said Jolyon when the cab had 
started. 

" Indeed !" 

" You went to see her yesterday yourself, I understand." 

" I did," said Soames; " she's my wife, you know." 

The tone, the half-lifted sneering lip, roused sudden 
anger in Jolyon; but he subdued it. 

" You ought to know best," he said, " but if you want a 
divorce it's not very wise to go seeing her, is it ? One can't 
run with the hare and hunt with the hounds." 

" You're very good to warn me," said Soames, " but I 
have not made up my mind." 

" Shf has," said Jolyon, looking straight before him; 
"you can't take things up, you know, as they were twelve 
years ago." 

" That remains to be seen." 

" Look here !" said Jolyon, " she's in a damnable 
position, and I am the only person with any legal say in her 
affairs." 

" Except myself," retorted Soames, " who am also in a 
damnable position. Hers is what she made for herself; 
mine what she made for me. I am not at all sure that in 
her own interests I shan't require her to return to me." 

" What !" exclaimed Jolyon; and a shiver went through 
his whole body. 



IN CHANCERY 555 

** I don't know what you may mean by * what,' " 
answered Soames coldly; " your say in her affairs is confined 
to paying out her income; please bear that in mind. In 
choosing not to disgrace her by a divorce, I retained my 
rights, and, as I say, I am not at all sure that I shan't require 
to exercise them." 

" My God !" ejaculated Jolyon, and he uttered a short 
laugh. 

'* Yes," said Soames, and there was a deadly quality in 
his voice. " I've not forgotten the nickname your father 
gave me, * The man of property ' ! I'm not called names 
for nothing." 

" This is fantastic," murmured Jolyon. Well, the fellow 
couldn't force his wife to live with him. Those days were 
past, anyway ! And he looked round at Soames with the 
thought: * Is he real, this man?' But Soames looked very 
real, sitting square yet almost elegant with the clipped 
moustache on his pale face, and a tooth showing where 
a lip was lifted in a fixed smile. There was a long silence, 
while Jolyon thought: * Instead of helping her, I've made 
things worse.' Suddenly Soames said: 

" It would be the best thing that could happen to her 
in many ways. " 

At those words such a turmoil began taking place in Jolyon 
that he could barely sit still in the cab. It was as if he TTcre 
boxed up with hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, 
boxed up with that something in the national character 
which had always been to him revolting, something which 
he knew to be extremely natural and yet which seemed to 
him inexplicable — their intense belief in contracts and vested 
rights, their complacent sense of virtue in the exaction of 
those rights. Here beside him in the cab was the very 
embodiment, the corporeal sum as it were, of the possessive 
instinct — his own kinsman, too ! It was uncanny and 



556 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

intolerable ! * But there's something more in it than that !' 
he thought with a sick feeling. * The dog, they say, returns 
to his vomit ! The sight of her has reawakened something. 
Beauty ! The devil's in it !' 

" As I say," said Soames, " I have not made up my mind. 
I shall be obliged if you will kindly leave her quite alone." 

Jolyon bit his lips; he who had always hated rows almost 
welcomed the thought of one now. 

" I can give you no such promise," he said shortly. 

" Very well," said Soames, " then we know where we 
are. I'll get down here." And stopping the cab he got 
out without word or sign of farewell. Jolyon travelled on 
to his Club. 

The first news of the war was being called in the streets, 
but he paid no attention. What could he do to help her ? 
If only his father were alive ! He could have done so much ! 
But why could he not do all that his father could have done ? 
Was he not old enough ? — turned fifty and tvnce married, 
with grown-up daughters and a son. * Queer,' he thought. 
* If she were plain I shouldn't be thinking twice about it. 
Beauty is the devil, when you're sensitive to it !' And into 
the Club reading-room he went with a disturbed heart. 
In that very room he and Bosinney had talked one summer 
afternoon; he well remembered even now the disguised 
and secret lecture he had given that young man in the 
interests of June, the diagnosis of the Forsytes he had 
hazarded; and how he had wondered what sort of woman 
it was he was warning him against. And now ! He was 
almost in want of a warning himself. * It's deuced funny !' 
he thought, ' really deuced funny I* 



CHAPTER XIV 

SOAMES DISCOVERS WHAT HE WANTS 

It is so much easier to say, " Then we know where we are," 
than to mean anything particular by the words. And in 
saying them Soames did but vent the jealous rankling of 
his instincts. He got out of the cab in a state of wary anger 
— with himself for not having seen Irene, with Jolyon for 
having seen her; and now with his inability to tell exactly 
what he wanted. 

He had abandoned the cab because he could not bear 
to remain seated beside his cousin, and walking briskly 
eastwards he thought: * I wouldn't trust that fellow Jolyon 
a yard. Once outcast, always outcast !' The chap had a 
natural sympathy with — with — laxity (he had shied at 
the word sin, because it was too melodramatic for use by a 
Forsyte). 

Indecision in desire was to him a new feeling. He was 
like a child between a promised toy and an old one which 
had been taken away from him; and he was astonished at 
himself. Only last Sunday desire had seemed simple — just 
his freedom and Annette. * I'll go and dine there,' he 
thought. To see her might bring back his singleness of 
intention, calm his exasperation, clear his mind. 

The restaurant was fairly full — a good many foreigners 
and folk whom, from their appearance, he took to be literary 
or artistic. Scraps of conversation came his way through 
the clatter of plates and glasses. He distinctly heard the 
Boers sympathised with, the British Government blamed. 
* Don't think much of their clientele,' he thought. He 

557 



558 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

went stolidly through his dinner and special coffee without 
making his presence known, and when at last he had finished, 
was careful not to be seen going towards the sanctum of 
Madame Lamotte. They were, as he expected, having 
supper — such a much nicer-looking supper than the dinner 
he had eaten that he felt a kind of grief — and they greeted 
him with a surprise so seemingly genuine that he thought 
with sudden suspicion: * I believe they knew I was here all the 
time.' He gave Annette a look furtive and searching. 
So pretty, seemingly so candid; could she be angling for 
him ? He turned to Madame Lamotte and said: 

" I've been dining here." 

Really ! If she had only known ! There were dishes 
she could have recommended; what a pity ! Soames was 
confirmed in his suspicion. * I must look out what I'm 
doing !' he thought sharply. 

" Another little cup of very special coffee, monsieur ; 
a liqueur, Grand Marnier ?" and Madame Lamotte rose to 
order these delicacies. 

Alone with Annette, Soames said, " Well, Annette ?" 
with a defensive little smile about his lips. 

The girl blushed. This, which last Sunday would have 
set his nerves tingling, now gave him much the same feel- 
ing a man has when a dog that he owns wriggles and looks 
at him. He had a curious sense of power, as if he could 
have said to her, * Come and kiss me,' and she would have 
come. And yet — it was strange — but there seemed an- 
other face and form in the room too; and the itch in his 
nerves, was it for that — or for this ? He jerked his head 
toward the restaurant and said: "You have some queer 
customers. Do you like this life ?" 

Annette looked up at him for a moment, looked down, 
and played with her fork. 

" No," she said, " I do not like it." 



IN CHANCERY 559 

* I've got her,' thought Soames, * if I want her. But 
do I want her ?' She was graceful, she was pretty — very- 
pretty; she was fresh, she had taste of a kind. His eyes 
travelled round the little room; but the eyes of his mind 
went another journey — a half-light, and silvery walls, 
a satinwood piano, a woman standing against it, reined 
back as it were from him — a woman with white shoulders 
that he knew, and dark eyes that he had sought to know, 
and hair like dull dark amber. And as in an artist who 
strives for the unrealisable and is ever thirsty, so there rose 
in him at that moment the thirst of the old passion he had 
never satisfied. 

" Well," he said calmly, " you're young. There's every- 
thing before yow." 

Annette shook her head. 

" I think sometimes there is nothing before me but hard 
work. I am not so in love with work as mother." 

" Your mother is a wonder," said Soames, faintly mock- 
ing; " she will never let failure lodge in her house." 

Annette sighed. " It must be wonderful to be rich." 

" Oh ! You'll be rich some day," answered Soames, still 
with that faint mockery; " don't be afraid." 

Annette shrugged her shoulders. " Monsieur is very 
kind." And between her pouting lips she put a chocolate. 

* Yes, my dear,' thought Soames, * they're very pretty.' 
Madame Lamotte, with coffee and liqueur, put an end to 

that colloquy. Soames did not stay long. 

Outside in the streets of Soho, which always gave him 
such a feeling of property improperly owned, he mused. 
If only Irene had given him a son, he wouldn't now 
be squirming after women ! The thought had jumped 
out of its little dark sentry-box in his inner conscious- 
ness. A son — something to look forward to, some- 
thing to make the rest of life worth while, something to 



560 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

leave himself to, some perpetuity of self. * If I had a 
son,' he thought bitterly, ' a proper legal son, I could make 
shift to go on as I used. One woman's much the same as 
another, after all.' But as he walked he shook his head. 
No ! One woman was not the same as another. Many 
a time had he tried to think that in the old days of his 
thwarted married life; and he had always failed. He was 
failing now. He was trying to think Annette the same as 
that other. But she was not, she had not the lure of that 
old passion. * And Irene's my wife,' he thought, * my 
legal wife. I have done nothing to put her away from me. 
Why shouldn't she come back to me ? It's the right thing, 
the lawful thing. It makes no scandal, no disturbance. 
If it's disagreeable to her — but why should it be f I'm not 
a leper, and she — she's no longer in love !' Why should he 
be put to the shifts and the sordid disgraces and the lurking 
defeats of the Divorce Court, when there she was like an 
empty house only waiting to be retaken into use and pos- 
session by him who legally owned her ? To one so secretive 
as Soames the thought of re-entry into quiet possession of 
his own property with nothing given away to the world 
was intensely alluring. * No,' he mused, ' I'm glad I went 
to see that girl. I know now what I want most. If only 
Irene will come back I'll be as considerate as she wishes; 
she could live her own life; but perhaps — perhaps she 
would come round to me.' There was a lump in his throat. 
And doggedly along by the railings of the Green Park, 
towards his father's house, he went, trying to tread on his 
shadow walking before him in the brilliant moonlight. 



PART II 



'9 



CHAPTER I 

THE THIRD GENERATION 

Jolly Forsyte was strolling down High Street, Oxford, 
on a November afternoon; Val Dartie was strolling up. 
Jolly had just changed out of boating flannels and was on 
his way to the * Frying-pan,' to which he had recently been 
elected. Val had just changed out of riding clothes and 
was on his way to the fire — a bookmaker's in Cornmarket. 

" Hallo !" said JoUy. 

" HaUo !" replied Val. 

The cousins had met but twice, Jolly, the second-year 
man, having invited the freshman to breakfast; and last 
evening they had seen each other again under somewhat 
exotic circumstances. 

Over a tailor's in the Cornmarket resided one of those 
privileged young beings called minors, whose inheritances 
are large, whose parents are dead, whose guardians are remote, 
and whose instincts are vicious. At nineteen he had com- 
menced one of those careers attractive and inexplicable to 
ordinary mortals for whom a single bankruptcy is good as a 
feast. Already famous for having the only roulette table 
then to be found in Oxford, he was anticipating his expec- 
tations at a dazzling rate. He out-crummed Crum, 
though of a sanguine and rather beefy type which lacked 
the latter's fascinating languor. For Val it had been in 
the nature of baptism to be taken there to play roulette; 
in the nature of confirmation to get back into college, after 
hours, through a window whose bars were deceptive. Once, 
during that evening of delight, glancing up from the seduc- 

563 



564 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

tire ereez brfrre 'r.-.~. Ee Eii cinght sight, tlirough a cloud 
of smoke, of his cxjnsin standing opposite. ' Raugg gagne^ 
impair, :1 ".s^r^ P He liad not seen him again. 

" Crzie iz :c the Frring-pan and have tea," said J0II7, 

A 5tri-^tr. se^izg thezi trg-ether, wo;ild have noticed 
an nnseizirle resemb'ance be:vveen these second cousins 
c: tEe EEri re-er^dcn oi FcrsTtes; Eie sine bone fonnation 
E: :E:e. lE: .igE Jcil~'5 eres were iirker ^rey, his hair lighter 



£ 



• Tei ^l£ b-::erei buzs. waiter, please," said Jolly. 

•' Elive cne of 227 ci^=^et:es :*' iiii \il. " I saw you last 
zigE:. How did you do :" 

" I didn't play." 

"IwonrfTte*^ - Ei " 

Thous^h :.7.- ::_.- :: rereiEng a whimsical comment on 
gamblizr Ee im. :z:e Eeiri his father make — * X^lien you're 



'* Rc::ez rizie, I think; I -.vas at iii.i.'. ■■■izn. that chap. 
He's an i-:^Ei fooL" 

** OE '. I E^n't know," said Wl, a; one migEt speak in 
defence cf a disparaged god; " heE ^ r--*^^ good sport." 

TEey eiEninrtf vEifs in silence. 

"' Yc_ - t: ~y r t ii.e. didn't you :*' said Jolly, *' They're 
coining up to-morrow." 

\"al grew a little red. 

" Really ! I can give you a rire g-ood tip for the Man- 
chester November handicap." 

" Thanks, I only take interes: in the classic races." 

" Y'ou can't make any miney over them," said \'al. 

** I hate the Enr." ia.:n JoEy; ''there's iizz. a rev and 
tdnL I like the paniook."* 

" I like to back my judgment," ans-.vered \'aL 



IN CHANCERY 565 

J0II7 smiled; hh smile was like his father's. " I KaTen'r 
got any. I always lose moneT if I bet." 

" You hare to But experience, of course." 

" Yes, but it's all messed-up with doing people in the eje." 

" Of course, or therii do yon — thar's the excfrement." 

JoUt looked a little scomfnL 

" Wliat do you do with yourself : Row :" 

" No — ride, and drire about. Fm going to play polo 
next term, if I can get my granddad to stump up." 

" Thafa old Uncle James, isn't it r What's he like r" 

" Older than forty hills," said VaL '' and always thinHng 
he's going to be ruined." 

" I suppose my granddad and he were brothers." 

" I don't believe any of that old lot were sportsmen," 
laid Val; " they must have worshipped money." 

" Mine didn't !" said Jolly warmly. 

Val flipped the ash o^ his cigarette. 

" Money's only fit to spend," he said; " I wish the dcucc 
I had more." 

JoUy gave him that direct upward look of judgment 
which he had inherited from old Jolyon: One didn't talk 
about money ! And again there was silence, while thev 
drank tea and ate the buttered buns. 

" Where are your people going to stay :" asked Val, 
elaborately casual 

" ' Rainbow.' What do you rh iik of the war :" 

" Rotten, so far. The Boers aren't sports a bit. Wtj 
don't they come out into the open :" 

'* Why should they : They've got everything a^aizst 
them except their way of fighting. I rather admire them." 

" They can ride and shoot," admitted \'al, *" but the— 're 
a lousy lot. Do you know Crum :'' 

" Of Merton ? Only by sight. He's in that f^st set 
too, isn't he? Lather La-di-da and BrjLzi— irem.'' 



566 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Val said fixedly: " He's a friend of mine." 

" Oh ! Sorry !^' And they sat awkwardly staring past 
each other, having pitched on their pet points of snobbery. 
For Jolly was forming himself unconsciously on a set whose 
motto was: ' We defy you to bore us. Life isn't half long 
enough, and we're going to talk faster and more crisply, 
do more and know more, and dwell less on any subject than 
you can possibly imagine. We are " the best " — made of 
wire and whipcord.' And Val was unconsciously forming 
himself on a set whose motto was: * We defy you to interest 
or excite us. We have had every sensation, or if we haven't, 
we pretend we have. We are so exhausted with living that 
no hours are too small for us. We will lose our shirts with 
equanimity. We have flown fast and are past everything. 
All is cigarette smoke. Bismillah !' Competitive spirit^ 
bone-deep in the English, was obliging those two young 
Forsytes to have ideals; and at the close of a century ideals 
are mixed. The aristocracy had already in the main adopted 
the ' jumping- jesus ' principle; though here and there one 
like Crum — who was an honourable — stood starkly languid 
for that gambler's Nirvana which had been the summum 
bonum of the old * dandies ' and of ' the mashers ' in the 
eighties. And round Crum were still gathered a forlorn hope 
of blue- bloods with a plutocratic following. 

But there was between the cousins another far less obvious 
antipathy — coming from the unseizable family resemblance, 
which each perhaps resented; or from some half -conscious- 
ness of that old feud persisting still between their branches 
of the clan, formed within them by odd words or half- hints 
dropped by their elders. And Jolly, tinkling his teaspoon,, 
was musing: * His tie-pin and his waistcoat and his drawl 
and his betting — good Lord !' 

And Val, finishing his bun, was thinking: * He's rather 
a young beast !' 



IN CHANCERY 5^7 

" I suppose you'll be meeting your people ?" he said, 
getting up. " I wish you'd tell them I should like to show 
them over B.N.C. — not that there's anything much there — 
if they'd care to come." 

" Thanks, I'll ask them." 

" Would they lunch ? I've got rather a decent scout." 

Jolly doubted if they would have time. 

" You'll ask them, though ?" 

" Very good of you," said Jolly, fully meaning that they 
should not go; but, instinctively polite, he added: "You'd 
better come and have dinner with us to-morrow." 

" Rather. What time ?" 

" Seven-thirty." 

" Dress ?" 

" No." And they parted, a subtle antagonism alive 
within them. 

Holly and her father arrived by a midday train. It was 
her first visit to the city of spires and dreams, and she was 
very silent, looking almost shyly at the brother who was part 
of this wonderful place. After lunch she wandered, exam- 
ining his household gods with intense curiosity. Jolly's 
sitting-room was panelled, and Art represented by a set ot 
Bartolozzi prints which had belonged to old Jolyon, and by 
college photographs — of young men, live young men, a 
little heroic, and to be compared with her memories of Val. 
Jolyon also scrutinised with care that evidence of his boy's 
character and tastes. 

Jolly was anxious that they should see him rowing, so 
they set forth to the river. Holly, between her brother and 
her father, felt elated when heads were turned and eyes 
rested on her. That they might see him to the best advan- 
tage they left him at the Barge and crossed the river to the 
towing-path. Slight in build — for of all the Forsytes only 
old S within and George were beefy — Jolly was rowing ^Two' 



568 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

in a trial eight. He looked very earnest and strenuous. 
With pride Jolyon thought him the best-looking hoy of 
the lot; H0II7, as became a sister, was more struck by one or 
two of the others, but would not have said so for the world. 
The river was bright that afternoon, the meadows lush, 
the trees still beautiful with colour. Distinguished peace 
clung around the old city; Joljon promised himself a day's 
sketching if the weather held. The Eight passed a second 
time, spurting home along the Barges — Jolly's face was very 
set, so as not to show that he was blown. They returned 
across the river and waited for him. 

" Oh !" said Jolly in the Christ Church meadows, 
" I had to ask that chap Val Dartie to dine with us to-night. 
He wanted to give you lunch and show you B.N.C., so I 
thought Vd better; then you needn't go. I don't like him 
much." 

Holly's rather sallow face had become suffused with pink. 

" Why not ?" 

" Oh ! I don't know. He seems to me rather showy 
and bad form. What are his people like, Dad ? He's 
only a second cousin, isn't he ?" 

Jolyon took refuge in a smile. 

" Ask Holly," he said; " she saw his uncle." 

" I liked Val," Holly answered, staring at the ground 
before her; " his uncle looked — awfully different." She 
stole a glance at Jolly from under her lashes. 

" Did you ever," said Jolyon with whimsical intention, 
" hear our family history, my dears ? It's quite a fairy 
tale. The first Jolyon Forsyte — at all events the first we 
know anything of, and that would be your great-great- 
grandfather — dwelt in the land of Dorset on the edge of the 
sea, being by profession an ' agriculturalist,' as your great- 
aunt put it, and the son of an agriculturist — farmers, in fact; 
your grandfather used to call them, * Very small beer.' " 



IN CHANCERY 569 

He looked at Jolly to see how his lordliness was standing it, 
and with the other eye noted Holly's malicious pleasure 
in the slight drop of her brother's face. 

" We may suppose him thick and sturdy, standing for 
England as it was before the Industrial Era began. The 
second Jolyon Forsyte — your great-grandfather. Jolly; 
better known as Superior Dosset Forsyte — built houses, 
so the chronicle runs, begat ten children, and migrated to 
London town. It is known that he drank madeira. We may 
suppose him representing the England of Napoleon's wars, 
and general unrest. The eldest of his six sons was the 
third Jolyon, your grandfather, my dears — tea merchant 
and chairman of companies, one of the soundest Englishmen 
who ever lived — and to me the dearest." Jolyon's voice had 
lost its irony, and his son and daughter gazed at him solemnly. 
"He was just and tenacious, tender and young at heart. You 
remember him, and I remember him. Pass to the others ! 
Your great- uncle James, that's young Val's grandfather, had a 
son called Soames — whereby hangs a tale of no love lost, and 
I don't think I'll tell it you. James and the other eight 
children of ' Superior Dosset,' of whom there are still five 
alive, may be said to have represented Victorian England, 
with its principles of trade and individualism at five per cent, 
and your money back — if you know what that means. At 
all events they've turned thirty thousand pounds into a 
cool million between them in the course of their long lives. 
They never did a wild thing — unless it was your great-uncle 
Swithin, who I believe was once swindled at thimble-rig, 
and was called * Four-in-hand Forsyte ' because he drove a 
pair. Their day is passing, and their type, not altogether 
for the advantage of the country. They were pedestrian, 
but they too were sound. I am the fourth Jolyon Forsyte — 
a poor holder of the name " 

" No, Dad," said Jolly, and Holly squeezed his hand. 

19' 



570 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" Yes," repeated Jolyon, " a poor specimen, representing, 
I'm afraid, nothing but the end of the century, unearned 
income, amateurism, and individual liberty — a different thing 
from individualism. Jolly. You are the fifth Jolyon Forsyte, 
old man, and you open the ball of the new century." 

As he spoke they turned in through the college gates, 
and Holly said: " It's fascinating. Dad." 

None of them quite knew what she meant. Jolly was 
grave. 

The Rainbow, distinguished, as only an Oxford hostel 
can be, for lack of modernity, provided one small oak-panelled 
private sitting-room, in which Holly sat to receive, white- 
frocked, shy, and alone, when the only guest arrived. 

Rather as one would touch a moth, Val took her hand. 
And wouldn't she wear this * measly flower ' ? It would look 
ripping in her hair. He removed a gardenia from his coat. 

" Oh ! No, thank you — I couldn't !" But she took it 
and pinned it at her neck, having suddenly remembered 
that word * shov^y '! Val's buttonhole would give offence; 
and she so much wanted Jolly to like him. Did she realise 
that Val was at his best and quietest in her presence, and was 
that, perhaps, half the secret of his attraction for her ? 

" I never said anything about our ride, Val." 

" Rather not ! It's just between us." 

By the uneasiness of his hands and the fidgeting of his 
feet he was giving her a sense of power very delicious; a soft 
feeling too — the wish to make him happy. 

" Do tell me about Oxford. It must be ever so lovely." 

Val admitted that it was frightfully decent to do what you 
liked; the lectures were nothing; and there were some very 
good chaps. " Only," he added, " of course I wish I was 
in town, and could come down and see you." 

Holly moved one hand shyly on her knee, and her glance 
dropped. 



IN CHANCERY 57^ 

** You haven't forgotten," he said, suddenly gathering 
•courage, " that we're going madrabbiting together ?" 

Holly smiled. 

" Oh ! That was only make-believe. One can't do 
that sort of thing after one's grown up, you know." 

" Dash it ! cousins can," said Val. " Next Long Vac — 
it begins in June, you know, and goes on for ever — we'll 
watch our chance." 

But, though the thrill of conspiracy ran through her 
veins. Holly shook her head. " It won't come off," she 
-murmured. 

" Won't it !" said Val fervently; " who's going to stop it ? 
Not your father or your brother." 

At this moment Jolyon and Jolly came in; and romance 
£ed into Val's patent leather and Holly's white satin toes, 
where it itched and tingled during an evening not con- 
spicuous for open-heartedness. 

Sensitive to atmosphere, Jolyon soon felt the latent 
antagonism between the boys, and was puzzled by Holly; 
-so he became unconsciously ironical, which is fatal to the 
expansiveness of youth. A letter, handed to him after 
dinner, reduced him to a silence hardly broken till Jolly 
and Val rose to go. He went out with them, smoking his 
cigar, and walked with his son to the gates of Christ Church. 
Turning back, he took out the letter and read it again be- 
neath a lamp. 

" Dear Jolyon, 

" Soames came again to-night — my thirty-seventh 
birthday. You were right, I mustn't stay here. I'm 
going to-morrow to the Piedmont Hotel, but I won't go 
abroad without seeing you. I feel lonely and down-hearted. 

" Yours affectionately, 

" Irene." 



572 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

He folded the letter back into his pocket and walked on, 
astonished at the violence of his feelings. What had the 
fellow said or done ? 

He turned into High Street, down the Turl, and on 
among a maze of spires and domes and long college fronts 
and walls, bright or dark-shadowed in the strong moonlight. 
In this very heart of England's gentility it was difficult to 
realise that a lonely woman could be importuned or hunted, 
but what else could her letter mean ? Soames must have 
been pressing her to go back to him again, with public 
opinion and the Law on his side, too ! * Eighteen-ninety- 
nine !' he thought, gazing at the broken glass shining on the 
top of a villa garden wall; ' but when it comes to property 
we're still a heathen people ! I'll go up to-morrow morning. 
I dare say it'll be best for her to go abroad.' Yet the 
thought displeased him. Why should Soames hunt her out 
of England ! Besides, he might follow, and out there she 
would be still more helpless against the attentions of her 
own husband ! * I must tread warily,' he thought; * that 
fellow could make himself very nasty. I didn't hke his 
manner in the cab the other night.' His thoughts turned 
to his daughter June. Could she help ? Once on a time 
Irene had been her greatest friend, and now she was a * lame 
duck,' such as must appeal to June's nature ! He determined 
to wire to his daughter to meet him at Paddington Station. 
Retracing his steps towards the Rainbow he questioned 
his own sensations. Would he be upsetting himself over 
every woman in like case ? No ! he would not. The 
candour of this conclusion discomfited him; and, finding 
that Holly had gone up to bed, he sought his own room. 
But he could not sleep, and sat for a long time at his window, 
huddled in an overcoat, watching the moonlight on the 
roofs. 

Next door Holly too was awake, thinking of the lashes 



IN CHANCERY 573 

above and below VaPs eyes, especially below; and of what 
she could do to make Jolly like him better. The scent of 
the gardenia was strong in her little bedroom, and pleasant 
to her. 

And Val, leaning out of his first-floor window in B.N.C., 
was gazing at a moonlit quadrangle without seeing it at all, 
seeing instead Holly, slim and white-frocked, as she sat 
beside the fire when he first went in. 

But Jolly, in his bedroom narrow as a ghost, lay with a 
hand beneath his cheek and dreamed he was with Val in 
one boat, rowing a race against him, while his father was 
calling from the towpath: * Two ! Get your hands away 
there, bless you !' 



CHAPTER II 

S0AMES PUTS IT TO THE TOUCH 

Of all those radiant iirms which emblazon with their windows 
the West End of London, Gaves and Cortegal were con- 
sidered by Soames the most ' attractive ' — word just coming 
into fashion. He had never had his Uncle Swithin's taste 
in precious stones, and the abandonment by Irene when she 
left his house in 1889 ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ glittering things he had given 
her had disgusted him with this form of investment. But 
he still knew a diamond when he saw one, and during the 
week before her birthday he had taken occasion, on his 
way into the Poultry or his way out therefrom, to dally a 
little before the greater jewellers where one got, if not one's 
money's worth, at least a certain cachet with the goods. 

Constant cogitation since his cab drive with Jolyon had 
convinced him more and more of the supreme importance 
of this moment in his life, the supreme need for taking steps 
and those not wrong. And, alongside the dry and reasoned 
sense that it was now or never with his self-preservation, 
now or never if he were to range himself and found a family, 
went the secret urge of his senses roused by the sight of her 
who had once been a passionately desired wife, and the 
conviction that it was a sin against common sense and the 
decent secrecy of Forsytes' to waste the wife he had. 

In an opinion on Winifred's case, Dreamer, Q.C. — he 
would much have preferred Waterbuck, but they had made 
him a judge (so late in the day as to rouse the usual suspicion 
of a political job) — had advised that they should go forward 
and obtain restitution of conjugal rights, a point which to 

574 



IN CHANCERY 575 

Soames had never been in doubt. When they had obtained 
a decree to that effect they must wait to see if it was obeyed. 
If not, it would constitute legal desertion, and they should 
obtain evidence of misconduct and file their petition for 
divorce. 'All of which Soames knew perfectly well. They 
had marked him ten and one. This simplicity in his 
sister's case only made him the more desperate about the 
difficulty in his own. Everything, in fact, was driving him 
towards the simple solution of Irene's return. If it were 
still against the grain with her, had he not feelings to subdue, 
injury to forgive, pain to forget ? He at least had never 
injured her, and this was a world of compromise ! He could 
offer her so much, more than she had now. He would be 
prepared to make a liberal settlement on her which would 
not be upset. He often scrutinised his image in these days. 
He had never been a peacock like that fellow Dartie, or 
fancied himself a woman's man, but he had a certain belief 
in his own appearance — not unjustly, for it was weU-coupled 
and preserved, neat, healthy, pale, unblemished by drink 
or excess of any kind. The Forsyte jaw and the concen- 
tration of his face were, in his eyes, virtues. So far as he 
could tell there was no feature of him which need inspire 
dislike. 

Thoughts and yearnings, with which one lives daily, 
become natural, even if far-fetched in their inception. 
If he could only give tangible proof enough of his determina- 
tion to let bygones be bygones, and to do all in his power 
to please her, why should she not come back to him f 

He entered Gaves and Cortegal's therefore, on the 
morning of November the 9th, to buy a certain diamond 
brooch. " Four twenty-five and dirt cheap, sir, at the 
money. It's a lady's brooch." There was that in his mood 
which made him accept without demur. And he went on 
into the Poultry with the fiat green morocco case in his 



5/6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

breast pocket. Several times that day he opened it to look 
at the seven soft shining stones in their velvet oval nest. 

" If the lady doesn't like it, sir, happy to exchange it any 
time. But there's no fear of that." If only there were 
not ! He got through a vast amount of work, only soother 
of the nerves he knew. A cable came in while he was in the 
office with details from the agent in Buenos Aires, and the 
name and address of a stewardess who would be prepared 
to swear to what was necessary. It was a timely spur to 
Soames' intense and rooted distaste for the washing of 
dirty linen in public. And when he set forth by Under- 
ground to Victoria Station he received a fresh impetus 
towards the renewal of his married life from the account 
in his evening paper of a fashionable divorce suit. The 
homing instinct of all true Forsytes in anxiety and trouble, 
the corporate tendency which kept them strong and solid, 
made him choose to dine at Park Lane. He neither could 
nor would breathe a word to his people of his intention — too 
reticent and proud — but the thought that at least they would 
be glad if they knew, and wish him luck, was heartening. 

James was in lugubrious mood, for the fire which the 
impudence of Kruger's ultimatum had lit in him had been 
cold-watered by the poor success of the last month, and the 
exhortations to effort in Thg Times. He didn't know 
where it would end. Soames sought to cheer him by the 
continual use of the word BuUer. But James couldn't tell ! 
There was Colley — and he got stuck on that hill, and this 
Ladysmith was down in a hollow, and altogether it looked 
to him a * pretty kettle of fish ' ; he thought they ought to be 
sending the sailors — they were the chaps, they did a lot of 
good in the Crimea. Soames shifted the ground of conso- 
lation. Winifred had heard from Val that there had been a 
* rag ' and a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Day at Oxford, and that 
he had escaped detection by blacking his face. 



IN CHANCERY 577 

" Ah !" James muttered, " he's a clever little chap." 
But he shook his head shortly afterwards, and remarked 
that he didn't know what would become of him, and looking 
wistfully at his son, murmured on that Soames had nevei 
had a boy. He would have liked a grandson of his own name. 
And now — well, there it was ! 

Soames flinched. He had not expected such a challenge 
to disclose the secret in his heart. And Emily, who saw 
him wince, said: 

" Nonsense, James; don't talk like that !" 

But James, not looking anyone in the face, muttered on. 
There were Roger and Nicholas and Jolyon; they all had 
grandsons. And Swithin and Timothy had never married. 
He had done his best; but he would soon be gone now. 
And, as though he had uttered words of profound consola- 
tion, he was silent, eating brains with a fork and a piece of 
bread, and swallowing the bread. 

Soames excused himself directly after dinner. It was not 
really cold, but he put on his fur coat, which served to fortify 
him against the fits of nervous shivering he had been subject 
to all day. Subconsciously, he knew that he looked better 
thus than in an ordinary black overcoat. Then, feeling 
the morocco case flat against his heart, he sallied forth. 
He was no smoker, but he lit a cigarette, and smoked it 
gingerly as he walked along. He moved slowly down the 
Row towards Knightsbridge, timing himself to get to Chelsea 
at nine-fifteen. What did she do with herself evening after 
evening in that little hole ? How mysterious women were ! 
One lived alongside and knew nothing of them. What could 
she have seen in that fellow Bosinney to send her mad ? 
For there was madness after all in what she had done — 
crazy moonstruck madness, in which all sense of values 
had been lost, and her life and his life ruined ! And for a 
moment he was filled with a sort of exaltation, as 



578 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

though he were a man read of in a story who, possessed 
by the Christian spirit, would restore to her all the 
prizes of existence, forgiving and forgetting, and becom- 
ing the good fairy of her future. Under a tree opposite 
Knightsbridge Barracks, where the moonlight struck dow^n 
clear and white, he took out once more the morocco 
case, and let the beams draw colour from those stones. 
Yes, thev were of the iirst water ! But, at the hard closing 
snap of the case, another cold shiyer ran through his neryes; 
and he walked on faster, clenching his gloved hands in the 
pockets of his coat, almost hoping she would not be in. The 
thought of how mvsterious she was again beset him. Dining 
alone there night after night — in an evening dress, too. as 
if she were making beHeve to be in society ! Playing the 
piano — to herself I Not even a dog or cat, so far as he had 
seen. And that reminded him suddenly of the mare he 
kept for starion work at Mapledurham. If ever he went 
to the stable, there she was quite alone, half asleep, and yet, 
on her home journeys going more freely than on her way 
out, as if longing to be back and lonely in her stable I * I 
would treat her well,' he thought incoherently. * I would 
be very careful.' And all that capacity for home life of 
which a mocking Fate seemed for ever to have deprived him 
swelled suddenly in Soames, so that he dreamed dreams 
opposite South Kensington Starion. In the King's Road 
a man came sUthering out of a public house playing a 
concerrina. Soames watched him for a moment dance 
crazily on the pavement to his own drawHng jagged sounds, 
then crossed over to avoid contact with this piece of drunken 
foolerv. A night in the lock-up ! What asses people were ! 
But the man had noticed his movement of avoidance, and 
streams of genial blasphemy followed him across the street. 
' I hope they'll run him in,' thought Soames viciously. 
* To have rufians like that about, with women out alone !' 



IX CH-IXCERY 579 

A woman's figure in front had induced this thought. Her 
walk seemed oddly familiar, and when she turned the 
corner for which he was bound, his heart began to beat. 
Ke hastened on to the comer to make certain. Yes ! 
It was Irene; he could not mistake her walk in that little 
drab street. She threaded two more turnings, and from 
the last comer he saw her enter her block of fiats. To make 
sure of her now, he ran those few paces, hurried up the stairs, 
and caught her standing at her door. Ke heard the larch- 
kev in the lock, and reached her side just as she turned 
round, startled, in the open doorway. 

" Don't be alarmed," he said, breathless, " I happened to 
see Tou. Let me come in a minute." 

She had put her hand up to her breast, her face was 
colourless, her eyes widened by alarm. Then seeming to 
master herself, she inclined her head, and said: " Very welL" 

Soames closed the door. He, too, had need to recover, 
and when she had passed into the sitting-room, waited a full 
minute, taking deep breaths to stiU the beating of his heart. 
At this moment, so fraught with the future, to take out that 
morocco case seemed crude. Yet, not to take it out left 
him there before her with no preliminary excuse for coming. 
And in this dilemma he was seized with impatience at all this 
paraphernalia of excuse and justification. This was a 
scene — it could be nothing else, and he must face it I He 
heard her voice, uncomfortably, pathetically soft: 

** Why have you come again r Didn't you understand 
that I would rather you did not r" 

Ke noticed her clothes — a dark brown velvet corduroy, 
a sable boa, a small round toque of the same. They suited 
her admirably. She had money to spare for dress, evidently ! 
He said abruptly: 

" It's your birthday. I brought you this," and he held 
out to her the ^reen morocco case. 



S8o THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" Oh ! No— no !" 

Soames pressed the clasp ; the seven stones gleamed out on 
the pale grey velvet. 

" Why not ?" he said. " Just as a sign that you don't 
bear me ill-feeling any longer." 

" I couldn't." 

Soames took it out of the case. 

" Let me just see how it looks." 

She shrank back. 

He followed, thrusting his hand with the brooch in it 
against the front of her dress. She shrank again. 

Soames dropped his hand. 

" Irene," he said, " let bygones be bygones. If I can, 
surely you might. Let's begin again, as if nothing had been. 
Won't you ?" His voice was wistful, and his eyes, resting 
on her face, had in them a sort of supplication. 

She, who was standing literally with her back against the 
wall, gave a little gulp, and that was all her answer. Soames 
went on: 

" Can you really want to live all your days half-dead in 
this little hole ? Come back to me, and I'U give you all 
you want. You shall live your own life; I swear it." 

He saw her face quiver ironically. 

" Yes," he repeated, " but I mean it this time. I'll only 
ask one thing. I just want — I just want a son. Don't 
look like that ! I want one. It's hard." His voice had 
grown hurried, so that he hardly knew it for his own, and 
twice he jerked his head back as if struggling for breath. 
It was the sight of her eyes fixed on him, dark with a sort 
of fascinated fright, which pulled him together and changed 
that painful incoherence to anger. 

" Is it so very unnatural ?" he said between his teeth. 
" Is it unnatural to want a child from one's own wife ? You 
wrecked our life and put this blight on everything. We go 
on only half alive, and without any future. Is it so very 



IN CHANCERY 581 

unflattering to you that in spite of everything I — I still 
want you for my wife f Speak, for Goodness' sake ! do speak." 

Irene seemed to try, but did not succeed. 

" I don't want to frighten you," said Soames more gently, 
" Heaven knows. I only want you to see that I can't go on 
like this. I want you back. I want you." 

Irene raised one hand and covered the lower part of 
her face, but her eyes never moved from his, as though she 
trusted in them to keep him at bay. And all those years, 
barren and bitter, since — ah ! when ? — almost since he 
had first known her, surged up in one great wave of recol- 
lection in Soames; and a spasm that for his life he could 
not control constricted his face. 

"It's not too late," he said; "it's not — if you'll only 
believe it." 

Irene uncovered her lips, and both her hands made a 
writhing gesture in front of her breast. Soames seized them. 

" Don't !" she said under her breath. But he stood 
holding on to them, trying to stare into her eyes which 
did not waver. Then she said quietly: 

" I am alone here. You won't behave again as you 
once behaved." 

Dropping her hands as though they had been hot irons, 
he turned away. Was it possible that there could be such 
relentless unforgiveness ! Could that one act of violent 
possession be still alive within her ? Did it bar him thus 
utterly? And doggedly he said, without looking up: 

" I am not going till you've answ^ered me. I am offering 
what few men would bring themselves to offer, I want a — 
a reasonable answer." 
And almost with surprise he heard her say: 

" You can't have a reasonable answer. Reason has nothing 
to do with it. You can only have the brutal truth: I would 
rather die." 

Soames stared at her. 



S82- THE FORSYTE SAGA 

'' " Oh !" he said. And there intervened in him a sort of 
paralysis of speech and movement, the kind of quivering 
which comes when a man has received a deadly insult, and 
does not yet know how he is going to take it, or rather what 
it is going to do with him. 

" Oh !" he said again, " as bad as that ? Indeed ! You 
would rather die. That's pretty !" 

" I am sorry. You wanted me to answer. I can't help 
the truth, can I ?" 

At that queer spiritual appeal Soames turned for relief 
to actuality. He snapped the brooch back into its case 
and put it in his pocket. 

"The truth!" he said; "there's no such thing with 
women. It's nerves — nerves." 

He heard the whisper: 

"Yes; nerves don't lie. Haven't you discovered that?'* 
He was silent, obsessed by the thought : ' I will hate this 
woman. I zvill hate her.' That was the trouble ! If 
only he could ! He shot a glance at her who stood unmoving 
against the wall with her head up and her hands clasped, 
for all the world as if she were going to be shot. And he 
said quickly: 

" I don't believe a word of it. You have a lover. If 
you hadn't, you wouldn't be such a — such a little idiot." 
He was conscious, before the expression in her eyes, that he 
had uttered something of a non-sequitur, and dropped 
back too abruptly into the verbal freedom of his connubial 
days. He turned away to the door. But he could not go 
out. Something within him — that most deep and secret 
Forsyte quality, the impossibility of letting go, the im- 
possibility of seeing the fantastic and forlorn nature of his 
own tenacity — prevented him He turned about again, 
and there stood, with his back against the door, as hers was 
against the wall opposite, quite unconscious of anything 
ridiculous in this separation by the whole width of the room. 



IN CHANCERY 583 

" Do you ever think of anybody but yourself ?" he said. 

Irene's lips quivered; then she answered slowly: 

" Do you ever think that I found out my mistake — 
my hopeless, terrible mistake — the very first week of our 
marriage; that I went on trying three years — you know 
I went on trying ? Was it for myself ?'* 

Soames gritted his teeth. " God knows what it was. 
Pve never understood you; I shall never understand you. 
You had everything you wanted; and you can ha-ve it again, 
and more. What's the matter with me ? I ask you a 
plain question: What is it?" Unconscious of the pathos 
in that enquiry, he went on passionately: " I'm not lame, 
I'm not loathsome, I'm not a boor, I'm not a fool. What 
is it ? What's the mystery about me ?" 

Her answer was a long sigh. 

He clasped his hands with a gesture that for him was 
strangely full of expression. " When I came here to-night 
I was — I hoped — I meant everything that I could to do 
away with the past, and start fair again. And you meet me 
with * nerves,' and silence, and sighs. There's nothing 
tangible. It's like — it's like a spider's web." 

" Yes." 

That whisper from across the room maddened Soames 
afresh. 

" Well, I don't choose to be in a spider's web. I'll cut it." 
He walked straight up to her. " Now !'* What he had 
gone up to her to do he really did not know. But when he 
v/as close, the old familiar scent of her clothes suddenly 
affected him. He put his hands on her shoulders and bent 
forward to kiss her. He kissed not her lips, but a little hard 
line where the lips had been drawn in; then his face was 
pressed away by her hands; he heard her say: " Oh ! No !" 
Shame, compunction, sense of futility flooded his whole 
being, he turned on his heel and went straight out. 



CHAPTER III 

VISIT TO IRENE 

JoLYON found June waiting on the platform at Paddington 
She had received his telegram while at breakfast. Her 
abode — a studio and two bedrooms in a St. John's Wood 
garden — had been selected by her for the complete indepen- 
dence which it guaranteed. Unwatched by Mrs. Grundy, 
unhindered by permanent domestics, she could receive 
lame ducks at any hour of day or night, and not seldom had 
a duck without studio of its own made use of June's. She 
enjoyed her freedom, and possessed herself with a sort of 
virginal passion; the warmth which she would have lavished 
on Bosinney, and of which — given her Forsyte tenacity — 
he must surely have tired, she now expended in championship 
of the underdogs and budding * geniuses ' of the artistic 
world. She lived, in fact, to turn ducks into the swans she 
believed they were. The very fervour of her protections 
warped her judgments. But she was loyal and liberal; 
her small eager hand was ever against the oppressions of 
academic and commercial opinion, and though her income 
was considerable, her bank balance was often a minus 
quantity. 

She had come to Paddington Station heated in her soul 
by a visit to Eric Cobbley. A miserable Gallery had refused 
to let that straight-haired genius have his one-man show 
after all. Its impudent manager, after visiting his studio, 
had expressed the opinion that it would only be a ' one-horse 
show from the selling point of view.' This crowning 
example of commercial cowardice towards her favourite 

584 



IN CHANCERY 585 

lame duck — and he so hard up, with a wife and two children, 
that he had caused her account to be overdrawn — was still 
making the blood glow in her small, resolute face, and her 
red-gold hair to shine more than ever. She gave her father 
a hug, and got into a cab with him, having as many fish to 
fry with him as he with her. It became at once a question 
which would fry them first. 

Jolyon had reached the words : " My dear, I want you to 
come with me," when, glancing at her face, he perceived 
by her blue eyes moving from side to side — like the tail of 
a preoccupied cat — that she was not attending. 

" Dad, is it true that I absolutely can't get at any of my 
money ?" 

" Only the income, fortunately, my love." 

" How perfectly beastly ! Can't it be done somehow ? 
There must be a way. I know I could buy a small Gallery 
for ten thousand pounds." 

" A small Gallery," murmured Jolyon, " seems a modest 
desire. But your grandfather foresaw it." 

" I think," cried June vigorously, " that all this care about 
money is awful, when there's so much genius in the world 
simply crushed out for want of a little. I shall never marry 
and have children; why shouldn't I be able to do some good 
instead of having it all tied up in case of things which will 
never come off ?" 

" Our name is Forsyte, my dear," replied Jolyon in the 
ironical voice to which his impetuous daughter had never 
quite grown accustomed; " and Forsytes, you know, are 
people who so settle their property that their grandchildren, 
in case they should die before their parents, have to make 
wills leaving the property that will only come to themselves 
when their parents die. Do you follow that ? Nor do I, but 
it's a fact, anyway; we live by the principle that so long as 
there is a possibility of keeping wealth in the family it must 



586 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

not go out; if you die unmarried, your money goes to 
Jolly and Holly and their children if they marry. Isn't it 
pleasant to know that whatever you do you can none of you be 
destitute ?" 

"But can't I borrow the money?" 

Jolyon shook his head. " You could rent a Gallery, no 
doubt, if you could manage it out of your income." 

June uttered a contemptuous sound. 

'* Yes; and have no income left to help anybody with." 

" My dear child," murmured Jolyon, " wouldn't it come 
to the same thing ?" 

" No," said June shrewdly, " I could buy for ten thousand; 
that would only be four hundred a year. But I should 
have to pay a thousand a year rent, and that would only 
leave me five hundred. If I had that Gallery, Dad, think 
what I could do, I could make Eric Cobbley's name in no 
time, and ever so many others." 

" Names worth making make themselves in time." 

" When they're dead." 

" Did you ever know anybody living, my dear, improved 
by having his name made ?" 

" Yes, you," said June, pressing his arm. 

Jolyon started. * I ?' he thought. ' Oh ! Ah ! Now 
she's going to ask me to do something. We take it out, we 
Forsytes, each in our different ways.' 

June came closer to him in the cab. 

" Darling," she said, " 'fou buy the Gallery, and I'll pay 
you four hundred a year for it. Then neither of us will 
be any the worse o£F. Besides, it's a splendid investment." 

Jolyon wriggled. " Don't you think," he said, " that 
for an artist to buy a Gallery is a bit dubious ? Besides, 
ten thousand pounds is a lump, and I'm not a commercial 
character." 

June looked at him with admiring appraisement. 



IN CHANCERY 587 

" Of course you're not, but you're awfully businesslike. 
And I'm sure we could make it pay. It'll be a perfect way 
of scoring oft those wretched dealers and people." And 
again she squeezed her father's arm. 

Jolyon's face expressed quizzical despair. 

" Where is this desirable Gallery ? Splendidly situated, 
I suppose ?" 

" Just oQ Cork Street." 

* Ah !' thought Jolyon, * I knew it was just oil somewhere. 
Now for what I want out of her P 

" Well, I'll think of it, but not just now. You remember, 
Irene ? I want you to come with me and see her. Soames 
is after her again. She might be safer if we could give her 
asylum somewhere." 

The word asylum, which he had used by chance, was of 
all most calculated to rouse June's interest. 

" Irene ! I haven't seen her since ! Of course i 

I'd love to help her." 

It was Jolyon's turn to squeeze her arm, in warm admira- 
tion for this spirited, generous-hearted little creature of his 
begetting. 

" Irene is proud," he said, with a sidelong glance, in 
sudden doubt of June's discretion; " she's difficult to help. 
We must tread gently. This is the place. I wired her to 
expect us. Let's send up our cards." 

" I can't bear Soames," said June as she got out; " he 
sneers at everything that isn't successful." 

Irene was in what was called the ' Ladies' drawing-room * 
of the Piedmont Hotel. 

Nothing if not morally courageous, June walked straight 
up to her former friend, kissed her cheek, and the two 
settled down on a sofa never sat on since the hotel's founda- 
tion. Jolyon could see that Irene was deeply aifected by this 
simple forgiveness. 



S88 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

" So Soames has been worrying you ?" he said. 

" I had a visit from him last night; he wants me to go back 
to him." 

" You're not, of course ?" cried June. 

Irene smiled faintly and shook her head. " But his 
position is horrible," she murmured. 

" It's his own fault; he ought to have divorced you when 
he could." 

Jolyon remembered how fervently in the old days June 
had hoped that no divorce would smirch her dead and 
faithless lover's name. 

" Let us hear what Irene is going to do," he said. 

Irene's lips quivered, but she spoke calmly. 

" I'd better give him fresh excuse to get rid of me." 

" How horrible !" cried June. 

" What else can I do ?" 

" Out of the question," said Jolyon very quietly, " sans 
amour," 

He thought she was going to cry; but, getting up quickly, 
she half turned her back on them, and stood regaining 
control of herself. 

June said suddenly: 

" Well, I shall go to Soames and tell him he must leave 
you alone. What does he want at his age f " 

" A child. It's not unnatural." 

" A child !" cried June scornfully. " Of course ! To 
leave his money to. If he wants one badly enough let him 
take somebody and have one ; then you can divorce him, and 
he can marry her." 

Jolyon perceived suddenly that he had made a mistake 
to bring June — her violent partizanship was fighting 
Soames' battle. 

" It would be best for Irene to come quietly to us at 
Robin Hill, and see how things shape." 

" Of course," said June; " only " 



IN CHANCERY 589 

Irene looked full at Jolyon — in all his many attempts 
afterwards to analyze that glance he never could succeed. 

" No ! I should only bring trouble on you all. I will 
go abroad." 

He knew from her voice that this was final. The irrelevant 
thought flashed through him: * Well, I could see her there.* 
But he said: 

" Don't you think you would be more helpless abroad, 
in case he followed ?" 

" I don't know. I can but try." 

June sprang up and paced the room. " It's all horrible," 
she said. " Why should people be tortured and kept 
miserable and helpless year after year by this disgusting sancti- 
monious law ?" But someone had come into the room, and 
June came to a standstill. Jolyon went up to Irene: 

" Do you want money ?" 

" No." 

" And would you like me to let your flat ?" 

" Yes, Jolyon, please." 

" When shall you be going ?" 

" To-morrow." 

" You won't go back there in the meantime, will you ?" 
This he said with an anxiety strange to himself. 

" No; I've got all I want here." 

" You'll send me your address ?" 

She put out her hand to him. " I feel you're a rock." 

" Built on sand," answered Jolyon, pressing her hand 
hard; " but it's a pleasure to do anything, at any time, 

remember that. And if you change your mind ! 

Come along, June; say good-bye." 

June came from the window and flung her arms round 
Irene. 

" Don't think of him," she said under her breath; " enjoy 
yourself, and bless you !" 

W^ith a memory of tears in Irene's eyes, and of a smile on 



590 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

her lips, they went awav extremely silent, passing the lady 
who had interrupted the interview and was turning over the 
papers on the table. 

Opposite the National Gallery June exclaimed: 
" Of all undignified beasts and horrible laws !" 
But Jolyon did not respond. He had something of his 
father's balance, and could see things impartially even when 
his emotions were roused. Irene was right; Soames' 
position was as bad or worse than her own. As for the law 
— it catered for a human nature of which it took a naturally 
low view. And, feeling that if he stayed in his daughter's 
company he would in one way or another commit an 
indiscretion, he told her he must catch his train back 
to Oxford; and hailing a cab, left her to Turner's water- 
colours, with the promise that he would think over that 
Gallery. 

But he thought over Irene instead. Pity, they said, 
was akin to love ! If so he was certainly in danger of loving 
her, for he pitied her profoundly. To think of her drifting 
about Europe so handicapped and lonely ! * I hope to 
goodness she'll keep her head !' he thought; * she might 
easily grow desperate.' In fact, now that she had cut loose 
from her poor threads of occupation, he couldn't imagine 
how she would go on — so beautiful a creature, hopeless, 
and fair game for anyone ! In his exasperation was more 
than a little fear and jealousy. Women did strange things 
when they were driven into corners. ' I wonder what 
Soames will do now !' he thought. * A rotten, idiotic state 
of things ! And I suppose they would say it was her own 
fault.' Very preoccupied and sore at heart, he got into his 
train, mislaid his ticket, and on the platform at Oxford 
took his hat off to a lady whose face he seemed to remember 
without being able to put a name to her, not even when he 
saw her having tea at the Rainbow, 



CHAPTER IV 

WHERE FORSYTES FEAR TO TREAD 

Quivering from the defeat of his hopes, with the green 
morocco case still flat against his heart, Soames revolved 
thoughts bitter as death. A spider's web ! Walking fast, 
and noting nothing in the moonlight, he brooded over the 
scene he had been through, over the memory of her figure 
rigid in his grasp. And the more he brooded, the more 
certain he became that she had a lover — her words, * I 
would sooner die !' were ridiculous if she had not. Even 
if she had never loved him, she had made no fuss until 
Bosinney came on the scene. No; she was in love again, 
or she would not have made that melodramatic answer to 
his proposal, which in all the circumstances was reasonable ! 
Very well ! That simplified matters. 

* I'll take steps to know where I am,' he thought; ' I'll 
go to Polteed's the first thing to-morrow morning.' 

But even in forming that resolution he knew he would have 
trouble with himself. He had employed Polteed's agency 
several times in the routine of his profession, even quite 
lately over Dartie's case, but he had never thought it 
possible to employ them to watch his own wife. 

It was too insulting to himself ! 

He slept over that project and his wounded pride — or 
rather, kept vigil. Only while shaving did he suddenly 
remember that she called herself by her maiden name of 
Heron. Polteed would not know, at first at all events, 
whose wife she was, would not look at him obsequiously 
and leer behind his back. She would just be the wife of 

591 



592 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

one of his clients. And that wouli be true — for was he 
not his own soHcitor ? 

He was literally afraid not to put his design into execution 
at the first possible moment, lest, after all, he might fail 
himself. And making Warmson bring him an early cup 
of coffee, he stole out of the house before the hour of break- 
fast. He walked rapidly to one of those small West End 
streets where Polteed's and other firms ministered to the 
virtues of the wealthier classes. Hitherto he had always 
had Polteed to see him in the Poultry; but he well knew their 
address, and reached it at the opening hour. In the outer 
office, a room furnished so cosily that it might have been a 
moneylender's, he was attended by a lady who might have 
been a schoolmistress. 

" I wish to see Mr. Claud Polteed. He knows me — 
never mind my name." 

To keep everybody from knowing that he, Soames Forsyte, 
was reduced to having his wife spied on, was the overpower- 
ing consideration. 

Mr. Claud Polteed — so different from Mr. Lewis Polteed 
— was one of those men with dark hair, slightly curved noses, 
and quick brown eyes, who might be taken for Jews but are 
really Phoenicians; he received Soames in a room hushed by 
thickness of carpet and curtains. It was, in fact, confidentially 
furnished, without trace of document anywhere to be seen. 

Greeting Soames deferentially, he turned the key in the 
only door with a certain ostentation. 

* If a chent sends for me,' he was in the habit of saying, 
* he takes what precaution he likes. If he comes here, we 
convince him that we have no leakages. I may safely say 
we lead in security, if in nothing else. . . .* " Now, sir, 
what can I do for you ?" 

Soames' gorge had risen so that he could hardly speak. 
It was absolutely necessary to hide from this man that he 



IN CHANCERY 593 

had any but professional interest in the matter; and, 
mechanically, his face assumed its sideway smile. 

*' I've come to you early like this because there's not an 
hour to lose " — if he lost an hour he might fail himself yet ! 
" Have you a really trustworthy woman free ?" 

Mr. Polteed unlocked a drawer, produced a memorandum, 
ran his eyes over it, and locked the drawer up again. 

" Yes," he said; " the very woman." 

Soames had seated himself and crossed his legs — nothing 
but a faint flush, which might have been his normal com- 
plexion, betrayed him. 

" Send her off at once, then, to watch a Mrs. Irene Heron 
of Flat D, Truro Mansions, Chelsea, till further notice." 

"Precisely," said Mr. Polteed; "divorce, I presume?" 
and he blew into a speaking-tube. " Mrs. Blanch in ? 
I shall want to speak to her in ten minutes." 

*' Deal with any reports yourself," resumed Soames, " and 
send them to me personally, marked confidential, sealed and 
registered. My client exacts the utmost secrecy." 

Mr. Polteed smiled, as though saying, * You are teaching 
your grandmother, my dear sir ' ; and his eyes slid over 
Soames' face for one unprofessional instant. 

" Make his mind perfectly easy," he said. " Do you 
smoke ?" 

"No," said Soames. "Understand me: Nothing may 
come of this. If a name gets out, or the watching is suspected, 
it may have very serious consequences." 

Mr. Polteed nodded. " I can put it into the cipher 
category. Under that system a name is never mentioned; 
we work by numbers." 

He unlocked another drawer and took out two slips of 
paper, wrote on them, and handed one to Soames. 

" Keep that, sir; it's your key. I retain this duplicate. 
The case we'll call Jx. The party watched will be 17; the 



594 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

watcher 19; the Mansions 25; yourself — I should say, youi 
firm — 31; my firm 32, myself 2. In case you should have 
to mention your client in writing I have called him 43 ; any 
person we suspect will be 47; a second person 51. Any 
special hint or instruction while we're about it ?" 

" No," said Soames; " that is — every consideration com- 
patible." 

Again Mr. Polteed nodded. " Expense ?" 

Soames shrugged. " In reason," he answered curtly, 
and got up. " Keep it entirely in your own hands." 

" Entirely," said Mr. Polteed, appearing suddenly between 
him and the door. " I shall be seeing you in that other 
case before long. Good-morning, sir." His eyes slid 
unprofessionally over Soames once more, and he unlocked 
the door. 

" Good-morning," said Soames, looking neither to right 
nor left. 

Out in the street he swore deeply, quietly, to himself. 
A spider's web, and to cut it he must use this spidery, secret, 
unclean method, so utterly repugnant to one who regarded 
his private life as his most sacred piece of property. But 
the die was cast, he could not go back. And he went on 
into the Poultry, and locked away the green morocco case 
and the key to that cypher destined to make crystal-clear 
his domestic bankruptcy. 

Odd that one whose life was spent in bringing to the 
public eye all the private coils of property, the domestic 
disagreements of others, should dread so utterly the public 
eye turned on his own; and yet not odd, for who should 
know so well as he the whole unfeeling process of legal 
regulation ? 

He worked hard all day. Winifred was due at four 
o'clock; he was to take her down to a conference in the 
Temple with Dreamer Q.C., and waiting for her he re-read 



IN CHANCERY 595 

the letter he had caused her to write the day of Dartie's 
departure, requiring him to return. 

*' Dear Montague, 

" I have received your letter v/ith the news that 
you have left me for ever and are on your way to Buenos 
Aires. It has naturally been a great shock. I am taking 
this earliest opportunity of writing to tell you that I am 
prepared to let bygones be bygones if you will return to 
me at once. I beg you to do so. I am very much upset, 
and will not say any more now. I am sending this letter 
registered to the address you left at your Club. Please 
cable to me. 

" Your still affectionate v/ife, 

" Winifred Dartie." 

Ugh ! What bitter humbug ! He remembered leaning 
over Winifred while she copied what he had pencilled, 
and how she had said, laying down her pen, *' Suppose he 
comes, Soames !" in such a strange tone of voice, as if she 
did not know her own mind. " He won't come," he had 
answered, " till he's spent his money. That's why we must 
act at once." Annexed to the copy of that letter was the 
original of Dartie's drunken scrawl from the Iseeum Club. 
Soames could have wished it had not been so manifestly 
penned in liquor. Just the sort of thing the Court would 
pitch on. He seemed to hear the Judge's voice say: " You 
took this seriously ! Seriously enough to write him as you 
did? Do you think he meant it?" Never mind! The 
fact was clear that Dartie had sailed and had not returned. 
Annexed also was his cabled answer: ' Impossible return. 
Dartie.' Soames shook his head. If the whole thing were 
not disposed of within the next few months the fellow 
would turn up again like a bad penny. It saved a thousand 
a year at least to get rid of him, besides all the worry to 



596 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

Winifred and his father. * I must stiffen Dreamer's back/ 
he thought; * we must push it on.' 

Winifred, who had adopted a kind of half-mourning which 
became her fair hair and tall figure very well, arrived in 
James' barouche drawn by James' pair. Soames had not 
seen it in the City since his father retired from business five 
years ago, and its incongruity gave him a shock. * Times 
are changing,' he thought ; * one doesn't know what'll go 
next !' Top hats even were scarcer. He enquired after 
Val. Val, said Winifred, wrote that he was going to play 
polo next term. She thought he was in a very good set. 
She added with fashionably disguised anxiety: " Will there 
be much publicity about my affair, Soames ? Must it be 
in the papers ? It's so bad for him, and the girls." 

With his own calamity all raw within him, Soames 
answered : 

" The papers are a pushing lot; it's very difficult to keep 
things out. They pretend to be guarding the public's 
morals, and they corrupt them with their beastly reports. 
But we haven't got to that yet. We're only seeing Dreamer 
to-day on the restitution question. Of course he under- 
stands that it's to lead to a divorce; but you must seem 
genuinely anxious to get Dartie back — you might practise 
that attitude to-day." 
Winifred sighed. 

" Oh ! What a clown Monty's been !" she said. 
Soames gave her a sharp look. It was clear to him that 
she could not take her Dartie seriously, and would go back 
on the whole thing if given half a chance. His own instinct 
had been firm in this matter from the first. To save a little 
scandal now would only bring on his sister and her children 
real disgrace and perhaps ruin later on if Dartie were 
allowed to hang on to them, going down-hill and spending 
the money James would leave his daughter. Though it 



IN CHANCERY 597 

was all tied up, that fellow would milk the settlements 
somehow, and make his family pay through the nose to keep 
him out of bankruptcy or even perhaps gaol ! They left 
the shining carriage, with the shining horses and the shining- 
hatted servants on the Embankment, and walked up to 
Dreamer Q.C.'s Chambers in Crown Office Row. 

" Mr. Bellby is here, sir," said the clerk; " Mr. Dreamer 
will be ten minutes." 

Mr. Bellby, the junior — not as junior as he might have 
been, for Soames only employed barristers of established 
reputation; it was, indeed, something of a mystery to him 
how barristers ever managed to establish that which made 
him employ them — Mr. Bellby was seated, taking a final 
glance through his papers. He had come from Court, and 
was in wig and gown, which suited a nose jutting out like 
the handle of a tiny pump, his small shrewd blue eyes, and 
rather protruding lower lip — no better man to supplement 
and stiffen Dreamer. 

The introduction to Winifred accomplished, they leaped 
the weather and spoke of the war. Soames interjected 
suddenly: 

" If he doesn't comply we can't bring proceedings for six 
months. I want to get on with the matter, Bellby." 

Mr. Bellby, who had the ghost of an Irish brogue, smiled 
at Winifred and murmured: "The Law's delays, Mrs. 
Dartie." 

" Six months !" repeated Soames ; " it'll drive it up to 
June ! We shan't get the suit on till after the long vacation. 
Wc must put the screw on, Bellby" — he would have all 
his work cut out to keep Winifred up to the scratch. 

" Mr. Dreamer will see you now, sir." 

They filed in, Mr. Bellby going first, and Soames escorting 
Winifred after an interval of one minute by his watch. 

Dreamer Q.C., in a gown but divested of wig, was standing 



598 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

before the fire, as if this conference were in the nature of a 
treat; he had the leathery, rather oily complexion which 
goes with great learning, a considerable nose with glasses 
perched on it, and little greyish whiskers; he luxuriated in the 
perpetual cocking of one eye, and the concealment of his 
lower with his upper lip, which gave a smothered turn to his 
speech. He had a way, too, of coming suddenly round the 
corner on the person he was talking to; this, with a dis- 
concerting tone of voice, and a habit of growling before he 
began to speak — had secured a reputation second in Probate 
and Divorce to very few. Having listened, eye cocked, to 
Mr. Bellby's breezy recapitulation of the facts, he growled, 
and said: 

" I knov/ all that ;" and coming round the corner at 
Winifred, smothered the words: 

" We want to get him back, don't we, Mrs. Dartie ?" 

Soames interposed sharply: 

" My sister's position, of course, is intolerable." 

Dreamer growled. " Exactly. Now, can we rely on the 
cabled refusal, or must we wait till after Christmas to give 
him a chance to have written — that's the point, isn't it r" 

" The sooner " Soames began. 

" What do you say, Bellby ?" said Dreamer, coming round 
his corner. 

Mr. Bellby seemed to sni5 the air like a hound. 

" We won't be on till the middle of December. W^e've 
no need to give um more rope than that." 

" No," said Soames, " why should my sister be incom- 
moded by his choosing to go " 

'* To Jericho !" said Dreamer, again coming round his 
corner; " quite so. People oughtn't to go to Jericho, 
ought they, Mrs. Dartie ?" And he raised his gown into 
a sort of fantail. " I agree. We can go forward. Is there 
anything more f " 



IN CHANXERY 599 

" Nothing at present," said Soames meaningly; " I 
wanted you to see my sister." 

Dreamer growled softly: "Delighted. Good-evening!" 
And let fall the protection of his gown. 

They filed out. Winifred went down the stairs. Soames 
lingered. In spite of himself he was impressed by Dreamer. 

" The evidence is all right, I think," he said to Bellby. 
" Between ourselves, if we don't get the thing through 
quick, we never may. D'you think he understands that ?" 

" I'll make um," said Bellby. " Good man though — 
good man." 

Soames nodded and hastened after his sister. He found 
her in a draught, biting her lips behind her veil, and at 
once said: 

" The evidence of the stewardess will be very complete." 

Winifred's face hardened; she drew herself up, and they 
walked to the carriage. And, all through that silent drive 
back to Green Street, the souls of both of them revolved 
a single thought: * Why, oh ! why should I have to expose 
my misfortune to the public like this ? W^hy have to employ 
spies to peer into my private troubles ? They were not 
of my making.' 



CHAPTER V 

JOLLY SITS IN JUDGMENT 

The possessive instinct, which, so determinedly balked, 
was animating two members of the Forsyte family towards 
riddance of what they could no longer possess, was hardening 
daily in the British body politic. Nicholas, originally so 
doubtful concerning a war which must affect property, 
had been heard to say that these Boers were a pig-headed 
lot; they were causing a lot of expense, and the sooner they 
had their lesson the better. He would send out Wolseley ! 
Seeing always a little further than other people — whence 
the most considerable fortune of all the Forsytes — he had 
perceived already that BuUer was not the man — * a bull of 
a chap, who just went butting, and if they didn't look out 
Ladysmith would fall.* This was early in December, so 
that when Black Week came, he was enabled to say to every- 
body: * I told you so.' During that week of gloom such 
as no Forsyte could remember, very young Nicholas attended 
so many drills in his corps, * The Devil's Own,' that young 
Nicholas consulted the family physician about his son's 
health and was alarmed to find that he was perfectly sound. 
The boy had only just eaten his dinners and been called 
to the bar, at some expense, and it was in a way a nightmare 
to his father and mother that he should be playing with 
military efficiency at a time when military efficiency in the 
civilian population might conceivably be wanted. His 
grandfather, of course, pooh-poohed the notion, too thor- 
oughly educated in the feeling that no British war could 
be other than little and professional, and profoundly 

600 



IN CHANCERY 60 1 

distrustful of Imperial commitments, by which, more- 
over, he stood to lose, for he owned De Beers, now going 
down fast, more than a sufficient sacrifice on the part of his 
grandson. 

At Oxford, however, rather different sentiments prevailed. 
The inherent effervescence of conglomerate youth had, 
during the two months of the term before Black Week, been 
gradually crystallising out into vivid oppositions. Normal 
adolescence, ever in England of a conservative tendency, 
though not taking things too seriously, was vehement for 
a fight to a finish and a good licking for the Boers. Of this 
larger faction Val Dartie was naturally a member. Radical 
youth, on the other hand, a small but perhaps more vocal 
body, was for stopping the war and giving the Boers 
autonomy. Until Black Week, however, the groups were 
amorphous, without sharp edges, and argument remained 
but academic. Jolly was one of those who knew not where 
he stood. A streak of his grandfather old Jolyon's love of 
justice prevented him from seeing one side only. Moreover, 
in his set of * the best ' there was a * jumping-jesus ' of 
extremely advanced opinions and some personal magnetism 
Jolly wavered. His father, too, seemed doubtful in his 
views. And though, as was proper at the age of twenty, 
he kept a sharp eye on his father, watchful for defects which 
might still be remedied, still that father had an ' air ' which 
gave a sort of glamour to his creed of ironic tolerance. 
Artists, of course, were notoriously Hamlet-like, and to this 
extent one must discount for one's father, even if one loved 
him. But Jolyon's original view, that to * put your nose in 
where you aren't wanted ' (as the Uitlanders had done) 
* and then work the oracle till you get on top is not being 
quite the clean potato,' had, whether founded in fact or no, 
a certain attraction for his son, who thought a deal about 
gentility. On the other hand Jolly could not abide such 



6o2 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

as his set called * cranks/ and Val's set called * smugs,' so 
that he was still balancing when the clock of Black Week 
struck. One — two — three, came those ominous repulses 
at Stormberg, Magersfontein, Colenso. The sturdy 
English soul reacting after the first cried, * Ah ! but 
Methuen !' after the second: * Ah ! but Buller !' then, 
in inspissated gloom, hardened. And Jolly said to himself: 
" No, damn it ! We've got to lick the beggars now; I 
don't care whether we're right or wrong." And, if he had 
known it, his father was thinking the same thought. 

That next Sunday, last of the term, Jolly was bidden to 
wine with ' one of the best.' After the second toast, 
* Buller and damnation to the Boers,' drunk — no heel taps — 
in the college Burgundy, he noticed that Val Dartie, 
also a guest, was looking at him with a grin and saying 
something to his neighbour. He was sure it was disparaging. 
The last boy in the world to make himself conspicuous or 
cause public disturbance. Jolly grew rather red and shut his 
lips. The queer hostihty he had always felt towards his 
second-cousin was strongly and suddenly reinforced. " All 
right 1" he said to himself; " you wait, my friend !" More 
wine than was good for him, as the custom was, helped him 
to remember, when they all trooped forth to a secluded spot, 
to touch Val on the arm. 

" What did you say about me in there ?" 

" Mayn't I say what I like ?" 

'' No." 

'* Well, I 'said you were a pro-Boer — and so you are !" 

" You're a liar !" 

" D'you want a row ?" 

*' Of course, but not here; in the garden." 

"All right. Come on." 

They went, eyeing each other askance, unsteady, and un- 
flinching; they cHmbed the garden railings. The spikes 



IN CHANCERY 603 

on the top slightly ripped VaPs sleeve, and occupied his mind. 
Jolly's mind was occupied by the thought that they were 
going to fight in the precincts of a college foreign to them 
both. It was not the thing, but never mind — the young 
beast ! 

They passed over the grass into very nearly darkness, and 
took off their coats. 

"You're not screwed, are you?" said Jolly suddenly. 
" I can't fight you if you're screwed." 

" No more than you." 

" All right then." 

Without shaking hands, they put themselves at once into 
postures of defence. They had drunk too much for science, 
and so were especially careful to assume correct attitudes, 
until Jolly smote Val almost accidentally on the nose. 
After that it was all a dark and ugly scrimmage in the deep 
shadow of the old trees, with no one to call * time,' till, 
battered and blown, they uncHnched and staggered back 
from each other, as a voice said : 

" Your names, young gentlemen ?" 

At this bland query spoken from under the lamp at the 
garden gate, like some demand of a god, their nerves gave 
way, and snatching up their coats, they ran at the railings, 
shinned up them, and made for the secluded spot whence 
they had issued to the fight. Here, in dim light, they 
mopped their faces, and without a word walked, ten paces 
apart, to the coUege gate. They went out silently, Val 
going towards the Broad along the Brewery, Jolly down the 
lane towards the High. His head, still fumed, was busy 
with regret that he had not displayed more science, passing 
in review the counters and knock-out blows which he had 
not delivered. His mind strayed on to an imagined combat, 
infinitely unlike that which he had just been through, 
infinitely gallant, with sash and sword, with thrust and 



6o4 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

parry, as if he were in the pages of his beloved Dumas. He 
fancied himself La Mole, and Aramis, Bussy, Chicot, and 
D'Artagnan rolled into one, but he quite failed to envisage 
Val as Coconnas, Brissac, or Rochefort. The fellow was 
just a confounded cousin who didn't come up to Cocker. 
Never mind ! He had given him one or two. ' Pro-Boer !' 
The word still rankled, and thoughts of enlisting jostled his 
aching head; of riding over the veldt, firing gallantly, while 
the Boers rolled over like rabbits. And, turning up his 
smarting eyes, he saw the stars shining between the house- 
tops of the High, and himself lying out on the Karoo 
(whatever that was) rolled in a blanket, with his rifle ready 
and his gaze fixed on a glittering heaven. 

He had a fearful * head ' next morning, which he doctored, 
as became one of ' the best,' by soaking it in cold water, 
brewing strong coffee which he could not drink, and only 
sipping a little Hock at lunch. The legend that * some 
fool ' had run into him round a corner accounted for a 
bruise on his cheek. He would on no account have 
mentioned the fight, for, on second thoughts, it fell far 
short of his standards. 

The next day he went * down,' and travelled through to 
Robin Hill. Nobody was there but June and Holly, for 
his father had gone to Paris. He spent a restless and un- 
settled Vacation, quite out of touch with either of his sisters. 
June, indeed, was occupied with lame ducks, whom, as a 
rule, Jolly could not stand, especially that Eric Cobbley 
and his family, ' hopeless outsiders,' who were always littering 
up the house in the Vacation. And between Holly and 
himself there was a strange division, as if she were beginning 
to have opinions of her own, which was so — unnecessary. 
He punched viciously at a ball, rode furiously but alone in 
Richmond Park, making a point of jumping the stiff, high 
hurdles put up to close certain worn avenues of grass — 



IN CHANCERY 605 

keeping his nerve in, he called it. J0II7 was more afraid of 
being afraid than most boys are. He bought a rifle, too, 
and put a range up in the home field, shooting across the 
pond into the kitchen-garden wall, to the peril of gardeners, 
with the thought that some day, perhaps, he would enlist and 
save South Africa for his country. In fact, now that they 
were appealing for Yeomanry recruits the boy was thoroughly 
upset. Ought he to go ? None of ' the best,' so far as he 
knew — and he was in correspondence with several — were 
thinking of joining. If they had been making a move he 
would have gone at once — very competitive, and with a 
strong sense of form, he could not bear to be left behind in 
anything — but to do it off his own bat might look like 
'swagger'; because of course it wasn't really necessary 
Besides, he did not want to go, for the other side of this 
young Forsyte recoiled from leaping before he looked. It 
was altogether mixed pickles within him, hot and sickly 
pickles, and he became quite unlike his serene and rather 
lordly self. 

And then one day he saw that which moved him to uneasy 
wrath — two riders, in a glade of the Park close to the Ham 
Gate, of whom she on the left-hand was most assuredly 
Holly on her silver roan, and he on the right-hand as assuredly 
that ' squirt ' Val Dartie. His first impulse was to urge on 
his own horse and demand the meaning of this portent, 
tell the feUow to ' bunk,' and take Holly home. His second — 
to feel that he would look a fool if they refused. He reined 
his horse in behind a tree, then perceived that it was equally 
impossible to spy on them. Nothing for it but to go home 
and await her coming ! Sneaking out with that young 
bounder ! He could not consult with June, because she 
had gone up that morning in the train of Eric Cobbley and 
his lot. And his father was still in * that rotten Paris.' 
He felt that this was emphatically one of those moments 



6o6 THE FORSYTE SAGA 

for which he had trained himself, assiduously, at school, 
where he and a boy called Brent had frequently set fire 
to newspapers and placed them in the centre of their studies 
to accustom them to coolness in moments of danger. He 
did not feel at all cool waiting in the stable-yard, idly strok- 
ing the dog Balthasar, who, queasy as an old fat monk, 
and sad in the absence of his master, turned up his face, 
panting with gratitude for this attention. It was half an 
hour before Holly came, flushed and ever so much prettier 
than she had any right to look. He saw her look at him 
quickly — guiltily of course — then followed her in, and, 
taking her arm, conducted her into what had been their 
grandfather's study. The room, not much used now, was 
still vaguely haunted for them both by a presence with which 
they associated tenderness, large drooping white moustaches, 
the scent of cigar smoke, and laughter. Here Jolly, in the 
prime of his youth, before he went to school at all, had been 
wont to wrestle with his grandfather, who even at eighty 
had an irresistible habit of crooking his leg. Here Holly, 
perched on the arm of the great leather chair, had stroked 
hair curving silvery over an ear into which she would whisper 
secrets. Through that window they had all three sallied 
times without number to cricket on the lawn, and a mys- 
terious game called ' Wopsy-doozle,' not to be understood 
by outsiders, which made old Jolyon very hot. Here once 
on a warm night Holly had appeared in her ' nighty,' 
having had a bad dream, to have the clutch of it released. 
And here Jolly, having begun the day badly by introducing 
fizzy magnesia • into Mademoiselle Beauce's new-laid egg, 
and gone on to worse, had been sent down (in the absence 
of his father) to the ensuing dialogue: 

** Now, my boy, you mustn't go on like this." 
** Well, she boxed my ears, Gran, so I only boxed hers, and 
then she boxed mine again." 



IN CHANCERY 607 

" Strike a lady ? That'll never do ! Have you begged 
her pardon ?" 

'' Not yet." 

'* Then you must go and do it at once. Come along." 

'* But she began it, Gran; and she had two to my one." 

" My dear, it was an outrageous thing to do." 

** Well, she lost her temper; and I didn't lose mine." 

'* Come along." 

" You come too, then, Gran." 

"' Well — this time only." 

And they had gone hand in hand. 

Here — where the Waverley novels and Byron's works and 
Gibbon's Roman Empire and Humboldt's Cosmos, and the 
bronzes on the mantelpiece, and that masterpiece of the 
oily school, ' Dutch Fishing- Boats at Sunset,' were fixed 
as fate, and for all sign of change old Jolyon might have been 
sitting there still, with legs crossed, in the armchair, and 
domed forehead and deep eyes grave above The 7imes — 
here t