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Title:      On Forsyte 'Change (1930)
Author:     John Galsworthy
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      On Forsyte 'Change (1930)
Author:     John Galsworthy







TO H. VINCENT MARROT



CONTENTS

1.  THE BUCKLES OF SUPERIOR DOSSET, 1821-63

2.  SANDS OF TIME, 1821-63

3.  HESTER'S LITTLE TOUR, 1845

4.  TIMOTHY'S NARROW SQUEAK, 1851

5.  AUNT JULEY'S COURTSHIP, 1855

6.  NICHOLAS REX, 1864

7.  A SAD AFFAIR, 1867

8.  REVOLT AT ROGER'S, 1870

9.  JUNE'S FIRST LAME DUCK, 1876

10.  DOG AT TIMOTHY'S, 1878

11.  MIDSUMMER MADNESS, 1880

12.  THE HONDEKOETER, 1880

13.  CRY OF PEACOCK, 1883

14.  FRANCIE'S FOURPENNY FOREIGNER, 1888

15.  FOUR-IN-HAND FORSYTE, 1890

16.  THE SORROWS OF TWEETYMAN, 1895

17.  THE DROMIOS, 1900

18.  A FORSYTE ENCOUNTERS THE PEOPLE, 1917

19.  SOAMES AND THE FLAG, 1914-1918




FOREWORD

TO

'ON FORSYTE 'CHANGE'


Before a long suffering public and still more long suffering
critics, I lay this volume of apocryphal Forsyte tales, pleading
the two excuses:  That it is hard to part suddenly and finally from
those with whom one has lived so long; and, that these footnotes do
really, I think, help to fill in and round out the chronicles of
the Forsyte family.

They have all been written since 'Swan Song' was finished, but in
place they come between the Saga and the Comedy, for without the
Saga they would not be understood, and they are over before the
Comedy begins.  In the hope of forgiveness I send them forth.

JOHN GALSWORTHY.




THE BUCKLES OF SUPERIOR DOSSET, 1821-1863


In the year 1821 'Superior Dosset' Forsyte came to Town--if not
precisely on a milk-white pony.  According to the testimony of Aunt
Ann, noted for precision, to young Jolyon on holiday from Eton, the
migration from Bosport was in fact tribal and effected in two post-
shays and the Highflyer coach.

"It was after our dear Mother's death, and our father--that is your
grandfather, Jo dear,--was very taciturn on the journey; he was
never a man who showed his feelings.  I had your Aunt Susan in
arms, and your Uncle Timothy--two years old, such an interesting
child, in the first post-shay with your grandfather.  And your dear
father, he was so dependable and very like you--he must have been
fifteen then, just your age--he had your Aunts Juley and Hester
with him and your Uncle Nicholas, who was four, in the second post-
shay; and your Uncles James and Swithin and Roger were on the
coach.  I am afraid Swithin was very naughty with his pea-shooter
on the journey.  We started early in the morning, and we all went
for the night to your Great-Uncle Edgar's at Primrose Hill.  I
remember he still wore knee-breeches and a very large bunch of
seals.  Of course, WE were all in black.  Your grandfather wore
black for two years after our dear mother's death; he felt it very
much, though he never said anything."

"What was he like, Auntie?"

"Strongly-built, my dear, with a high colour.  In those days they
drank a great deal of wine, especially Madeira."

"But what was he?"

"He began as a mason, dear."

"A Freemason?"

"Not at first.  A stonemason.  You see, HIS father was a farmer,
and he apprenticed your grandfather to a stonemason, so that he
should learn all about building.  I think it was a very wise
decision, because in those days there were such opportunities for
builders, so your grandfather soon made his way.  He was becoming
quite a warm man when we came to London."  And Aunt Ann's shrewd
eyes appraised her nephew.

He had risen, and was standing, slender in his first tailcoat,
against the mantelpiece, looking downward at his boots.  Elegant
the dear boy looked, but a little embarrassed, as if his nerves had
received a shock.  Of course, he was at Eton among the nobility.
And she said with decision:

"We should never be ashamed of our origin, dear Jo.  The Forsytes
are very good country stock, and have always been men of their
word, and that is the great thing.  And our dear mother was a lady
in every respect.  Her name was Pierce--a Devonshire family--and
she was the daughter of a solicitor at Bosport who was very
respected.  He died bankrupt because his partner ran away with some
funds, and all his fortune went to make up the loss.  She had a
sweet face and was most particular how we spoke and behaved.  This
is her miniature."

Young Jolyon moved over and saw an oval face with fair hair parted
in the middle and drawn in curves across the forehead, dark grey
eyes looking up at him from rather deep beneath the brows, a chin
with a delicate point, and shoulders shrouded in lace.

"Your grandfather was devoted to her in his way.  For years after
we first came to London he worked all day long, and at night I used
to see him sitting up in his little study with his plans and his
estimates--he couldn't bear to go to bed.  And then he took to
horse exercise.  It was such a mercy."

Young Jolyon looked up.  His brow had cleared, as if his
grandfather had at last done something creditable.

"Of course, on the farm, when he was a boy, he used to ride.  And
when he took to it again, he went riding every day until his gout
got too bad."

"Oh! had he gout, too, Aunt Ann?"

"Yes, dear, gout was much more prevalent then than it is now.  In
some ways your grandfather was rather like your Uncle Swithin, only
much shorter.  He was fond of a horse, and quite a judge of wine."

Young Jolyon caressed his waistcoat, as if smothering emotion at
these marks of gentility, subtle enough to see that his Aunt was
watching him for signs of snobbery.

"Where did you live, Auntie?"

"Well, at first, dear, we took a house on Primrose Hill close to
your Great-Uncle Edgar.  We lived there many years till we moved
into a house of our own that your grandfather built, in St. John's
Wood; and there we lived till his death in 1850, when we came here,
of course, with your Uncle Timothy."

"What sort of houses did my grandfather build, Auntie?"

"I don't know that I ever saw any, dear, except the one we lived
in.  But I believe they were always very good value.  At first I
think they were mostly out Fulham way, and some were at Brighton,
but later they were in St. John's Wood.  That was then the coming
part of London.  He was not at all what is called a Jerry-builder.
He had a funny nickname among his cronies--'Superior Dosset'."

"Why?"

"Well, for one thing he never liked being called a Dorsetshire man,
he always said he was born just over the border in Devonshire,
though the parish was in Dorset and the Church, but he always
looked down on Dorsetshire people--he used to say they were a cocky
lot--he had funny expressions; and that made them tease him.  He
was quite a character.  Some people, of course, might have called
him perverse."

"And how did he dress, Auntie?"

Aunt Ann replaced the miniature with her long thin fingers, and
from the little drawer took forth another.

"That is your grandfather, my dear--painted in 1820 just before our
dear mother's death."

Young Jolyon saw a florid face, clean-shaven, with eyebrows running
a little up and bumps above them, a wide rather fleshy mouth, a
straight broad nose, a broad cleft chin; light eyes that seemed to
hold a jape under their thick lids; brown hair brushed back from a
well-formed forehead, a neck swathed in a white stock, a blue coat
short-waisted and with tails, a double waistcoat light-coloured, a
bunch of seals on a black ribbon--no lower half to him at all.

"Did he wear trousers?"

"Yes, dear, generally buff, I think, till after our mother death.
But in the evening he wore knee-breeches, and his shoes had
buckles.  I still have them.  Some day I shall give them to you,
because after your dear father you will be the head of the family,
just as my father was in his day."

"Oh! was my grandfather the eldest too?"

"Yes, like his father before him; the name Jolyon goes with that.
You must never forget that, dear Jo.  It is a great responsibility."

"I'd rather have the buckles without the responsibility, Auntie."

His Aunt lowered her spectacles till they were below the aquilinity
of her nose.  So, she could see her nephew better, and her thin
fingers with three rings and pointed nails interlaced slowly, as if
tatting some slow conclusion.  Dear Jo!  Was he being taught to
take things lightly?  Eton--it was nice, of course, and very
distinguished, but perhaps a little dangerous!  And her eyes chased
him down from the wave of fair hair on his forehead to the straps
confining his trousers to his boots.  Was he not becoming a little
foppish?

"Your grandfather, dear, always took his position seriously.  I
could tell you a story--"

"Hooray!"

Aunt Ann frowned.  Yes!  It WOULD do him good to hear.

"It was in the year when your dear father and his friend Nick
Treffry had just set up for themselves in tea.  That would be about
six years after we came to London.  Your grandfather had done very
well with his building, so that he had been able to give all the
boys a good education; your Uncle Nicholas especially was such a
promising little chap, and your Uncle James was just in his
articles--he was admitted a solicitor afterwards on his twenty-
first birthday, and that is the earliest possible.  But in spite of
all the expense we were to him, your grandfather had put by quite a
lot of money; though we were still living on Primrose Hill and so
we saw a great deal of your Uncle Edgar; and, indeed, your
grandfather had invested some of his money in your Uncle's
business--"

"What was that, Auntie?"

"Jute, dear.  Your grandfather was not a partner with him, but he
was interested.  Uncle Edgar was not at all like your grandfather;
he was a very amiable man, but rather weak, and I am afraid he paid
too much attention to other people's advice.  Anyway he was tempted
to gamble for what I think is called 'the rise.'  And very
foolishly he did not consult your grandfather.  So, of course, when
your grandfather heard of it, he was in a regular stew.  You see I
took a little of our dear mother's place, and I can remember him
saying:  'What on earth is the chap about--weak-kneed beggar--
gambling for a rise!  Mark my words, Ann, he'll be in Queer Street
in no time!'"

Aunt Ann paused, recalling that far scene.  The stocky figure of
her father bent forward over the mahogany of the old dining table
now in the room below, his broad, short-fingered hand suddenly
clenching, the flush of blood below his eyes, screwed up in the
visioning of Queer Street.

"And was he, Auntie?"

"Yes, dear.  It was that dreadful year when everything went down
suddenly, especially jute.  Poor Uncle Edgar was so amiable that he
never seemed to realise that other people could be hard and
greedy."

"Was he ruined, Auntie?"

"I was going to tell you.  As I said, your grandfather was not in
partnership with Uncle Edgar, and as soon as he heard what Uncle
had done, he sold his investment and saved his bacon, as he would
have called it.  And then jute went down instead of up, and Uncle
Edgar was threatened with bankruptcy.  Your grandfather went
through a dreadful time making up his mind whether to help him or
not.  You see, he knew it would mean years of set-back for him in
his building business, and for all of us great economy and going
without things that we were accustomed to.  And he felt your
uncle's conduct in not consulting him very much--he used to say
bitter things about him.  It all came to a head one evening when
your Uncle Edgar cried--he was not a strong character.  I can see
him now: he had large red bandana handkerchiefs, and he sat there
with his face all buried in one.  Your grandfather was walking up
and down talking about his expecting him to pull the chestnuts out
of the fire for him, and he wasn't going to, not he.  I thought he
would have had a fit.  And then, suddenly, he stopped and looked a
long time at Uncle Edgar.  'Edgar,' he said, 'you're a poor fish.
But I'm the head of the family, and I'm not going to see the name
dishonoured.  Here, get out, and to-morrow I'll see you through.'"

"And did he, Auntie?"

"Yes, Jo.  It was a terrible sacrifice.  But I think we were all
glad; we were fond of Uncle Edgar, and it would have made such a
scandal to have him go bankrupt, especially as he had not been
quite straight.  We never saw very much of him after, but he died
better off than ever, entirely owing to your grandfather.  So you
see, dear, it doesn't do to take responsibility lightly."  Her
nephew had ceased to look at her, as if he had suddenly perceived
why he had been told the story.

"I should have thought it did, Auntie, if he died better off than
ever."

Aunt Ann smiled.  Really, the dear boy was very naughty!

"Jo," she said, grave again, "I can tell you another story of your
grandfather."

"Oh! do, Auntie!"

"This was in the thirties, very hard years for everybody; and your
grandfather was building some houses in Brighton.  He was always a
man who cut his coat to fit his cloth; but he used to tell me that
if he made five per cent. on his money with those houses, it would
be all he could hope for.  I remember it all very clearly because
just then I was SO hoping he would do well, I had a special
reason."  Aunt Ann paused, seeing again her special reason in
pegtop trousers looking down at her all braided and crinolined on
the sofa; hearing again his voice, so manly, saying:  'Dear Ann,
may I speak to your father?' hearing again her own answer:  'Please
wait, dear Edward, Papa is so preoccupied just now.  But if, as I
hope, things go well--next year I shall, I trust, be able to leave
him and the dear children.'

"What special reason, Auntie?"

"Oh! never mind that, dear.  As I was saying, your grandfather was
extremely anxious because those houses meant turning the corner of
all his difficulties.  It was a dreadful year, and I am sorry to
say there was a great deal of chicanery."

"What is chicanery?"

"Chicanery, dear, means trying to get the better of your neighbour
at all costs."

"Did grandfather get the better of anyone?"

Aunt Ann looked at her nephew sharply.

"No," she said, "they got the better of him, Jo."

"Oh!  Go on, Auntie.  How interesting!  I do want to hear."

"Well, one day your grandfather came home from Brighton in a
dreadful taking.  It was a long time before I could quieten him
down to tell me what had happened.  It seems that three of those
houses wouldn't dry.  The first houses were all right, so of course
your grandfather never suspected anything.  But the man who
supplied the building material had taken advantage to mix some of
it with sea water instead of fresh.  I could never make out what he
gained by it, or whether he had done it out of ignorance, but your
grandfather was convinced that he was a rascal.  'They won't dry,
they won't dry,' he kept on saying.  I think if he had died that
moment those words would have been printed on his heart.  You see,
it meant ruination to his reputation as a builder.  And then it
seems somebody showed him a way by which he could make the houses
seem dry although in wet weather they never really would be.  That
night I heard him, long after I went to bed, walking about in his
room next door; but in the morning I heard him mutter:  'No, I'm
jiggered if I will!'  He had made up his mind, after a dreadful
struggle, not to be party to any trick."

"And what happened then, Auntie?"

"Well, he just took those three houses down and built them afresh--
it cost him thousands."

"Didn't he make the man who used the sea water pay?"

"He tried to, Jo; but the man went bankrupt.  It aged your
grandfather very much.  We ALL felt it dreadfully."

Aunt Ann was silent, lost in memory of how she had felt it.
Edward! . . .  Her nephew's voice recalled her.

"Grandfather didn't go bankrupt himself, did he, Auntie?"

"No, Jo; but very nearly.  Perhaps it was all for the best.  It
made him very respected, and in after years he was always glad that
he had been so above-board."

She looked up startled; young Jolyon was examining her face in a
peculiar manner.

"I expect YOU had a sad time, Auntie."

Aunt Ann's lips firmed themselves against the suspicion of being
pitied.

"So you see, dear," she said, "your grandfather had good
principles, and that is the great thing."

"Did he go to Church, and that?"

"Not very much.  He was brought up to be a Wesleyan, so he never
quite approved of Church.  He used to say the service was full of
fallals.  Of course, WE all liked Church much better than Chapel,
and he never interfered with our going."

"I expect he was glad not to go at all, really."

Aunt Ann covered her mouth with a little paper fan.

"You mustn't be flippant, dear."

"Oh! no, Auntie; I meant it."

"Well, Jo, I don't think I should call your grandfather a very
religious man after our dear mother's death.  He always grudged
that so much."

"Did my father get on well with him?"

"Not very.  Your father was so much our mother's boy."

"I see."

"Yes, dear, your grandfather was always so occupied that he hadn't
much time for us children.  I think he was perhaps fonder of me
than of any of us."

"I expect that was because you were so good, Auntie."

"Hssh!  Jo.  You mustn't make fun of me.  I was the only one old
enough to talk to when our mother died."

"I thought you said my father was my age."

"Yes but in those days people did not talk to children as they do
now."

Young Jolyon did not reply, but he tilted his chin slightly.
Children!

"How much money did he leave, Auntie, after all that?"

"Thirty thousand pounds, dear, divided equally amongst the ten of
us--he was very just."

Young Jolyon took out his watch; it was an old one of his father's,
and he liked to take it out.

"I must go now, Auntie; I'm meeting a man at Madame Tussaud's.  Oh!
might I have those buckles?"

Aunt Ann's eyes lingered on him; he was her favourite, though to
admit it was not in her character.

"Are you to be trusted with them, dear?"

"Of course I am."

"They're an heirloom, Jo.  Don't you think we'd better wait till
you're older?"

"Oh! Auntie, as if I wasn't--!"

Aunt Ann's fingers rummaged in the little drawer.

"Well, on condition that you take the greatest care of them.  And
you mustn't ever wear them, until you go to Court."

"Do they wear buckles at Court?"

"I believe so, dear.  I have never been.  Here they are."

From folds of tissue paper she took them out--of old blackish paste
set in silver.  Very discreetly, on the bit of black velvet to
which they were attached, the two buckles gleamed.

Young Jolyon took them in his hand.  Into which of his pockets
would they go without spoiling a man's figure?

"I like them, Auntie."

"Yes, dear, they are genuine old paste.  Have you somewhere safe to
keep them?"

"Oh! yes, I've got lots of drawers."  He placed the buckles in his
tail coat pocket, and bent over to kiss his Aunt.

"You won't sit on them, Jo?"

"We never sit on our tails, Auntie."

His Aunt's eyes followed him wistfully to the door, where he turned
to wave his hand.  Dear Jo!  He WAS growing up!  Such a pleasure to
see him always.  He would be quite a distinguished-looking man some
day, like his dear father, only with more advantages.  But had she
done right to give him the buckles?  Was he not too young to
realise the responsibility?  She closed the little drawer whence
she had taken them, and before her eyes there passed the pageant of
old days--days of her childhood and her womanhood with no youth in
between.  Days of her own responsibility--mother to all the family
from the age of twenty on!  Just that one abortive courtship--'a
lick and a promise,' Swithin would call it--snuffed out by sea
water and her father's reputation.  Did she regret it?  No!  How
could she?  If her father had not been honest about those houses--
a man of his word--then, why then she could not have given his
buckles to dear Jo, as symbols of headship and integrity.  Edward!
Well, he had married very happily after all.  She had not grudged
him the pleasure; his wife had soon had twins.  Perhaps it was all
for the best: they were always very good to her, her brothers and
sisters that she had been a mother to, and it was such a pleasure
to see their dear little children growing up.  Why, Soamey would be
coming in directly on his way back from the Zoo; it was his eighth
birthday and she had his present ready; a box of bricks, so that he
could build himself a house--like his grandfather, only not--not
with sea water . . .  Ah! . . .  Um! . . .  Just a little nap,
perhaps, before the dear little chap came--perhaps a little--um--
ah!--

The thin lips, so generally compressed, puffed slightly in their
breathing above that square chin resting on her cameo.  The
delicious surge of slumber swayed over the brain under the
corkscrewed curls; the lips opened once and a word came forth:
"Bub--Buckles."




SANDS OF TIME, 1821-1863


In the Spring of 1860, on the afternoon of the last day before his
son went to Eton, old Jolyon hung up his top hat on a wooden antler
in the hall at Stanhope Gate and went into the dining-room.  Young
Jolyon, who had hung up his top hat on a lower wooden antler,
followed, and so soon as his father was seated in his large leather
chair, perched himself on the arm thereof.  Whether from the
Egyptian mummies they had just been seeing in the British Museum,
or merely because the boy's venture to a new school, and a Public
school at that, loomed heavy before them, they were both feeling
old, for between the ages of fifty-four and thirteen there is not,
on occasions like this, a great gulf set.  And that physical
juxtaposition, which, until he first went to school at the age of
ten, had been constant between young Jolyon and his sire, was
resumed almost unconsciously under the boy's foreboding that to-
morrow he would be a man.  He leaned back until his head was tucked
down on his father's shoulder.  To old Jolyon moments like this,
getting rarer with the years, were precious as any that life
afforded him--an immense comfort that the boy was such an
affectionate chap.

"Well, Jo," he said, "what did you think of the mummies?"

"Horrible things, Dad."

"Um--yes.  Still, if we hadn't got 'em, somebody else would.  They
say they're worth a lot of money.  Queer thing, Jo, to think there
are descendants of those mummies still living, perhaps.  Well,
you'll be able to say you've seen them; I don't suppose many other
boys have.  You'll like Eton, I expect."  This he said because he
was afraid his boy would not.  He didn't know much about it, but it
was a great big place to send a little chap to.  The pressure of
the boy's cheek against the hollow between chest and arm was
increased; and he heard the treble voice, somewhat muffled, murmur:

"Tell me about YOUR school, Dad."

"My school, Jo?  It was no great shakes.  I went to school at
Epsom--used to go by coach up to London all the way from Bosport,
and then down by post-shay--no railways then, you know.  Put in
charge of the guard, great big red-faced chap with a horn.  Travel
all night--ten miles an hour--and change horses every hour--like
clockwork."

"Did you go outside, Dad?"

"Yes--there I was, a little shaver wedged up between the coachman
and a passenger; cold work--shawls there were in those days, over
your eyes.  My mother used to give me a mutton pie and a flask of
cherry brandy.  Good sort, the old coachman, hoarse as a crow and
round as a barrel; and see him drive--take a fly off the leader's
ear with his whip."

"Were there many boys?"

"No; a small school, about thirty.  But I left school at fifteen."

"Why?"

"My mother died when your Aunt Susan was born, so we left Bosport
and came up to London, and I was put to business."

"What was your mother like, Dad?"

"My mother?"  Old Jolyon was silent, tracing back in thought
through crowded memories.

"I was fond of her, Jo.  Eldest boy, you know; they say I took
after her.  Don't know about that; she was a pretty woman, refined
face.  Nick Treffry would tell you she was the prettiest woman in
the town--good woman, too--very good to me.  I felt her death very
much."

A little more pressure of the head in the hollow of his arm.  All
that he felt for the boy and that, he hoped and believed, the boy
felt for him, he had felt for his own mother all that time ago.
Only forty-one when she had died bearing her tenth child.  Tenth!
In those days they made nothing of that sort of thing till the
pitcher went once too often to the well.  Ah!  Losing her had been
a bitter business.

Young Jolyon got off the arm of the chair, as if he were sensing
his father's abstraction.

"I think I'd better go and pack, Dad."

"All right, my boy!  I shall have a cigar."

When the boy had gone--graceful little chap!--old Jolyon went to
the Chinese tea chest where his cigars reposed, and took one out.
He listened to it, clipped its end, lighted and placed it in his
mouth.  Drawing at the cigar, he took it out of his mouth again,
held it away from him between two rather tapering-nailed fingers,
and savoured with his nostrils the bluish smoke.  Not a bad weed,
but all the better for being smoked!  Returning to his chair, he
leaned back and crossed his legs.  A long time since he'd thought
of his mother.  He could see her face still; yes, could just see
it, the clear look up of her eyes from far back under the brows,
the rather pointed chin; and he could hear her voice--pleasant,
soft, refined.  Which of them took after her?  Ann, a bit; Hester,
yes; Susan, a little; Nicholas, perhaps, except that the fellow was
so sharp; he himself, they said--he didn't know, but he'd like to
think it; she had been a gentle creature.  And, suddenly, it was as
if her hand were passed over his forehead again, brushing his hair
up as she had liked to see it.  Ah!  How well he could remember
still, coming into his father's house at Bosport after the long
cold coach drive back from school--coming in and seeing his father
standing stocky in the hallway, with his legs a little apart and
his head bowed, as if somebody had just hit him over it--standing
there and not even noticing him, till he said:  "I've come,
Father."

"What!  You, Jo?"  His face was very red, his eyelids puffed so
that his eyes were hardly visible.  He had made a queer motion with
both hands and jerked his head towards the stairs.

"Go up," he had said.  "Your mother's very bad.  Go up, my boy; and
whatever you do, don't cry."

He had gone up with a sort of sinking fear in his heart.  His
sister Ann had met him at the door--a good-looking upstanding young
woman, then; yes, and a mother to them all, afterwards--had
sacrificed herself to bringing up the young ones.  Ah! a good
woman, Ann!

"Come in, Jo," she had said; "Mother would like to see you.  But,
Jo--oh! Jo!"  And he had seen two tears roll down her cheeks.  The
sight had impressed him terribly; Ann never cried.  In the big
four-poster his mother lay, white as the sheets, all but the brown
ringlets of her hair--the light dim, and a strange woman--a nurse--
sitting over by the window with a white bundle on her lap!  He had
gone up to the bed.  He could see her face now--without a line in
it, all smoothed out, like wax!  He hadn't made a sound, had just
stood looking; but her eyes had opened, and had turned a little,
without movement of the face, to gaze full at him.  And then her
lips had moved, and whispered:  "There's Jo, there's my darling
boy!"  And never in his life before or since had he had so great a
struggle to keep himself from crying out, from flinging himself
down.  But all he had said was:  "Mother!"  Her lips had moved
again.  "Kiss me, my boy."  And he had bent and kissed her
forehead, so smooth, so cold.  And then he had sunk on his knees;
and stayed there gazing at her closed eyes till Ann had come and
led him away.  And up in the attic that he shared with James and
Swithin, he had lain on his bed, face down, and sobbed and sobbed.
She had died that morning, not speaking any more, so Ann had told
him.  After forty years he could feel again the cold and empty
aching of those days, the awful silent choking when in the old
churchyard they put her away from him for ever.  The stone had been
raised over her only the day before they left for London.  He had
gone and stood there reading:


                        IN MEMORY OF

                            ANN,

                    The Beloved Wife of

                       Jolyon Forsyte.

            Born Feb. 1, 1780; Died April 16, 1821


A bright May day and no one in that crowded graveyard but himself.

Old Jolyon shifted in his chair; his cigar was out, his cheeks
above those grizzling whiskers--indispensable to the sixties--had
coloured suddenly, his eyes looked angrily from deep beneath his
frowning brows, for he was suddenly in the grip of another memory--
bitter, wrathful and ashamed--of only ten years back.

That was on a Spring day too, in 1851, the year after they had
buried their father up at Highgate, thirty years after their
mother's death.  That had put it into his mind, and he had gone
down to Bosport for the first time since, travelling by train, in a
Scotch cap.  He had hardly known the place, so changed and spread.
Having found the old parish church, he had made his way to the
corner of the graveyard where she had been buried, and had stood
aghast, rubbing his eyes.  That corner was no longer there!  The
trees, the graves, all were gone.  In place, a wall cut diagonally
across, and beyond it ran the railway line.  What in the name of
God had they done with his mother's grave?  Frowning, he had
searched, quartering the graveyard like a dog.  At least, they had
placed it somewhere else.  But no--not a sign!  And there had risen
in him a revengeful anger shot through with a shame which
heightened the passion in his blood.  The Goths, the Vandals, the
ruffians!  His mother--her bones scattered--her name defaced--her
rest annulled!  A stinking railway track across her grave.  What
right--!  Clasping the railing of a tomb his hands had trembled,
and sweat had broken out on his flushed forehead.  If there were
any law that he could put in motion, he would put it!  If there
were anyone he could punish, by Heaven he would punish him!  And
then, that shame, so foreign to his nature, came sweeping in on him
again.  What had his father been about--what had they all been
about that not one of them had come down in all those years to see
that all was well with her!  Too busy making money--like the age
itself, laying that sacrilegious railway track, scattering with its
progress the decency of death!  And he had bowed his head down on
his trembling hands.  His mother!  And he had not defended her, who
had lain defenceless!  But what had the parson been about not to
give notice of what they were going to do?  He raised his head
again, and stared around him.  Over on the far side was someone
weeding paths.  He moved forward and accosted him.

"How long is it since they put that railway here?"

The old chap had paused, leaning on his spud.

"Ten year and more."

"What did they do with the graves in that corner?"

"Ah!  I never did 'old with that."

"What did they do with them?  I asked you."

"Why--just dug 'em up."

"And the coffins?"

"I dunno.  Ax parson.  They was old graves--an 'undred years or
more, mostly."

"They were not--one was my mother's.  1821."

"Ah!  I mind--there was a newish stone."

"What did they do with it?"

The old chap had gazed up at him, then, as if suddenly aware of the
abnormal on the path before him:

"I b'lieve they couldn't trace the owner--ax parson, 'e may know."

"How long has he been here?"

"Four year come Michaelmas.  Old parson's dead, but present parson
'e may 'ave some informashun."

Like some beast deprived of his kill old Jolyon stood.  Dead!  That
ruffian dead!

"Don't you know what they did with the coffins--with the bones?"

"Couldn' say--buried somewhere again, I suppose--maybe the doctors
got some--couldn' say.  As I tell you.  Vicar 'e may know."

And spitting on his hands he turned again to weeding.

The Vicar?  He had been no good, had known nothing, or so he had
said--no one had known!  Liars--yes, liars--he didn't believe a
word of what they said.  They hadn't wanted to trace the owner, for
fear of having a stopper put on them!  Gone, dispersed--all but the
entry of the burial!  Over the ground where she had lain that
railway sprawled, trains roared.  And he, by one of those trains,
had been forced to go back to that London which had enmeshed his
heart and soul so that, as it were, he had betrayed her who had
borne him!  But who would have thought of such a thing?  Sacred
ground!  Was nothing proof against the tide of Progress--not even
the dead committed to the earth?

He reached for a match, but his cigar tasted bitter and he pitched
it away.  He hadn't told Jo, he shouldn't tell Jo--not a thing for
a boy to hear.  A boy would never understand how life got hold of
you when you once began to make your way.  How one thing brought
another till the past went out of your head, and interests
multiplied in an ever-swelling tide lapping over sentiment and
memory, and the green things of youth.  A boy would never
comprehend how Progress marched inexorably on, transforming the
quiet places of the earth.  And yet, perhaps the boy ought to know--
might be a lesson to him.  No!  He shouldn't tell him--it would
hurt to let him know that one had let one's own mother--!  He took
up The Times.  Ah!  What a difference!  He could remember The Times
when he first came up to London--tiny print, such as they couldn't
read nowadays.  The Times--one double sheet with the Parliamentary
debates, and a few advertisements of places wanted, and people
wanting them.  And look at it now, a great crackling flourishing
affair with print twice the size!

The door creaked.  What was that?  Oh, yes--tea coming in!  His
wife was upstairs, unwell; and they had brought it to him here.

"Send some up to your mistress," he said, "and tell Master Jo."

Stirring his tea--his own firm's best Soochong--he read about the
health of Lord Palmerston and of how that precious mountebank of a
chap--the French Emperor--was expected to visit the Queen.  And
then the boy came in.  "Ah!  Here you are, Jo!  Tea's getting
strong."

And, as the little chap drank, old Jolyon looked at him.  To-morrow
he was going to that great place where they turned out Prime
Ministers and bishops and that, where they taught manners--at least
he hoped so--and how to despise trade.  H'm!  Would the boy learn
to despise his own father?  And suddenly there welled up in old
Jolyon all his primeval honesty, and that peculiar independence
which made him respected among men, and a little feared.

"You asked just now about your grandmother, Jo.  I didn't tell you
how, when I went down thirty years after her death, I found that
her grave had been dug up to make room for a railway.  There wasn't
a trace of it to be found, and nobody could or would tell me
anything about it."

The boy held his teaspoon above his cup, and gazed; how innocent
and untouched he looked; then suddenly his face went pinker and he
said:

"What a shame, Dad!"

"Yes; some ruffian of a parson allowed it, and never let us know.
But it was my fault, Jo; I ought to have been seeing to her grave
all along."

And again the boy said nothing, eating his cake, and looking at his
father.  And old Jolyon thought:  'Well, I've told him.'

Suddenly the boy piped up:

"That's what they did with the mummies, Dad."

The mummies!  What mummies?  Oh!  Those things they had been seeing
at the British Museum.  And old Jolyon was silent, staring back
over the sands of time.  Odd! how it hadn't occurred to him.  Odd!
Yet the boy had noticed it!  Um!  Now, what did that signify?  And
in old Jolyon there stirred some dim perception of mental movement
between his generation and his son's.  Two and two made four.  And
he hadn't seen it!  Queer!  But in Egypt they said it was all sand:
Perhaps things came up of their own accord.  And then--though there
might be, as he had said, descendants living, they were not sons or
grandsons.  Still!  The boy had seen the bearing of it and he
hadn't.  He said abruptly:

"Finished your packing, Jo?"

"Yes, Dad, only do you think I could take my white mice?"

"Well, my boy, I don't know--perhaps they're a bit young for Eton.
The place thinks a lot of itself, you know."

"Yes, Dad."

Old Jolyon's heart turned over within him.  Bless the little chap!
What he was in for!

"Did you have white mice, Dad?"

Old Jolyon shook his head.

"No, Jo; we weren't as civilised as all that in my young day."

"I wonder if those mummies had them," said young Jolyon.




HESTER'S LITTLE TOUR, 1845


Those who frequented Forsyte 'Change at Timothy's on the Bayswater
Road, and were accustomed to the sight of Aunt Hester sitting in
her chair to the left of the fireplace with a book on her lap which
she seemed almost too quiescent to be reading, must often have
wondered:  What, if any, adventures or emotional disturbances had
ever come the way of that still figure?  Had she ever loved, and if
so--whom?  Was she ever ill, and if so--where?  To whom had she
ever confided--what?  Not that she imparted to the observer the
impression of a sphinx.  That would hardly have been nice.  And
yet, curiously enough, of the three sisters who dwelled at
Timothy's, it was Aunt Hester who exhaled, in spite of all her
quietism, an atmosphere of--one would almost say free thought, but
for fear of going too far.  Better, perhaps, say that she conveyed
a feeling of having abandoned, out of love of a quiet life, more
desires, thoughts, hopes and dislikes, than either of her sisters
had ever been capable of entertaining.  People felt, in fact, not
that Aunt Hester owned a past, but that all her life she had been
renouncing a past which she might very well have had.  And they
felt, too, that she knew it, and found it somehow not tragic, but
comic, as if she were always saying to herself:  'To be like this
when you're so unlike this--droll, isn't it?'  When the Freudian
doctrine of complexes and inhibitions came in, younger members of
the family, such as Violet, given to pastels, Christopher,
inclining to the stage, and Maud Dartie, nothing if not daring,
would speculate on what had happened to Aunt Hester before she was
as she was.  And theory was divided between the assumption that she
had been dropped on her head when she was three, or chased by a
black man when she was thirteen.  In a word, it was widely felt
that there were strange potentialities in Aunt Hester, which she
had deliberately not developed.  The doctrine of 'balance
redressed' which had contrived out of a family containing so many
'characters' a sort of reserve or sinking fund in Hester and
Timothy, seemed to offer a sound biological explanation, and it was
only when she died in 1907 and left to Francie Forsyte her china,
that there came to at least one member of the family knowledge that
Aunt Hester had once 'tried herself out' before for good and all
she resigned a past.  For in a Lowestoft teapot Francie found a
little sheaf of yellowed leaves of paper, which seemingly Aunt
Hester had been too passive to destroy, before she entered a
passivity even more profound; leaves deeply buried beneath a pot-
pourri of very old cloves, and the dust of rose petals, together
with three boot buttons which appeared to have been dropped in at
moments when Aunt Hester couldn't be bothered to put them in any
other place.  The leaves had been detached as if pulled out of a
diary, and this alone gave food for thought, in its implication
that Aunt Hester must at one time have manifested energy, or there
would have been no diary to pull them out of.  That they came into
the hands of Francie was perhaps fortunate, for no other Forsyte
could have relished them adequately.  Indeed she so relished them
that she even fancied Aunt Hester had wished them to survive as a
sort of protest against her unspent life; and presently she dressed
them up anonymously in the form of a story which she sent to the
'Argonaut,' who did not accept it.  In her version the names were
altered, but are here restored to their pristine purity.  It was
entitled:  'Hester's Little Tour, being Leaves from a Very Early
Victorian Diary found in a Lowestoft teapot,' and it began
abruptly:

"Wednesday morning, early.  How entrancing it was last night to
stand in the moonlight with that beautiful Rhine flowing by my
feet, and to fancy that it wandered past castles and cities, only
to lose itself at last in the great blue sea!  How the moonbeams
glistened on the water!  To think that under this moon the Loreley
lured men to destruction, and the robber barons issued from their
fastnesses on their forays, with the soft moonlight gleaming on
their armour!  But was I, indeed, thinking of all this?  No, I had
but one thought:  Would he come?  Would he really come?  And what
would they say at home if they could see me standing there with the
hood drawn over my face, waiting for my lover?  Lover!  Oh, the
dear word!  If only, I thought, I do not forget all my German, so
that I can understand what he says to me in his dear voice, and not
weary him by having to talk English!  You must not think, my diary,
that I did not know how immodest it was of me to have come out.
Yes, I knew that, but I did not care.  I did not care.  Why should
I?  My heart tells me that I am in love with him.  My heart tells
me that he loves me.  And then he came, he came almost before I
knew he was there, wrapped in that flowing cloak which Swithin
would laugh at, but which looks so martial on him, he is so
upright.  How terribly my heart beat when without a word he took me
in his arms, wrapping his cloak right round me so that we seemed
one person.  Ah! it was divine; and strange how I had no fears or
misgivings.  I never once thought of home while I was standing
there in his embrace.  A nightingale was singing; so romantic, so
beautiful, I shall never forget.  Rolandseck, dear Rolandseck! . . .
When I was back in my room, fortunately quite unobserved, I felt
cold and sick at the thought that we were leaving on the morrow for
Bonn.  Would that not be too far for him to come, for he has his
military duties.  But if I can believe his words, or rather his
lips, he will not fail.  At six o'clock, he said, under the linden
trees in the Platz at Bonn.  Oh, my diary, where is your Hester
going?  When I was in his embrace last night I felt I could give up
the world for him; and of course he is of very good family.  But,
lying in my bed, everything seemed so difficult and to need such an
effort, for indeed I think it would give our dear father a fit to
think of me in Germany married, or perhaps not married--for I do
not even know if he has a wife already--to an Army officer.  And
soldiers are proverbially fickle; they love and ride away.  And
then what would become of me?  But the delight I felt when he put
his arms round me--can there be anything in the world more
beautiful than love?  And I have so often laughed at it; but indeed
I do not know myself any more, nor where my sense of humour has
gone.  To think that only three weeks ago we were in the packet
crossing to Calais--it seems a century; and all the towns and
people I have seen are faded as if I had dreamed them; and just
these last few days seem real.  Or perhaps this is the dream and I
shall wake up and find that I have never met him.  Fancy!  If we
had not gone into the Pump rooms that night at Ems, I never should
have met him.  Those divine valses we danced together--how
elegantly he dances!  It was love at first sight, and I have
behaved most immodestly, but that does not seem to me to matter at
all.  Yet sometimes I wonder what he thinks of me when I am not
with him.  After all, I am thirty years old, not just a young girl
as perhaps he believes, for he says I look so young.  His
Englisches Mädchen--he calls me!  Oh me!  How difficult is life!  I
am surprised to find that all the deportment and good conduct I
have been taught seem to count for nothing when I am with him.  I
am really naughty, for it makes me smile to think what John and
Eleanor would feel and say if they only knew where their 'dear
demure Hester' had been last night, and how all she is thinking
about now is how to get away from them again to-night and meet him
under the lime trees in the Platz at Bonn.  It is nearly seven by
my watch; I must close you now, my diary, and get ready for the
chaise. . . .

"Wednesday evening.  Oh! dear, how many stories I have told!  First
I said I had a headache after the jolting in the chaise, and was
going to lie down and sleep, so as to be fresh for dinner.  And
then I listened till I heard John and Eleanor in their room,
unpacking; and out I stole.  He was there already--all impatience,
and his boots all dusty; for he had ridden all the way and was
going to ride back for his inspection in the morning.  Ah! what a
beautiful hour; but not so beautiful as last night because there
were people about, and, though the linden trees were thick and
lovely, they didn't hide us as I would have liked.  Yes, I would--
I am quite abandoned!  To-night--dare I write it even in you, my
diary?--he says he will come to my window.  When I chose to be on
the ground floor, did I think of that?  Yes, I will be honest, I
did; so that's that!  I shall never smile again at people in love.
It is too sweet, and too upsetting.  It makes you do what you would
never dream of doing, and feel quite proud of it, so long as nobody
knows.  And then, when I was coming in, I met John and told him I
had been pining for air to cure my headache, and so I had gone for
a walk.  And I quite enjoyed seeing dear John so deceived!  Yes,
and I said I should be all right to-morrow if I went to bed EARLY
AFTER DINNER.  Poor John, he is very trustful, and has such nice
eyes.  Eleanor is very fortunate, I think.  It is all so smooth for
them!  Ah me!  It is so different and difficult for us.  It is too
cruel that he is not English.  Bernhard--the name is beautiful and
very strong--just what a name should be; only, I like it better
without the 'h.'  He is six feet tall and twenty-eight years old,
and he thinks I am twenty-four; and I have not told him that I am
not.  When he touches me nothing matters, not even the truth.  I
feel it is fortunate that we can only speak to each other in a
broken way; it seems to excuse me for deceiving him about my age.
Yet, after all--thirty and twenty-eight--there is not much
difference; and he is so big and strong and manly, I feel humble
enough with him to be the younger.  There is something so romantic
about this beautiful Rhineland that I do not feel as I should feel
in England; in England I could never act as I am acting now, indeed
no--I should be ashamed of having such violent, such delicious
feelings.  I am writing in bed, for fear dear Eleanor should come
and find me up, after I had said that I was going to bed at once.
But I think I can venture soon now to get up and lock my door, and
then I shall don my mauve négligé; it goes with my hair, and I
shall keep my hair down.  I know how daring that is, but sometimes
I feel as daring as a tigress defending her young; and then, all
suddenly, it is as if my heart would creep out at the soles of my
feet, to think that I have a sweetheart coming to my window.
'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?'  Oh!  Why is he not
English?  It would all be so much easier.  For then he could woo me
openly.  If anybody knew he was coming to-night, could I ever hold
up my head again?  And yet, if I were sure no one would ever know,
I should feel like a bird, free and happy, rejoicing that its mate
was coming to it in the moonlight.  Only birds do not come to their
mates in the moonlight.  How silly I am!  But oh! if he should be
seen!  I will not think of that; I will not.  Be brave, my heart!
He says I am 'so schone'--such a pretty word.  But I know I am not
really.  I have not the pink cheeks, the corn-coloured hair, the
coral lips of these German maidens.  I am dark, and thinner.
Perhaps that is why he admires me.  Oh! how my heart is beating!  I
must put you away now, my diary.  What--ah! what will have come to
me when I write in you again! . . .

"Friday afternoon.  I am distraught.  I cannot tell what to do, I
cannot tell.  All to-day my mind has been going this way and that,
ever since I had his dear letter.  I have made it all out with the
help of the dictionary.  His regiment is marching to-morrow to
Frankfort, and he begs me to come to him there.  He says we will be
married, and he will make me 'ever happy.'  But until he goes he is
so busy that he cannot come again.  I know it is my besetting
weakness not to be able to act for myself; Ann is always at me
about it.  I wonder what she would say if she knew that if I could
act now I should go to him and disregard the consequences.  It is
not that I am afraid of the consequences, but it is so difficult to
act all by myself; there are so many things I must do if I am to
go.  Ah! if only someone could do them for me.  It is not my soul,
but my body that lags and lags.  I wish I were like Ann, who always
does at once what she feels to be right.  Is it that I am ashamed
of what has happened?  No, not to myself.  How can I be ashamed of
obeying the dictates of my heart and his?  But I cannot face having
to explain to John and Eleanor.  They would be so horrified, and
how could I make them understand?  And then there is the arranging
for my journey and selling my necklace, for I have not enough
money.  He would send me money if he knew, but I could not ask him.
Oh dear! it is all so difficult.  Yesterday I was intoxicated on
the memory of our night, it still makes me burn; but to-day my
courage and my energy is all run out of me.  Our night!  Never,
never could I write of it, even in you, my diary.  It was too
wonderful, and terrifying, and sweet.  Did I care then what I was
doing, do I care now what I did?  A thousand times no!  If he were
here at this moment it should be again as it was.  I think I must
be wanton by nature, for I am proud of it to myself.  But to the
world--and then John and Eleanor!  After all their kindness in
taking me this tour, how can I leave them without a word?  And if I
do not, how can I ever tell them what I have done--what we have
done!  I should die of shame!  But if I cannot make up my mind to
leave them without a word, and do all those other things that are
necessary, I must go on with them to Cologne, and back to London,
and never see him again.  Soon he will not remember me.  I shall be
just a night of love.  Perhaps one of many nights, for what do I
know of him but that I love him, and that he seems to me brave and
beautiful?  If I look up I can see him there leaning above me in
the moonlight.  O God!  I was wicked, but I was happy.  There is
the bell for supper.  Yes!  I am distracted.  Perhaps in the night
I shall gain courage to act, because I shall want him so! . . .

"Sunday, Cologne.  All has moved on as it seemed without me, and my
body has come here with John and Eleanor.  I have just written to
him.  I have told him that if he really loves me, he will come to
England to claim me; but I know he will not come.  I feel it is the
end.  I am not a fool.  John and Eleanor think I have a touch of
the sun; it was very hot in the chaise.  It is a touch of the moon
I have.  The moon!  I, Hester, who always laughed--!  Ah me!  I
have a lump of lead in my chest.  Eleanor came to my room early
yesterday morning and insisted on helping me to pack; she is so
kind; we started at eight o'clock and drove all day.  Now we shall
go to the Cathedral and to-morrow travel by train, and in four days
we shall be home.  John said to-night:  'Well, I think it has been
a very enjoyable little tour.'  He is a dear nice fellow, but quite
blind!  When I go home I shall kiss them all and say:  'Oh!  such a
lovely tour!'  As I sit here in my bedroom writing, I seem to see
myself with malice:  Dear prim proper little Hester!  Ugh!  I have
not cried at all, but an' I would--!  To-morrow morning we shall
travel on and on and on away from him.  All my mind and will feel
paralysed, my heart only is alive and sore; I know that if it came
over again I should act just the same.  And my nature will always
be like this; always want love and freedom, always be free in
thought but not in deed . . .

"Saturday.  I have not written in you for days, my diary.  What was
the use?  Yesterday we crossed in the packet and came up to London.
I laughed when I saw our house, but I was not amused.  It looked so
pokey, and like other houses.  Oh!  Rolandseck! and the moonlight
on the river!  There was no letter from him.  I have been a fool; I
know it now.  My pride is hurt, and I am sore--sore.  Ann looked at
me so hard, I could not help smiling bitterly.  Poor Ann!  And
Juley gushed about my looking pale.  She is a fool.  I feel much
older than them both.  And now I shall go on day after day doing
exactly what we have always done; but I shall never feel the same
again, for I have been where they have not.  I have had my little
tour . . ."

In her capacity of editress Francie had added:  "This is surely a
curious little sidelight on the nature of our Victorian
foremothers."

"F. F."




TIMOTHY'S NARROW SQUEAK, 1851


In 1920 Soames Forsyte on the death of his uncle Timothy, proved
that will which but for the law against accumulations would in
course of time have produced such astounding results.  He had been
at pains to explain to Timothy how, owing to that law, what Timothy
intended would not come about; but Timothy had merely stared at him
very hard and said:  "Rubbage!  Make it so!"  And Soames had made
it.  In any case the legal limit of accumulation would be reached,
and that was as near to what the old chap wanted as could be.
When, as executor, he came to the examination of the papers left
behind by Timothy, he had fresh confirmation of his uncle's
lifelong passion for safety.  Practically nothing had been
destroyed.  Seventy years and more of receipted bills, and cheque
books with the paid-out cheque forms carefully returned to them in
order of date, were found, and--since Timothy had been spoon-fed
and incapable of paying a bill since before the War--burned out of
hand.  There was a mass of papers referring to the publishing
business, which he had abandoned for Consols in 1879, and which had
died, very fortunately for Soames, a natural death not long after.
All these were committed to the fire.  But then--a far more serious
matter--there were whole drawers full of private letters and odds
and ends not only Timothy's, but of the three sisters who had made
house with him since their father's death in 1850.  And with
that conscientiousness, which ever distinguished him in an
unconscientious world, Soames had decided to go through them first
and destroy them afterwards.  It was no mean task.  He sneezed his
way through it doggedly, reading the spidery calligraphy of the
Victorian era, in bundle after dirty bundle of yellowed letters;
cheered slightly now and then, among the mass of sententious
gossip, by little streaks of side light on this member of his
family or on that.  The fifteenth evening of his perusal, for he
had had the lot conveyed by motor lorry down to Mapledurham, he
came on the letter which forms the starting point of this
narration.  It was enclosed in a yellowed envelope bearing the
address, "Miss Hatty Beecher;" was in Timothy's handwriting; bore
the date, "May the twenty-seventh 1851," and had obviously never
been posted.  Hatty Beecher!  Why that had been the maiden name of
Hatty Chessman, the lively, elderly, somewhat raddled widow and
friend of the family in his youth.  He remembered her death in the
Spring of 1899.  She had left his Aunts Juley and Hester five
hundred pounds apiece.  Soames began to read the letter with an
ashamed curiosity, though it was nearly seventy years old and
everybody dead; he continued to read it with a sort of emotion, as
of one coming on blood in the tissue of a mummy.


"MY DEAR HATTY," (it began),

"I hope it will not surprise you to receive from me," ('obviously
she never did,' thought Soames), "this missive which has caused me
much anxiety, for I am not one of those lighthearted gentry who
take the gravest steps in life without due consideration.  Only the
conviction that my best interests, indeed my happiness, and, I
trust, your happiness, are involved, have caused me to write this
letter.  I have not, I hope, obtruded my attentions upon you, but
you will not I equally hope have failed to notice that the charms
of your person and your character have made a great impression upon
me and that I seek your company with an ever growing ardour.  I
cannot, then, think that it will be in the nature of a shock to you
when, with all the gravity born of long consideration and many
heart searchings, I ask for the honour of your hand.  If I am so
fortunate as to meet with your approval as a suitor, it will be my
earnest endeavour to provide for you a happy and prosperous home,
to surround you with every attention, and to make you a good
husband.  As you know, I think, I am thirty-one years old, and my
business is increasing, I am indeed slowly, I am happy to say,
becoming a warm man; so that in material matters you will have all
the comfort and indeed luxury with which I feel you should be
surrounded.  In the words of, I think, the Marquis of Montrose:


     'He either fears his fate too much
      Or his deserts are small
      Who dares not put it to the touch
      To win or lose it all.'


"As I say, I have not taken this step lightly, and if, my dear
Hatty, it pleases you to crown my aspirations with success, I think
you may rely on me to make you happy.  I shall be on tenterhooks
until I have your reply which I hope will not be delayed beyond the
morrow.  I express to you my devoted admiration and am, my dear
Hatty,

"Your faithful and attached Suitor,

"TIMOTHY FORSYTE."


With a faint grin Soames dropped the yellowed letter--six years
older than himself--on his knee, and sat brooding.  Poor old
Timothy!  And he had never sent it.  Why not?  Never 'put it to the
touch' after all.  If he remembered Hatty Chessman the old boy had
been well out of it.  Bit of a dasher Hatty Chessman in her time,
from all that he had heard!

Still!  There was the letter!  Irrefutable evidence that Timothy
had been human once upon a time.  1851?--the year of the Great
Exhibition!  Yes, they had been in the Bayswater Road by then,
Timothy and the girls, Ann, Juley, Hester!  Fancy a thing like that
letter coming out of the blue at this time of day!  What had Hatty
done that he didn't send the letter?  Or what had Timothy done?
Eaten something that disagreed with him--he shouldn't wonder, had a
scare of some sort.  The envelope had just Hatty's name but no
address; was she then staying with them at the time or what--she
had been a great friend, he knew, of Juley and of Hester!  He put
the letter back into its yellowed envelope with Timothy's cypher in
an oval medallion on the flap, dropped it into a tray, and went on
with his task of conning over his Uncle's remains.

Hallo!  What were these?

Three thin red notebooks held together by a bit of dingy rainbow-
coloured ribbon tied in a bow.  Whose writing?  Aunt Ann's
undoubtedly, more upright, more distinct than any other in the
family.  A diary, by George, and pretty old!  Yes, begun when they
went to 'the Nook,' "November 1850," and going on to "1855," the
year that old Aunt Juley married Septimus Small.  It would be old-
fashioned twaddle!  But suddenly Soames' eye lighted again on the
yellowed letter in the tray and taking up the second volume of the
diary he turned its pages till he came to April 1851.

"April 3.  We are all agog about the Great Exhibition that is to be
opened in Hyde Park.  James says he doesn't know, but he thinks it
will be a failure.  They are making a great to-do and the Park does
not look itself at all.  It has quite upset dear Timothy.  He is
afraid that it will attract many rogues and foreigners and that our
house will be burgled.  He has become very distrait and never talks
to us about his business, but we think from what James said on
Sunday that he must be in doubt whether or not to publish a new
edition of the rhymes of Dr. Watts.  They are very improving, but
James says that Timothy does not know whether anyone will want to
read them at this time of day."  'H'm!' thought Soames:  '"How doth
the little busy bee!"'  If Timothy had really baulked at
republishing that dreadful stuff, he must have regretted it all his
life!'  His eyes scanned on over the thin precise pages till he
came to this:

"May 3.  Hatty Beecher ('Ah! here it was!') came on April 30th to
spend a month with us.  She is a fine figure of a girl and has
become quite buxom.  We all went to the opening of the Exhibition.
It was such a crowd, and the dear little Queen was so becomingly
dressed.  It was an occasion I shall never forget.  How the people
cheered!  Timothy attended us, he seems quite taken with Hatty, he
can hardly look at her.  I hope she is really nice.  Hester and
Juley are already full of her praises.  They all went to walk in
the Park to-day, and look at the crowd going into the Exhibition,
though there was a windy drizzle; but as our dear father used to
say it was only 'pride of the morning,' for it soon cleared, and
the sun shone . . .

"May 7.  We all went to the opera.  Dear Jolyon sent us his box--he
put it so drolly.  'Take care Timothy doesn't lose his heart to
Taglioni, she wouldn't make him a good wife.'  I must say it is
really wonderful how she supports herself on one toe, but Timothy
seemed quite preoccupied.  He was staring at Hatty's back all
through the ballet.  Mario was ravishing.  I have never heard
singing so like an angel's.  We had great difficulty coming away.
It rained and our crinolines got wet, the stupid coachman took
someone else for Timothy and we missed our turn and had to walk
outside the portico.  But Hatty was in such spirits that it did not
seem to matter.  She is such a rattle.  I wonder whether it is
quite wise for dear Timothy to see so much of her.  I am sure she
is very well intentioned, but I feel her evening dresses are lower
than is quite nice.  I have given her my Brussels fichu.

"May 13.  To-day we went to the Zoo.  Hatty had never seen it.  In
some ways she is quite provincial, but she picks things up very
fast.  Dear Timothy came all the way from his office to meet us.  I
fear it was Hatty's beaux yeux rather than the animals which
brought him.  I confess that the Zoo does not give me much
pleasure, it is very common; and the monkeys are so human, and not
at all nice in their habits.  Hatty insisted on mounting the
elephant, and of course Timothy was obliged to be her squire of
dames, but I am sure he did not really enjoy it, and, indeed, he
looked so grave bobbing behind her in the howdah that I could not
help smiling, and Hester laughed so that I thought she would burst
her bonnet strings.  I was obliged to check her, for fear dear
Timothy should see.  I am glad we arrived too late to see the lions
fed.  The seal was very droll . . .

"May 17.  James came to tea.  He told us that Swithin has bought a
new pair of greys, very spirited, and that he doesn't know what
will happen.  He advised Hatty not to venture if Swithin asks her
to go driving.  But Hatty said:  'I should adore it.'  She
certainly has a great deal of courage, indeed she is inclined to be
rash.  I was not sorry that Timothy should have the opportunity of
seeing that she is so venturesome, for I feel more and more that he
is attracted by her.  I do not remember when he has behaved quite
as he has this last fortnight.  And though in some ways she is
attractive, I do not really think she would make him a good wife.
I cannot disguise from myself, too, that it would cause a great
disturbance in all our lives; but I tell myself constantly that I
ought not to be selfish, and if it were for dear Timothy's good, I
hope I should not 'care a brass farden' as Nicholas would put it in
his droll way.  The girls are very fond of her and they do not see
the little things that I see, and which make me uneasy.  I must
hope for the best.  I spoke to my dear Jolyon about it yesterday,
he is the head of the family now that our dear father is gone, and
he has good judgment.  He said I was not to worry, Timothy would
never 'come up to the scratch.'  I thought it such a peculiar
expression.

"May 20.  A Mr. Chessman has been to call.  He came with Swithin.
Juley thought he was elegantly dressed, but for my part, I do not
care for these large shepherd's plaid checks which seem to be all
the rage now for gentlemen.  Hester and Hatty came in while we were
still at tea, and Mr. Chessman was very attentive to Hatty.  I hope
I am not being unjust to her when I say that she made eyes at him
in a way that I thought very forward.  I was quite glad dear
Timothy was not there.  At least, to be honest, I am not sure that
it would not have been for the best if he could have seen her.
Swithin says that Mr. Chessman has to do with stocks and shares and
is very clever in his profession.  I must say that he seems to me
much better suited to Hatty than Timothy could ever be.  So perhaps
it is providential that he came.  Swithin has asked her and Hester
to make four at the Royal Toxophilite Society's Meeting on
Saturday.  He pooh-poohed James about the new horses and said that
he was an old woman.  I shall not tell James, it would only put him
about.  In the evening after dinner I read Cowper aloud to the
girls and Timothy.  I chose his celebrated poem, 'The Task,' which
begins with that daring line 'I sing the sofa.'  I did not read
very long because Timothy seemed so sleepy: he works too hard all
day in his stuffy office.  I must say Hatty did not behave at all
nicely.  She made faces behind my back, which I could see perfectly
well in the mirror; but of course, I took no notice, because she is
our guest.  For myself I find Cowper very sonorous and improving,
though to be quite honest I prefer 'John Gilpin' to any of his more
serious poems . . .

"May 23.  We have had quite a to-do, and I am not at all sure where
my duty lies.  This morning after Timothy had gone to the office I
went to his study to dust the books which he bought with dear James
when we came to live here.  They each bought a complete little
library, containing Humboldt's Cosmos, Hudibras and all the best
works of the past; and who should I find there but Hatty, sitting
in Timothy's own arm chair, reading a book which I at once
recognised as one of the little calf-bound volumes of Lord Byron.
She was so absorbed that she did not see me till I was close to
her.  I received quite a shock when I apprehended that the book was
that dreadful 'Don Juan' that one has heard so much about.  She did
not even try to hide it but said in a flippant way:  'Who'd have
thought Timothy would have this book!'  I am afraid I forgot
myself, and spoke sharply.

"'I think, my dear Hatty,' I said, 'it is hardly genteel to come
into a gentleman's room and sit in his own armchair and read a book
like that.  I am surprised at you.'  She took me up quite rudely.

"'Why?  Have you read it?'

"'Of course I have not read it,' I replied.

"'Then,' she said, pertly, 'what do you know about it?'

"'It is common knowledge,' I answered, 'that it is not a book for
ladies.'

"She tossed her head with a very high colour; but I continued to
stand there looking at her, and she got up and put the book back
whence she had taken it.  It was in my mind to improve the
occasion, but I remembered in time that she has no mother, and is
our guest, so I only said:  'You know, dear Hatty, Timothy does not
like his books touched.'  She laughed and said flippantly:  'No,
they don't look as if they were meant to be read.'  I could have
shaken her, but I controlled myself.  After all she is young and
high-spirited, and I daresay it is rather quiet for her in our
little house.  She flung out of the room, and I have not seen her
since.  I cannot make up my mind whether to tell Timothy or not.  I
feel sure that he is seriously épris.  He looks at her so much when
he thinks nobody sees him, and he has been biting his fingers, and
has not answered any question for some days; indeed, he does not
seem to hear us when we speak to him.  I should tell him at once if
I only knew how he would take it; but men are so funny and I am not
quite sure that it might not inflame his feelings rather than allay
them.  I feel more and more, however, that Hatty would not prove
the ideal mate for him.  He needs a more womanly woman, and
especially one who would not laugh at him.  I think I must just
wait and see, as our dear father used to say so often . . .

"May 25.  Swithin sent his brougham this evening for Hester and
Hatty and they dined with him to meet Mr. Chessman and Mr. and Mrs.
Traquair.  Timothy looked very blue; all the evening he sat as glum
as glum; and I noticed that when the girls came back in the highest
spirits he was in such a fluster that he gave Hatty his own negus
by mistake.  When she was going to bed she left her shawl on the
back of her chair, and when Timothy took it up to restore it to
her, I saw him put it to his nose.  I very much fear that it is not
the highest side of him that she appeals to.  This makes it very
difficult for me to say anything.  I have a feeling that Mr.
Chessman is providential.  I questioned Hester closely about him
and from what she says he and Hatty get on together like a house on
fire.  I do not suppose from what Swithin told us that he is so
warm a man as dear Timothy, who has always been of a saving
disposition and is doing so very well now with his primers, and I
am sure he cannot be so safe a man, but to do Hatty justice I do
not think she is of a mercenary turn of mind.  It is very
agitating, and I can only pray that all will turn out for the
best . . .

"May 28.  Timothy sent a message to me this morning that he was
going to Brighton for some sea air and would not be back for a
fortnight.  YOU CANNOT IMAGINE WHAT A RELIEF IT WAS TO ME for,
after what happened last night, I was dreading having to do my
duty.  I cannot but think he knows what I had to tell him and that
it is all over for the best.  He took a cab and caught the early
train without saying good-bye or indeed seeing any of us.  I must
put it all down as clearly as I can.

"Yesterday evening Mr. and Mrs. Traquair called for Hatty to take
her to dine and to their box at the opera afterwards.  We four had
a cosy little dinner at home just to ourselves, the first time
since Hatty came.  Cook had made some mincepies specially, and the
pulled-bread was more delicious than I ever remember it.  Timothy
got up a bottle of the special brown sherry, and he filled our
glasses himself; then he held his up and screwed up his eyes and
said:  'Well, here's to home and beauty!'  He looked quite waggish.
But he was very distrait afterwards and went off to his study.  I
confess that I felt quite nervous, for I have never known him
propose a toast or screw up his eyes like that; and knowing what I
did I could not help fearing that he was making up his mind to a
proposal.  Juley and I played bézique for some time, and I got more
and more anxious, and when the negus came I took Timothy's glass
down to the study.  He was sitting at his desk with a pen in his
mouth and his eyes fixed on the ceiling; and I noticed that he had
been tearing up paper.  It was all strewn about, and when I
ventured to pick up some pieces and put them into the wastepaper
basket I saw the word 'Hatty' on one of them.  He was quite cross
at being interrupted.  'What's the matter with you, Ann?' he said:
'I'm busy.'  And then he went off again into a brown study.  I did
not know what to do for the best.  So I went away and sat in the
drawing-room waiting for him to come up.  The girls had gone to
bed, and I took my tatting into the window, it was such a warm
night.  I confess that I prayed to God while I was sitting there.
Timothy has always been my baby since our dear mother died when
Susan was born, and it was dreadful to me to think that he might be
taking a step that would lead to his unhappiness.  I could not see
what he could be writing and tearing up to Hatty except a proposal
of marriage.  His forehead had been flushed, and his eyes looked
quite glassy.  It seemed a very long time that I sat there.  The
Bayswater Road was quite quiet, and the lights of the Exhibition in
the Park were so pretty, and there were stars in the sky, I always
think they are wonderful, so bright and so far off.  I could not
tatt properly for thinking of dear Timothy.  And still he did not
come up, though it grew very late.  I knew that he must be sitting
up to let Hetty in; and that probably he would then give her the
letter he had been writing.  I was in despair till I thought:  When
she comes I will go down myself and open the door to her, and
perhaps Timothy will let me talk to him before he puts the 'fat in
the fire' as James would say.  My nerves became all fiddlestrings,
so at last I took up the works of Mr. Cowper, and tried to calm
myself.  The carriages and cabs were coming now bringing back
people from the theatres and the Exhibition, and I knew I had not
long to wait.  I was just reading those clever little verses on
'The high price of fish' when I saw a hansom cab stopping at our
door.  I must say it gave me quite a shock, and I rubbed my eyes,
because I had made sure that the Traquairs would bring Hatty back
in their carriage.  A man got out first in an opera cloak and hat,
and then I saw him quite plainly assisting Hatty to alight.  He
placed her on the ground and lifted her hand to his lips, and I
could see her look at him so archly.  He got back into the cab and
drove away.  It was Mr. Chessman.  At first I was so paralysed at
the thought that she had driven all the way with him from the
opera, ALONE IN THE CAB, that I could not move.  Then I wondered
whether Timothy also had seen what I had seen.  In my disturbance I
ran down stairs into the hall.  The door of his room was shut and
there was the bell ringing.  He did not come out, so then I knew
that he must have seen.  I am afraid I did a very unladylike thing,
for I stood outside his door and listened.  From my own feelings I
could tell what a shock it must have been to him to know that the
lady to whom he was about to offer his hand had driven alone at
night with a comparative stranger in one of those new cabs which
are so private.  I could hear a noise, indeed, as if someone were
breathing very hard--it was a dreadful moment; then, afraid that he
might do something violent, I ran to the front door and opened it.
There was Hatty, as cool as a cucumber.  I am thankful now that I
said nothing to her, but she must have seen from my face that I
knew everything.  'Well,' she said, pertly, 'here we are again!
Such a treat, dear Papa!  Good-night, Miss Forsyte!' and ran
upstairs.  My heart bled for Timothy.  I listened again at his
door, and could hear him walking up and down just like an animal in
the Zoo.  He went on for quite a long time, for though he does not
show them, he has always had very deep feelings.  You cannot
imagine what a relief it was when suddenly I heard him begin to
whistle 'Pop goes the weasel!'  I knew, then, that the worst was
over; and, though he was still walking up and down, I stole
upstairs as quietly as a mouse.  I am sure I was right in thinking
that discretion was the better part of valour.  Timothy cannot bear
anyone to see him affected in any way, it puts him into a perfect
fantod.  When I got to my room I fell on my knees, and thanked God
for this providential escape: though, when I think of Hatty in that
cab, I feel that the ways of Providence are indeed inscrutable.
It is a great relief to me to think that by now Timothy must be
on the Pier at Brighton with the good sea air, and all the
distractions . . .

"June 1.  Hatty left us to-day.  I should be sorry to say that I
think her 'fast,' I am sure she really has a good heart, but I
confess that I feel her influence on Juley and Hester has been
unsettling--she is of course much younger than they, and the young
people of to-day seem to have no deportment, and very little sense
of duty or indeed of manners.  I really find it difficult to
forgive her for the flippant thing she said at the last minute:
'Tell Timothy that I'm sorry if I astonished his weak nerves.'  And
she whisked off before I could even answer . . .

"June 6.  Timothy is still at Brighton.  Hester had a letter from
him yesterday in which he said that he had walked up to the Devil's
Punchbowl and that it had done his liver good.  He has seen the
performing fleas too, and the aquarium.  Swithin has been down, he
says, driving his new greys--he--Timothy--does not think much of
them; but, of course, he is not the judge of a horse that Swithin
is.  He made no allusion to Hatty in his letter, so I hope the
wound is beginning to heal.  Jolyon came in this afternoon when the
girls were out, and told me of a picture he had bought 'Dutch
fishing boats at Sunset'--he has such good judgment.  He was so
genial that I opened my heart to him about Timothy and Hatty.  He
twinkled and said:

"'H'm!  Timothy had a narrow squeak.'  It was so well put, I
think . . .

"June 11.  Everybody says the Exhibition is a great success, in
spite of all the foreigners that it has attracted.  Prince Albert
has become quite popular.  Hester had a letter from Hatty this
morning.  Fancy!  She has received an offer of marriage from Mr.
Chessman.  It is such a relief, because quite apart from dear
Timothy, it has always been on my conscience that it was from our
house that she behaved as she did.  And now that Timothy comes home
to-morrow everything is for the best, if only this news does not
reopen his wound . . ."


Soames let the little red volume drop and took up the yellowed
letter.  He balanced it in his hand, feeling its thin and slightly
greasy texture.  So that was that!  He cackled faintly.  The quaint
old things!  But suddenly his veins tingled with a flush of
loyalty.  Nobody should laugh at them except himself!  No, by Jove!
And, taking the little volumes and the letter, he pitched them one
by one into the wood fire.




AUNT JULEY'S COURTSHIP, 1855


The Crimean war and the marriage of Septimus Small with Miss Julia
Forsyte, which both occupied part of the year 1855, were linked by
a water picnic arranged for the entertainment of that 'hero,' Major
Small, a younger brother of Septimus, who had been wounded in the
leg.  What bound Septimus himself to the Forsyte family was
indubitably architecture, for he was a member of the firm of
Dewbridge, Small and Keyman, who specialised in the domestic
Gothic, which at that period was subjugating the taste of the
British Islands.  Roger Forsyte, in the course of his profession--
the collection of house property--had many dealings with this firm
which had designed for him a row of houses on a site he had picked
up in Kensington, then somewhat out of the world; and to Septimus
Small's riverside villa at Twickenham Roger sometimes repaired on
Sundays to consummate his plans over cigars and claret cup.  After
his marriage in 1853 he would be accompanied by Mrs. Roger, and
they would take her on the river, paddling with a rather deep-sea
stroke, in long whiskers, ducks, and shallow wide-brimmed straw
hats, while pretty little Mrs. Roger held the tiller and covered
the boat's stern and other matters with her crinoline.  In the
severe winter 1854 Septimus, a man of weak constitution,
inadvertently contracted bronchitis.  He emerged with the long full
beard and the cough which subsequently secured for him the cognomen
'Cough Lozenge' from the young Rogers, who all made their
appearance between the years of '53 and '62--George, inventor of
the nickname, having '56 to his vintage.  There can be no doubt
that it was this cough and long beard which won the heart of Julia,
then barely 'Aunt Juley,' since only young Jolyon, young Roger,
young Nicholas, Ernest, and St. John Hayman had been born, and were
still mostly in the cradle.  When, years later, she heard that dear
Septimus went about being called 'Cough Lozenge' in the family, she
nearly had a fit.

In 1855, at the age of forty, she had a certain pink and pouting
charm; but would have denied with vigour Roger's frequent remark to
Mrs. Roger:  "Juley's setting her cap at Sep."  The idea!  HER cap,
indeed, when it was entirely for HIS good, and his least cough set
her trembling with a sort of delighted pity!  He did so want
someone to look after him and see that he took care at night, and
to trim his beard, that was so manly and so sensible, covering his
chest.  To her the notion that anyone so interesting-looking,
almost handsome, should be a 'confirmed bachelor,' as Roger put it,
was painful.  Her sister Susan, too, seven years younger than
herself, and already for three years wedded to John Hayman, was
always telling her how John admired her in this dress or in that,
and had once gone so far as to imply that he admired her in
nothing--so daring of Susan--not quite nice!

When, then, in July of 1855 she was invited to come with Roger and
his wife to this water picnic, she was all of a flutter and gave
much thought to her costume.  She came out finally in pink with
green ribbons in her bonnet, and a perfectly new crinoline.  Roger,
living then in Bayswater, warming a house that he intended to sell
shortly at a reasonable profit--not till 'sixty-nine did he anchor
himself permanently in Prince's Gate--called for her with his
carriage of a new-fangled shape named 'Victoria' (always so
unusual, Roger--eccentric, some people called it).  On the way down
to Twickenham he had to sit back to the horses on a narrow little
seat that came out from below the high box, and was propped up with
an iron stand; and he was so cross that it was quite a relief to
them all three when they arrived, and dear Mr. Small met them at
the gate, looking most manly in a puggaree and white trousers--
'ducks,' Roger called them, he was so droll.  In his hand, too, he
had a bunch of picotees, and held them to her nose with quite an
air.  "These are for you, Miss Julia," he said.  Tucked into her
fichu they went beautifully with her dress, and were so fragrant;
it would have been perfect if Roger had not closed his left eye
quickly two or three times.  As if--!  Then they all went into the
house to meet Major Small and have light refreshment before going
on the river.

'Parsons' Villa' (Aunt Juley subsequently changed the name to
Sunninglea) had not been built by Dewbridge, Small and Keyman; it
was in fact Georgian, on two floors, with French windows from the
drawing-room on to the lawn, the river close below, and a little
island opposite.  In the drawing-room were four persons, making
eight in all for the picnic: Major Small, a fine, full-bearded
figure of a man, with a stiff leg, in a tussore suit; Hatty
Chessman, always the life and soul of any party, and--"Who do you
think, my dear?"--Augustus Perry; almost famous for those
delightful books with music and rhymes in them, and his recitals at
parties.  It was he who made up that 'Round' which became so
popular:


     "A boat, a boat unto the ferry,
      And we'll go over and be merry,
      And laugh and quaff and sing Down-derry."


And he had witty variations for the last line, such as:  "And laugh
and quaff and drink brown sherry," or:  "And laugh and quaff--
Augustus Perry."

Seated on a chintz-covered chair with a glass of sherry cobbler in
her hand, and a bowl of lavender close to her nose, Julia could not
help looking at Mrs. Augustus Perry and wondering a little if she
liked being the wife of anyone so popular, so sought after as Gus
Perry, who played the guitar, too.  She was hoping so much that she
herself would not be in a boat with Roger--he was such a tease,
especially if their dear host were in the same boat.  And she hoped
he was noticing how brightly she was talking with Major Small; and
indeed it was an honour to be talking to him, for after all it was
he who had the stiff leg, and was the hero; but all the time she
contrived to watch their dear host and to note that he looked a
little anxious.  Then they all went down across the lawn to the two
boats, so graceful, with striped cushions and brown varnish.  It
WAS a moment, not knowing in which boat she was to be, with
Augustus Perry cracking so many jokes.  But her arm was taken
gently, firmly, above the elbow by Mr. Septimus, and she was
stepping into a boat, and sitting down quite quickly beside her
sister-in-law on the stern seat.

"My dear," she said, "I hope I am not required to steer.  It's such
a responsibility."

"Oh!  I will steer, dear Juley," replied her sister-in-law.

Crinoline by crinoline they sat, and--so gratifying--who should
step into the boat but dear Mr. Septimus himself, and Augustus
Perry.  She could not help smiling when that droll Gus said:

"I shall take my coat off, Sep."

And Mr. Septimus, always courtly, asked:

"Do you mind, ladies?"  Indeed, they didn't!

So both took their coats off, and placed the oars in the rowlocks.
And then the boat glided out.  It WAS delightful!  Julia felt,
somehow, that not only herself, but dear little Mary beside her,
who was looking so pretty, was glad that dear Roger (even though he
was her husband) was not in their boat.  How beautifully they
rowed, almost together; Augustus Perry--his face was so round,
without whiskers or anything--kept popping it out from behind Mr.
Septimus's back, to make such amusing remarks.  And then he 'caught
a crab' on purpose!  How they did laugh; he looked so droll!  So
first they went up the stream, and then they came down the stream,
with the water all green and the swans all white--and landed on the
little island opposite Parson's Villa, where they found the picnic
baskets--fancy!  It WAS all beautifully planned, and so romantic
under the willow trees, with rugs for them to sit on, and Augustus
Perry's guitar, quite like a picture by Watteau.

The lunch was exquisite: lobster salad, pigeon pie, tipsy cake,
raspberries, and champagne: with plates and spoons, forks and
napkins, and a dear little water rat looking on.  She had never
enjoyed anything so much, and she was really quite relieved when
Major Small flirted outrageously with Hatty Chessman, and gave them
no more anxiety.  To be waited on by their dear host was such a
privilege, and Roger and Gus Perry were so droll; altogether it was
enchanting.  When they had all finished lunch and the gentlemen
were smoking their cigars, they sang some delightful 'rounds':  'A
boat, a boat,' 'Three blind mice,' 'White sand and grey sand.'  Mr.
Septimus's voice was so manly--deep and hollow, almost like an
organ.  Then they played hide-and-seek.  Each in turn was allowed
five minutes to hide from the others--such a clever idea, so
thoughtful.  She herself hid among some willow bushes, and who do
you think found her?  Mr. Septimus: he was so surprised!  When they
had all hidden it was time for tea, and such a to-do boiling the
kettle.  Roger, indeed--it was just like him--suggested that they
should leave the kettle and go over and have tea in the house; but
that would have destroyed all the romance.  And when at last the
kettle did boil, it would have been a delicious cup, only the water
was smoky.  But nobody minded, because, of course, it was a picnic.
Then came the moment when the other six got into one boat and rowed
away.  It seemed quite providential.  So she and their dear host
helped the servants to pack everything in the other boat to take
over to the house.  While they were doing that, she noticed that he
coughed three times.

"I am sure," she said, "dear Mr. Septimus, it's too damp for you on
the river so late.  It is past six."  How good he was about it!

"Let us sit on the lawn, then, Miss Julia," he said, "and wait for
the others to come back."

So they sat under the cedar tree where it was beautifully cool, and
quite private, for the branches came down very low.  She had quite
a fluttery feeling, sitting there all alone with him for the first
time.  But he was so considerate, talking about Southey.  Did she
like his poetry?  He himself preferred Milton.

"I must confess, Mr. Septimus," she said, "that I have not read
'Paradise Regained,' but Milton is certainly a very beautiful poet--
so sonorous."

"And what do you think of Wordsworth, Miss Julia?"

"Oh!  I love Mr. Wordsworth!  I always feel he must have had such a
beautiful character."

As she said this she could not help wondering if he would ask her
whether she read Byron.  If he did, she should be daring and say:
'Yes, indeed!'  She did not want to have secrets from him, and she
had been so impressed by 'Childe Harold,' and 'The Giaour.'  Of
course Lord Byron had NOT had good principles, but she was sure
dear Mr. Septimus would never suspect her of reading anything that
was not nice.  There was 'Don Juan' in Timothy's study--several
volumes.  Hester had read them and been horrified.  And when he did
not ask her she felt quite disappointed; it would have drawn them
closer together, she was sure.  But she could feel that he was shy
about it; because he asked her instead whether she liked the novels
of Charles Dickens.

"Of course," she said, "he is very clever, but I do think he writes
about such very peculiar, such very common characters; and there is
so much about drinking in 'The Pickwick Papers,' though most
people, I know, like them very much.  Do you admire 'The Pickwick
Papers,' Mr. Septimus?"

"No, Miss Julia; it seems to me a very extravagant book."

Time went so quickly under the cedar, and it would have been quite
perfect if the midges had not bitten her dreadfully through her
stockings; for, of course, she could not scratch, or even say "La!"
She did so wonder whether they were biting him, too.  The longer
they sat there the more she felt that he did not take enough care
of himself, with no scarf on, in the evening air; he did so need
someone to look after him.  And so the midges bit, and she smiled,
and the boat came back, with Augustus Perry singing to his guitar.
What an agreeable rattle he was, was he not?  And how romantic
always--music on the water!

Then it all came to an end, and she drove home alone with dear
little Mary in the Victoria, Roger refusing to sit back to the
horses on 'that knife-board' any more, and going off with Hatty
Chessman in her brougham.  Such a relief!  It had been such a--
such a holy afternoon, and she did so want not to be teased about
it. . . .

On the Bayswater Road that night she sat a long time at her window
thinking of Septimus's beard, and whether she would dare to come to
calling him 'Sep,' and whether he would ever ask her to let him go
and see her eldest brother, dear Jolyon--now that their father was
dead. . . .

And then came their correspondence; that WAS a delightful
experience.  His letters sometimes contained a sprig of lavender--
his favourite scent; they were beautifully written, because of
course he was an architect, and full of high principle, so refined.
Now and then, indeed, she would feel as if he might be too refined,
because she had often read the Marriage Service and--thought about
what it meant, as who indeed would not?  In her own letters she
tried hard not to be just gossipy, but like Maria Edgeworth.  All
that time she was knitting him a scarf.  It had to be quite a
secret, and done in her bedroom, because if Timothy saw it he would
be sure to say:  "Is that for me?"  And perhaps would add:  "I
don't want a great thing like that."  And if she said:  "No, it's
not for you," he would be quite upset and want to know whom it was
for; which would never do.

In August they went (Ann and Hester, herself and Timothy) to
Brighton for the sea air, and in a letter she happened to mention
it to Septimus--always Septimus in her thoughts.  Imagine her
surprise, then, when on the third day she saw him sitting on the
pier.  It gave her such a colour.  Timothy stopped short at once.

"Why!  That's Sep Small!  I'm off!"  It showed how little he
understood, or he would never have left her like that alone with
him.  But what an adorable hour that was, hanging over the pier by
his side.  He knew such a lot about marine things--he pressed
seaweed, and could not bear nigger-minstrels.  He told her, too,
that the sea air was good for his cough, and she was sure he had
noticed her hat, for he said in such a far-away voice:  "I dote on
these pork-pie hats you see about, Miss Julia, and the veils are so
sensible!"  And there was hers floating almost against his cheek.
It was all so friendly and delightful; and she did long to ask him
to come back with her to lunch at their hotel so that she could get
out his scarf and say:  "I have a little surprise for you, dear Mr.
Septimus," and clasp it round his neck; but she felt it would make
a 'how-de-do'!  It would be too dreadful if Timothy showed anything
by his manner; and sometimes he showed such a lot, especially if he
were kept waiting for meals.  For, of course, neither he nor dear
Ann, nor even Hester, knew anything about her feelings for dear
'Sep'; so on the whole it would be better not.  And then--so
providential!--HE asked if he might escort her back to her hotel,
and what COULD she say except that she would be flattered!  He
looked so tall and aristocratic walking beside her, with his full
beard, and a puggaree round his hat, and his white, green-lined
umbrella.  She hoped, indeed, that people might be thinking:  'What
a distinguished couple!'  Many hopes flitted in her mind while they
strolled along the front, and watched the common people eating
winkles, and smelled the tarry boats.  And something tender welled
up in her so that she could not help stopping to call his attention
to the sea, so blue with little white waves.

"I DO love Nature," she said.

"Ah!  Miss Julia," he answered--she always remembered his words--
"the beauties of Nature are indeed only exceeded by those of--Tut!--
I have a fly in my eye!"

"Dear Mr. Septimus, let me take it out with the corner of my
handkerchief."

And he let her.  It took quite a long time; he was so brave,
keeping his eye open; and when at last she got it out, very black
and tiny, they both looked at it together; it seemed to her to draw
them quite close, as if they were looking into each other's souls.
Such a wonderful moment!  And then--her heart beat fast--he had
taken her hand.  Her knees felt weak; she looked up into his face,
so thin and high-minded and anxious, with a little streak where the
eye had watered; and something of adoration crept up among her
pinkness and her pouts, into her light grey eyes.  He lifted her
hand slowly till it reached his beard, and stooped his lips to it.
Fancy!  On the esplanade!  All went soft and sweet within her; her
lips trembled, and two large tears rolled out of her eyes.

"Miss Julia," he said, "Julia--may I hope?"

"Dear Septimus," she answered, "indeed, you MAY."

And through a mist she saw his puggaree float out in the delicious
breeze, and under one end of it a common man stop eating winkles,
to stare up at her, as if he had seen a rainbow.




NICHOLAS-REX, 1864


In the late seventies someone made the remark:  "Nicholas Forsyte--
cleverest man in London."  And with this dictum those who observed
him in his business and public capacity were frequently in
agreement.  It is in the hinterland of his existence that one must
look for qualifications of the statement.  Wherever he functioned
Nicholas was certainly cock of the walk--indeed he looked a little
like a cock, very natty, with a high forehead and his hair brushed
off it in a comb, erect, and with quick movements of his head and
neck.  His colouring too was fresh and sanguine and his hair almost
chestnut before it went grey.  When he rose at a meeting and opened
with one of his dry witticisms people sat forward, and seldom took
their ears off him till he resumed his seat.  He was almost
notorious for his power of making an opponent look foolish, and
than that no greater asset is in the balance sheet of a public man.
For Nicholas was a public man in the minor sense suitable to a
Forsyte.  He never aspired to extravagances of power or position--
never for instance went into Parliament.  He confined himself to
obtaining the practical, if not the nominal, control of any concern
in which he held interests; and he had a certain tempered public
spirit which led him almost insensibly to grasp the helm of two
utility corporations, the one concerned with tramways, and the
other with canals, although his holdings in them were not
considerable.  As a judge of an investment he was perhaps unique,
so much so that his five brothers felt it almost a relief when one
of his investments went wrong.  He could be sharp and he could be
genial, and no one ever knew beforehand which he was going to be;
and this in itself was a source of sovereignty.  One might say with
a reasonable amount of certainty that he had never had a friend.
Many men had tried it on with him, but he had always nipped them
off sooner or later and generally sooner.  He was perhaps
constitutionally unable to associate with people on terms of
equality.  On the other hand his integrity was admirable, for he
owed integrity to himself, and one could always follow him with a
feeling that one would not be let down.  Without knowing anything
at all about him one would have taken him, perhaps, for one of
those extremely high-class doctors who do not move out of their own
houses, and that only at a good many guineas.  With all this he had
not much health, or rather just the health of a Forsyte, which kept
him alive until he was ninety-one, and might better be termed
vitality.

Without being exactly close in money matters he was the most
guarded of the clan, partly no doubt because he had more children
and partly because of a certain austerity which had little patience
with fashion and fallals, and believed almost pitilessly in work
being good for the human being.  And this brings one to his
hinterland which began, one may suggest, with his marriage in 1848.
Whether in marrying at all he did justice to the truest instincts
of supremacy will ever remain a question; but the fact is he was a
man who had to be married and married somewhat young, given Queen
Victoria and his own constitution.  That he undoubtedly married
money,--and long before the Married Woman's Property Act, so that
he was able to make the most judicious use of it, and Mrs. Nicholas
to make none at all--must not be regarded as proof of a cold-
blooded selection.  On the contrary he was an ardent wooer, in peg-
top trousers, of a very pretty girl, the daughter of a county-town
banker with whom finance had thrown him into contact.  Limited by
her mother and possibly by her crinoline, the young lady had kept
Nicholas at a respectable distance until after a ceremony observed
with every circumstance including a really witty speech from her
bridegroom.  She had been the more surprised afterwards.

To this surprise must be attributed the inception of that "fronde"
which smouldered for so many decades behind the façade of his
sovereignty.

We will not pause here to enquire whether the manners of the
twentieth century would have saved Nicholas, or rather Mrs.
Nicholas, from receiving the feeling that she was married.  The
fact remains that she received it.  As, one by one, she produced
little Nicholases the feeling if anything increased.  When she had
produced six in fourteen years, she flatly refused to produce any
more.  From a woman not quite thirty-five this seemed to Nicholas,
who had by then a considerable fortune, wholly unreasonable--the
more so as it was the first definite limit set to his prerogative.
And to this fettering of his complete freedom must be attributed
much of that nervous irritability which he undoubtedly developed.
But who, seeing Mrs. Nicholas, would have dreamed that she was in
any way responsible for the moods of her lord and master.  The fact
is that no one except Nicholas ever did see Mrs. Nicholas--'Fanny'
as she was called, because her real name was Elizabeth.  Her manner
in public was almost the opposite of her manner in private.  She is
described somewhere as entering a room behind Nicholas "with an air
of frightened jollity."  How true!  She did.  And why?  Because he
would aim at her wittily caustic shafts which she had never learned
to parry.  And she would smile and smile with that frightened look
in her eyes, and generally be so glad to get home before he had
aimed one.  But when she was home, and there was no one but herself
to hear him, that frightened look would disappear.  And in a
hundred womanly ways (without perhaps deliberately meaning to) she
avenged it.  Not before the children, no--mainly in the privacy of
the common bedroom, supremely in the privacy of the common bed.
There she would reduce Nicholas from sovereignty to supplication.
She did it not because he was repellent to her--he was never that--
but almost as it were on principle, because she had, after all, a
soul of her own, and there were no other means of asserting it.  In
all the manifest ways of life he was the perfect autocrat, paying
the piper--incidentally not altogether without what had been her
money--and calling the tune.  Who can blame her, then, for
reminding him that he was mortal, and that she was mortal too.  We
have here in miniature, indeed, a somewhat perfect illustration of
monarchy and the attempt of subjects at its limitation.

This continual strife to limit Nicholas was of course but vaguely
suspected on "Forsyte 'Change" and cannot therefore be recorded
with any precision; but, in spite of all the instinctive camouflage
lavished on the matter, there did come into the family consciousness
news of a phase of it worth commemorating for the light it throws
on the change in British institutions and the imperfection of human
judgments.  It began with a letter from Mrs. Nicholas dated:  "June
the twenty-fourth 1864:  The Chine Hotel, Bournemouth" which ran
thus:


"MY DEAR HUSBAND,--

"I have long wished to take a step which I fear will cause you some
anxiety and cannot fail to have roused your disapproval.  I came to
this nice hotel yesterday in this very charming spot with the
intention of remaining here for some weeks.  The sea air is
delicious, and there are several quite nice people in the hotel.
Please send me some of my money.  Indeed, I think it would be nice
if in future you paid me a regular allowance, out of the money that
my dear father left me.  Give my love to the dear children.

"Your affectionate wife,

"FANNY."


When Nicholas received this letter he was already in a state of
considerable confusion--not to say anxiety--and he read it with a
stupor unbecoming to the cleverest man in London.  That a wife
should have gone off by herself without giving notice had taken
him--as he would not have expressed to anybody else--"flat aback."
That, on the top of it, she should ask him to send her money and
make her a regular allowance seemed to him outrageous.  He went to
bed and passed a wretched night.  What was the woman about?  The
more he did not sleep the more he was inclined to think that he had
never heard of such a thing.  Next day he wrote in reply:


"MY DEAR FANNY,--

"I have received your letter.  Your going off like that gave me a
pretty surprise.  If you choose to take things into your own hands,
you must incur the consequences.  I shall certainly not send you
any money; and the best thing you can do is to come back home at
once.  As to a regular allowance what on earth do you want it for?
I give you everything you can reasonably require.  I suppose you
have been listening to some clap-trap about married women's
property.  The sooner you rid your mind of any of these new-fangled
notions the better it will be for both of us, and for the children.

"Now for goodness sake come to your senses, and come home.

"Your affectionate husband,

"NICHOLAS FORSYTE."


He went to a Board meeting irritably convinced that he had clinched
the matter and that she would be home to-morrow.  She was not, and
the day after he received a second letter.


"MY DEAR HUSBAND,--

"I am sorry that you do not see the reasonableness of my conduct
and of my requests.  I shall therefore continue to stay on here.
There is a very nice solicitor in the hotel, and he advises me that
you will be liable for any debts I may have to incur, which I
think, is quite reasonable.  Of course, I did not tell him that I
was speaking of myself.  I hope your indigestion is better.  Give
my love to the dear children.

"Your affectionate wife,

"FANNY."


Nicholas put the letter down with the remark:  "Well, for obstinacy
give me a woman!"  What on earth had come to her!  Debts, indeed!
Fiddlesticks!  He was none the less "in a regular stew."  To have
his attention on important matters disturbed in this way was
scandalous.  Why! if it went on he would have to go down and bring
her back!  And it did go on.  He answered the letter after waiting
another day to see if she would come to her senses.


"MY DEAR WIFE,--

"Will you please understand that I expect you to come back,
otherwise I shall be compelled to come down and fetch you.  I am
surprised and grieved at your conduct, especially at this moment
when I have important business on hand.  Now don't be silly, but
come home like a good girl.

"Your affectionate husband,

"NICHOLAS FORSYTE."


To this letter he received no answer.  Three days passed during
which he experienced every kind of mental and some physical
discomfort.  He even began to have dark thoughts about the nice
solicitor.  Fanny was only thirty-seven, and with a woman you never
knew.  At last, thoroughly alarmed, he cried off from a meeting of
the Central Canal Corporation, and went down to Bournemouth.  At
the hotel they told him that Mrs. Forsyte had left two days before.
No!  They had no address.  The callous indifference to his feelings
disclosed by this conduct upset Nicholas completely.  That he
should have to confront an almost grinning hotel manager and betray
the fact that his own wife was acting independently was--was
monstrous!  He did not even ask if she had paid her bill; but his
knowledge of hotels--he was on the Board of one--told him that she
had, or they would have presented him with it.  Where was she
getting money from--throwing away her jewellery he shouldn't be
surprised.  He returned to London--there was nothing else to do.
The next day he received a letter from her to say that she had
moved on to Weymouth, but it was not as nice as she expected and
she should not stay.  She did not say where she was going.  'H'm!'
thought Nicholas:  'Playing cat and mouse with me, is she?'  And he
went sullenly into the City.

Now a man may make the best resolutions about his wife, such as:
"I'll have nothing more to do with her," or:  "If she thinks she
can tire me out she's very much mistaken."  But when, like
Nicholas, he has given her six children--three of them at home;
when, like Nicholas, he has a reputation for always having had his
own way, and for being an irreproachable householder, it was
exceptionally galling not even to be able to say with truth that he
knew where his wife was, to have to avoid Forsyte 'Change as if it
were the devil--as perhaps it was--and to sneak about his own house
feeling that his children and his servants knew all about
everything.  He began to suffer severely from that kind of
dyspepsia which arises from the thwarting of one's will, one's
instincts, and one's self-esteem.  He often thought:  'If she could
see me, she wouldn't go on behaving like this.'

At the end of a fortnight he received from her a letter dated from
an hotel at Cheltenham which, though it seemed to show a certain
softening, mentioned a nice doctor who had given her some very kind
advice--Doctors, indeed, as if he didn't know them!--and ended with
the words:  "I trust that you are now prepared, my dear husband, to
make me a fixed and regular allowance, of course out of my own
money.  I think--do you not agree?--that £500 a year is the least
amount that would be proper.  I feel that if I had that I could
come home again.  In the meantime I have parted with my emerald
pendant.  Give my love to the dear children.  Your affectionate
wife, Fanny."

Parted with her emerald pendant!  The thing had cost him ninety
pounds, and he supposed she had got thirty or forty for it.  The
sheer folly of women had never seemed to him so patent.  Five
hundred a year, indeed, to throw away in fallals!  But a cloud had
undoubtedly been lifted from his brain by this letter.  Here was at
least a definite situation.  If he promised her a fixed five
hundred a year she would come home.  It all came of agitators
putting ideas into women's heads, a mischievous lot!  But the boys
would be back from school in another week or two; and it would look
extremely odd if their mother were not there to go to the seaside
with them.

An organ-grinder playing his confounded organ, had said to him only
yesterday:  "No, Guv'nor, I knows the valley of peace an'
quietness--I don't move on under 'arf-a-crown."  The impudence of
the ruffian had tickled Nicholas and he had given him the half-
crown.  Fanny was behaving just like that.  And who knew when she
wouldn't be off again to get out of him the rest of the thousand a
year he'd received with her.  No, on the whole, he didn't think
she'd be as unreasonable as that; but he continued to combat his
desire for peace and quietness at so considerable a price.  All the
time he had a dim feeling that it wasn't really the money she was
after.  She had never seemed to know or care much about money, in
fact he had often had occasion to reproach her with indifference to
its value.  What exactly she had in her head he hesitated to
characterize by a word which kept creeping nastily into his mind--
independence.  Fanny independent!  Why she'd be in the workhouse
to-morrow!  Nicholas, indeed, was not unlike most people: he could
not understand the need in others for that without which he himself
would have been wholly miserable.  What would be his own position
if he made her independent--he would be subject to her whims and
fancies and women's nonsense of all sorts!  And then--this was a
bright moment--the solution occurred to him:  Make her a fixed and
regular allowance, and stop it when he wanted to!  Everything
seemed suddenly clear, he wondered he hadn't thought of that
before; and by the evening post he wrote off to say that he had
reconsidered the matter and was prepared to pay her a regular
allowance of a hundred and twenty-five pounds a quarter, and he
would send the carriage to meet the five o'clock train the day
after to-morrow.

To say that he was surprised on receiving not Fanny, but another
letter--saying that she had meant of course that the five hundred a
year should be settled on her, with the word settled underlined--
would be a gross under-statement.  He would never have believed
that Fanny of all women could be so sordid.  He continued in this
mood of surprised disgust for fully an hour seated in his study
which specially faced north so that his head should never be heated
by the intrusion of the sun.  He was determined to do no such
thing, and yet extremely conscious that he could not go on much
longer in this wifeless condition.  She had been away now for
seventeen days, and every day his head was getting heavier and less
clear.  He would have to put an end to it somehow.  While he sat
thus, turning and turning the wheels of indecision, he was
conscious of a whirring noise gradually becoming articulate--that
confounded barrel organ, again, grinding out the popular song of
the moment:  "Up in a balloon boys, up in a balloon."

A flood of angry colour invaded Nicholas's clean-shaven face,
running almost up into the grizzled cock's-comb rising from his
forehead.  He went to the window and threw it wide open.  There was
the ruffian grinding away and grinning at him.  For a moment words
failed Nicholas and then a flash of caustic humour redeemed him
from his sober self.  The fellow's impudence was really laughable!
He grinned back and closed the window.  If he'd been the organ
grinder it was just what he would have done himself.  The beggar
seemed to recognise that Greek had met Greek, for, after playing
'Champagne Charlie,' he wheeled his organ away.

But in Nicholas the little incident had changed the current of
thought, or rather had swung the blood a little more to his head,
so that now it seemed to him worth while to get Fanny back even on
her own terms.  His speech for the General Meeting of the "United
Tramways Association" was due on Friday, and in the present heavy
state of his head, due to this persistent wifelessness, he would be
making a mess of it.

Five hundred a year--what was it after all--settled or not!  He
would go to James this very minute and get it over; then, with the
settlement in his pocket, he would pop down himself to-morrow and
bring her back.  Calling a hansom, he uttered the word "Poultry"
and got in.  It was a long drive from Ladbroke Grove, and while he
sat, behind the scuttling horse, erect, dapper, and shaken by the
cobblestones of the London of those days, he thought of how he
should put it to his brother James, in answer to the question the
fellow would be sure to ask:  "What d'you want to do that for?"
And he decided merely to say:  "What business is that of yours?"
James was always a bit of an old woman, and it was best to be sharp
with him.

With a certain dismay therefore he heard James say instead:

"I thought you'd be having to do that--they say Fanny's on the high
horse."

"WHO says?" barked Nicholas.

James ploughed through one of his ultra-Crimean whiskers:  "Oh!
They--Timothy and the girls."

"What business have they to gabble about what they know nothing
of?"

James cleared his throat.

"Well," he said, "I don't know, they never tell me anything."

"What!" snapped Nicholas.  "Why, you sit there and talk scandal by
the hour together.  Well, I've no time to waste.  Draw this
settlement and make yourself and old Bustard the trustees.  I want
it all ship-shape by eleven o'clock to-morrow.  You can put in
enough of my Great Western Stock to provide five hundred a year."

Cheltenham--there was something appropriate about the Stock; and to
himself he thought:  'Railways--I don't trust them; they'll be
inventing something else before long.'

He left James somewhat agitated over the hurry his brother was in.
The fellow however came up to the scratch, and with the settlement
all signed and sealed, Nicholas caught the afternoon train to
Cheltenham.  He spent the hours of travel in coining caustic
remonstrances against being treated in the way he had been, but
when he arrived and found her having tea in the hotel drawing-room
looking quite fresh and young, he decided to postpone them, and all
he said was:  "Well, Fanny, you look quite bobbish."

And she answered:  "What a long time, dear Nicholas!  How are the
dear children?"

"I've been bad with my head," said Nicholas, "the children are all
right.  I've brought you this," and he placed the settlement on the
tea-table, "it's all right--you won't understand a word of it."

"I'm sure, dear Nicholas, that you've done it beautifully."

And while she read it, wrinkling her brows, Nicholas watched her,
and thought:

'She's a better-looking woman than I remembered.'

Throughout the evening he was quite cheerful, not to say witty.  It
all seemed, indeed, a little like the days of their honeymoon at
Brighton.

Not until nearly midnight, did he turn on his elbow and say rather
suddenly:

"What on earth made you do it?"

"Oh, dear Nicholas," replied her voice, close to his own, "I did so
want a nice quiet rest."

"Rest?  What d'you want a rest from--you've got no work?"

She smiled.

"And now," she said, "I shall be able to go and have one whenever I
feel I want it."

"The deuce you will!"

"How nice it will be, too, never having to ask you for money.  It
does so annoy you sometimes."

And Nicholas thought:  'Well, I HAVE been and gone and done it.
Women!'  Turning still more on his elbow, he regarded her lying on
her back with that queer little smile on her lips as if she were
saying to herself:  'Dear Nicholas, the cleverest man in London!'

So was Nicholas, in common with other Kings, limited by his
Constitution.




A SAD AFFAIR, 1867


In 1866, at the age of nineteen, young Jolyon Forsyte left Eton and
went up to Cambridge, in the semi-whiskered condition of those
days.  An amiable youth of fair scholastic and athletic
attainments, and more susceptible to emotions, aesthetic and
otherwise, than most young barbarians, he went up a little
intoxicated on the novels of Whyte Melville.  From continually
reading about whiskered dandies, garbed to perfection and
imperturbably stoical in the trying circumstances of debt and
discomfiture, he had come to the conviction that to be whiskered
and unmoved by Fortune was quite the ultimate hope of existence.
There was something not altogether ignoble at the back of his
creed.  He passed imperceptibly into a fashionable set, and applied
himself to the study of whist.  All the heroes of Whyte Melville
played whist admirably; all rode horses to distraction.  Young
Jolyon joined the Drag, and began to canter over to Newmarket,
conveniently situated for Cambridge undergraduates.  Like many
youths before and after him, he had gone into residence with little
or no idea of the value of money; and in the main this 'sad affair'
must be traced to the fact that while he had no idea of the value
of money, and, in proportion to his standards, not much money, his
sire, Old Jolyon, had much idea of the value of money, and still
more money.  The hundred pounds placed to his credit for his first
term seemed to young Jolyon an important sum, and he had very soon
none of it left.  This surprised him, but was of no great
significance, because all Whyte Melville's dandies were in debt;
indeed, half their merit consisted in an imperturbable indifference
to mere financial liability.  Young Jolyon proceeded, therefore, to
get into debt.  It was easy, and 'the thing.'  At the end of his
first term he had spent just double his allowance.  He was not
vicious nor particularly extravagant--but what, after all, was
money?  Besides, to live on the edge of Fortune was the only way to
show that one could rise above it.  Not that he deliberately hired
horses, bought clothes, boots, wine and tobacco, for that purpose;
still, there was in a sense a principle involved.  This is made
plain, because it was exactly what was not plain to Old Jolyon
later on.  He, as a young man, with not half his son's allowance,
had never been in debt, had paid his way, and made it.  But then he
had not had the advantages of Eton, Cambridge, and the novels of
Whyte Melville.  He had simply gone into Tea.

Young Jolyon going up for his second term, with another hundred
pounds from an unconscious sire, at once perceived that if he paid
his debts, or any appreciable portion of them, he would have no
money for the term's expenses.  He therefore applied his means to
the more immediate ends of existence--College fees, 'wines,' whist,
riding, and so forth--and left his debts to grow.

At the end of his first year he was fully three hundred pounds to
the bad, and beginning to be reflective.  Unhappily, however, he
went up for his second year with longer whiskers and a more perfect
capacity for enjoyment than ever.  He had the best fellows in the
world for friends, life was sweet, Schools still far off.  He was
liked and he liked being liked; he had, in fact, a habit of
existence eminently unsuited to the drawing-in of horns.

Now his set were very pleasant young men from Eton and Harrow and
Winchester, some of whom had more worldly knowledge than young
Jolyon, and some of whom had more money, but none of whom had more
sense of responsibility.  It was in the rooms of 'Cuffs' Charwell
(the name was pronounced Cherrell, who was taking Divinity Schools,
and was afterwards the Bishop) that whist was first abandoned for
baccarat, under the auspices of 'Donny' Covercourt.  That young
scion of the Shropshire Covercourts had discovered this exhilarating
pastime, indissolubly connected with the figure Nine, at a French
watering-place during the Long Vacation, and when he returned to
Cambridge was brimming over with it, in his admirably impassive
manner.  Now, young Jolyon was not by rights a gambler; that is to
say, he was self-conscious about the thing, never properly carried
away.  Moreover, in spite of Whyte Melville, he was by this time
indubitably nervous about his monetary position--on all accounts,
therefore, inclined to lose rather than to win.  But when such
cronies as 'Cuffs' Cherrell, 'Feathers' Totteridge, Guy Winlow, and
'Donny' himself--best fellows in the world--were bent on baccarat,
who could be a 'worm' and wriggle away?

On the fourth evening his turn came to take the 'bank.'  What with
paying off his most pestiferous creditors and his College fees, so
unfeelingly exacted in advance, he had just fifteen pounds left--
the term being a fortnight spent.  He was called on to take a
'bank' of one hundred.  With a sinking heart and a marbled
countenance, therefore, he sat down at the head of the green board.
This was his best chance, so far, of living up to his whiskers--
come what would, he must not fail the shades of 'Digby Grand,'
'Daisy Waters,' and the 'Honble. Crasher '!

He lost from the first moment; with one or two momentary flickers
of fortune in his favour, his descent to Avernus was one of the
steadiest ever made.  He sat through it with his heart kept in by
very straight lips.  He rose languidly at the end of half an hour
with the 'bank' broken, and, wanly smiling, signed his I.O.U's,
including one to 'Donny' Covercourt for a cool eighty.  Restoring
himself with mulled claret, he resumed his seat at the board, but,
for the rest of the evening, neither won nor lost.  He went across
the Quad to his own rooms with a queasy feeling--he was seeing his
father's face.  For this was his first unpayable debt of honour, so
different from mere debts to tradesmen.  And, sitting on his narrow
bed in his six-foot by fifteen bedroom, he wrestled for the means
of payment.  Paid somehow it must be!  Would his Bank let him
overdraw to the amount?  He could see the stolid faces behind that
confounded counter.  Not they!  And if they didn't!  That brute
Davids?  Or--the Dad?  Which was worse?  Oh! the Dad was worse!
For, suddenly, young Jolyon was perceiving that from the beginning
he had lived up here a life that his father would not understand.
With a sort of horror he visualised his effort to explain it to
that high-domed forehead, and the straight glance that came from so
deep behind.  No!  Davids was the ticket!  After all, 'Daisy
Waters,' 'Digby Grand,' the 'Honble. Crasher,' and the rest of the
elect--had they jibbed at money-lenders?  Not so!  Did 'Feathers,'
did 'Donny'?  What else were money-lenders for but lending money?
Trying to cheer himself with that thought, he fell asleep from
sheer unhappiness.

Next morning, at his Bank, very tight lips assured him that an
overdraft without security was not in the day's work.  Young Jolyon
arched his eyebrows, ran fingers through a best whisker, drawled
the words:  "It's of no consequence!" and went away, stiffening his
fallen crest.  In front of him he saw again his father's face, and
he couldn't stand it.  He sought the rooms of 'Feathers'
Totteridge.  The engaging youth had just had his 'tosh' and was
seated over devilled kidneys, in his dressing-gown.

Young Jolyon said:

"Feathers, old cock, give me a note to that brute Davids!"

Feathers stared.  "What ho, friend!" he said.  "Plucked?  He'll
skin you, Jo."

"Can't be helped," said young Jolyon, glumly.

He went away armed with the note, and in the afternoon sought the
abode of Mr. Rufus Davids.  The Hebraic benefactor read the note,
and bent on young Jolyon the glance of criticism.

"How mutth do you want, Mithter Forthyte?" he said.

"One hundred and fifty."

"That will cotht you two hundred thicth month from now.  I give
good termth."

Good terms!  Young Jolyon checked the opening of his lips.  One
didn't chaffer.

"I like to know my cuthtomerth, you know, Mithter Forthyte.  I athk
a little bird or two.  Come in to-morrow."

"You can take me or leave me," said young Jolyon.

"Thatth all right, Mithter Forthyte.  To-morrow afternoon."

Young Jolyon nodded, and went out.

It hadn't been so bad, after all; and, cantering over to Newmarket,
he almost forgot how 'Post equitem sedet atra cura.'

In the afternoon of the following day he received one hundred and
fifty pounds for his autograph, and seeking out 'Donny' and the
others who held his I.O.U's, discharged the lot.  Not without a
sense of virtue did he sit down to an evening collation in his
rooms.  He was eating cold wild duck, when his door was knocked on.

"Come in!" he shouted.  And, there--in overcoat, top hat in hand--
his father stood. . . .

Sitting in the City offices of those great tea-men, 'Forsyte and
Treffry,' old Jolyon had been handed, with the country post, a
communication marked:  'Confidential.'


"Great Cury,
"Cambridge.

"DEAR SIR,--

"In accordance with your desire that we should advise you of
anything unusual, expressed to us when you opened your son's
account a year ago, we beg to notify you that Mr. Jolyon Forsyte,
Junr., made application to us to-day for an overdraft of one
hundred pounds.  We did not feel justified in granting this without
your permission, but shall be happy to act in accordance with your
decision in this matter.

"We are, dear Sir, with the compliments of the season,

"Your faithful servants,

"BROTHERTON AND DARNETT."


Old Jolyon had sat some time regarding this missive with grave and
troubled eyes.  He had then placed it in the breast pocket of his
frock coat, and taking out a little comb, had passed it through his
grey Dundrearys and moustachios.

"I am going down to Cambridge, Timming.  Get me a cab."

In the cab and in the train, and again in the cab from the station
at Cambridge, he had brooded, restless and unhappy.  Why had the
boy not come to HIM?  What had he been doing to require an
overdraft like that?  He had a good allowance.  He had never said
anything about being pressed for money.  This way and that way he
turned it in his mind, and whichever way he turned it, the
conclusion was that it showed weakness--weakness to want the money;
above all, weakness not to have come to his father first.  Of all
things, Old Jolyon disliked weakness.  And so there he stood, tall
and grey-headed, in the doorway.

"I've come down, Jo.  I've had a letter I don't like."

Through young Jolyon raced the thought:  'Davids!' and his heart
sank into his velvet slippers.  He said, however, drawling:

"Charmed to see you, Sir.  You haven't had dinner?  Can you eat
wild duck?  This claret's pretty good."

Taking his father's hat and coat, he placed him with his back to
the fire, plied the bellows, and bawled down the stairway for forks
and another wild duck.  And while he bawled he felt as if he could
be sick, for he had a great love for his father, and this was why
he was afraid of him.  And old Jolyon, who had a great love for his
son, was not sorry to stand and warm his legs and wait.

They ate the wild duck, drank the claret, talking of the weather,
and small matters.  They finished, and Young Jolyon said:

"Take that 'froust,' Dad;" and his heart tried to creep from him
into the floor.

Old Jolyon clipped a cigar, handed another to his son, and sat down
in the old leather chair on one side of the fire; young Jolyon sat
in another old leather chair on the other side, and they smoked in
silence, till old Jolyon took the letter from his pocket and handed
it across.

"What's the meaning of it, Jo?  Why didn't you come to me?"

Young Jolyon read the letter with feelings of relief, dismay, and
anger with his Bank.  Why on earth had they written?  He felt his
whiskers, and said:

"Oh!  That!"

Old Jolyon sat looking at him with a sharp deep gravity.

"I suppose it means that you're in debt?" he said, at last.

Young Jolyon shrugged:  "Oh! well, naturally.  I mean, one must--"

"Must what?"

"Live like other fellows, Dad."

"Other fellows?  Haven't you at least the average allowance?"

Young Jolyon had.  "But that's just it," he said eagerly.  "I'm not
in an average set."

"Then why did you get into such a set, Jo?"

"I don't know, Sir.  School and one thing and another.  It's an
awfully good set."

"H'm!" said old Jolyon, deeply.  "Would this hundred pounds have
cleared you?"

"Cleared me!  Oh! well--yes, of what matters."

"What matters?" repeated old Jolyon.  "Doesn't every debt matter?"

"Of course, Dad; but everybody up here owes money to tradesmen.  I
mean, they expect it."

Old Jolyon's eyes narrowed and sharpened.

"Tradesmen?  What matters are not tradesmen?  What then?  A woman?"
The word came out hushed and sharp.

Young Jolyon shook his head.  "Oh!  No."

Old Jolyon's attitude relaxed a little, as if with some intimate
relief.  He flipped the ash off his cigar.

"Have you been gambling, then, Jo?"

Struggling to keep his face calm and his eyes on his father's,
young Jolyon answered:

"A little."

"Gambling!"  Something of distress and consternation in the sound
young Jolyon couldn't bear, and hastened on:

"Well, Dad, I don't mean to go on with it.  But Newmarket, you
know, and--and--one doesn't like to be a prig."

"Prig?  For not gambling?  I don't understand.  A gambler!"

And, again, at that note in his voice, young Jolyon cried:

"I really don't care for it, Dad; I mean I'm just as happy
without."

"Then why do you do it?  It's weak.  I don't like weakness, Jo."

Young Jolyon's face hardened.  The Dad would never understand.  To
be a swell--superior to Fate!  Hopeless to explain!  He said
lamely:

"All the best chaps--"

Old Jolyon averted his eyes.  For at least two minutes he sat
staring at the fire.

"I've never gambled, or owed money," he said at last, with no pride
in the tone of his voice, but with deep conviction.  "I must know
your position, Jo.  What is it?  Speak the truth.  How much do you
owe, and to whom?"

Young Jolyon had once been discovered cribbing.  This was worse.
It was as little possible as it had been then to explain that
everybody did it.  He said sullenly:

"I suppose--somewhere about three hundred, to tradesmen."

Old Jolyon's glance went through and through him.

"And that doesn't matter?  What else?"

"I did owe about a hundred to fellows, but I've paid them."

"That's what you wanted the overdraft for, then?"

"Debts of honour--yes."

"Debts of honour," repeated old Jolyon.  "And where did you get the
hundred from?"

"I borrowed it."

"When?"

"To-day."

"Who from?"

"A man called Davids."

"Money-lender?"

Young Jolyon bowed his head.

"And you preferred to go to a money-lender than to come to me?"

Young Jolyon's lips quivered; he pitched his cigar into the fire,
not strong enough to bear it.

"I--I--knew you'd--you'd hate it so, Dad."

"I hate this more, Jo."

To both of them it seemed the worst moment they had ever been
through, and it lasted a long time.  Then old Jolyon said:

"What did you sign?"

"I borrowed a hundred and fifty, and promised to pay two hundred in
six months."

"And how were you going to get that?"

"I don't know."

Old Jolyon, too, pitched his cigar into the fire, and passed his
hand over his forehead.

Impulsively young Jolyon rose, and, oblivious of his whiskers, sat
down on the arm of his father's chair, precisely as if he were not
a swell.  There were tears in his eyes.

"I'm truly sorry, Dad; only, you don't understand."  Old Jolyon
shook his head.

"No, I don't understand, Jo.  That's the way to ruin."

"They were debts of honour, Dad."

"All debts are debts of honour.  But that's not the point.  It
seems to me you can't face things.  I know you're an affectionate
chap, but that won't help you."

Young Jolyon got up.

"I CAN face things," he said:  "I--!  Oh!  You can't realise."

Scattering the logs with his slippered foot, he stared into the
glow.  His eyes felt burned, his inside all churned up; and while
the 'swell' within him drawled:  'A fuss about money'; all his love
for his father was raw and quivering.  He heard old Jolyon say:

"I'll go now, Jo.  Have a list of your debts for me tomorrow.  I
shall pay them myself.  We'll go to that money-lender chap
together."

Young Jolyon heard him getting up, heard him with his coat and hat,
heard him open the door; and, twisting round, cried:

"Oh!  Dad!"

"Good-night, Jo!"  He was gone.

Young Jolyon stood a long time by the dying fire.  His father did
not, could not know what a fellow had to do, how behave to--to be
superior to fortune.  He was old-fashioned!  But, besides loving
him, young Jolyon admired his father, admired him physically and
mentally--as much--yes, more than the Honble. Crasher or Digby
Grand.  And he was miserable.

He sat up late, making a list of his debts as well as anyone could
who had the habit of tearing up his bills.  Repressed emotion
tossed his slumbers, and when he woke the thought of the joint
visit to Mr. Davids made him feel unwell.

Old Jolyon came at ten o'clock, looking almost haggard.  He took
the list from his son.

"Are these all, Jo?"

"So far as I can remember."

"Send any others in to me.  Which of your friends are the
gamblers?"

Young Jolyon coloured.

"You must excuse me, Dad."

Old Jolyon looked at him.

"Very well!" he said.  "We'll go to this money-lender now."

They walked forth.  By God's mercy no one had bounced in on his way
to Newmarket.  Young Jolyon caught sight of 'Donny' Covercourt on
the far side of the quadrangle and returned him no greeting.  Quite
silent, side by side, father and son passed out into the street.
Except for old Jolyon's remark:

"There's no end to these Colleges, it seems," they did not speak
until they reached the office of Mr. Davids, above a billiard room.

Old Jolyon ascended, stumping the stairs with his umbrella; young
Jolyon followed with his head down.  He was bitterly ashamed; it is
probable that old Jolyon was even more so.

The money-lender was in his inner office, just visible through the
half-open doorway.  Old Jolyon pushed the door with his umbrella.

Mr. Davids rose, apparently surprised, and stood looking round his
nose in an ingratiating manner.

"This is my father," said young Jolyon, gazing deeply at his boots.

"Mr. Davids, I think?" began old Jolyon.

"Yeth, Thir.  What may I have the pleasure--"

"You were good enough yesterday to advance my son the sum of a
hundred and fifty pounds, for which he signed a promissory note for
an extortionate amount.  Kindly give me that note, and take this
cheque in satisfaction."

Mr. Davids washed his hands.

"For what amount ith your cheque, Thir?"

Old Jolyon took a cheque from his pocket and unfolded it.

"For your money, and one day's interest at ten per cent."

Mr. Davids threw up his well-washed hands.

"Oh!  No, Mithter Forthyte; no!  Thath not bithneth.  Give me a
cheque for the amount of the promithory note, and you can have it.
I'm not ancthious to be paid--not at all."

Old Jolyon clapped his hat on his head.

"You will accept my cheque!" he said, and thrust it under the
money-lender's eyes.

Mr. Davids examined it, and said:

"You take me for a fool, it theemth."

"I take you for a knave," said old Jolyon.  "Sixty-six per cent,
forsooth!"

Mr. Davids recoiled in sheer surprise.

"I took a great rithk to lend your thon that money."

"You took no risk whatever.  One day's interest at ten per cent is
ninepence three-farthings; I've made it tenpence.  Be so good as to
give me that note."

Mr. Davids shook his head.

"Very well," said old Jolyon.  "I've made some inquiries about you.
I go straight from here to the Vice-Chancellor."

Mr. Davids again began to wash his hands.

"And thuppothe," he said, "I go to your thon's College and tell
them that I lend him thith money?"

"Do!" said old Jolyon; "do!  Come, Jo!"  He turned and walked to
the door, followed by his agonised but unmoved son.

"Thtop!" said Mr. Davids.  "I don't want to make no trouble."

Old Jolyon's eyes twinkled under his drawn brows.

"Oh!" he said, without turning, "you don't!  Make haste, then.  I
give you two minutes," and he took out his watch.

Young Jolyon stood looking dazedly at the familiar golden object.
Behind him he could hear Mr. Davids making haste.

"Here it ith, Mithter Forthyte, here it ith!"

Old Jolyon turned.

"Is that your signature, Jo?"

"Yes," said young Jolyon, dully.

"Take it, then, and tear it up."

Young Jolyon took, and tore it savagely.

"Here's your cheque," said old Jolyon.

Mr. Davids grasped the cheque, changing his feet rapidly.

"Ith not bithneth, really ith not bithneth," he repeated.

"The deuce it isn't," said old Jolyon; "you may thank your stars I
don't go to the Vice-Chancellor, into the bargain.  Good-bye to
you!"  He stumped his umbrella and walked out.

Young Jolyon followed, sheepishly.

"Where's the station, Jo?"

Young Jolyon led the way, and they walked on, more silent than
ever.

At last old Jolyon said:

"This has been a sad affair.  It's your not coming to me, Jo, that
hurt."

Young Jolyon's answer was strangled in his throat.

"And don't gamble, my boy.  It's weak-minded.  Well, here we are!"

They turned into the station.  Old Jolyon bought The Times.  They
stood together, silent on the platform, till the London train came
in; then young Jolyon put his hand through his father's arm, and
squeezed it.  Old Jolyon nodded:

"I shan't allude to this again, Jo.  But there's just one thing:
If you must be a swell, remember that you're a gentleman too.
Good-bye, my boy!"  He laid his hand on his son's shoulder, turned
quickly and got in.

Young Jolyon stood with bared head, watching the train go out.  He
then walked, as well as he knew how, back to College.

Indeed, yes!  A sad affair!




REVOLT AT ROGER'S, 1870


When the house of Roger Forsyte in Prince's Gate was burgled in the
autumn of 1870, Smith was undoubtedly drunk and made no serious
attempt to rebut the accusation.  A broad man of extremely genial
disposition, he had in the few months of his butlerdom in Roger's
new house endeared himself to the young Rogers, and even Roger was
wont to speak of him as 'an amiable chap.'  To be drunk without
anyone's knowing, is a tort; to be discovered drunk, a misdemeanour;
to be drunk when burglary is committed under one's nose, a crime,
if not a felony.  This, at least, was Roger's view, and he acted
on it by immediate dismissal.  His spoons had gone and Smith must
go, too.

"If you hadn't been drunk," he said, "you'd have heard the
ruffians.  Call yourself a butler--you're a disgrace."

"Yes, Sir," said Smith, humbly, "a glass has always been my
weakness, but I never thought it'd come to this."

"Well, it has," said Roger, "and so have you.  Off you go this very
day, and don't come to me for a character."

In mitigation of Roger's harshness it will be remembered that in
those days there was no such practice as insurance against
burglary.  Indeed, it was Roger (always original) who started the
habit, and he had to go to Lloyd's to get it done.

"It's the most barefaced thing I ever knew," he added.  The plate-
basket, indeed, with all the spoons, forks, salt-cellars and
pepper-pots of Roger's ménage, had been rived practically from
under the nose of the intoxicated Smith snoring on the turn-up
bedstead in his own pantry.  He had still been asleep, indeed, with
a glass and empty whisky bottle by his bedside, when the page-boy
entered in the morning.

Smith having withdrawn to his pantry, with his tail between his
legs, Roger repaired to his bedroom, where in the four-poster his
wife still lay thinking about less than usual, and put the matter
in a few forcible words.

"Oh!  Roger, what a pity!  Such an amiable man.  The children will
be very upset."

"Fiddlesticks!" said Roger.  "I must go out and see the police.
But they're no good.  Precious little chance of getting anything
back."

Mrs. Roger remained lying, flat as ever.  She had been married to
him seventeen years, and if she now had a life of her own, no one
knew where she kept it.

Smith, on the other hand, upright in his shirt-sleeves, had an
expression on his broad and amiable face as though he had mislaid
his trousers.  To him thus standing the pantry door was flung open,
and in the doorway stood Miss Francie.  Francie Forsyte was then
aged twelve, a dark-haired child with thin legs always outgrowing
their integuments.  Her Celtic-grey eyes shone ominously.

"You're not to go, Smith.  I won't have it.  You couldn't help
being drunk when the burglars came."

"'Ush!  Miss Francie," said Smith, "the Master says I've got to."

Francie put a hand into his.

"Dear Smith!"

Smith's round face grew almost long.

"It's my fault, Miss; I WAS tipsy, there's no denyin'."

"But how could you tell the burglars were coming?"

"I couldn't, Miss Francie, and that's a fact."

"Well, then!"

"If I 'adn't been tipsy," said Smith with sudden violence, "I'D
'ave given 'em what for!"  And he worked his arm up to the angle
which best displayed his formidable biceps.

"Oh! Smith," said Francie, "you ARE strong!  Feel; _I_ haven't got
ANY!"  And she angled her arm, thin, like a stick.  Then the
thought coming to her that soon there would be no Smith to show her
lack of muscle to, the water started into her eyes.

"You're NOT to go," she cried again.  "Here's Eustace, he'll say so
too."

The youngest but one of the five young Rogers was now eleven, dark-
haired and thin-faced like his sister, and, like her, grey-eyed,
but of a calm which contrasted forcibly with Francie's fervour.  He
was recovering from the mumps, which had conveniently delayed his
return to school.

"Have you really got to go, Smiff?" he said.  "I wouldn't, if I
were you.  I should just stay."

Smith smiled.  His smile was that of the sun at noonday.

"Faver'll forget," added Eustace.

Smith closed an eye, a practice which beyond all things endeared
him to children.

"Will'e, Master Eustace?  I don't fink."

"I do fink," said Eustace.  "The best way wiv Faver is to take no
notice.  He can't birch YOU; look at your muscle."

Again Smith crooked his arm to the proper position.  He never spent
ten minutes with the children without having to do this at least
once.

"Smith," said Francie, "we'll come with you and speak to Father."

Smith shook his head.

"I expect he hasn't seen your muscle," said Eustace.

Smith smiled.  Like all powerful, good-tempered, easy-going men, he
was unable to say "No."

"That's settled then," said Francie; "when Father comes in, Eustace
and I will come for you.  Come along, Eustace."

She turned at the door:  "You shan't go--DEAR Smith!"

Smith in the centre of his pantry, slowly shook his rounded head.

He was still in undetermined mood when visited by the constable
whom Roger had set in motion.  Now the temperament of Smith was
pre-eminently suited to the police.  Sunk in humility, without
edge, and highly human, it appealed to authority as cream to a cat.
The constable, who had come to carp and question, remained to chat
and quaff.  He quaffed Roger's beer, and said:

"S'far as I can see, 'twas accidental like; a man may sleep so
sound, no burglar'd wake 'im.  That was your trouble, mate.  You'd
'ad a nightcap no doubt.  I'll do me best with your governor."

Upstairs in the dining-room Mrs. Roger was staring at the bronze
clock and rehearsing a sentence which began:

"Roger, I wish you would reconsider your decision about Smith;
there are many reasons why--" and then nothing would come but: "it
will be out of the frying-pan into the fire," which she could not
feel to be quite dignified.  Unaware of these forces being
marshalled against him, Roger, alert, and with an eye on a new
board announcing the sale of a house by auction, returned from the
police station where he had been rendering a just and faithful
account of his silver, and entered his hall with the latchkey which
he had been one of the first householders to have made.  As he
divested himself of his overcoat a light, thin, ghostly shape
flitted from the darkness under the stairs into the smell of mutton
rising from the basement; another shape at the top of the stairs
bestrode the banisters, waited till Roger had entered the dining-
room, slid down with a run, and vanished also.

Startled by her husband's entry, Mrs. Roger took the stopper out of
the cut glass bottle of pickled walnuts on the sideboard, and said:

"Oh! Roger, I wish--I wish--"

"What do you wish?" said Roger.  "Some nonsense.  Don't let that
smell out; I can't bear a vinegary smell."

"It's Smith," murmured Mrs. Roger.  "I wish you--"

"That'll do," said Roger; "he's got to go."

Mrs. Roger stoppered the bottle.

"Oh! very well, dear; only where we shall get--"

"Plenty of good fish in the sea," said Roger.  "Where's that
policeman they sent round?"

"He's still in the basement, I fancy."

"He would be.  They're no good!  What's this?"

Through the doorway was coming a procession led by Francie.  It
took up a position on the far side of the mahogany--from left to
right, Francie, Smith, Eustace, and the policeman.

"How's this, Smith?" said Roger, caressing his left whisker.  "I
told you to be off.  Have you got something to say?"

"Yes," said Francie, her voice shrill:  "Smith's not going."

"What!" cried Roger.

"All wight, Faver!" said Eustace quietly.

"All right?  What d'you mean by that, you impudent young shaver?"

"Seems as 'ow your butler was asleep, Sir," said the constable
impressively.

"Of course he was asleep.  He was drunk."

"Well, Sir, I'd 'ardly call it that," said the constable.  "Not up
to snuff at the moment, as you might say."

"If you've any excuse to make, Smith," said Roger, "make it before
you pack off."

Smith shook his head.  "None, Sir, I'm sure."

On one side and the other Francie and Eustace tugged at his
sleeves, as if inciting him to show his muscle.

"Very well then," said Roger, "you can go.  I'll talk to you in a
moment, constable.  You children run off, and don't let me catch
you--"

"If Smith goes," said Francie, loudly, "we're going too."

Roger stared.  It was his first experience of revolt.

"Go to my study, you two," he said, "and wait till I come.  Mary,
take them out."

But over Mrs. Roger a spell seemed to have been cast; she did not
move.  Crimson shame had covered Smith's face; the constable stood
stolid.  Roger's spare figure stiffened.  He made but half of
either Smith or the constable, but the expression on his face,
sharp, firm and sour, redressed the balance.

"Go along," he said to Smith.

Smith moved towards the door, but the two children had placed their
backs against it.  Roger's very whiskers seemed to go red.

"This is too much of a good thing," burst from his tightened lips.

At this moment of exquisite deadlock the sense of duty which
dominated a sober Smith came to the rescue.  With a deep sigh he
took a child by the belt with each hand, lifted them bodily from
the door, set them down, and went out.

"Go to my study, you two," said Roger again.

The two children went out into the hall.

"Are you going to the study, Fwancie?"

"He'll birch us."

"He shan't," said Eustace.  "Let's arm ourselves with knives."

"No," said Francie; "let's go away with Smith."

"Smiff will only bwing us back," said Eustace; "let's go by
ourselves."

"All right," said Francie.

"We'll take Faver's umbwella and our money-box."

"We shan't be able to open it."

"No, but we can sell it to someone; it wattles."

"All right, quick!"

With their father's umbrella and the locked money-box, the two
children opened the front door and, running across Kensington Road,
were soon in Hyde Park, the money-box rattling all the way.

"How much is there in it?" said Eustace.

"Four shillings and elevenpence."

"Let's sell it for five shillings, then.  The box cost a shilling."

"Who to?"

"We'll find an old gentleman."

They walked along the Row under the umbrella, for it was raining.
Francie had neither hat nor coat, Eustace his school cap, black
with a red stripe.

"Look!" said Francie.  "There's one!"

They approached a bench whereon sat a tall, bulky figure, who had
placed his hands on the handle of his stick with a view to rising.
He had a grey goatee beard, a grey beaver hat, and a long watch-
chain looped on his brown velvet waistcoat.

Francie, who carried the money-box, held it out.

"Hullo!" said the old gentleman: "what have you got there?"

"It's our money-box," said Francie; "we want to sell it.  It's got
four and elevenpence in coppers."

"But it's worf more," said Eustace.

"The deuce it is!" said the old gentleman.  His voice rumbled, and
his eyes, grey and rather bloodshot, twinkled.  "Why do you want to
sell it?"

"Because we haven't got the key," said Francie.

"So we can't get the money out," added Eustace.  "It belongs to us
and we shall want it out, you see."

"What d'you want it out for?" said the old gentleman.

"To buy our dinner."

"You're a rum couple," said the old gentleman.  "What's your name?"

"Will you buy the box?" said Eustace: "then we'll tell you."

"What should I do with the box, heh?"

"You could carry it in one of your big pockets?"

"Well," said the old gentleman, "here's five bob.  Hand it over.
Now, what's your name?"

"Forsyte," said Francie.  "I'm Francie, and this is Eustace."

"Forsyte?" grunted the old gentleman.  "The deuce it is!  Where
d'you live?"

"Are you to be twusted?" asked Eustace, tilting the umbrella
backwards.

The old gentleman uttered a guffaw.

"What do you want to trust me for?"

"Well, you see," said Eustace cautiously, "we're wunning away for
the pwesent."

"Oh!" said the old gentleman, and rumbled.

"We had to," said Francie, "because of Smith.  It's a long story."

"Well," said the old gentleman, rising, "come and have your dinner
with me, and tell me all about it.  What's your father's Christian
name?"

"Roger."

"Oh!  Ah!" said the old gentleman.  "Well, I know your uncles
Jolyon and Swithin, and your cousin Jo.  My name's Nicholas
Treffry.  Ever heard it?"

"No," said Eustace.

"I have," cried Francie.  "Father says you're notorious.  What does
that mean?"

The 'notorious' Mr. Treffry chuckled.

"My carriage is out there at the Gate.  Come along and I'll show
you why he calls me notorious."

The two children looked at each other, then Eustace whispered:

"All wight, he's wespectable."

"The deuce, he is!" said Mr. Treffry unexpectedly.  "Come along,
young shavers."

The two children accompanied him silently to the Gate.  Outside
stood a pair of fine horses harnessed to a phaeton with the hood
up.  A tiger stood at their heads.

"Up you get!" said Mr. Treffry.

Francie mounted with alacrity.  Eustace hung back.

"Where are you going to take us?"

"The Albany--know it?"

"Yes," said Eustace, "George went there once."

"Respectable enough for you, heh?"

"Yes," said Eustace, and furling the umbrella, mounted beside his
sister.

Mr. Treffry clambered heavily to his driver's seat alongside.

"Let go, Tim."

The horses sprang forward, the tiger let go, and, running, caught
on behind.

The carriage swung from side to side; Francie's eyes danced.

"I--I like it," she said.

"Your father'd have a fit, if he saw us," chuckled Mr. Treffry.
"He lives in Prince's Gate, doesn't he?"

Eustace looked round at him, and in imitation of Smith, closed his
left eye.

"You're a cool young man," said Mr. Treffry.

The pavements of those days not being precisely smooth, they made
but a rough passage to the Albany, where, after they had been made
clean and comfortable under the auspices of the valet, the children
repaired to a low panelled room with pictures of dogs and horses on
the walls, a case of guns in one corner, and some black Chinese tea
chests, embossed with figures and flowers in coloured lacquer.

"Now," said Mr. Treffry, "let's have some prog."

The prog consisted of grouse and pancakes and spiky artichokes, and
each child was given a glass of wine.

"Well," said Mr. Treffry, "what was it all about, heh?"

Francie related the story of Smith.

"H'm!" Mr. Treffry rumbled.  "So your father lost his spoons?"

"And we've got his umbwella," said Eustace.

"Well, I'll see you're not birched, though I daresay you deserve
it.  Your mother must be in a pretty stew.  Green, have the phaeton
round again."

They made an even rougher passage back to Prince's Gate.

"Here's your money-box," said Mr. Treffry.

"But you bought it!"

"Tut!  Here!  My dear!  Take my card to your master."

Francie caught the maid by the sleeve.

"Has Smith gone, Annie?"

"Not yet, Miss.  We've all been in a state about you."

"Hooray!  D'you hear, Eustace?  Smith hasn't gone."

"All wight, don't make a wow!"

Roger, Mrs. Roger, three maids and Smith all seemed to have
gathered from nowhere in particular.

"How are you?" said Mr. Treffry, advancing in front of the
children.  "I thought you'd be in a stew.  I'm your brother
Jolyon's partner--Nicholas Treffry.  These young shavers ran out to
cool their heads.  I've given 'em their dinner and brought 'em back
none the worse."

"H'm!" said Roger profoundly.

"They ought to be birched, no doubt," continued Mr. Treffry,
looking bigger and bigger; "but I promised they shouldn't be.
You," he added, pointing to Smith, "the chap who got drunk?"

"Yes, sir."

"H'm!  Let him off this time.  Here's your umbrella."

Roger took the umbrella.

"Well," he said," I don't know what's coming to things."  He held
out his hand to Mr. Treffry.  "My brother's always talking about
you.  He says you'll break your neck one of these days."

"H'm!  He's a careful chap, Jo.  Glad you've got 'em back.  Good-
bye to you, Ma'am.  Good-bye, young shavers."

And, rumbling, Mr. Treffry passed out.

There was a silence.

"Well," said Roger at last, while a little smile twitched between
his whiskers and vanished into them, "don't let me hear a word more
about anything from any of you."  And he withdrew into the dining-
room.

Francie rushed at Smith, and mechanically felt his muscle.

"Dear Smith!"

"Muvver," said Eustace, "we had gwouse, pancakes, and spiky
artichokes, and we dwove like Jehu."

So ended the revolt at Roger's, which, together perhaps with the
Franco-German war, in that same year laid the foundations of a
looser philosophy.




JUNE'S FIRST LAME DUCK, 1876


The life of little June Forsyte until the age of nearly eight had
been spent in superintending the existence of her dolls.  Not until
the autumn of 1876 did she find a human being whose destiny she
could control.

It happened thus:  The stables of her grandfather old Jolyon
Forsyte's house in Stanhope Gate where June and, incidentally, her
mother resided with her grandparents, were round the corner.  They
consisted of two stalls and a loose box occupied by the carriage
horses Brownie and Betty and by her pony Bruce.  Above were the
three rooms of the coachman Betters, his wife, and little daughter,
the groom living God knew more precisely where.

One October noon, in her long blue habit, with her spirit and her
eyes looking up out of her flaming hair, June was lifted from her
pony at the stable door.

"That pony's artful, Miss June; don't you give him more than two
carrots, or 'e'll think he can do what 'e likes with you."

"Darling!" said June in a voice strangely deep for a small child.
Having given the pony four carrots she remained standing beside it
in the stall, fervently stroking its nose.  In the next stall the
groom was hissing while he wisped down Betty, preferred by Betters
as a mount to Brownie--"an 'oss that did that not throw you up."

"George, which do you think is the most beautiful, Brownie or
Betty?"

The groom jerked his head at the loose box.

"That 'oss is the best-lookin', Miss June."

"Then I shall give Brownie one carrot and Betty two--it isn't her
fault, is it, poor darling?"

Having given the carrots and had her capped head nuzzled, she went
out and stood in the yard.  Betters had disappeared up the stairway
to his rooms, whence a smell of onions indicated that Mrs. Betters,
a small pale puckered woman, was cooking steak.

The yard was deserted but for a pigeon, towards which June ran so
that the pigeon at once left for the roof.  Hurt in her feelings
June had gathered up her tail, and was moving towards the house
when round the corner came a little girl blubbering into her
sleeve.

"Susie Betters, what are you crying for?"

The little girl, who was plain and thin, blubbered the louder.

"They pinched me; they said I was a thief 'cos I only took the top
what belonged to me."  She displayed some pinch marks on her arms
and some mud stains on her frock.

"Who pinched you?"

"The boys and girls I go to school with."

"Did you pinch them back?"

"Nao."

"Then I will.  Horrid little children.  Don't cry, Susie.  I'll
protect you."

Susie looked down half a head and her mouth opened.

"We'll go and look for them.  I've got my whip.  They won't dare
touch you again.  You aren't brave, are you?"

"Nao," said Susie.

June swished the whip, which had the thickness of the top joint of
a fishing rod.  "Come on!"

They went round the corner, followed by June's tail.

There was no sign of any children.

"We'll go and tell the teacher."

"Nao."

"Why not?"

"They'll larrup me proper, if we do."

"Why don't they like you, Susie?  Is it because you're ugly?"
Susie wailed again.  "Don't cry!  It's not your fault that you're
ugly."

Susie wailed the louder.

Two small boys and a girl had suddenly appeared and stood pointing
in a somewhat vulgar manner.  June raised her whip.

The children nudged each other.

"Ill-bred little children!" said June, quoting from her governess.

One of the boys emitted a piercing whistle.

"Did you pinch little Susie Betters?"

The children laughed in a still more vulgar manner.

"You're dirty little morkins," cried June; "and I'm going to larrup
you."

The children gave before the onslaught, skipping sideways with
uncouth noises; one of the boys shoved June so that she tripped
over her tail, and sprawled, a small blue figure, on the ground.
The children, then, pinching Susie warmly, yelled in unison, and
vanished.

June rose, her habit dirty, her whip gone, her cheeks crimson.
Susie was wailing as she had not yet wailed.

"Don't!  It's babyish to cry."

"They pinched me again."

"Where?"

"On my ba-ase."

"Come with me, and show my Gran," said June.  "He'll soon astonish
their weak nerves.  You shall have my pudding, too.  Come on!"  And
she dragged the reluctant Susie to the mansion of old Jolyon.

"François," said June to the Swiss servant, "this is Susie Betters;
she's been pinched, and she's to have my pudding.  She isn't brave,
so she's not to be frightened.  I want my Gran to see her pinches.
Come on, Susie!"

Still tugging Susie, she passed into the dining-room.

Old Jolyon, who never went to the City on Saturdays, was in his
armchair by the fire, reading The Times and waiting for lunch to be
announced.  Across the dining table laid for five he looked at the
two small figures, and his eyes twinkled.

"Well, my ducky, what have you got there?"

"Susie Betters, Gran; she's been pinched behind.  I wanted you to
see."

She pulled Susie round to the chair, whence old Jolyon looked
shrewdly at his coachman's daughter.

"H'm!" he said: "you're a thin little toad."

"Yes; she's going to have my pudding.  She's too thin altogether,
and she's too pale.  Her face is dirty, too, but it isn't her
fault."

"What's come to your habit?" said old Jolyon.  "Did you fall off?"

"Oh! no; I just sat down in the street while I was larruping those
morkins and they took my whip and ran away."

"H'm!  Pretty pair of shoes altogether!"

He stretched out and rang the bell.

"Take this little girl downstairs, François, and have her face
washed, and give her a good dinner; and tell that page chap to run
over and let Betters know she's here.  You go and get brushed," he
added to June, "before your mother sees you, and don't say anything
about it."

The two children went out.  In the hall June said:

"I want to see her face washed, François."

"Veree well, Mees June."

During lunch June fidgeted, with difficulty prevented by old
Jolyon's eyes from telling her story.

When her mother and governess had withdrawn, she approached her
grandfather, who had lighted his after-lunch cigar, and stood
between his knees.

"I'm going to be Susie Betters' friend, Gran."

"Oh!" said old Jolyon.  "Mite like you--picking up lame ducks."

"Is Susie a lame duck?"

Old Jolyon nodded.  "Shouldn't be surprised if they pinched her
more than ever now.  She looks to me a poor thing."

"Well, I'm going to protect her."

"How?" said old Jolyon, twinkling.

"I shall dare them to pinch her."

"First catch your hare--"

"I know," said June, suddenly.  "She can do lessons with ME, Gran,
instead of going to school."

Old Jolyon shook his head.

"That cock won't fight.  Coming to the Zoo?"

June clapped her hands, then said at once:

"No.  I must look after Susie."

Old Jolyon stared.  It was his first introduction to the real
nature of his little grand-daughter.

"She's a poor timid little stick," he said; "and you'll never make
anything of her."

When June had gone, he sat contemplating the ash of his cigar.
Children!  What things they thought of!  She would learn some day
that you couldn't go 'protecting' everything you came across.
Sooner the better, perhaps!  Generous little thing--though; giving
up the Zoo.  Lessons!  "What would her mother say to that?  She was
such a good woman--that you never knew."  And old Jolyon sighed.
If his son hadn't married such a good woman, it might all have
turned out very different; and Jo--Well, well!  A nap!  Just forty
winks.  And, crushing out his cigar, he leaned back with eyes fixed
on 'Dutch Fishing Boats at Sunset'; and his thin hand with pointed
nails depending over the arm of his old chair.  A warmhearted
little thing!  Lame ducks! . . .



In spite of the misgivings of the good woman afraid of the effect
on her accent, and the opposition of her governess, too deep for
words, June had her way.  Susie Betters, almost unnecessarily
clean, sat every morning at the schoolroom table shedding tears
over her vowels and aitches.  Delivered from pinches, and advanced
in all material things, soap, pudding, and frocks, she seemed at
first to exude as much water per day as ever, for June frequently
protected her from the governess.

"You oughtn't to make Susie cry, Miss Pearson, just because she
speaks commonly.  She doesn't know any better.  You can't help
being common, can you, Susie?"

This protection, indeed, produced as much water as any educational
exhortations.  Out of school hours she taught Susie every game she
knew and some she didn't; instructed her in dressing and undressing
dolls; delivered her from the Italian greyhound; helped her to burn
her cheeks cooking cocoanut ice and toffee; and prick her fingers
sewing at dolls' nightgowns.  When Susie was put in the corner,
June had invariably to be put in the opposite corner--so loyal was
she to her 'lame duck.'  The 'good woman' watched the experiment
with equanimity--it would help June not to be selfish.  Old Jolyon,
with innate sagacity, waited for its inevitable end; he had no
belief in 'lame ducks.'

The end came stealthily with every ounce of weight that Susie
Betters put on from the dinners and teas she ate, and every
deepening of the contempt which familiarity slowly bred in her.
She had ceased to exude water, her cheeks were becoming pink, and
she wore a sky blue ribbon in hair no longer unwashed.  In fact she
had come to be 'twice the child'; and she no longer excited June's
compassion.  The habit of protection, however, lasted till the
middle of November.  It vanished in one day.

Susie had a doll, given her by June, which, following the law of
compensation--advocated by the then fashionable philosopher Mr.
Emerson--she treated in the manner in which she herself was
treated, possessing its soul, placing its body in corners, and
harassing it over her knee for its own good.  With the increase of
adipose, her treatment of the doll became more and more protective,
if not arbitrary.  It was not long before this treatment excited
June's concern, and the doll began to seem to her a 'lame duck.'

One Saturday morning when the doll had been whipped and put first
in one corner and then in another, her feelings became too much for
her.

"You oughtn't to treat poor Amy like that, Susie, it's a shame!"

Susie answered:

"Why not?  She's my doll!"

"Well, you shan't!" said June.  "So there!"

"I will," said Susie, and promptly turned up the doll's petticoats.

June's eyes grew very blue, her hair seemed to shine.

"If you whip her," she said, "I'll whip you."

"Will you?" said Susie.  "I'm bigger than you."

She laid the doll over her knee.

"Stop!" said June.

"I won't!" said Susie.

June rushed at her.  The doll fell to the floor, and the two
children struggled.  Susie had so far profited by six weeks of good
feeding that she was the stronger; but she had not June's spirit.
The combat, short and sharp, ended with June sitting on her chest.
Susie sobbed, wriggled and scratched.  June sat tighter.

"Promise not to whip her any more."

"Shan't!"

"Then I shall sit here till you do."

Susie began to scream.  June covered her mouth with a hand.  Susie
bit it.

The screams had attracted old Jolyon, who was in his dressing-room.
The sight when he entered the room was precisely that which he had
been expecting for some time.

"That'll do," he said.  "Get up, June!  Now, what's it all about?"

June, who had picked up the doll, stood crimson and defiant, Susie
stood whimpering and overawed.

"What's that mark on your hand?" said old Jolyon to his grand-
daughter.

"She shan't whip Amy," said June; "I won't have it!"

"Did you bite her?" said old Jolyon to Susie.

Susie sobbed.

The instinct to protect Susie caused June to say automatically:

"I began it, because she's not to whip Amy."

Susie blurted:

"I wasn't going to until she told me not."

"That'll do," said old Jolyon.  "Give me the doll.  Go and get your
hand bathed, June.  And you," he added to Susie, "go home for
dinner."

The children went; Susie, sniffing, June, very red.

Old Jolyon was left with the doll, a furbelowed affair in wax--
which is indeed more inviting to chastisement than china--whose
round blue eyes expressed nothing but indifference.  Rum little
toads, children!  Fancy getting into a fantod over a bit of wax!
Well, well--!  Another lame duck, he supposed.  He rearranged the
doll's petticoats, and his eyes twinkled.  There was the end of
Susie Betters!  And just as well!

Placing the doll on the table he descended slowly to the dining-
room, pondering on the rumness of little toads.

June came to lunch with her hand bound up.  She would not eat her
pudding, and could be heard whispering to François that it was to
be saved for Susie.

When told later that Susie was not to come any more, but to go to
school again, she was silent; and nobody could tell what she was
feeling.  It was the impression of old Jolyon, however, that she
was not unhappy.  He had always known how it would be.

The last state of Susie Betters was worse than the first.  Wild
animals that are captured and regain their liberty receive but a
poor welcome from their fellows.  So with June's past lame duck.
She was soon as thin, pinched and tearful as ever; but, as June
never saw her, she remained in memory pink and plump, with a sky
blue ribbon, no longer worthy of compassion.  Besides, June had
found a new lame duck, on organ-grinder's wife with a baby in her
arms.




DOG AT TIMOTHY'S, 1878


Mrs. Septimus Small, known in the Forsyte family as Aunt Juley,
returning from service at St. Barnabas', Bayswater, on a Sunday
morning in the Spring of 1878, took by force of habit the path
which led her into the then somewhat undeveloped gardens of
Kensington.  The Reverend Thomas Scoles had been wittier than
usual, and she had the longing to stretch her legs, which was the
almost invariable effect of his 'nice' sermons.  While she walked,
in violet silk under a black mantle, with very short steps--skirts
being extremely narrow in that year of grace--she was thinking of
dear Hester and what a pity it was that she always had such a
headache on Sunday mornings--the sermon would have done her so much
good!  For now that dear Ann was unable to stand the fatigue of
service, she did feel that Hester ought to make a point of being
well enough to go to church.  What dear Mr. Scoles had said had
been so helpful--about the lilies of the fields never attempting to
improve their figures, and yet, about ladies of fashion in all
their glory never being attired like one of them.  He had
undoubtedly meant 'bustles'--so witty--and Hester would have
enjoyed hearing it, because only yesterday, when they had been
talking about the Grecian bend, Emily had come in with dear James
and said that the revival of crinolines was only a question of time
and that she personally intended to be in the fashion the moment
there was any sign of it.  Dear Ann had been rather severe with
her; and James had said he didn't know what was the use of them.
Of course, crinolines did take up a great deal of room, and a
'bustle,' though it was warmer, did not.  But Hester had said they
were both such a bore, she didn't see why they were wanted; and now
Mr. Scoles had said it too.  She must really think about it, if Mr.
Scoles thought they were bad for the soul; he always said something
that one had to think about afterwards.  He would be SO good for
Hester!  And she stood a minute looking out over the grass.

Dear, dear!  That little white dog was running about a great deal.
Was it lost?  Backwards and forwards, round and round!  What they
called--she believed--a Pomeranian, quite a new kind of dog.  And,
seeing a bench, Mrs. Septimus Small bent, with a little backward
heave to save her 'bustle,' and sat down to watch what was the
matter with the white dog.  The sun, flaring out between two Spring
clouds, fell on her face, transfiguring the pouting puffs of flesh,
which seemed trying to burst their way through the network of her
veil.  Her eyes, of a Forsyte grey, lingered on the dog with the
greater pertinacity in that of late--owing to poor Tommy's (their
cat's) disappearance, very mysterious--she suspected the sweep--
there had been nothing but 'Polly' at Timothy's to lavish her
affection on.  This dog was draggled and dirty, as if it had been
out all night, but it had a dear little pointed nose.  She thought,
too, that it seemed to be noticing her, and at once had a swelling-
up sensation underneath her corsets.  Almost as if aware of this,
the dog came sidling, and sat down on its haunches in the grass, as
though trying to make up its mind about her.  Aunt Juley pursed her
lips in the endeavour to emit a whistle.  The veil prevented this,
but she held out her gloved hand.  "Come, little dog--nice little
dog!"  It seemed to her dear heart that the little dog sighed as it
sat there, as if relieved that at last someone had taken notice of
it.  But it did not approach.  The tip of its bushy tail quivered,
however, and Aunt Juley redoubled the suavity of her voice:  "Nice
little fellow--come then!"

The little dog slithered forward, humbly wagging its entire body,
just out of reach.  Aunt Juley saw that it had no collar.  Really,
its nose and eyes were sweet!

"Pom!" she said.  "Dear little Pom!"

The dog looked as if it would let her love it, and sensation
increased beneath her corsets.

"Come, pretty!"

Not, of course, that he was pretty, all dirty like that; but his
ears were pricked, and his eyes looked at her, bright, and rather
round their corners--most intelligent!  Lost--and in London!  It
was like that sad little book of Mrs.--What WAS her name--not the
authoress of Jessica's First Prayer?--dear, dear!  Now, fancy
forgetting that!  The dog made a sudden advance, and curved like a
C, all fluttering, was now almost within reach of her gloved
fingers, at which it sniffed.  Aunt Juley emitted a purring noise.
Pride was filling her heart that out of all the people it MIGHT
have taken notice of, she should be the only one.  It had put out
its tongue now, and was panting in the agony of indecision.  Poor
little thing!  It clearly didn't know whether it dared try another
master--not, of course, that she could possibly take it home, with
all the carpets, and dear Ann so particular about everything being
nice, and--Timothy!  Timothy would be horrified!  And yet--!  Well,
they couldn't prevent her stroking its little nose.  And she too
panted slightly behind her veil.  It WAS agitating!  And then,
without either of them knowing how, her fingers and the nose were
in contact.  The dog's tail was now perfectly still; its body
trembled.  Aunt Juley had a sudden feeling of shame at being so
formidable; and with instinct inherited rather than acquired, for
she had no knowledge of dogs, she slid one finger round an ear and
scratched.  It WAS to be hoped he hadn't fleas!  And then!  The
little dog leaped on her lap.  It crouched there just as it had
sprung, with its bright eyes upturned to her face.  A strange dog--
her dress--her Sunday best!  It WAS an event!  The little dog
stretched up, and licked her chin.  Almost mechanically Aunt Juley
rose.  And the little dog slipped off.  Really she didn't know--it
took such liberties!  Oh! dear--it WAS thin, fluttering round her
feet!  What would Mr. Scoles say?  Perhaps if she walked on!  She
turned towards home, and the dog followed her skirt at a distance
of six inches.  The thought that she was going to eat roast beef,
Yorkshire pudding, and mincepies, was almost unbearable to Aunt
Juley, seeing it gaze up as if saying:  "Some for me!  Some for
me!"  Thoughts warred within her: must she 'shoo' and threaten it
with her parasol?  Or should she--?  Oh!  This would never do!
Dogs could be SO--she had heard?  And then--the responsibility!
And fleas!  Timothy couldn't endure fleas!  And it might not know
how to behave in a house!  Oh, no!  She really couldn't!  The
little dog suddenly raised one paw.  Tt, tt!  Look at its little
face!  And a fearful boldness attacked Aunt Juley.  Turning
resolutely towards the Gate of the Gardens, she said in a weak
voice:  "Come along, then!"  And the little dog came.  It was
dreadful!

While she was trying to cross the Bayswater Road, two or three of
those dangerous hansom cabs came dashing past--so reckless!--and in
the very middle of the street a 'growler' turned round, so that
she had to stand quite still.  And, of course, there was 'no
policeman.'  The traffic was really getting beyond bounds.  If only
she didn't meet Timothy coming in from his constitutional, and
could get a word with Smither--a capable girl--and have the little
dog fed and washed before anybody saw it.  And then?  Perhaps it
could be kept in the basement till somebody came to claim it.  But
how could people come to claim it if they didn't know it was there?
If only there were someone to consult!  Perhaps Smither would know
a policeman--only she hoped not--policemen were rather dangerous
for a nice-looking girl like Smither, with her colour, and such a
figure, for her age.  Then, suddenly, realising that she had
reached home, she was seized by panic from head to heel.  There was
the bell--it was not the epoch of latchkeys; and there the smell of
dinner--yes, and the little dog had smelt it!  It was now or never.
Aunt Juley pointed her parasol at the dog and said very feebly:
"Shoo!"  But it only crouched.  She couldn't drive it away!  And
with an immense daring she rang the bell.  While she stood waiting
for the door to be opened, she almost enjoyed a sensation of
defiance.  She was doing a dreadful thing, but she didn't care!
Then, the doorway yawned, and her heart sank slowly towards her
high and buttoned boots.

"Oh, Smither!  This poor little dog has followed me.  Nothing has
ever followed me before.  It must be lost.  And it looks so thin
and dirty.  What SHALL we do?"

The tail of the dog, edging into the home of that rich smell,
fluttered.

"Aoh!" said Smither--she was young!  "Paw little thing!  Shall I
get cook to give it some scraps, Ma'am!"  At the word "scraps" the
dog's eyes seemed to glow.

"Well," said Aunt Juley, "you do it on your own responsibility,
Smither.  Take it downstairs quickly."

She stood breathless while the dog, following Smither and its nose,
glided through the little hall and down the kitchen stairs.  The
pit-pat of its feet roused in Aunt Juley the most mingled
sensations she had experienced since the death of Septimus Small.

She went up to her room, and took off her veil and bonnet.  What
WAS she going to say?  She went downstairs without knowing.

In the drawing-room, which had just had new pampas grass, Ann,
sitting on the sofa, was putting down her prayer-book; she always
read the Service to herself.  Her mouth and chin looked very
square, and there was an expression in her old grey eyes as if she
were in pain.  She wanted her lunch, of course--they were trying
hard to call it lunch, because, according to Emily, no one with any
pretension to be fashionable called it dinner now, even on Sundays.
Hester, in her corner by the hearth, was passing the tip of her
tongue over her lips; she had always been so fond of mincepies, and
these would be the first of the season.  Aunt Juley said:

"Mr. Scoles was delightful this morning--a beautiful sermon.  I
walked in the Gardens."

Something warned her to say no more, and they waited in silence for
the gong; they had just got a gong--Emily had said it was 'the
thing.'

It sounded.  Dear, dear!  What a noise--bom--bom!  Timothy would
never--Smither must take lessons.  At dear James' in Park Lane the
butler made it sound almost cosy.

In the doorway of the dining-room, Smither said:

"It's ate it all, Ma'am--it was THAT hungry."

"Shhh!"

A heavy footstep sounded in the hall; Timothy was coming from his
study, square in his frock-coat, his face all brown and red--he had
such delicate health.  He took his seat with his back to the
window, where the light was not too strong.

Timothy, of course, did not go to church--it was too tiring for
him--but he always asked the amount of the offertory, and would
sometimes add that he didn't know what they wanted all that for, as
if Mr. Scoles ever wasted it.  Just now he was getting new
hassocks, and when they came she had thought perhaps dear Timothy
and Hester would come too.  Timothy, however, had said:

"Hassocks!  They only get in the way and spoil your trousers."

Aunt Ann, who could not kneel now, had smiled indulgently:

"One should kneel in church, dear."

They were all seated now with beef before them, and Timothy was
saying:

"Mustard!  And tell cook the potatoes aren't browned enough; do you
hear, Smither?"

Smither, blushing above him, answered:  "Yes, sir."

Within Aunt Juley, what with the dog and her mind and the
difficulty of assimilating Yorkshire pudding, indigestion had
begun.

"I had such a pleasant walk in the Gardens," she said painfully,
"after church."

"You oughtn't to walk there alone in these days; you don't know
what you may be picking up with."

Aunt Juley took a sip of brown sherry--her heart was beating so!
Aunt Hester--she was such a reader--murmured that she had read how
Mr. Gladstone walked there sometimes.

"That shows you!" said Timothy.

Aunt Ann believed that Mr. Gladstone had high principles, and they
must not judge him.

"Judge him!" said Timothy:  "I'd hang him!"

"That's not quite a nice thing to say on Sunday, dear."

"Better the day, better the deed," muttered Timothy; and Aunt Juley
trembled.  He was in one of his moods.  And, suddenly, she held her
breath.  A yapping had impinged on her ears, as if the white dog
were taking liberties with Cook.  Her eyes sought Smither's face.

"What's that?" said Timothy.  "A dog?"

"There's a dog just round the corner, at No. 9," murmured Aunt
Juley; and, at the roundness of Smither's eyes, knew she had
prevaricated.  What dreadful things happened if one was not quite
frank from the beginning!  The yapping broke into a sharp yelp, as
if Cook had taken a liberty in turn.

"That's not round the corner," said Timothy; "it's downstairs.
What's all this?"

All eyes were turned on Smither, in a dead silence.  A sound broke
it--the girl had creaked.

"Please, Miss, it's the little dog that followed Madam in."

"Oh!" said Aunt Juley, in haste; "THAT little dog!"

"What's that?" said Timothy.  "Followed her in?"

"It was so thin!" said Aunt Juley's faint voice.

"Smither," said Aunt Ann, "hand me the pulled bread; and tell Cook
I want to see her when she's finished her dinner."

Into Aunt Juley's pouting face rose a flush.

"I take the entire responsibility," she said.  "The little dog was
lost.  It was hungry and Cook has given it some scraps."

"A strange dog," muttered Timothy, "bringing in fleas like that!"

"Oh!  I don't think," murmured Aunt Juley, "it's a well-bred little
dog."

"How do YOU know?  You don't know a dog from a door-mat."

The flush deepened over Aunt Juley's pouts.

"It was a Christian act," she said, looking Timothy in the eye.
"If you had been to church, you wouldn't talk like that."

It was perhaps the first time she had openly bearded her delicate
brother.  The result was complete.  Timothy ate his mincepie
hurriedly.

"Well, don't let ME see it," he muttered.

"Put the wine and walnuts on the table and go down, Smither," said
Aunt Ann, "and see what Cook is doing about it."

When she had gone there was silence.  It was felt that Juley had
forgotten herself.

Aunt Ann put her wineglass to her lips; it contained two
thimblefuls of brown sherry--a present from dear Jolyon--he had
such a palate!  Aunt Hester, who during the excitement had
thoughtfully finished a second mince-pie, was smiling.  Aunt Juley
had her eyes fixed on Timothy; she had tasted of defiance and it
was sweet.

Smither returned.

"Well, Smither?"

"Cook's washing of it, Miss."

"What's she doing that for?" said Timothy.

"Because it's dirty," said Aunt Juley.

"There you are!"

And the voice of Aunt Ann was heard, saying grace.  When she had
finished, the three sisters rose.

"We'll leave you to your wine, dear.  Smither, my shawl, please."

Upstairs in the drawing-room there was grave silence.  Aunt Juley
was trying to still her fluttering nerves; Aunt Hester trying to
pretend that nothing had happened; Aunt Ann, upright and a little
grim, trying to compress the Riot Act with her thin and bloodless
lips.  She was not thinking of herself, but of the immutable order
of things, so seriously compromised.

Aunt Juley repeated, suddenly:  "He followed me, Ann."

"Without an intro--Without your inviting him?"

"I spoke to him, because he was lost."

"You should think before you speak.  Dogs take advantage."

Aunt Juley's face mutinied.  "Well, I'm glad," she said, "and
that's flat.  Such a how-de-do!"

Aunt Ann looked pained.  A considerable time passed.  Aunt Juley
began playing solitaire--she played without presence of mind, so
that extraordinary things happened on the board.  Aunt Ann sat
upright, with her eyes closed; and Aunt Hester, after watching them
for some minutes to see if they would open, took from under her
cushion a library volume, and hiding it behind a firescreen, began
to read--it was volume two and she did not yet know 'Lady Audley's'
secret: of course it WAS a novel, but, as Timothy had said, 'Better
the day, better the deed.'

The clock struck three.  Aunt Ann opened her eyes, Aunt Hester shut
her book.  Aunt Juley crumpled the solitaire balls together with a
clatter.  There was a knock on the door, for not belonging to the
upper regions, like Smither, Cook always knocked.

"Come in!"

Still in her pink print frock, Cook entered, and behind her entered
the dog, snowy white, with its coat all brushed and bushy, its
manner and its tail now cocky and now deprecating.  It WAS a
moment!  Cook spoke:

"I've brought it up, miss; it's had its dinner, and it's been
washed.  It's a nice little dear, and taken quite a fancy to me."

The three Aunts sat silent with their eyes now on the dog, now on
the legs of the furniture.

"'Twould 'ave done your 'eart good to see it eat, miss.  And it
answers to the name of Pommy."

"Fancy!" said Aunt Hester, with an effort.  She did so hate things
to be awkward.

Aunt Ann leaned forward; her voice rose firm, if rather quavery.

"It doesn't belong to us, Cook; and your master would never permit
it.  Smither shall go with it to the Police Station."

As if struck by the words, the dog emerged from Cook's skirt and
approached the voice.  It stood in a curve and began to oscillate
its tail very slightly; its eyes, like bits of jet, gazed up.  Aunt
Ann looked down at it; her thin veined hands, as if detached from
her firmness, moved nervously over her glacé skirt.  From within
Aunt Juley emotion was emerging in one large pout.  Aunt Hester was
smiling spasmodically.

"Them Police Stations!" said Cook.  "I'm sure it's not been
accustomed.  It's not as if it had a collar, miss."

"Pommy!" said Aunt Juley.

The dog turned at the sound, sniffed her knees, and instantly
returned to its contemplation of Aunt Ann, as though it recognised
where power was seated.  "It's really rather sweet!" murmured Aunt
Hester, and not only the dog looked at Aunt Ann.  But at this
moment the door was again opened.

"Mr. Swithin Forsyte, miss," said the voice of Smither.

Aunts Juley and Hester rose to greet their brother; Aunt Ann,
privileged by seventy-eight years, remained seated.  The family
always went to Aunt Ann, not Aunt Ann to the family.  There was a
general feeling that dear Swithin had come providentially, knowing
as he did all about horses.

"You can leave the little dog for the moment, Cook.  Mr. Swithin
will tell us what to do."

Swithin, who had taken his time on the stairs which were narrow,
made an entry.  Tall, with his chest thrown forward, his square
face puffy pale, his eyes light and round, the tiny grey imperial
below his moustached lips gave to him the allure of a master of
ceremonies, and the white dog, retreating to a corner, yapped
loudly.

"What's this?" said Swithin.  "A dog?"

So might one entering a more modern drawing-room, have said:
"What's this--a camel?"

Repairing hastily to the corner, Aunt Juley admonished the dog with
her finger.  It shivered slightly and was silent.  Aunt Ann said:

"Give dear Swithin his chair, Hester; we want your advice, Swithin.
This little dog followed Juley home this morning--he was lost."

Swithin seated himself with his knees apart, thus preserving the
deportment of his body and the uncreased beauty of his waistcoat.
His Wellington boots showed stiff beneath his almost light blue
trousers.  He said:

"Has Timothy had a fit?"

Dear Swithin--he was so droll!

"Not yet," said Aunt Hester, who was sometimes almost naughty.

"Well, he will.  Here, Juley, don't stand there stuck.  Bring the
dog out, and let's have a look at it.  Dog!  Why, it's a bitch!"

This curiously male word, though spoken with distinction, caused a
sensation such as would have accompanied a heavy fall of soot.  The
dog had been assumed by all to be of the politer sex, because of
course one didn't notice such things.  Aunt Juley, indeed, whom
past association with Septimus Small had rendered more susceptible,
had conceived her doubts, but she had continued to be on the polite
side.

"A bitch," repeated Swithin; "you'll have no end of trouble with
it."

"That is what we fear," said Aunt Ann, "though I don't think you
should call it that in a drawing-room, dear."

"Stuff and nonsense!" said Swithin.  "Come here, little tyke!"

And he stretched out a ringed hand smelling of dogskin--he had
driven himself round in his phaeton.

Encouraged by Aunt Juley, the little dog approached, and sat
cowering under the hand.  Swithin lifted it by the ruff round its
neck.

"Well-bred," he said, putting it down.

"We can't keep it," said Aunt Ann, firmly.  "The carpets--we
thought--the Police Station."

"If I were you," said Swithin, "I'd put a notice in The Times:
'Found, white Pomeranian bitch.  Apply, The Nook, Bayswater Road.'
You might get a reward.  Let's look at its teeth."

The little dog, who seemed in a manner fascinated by the smell of
Swithin's hand and the stare of his round china-blue eyes, put no
obstacle in the way of fingers that raised its upper and depressed
its lower lip.

"It's a puppy," said Swithin.  "Loo, loo, little tyke!"

This terrible incentive caused the dog to behave in a singular
manner; depressing its tail so far as was possible, it jumped
sideways and scurried round Aunt Hester's chair, then crouched with
its chin on the ground, its hindquarters and tail in the air,
looking up at Swithin with eyes black as boot-buttons.

"I shouldn't be surprised," said Swithin, "if it was worth money.
Loo, loo!"

This time the little dog scurried round the entire room, avoiding
the legs of chairs by a series of miracles, then, halting by a
marqueterie stand, it stood on its hind legs and began to eat the
pampas grass.

"Ring, Hester!" said Aunt Ann.  "Ring for Smither.  Juley, stop
it!"

Swithin, whose imperial was jutting in a fixed smile, said:

"Where's Timothy?  I should like to see it bite his legs."

Aunt Juley, moved by maternal spasms, bent down and picked the dog
up in her arms.  She stood, pouting over its sharp nose and soft
warm body, like the very figure of daring with the smell of soft
soap in its nostrils.

"I will take it downstairs myself," she said; "it shan't be teased.
Come, Pommy!"

The dog, who had no say whatever in the matter, put out a pink
strip of tongue and licked her nose.  Aunt Juley had the exquisite
sensation of being loved; and, hastily, to conceal her feelings,
bore it lolling over her arm away.  She bore it upstairs, instead
of down, to her room which was at the back of dear Ann's, and
stood, surrounded by mahogany, with the dog still in her arms.
Every hand was against her and the poor dog, and she squeezed it
tighter.  It was panting, and every now and then with its slip of a
tongue it licked her cheek, as if to assure itself of reality.
Since the departure of Septimus Small ten years ago, she had never
been properly loved, and now that something was ready to love her,
they wanted to take it away.  She sat down on her bed, still
holding the dog, while below, they would be talking of how to send
Pommy to the Police Station or put her into the papers!  Then,
noticing that white hairs were coming off on to her, she put the
dog down.  It sidled round the room, sniffing, till it came to the
washstand, where it stood looking at her and panting.  What DID it
want?  Wild thoughts passed through Aunt Juley's mind, till
suddenly the dog stood on its hind legs and licked the air.  Why,
it was thirsty!  Disregarding the niceties of existence, Aunt Juley
lifted the jug, and set it on the floor.  For some minutes there
was no sound but lapping.  Could it really hold all that?  The
little dog looked up at her, moved its tail twice, then trotted
away to inspect the room more closely.  Having inspected everything
except Aunt Juley, concerning whom its mind was apparently made up,
it lay down under the valance of the dressing table, with its head
and forepaws visible, and uttered a series of short spasmodic
barks.  Aunt Juley understood them to mean:  'Come and play with
me!'  And taking her sponge-bag, she dangled it.  Seizing it--So
unexpected!--the little dog shook it violently.  Aunt Juley was at
once charmed and horrified.  It was evidently feeling quite at
home; but her poor bag!  Oh! its little teeth WERE sharp and
strong!  Aunt Juley swelled.  It was as if she didn't care what
happened to the bag so long as the little dog were having a good
time.  The bag came to an end; and gathering up the pieces, she
thought defiantly:  'Well, it's not as if I ever went to Brighton
now!'  But she said severely:

"You see what you've done!"  And, together, they examined the
pieces, while Aunt Juley's heart took a resolution.  They might
talk as they liked:  Finding was keeping; and if Timothy didn't
like it, he could lump it!  The sensation was terrific.  Someone,
however, was knocking on the door.

"Oh!  Smither," said Aunt Juley, "you see what the little dog has
done?"  And she held up the sponge-bag defiantly.

"Aoh!" said Smither; "its teeth ARE sharp.  Would you go down,
ma'am?  Mr. and Mrs. James Forsyte are in the drawing-room.  Shall
I take the little dog now?  I daresay it'd like a run."

"Not to the Police Station, Smither.  I found it, and I'm going to
keep it."

"I'm sure, Ma'am.  It'll be company for me and Cook, now that
Tommy's gone.  It's took quite a fancy to us."

With a pang of jealousy Aunt Juley said:  "I take all the
responsibility.  Go with Smither, Pommy!"

Caught up in her arms, the little dog lolled its head over the edge
of Smither and gazed back sentimentally as it was borne away.  And,
again, all that was maternal in Aunt Juley swelled, beneath the
dark violet of her bosom sprinkled with white hairs.

"Say I am coming down."  And she began plucking off the white
hairs.

Outside the drawing-room door she paused; then went in, weak at the
knees.  Between his Dundreary whiskers James was telling a story.
His long legs projected so that she had to go round; his long lips
stopped to say:

"How are you, Juley?  They tell me you've found a dog," and resumed
the story.  It was all about a man who had been bitten and had
insisted on being cauterised until he couldn't sit down, and the
dog hadn't been mad after all, so that it was all wasted, and that
was what came of dogs.  He didn't know what use they were except to
make a mess.

Emily said:  "Pomeranians are all the rage.  They look so amusing
in a carriage."

Aunt Hester murmured that Jolyon had an Italian greyhound at
Stanhope Gate.

"That snippetty whippet!" said Swithin--perhaps the first use of
the term:  "There's no body in THEM."

"You're not going to KEEP this dog?" said James.  "You don't know
what it might have."

Very red, Aunt Juley said sharply:  "Fiddle-de-dee, James!"

"Well, you might have an action brought against you.  They tell me
there's a Home for Lost Dogs.  Your proper course is to turn it
out."

"Turn out your grandmother!" snapped Aunt Juley; she was not afraid
of James.

"Well, it's not your property.  You'll be getting up against the
Law."

"Fiddle the Law!"

This epoch-making remark was received in silence.  Nobody knew what
had come to Juley.

"Well," said James, with finality, "don't say I didn't tell you.
What does Timothy say--he'ud have a fit."

"If he wants to have a fit, he must," said Aunt Juley.  "_I_ shan't
stop him."

"What are you going to do with the puppies?" said Swithin:  "Ten to
one she'll have puppies."

"You see, Juley," said Aunt Ann.

Aunt Juley's agitation was such that she took up a fan from the
little curio table beside her, and began to wave it before her
flushed face.

"You're all against me," she said:  "Puppies, indeed!  A little
thing like that!"

Swithin rose.  "Good-bye to you all.  I'm going to see Nicholas.
Good-bye, Juley.  You come for a drive with me some day.  I'll take
you to the Lost Dogs' Home."  Throwing out his chest, he manoeuvred
to the door, and could be heard descending the stairs to the
accompaniment of the drawing-room bell.

James said mechanically:  "He's a funny fellow, Swithin!"

It was as much his permanent impression of his twin brother as was
Swithin's:  "He's a poor stick, James!"

Emily, who was bored, began talking to Aunt Hester about the new
fashion of eating oysters before the soup.  Of course it was very
foreign, but they said the Prince was doing it; James wouldn't have
it; but personally she thought it rather elegant.  She should see!
James had begun to tell Aunt Ann how Soames would be out of his
articles in January--he was a steady chap.  He told her at some
length.  Aunt Juley sat pouting behind her moving fan.  She had a
longing for dear Jolyon.  Partly because he had always been her
favourite and her eldest brother, who had never allowed anyone else
to bully her; partly because he was the only one who had a dog, and
partly because even Ann was a little afraid of him.  She sat
longing to hear him say:  "You're a parcel of old women; of course
Juley can keep what she found."  Because, that was it!  The dog had
followed her of its own free will.  It was not as if it had been a
precious stone or a purse--which, of course, would have been
different.  Sometimes Jolyon did come on Sundays--though generally
he took little June to the Zoo; and the moment he came James would
be sure to go away, for fear of having his knuckles rapped; and
that, she felt sure, would be so nice, since James had been horrid
about it all!

"I think," she said, suddenly, "I shall go round to Stanhope Gate,
and ask dear Jolyon."

"What do you want to do that for?" said James, taking hold of a
whisker.  "He'll send you away with a flea in your ear."

Whether or no this possibility deterred her, Aunt Juley did not
rise, but she ceased fanning herself and sat with the expression on
her face which had given rise to the family saying:  'Oh!  So-and-
so's a regular Juley!'

But James had now exhausted his weekly budget.  "Well, Emily," he
said, "you'll be wanting to get home.  We can't keep the horses any
longer."

The accuracy of this formula had never been put to the proof, for
Emily always rose at once with the words:

"Good-bye, dears.  Give our love to Timothy."  She had pecked their
cheeks and gone out of the room before James could remember what--
as he would tell her in the carriage--he had specially gone there
to ask them.

When they had departed, Aunt Hester, having looked from one to the
other of her sisters, muffled 'Lady Audley's Secret' in her shawl
and tiptoed away.  She knew what was coming.  Aunt Juley took the
solitaire board with hands that trembled.  The moment had arrived!
And she waited, making an occasional move with oozing fingers, and
stealing glances at that upright figure in black silk with jet
trappings and cameo brooch.  On no account did she mean to be the
first to speak; and she said, suddenly:

"There you sit, Ann!"

Aunt Ann, countering her glance with those grey eyes of hers that
saw quite well at a distance, spoke:

"You heard what Swithin and James said, Juley."

"I will NOT turn the dog out," said Aunt Juley.  "I will not, and
that's flat."  The blood beat in her temples and she tapped a foot
on the floor.

"If it were a really nice little dog, it would not have run away
and got lost.  Little dogs of that sex are not to be trusted.  You
ought to know that, at your age, Juley; now that we're alone, I can
talk to you plainly.  It will have followers, of course."

Aunt Juley put a finger into her mouth, sucked it, took it out, and
said:

"I'm tired of being treated like a little girl."

Aunt Ann answered calmly:

"I think you should take some calomel--getting into fantods like
this!  We have never had a dog."

"I don't want you to have one now," said Aunt Juley; "I want it for
myself.  I--I--"  She could not bring herself to express what was
in her heart about being loved--it would be--would be gushing!

"It's not right to keep what's not your own," said Aunt Ann.  "You
know that perfectly well."

"I will put an advertisement in the paper; if the owner comes, I'll
give it up.  But it followed me of its own accord.  And it can live
downstairs.  Timothy need never see it."

"It will spoil the carpets," said Aunt Ann, "and bark at night; we
shall have no peace."

"I'm sick of peace," said Aunt Juley, rattling the board.  "I'm
sick of peace, and I'm sick of taking care of things till they--
till you--till one belongs to them."

Aunt Ann lifted her hands, spidery and pale.

"You don't know what you're talking about.  If one can't take care
of one's things, one is not fit to have them."

"Care--care--I'm sick of care!  I want something human--I want this
dog.  And if I can't have it, I will go away and take it with me;
and that's flat."

It was, perhaps, the wildest thing that had ever been said at
Timothy's.  Aunt Ann said very quietly:

"You know you can't go away, Juley, you haven't the money; so it's
no good talking like that."

"Jolyon will give me the money; he will never let you bully me."

An expression of real pain centred itself between Aunt Ann's old
eyes.

"I do not think I bully," she said; "you forget yourself."

For a full minute Aunt Juley said nothing, looking to and fro from
her twisting fingers to the wrinkled ivory pale face of her eldest
sister.  Tears of compunction had welled up in her eyes.  Dear Ann
was very old, and the doctor was always saying--!  And quickly she
got out her handkerchief.

"I--I'm upset.--I--I didn't mean--dear Ann--I--" the words bubbled
out:  "b-b-but I d-do so w-want the little d-d-dog."

There was silence, broken by her sniffing.  Then rose the voice of
Aunt Ann, calm, a little tremulous:

"Very well, dear; it will be a sacrifice, but if it makes you
happier--"

"Oh!" sobbed Aunt Juley:  "Oh!"

A large tear splashed on the solitaire board, and with the small
handkerchief she wiped it off.




MIDSUMMER MADNESS, 1880


George, second son to Roger Forsyte of Prince's gate, was in the
year 1880 twenty-four years of age, and supposed to be a farmer.
That is to say he had failed for the Army, and had definitely
refused to enter any indoor profession.  This was why he spent the
inside of his weeks in any country pursuit which was not farming,
and the outside of his weeks in or about the Club in Piccadilly
which he had nicknamed 'The Iseeum.'  Nominally resident at
Plumtree Park in Bedfordshire, where a gentleman farmer eked out
his losses with the premiums paid by the fathers of his pupils,
George Forsyte's wit, of which he had a good deal, enabled him to
spend most of his time with neighbouring landowners, who let him
ride their horses or shoot their pheasants and rabbits.  In the
summer, when horses were turned out, pheasants turned in, and even
rabbits were breeding, George would sometimes look at other people
shearing sheep, and cheer them with his jests; but as a general
thing he would be found studying the conformation of the horse on
Newmarket Heath, or the conformation of chorus girls on the stage
of the Liberty Theatre.  But in this particular summer of 1880, as
will sometimes happen with men of the world, he had fallen in love.
The object of his affection was a very pretty woman with dark dove-
like eyes, who was somewhat naturally the wife of a man he knew
called Basset, a neighbouring landowner and Major in the Militia.
It may come as a shock to those who fifty years later have claimed
for themselves the abolition of morals to learn that George already
had none.  It was with a mere glow that he discovered himself to be
in love with a married woman.  Flora Basset, like most people with
dove-like eyes, was what was then known as a 'flirt'; and since she
lived in the country to please her husband, when she would rather
have lived in London, she considered herself entitled to such
amusement as came her way.  George was very amusing.

He began at Easter time by normal admiration of Flora's eyes and
conformation, and a normal hankering to make her his own; but as
summer came, he found these feelings gradually complicated by a
sensation which he had never before known, but which other people
had called jealousy.  In other words it became distasteful to think
of Flora as Mrs. Basset.  George was not of those who examine and
label their feelings, or he would perhaps have understood that
desire was becoming passion.

June arriving, and the weather turning hot, Major Basset, "that
poopstick" as George now called him in thought, went into camp with
his Militia.  George experienced a feeling, not merely of increased
hope, but of relief, for, when not in the presence of his Flora, he
had begun to ache.  But he was soon to discover that his Flora had
an excellent head, and knew how to keep it.  She had no intention
of being compromised.  George, of course, was well aware that if he
did compromise her, or rather himself, his position, dependent on
his father, a man of maturer years and the morals of an old
Forsyte, would become impossible; as likely as not, cut off with a
shilling, he would be obliged to live on racing debts.  But this
was not enough to make him thankful that his Flora would not let
him compromise her.  On the contrary her discretion drove him
nearly mad.

And the weather grew hotter; the trees, the flowers, the grasses
exuded more scent; the cuckoo's note became a little querulous; the
wood-pigeons emitted the ritornelles of love.  With the increasing
temperature more and more of his Flora became visible, and George
played croquet with her, and sat listening to her singing the songs
of opera bouffe, and now and again was permitted to stay to dinner,
and dismissed at nine o'clock; and his wit shrivelled within him in
the heat of his feelings; and half the month of June was gone.

Now in George was something dogged and tenacious; nor did he lack
hardihood.  He ceased not in his resolve; with heroism he fought
against the shrivelling of his wit, and like the unhappy clowns of
Kings in the old days, who must be merry whatever the conditions of
their hearts, continued to jest in the presence of his beloved, and
to subdue the smoulder in his bull-like eyes.  'Plain but
pleasant'--as he called himself--to cease being pleasant must lose
him the game.  But dry were the lips with which he jested; and
small was his knowledge of his Flora's heart.  What her feelings
were for the 'poopstick' who in a week's time would be returning he
never dared to ask.  And he suffered, he suffered as much as
moralists could wish; but he continued to jest, because it was--
jest or lose; and his Flora continued to smile on him with her dark
and dove-like eyes, to laugh little half-shocked laughs, to press
his hand faintly; to smell sweet and look enticing.  And the last
week passed.

Hotter and hotter, the sun flamed all day, and it was good to sit
in the shade.  Now, alongside the croquet lawn in front of the
Bassets' house, was a shrubbery of rhododendrons, and beyond this a
clump of lilacs and within it a summer-house and beyond this again
an orchard of plum and pear trees.

And George took from his Flora's hand the croquet mallet, and,
holding it out, said with a grin:

"Who's for a cooler?  Let's go and sit in the shade with this
between us."

His Flora laughed:

"George, how naughty you are!"

"Naughty but nice!" said George, and took her hand with the tips of
his fingers, walking delicately, for all his heaviness, as if
leading her to a minuet.  And, while he walked, he thought:  'The
last day--this is hell!'

They came to the summer-house.

"What?" said George; "no earwigs!  Forward, the Buffs!"

They entered, sat down; George placed the mallet between them.  And
silence fell--for the life of him he could no longer jest.

From across the mallet, Flora was gazing, cool and sweet against
the wooden wall, a little smile on her lips.  It was too much!
George took the mallet in both hands; his fleshy face had gone a
dusky red, his full thick-lidded eyes gazed lowering in front of
him, veins stood out on his forehead beneath his neatly parted
hair; the muscles in his arms below the rolled-up sleeves swelled
in ridges.  He laid the mallet down on his other side noiselessly
as if it had been a feather.

"Flora!" he said, and seized the sweet and unresisting creature.

So was accomplished his desire, with no words spoken.



He stood, presently, and watched her go, a finger to her lips and
her eyes still smiling; then through the orchard himself went away,
dumb and grateful for pleasure as the beasts that perish, and drunk
with triumph like a god.  The day had changed and darkened with the
heat.  The sky had an airless brooding aspect; flies buzzed
viciously and clung about him.  He sat down on the bank of a stream
and lighted a cigar.  He held it between lips that never ceased to
smile, and watched the smoke annoying the flies and midges.  He
listened, without hearing, to their hum, and to the cooing of the
wood-pigeons; he watched, without seeing, the extreme stillness of
the heat-darkened day.  Thus, he spent two hours lost in a few past
minutes.  He got up with a sigh, the scent of nettles, burdock and
the carted hay deep in his nostrils.  He would not go home, but
walked to the Inn.  He ate bread and cheese and drank porter.  And
then began again the longing to see and touch her that had for so
short time been appeased; and smoking a village clay he ached,
watching all light out of the sky; so heavy and hot the air, that
he sweated, sitting there.  And he thought:  'The last night!  She
might let me in--she might!'

He rose and went out into the breathless dark, retracing his steps
to the stream, and through the blinded orchard to the summer-house.
He groped and found the mallet and took it with him, stealing along
past the lilacs, to the edge of the rhododendron clump bordering
the lawn.  Dark!  It was more than dark, but he could just see the
house.  And, squatting on the grass, dry as tinder, he gazed up.
Two first floor windows alone were lighted, open but curtained--
hers--so well he knew the windows he had longed to enter!  And he
thought:  'By Gad!  I'll have a shot!' and going on his knees he
searched for tiny pebbles in the shrubbery.  Then drawing deep
breaths to still the pounding of his heart he moved towards the
house along the rhododendrons.  But then he stopped as if he had
been shot, and dropped to his knees on the grass.  A curtain had
been pulled aside; in the lighted window-space stood the figure of
a half-dressed man.  He was leaning there, inhaling the heavy
night; he turned and spoke into the room.  George saw his profile--
Basset!  Their voices carried to him in the stillness--his voice
and hers.  He saw a shimmer of white--flesh, drapery--pass across
behind; saw the man's arm go round it.  And George pressed his face
to the dry grass, stifling a groan.  He heard a woman's low laugh,
the window shut down, and furious pain jerked him to his knees.  To
take the mallet--to climb up--to brain him--her--to--to--!  He fell
forward again, with arms outstretched.  The smell of parched grass
mixed itself with his agony, for how long--how long--till the night
was rent with a blinding flash and thunder rolled round and round
him.  He staggered to his feet, ran into the dark; and stumbled
among the orchard trees.  Lightning flashed all round, he wanted it
to strike.  He wanted it to strike him, but he knew it wouldn't.
Then the rain fell--fell in a sheet, drenched him in a minute; fell
and fell, and cooled him even to the heart.  Like a drowned rat he
came to where he lived, and let himself in.  He went up to his
bedroom, and tearing off his clothes, flung himself into bed.  And
behind and through the crashing of the thunder he heard that low
soft laugh, and the window being shut down.  He fell asleep at
last.

When he woke the sun was shining in at his window; it shone across
the room on to his boots--fourteen pairs of boots and shoes, treed,
in triple rows, on the top of his chest-of-drawers.  Boots and
shoes of every kind--riding boots, shooting boots, town boots,
tennis boots, pumps.   George looked at them, with fish-like eyes.
In those well-worn and polished boots, treed against decay, was
life--his life--and in his heart, dragged from its drowned sleep,
was death.  That laugh!  No!  To hell with women!  Boots!  And,
lying there, he ground his teeth and grinned.




THE HONDEKOETER, 1880


Encountering his old friend Traquair opposite the Horse Guards, in
the summer of 1880, James Forsyte, who had taken an afternoon off
from the City, proceeded alongside with the words:

"I'm not well."

His friend answered:  "You look bobbish enough.  Going to the
Club?"

"No," said James.  "I'm going to Jobson's.  They're selling
Smelter's pictures.  Don't suppose there's anything, but I thought
I'd look in."

"Smelter?  Selling his 'Cupid and Pish,' as he used to call it?  He
never could speak the Queen's English."

"I'm sure I don't know what made him die," said James; "he wasn't
seventy.  His '47 was good."

"Ah!  And his brown sherry."

James shook his head.

"Liverish stuff.  I've been walking from the Temple; got a touch of
liver now."

"You ought to go to Carlsbad; that's the new place, they say."

"Homburg," said James, mechanically.  "Emily likes it--too
fashionable for me.  I don't know--I'm sixty-nine."  He pointed his
umbrella at a lion.

"That chap Landseer must ha' made a pretty penny," he muttered:
"They say Dizzy's very shaky.  HE won't last long."

"M'm!  That old fool Gladstone'll set us all by the ears yet.
Going to bid at Jobson's?"

"Bid?  Haven't got the money to throw away.  My family's growing
up."

"Ah!  How's your married daughter--Winifred?"

The furrow between James' brows increased in depth.

"She never tells me.  But I know that chap Dartie she married makes
the money fly."

"What is he?"

"An outside broker," said James, gloomily:  "But so far as I can
see, he does nothing but gallivant about to races and that.  He'll
do no good with himself."

He halted at the pavement edge, where a crossing had been swept,
for it had rained; and extracting a penny from his trouser pocket,
gave it to the crossing-sweeper, who looked up at his long figure
with a round and knowing eye.

"Well, good-bye, James.  I'm going to the Club.  Remember me to
Emily."

James Forsyte nodded, and moved, stork-like, on to the narrow
crossing.  Andy Traquair!  He still looked very spry!  Gingery
chap!  But that wife of his--fancy marrying again at his age!
Well, no fool like an old one.  And, incommoded by a passing four-
wheeler, he instinctively raised his umbrella--they never looked
where they were going.

Traversing St. James' Square, he reflected gloomily that these new
Clubs were thundering great places; and this asphalt pavement that
was coming in--he didn't know!  London wasn't what it used to be,
with horses slipping about all over the place.  He turned into
Jobson's.  Three o'clock!  They'd be just starting.  Smelter must
have cut up quite well.

Ascending the steps, he passed through the lobbies into the sale-
room.  Auction was in progress, but they had not yet reached the
'property of William Smelter Esq.'

Putting on his tortoiseshell pince-nez, James studied the
catalogue.  Since his purchase of a Turner--some said 'not a
Turner'--all cordage and drowning men, he had not bought a picture,
and he had a blank space on the stairs.  It was a large space in a
poor light; he often thought it looked very bare.  If there were
anything going at a bargain, he might think of it.  H'm!  There was
the Bronzino:  'Cupid and Pish' that Smelter had been so proud of--
a nude; he didn't want nudes in Park Lane.  His eye ran down the
catalogue:  "Claud Lorraine," "Bosboem," "Cornelis van Vos,"
"Snyders"--"Snyders"--m'm! still life--all ducks and geese, hares,
artichokes, onions, platters, oysters, grapes, turkeys, pears, and
starved-looking greyhounds asleep under them.  No. 17, "M.
Hondekoeter."  Fowls, 11 foot by 6.  What a whopping great thing!
He took three mental steps into the middle of the picture and three
steps out again.  "Hondekoeter."  His brother Jolyon had one in the
billiard room at Stanhope Gate--lot of fowls; not so big as that.
"Snyders!"  "Ary Scheffer"--bloodless-looking affair, he'd be
bound!  "Rosa Bonheur."  "Snyders."

He took a seat at the side of the room, and fell into a reverie--
with James a serious matter, indissolubly connected with
investments.  Soames--in partnership now--was shaping well;
bringing in a lot of business.  That house in Bryanston Square--the
tenancy would be up in September--he ought to get another hundred
on a re-let, with the improvements the tenant had put in.  He'd
have a couple of thousand to invest next Quarter Day.  There was
Cape Copper, but he didn't know; Nicholas was always telling him to
buy 'Midland.'  That fellow Dartie, too, kept worrying him about
Argentines--he wouldn't touch them with a pair of tongs.  And,
leaning forward with his hands crossed on the handle of his
umbrella, he gazed fixedly up at the skylight, as if seeing some
annunciation or other, while his shaven lips, between his grey
Dundrearys, filled sensually as though savouring a dividend.

"The collection of William Smelter, Esquire, of Russell Square."

Now for the usual poppycock!  "This well-known collector,"
"masterpieces of the Dutch and French Schools"; "rare opportunity";
"Connoisseur"; all me eye and Betty Martin!  Smelter used to buy
'em by the yard.

"No. 1.  Cupid and Psyche:  Bronzino.  Ladies and Gentlemen: what
shall I start it at--this beautiful picture, an undoubted
masterpiece of the Italian School?"

James sniggered.  Connoisseur--with his 'Cupid and Pish'!

To his astonishment there was some brisk bidding; and James' upper
lip began to lengthen, as ever at any dispute about values.  The
picture was knocked down and a 'Snyders' put up.  James sat
watching picture after picture disposed of.  It was hot in the room
and he felt sleepy--he didn't know why he had come; he might have
been having a nap at the Club, or driving with Emily.

"What--no bid for the Hondekoeter?  This large masterpiece."

James gazed at the enormous picture on the easel, supported at
either end by an attendant.  The huge affair was full of poultry
and feathers floating in a bit of water and a large white rooster
looking as if it were about to take a bath.  It was a dark
painting, save for the rooster, with a yellowish tone.

"Come, gentlemen?  By a celebrated painter of domestic poultry.
May I say fifty?  Forty?  Who'll give me forty pounds?  It's giving
it away.  Well, thirty to start it?  Look at the rooster!  Masterly
painting!  Come now!  I'll take any bid."

"Five pounds!" said James, covering the words so that no one but
the auctioneer should see where they came from.

"Five pounds for this genuine work by a master of domestic poultry!
Ten pounds did you say, Sir?  Ten pounds bid."

"Fifteen," muttered James.

"Twenty."

"Twenty-five," said James; he was not going above thirty.

"Twenty-five--why, the frame's worth it.  Who says thirty?"

No one said thirty; and the picture was knocked down to James,
whose mouth had opened slightly.  He hadn't meant to buy it; but
the thing was a bargain--the size had frightened them; Jolyon had
paid one hundred and forty for his Hondekoeter.  Well, it would
cover that blank on the stairs.  He waited till two more pictures
had been sold; then, leaving his card with directions for the
despatch of the Hondekoeter, made his way up St. James' Street and
on towards home.

He found Emily just starting out with Rachel and Cicely in the
barouche, but refused to accompany them--a little afraid of being
asked what he had been doing.  Entering his deserted house, he told
Warmson that he felt liverish; he would have a cup of tea and a
muffin, nothing more; then passing on to the stairs, he stood
looking at the blank space.  When the picture was hung, it wouldn't
be there.  What would Soames say to it, though--the boy had begun
to interest himself in pictures since his run abroad?  Still, the
price he had paid was not the market value; and, passing on up to
the drawing-room, he drank his China tea, strong, with cream, and
ate two muffins.  If he didn't feel better to-morrow, he should
have Dash look at him.

The following morning, starting for the office, he said to Warmson:

"There'll be a picture come to-day.  You'd better get Hunt and
Thomas to help you hang it.  It's to go in the middle of that space
on the stairs.  You'd better have it done when your mistress is
out.  Let 'em bring it in the back way--it's eleven foot by six;
and mind the paint."

When he returned, rather late, the Hondekoeter was hung.  It
covered the space admirably, but the light being poor and the
picture dark, it was not possible to see what it was about.  It
looked quite well.  Emily was in the drawing-room when he went in.

"What on earth is that great picture on the stairs, James?"

"That?" said James.  "A Hondekoeter; picked it up, a bargain, at
Smelter's sale.  Jolyon's got one at Stanhope Gate."

"I never saw such a lumbering great thing."

"What?" said James.  "It covers up that space well.  It's not as if
you could see anything on the stairs.  There's some good poultry in
it."

"It makes the stairs darker than they were before.  I don't know
what Soames will say.  Really, James, you oughtn't to go about
alone, buying things like that."

"I can do what I like with my money, I suppose," said James.  "It's
a well-known name."

"Well," said Emily, "for a man of your age--Never mind!  Don't
fuss!  Sit down and drink your tea."

James sat down, muttering.  Women--always unjust, and no more sense
of values than an old tom-cat!

Emily said no more, ever mistress of her suave and fashionable
self.

Winifred, with Montague Dartie, came in later, so that all the
family were assembled for dinner; Cicely having her hair down,
Rachel her hair up--she had 'come out' this season; Soames, who had
just parted with the little whiskers of the late 'seventies,
looking pale and flatter-cheeked than usual.  Winifred, beginning
to be 'interesting,' owing to the approach of a little Dartie, kept
her eyes somewhat watchfully on 'Monty,' square and oiled, with a
'handsome' look on his sallow face, and a big diamond stud in his
shining shirt-front.

It was she who broached the Hondekoeter.

"Pater dear, what made you buy that enormous picture?"

James looked up, and mumbled through his mutton:

"Enormous!  It's the right size for that space on the stairs."  It
seemed to him at the moment that his family had very peculiar
faces.

"It's very fine and large!"  Dartie was speaking!  'Um!' thought
James:  'What does HE want--money?'

"It's so yellow," said Rachel, plaintively.

"What do YOU know about a picture?"

"I know what I like, Pater."

James stole a glance at his son, but Soames was looking down his
nose.

"It's very good value," said James, suddenly.  "There's some first-
rate feather painting in it."

Nothing more was said at the moment, nobody wanting to hurt the
Pater's feelings, but, upstairs, in the drawing-room after Emily
and her three daughters had again traversed the length of the
Hondekoeter, a lively conversation broke out.

Really--the Pater!  Rococo was not the word for pictures that size!
And chickens--who wanted to look at chickens, even if you could see
them?  But, of course, Pater thought a bargain excused everything.

Emily said:

"Don't be disrespectful, Cicely."

"Well, Mater, he does, you know.  All the old Forsytes do."

Emily, who secretly agreed, said:  "H'ssh!"

She was always loyal to James, in his absence.  They all were,
indeed, except among themselves.

"Soames thinks it dreadful," said Rachel.  "I hope he'll tell the
Pater so."

"Soames will do nothing of the sort," said Emily.  "Really your
father can do what he likes in his own house--you children are
getting very uppish."

"Well, Mater, you know jolly well it's awfully out of date."

"I wish you would not say 'awfully' and 'jolly,' Cicely."

"Why not?  Everybody does, at school."

Winifred cut in:

"They really are the latest words, Mother."

Emily was silent; nothing took the wind out of her sails like the
word 'latest,' for, though a woman of much character, she could not
bear to be behindhand.

"Listen!" said Rachel, who had opened the door.

A certain noise could be heard; it was James, extolling the
Hondekoeter, on the stairs.

"That rooster," he was saying, "is a fine bird; and look at those
feathers floating.  Think they could paint those nowadays?  Your
Uncle Jolyon gave a hundred an' forty for his Hondekoeter, and I
picked this up for twenty-five."

"What did I say?" whispered Cicely.  "A bargain.  I hate bargains;
they lumber up everything.  That Turner was another!"

"Shh!" said Winifred, who was not so young, and wished that Monty
had more sense of a bargain than he had as yet displayed.  "I like
a bargain myself; you know you've got something for your money."

"I'd rather have my money," said Cicely.

"Don't be silly, Cicely," said Emily; "go and play your piece.
Your father likes it."

James and Dartie now entered, Soames having passed on up to his
room where he worked at night.

Cicely began her piece.  She was at home owing to an outbreak of
mumps at her school on Ham Common; and her piece, which contained a
number of runs up and down the piano, was one which she was
perfecting for the school concert at the end of term.  James, who
made a point of asking for it, partly because it was good for
Cicely, and partly because it was good for his digestion, took his
seat by the hearth between his whiskers, averting his eyes from
animated objects.  Unfortunately, he never could sleep after
dinner, and thoughts buzzed in his head.  Soames had said there was
no demand now for large pictures, and very little for the Dutch
school--he had admitted, however, that the Hondekoeter was a
bargain as values went; the name alone was worth the money.  Cicely
commenced her 'piece'; James brooded on.  He really didn't know
whether he was glad he had bought the thing or not.  Everyone of
them had disapproved, except Dartie; the only one whose disapproval
he would have welcomed.  To say that James was conscious of a
change in the mental outlook of his day would be to credit him with
a philosophic sensibility unsuited to his breeding and his age; but
he WAS uncomfortably conscious that a bargain was not what it had
been.  And while Cicely's fingers ran up and down--he didn't know,
he couldn't say.

"D'you mean to tell me," he said, when Cicely shut the piano, "that
you don't like those Dresden vases?"

Nobody knew whom he was addressing or why, so no one replied.

"I bought 'em at Jobson's in '67, and they're worth three times
what I gave for them."

It was Rachel who responded.

"Well, Pater, do you like them yourself?"

"Like them?  What's that got to do with it?  They're genuine, and
worth a lot of money."

"I wish you'd sell them, then, James," said Emily.  "They're not
the fashion now."

"Fashion!  They'll be worth a lot more before I die."

"A bargain," muttered Cicely, below her breath.

"What's that?" said James, whose hearing was sometimes unexpectedly
sharp.

"I said:  'A bargain,' Pater; weren't they?"

"Of course they were"; and it could be heard from his tone that if
they hadn't been, he wouldn't have bought them.  "You young people
know nothing about money, except how to spend it"; and he looked at
his son-in-law, who was sedulously concerned with his finger-nails.

Emily, partly to smooth James, whom she could see was ruffled, and
partly because she had a passion for the game, told Cicely to get
out the card table, and said with cheery composure:

"Come along, James, we'll play Nap."

They sat around the green board for a considerable time playing for
farthings, with every now and then a little burst of laughter, when
James said:  "I'll go Nap!"  At this particular game, indeed, James
was always visited by a sort of recklessness.  At farthing points
he could be a devil of a fellow for very little money.  He had soon
lost thirteen shillings, and was as dashing as ever.

He rose at last, in excellent humour, pretending to be bankrupt.

"Well, I don't know," he said, "I always lose MY money."

The Hondekoeter, and the misgivings it had given rise to, had faded
from his mind.

Winifred and Dartie departing, without the latter having touched on
finance, he went up to bed with Emily in an almost cheerful
condition; and, having turned his back on her, was soon snoring
lightly.

He was awakened by a crash and bumping rumble, as it might be
thunder, on the right.

"What on earth's that, James?" said Emily's startled voice.

"What?" said James:  "Where?  Here, where are my slippers?"

"It must be a thunderbolt.  Be careful, James."

For James, in his nightgown, was already standing by the bedside--
in the radiance of a night-light, long as a stork.  He sniffed
loudly.

"D'you smell burning?"

"No," said Emily.

"Here, give me the candle."

"Put on this shawl, James.  It can't be burglars; they wouldn't
make such a noise."

"I don't know," muttered James, "I was asleep."  He took the candle
from Emily, and shuffled to the door.

"What's all this?" he said on the landing.  By confused candle and
night-light he could see a number of white-clothed figures--Rachel,
Cicely, and the maid Fifine, in their nightgowns.  Soames in his
nightshirt, at the head of the stairs, and down below, that fellow
Warmson.

The voice of Soames, flat and calm, said:

"It's the Hondekoeter."

There, in fact, enormous, at the bottom of the stairs, was the
Hondekoeter, fallen on its face.  James, holding up his candle,
stalked down and stood gazing at it.  No one spoke, except Fifine,
who said:  "La, la!"

Cicely, seized with a fit of giggles, vanished.

Then Soames spoke into the dark well below him, illumined faintly
by James' candle.

"It's all right, Pater; it won't be hurt; there was no glass."

James did not answer, but holding his candle low, returned up the
stairs, and without a word went back into his bedroom.

"What was it, James?" said Emily, who had not risen.

"That picture came down with a run--comes of not looking after
things yourself.  That fellow Warmson!  Where's the eau-de-
Cologne?"

He anointed himself, got back into bed, and lay on his back,
waiting for Emily to improve the occasion.  But all she said was:

"I hope it hasn't made your head ache, James."

"No," said James; and, for some time after she was asleep, he lay
with his eyes on the night-light, as if waiting for the Hondekoeter
to play him another trick--after he had bought the thing and given
it a good home, too!

Next morning, going down to breakfast he passed the picture, which
had been lifted, so that it stood slanting, with its back to the
stair wall.  The white rooster seemed just as much on the point of
taking a bath as ever.  The feathers floated on their backs, curved
like shallops.  He passed on into the dining-room.

They were all there, eating eggs and bacon, suspiciously silent.

James helped himself and sat down.

"What are you going to do with it now, James?" said Emily.

"Do with it?  Hang it again, of course!"

"Not really, Pater!" said Rachel.  "It gave me fits last night."

"That wall won't stand it," said Soames.

"What!  It's a good wall!"

"It really is too big," said Emily.

"And we none of us like it, Pater," put in Cicely, "it's such a
monster, and so yellow!"

"Monster, indeed!" said James, and was silent, till suddenly he
spluttered:

"What would you have me do with it, then?"

"Send it back; sell it again."

"I shouldn't get anything for it."

"But you said it was a bargain, Pater," said Cicely.

"So it was!"

There was another silence.  James looked sidelong at his son; there
was a certain pathos in that glance, as if it were seeking help,
but Soames was concentrated above his plate.

"Have it put up in the lumber-room, James," said Emily, quietly.

James reddened between his whiskers, and his mouth opened; he
looked again at his son, but Soames ate on.  James turned to his
teacup.  And there went on within him that which he could not
express.  It was as if they had asked him:  "When is a bargain not
a bargain?" and he didn't know the answer, but they did.  A change
of epoch, something new-fangled in the air.  A man could no longer
buy a thing because it was worth more!  It was--it was the end of
everything.  And, suddenly, he mumbled:  "Well, have it your own
way, then.  Throwing money away, I call it!"

After he had gone to the office, the Hondekoeter was conducted to
the lumber-room by Warmson, Hunt, and Thomas.  There, covered by a
dust-sheet to preserve the varnish, it rested twenty-one years,
till the death of James in 1901, when it went forth and again came
under the hammer.  It fetched five pounds, and was bought by a
designer of posters, working for a poultry-breeding firm.




CRY OF PEACOCK, 1883


The Ball was over.  Soames decided to walk.  In the cloak-room,
whence he retrieved coat and opera hat, a mirror showed him a
white-waistcoated figure still trim, but a half-melted collar, and
a brown edging to the gardenia in his button-hole.  Hot with a
vengeance it had been!  And taking a silk handkerchief from his
cuff he passed it over his face before putting on his hat.

Down the broad red-carpeted steps where Chinese lanterns had burned
out, he passed into the Inner Temple and the dawn.  A faint air
from the river freshened his face.  Half-past three!

Perhaps he had never danced so often as that night--so often and so
long.  Six times with Irene!  Six times with girls of whom he now
remembered nothing.  Had he danced well--dancing with HER he had
been conscious only of her closeness and her scent; and, dancing
with those others, only of her circling apart, out of his reach.

Only fourteen days and fourteen nights--until her closeness and her
scent should be for ever his!  She should be nearly home by now,
with that stepmother of hers, in the hansom cab wherein he had
placed them.  How Irene detested that woman, and no wonder!  For
Soames knew well enough that to 'that woman's' wish to get her
stepdaughter married, so that she might marry again herself, he had
owed his own chances these past eighteen months.

From the hall, bright with colour and dark gleaming wood, he moved
slowly into half-lit stillness haunted by the drawl of a waltz
fading as he went.  And, inhaling long breaths of air grass-scented
by the Temple Gardens, Soames stripped off his gloves, thin, black-
stitched, of lavender hue.

Irene loved dancing!  It would not be good form to dance with one's
wife!  Would that prevent him?  No, by Jove!

By a rambler rose-bush in a tub and a Chinese lantern still alight--
last splash of colour in the grey of dawn--he turned, past one dim
lamp at the corner of Middle Temple Lane, down to the Embankment,
and Cleopatra's Needle.  Cleopatra!  A bad lot!  If she'd been
alive now, they'd have cut her in Rotten Row, and run her in for
suicide; and there was her needle and herself a great figure of
romance--like those other bad lots, Helen of Troy, Semiramis, Mary
Queen of Scots--because--because she had felt in her veins what he
felt now!  Grand passion, no grander than his own!  Well, they
would never make HIM a figure of romance!  And Soames grinned.

He walked half-conscious, a sensation about his ribs, as though his
soul were bathing in a scent of sweet briar.  All was empty of
sound--no footsteps, and no wheels--empty, foliaged, broad, the
grey river coming to colour as the sun trembled to the horizon.
All waiting for the one idea of the whole world--heat.  And Soames,
with his one idea, walked fast.  Her window!  Surely the light in
that window would not yet be out!  If, for a moment of fresh air,
she drew aside the blind, he might still see her, unseen himself,
behind some lamp-post, in some doorway--see her as he had never
seen her yet, as soon he would see her every night and every
morning.  And with that thought racing through him he almost ran
past each paling lamp, past Big Ben and the Abbey, slowly creeping
to colossal life from its roof down, into Victoria Street, past his
own rooms to the corner of the street where she was staying.  There
he stopped, his heart beating.  He must take care!  She mustn't see
him.  She was strange, she was fitful--she mightn't like it--she
wouldn't like it.  He edged along the far side of the empty street.
Dared he go further?  Surely she could not mind if he walked
swiftly past.  Fourth house now--first window on the second floor!
And by a lamp-post he halted peering up.  Open--yes--and the
curtains half drawn back to cool the room before she slept!  Dared
he?  Suppose she saw him stealing by, stealing on her when she
thought herself alone, unseen?  Yet, if she saw him, would it not
prove to her once more how that she was his one thought, one prize,
and one desire?  Could she mind that?  In truth--he did not know,
and he stood there, waiting.  She must come to close the curtains
against the brightening daylight.  If only she had for him the
feeling he had for her, then, indeed, she could not mind--she would
be glad, and their gaze would cling together across this empty
London street, eerie in its silence with not a cat to mark the
meeting of their eyes.  Blotted against the lamp-post he stayed
unmoving, aching for a sight of her.  With his coat he blotted the
whiteness of his shirt-front, took off his hat and crushed it to
him.  Now he was any stray early idler with cheek against lamp-post
and no face visible, any returning reveller.  But his eye close to
the lamp-post's iron moved not from that blank oblong where the
curtain stirred feebly in the dawn breeze.  And, then he trembled.
A white arm from the elbow up had slid into his view, and on the
hand of it he saw her face resting, looking straight up over the
roof opposite at the brightening sky.  With a sort of passion he
screwed his eyes to slits that he might see the expression on her
face.  But he could not--too far, far as she always was, as she
must not, should not always be.  Of what was she thinking?  Of him?
Of those little fleecy clouds passing from the west?  Of the
cooling air?  Of herself?  Of what?  Joined with the lamp-post he
stood, still as the dead, for if she caught sight of its thickened
base she would vanish.  Her neck, her hair looped back were mixed
into the folds of curtain--just the arm round and white he saw,
just the oval of her lifted face, so still that he held his breath
there, a hundred feet away.  And then--the sparrows cheeped, all
the sky brightened.  He saw her rise; for a second saw her
nightgowned figure, her hands reach up, the long white arms, and
the screening curtains close.  A sensation as of madness stirred in
his limbs, he sprang away, and, muffling his footsteps, fled back
to Victoria Street.  There he turned not towards his rooms, but
away from them:  Paradise deferred!  He could not sleep.  He walked
at a great rate.  A policeman stared at him, an early dust-cart
passed, the thick horse clop-clopping out the only sound in all the
town.  Soames turned up towards Hyde Park.  This early world of
silent streets was to him unaccustomed, as he himself, under this
obsession, would be to all who knew and saw him daily, self-
contained, diligent, a flat citizen.  In Knightsbridge a belated
hansom, with a dim couple, fled jingling by, another and another.
Soames walked west to where the house, which he with her would
inhabit, stood bright with its fresh paint, and a board with a
builder's name.  In the garnishing thereof he and she had been more
conjoined than ever yet, and he gazed at the little house with
gratitude, and a sort of awe.  Twelve hours ago he had paid the
decorator's bill.  And in that house he would live with HER--
incredible!  It looked like a dream in this early light--that whole
small long square of houses like a dream of his future, her future,
strange and unlived.

And superstitious dread came to the unsuperstitious Soames; he
turned his eyes away lest he should stare the little house into
real unreality.  He walked on, past the barracks to the Park rails,
still moving west, afraid of turning homewards till he was tired
out.  Past four o'clock, and still an empty town, empty of all that
made it a living hive, and yet this very emptiness gave it intense
meaning.  He felt that he would always remember a town so different
from that he saw every day; and himself he would remember--walking
thus, unseen and solitary with his desire.

He went past Prince's Gate and turned.  After all he had his work--
ten-thirty at the office!  Road and Park and houses stared at him
now in the full light of earliest morning.  He turned from them
into the Park and crossed to the Row side.  Funny to see the Row
with no horses tearing up and down, or trapesing past like cats on
hot bricks, no stream of carriages, no rows of sitting people,
nothing but trees and the tan track.  The trees and grass, though
no dew had fallen, breathed on him; and he stretched himself at
full length along a bench, his hands behind his head, his hat
crushed on his chest, his eyes fixed on the leaves patterned
against the still brightening sky.  The air stole faint and fresh
about his cheeks and lips, and the backs of his hands.  The first
sunlight came stealing flat from trunk to trunk, birds did not sing
but talked, a wood pigeon back among the trees was cooing.  Soames
closed his eyes, and instantly imagination began to paint, for the
eyes deep down within him, pictures of her.  Picture of her--
standing passive in her frock flounced to the gleaming floor, while
he wrote his initials on her card.  Picture of her adjusting with
long gloved fingers a camellia come loose in her corsage; turning
for him to put her cloak on--pictures, countless pictures, and ever
strange, of her face sparkling for moments, or brooding, or averse;
of her cheek inclined for his kiss, of her lips turned from his
lips, of her eyes looking at him with a question that seemed to
have no answer; of her eyes, dark and soft over a grey cat purring
in her arms; picture of her auburn hair flowing as he had not seen
it yet.  Ah! but soon--but soon!  And as if answering the call of
his imagination a cry--long, not shrill, not harsh exactly, but so
poignant--jerked the blood to his heart.  From back over there it
came trailing, again and again, passionate--the lost soul's cry of
peacock in early morning; and with it there uprose from the spaces
of his inner being the vision that was for ever haunting there, of
her with hair unbound, of her all white and lost, yielding to his
arms.  It seared him with delight, swooned in him, and was gone.
He opened his eyes; an early water-cart was nearing down the Row.
Soames rose and walking fast beneath the trees sought sanity.




FRANCIE'S FOURPENNY FOREIGNER, 1888


In the latest 'eighties there was that still in the appearance of
Francie Forsyte which made people refer to her on Forsyte 'Change
as 'Keltic' looking.  The expression had not long been discovered,
and, though no one had any knowledge of what a Kelt looked like, it
was felt to be good.

If she did not precisely suggest the Keltic twilight, she had dark
hair and large grey eyes, composed music, wrote stories and poems,
and played on the violin.  For all these reasons she was allowed a
certain license by the family, who did not take her too seriously,
and the limit of the license granted is here recorded.

Thin, rather tall, intense and expressive, Francie had a certain
charm, together with the power, engrained in a daughter of Roger,
of marketing her wares, and at the age of thirty she had secured a
measure of independence.  She still slept at Prince's Gate, but had
a studio in the purlieus of Chelsea.  For the period she was
advanced, even to the point of inviting to tea there her editors,
fellow writers, musicians, and even those young men with whom she
danced in Kensington, generically christened 'Francie's lovers' by
her brother George.

At Timothy's in the Bayswater Road, they would say to her at times:

"Do you think it's quite nice, dear, to have young men to tea with
you?"

And Francie would answer:

"Why not?" which always stopped further enquiry, for the aunts felt
that it would be even less nice to put a finer point on it, and,
after all, dear Francie was musical.  It was believed in the
family, rather than known, that she was always in love with
someone, but that seemed natural in one of her appearance and was
taken to be spiritual rather than bodily.  And this diagnosis was
perfectly correct, such was the essential shrewdness underlying the
verbal niceties on Forsyte 'Change.

It was shortly after she had at last succeeded in getting her
violin sonata--so much the most serious item of her music--
published, that she met the individual soon to be known as
"Francie's Fourpenny Foreigner."  The word 'Dago' not having then
come to the surface, the antipathetic contempt felt by Anglo-Saxons
for everything male, on two legs, deriving from below the latitude
of Geneva, had no verbal outlet.  From above the latitude of Geneva
a foreigner was, if not respected, at least human, but a foreigner
from below was undoubtedly 'fourpenny,' if not less.

This young man, whose surname, Racazy, had a catch in it which
caught every Forsyte, but whose Christian name was Guido, had come,
if Francie was to be believed, from a place called Ragusa to
conquer London with his violin.  He had been introduced to her by
the publisher who had brought forth her sonata, as essentially the
right interpreter of that considerable production; partly, no
doubt, because at this stage of his career he would interpret
anything for nothing, and partly because Francie, free at the
moment from any spiritual entanglement, had noticed his hair, like
that of Rafael's best young men, and asked for the introduction.

Within a week he was playing the sonata in her studio for the first
and last time.  The fact that he never even offered to play it
again ought to have warned Francie, but with a strange mixture of
loyalty to what she admired at the moment and a Forsytean
perception that the more famous he became the more famous would she
become, she installed him the 'lover' of the year, and proceeded to
make his name.  No one can deny that her psychology was at fault
from the first; she gauged wrongly Guido, her family, and herself;
but such misconceptions are slow to make themselves felt, and the
license she enjoyed had invested Francie with a kind of bravura.
She had the habit of her own way, and no tactical sense of the
dividing line between major and minor operations.  After trying him
out at the Studio on an editor, two girl friends, and a 'lover' so
out of date that he could be relied on, she began serious work by
inviting the young man to dinner at Prince's Gate.  He came in his
hair, undressed, with a large bow tie 'flopping about on his
chest,' as Eustace put it in his remonstrance after the event.  It
was a somewhat gruesome evening, complicated by the arrival of
George, while the men were still at wine, to 'touch his father for
a monkey.'  His Ascot had been lamentable, and he sat, silently
staring at the violinist as though he were the monkey.

Roger, in his capacity of host, alone attempted to put the young
man at his ease.

"I hear you play the fiddle," he said.  "Can you make your living
at that?"

"But yes, I maka ver' good living."

"What do you call good?" said Roger, ever practical.

"I maka quite a 'undred pound a year."

"H'm!" said Roger:  "Do you like the climate here?"

The young man shook his hair.

"No!  Rain he rain; no sun to shina."

"Ha!" said Roger.  "What's your own part of the world?"

"Ragusa."

"Eh!  In the Balkans, um?"

"I am ze 'alf Italiano."

At this moment Eustace, obeying a wink from George's brooding eyes,
rose, and said:

"Shall we go up and have some--er--music?"

Roger and George were left; nor was either of them seen again that
evening.

In the drawing-room Mrs. Roger, placid by now to the point of
torpor, had said to Francie:

"Of course, my dear, he is striking in a way, but he doesn't look
very clean, does he?"

"That's only his skin, Mother."

"But how do you know, dear?"

"Oh!  Well, he comes from Ragusa."

"I wonder," said Mrs. Roger, "if that is where 'ragouts' originally
came from.  I felt that he didn't care very much for the dinner to-
night."

"He's all spirit," said Francie.  "Everybody here thinks so much
about food."

"Yes," sighed Mrs. Roger, "if it weren't for your father, I
shouldn't think nearly as much about food as I have to.  I
sometimes wish I could go where sheep and oxen are unknown, and
there are no seasons."

"Food is a terrible bore," said Francie.

Her mother looked at her intently.

"I'm sure you had nothing but a bun for lunch."

"A bath bun, dear."

"It's not enough, Francie."

"I never have more if I can help it."

"Your independence will ruin you one of these days.  I'm certain
your father won't like you seeing much of THAT young man."

"Father's hopeless," said Francie.  "He ought to be stuffed."

A faint smile appeared on Mrs. Roger's face, as if she were
thinking:  'Perhaps he is,' but she said:

"Don't be disrespectful, dear."

At this moment they came, Eustace exceptionally dandified as though
to counterbalance his associate.  Francie seated her 'foreigner' on
the sofa, dark and sulky, and herself beside him.  Eustace and his
mother played piquet.  The sound of George leaving (without his
monkey) and soon thereafter of Roger going up to bed, brought a
somewhat painful evening to its end.

In their bedroom, after holding forth on a son like George, Roger
said abruptly:

"And as to Francie, what does she want to pick up with a fourpenny
foreigner for!  That girl will get herself into a mess."

Mrs. Roger having exhausted her powers of palliation over George,
did not reply.

"A fiddler, too," added Roger.

"She can't help being musical, dear," said Mrs. Roger.

"No good ever came of music," said Roger.  "Wake me if I snore; it
gives me a sore throat . . . ."

Undeterred by the wintry nature of that evening, Francie continued
to promote the fortunes of her 'lover.'  She even took him to
Timothy's.  It was at a period when the whole family was still
slightly in mourning, over that "dreadful business of Soames, Irene
and young Bosinney, my dear," which had so nearly got into the
papers.  Extraordinary sensitiveness prevailed, and anything
manifestly un-Forsytean was scrutinised as with the eyes of
parrots.

What Francie was doing with a young man whose hair stood out round
him like a tea-tray, whose complexion was olive and whose eyes were
almost black, was an insoluble problem which all did their utmost
to solve, shaking the head and wagging the tongue.  Aunt Juley
alone ventured the opinion that he was romantic-looking, and was
stigmatised by Swithin as a 'sentimental old fool.'

"The fellow ought to be jumping about on a barrel organ in a red
cap," he added:  "Romantic!"

It was, indeed, the damning of faint praise among a family who felt
that romance was the last thing they wanted to hear of for a very
long time to come.  The visit to Aunts Hester and Juley, at which
only Swithin and Euphemia were present, lasted but twenty minutes
and was 'carried off' by Francie's bravura.  She took her foreigner
away in a bus and soothed him with broken Italian all the way home
to her studio.  Her protective feeling and something slightly
rapturous had been roused in her by the sight of Swithin, block-
like and portentous above his waistcoats, in a light blue chair.
Guido was so delightfully unlike that!  Her main energies were now
concentrated on securing a concert for him.  There was little she
did not dare to this end.  It took place just as the season closed
in a small hall newly opened by a firm of piano-makers.

Among many others, the whole Forsyte family were sent cards of
invitation written by Francie.  Even Swithin received one at his
Club.  This was probably the first time he had ever been invited to
a concert and he announced his intention of going and seeing what
it was all about.  In his opinion the girl was spending a pretty
penny on this fourpenny foreigner (Roger's phrase having become
current).  From uneasy curiosity, in fact, rather than from love of
music, a considerable number of the clan attended.  Swithin found
himself situated between his niece Winifred Dartie, whom he always
found personable, and his niece Euphemia, who was too thin and
squeaked.  He slept heavily during the second number and woke just
in time, with a snore so loud that it elicited from Euphemia one of
the most outstanding squeaks that even she had ever let escape.
During the applause which followed, he turned to her, so far,
indeed, as he was able, and enquired:  'What on earth she had made
that noise for?'  To which Euphemia replied:

"Oh!  Uncle Swithin, you'll kill me!"  She had a great, if
inconvenient, sense of humour.

During the third number Swithin remained awake, staring, pop-eyed,
at the young man's agility and wishing he had remembered to put
cotton-wool in his ears.  In the interval which followed he
manoeuvred himself out of his seat, and not waiting for his
carriage, took a four-wheeled cab to his Club, where he lit a cigar
and instantly fell asleep.  It was his opinion, afterwards
recorded, that the fellow had made a lot of noise--a capering chap!

The concert, which produced the sum of thirteen pounds, three
shillings and sixpence, cost Francie practically all her savings.
Far more serious, however, was its spiritual effect.  The notices
were bad.  Francie was furious.  Guido, who had borne one bad
notice beautifully with a curl of his lip, broke into imprecations
at the second, tore at his hair after the third, and dissolved into
tears with the fourth.  Greatly moved, Francie took his head
between her hands and kissed him above the tears.  And with that
kiss was born in her a serious feeling, not exactly bodily, but as
if he belonged to her, and must be sustained through thick and
thin.  A fortnight later--a fortnight spent in storm and shine,
during which she gave him a pair of silver-backed brushes, some
special hair shampoo, some new ties, and an umbrella--she announced
to her mother by note that she and Guido were engaged.  She added
that she was going to sleep at the Studio till father had got over
the fit he would certainly have.

There again she went wrong in her psychology, incapable, like all
the young Forsytes, of appreciating exactly the quality which had
made the fortunes of all the old Forsytes.  In a word, they had
fits over small matters, but never over large.  When stark reality
stared them in the face they met it with the stare of a still
starker reality.

Beyond the words:  "The girl's mad," Roger, to the infinite relief
of Mrs. Roger, said absolutely nothing.  His face acquired a sudden
dusky-red rigidity, and he left the dining-room.  He went into his
sanctum--the room where he had thought out the future of countless
pieces of house property--took up a paper-knife and sat down in an
armchair.  He sat there for fully half an hour without a sound
except the dull click of the paper-knife against his lower teeth
still firm as rocks.  Francie was his only daughter, and in his
peculiar way (not for nothing was Roger considered eccentric in the
family) he was fond of her; fonder than of his mere sons Roger,
George, Eustace, and Thomas; and he sat, not fuming--the matter was
too serious.  Presently he arose and returned to the dining-room
where Mrs. Roger was in distraction over the composition of a
letter to her daughter.

"Do you know where that young fellow lives?" he said.

"Yes, Roger, at 5, Glendower Mews, Kensington."

"Write a note asking him to lunch here with Francie to-day week.
Do the same to Francie.  Where's The Times?"

Mrs. Roger produced The Times, and faltered out:

"What are you going to do, Roger?"

"Ask no questions and you'll be told no lies; don't get into a
fantod, leave it to me!"

He took The Times to his sanctum, scanned a page carefully, looked
at his calendar, and wrote a note.  Then he got up and stood with
his square back to the fireplace and his head bent forward.  His
full, rather bumpy forehead was flushed.  He alone of the old
Forsytes had become entirely clean-shaven--another sign of
eccentricity at that period--and his rather full lips were
compressed into a straight line.  The die he was going to cast was
momentous even for one who had been bidding at auctions all his
life.  Ten minutes to ten!  Taking up his cheque book, he signed a
cheque form, tore it out, put his cheque book into his pocket and
rang the bell.

The broad and cheerful butler stood within the doorway.

"Yes, Sir?"

"Come in, Smith, and shut the door.  I want you to do a job for me.
Take this note down in a cab at once, get what I've asked for, pay
for it with this cheque--you can fill in the right amount; then
bring it straight to me at 5, Glendower Mews.  I'll expect you soon
after eleven.  Look sharp, and take your toothbrush; you may be
away for the night."

"Yes, Sir."

When the butler had removed his smile Roger stood at the window
looking at the day.  It was fine.

"I'll take no chances," he said, and went out into the hall.  There
he took down a grey top hat--the only one then in the family,
extracted his umbrella from the stand, and went out.  It was the
Friday before August Bank Holiday, and he was only in town because
a house that he intended to buy was coming up to auction on the
Tuesday.  He walked slowly, taking care not to get hot.  The young
fellow--a fiddler and a foreigner--would not be up before eleven,
but he had no intention of missing him, and he arrived at Glendower
Place about half-past ten.  He knew it well enough, for he owned a
house there.  The Mews was round the corner.  Noting that it had
but one entrance, he went on patrol.  Beyond cats and caretakers no
one took any interest in him, and he spent thus a good half-hour.
As a neighbouring clock struck eleven a hansom cab drew up and
Smith alighted.  He handed Roger a large envelope.  Having perused
its contents, Roger nodded.  "Wait here," he said to the cabman.
"Now, Smith, follow me."  At Number 5 he raised his umbrella and
knocked.  The door was opened by the very pattern of a coachman's
wife.

"I want to see the young foreign gentleman who lodges here--Mr.
Guido Ratcatski."  The strains of a bow being scraped up and down a
violin were audible.  "Up these stairs, I suppose?"

The coachman's wife, with her eyes on Roger's hat, replied:

"Yes, Sir, and mind the little step at the top."

Roger ascended, followed by the smiling Smith.

"Stay here," said Roger, at the little step; and, raising his
umbrella, tapped.  The door was opened.

"Good morning," said Roger, removing his hat and walking in.  "Good
place for practising you have here.  Sit down, I want to talk to
you."

The young man, who was in his hair and shirt-sleeves, put down his
violin, and, frowning darkly, leaned against the window-sill,
crossing his arms.

Roger surveyed the room.  It was, in his view, exceptionally
sordid, containing a yellow chest of drawers, an iron bedstead, a
round washstand, some clothes littered about, and little else.  It
was hot, too, had a sloping roof, and smelled of stables.  "Phew!"
he said.

Behind the young foreigner's glowering gaze, his shrewd grey eyes
had not failed to remark a certain panic.

"Well, young man, I take it you're ambitious."

"Ambeetious?  Vot is dat?"

"Want to get on in your profession."

"Yees."

"That's right--quite right, and so you will!  Now, about this
affair with my daughter?"

"Vell!"

Roger looked straight into his eyes.

"It won't do, you know.  You can't afford to marry a girl who'll
have nothing.  I won't beat about the bush.  She's got no money of
her own, and if she marries you, she won't get a penny from me."

"Money!" said the young man, violently:  "Money!  It ees all
money!"

"Yes," said Roger, "all money.  And I repeat, she won't get a penny
from me.  How old are you?"

"Tventee-fife."

"She was bottled in fifty-eight.  She's thirty if a day.  You told
me you made a hundred a year.  With her stories she makes fifty if
she's lucky.  A hundred and fifty a year between you?  Are you
going to support babies on that, at the beginning of your career?"

"Ve lof each oder," said the young man, sullenly.

Roger shook his head.

"No such thing as love on a hundred and fifty a year.  Now listen
to me."

"I vill not listen--I vill not listen."

Roger slowly raised his umbrella, as if taking a lunar of the young
man's capacity.

"This is a passing fancy of my daughter's," he said; "she has one
every year--you're the last.  Now you're not getting on in London,
your concert was a failure, the climate doesn't suit you.  I make
you an offer."  He drew the envelope and his cheque book from his
breast pocket.  "Here's a first-class passage to New York by the
boat to-morrow morning from Liverpool."  He tapped his cheque book:
"And three hundred pounds if you'll go straight off now, without
saying good-bye to her."

He paused, steadily regarding the unfortunate young man, who broke
into a violent perspiration, writhed on the window-sill, thrust his
hands into his hair, and uttered a curious hissing.  Roger made out
the words:

"It ees dishonourable.  She lof me."

"Nonsense!" he said.  "However, I'll make it four hundred, and you
can cash it on the way to the station.  Now be sensible.  My
butler's outside.  He'll see you comfortably off at Liverpool.
With four hundred pounds you can make your name.  With a wife and
babies you'll starve in a kennel.  Give me a pen and ink."

The young man's face was 'a study,' his hair stood up, he stammered
incomprehensible words, while his eyes made desperate efforts to
avoid the cheque book.  Roger waited, holding it open.  It was like
bidding at an auction.

"I'll throw you in another fifty to start you fair.  Don't be a
fool and condemn my daughter and yourself to wretchedness.  I mean
what I said--not one penny will she have from me.  Now be a man and
save her."

The young man clapped his hand to the breast of his pink striped
shirt.

"I feel it 'ere," he said.  "I cannot go like that."

"Save her!" repeated Roger.  "Come!  Where's the ink?"

The young man pointed.  Roger saw on the mantelpiece a penny bottle
of ink, and suddenly his nerves twittered.  It was as if he had
seen the brink on which his daughter was standing.

"Five hundred!" he said, sharply.

The young man threw up his hands.  "I save her!" he cried.

Roger wrote the cheque.

"Smith!  Take Mr. Ratcatski to Euston and catch the next train to
Liverpool.  Go to a good hotel, see he has everything he wants, and
put him on board the boat for New York in the morning.  He is
called there on important business.  On the way to the station go
to my bank and get this cheque cashed, and give him the notes and
his ticket, when he's on board and NOT BEFORE.  He's a foreigner,
and might get imposed on."  Then, turning to the young man, who was
staring dreadfully, he added:  "There's a cab waiting.  Smith will
put your things together."

Francie's foreigner remained rooted to the window-sill, his hands
embedded in his hair.  Suddenly he came to life, and, seizing his
violin, clasped it to his pink striped chest.

"Dees is my vife," he said.

A feeling that the young man was at the moment perfectly sincere
quarrelled violently in Roger with the desire to kick him.

"That's right!" he said.

In the doorway he heard Smith murmur:  "He'll not get away from me,
Sir, if I 'ave to 'old 'im by the slack of his breeches.  I'll get
'im off all right."

Roger nodded.  "Mum's the word!  And if he writes any letters,
collar them."

Out in the Mews, he wiped his forehead.  Hot work!  Passing the
cab, he stopped at the corner to watch.  He didn't trust that young
beggar a yard.  In a few minutes, however, he saw him coming
hugging his violin and followed by Smith carrying a large bag.
They got into the cab and drove off.  Roger uttered a sigh of such
relief that a passer stopped to look at him; his knees had suddenly
given way, and but for the man's arm he would have fallen.

"'Allo, Sir!" said the man.  "Took ill?"

Roger shook off his arm.

"No," he said, testily.

He moved away a few steps to assert his independence, but was
obliged to stand still again.  After all, he was seventy-five, the
day was hot, and he had been bidding for the life of his only
daughter.  To think that a fourpenny foreigner had cost him five
hundred odd pounds!  Yes, and he'd only got him by pure bluff.  HE
knew--if that young beggar didn't--that no Forsyte would be capable
of watching his own daughter in actual want.  If the fellow had
held out and refused to budge, the fat would have been in the fire.
Sooner or later he would have had to make them an allowance to keep
the wolf from the door.  A narrow shave!  A regular squeak!  And
seeing a hansom in the distance, he hailed it.

At home, under the strict seal of secrecy, he retailed the matter
to Mrs. Roger.  She listened in a turmoil of admiration and dismay.
"Poor Francie!" she said, tremulously.

"Poor fiddlestick!  A fourpenny foreign adventurer! she ought to
thank me on her knees.  But there it is, I never get thanked for
anything."

"Oh!  Roger, I'm sure we're all very grateful; but--er--poor dear
Francie!"

"If you ever tell her," said Roger, "I'll cut you off with a
shilling."

"Of course I shan't tell her, Roger.  But why did you make me ask
them to lunch next week?"

"To put her off the scent, of course!  What did you think?  But
women never think.  Here!  Give me one of those powders.  I've got
a headache."

Smith returned the following afternoon.  He had seen 'Mr.
Ragcatchy' off.  The young man had seemed low-spirited but had
counted the notes twice.  So far as he--Smith--knew, he had written
no letter.  As the ship moved out, Smith from the dock below had
noticed that he was like a bear on hot bricks, and had caught hold
of his hair.

"Hope he pulled some out," said Roger.  "I shall raise your wages
for this."

"Thank you, Sir," said Smith, "but it was a reel pleasure to me, I
do assure you.  'E wouldn' never 'ave done for Miss Francie, if I
may say so, Sir."

And Francie!  What she suffered, what she suspected, what she knew,
no one ever heard.  She wrote to her mother after four days saying
that there had been a mistake and Guido had gone away.  A week
later she returned to Prince's Gate, paler, thinner, more Keltic-
looking than ever.  She left town for Ilfracombe on the following
day.  In the autumn she took another 'lover.'  No one ever heard
her allude again to her "fourpenny foreigner."  In Roger's mind
alone did he remain enshrined as the most expensive fourpennyworth
ever known.




FOUR-IN-HAND FORSYTE, 1890


Such historians as record the tides of social manners and morals,
have neglected the bicycle.  Yet would it be difficult to deny that
this 'invention of the devil,' as Swithin Forsyte always called it
because 'a penny-farthing' had startled his greys at Brighton in
1874--has been responsible for more movement in manners and morals
than anything since Charles the Second.  At its bone-shaking
inception innocent, because of its extraordinary discomfort, in its
'penny-farthing' stage harmless, because only dangerous to the
lives and limbs of the male sex, it began to be a dissolvent of the
most powerful type when accessible to the fair in its present form.
Under its influence, wholly or in part, have wilted chaperons, long
and narrow skirts, tight corsets, hair that would come down, black
stockings, thick ankles, large hats, prudery and fear of the dark;
under its influence, wholly or in part, have bloomed week-ends,
strong nerves, strong legs, strong language, knickers, knowledge of
make and shape, knowledge of woods and pastures, equality of sex,
good digestion and professional occupation--in four words, the
emancipation of woman.  But to Swithin, and possibly for that
reason, it remained what it had been in the beginning, an invention
of the devil.  For, apart from that upset to his greys, having
lived his first sixteen years with 'Prinny' in the offing, and
formed himself under Lord Melbourne, the Cider Cellars and the
Pavilion at Brighton, he remained to the end in taste and
deportment a Buck of the Regency, unable to divest himself of a
love for waistcoats and jewellery, or the conviction that women
were perquisites to whom elegance and--ah--charm were of the first
necessity.

These are the considerations which must be borne in mind when we
come to the recital of an episode current on Forsyte 'Change in the
year 1890.

Swithin had spent the early months at Brighton and was undoubtedly
feeling his liver by April.  The last three years had tried him
severely and for some time past he had parted with his phaeton,
confining his carriage exercise to a double brougham, in which,
drawn by his greys, he passed every afternoon up and down the front
from the end of Hove to the beginning of Kemptown.  What he thought
of during these excursions has never been disclosed.  Possibly of
nothing.  And why not?  For so entirely lonely an old man,
provocation towards thought was conspicuous by its absence; and
though there was always himself to think about, a man cannot for
ever be bothered by that.  The return to his hotel would be
achieved by four o'clock.  He would be assisted to alight by his
valet, and would walk into the hotel unaided, Alphonse following
with the specially strong air-cushion on which he always sat, and
his knee rug of a Highland plaid.  In the hall Swithin would stand
for perhaps a minute, settling his chin more firmly, rounding his
heavy eyelids more carefully over his gouty eyes.  He would then
hold out his gold-headed malacca cane to be taken from him, and
slightly spread his hands, gloved in bright wash-leather, to
indicate that his coat, blue, lined with squirrel and collared with
astrakhan, should be removed.  This having been done and his gloves
and black felt hat with somewhat square top taken off, he would
touch the tuft on his lower lip, as if to assure himself that its
distinction was still with him.

At this hour he was used to take a certain seat in a certain
draughtless corner and smoke half a cigar before ascending in the
lift to the sitting-room of his suite.  He sat there so motionless
and was known to be so deaf, that no one spoke to him; but it
seemed to him that in this way he saw more life and maintained the
out-lived reputation of 'Four-in-Hand' Forsyte.  Wedged forward by
cushions, as though still in his brougham, with his thick legs
slightly apart, he would apply the cigar to his ear; having heard
it carefully in its defence, he would hold it a minute between
puffy thumb and puffier forefinger of that yellowish-white which
betokens the gouty subject, then place it in his mouth and wait for
it to be lighted.  With chest pouted, under a black satin stock and
diamond pin, so that he appeared to be of one thickness from neck
down, he would sit, contemplating that which was not yet called the
Lounge from under drooped puffy lids, as might some Buddha from the
corner of a temple.  His square old face, perfectly pale, of one
long withdrawn from privilege of open air, would be held so still
that people would glance at it as they might have at a clock.  The
little white moustaches and tuft on the lower lip, the tufts above
the eyes, and hair still stylish on the forehead, accentuated
perhaps its resemblance to a dial.  Once in a way, someone whose
father or uncle had known him in old days would halt in passing, as
though about to set his watch by him, and say:  "How d'you do, Mr.
Forsyte?"  Then would an expression as of a cat purring spread on
Swithin's face, and he would murmur in a voice fat and distinguished:
"Ah!  How de do?  Haven't seen your father lately."  And as the
father was almost always dead, this would end the conversation.
But Swithin would sit the squarer because he had been spoken to.

When his cigar was about half smoked a change would come.  The hand
holding it would loll over the arm of the chair, trembling a
little.  The chin would slip slowly down between the wide apart
points of the stiff white collar; the puffy rounding of the eyelids
would become complete; a slight twitching would possess the lips, a
faint steady puffing take its place--Swithin would be asleep.  And
those who passed would look at him with cold amusement, a kind of
impatience, possibly a touch of compassion, for, on these
occasions, as if mindful of past glories, Swithin did not snore.
And then, of course, would come the moment of awakening.  The chin
would jerk up, the lips part, all breath would seem to be expelled
from him in a long sigh; the eyes coming ungummed would emit a
glassy stare; the tongue would move over the roof of the mouth and
the lips; and an expression as of a cross baby would appear on the
old face.  Pettishly he would raise the half-smoked cigar, look at
it as if it owed him something which it was not going to pay, and
let it slip between finger and thumb into a spittoon.  Then he
would sit the same, yet not the same, waiting for some servant to
come near enough for him to say:  "Hi!  Tell my valet to come, will
you?" and when Alphonse appeared:  "Oh!  There you are!  I nodded
off.  I'll go up now."

Assisted from the chair, he would stand fully a minute feeling
giddy, then square but bearing heavily on the cane and one leg,
would move towards the lift, followed by Alphonse and the special
cushions.  And someone perhaps would mutter as he passed:  "There
goes old Forsyte.  Funny old boy, isn't he?"

But such was not the order of events on that particular April
afternoon reported on Forsyte 'Change.  For when, divested of hat
and overcoat, he was about to walk to his accustomed corner, he was
observed to raise his cane with the words:  "Here!  There's a lady
sitting in my chair!"

A figure, indeed, in rather a short skirt, occupied that sacred
spot.

"I'll go up!" said Swithin, pettishly.  But as he moved, she rose
and came towards him.

"God bless me!" said Swithin, for he had recognised his niece
Euphemia.

Now the youngest child of his brother Nicholas was in some respects
Swithin's pet aversion.  She was, in his view, too thin, and always
saying the wrong thing; besides, she squeaked.  He had not seen her
since, to his discomfort, he had sat next her at the concert of
Francie's fourpenny foreigner.

"How are you, Uncle?  I thought I MUST look you up while I was
down."

"I've got gout," said Swithin.  "How's your father?"

"Oh! just as usual.  He says he's bad, but he isn't."  And she
squeaked slightly.

Swithin fixed her with his stare.  Upset already by her occupation
of his chair, he was on the point of saying:  'Your father's worth
twenty of you,' but, remembering in time the exigencies of
deportment, he murmured more gallantly:  "Where have you sprung
from?"

"My bicycle."

"What!" said Swithin.  "You ride one of those things!"

Again Euphemia squeaked.

"Oh!  Uncle!  One of those things!"

"Well," said Swithin, "what else are they--invention of the devil.
Have some tea?"

"Thank you, Uncle, but you must be tired after your drive."

"Tired!  Why should I be tired?  Waiter!  Bring some tea over
there--to my chair."

Having thus conveyed to her the faux fas she had committed by
sitting in his chair, he motioned her towards it and followed.

On reaching the chair there was an ominous moment.

"Sit down," said Swithin.

For a moment Euphemia hovered on its edge, then with a slight
squeak said:  "But it's your chair, Uncle."

"Alphonse," said Swithin, "bring another."

When the other chair had been brought, the cushions placed for
Swithin in his own, and they were seated, Euphemia said:

"Didn't you know that women were beginning to ride bicycles,
Uncle?"

The hairs on Swithin's underlip stood out.

"Women," he said.  "You may well say women.  Fancy a lady riding a
thing like that!"

Euphemia squeaked more notably.

"But, Uncle, why LIKE THAT?"

"With a leg on each side, disturbing the traffic," and glancing at
Euphemia's skirt, he added:  "Showing their legs."

Euphemia gave way to silent laughter.

"Oh!  Uncle," she said, at last, in a strangled voice, "you'll kill
me!"

But at this moment came tea.

"Help yourself," said Swithin, shortly; "I don't drink it."  And,
taking from the waiter a light for his cigar, he sat staring with
pale eyes at his niece.  Not till after her second cup did she
break that silence.

"Uncle Swithin, do tell me why they called you 'Four-in-Hand
Forsyte,' I've always wanted to know."

Swithin's stare grew rounder.

"Why shouldn't they?"

"'Four-in-hand'; but you never drove more than a pair, did you?"

Swithin preened his neck.  "Certainly not!  It was just a
compliment to my--er--style."

"Style!" repeated Euphemia.  "Oh, Uncle!" and she grew so crimson
that he thought she had swallowed a crumb.

Then slowly but surely it dawned on him that he was the cause of
her emotion.  Into his cheeks a faint pink crept; something moved
in his throat, something that might choke him if he were not
careful.  He did not stir.

Euphemia rose.

"I MUST be going, Uncle.  I HAVE enjoyed seeing you, you're looking
so well.  Don't get up, please, and thank you ever so for the tea."
She bent above him, pecked at his forehead, and showing her legs,
walked towards the door.  Her face was still very red and as she
went, Swithin seemed to hear her squeak.

He stayed unmoving for a second, then struggled to get up.  He had
no stick to help him, no time to give to the process, and he
struggled.  He got on his feet, stood a moment to recover, and
then, without his cane, walked, he knew not how, to the window of
the hall that looked out on to the parade.  There she was--that
niece of his, that squeaker, mounting her bicycle, moving it,
mounting it, riding it away.  Into the traffic she went, pedalling,
showing her ankles; not an ounce of grace, of elegance, of
anything!  There she went!  And Swithin stood, drumming a puffy
forefinger against the pane, as if denouncing what he saw.  Style!
Style!  She--she had been laughing at him.  Not a doubt of it!  If
he HAD only driven a pair, it had been the finest in the kingdom!
He stood with that distressing pink still staining the pallor of
his cheeks--ruffled to the bottom of his soul.  Was he conscious of
the full sting in his niece's laughter?  Conscious of how the
soubriquet 'Four-in-hand Forsyte' epitomised the feeling Society
had ever held of him; the feeling that with his craving for
distinction he had puffed himself out into the double of what he
really was?  Was he conscious of that grievous sneer?  Only,
perhaps, subconscious, but it was enough; a crabbed wrath possessed
him to the soles of the patent leather boots still worn, in public,
on his painful feet.  So she rode one of 'those things,' and
laughed at him, did she?  He would show her.  He left the window
and went to the writing table.  And there, his eyes round and
yellow, his hand trembling, he took paper and began to write.  In a
shaky travesty of what had once been almost copperplate, he traced
these lines:

"This is a codicil to the last Will of me Swithin Forsyte.  To mark
my disapproval of the manners and habits of my niece Euphemia, the
daughter of my brother Nicholas Forsyte and Elizabeth his wife, I
hereby revoke the bequest of the share of my property left to her
in my said Will.  I leave her nothing whatever."

He paused and read it through.  That would teach her!  Faithful to
the ladies, the half of his property he had left to his three
sisters in equal shares; the other half to his eight nieces in
equal shares.  Well, there would only be seven now!  And he sounded
the bell.

"Boy, fetch my valet and tell the hall porter to come here."

When they arrived he was adding the words:  "Signed in the presence
of--"

"Here!" he said.  "This is a codicil to my Will.  I want you to
witness it.  Write your names and occupations here."

When they had done so, and he had blotted the whole, he addressed
an envelope, wrote:


"DEAR JAMES

"This is a codicil.  Put it with my Will, and let me know you've
had it.

"Your affectionate brother,

"SWITHIN FORSYTE."


and sealed the envelope with the 'pheasant proper' obtained from
the College of Arms in 1850 at some expense.

"Take that," he said to Alphonse, "and post it.  Here, help me back
to my chair."

When he was settled in again, and Alphonse had gone, his eyes roved
restlessly.

Style!  His old cronies--all gone!  No one came in here now who had
known him in the palmy days of style!  Days when there was
elegance.  Bicycles, forsooth!  Well, that young lady had had an
expensive ride, an expensive laugh.  Cost her a matter of six or
seven thousand pounds.  They laughed best who laughed last!  And
with the feeling that he had struck a blow for elegance, for
manners, for--for style, Swithin regained his pallor, his eyes grew
less yellow, his eyelids rounder over them, and the expression in
those eyes became almost wistful.  This damned East wind--if he
didn't take care he'd have no appetite for dinner.

Four-in-hand Forsyte!  Why not--why not?  He could have driven
four-in-hand if he'd liked, any day.  Four-in-ha--!  His chin
dropped slightly.  Four-in--!  His eyes closed; his lips puffed; he
slept, his hand still resting on his cane.

Into the hall strolled two young men on a week-end from town.
Hatted, high-collared, with their canes swinging, they passed not
far from Swithin's chair.

"Look at that old buck," said one in a low voice.  And they halted,
staring at him sideways.

"Hallo!  It's old Uncle Swithin, Giles."

"By George!  So it is.  I say, Jesse, look at his rings, and his
pin, and the shine on his hair and his boots.  Fancy the old josser
keeping it up like that!"

"By Jove!  Hope I'LL never be old.  Come on Giles!"

"Stout old boy!"

And 'the Dromios,' as they were called, swung on, their lean hungry
faces bravely held above their collars.

But the old pale lips of Swithin, between the little white
moustaches and the little white tuft, puffed and filled, puffed and
filled.  He had not heard.




THE SORROWS OF TWEETYMAN, 1895


When Marian, daughter of Nicholas Forsyte, married Edward Tweetyman
in 1882, Nicholas was heard to say:  "That chap'll never make
money, she'd better have married his brother."  The remark,
repeated on Forsyte 'Change, invited the family's dispassionate
consideration of two individuals as far apart in character and
appearance as is permitted by the laws of consanguinity and
partnership.  The two Tweetymans were engineers by profession, and
regrettably, it was felt, pump manufacturers in practice, having
their business premises in King William Street.  Albert, the elder,
was square and stocky in build, red and fleshy in face, with an
early smile, and Georgian eyes that reminded one of a bull
concerned with Europa.  He it was who took the orders, directed the
operations, and made the money.  Edward, the younger, was a little
taller and a great deal thinner, with a refined white face and
hollowed temple bones; his weak hair waved faintly on his white
forehead, his weak and fair moustache drooped like twin wisps of
hay above a selfless smile, and his pale blue eyes looked wistfully
forth with the saintlike fervour of an inventor.  He invented the
pumps, or at least understood how they worked, had a passion for
truth, and lived as it were at the bottom of the wells for which
they were both designed.  Incidentally he received what his brother
didn't.  It was not much.  But being of a loyal and unassuming
nature he was not conscious of the discrepancy.  Albert had the
force of one born to rake in, Edward the charm of one born to give
out.  The family soon perceived how just had been the remark of
Nicholas.  But it is not improbable that in this conclusion Marian
had been before them.  She had, for a daughter of Nicholas, a
somewhat sweetened disposition, redeemed by a distinctly having
tendency; a good-looking, well-built young woman with an
instinctive knowledge of how to dress any shop window.  In marrying
Edward Tweetyman she had perhaps overlooked the fact that before
you can dress a shop window there must be one to dress.  The fellow
had none.  His frontage, as it were, was of stained glass, and she
could set nothing in it.  With the real shrewdness which she
inherited from her father, she had accepted the fact before her
honeymoon was over, and had decided to exhibit him unvarnished and
ungarnished for what he was worth.  This was extraordinarily little
in a monetary sense--say four hundred a year and possibilities.
She herself had the three hundred and fifty which Nicholas, with a
perfect equity, gave to all his children when he threw them out of
the nest in Ladbroke Grove.  But even in the 'eighties, seven
hundred and fifty a year was not the income of a Forsyte with a
collecting propensity and fashionable proclivities, so that it was
not surprising that Marian banked on the 'possibilities.'
Difficult indeed to live with Edward Tweetyman without noticing how
illumined by ideas he was: as from one of those wells to which he
was always fitting his pumps, they bubbled from him by day and even
by night.  But with her more practical nature Marian soon grasped
the fact that Edward's mind never pursued those ideas to the pitch
of profit; his mind stopped at the discovery--the invented machine;
what would come of it he left to "my brother."  So left, they were
not possibilities; Albert, in the words of the prophet, or rather
of her cousin George Forsyte, would always 'nobble the lot.'  It
was not long before she was saying on Forsyte 'Change that Edward
was 'a genius and a saint'; which in the terms of family common-
sense equalled 'unpractical and rarefied in his conjugal
attentions.'  And every sympathy was felt with Marian's obvious
intention to fill the silk purse she had acquired.  It was thought,
however, that she might have trouble, bounded on the West by
Nicholas, and on the East by Edward's brother.  She herself
recognised these limitations, for her first attempt was to break
towards the South and ally her Tweetyman with one Charles Podmore
of North Street, Westminster.  He it was who, not long before, had
eaten the cherries of Rachel and Cicely, on the Lake of Lucerne, to
show them that maggots were harmless when taken in any quantity,
and had been a friend of the family ever since.  Meeting him at a
dance given by her Aunt, Mrs. Roger Forsyte, at Prince's Gate,
Marian soon discovered in him a fanatical devotee of ice cream.  He
had, in advance of science, expressed the opinion that there was
nothing more nourishing and wholesome, a very daring view at a
period when what gave sensual pleasure was still almost universally
regarded as harmful.  "Everybody," he said, "ought to eat it; it
only wants a really good machine."  She had introduced him and his
idea to Edward in a corridor, certain that something would come of
it.  The acquaintanceship ripened at Hurlingham on tickets
furnished by Podmore, a man of independent means, who desired them
to see him shooting pigeons; for this was in the full blush of that
desirable practice, when a robuster community still connected the
expression pigeon-shooting with the expression sport.  The
afternoon, however, furnished Marian with a fresh instance of her
Edward's impracticability and plunged her into a certain gloom.
For as Podmore was about to destroy his seventh pigeon running,
Tweetyman, who had hitherto been occupied by an idea for helping
the seat of his chair to turn itself up on a spring, said loudly:
"Look out, bird!" and Podmore missed.  Marian took him away almost
immediately.  "How on earth, Edward," she said, in the hansom cab,
"you expect ever to get on if you are so absentminded, I can't
think."  Edward smiled, and looking forth with his pale fervour,
said:  "Pigeon's wings are hinged like this," moving a bluish white
forefinger in front of Marian's eyes.  "Quite!" she answered drily--
perhaps the first use of this expression--"but are you going to do
anything about that ice cream machine?  Charles Podmore is set on
it, and he has lots of money."  He had pressed her hand.  "The
Romans," he said, "knew how to make ice cream better than we do";
and then began nodding his head, from which she understood that an
idea had come to him.  She had lived on hopefully and abstained
from bothering him with questions, for she had a horror of fussing,
till one day, going almost mechanically through his pockets, she
came on a beautiful little drawing of an ice cream machine in a
catalogue connected with the pumps of A. & E. Tweetyman, and
realised that it had been finished and had passed into the keeping
of his brother.  She was really angry.  The incident raised so
acutely the whole question of his brother in relation to his
possibilities.  Something must be done!  And she did it!  She
invited his brother to dinner, and on the principle of Greek cut
Armenian, exerted all her wiles to get her father to meet him.  It
was seldom indeed that Nicholas would budge from his fireside, his
papers, and his evening journal, except for those public functions
at which he invariably made the best speech of the evening.  But,
though he had no declared preferences among his children, Marian
was secretly his favourite; and he came.  The evening was one long
battle for the soul, or rather the possibilities, of Tweetyman, and
he remained completely unconscious of the fact.  The whole
difficulty with the man, indeed, arose from the impossibility of
making him realise his own sorrows.  Here he was, with his real
gifts, wholly at the beck and call of that despoiler his brother,
and incapable of resenting it.  Here, if the battle went against
his brother, he would be--as Marian realised before the night was
out--wholly at the beck and call of Nicholas's Companies, and
incapable of profiting by it.  For a side of her father's character
which she had never yet realised, was revealed to Marian that
evening:  If he secured and employed Edward, it would be as a
servant to his Companies and not as a son-in-law--no nepotism for
HIM!  In other words Edward the inventor would jump out of one
sorrow into another just as deep, and do it without a sigh.  Marian
had seldom been more disillusioned.  The net result of the affair
was that Nicholas left the house with an added respect for Albert,
and less respect for Edward.  When Marian got her husband to bed,
she did not blow out the candle, but lay on her side and looked at
him.  He was lying on his back, with his temple bones extremely
hollowed, and a slight smile under the wisps of his moustache.
Something Nicholas had said in connection with the watering of
engines on his railway had started his inventivity, and he was
already halfway towards an improvement.  In that dim light he
looked almost too saint-like, above his flannel nightgown.  Marian
was moved; there was charm in the man in spite of the sorrows of
which he was so unconscious, and after all she had married him for
love.  A long time she looked at him with a faint greed in her
eyes, and a faint flush on her cheeks.

"Edward," she said at last, "you seem very far away.  After all, I
AM your wife."

The lever which at the moment was engaging his attention, dropped.

"Certainly, my dear!" he said, and turned towards her.  She took
full advantage of the movement.  After all, he had other
possibilities, and the evening need not be entirely wasted.

The result, Patricia, was in 1895 already twelve years old, and to
her father one of his best inventions.  The years had contracted
his girth and increased that of his brother, now an Alderman.  The
aspirations of Marian had remained unfulfilled.  True, Nicholas now
allowed his children £500 a year apiece, and Edward was drawing
£700 a year from his brother, but what was this to a comely and
fashionable young matron?  The sorrows of her Tweetyman seemed to
her more, and to him, if anything, less noticeable than ever.  For
he was engaged on what he regarded as, so far, his prime invention,
a species of pump for the evacuation of goods from Cross Channel
and other steamers.  He was almost blue-white now and perfectly
happy.  His cheeks were even more hollow than his temple bones, and
Marian had almost despaired of his possibilities.  So much so, that
her old feeling against his brother had changed to a sort of regard
for his possessive genius.  That she had remained entirely faithful
to her man of sorrows says much for his charm, and the sterling
qualities of a Forsyte.

The year of 1895 will long be remembered for its weather.  After
opening with a frost of some two months' duration, it broke into a
passion of warmth and life which lingered on into the late autumn.
A bone-shaking automobile rattled people around at the South
Kensington Exhibition, bicycles were all the rage, the river Thames
was covered with punts; young matrons went astray.  That Marian
felt the temper of the year cannot be denied, but to say that she
had anything but the most domestic intentions in what has now to be
related, would not be true.  As Edward approached the finish of his
momentous invention, she approached her Waterloo.  It was surely
now or never, if his possibilities were ever to be capitalised, and
his sorrows abated!  And she conceived a plan which for daring and
realism was indeed worthy of a daughter of Nicholas.  To snatch her
Edward out of the jaws of sorrow she proceeded to lay deliberate
siege to Albert.  Though an Alderman, he was still a bachelor, a
man of full habit and much red blood, in every respect the reverse
of her poor Edward.  She besieged him with little dinners, after
which she would place him with his cigar in a very easy chair; and
send Edward up to his invention.  Sitting well within Albert's view
in an evening dress admirably cut to display her charms, she would
soothe and incite him with conversation bordering on sex: the
scandal of the year (that year fortunately very considerable), the
latest dancer, this novel, that play.  From this it was easy to
pass to the playing of piquet, a game during which the knees of
opponents can with a little care be made to touch.  Nor was it many
days before she perceived with a well-simulated surprise that the
virile Albert was smouldering.  Her duty was then plain.  She threw
with circumspection just enough cold water on him; performed just
sufficiently the function of the wet blanket; watched him fume and
then begin to go out; and lit him again with her eyes and knees.
After many evenings of this careful preparation she felt that to
whatever lead she gave, he would respond adequately; and her only
fear was that he would respond before she gave it.  This, though it
might not be altogether unpleasant, would defeat the truly domestic
object she had in view, namely, that Edward should discover her in
his arms.  She wished to synchronise this discovery by Edward so
far as possible with the actual completion of his invention.  For
she reasoned thus:  Unless he had finished it he might be so upset
that he would never finish it; whereas if he had finished it she
would beg him to take her right away from this man, his brother, to
have nothing more to do with him, and to go straight into
Featherstone's firm on his own terms with his new invention.  It
was essential to get Edward to realise that Albert was violently in
love with her, and that he would never believe unless he saw it for
himself.  She had already prepared Featherstone's firm, which was
indeed monetarily composed of Charles Podmore; and she had prepared
Albert.  It now remained to prepare Edward.  This caused her much
reflection.  The room where Edward wrestled with his inventive
fancy was at the top of the house, and the problem was how to get
him down to the drawing-room so that he could surprise her in the
arms of Albert, without going up to fetch him.  It was some time
before she hit on the solution--simple when thought of, like all
great solutions:  She would hide the model.  She calculated that it
would take him two minutes to get upstairs and moon around, finding
that it was gone.  Another three minutes to search and return to
the drawing-room to ask her what could have happened to it.  If
then she lighted Albert up four minutes after Edward went upstairs
she would be fairly safe.

It was not till the morning of the longest day that Edward, singing
like a wren in his bath, announced to her that he had completed the
model of his invention.  Looking at his emaciated form, she said
drily:  "And high time too."  After breakfast she wired to Albert
(telephones were not yet installed) to come and dine that evening.
Having carefully ordered a heating meal she awaited the crisis with
a fluttering heart.  All went well during dinner, even to the
touching of her foot by Albert, to which she did not respond, so
that his eyes became more than ever like the bull's in connection
with Europa.  She brought up the subject of the new invention, and
suggested to Edward that after dinner he should go up and bring the
model down.  Sitting there, opposite her, his face, though hollow
and almost blue, had the shining happiness of one about to enter
heaven; and a certain compunction seized on her for the shock she
was going to give him.  'It's for his good,' she thought, and
passed the tip of her toe across Albert's instep.  Dear Edward, how
blind he was!  When, in the drawing-room, they had partaken of
coffee, she said:  "Now, Edward!" and looked at the clock.  As
Edward left the room, she left the sofa, and moved towards the
clock.  It was of ormolu, a wedding present from her Uncle Roger,
and stood on the mantelpiece.

"Albert!" she said, "come here!  I want your opinion on this
clock."

The Alderman rose.  Through her lashes she could see the added
flush on his fleshy face, and his quivering lips that almost seemed
to slobber.  He stood beside her, and with her eyes on the clock
Marian pointed out its period.  When exactly four minutes had
elapsed her straining ears caught a sound on the stairs, and she
moved awkwardly, so that her white shoulder came in contact with
his chest.  The rest was automatic; she found herself face to face
with him, his arms round her waist and his lips inclining for her
lips.  She reined back and his mouth came forward, reaching for her
neck.  All was as it should be.  Then the door opened, and there
stood Patricia in her dressing-gown.

"Mummy!" came her treble cry, "Daddy's lost his--Oh!"  She
vanished: and with a sensation as of vertigo Marian heard her
shriller:

"Daddy, Daddy!  Quick!  Uncle Albert's biting Mummy's neck!"

Then it was that Marian showed her breeding.  With inimitable
presence of mind she lost it and fell on the sofa in one of those
dead faints which are so difficult to see through.  Edward,
attended by the scared Patricia, found her with Albert standing by
and running his fingers through his somewhat scant but well-
pomatumed hair.

"Here, I say!" he said, "she's fainted"; and with a certain aplomb,
added:  "It's the heat."

They revived her with some difficulty, and on Edward's arm she went
up to bed.  Albert departed.

"If Albert hadn't caught me," she said on the stairs, "I should
have fallen badly; it's lucky he's so strong.  Patricia, Daddy's
model is in the top cupboard.  I put it there for safety, and
forgot to tell him."

Three days later the model was patented by A. & E. Tweetyman.
Edward had seen nothing.  Patricia, who had seen everything, was
young and easily gulled; but for some days Marian's manner to her
offspring, who had spoiled it all, was somewhat sharp.  Her defeat
had been so signal that, like the sensible woman she was, she
accepted it completely.  Edward was hopeless!  She gave him up.  A
man of sorrows, who, until he died of it, would never know what
manner of man he was.  As for Albert, she gave him up too.  With
difficulty Edward noticed that his brother was never asked to
dinner again.

It was in a mood of Forsytean humour, one day, that Marian told the
story of her defeat to her sister Euphemia, whose squeaks on the
occasion were notable; and through this source it became current on
Forsyte 'Change.




THE DROMIOS, 1900


When the Boer war had been in progress for some time and things
were going badly, Giles and Jesse Hayman--commonly known in the
Forsyte family as 'the Dromios'--decided to enlist in the Imperial
Yeomanry.  Their decision, a corporate one--for they never acted
apart--was made without unnecessary verbal expenditure.  Giles, the
elder by one year and of the stronger build, withdrew his pipe from
between his teeth, turned a fox-terrier off his lap, and, pointing
to the words 'Black week' in the Daily Mail said:

"Those beggarly Boers!"

Jesse, in an armchair on the other side of the hearth, took the
fox-terrier on his lap, tapped out his pipe, and answered:
"Brutes!"

There was again silence.  Then Giles said:

"What price the Yeomanry?  Are you on?"

Jesse put his empty pipe between his teeth and nodded.  The matter
had been concluded.  They then remained a considerable time with
their high-booted legs outstretched towards the fire, their grey
thrusting eyes fixed on the flames, and no expression whatever on
their lean red-brown faces.

Being almost majestically without occupations except riding,
shooting and games of various kinds, they dwelt in a small timbered
manor-house close to some racing stables on the Hampshire Downs.
Each had five hundred a year and no parents; their mother--Susan,
the married Forsyte sister--having followed Hayman to his rest at
Woking in 1895.  Neither of them had married or even dreamed of it,
neither of them had a mistress; but periodically they went up to
London.

Having thus decided to enlist, the first step was naturally to have
a night out; and they took train to the Metropolis.  They put up at
their usual quarters--a hostelry called 'Malcolm's', of a somewhat
sporting character in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden; and,
after dressing themselves, went to dine at the 'Cri.'  There they
ate in silence, despatching the preliminaries of a 'night out'--
oysters, devilled kidneys, a partridge, a welsh rabbit, 'a bottle
of the boy,' and a glass of old port, with only two lapses into
conversation, the first when Jesse said:

"Those Johnny birds, the Boers, are getting above themselves!"

To which Giles replied:

"You bet."

And the second when Giles said:

"Buller'll stay the course."

To which Jesse replied:

"Good old Buller."

Having finished, placed cigars in their mouths, secured their
coats, and put on their Opera hats, they went out into a mild
night, to walk to the 'Pandemonium.'

In old days when they were living in the Hayman house on Campden
Hill and reading for examinations which, by some curious fatality
not unconnected with brains, they never passed, so that they had
been compelled to remain without professions, there had been few
evenings when they could not be observed leaning over the
balustrade of the Promenade at that establishment.  Thence had they
watched the acrobats, ventriloquists, conjurers, ballad singers,
comedians, and ballet dancers of the period, never manifesting
approbation, but not infrequently with a sort of smile bitten in on
their faces.  Generally they left as much with each other as they
arrived, occasionally they left without each other, but with
somebody else.  It was not known even to each other whether they
ever spoke to those others with whom they left.

Having been out of London since the Boer war broke out they had not
yet heard 'Tommy Atkins' sung; and when this inevitable item was
reached the effect on Giles was observed by Jesse to be as
noticeable as the effect on Jesse observed by Giles.  After a
certain resistance to words and tune due to the need for
maintaining 'form' their heads began almost imperceptibly to move
in time to the refrain, and, a line or so behind the rest of the
audience, their mouths began in a muffled manner to take up the
chorus.  The effect on them, in fact, was distinctly emotional,
which to some extent explains what happened afterwards.  The song
was scarcely over and a ventriloquist had taken his seat on the
stage with a midshipman on his knee when Jesse's attention was
diverted by smothered voices behind him.  His hearing, trained by
listening in coverts for the music of hounds or the flushing of
birds, was sharp, and he distinctly heard the following
conversation:

"If you don't get me ten pounds to-night it'll be the worse for
you."

"Ten pounds?  How can I?"

"Well, don't you come home without it."

"Oh!  You are a brute!"

"All right, my girl!"

Jesse turned round.  He saw, moving away, a hulking fellow of an
unpleasant type, and a young woman, rouged but rather pretty, under
a big hat, looking after him.

"Hear that, Giles?"

Giles nodded.  "Swine!"

Having thus registered their disapproval, they re-concentrated
their attention on the stage.  It was during the song of a
gentleman in a kilt that Jesse felt his arm pressed, and heard a
voice in his ear say:

"Oh!  Beg pardon!  He IS funny, isn't he?"

The same rouged young woman in the big hat was leaning over the
balustrade beside him.

She was really young; her mouth was pretty if somewhat artificial,
and her eyes, which were dark, looked scared.

"Are you having a night out?" she whispered.

Jesse shrugged his shoulders.  Then the strains of 'Tommy Atkins'
moving within him, he said:

"I heard what that swine said to you just now."

The professional smile died off the young woman's lips.  She
crossed her arms on her breast, and air escaped her in a long:
"Oh!"  Jesse edged his arm away from hers.  A minute passed; then
her arm pressed his again, and out of the corner of his eye,
accustomed to the observation of woodcock, he could see her
glancing furtively round.  The 'swine' in question was just behind
again with two male friends; he was bending on the girl such a look
that Jesse said with surprising suddenness:

"Send the swine to hell!"

"What?" said Giles.

"That swine behind us.  Swine who live on girls!"

"Steady, old man!" said Giles.

The man and his companions moved on, muttering.

"Oh!" said the girl under her breath:  "whatever made you?  I'll
never dare to go 'ome to-night.  What shall I do?"

Jesse did not answer, having no idea.  An objection to scenes,
rooted in his type, caused him to resume his stare at the stage,
now occupied by a male dancer with brisk and glancing legs; but he
was conscious of a tear slowly trickling down the girl's cheek,
making a narrow track in her rouge and powder.

"You wouldn't take me on, I suppose?" he heard her say.

Jesse shook his head.

"Only up for the night.  Going to the war."

"Oh!" said the girl, blankly.  "HE WILL wallop me."

Jesse stared.

"D'you mean to say--"

The girl nodded violently.

"Hear that, Giles?"

Giles grunted.

The girl stealthily removed the traces of emotion.

Jesse turned, and, leaning back against the balustrade, surveyed
the promenaders.  Giles, with mechanical conformity, had done the
same.  The girl continued to stare at the stage.  If she had been
'kidding' him--Jesse thought--she would have turned too; besides,
her face had gone a queer colour.

"I believe she's going to cat," he murmured to Giles.

They both looked at her, but she seemed to have recovered from the
impulse, and was sniffing at a bottle of salts.  Deciding to move
away from her, Jesse had raised his hand to his hat, when he caught
sight of the 'swine' among a group of men, all of whom were gazing
in his direction.

"See those swine?" he said.

Giles nodded.

The group, seeing the brothers staring at them, moved on.  Jesse
turned to the girl.

"Look here," he said, "you go to an hotel for the night.  We'll see
you there.  Better come now."

The girl, who still looked very queer, turned from the balustrade.

"Thank you very much," she said, "but I 'aven't any money."

"That's all right," said Jesse.  "Come on!"

They crossed the promenade and went down the steps with the girl
between them.

"D'you know an hotel?" said Jesse, in the Square.  "They won't take
you at ours--men only."

"There's Robin's Hotel, off Covent Garden."

"All right; that's on our way.  Here's a fiver for you.  You're
looking queer."

"I feel queer," said the girl, simply.  They walked a little in
silence, and then she said:

"I couldn't have stood being walloped to-night--I just couldn't."

"Swine!" said Jesse.  Giles growled.

Turning into Bedford Street, the girl touched Jesse's arm.

"Oh!" she said in a scared voice; "they're after us!"

About fifty yards behind, five men were strolling, keeping their
distance, but quite clearly following.  Instinctively the Dromios
increased their pace, turning into Henrietta Street.

"If they turn down here too, we'll know," said Giles.

"I think I'm going to faint," said the girl.

"Bosh!" said Jesse.  "If they follow, we'll stop them at the bottom
here.  You can slip on to the hotel sharp.  They won't know where
you are.  Take her other arm, Giles."

At the Covent Garden end, he looked back; the men were just turning
into Henrietta Street.  He gave the girl a shove.

"Now run for it!  Don't be a little fool!  They shan't see where
you go; we'll stop 'em here.  Cut on!"

The girl caught her breath, and stammered out:

"Oh!  Thank you!"  Then, helped by a push from Giles, she vanished
round the corner.  The Dromios began walking with extreme slowness
back towards the men.  Giles hummed out of tune, the air of 'Tommy
Atkins.'  The five pursuers, who had been hurrying, slowed up, and
came to a halt.  Indeed, without going off the pavement, the two
parties could not pass each other.  'That swine' who was the
biggest of the lot, took a step forward, and raising his fist, thus
addressed the Dromios.

"We want you two ----.  What the ---- did you mean by what you said
just now?  Swine indeed?  Swine yourselves!"

The Dromios did not answer.

"You ---- have got to learn manners, and you're ---- well going
to."

Giles turned to Jesse, "These sportsmen," he said, "are rather a
bore."

"Give 'em socks, boys!" said the 'swine.'

The proceedings which followed had elements so unsporting as to
offend every instinct of the Dromios.  From the point of view of
'form' the whole thing was deplorable; the only feature in good
taste being the first blow, a lefthander from Giles which tapped
the 'swine's claret.'  He was instantly thereafter involved with
three of the 'sportsmen' and Jesse with the other two.  The Dromios
were expert boxers, but their opponents butted, kicked, and
collared below the belt, so that the brothers were unable to assume
any attitude other than those in which circumstances placed them.
They were, however, lean and in hard condition, their winds were
good, and they fought like tiger cats.  The sight of Giles,
overborne by weight, being dragged horizontally, so stimulated
Jesse that, contrary to all the canons of sportsmanship, he brought
his knee up against the chin of one of his opponents; springing at
the other, he seized him by the throat in a manner totally
unorthodox, and rammed his head against the lintel of a door, then,
dashing to Giles's rescue he so socked one of the 'sportsmen'
behind the ear that he fell prone.  The other two let go of Giles,
and the two Dromios were able to place themselves in proper
postures of defence.  Thereon the combat ceased as instantly as it
had begun, the 'sportsmen' vanished and the Dromios were left in an
empty Covent Garden.  Giles had a cut on his cheekbone, a broken
knee, a rent in the tail of his overcoat; Jesse a bruised jaw.
Both their ties had come untied, both their Opera hats were in the
gutter.  In silence they retied their ties, pinned up the rent,
brushed each other, recovered their hats, and walked on towards
their hotel.

Going up to their bedrooms, they washed, plastered Giles's cheek,
bound a handkerchief round his knee, put on smoking jackets, and
went down to the billiard-room.  There in a corner they sat down,
ordered themselves whiskies and sodas, and lit their pipes.

"Those sportsmen!" said Giles.  "They got what for, all right!"
said Jesse.  Both grinned, and for a long time, in silence, gazed
before them with the same hungry expression in their thrusting grey
eyes.

"Hang that Judy!" said Jesse suddenly.  Giles nodded.  Soon after,
they retired to bed, and completed their night out.

The next day they enlisted, and a month later 'went out' on horses.




A FORSYTE ENCOUNTERS THE PEOPLE, 1917


In October 1917, when the air raids on London were acutely
monotonous, there was a marked tendency on the part of Eustace
Forsyte to take Turkish baths.  The most fastidious of his family,
who had carried imperturbability of demeanour to the pitch of
defiance, he had perceived in the Turkish bath a gesture, as of a
finger to a nose, in the face of a boring peril.  As soon then as
the maroons of alarm went off, he would issue from his rooms or
Club and head straight for Northumberland Avenue.  With his springy
and slightly arched walk, as of a man spurning a pavement, he would
move deliberately among the hurrying throng; and, undressing
without haste, would lay his form, remarkably trim and slim for a
man well over fifty, on a couch in the hottest room at about the
moment when less self-contained citizens were merely sweating in
their shoes.  Confirmed in the tastes of a widower of somewhat
self-centred character, he gave but few damns to what happened to
anything--he it was who used to set his study on fire at school in
order to practise being cool in moments of danger, and at college,
on being dared, had jumped through a first-floor window and been
picked up sensible.  On his back, with his pale clean-shaven face
composed to a slight superciliousness and his dark grey eyes, below
the banding towel, fixed on those golden stars that tick the domed
ceilings of any room with aspirations to be oriental, he would
think of Maidenhead, or of Chelsea china, and now and then glance
at his skin to see if it was glistening.  Not a good mixer, as the
saying was, he seldom spoke to his bathing fellows, and they mostly
fat.  Thus would he pass the hours of menace, and when the 'all
clear' had sounded, return to his club or to his rooms with the
slight smile of one who has perspired well.  There he would partake
of a repast feeling that he had cheated the Boche.

On a certain occasion, however, towards the end of that invasive
period, events did not run true to type.  The alarm had sounded,
and Eustace had pursued his usual course, but the raid had not
matured.  Cool and hungry, he emerged from the Baths about eight
o'clock and set his face towards the Strand.  He had arrived
opposite Charing Cross when a number of explosions attracted his
attention; people began to run past him and a special constable
cried loudly:  "Take cover, take cover!"  Eustace frowned.  A
second Turkish bath was out of the question, and he stood still
wondering what he should do, the only person in the street not in
somewhat violent motion.  Before he could make up his mind whether
to walk back to his club or on to the restaurant where he had meant
to dine, a large and burly 'special' had seized him by the
shoulders and pushed him into the entrance of the Tube Station.

"Take cover, can't you!" he said, rudely.

Eustace freed his sleeve.  "I don't wish to."

"Then you--well will," replied the 'special.'

Perceiving that he could only proceed over the considerable body of
this intrusive being, Eustace shrugged his shoulders and
endeavoured to stand still again, but an inflowing tide of his
fellow-beings forced him down the slope into the hallway and on
towards the stairs.  Here he made a resolute effort to squeeze his
way back towards the air.  It was totally unavailing, and he was
swept on till he was standing about halfway down the stairs among a
solid mass of men, women and children of types that seemed to him
in no way attractive.  He had frequently noticed that mankind in
the bulk is unpleasing to the eye, the ear, and the nose; but this
deduction had, as it were, been formed by his brain.  It was now
reinforced by his senses in a manner, to one purified by a Turkish
bath, intensely vivid and unpleasing.  The air in this rat-run,
normally distasteful to Eustace, who never took the Tube, was
rapidly becoming fetid, and he at once decided that he would rather
brave all the shrapnel of all the anti-aircraft guns defending him
than stay where he was.  Unfortunately the decision was rendered
nugatory by the close pressure of a stout woman with splotches on
her face, who kept saying:  "We're all right in 'ere, 'Enry"; by
'Enry, a white-faced mechanician with a rat-gnawed moustache; by
their spindle-legged child, who muttered at intervals:  "I'll kill
that Kaiser"; and by two Jewish-looking youths, on whom Eustace had
at once passed the verdict 'better dead'!  His back, moreover, was
wedged partly against the front of a young woman smelling of stale
powder who panted in one of his ears, and partly against the bow
window of her partner, who, judging from the breeze that came from
him, was a whisky-taster.  On the slopes to right and left, and
further to the front were dozens and dozens of other beings, none
of whom had for Eustace any fascination.  It was as if Fate had
designed at one stroke to remove every vestige of the hedge which
had hitherto divided him from 'the general.'

Placing his handkerchief, well tinctured by eau-de-Cologne, to his
nose, he tried to calculate:  It would probably be a couple of
hours before the 'all clear' sounded.  Could he not squeeze his way
very gradually to the entrance?  His neighbours seemed to think
that by being where they were they had 'struck it lucky' and scored
off the by-our-lady Huns.  Since they evidently had no intention of
departing, it seemed to Eustace that they would prefer his room to
his company.  He was startled, therefore, when his attempt to
escape was greeted by growling admonitions not to 'go shovin',' 'to
keep still, couldn't he,' and other displeased comments.  It was
his first lesson in mob psychology: what was good enough for them
was good enough for him.  If he persisted, he would be considered a
traitor to the body politic, and would meet with strenuous
resistance!  So he abandoned his design and endeavoured to make
himself slimmer, that the bodies round him might be in contact with
his shell rather than with his essence.  Behind his fast
evaporating eau-de-Cologne he developed a kind of preservative
disdain of people who clearly preferred this stinking ant-heap to
the shrapnel and bombs of the open.  Had they no sense of smell;
were they totally indifferent to heat, had they no pride that they
let the Huns inflict on them this exquisite discomfort?  Did none
of them feel, with him, that the only becoming way to treat danger
was to look down your nose at it?

On the contrary, all these people seemed to think that by taking
refuge in the bowels of the earth they had triumphed over the
enemy.  Their mental pictures of being blown into little bits, or
stunned by the shrapnel, must be more vivid than anything he could
conjure up.  And Eustace had a stab of vision.  Good form
discouraged the imagination till it had lost the power of painting.
Like the French aristocrats who went unruffled to the guillotine,
he felt that he would rather be blown up, or shot down, than share
this 'rat-run' triumph of his neighbours.  The more he looked at
them, the more his nose twitched.  Even the cheeriness with which
they were accepting their rancid situation annoyed him.  The
sentiment of the spindly child:  "I'll kill that Kaiser," awakened
in him, for the first time since the war began, a fellow-feeling
for the German Emperor; the simplification of responsibility
adopted by his countrymen stood out so grotesquely in the saying of
this cockney infant.

"He ought to be 'ung," said a voice to his right.

"My!  Ain't it hot here!" said a voice to his left.  "I shall faint
if it goes on much longer."

'It'll stop her panting,' thought Eustace, rubbing his ear.

"Am I standing on your foot, Sir?" asked the stout and splotchy
woman.

"Thanks, not particularly."

"Shift a bit, 'Enry."

"Shift a bit?" repeated the white-faced mechanician cheerfully:
"That's good, ain't it?  There's not too much room, is there, Sir?"

The word 'Sir' thus repeated, or perhaps the first stirrings of a
common humanity, moved Eustace to reply:

"The black hole of Calcutta's not in it."

"I'll kill that Kaiser."

"She don't like these air-raids, and that's a fact," said the stout
woman:  "Do yer, Milly?  But don't you worry, dearie, we're all
right down 'ere."

"Oh!  You think so?" said Eustace.

"Ow!  Yes!  Everyone says the Tubes are safe."

"What a comfort!"

As if with each opening of his lips some gas of rancour had
escaped, Eustace felt almost well disposed to the little family
which oppressed his front.

"Wish I 'ad my girl 'ere," said one of the Jewish youths,
suddenly; "this is your cuddlin' done for you, this is."

"Strike me!" said the other.

'Better dead!' thought Eustace, even more emphatically.

"'Ow long d'you give it, Sir?" said the mechanician, turning his
white face a little.

"Another hour and a half, I suppose."

"I'll kill that Kaiser."

"Stow it, Milly, you've said that before.  One can 'ave too much of
a good thing, can't one, Sir?"

"I was beginning to think so," murmured Eustace.

"Well, she's young to be knocked about like this.  It gets on their
nerves, ye know.  I'll be glad to get 'er and the missis 'ome, and
that's a fact."

Something in the paper whiteness of his face, something in the tone
of his hollow-chested voice, and the simple altruism of his remark,
affected Eustace.  He smelled of sweat and sawdust, but he was
jolly decent!

And time went by, the heat and odour thickening; there was almost
silence now.  A voice said:  "They're a ---- long time abaht it!"
and was greeted with a sighing clamour of acquiescence.  All that
crowded mass of beings had become preoccupied with the shifting of
their limbs, the straining of their lungs towards any faint draught
of air.  Eustace had given up all speculation, his mind was
concentrated blankly on the words:  'Stand straight--stand
straight!'  The spindly child, discouraged by the fleeting nature
of success, had fallen into a sort of coma against his knee; he
wondered whether she had ringworm; he wondered why everybody didn't
faint.  The white-faced mechanician had encircled his wife's waist.
His face, ghostly patient, was the one thing Eustace noticed from
time to time; it emerged as if supported by no body.  Suddenly with
a whispering sigh the young woman, behind, fell against his
shoulder, and by a sort of miracle found space to crumple down.
The mechanician's white face came round:

"Poor lidy, she's gone off!"

"Ah!" boomed the whisky-taster, "and no wonder, with this 'eat."
He waggled his bowler hat above her head.

"Shove 'er 'ead between her knees," said the mechanician.

Eustace pushed the head downwards, the whisky-taster applied a
bunch of keys to her back.  She came to with a loud sigh.

"Better for her dahn there," said the mechanician, "the 'ot air
rises."

And again time went on, with a ground bass of oaths and cheerios.
Then the lights went out to a sound as if souls in an underworld
had expressed their feelings.  Eustace felt a shuddering upheaval
pass through the huddled mass.  A Cockney voice cried:  "Are we
dahn-'earted?"  And the movement subsided in a sort of dreadful
calm.

Down below a woman shrieked; another and another took it up.

"'Igh-strikes," muttered the mechanician; "cover 'er ears, Polly."
The child against Eustace's knee had begun to whimper.  "Milly,
where was Moses when the light went out?"

Eustace greeted the sublime fatuity with a wry and wasted smile.
He could feel the Jewish youths trying to elbow themselves out.
"Stand still," he said, sharply.

"That's right, Sir," said the mechanician; "no good makin' 'eavy
weather of it."

"Sing, you blighters--sing!" cried a voice:  "'When the fields were
white wiv disies.'"  And all around they howled a song which
Eustace did not know; and then, abruptly as it had gone out, the
light went up again.  The song died in a prolonged "Aoh!"  Eustace
gazed around him.  Tears were running down the splotchy woman's
cheeks.  A smile of relief was twitching at the mechanician's
mouth.  "The all clear's gone!  The all clear's gone! . . .  'Ip,
'ip, 'ooraay!"  The cheering swelled past Eustace, and a swinging
movement half lifted him from his feet.

"Catch hold of the child," he said to the mechanician, "I've got
her other hand."  Step by step they lifted her, under incredible
pressure, with maddening slowness, into the hall.  Eustace took a
great breath, expanding his lungs while the crowd debouched into
the street like an exploding shell.  The white-faced mechanician
had begun to cough, in a strangled manner alarming to hear.  He
stopped at last and said:

"That's cleared the pipes.  I'm greatly obliged to you, Sir; I
dunno' ow we'd 'a got Milly up.  She looks queer, that child."

The child's face, indeed, was whiter than her father's, and her
eyes were vacant.

"Do you live far?"

"Nao, just rahnd the corner, Sir."

"Come on, then."

They swung the child, whose legs continued to move mechanically,
into the open.  The street was buzzing with people emerging from
shelter and making their way home.  Eustace saw a clock's face.
Ten o'clock!

'Damn these people,' he thought.  'The restaurants will be closed.'

The splotchy woman spoke as if answering his thought.

"We oughtn't to keep the gentleman, 'Enry, 'e must be properly
tired.  I can ketch 'old of Milly.  Don't you bother with us, Sir,
and thank you kindly."

"Not a bit," said Eustace:  "it's nothing."

"'Ere we are, Sir," said the mechanician, stopping at the side door
of some business premises; "we live in the basement.  If it's not
presuming, would you take a cup o' tea with us?"  And at this
moment the child's legs ceased to function altogether.

"'Ere, Milly, 'old up, dearie, we're just 'ome."

But the child's head sagged.

"She's gone off--paw little thing!"

"Lift her!" said Eustace.

"Open the door, Mother, the key's in my pocket; you go on and light
the gas."

They supported the spindly child, who now seemed to weigh a ton,
down stone stairs into a basement, and laid her on a small bed in a
room where all three evidently slept.  The mechanician pressed her
head down towards her feet.

"She's comin' to.  Why, Milly, you're in your bed, see!  And now
you'll 'ave a nice 'ot cup o' tea!  There!"

"I'll kill that Kaiser," murmured the spindly child, her china-blue
eyes fixed wonderingly on Eustace, her face waxy in the gaslight.

"Stir yer stumps, Mother, and get this gentleman a cup.  A cup'll
do you good, Sir, you must be famished.  Will you come in the
kitchen and have a smoke, while she's gettin' it?"

A strange fellow-feeling pattered within Eustace looking at that
white-faced altruist.  He stretched out his cigarette case,
shining, curved, and filled with gold-tipped cigarettes.  The
mechanician took one, held it for a second politely as who should
imply:  'Hardly my smoke, but since you are so kind.'

"Thank'ee, Sir.  A smoke'll do us both a bit o' good, after that
Tube.  It was close in there."

Eustace greeted the miracle of understatement with a smile.

"Not exactly fresh."

"I'd 'a come and 'ad the raid comfortable at 'ome, but the child
was scared and the Tube just opposite.  Well, it's all in the day's
work, I suppose; but it comes 'ard on children and elderly people,
to say nothing of the women.  'Ope you're feelin' better, Sir.  You
looked very white when you come out."

"Thanks," said Eustace, thinking:  'Not so white as you, my
friend!'

"The tea won't be a minute.  We got the gas 'ere, it boils a kettle
a treat.  You sit down, old girl, I'll get it for yer."

Eustace went to the window.  The kitchen was hermetically sealed.

"Do you mind if I open the window," he said, "I'm still half
suffocated from that Tube."

On the window-sill, in company with potted geraniums, he breathed
the dark damp air of a London basement, and his eyes roved
listlessly over walls decorated with coloured cuts from Christmas
supplements, and china ornaments perched wherever was a spare flat
inch.  These presents from seaside municipalities aroused in him a
sort of fearful sympathy.

"I see you collect china," he said, at last.

"Ah!  The missis likes a bit of china," said the mechanician,
turning his white face illumined by the gas ring; "reminds 'er of
'olidays.  It's a cheerful thing, I think meself, though it takes a
bit o' dustin'."

"You're right there," said Eustace, his soul fluttering suddenly
with a feather brush above his own precious Ming.  Ming and the
present from Margate!  The mechanician was stirring the teapot.

"Weak for me, if you don't mind," said Eustace, hastily.

The mechanician poured into three cups, one of which he brought to
Eustace with a jug of milk and a basin of damp white sugar.  The
tea looked thick and dark and Indian, and Eustace, who partook
habitually of thin pale China tea flavoured with lemon, received
the cup solemnly.  It was better than he hoped, however, and he
drank it gratefully.

"She's drunk her tea a treat," said the splotchy woman, returning
from the bedroom.

"'Ere's yours, Mother."

"'Aven't you 'ad a cup yerself, 'Enry?"

"Just goin' to," said the white-faced mechanician, pouring into a
fourth cup and pausing to add:  "Will you 'ave another, Sir?
There's plenty in the pot."

Eustace shook his head:  "No, thanks very much.  I must be getting
on directly."  But he continued to sit on the window-sill, as a man
on a mountain lingers in the whiffling wind before beginning his
descent to earth.  The mechanician was drinking his tea at last.
"Sure you won't 'ave another cup, Sir?" and he poured again into
his wife's cup and his own.  The two seemed to expand visibly as
the dark liquid passed into them.

"I always say there's nothin' like tea," said the woman.

"That's right; we could 'a done with a cup dahn there, couldn't we,
Sir?"

Eustace stood up.

"I hope your little girl will be all right," he said:  "and thank
you very much for the tea.  Here's my card.  I've enjoyed meeting
you."

The mechanician took the card, looking up at Eustace rather like a
dog.

"I'm sure it's been a pleasure to us, and it's you we got to thank,
Sir.  I shall remember what you did for the child."

Eustace shook his head:  "No, really.  Good-night, Mrs.--er--"

"Thompson, the nyme is, Sir."

He shook her hand, subduing the slight shudder which her face still
imposed on him.

"Good-night, Mr. Thompson."

The hand of the white-faced mechanician, polished on his trousers,
grasped Eustace's hand with astonishing force.

"Good-night, Sir."

"I hope we shall meet again," said Eustace.

Out in the open it was a starry night, and he paused for a minute
in the hooded street with his eyes fixed on those specks of far-off
silver, so remarkably unlike the golden asterisks which decorated
the firmament of his Turkish bath.  And there came to him, so
standing, a singular sensation almost as if he had enjoyed his
evening, as a man will enjoy that which he has never seen before
and wonders if he will ever see again.




SOAMES AND THE FLAG 1914-1918


On that day of 1914 when the assassinations at Serajevo startled
the world, Soames Forsyte passed in a taxi-cab up the Haymarket,
supporting on his knee a picture by James Maris, which he had just
bought from Dumetrius.  He was pleased at the outcome of a very
considerable duel.  The fellow had come down to his price at the
last minute, and Soames had wondered why.

The reason dawned on him that night in Green Street, while reading
his evening paper:  "This tragic occurrence may yet shake Europe to
its foundations.  Sinister possibilities implicit in such an
assassination stagger the imagination."  They must have staggered
Dumetrius.  The fellow had suddenly seen "blue."  The market in
objects whose "virtue" varied with the quietude of men's minds and
the tourist traffic with America, was--Soames well knew--extremely
sensitive.  Sinister possibilities!  He put the paper down and sat
reflecting.  No!  The chap was an alarmist.  What, after all, was
an Archduke more or less--they were always getting into the papers,
one way or another.  He would see what The Times said about it to-
morrow, but probably it would turn out a storm in a tea-cup.
Soames was not in fact of a European turn of mind.  'Trouble in the
Balkans' had become a proverb; and when a thing became a proverb
there was nothing in it.

He read The Times journeying back with the James Maris to
Mapledurham the following day.  Editorial hands were lifted in the
usual horror at assassination, but there was nothing to prevent him
going out fishing.

Indeed, in the month that followed, even after the Austrian
ultimatum had appeared, Soames, like ninety-nine per cent. of his
fellow-countrymen, didn't know what there was "to make such a fuss
about."  To suppose that England could be involved was weak-minded.
The idea, indeed, never seriously occurred to one born just after
the Crimean war, and accustomed to look on Europe as fit to be
advised, perhaps, but nothing more.  Fleur's holidays, too, were
just beginning, and he was thinking of buying her a pony: at twelve
years old it was time she learned even that rather futile
accomplishment--riding.  Besides, was there not plenty of fuss in
Ireland, if they must have something to fuss about?  It was Annette
who raised the first bubbles of an immense disquiet.  Beautiful
creature as she was at that period--"rising thirty-five," as George
Forsyte put it--she did not read the English papers, but she often
had letters from France.  On the 28th of July she said to Soames:

"Soames, there is going to be war--those Germans are crazy mad."

"War over a potty little affair like that?  Nonsense!" growled
Soames.

"Oh! you have no imagination, Soames.  Of course there will be war,
and my poor country will have to fight for Russia; and you English--
what will you do?"

"Do?  Why, nothing!  If you're fools enough to go to war, WE can't
help it."

"We expect you to help us," said Annette; "but you English we never
can rely on.  You wait always to see which way the cat jump."

"What business is it of ours?" Soames answered testily.

"You will soon find what business when the Germans take Calais."

"I thought you French fancied yourselves invincible."  But he got
up and left the room.

And that evening it was noticed even by Fleur that he took no
interest in her.  All Saturday and Sunday he was fidgety.  On
Sunday afternoon came a rumour that Germany had declared war on
Russia.  Soames put it down to the papers; but he remained awake
half the night, and, on reading of its confirmation in The Times on
Monday morning, went up to Town by the first train.  It was Bank
holiday, and he sought his City Club as the only spot where he
might possibly get City news.  He found that a good many other men
were there with the same object, among them one of the partners in
the firm of his brokers, Messrs. Green and Greening--more
familiarly known as "Grin and Grinning."  To him he detailed his
views on the sale of certain stocks.  The fellow--it was 'Grin'--
regarded him askance.

"Nothing doing, Mr. Forsyte," he said:  "The Stock Exchange will be
closed some days they say."

"Closed?" said Soames.  "You don't mean to say they'd let business
stop, even if--"

"It will HAVE to stop, or prices will flop to nothing.  As it is,
there's panic enough--"

"Panic!" repeated Soames, staring at his broker--'a sleek beggar!'
"Cancel those orders; I shan't sell anything."

Not realising that in this he had voiced more than a personal
decision, he got up and went to the window.  Outside was a regular
fluster.  Newsvendors were crying:  "German ultimatum to Belgium!"
Soames stood looking down at the faces in the street.  It was not
his custom, but he found himself doing it.  One and all had a
furrow between the eyes.  Here was a how-de-do!  Down there, on the
river, he hadn't realised.  And he had a sudden longing for
telegraphic tape.

It was surrounded by men he did not know, and Soames, who had a
horror of doing what other people were doing, and especially of
waiting to do it, moved into the smoking-room and sat down.  One of
the least of club-men, he literally did not know how to get into
conversation with strange members, and was confined to listening to
what they were saying.  This was sufficiently alarming.  The three
or four within earshot seemed suffering only from fear that "this
damned Government" wouldn't "come up to the scratch."  Soames' ears
stood up more and more.  He was hearing more abuse of radicals and
the working classes than he had ever heard in so short a space of
time.  The words "traitors" and "politicians" beat through the talk
with a sort of rhythm.  Though the general trend of the sentiments
voiced might be his own, all that was reticent, measured and
calculating within him was shocked.  What did they think a war
would be--a sort of water picnic?

"If we don't go in now," said one of the group, "we shall never
hold up our heads again."

Soames sniffed audibly.  How?  He didn't see.  Germany and Austria
against France and Russia--if they chose to make such fools of
themselves.  Europe was always at war in the old days.  And now
that they had these thundering great armies, it was a wonder they
hadn't come to loggerheads long since.  What was the use of having
no conscription and a big navy, if one wasn't going to keep out of
war?  Fellows like these!  All they thought of was their dividends;
and much good that would do them.  If England lost her head now,
and went in, there wouldn't BE any dividends.  War, indeed!  The
whole interior of one, who for all his sixty years had been at
peace as a matter of course, rose against that grisly consummation.
What had the Russians ever done, or the French for that matter,
that they should expect England to pull the chestnuts out of the
fire for them?  As for the Germans--their Kaiser was a "cock-snoop"
of a chap, always rattling his sabre, and talking through his hat--
but they were at least more understandable than the Russians or the
French; as for Austria--the idea of going to war with her was
simply laughable.

"Albert has appealed to the Powers," said a voice.

Albert!  That was the King of Belgium.  So he'd appealed, had he?
Belgium!  Wasn't she guaranteed like Switzerland?  The Germans
would never be fools enough to--!  This was a civilised age--
treaties and that!  He rose.  It was no use listening to jingo
chatter.  He would go and lunch.

But he could scarcely eat--the weather was so hot.  He shouldn't be
a bit surprised if that had a lot to do with the state of affairs.
Put these Emperors and General chaps on ice, and you'd have them
piping small at once.  He was drinking a glass of barleywater, when
he heard the waiter at the next table say to a member:  "So it
says, Sir."

"Good God!" said the member, starting up.

Soames forgot his manners.

"What does it say?"

"The Germans have invaded Belgium, Sir."

Soames put down his glass.

"Who told you that?"

"It's on the tape, Sir."

Soames emitted a sound that might have come from his very boots--so
deep it was.  He must think.  But you couldn't tell what you were
thinking in this place.

"My bill," he said.

When it came, he gave the waiter a shilling against club rules and
the habit of a lifetime; for he had an obscure feeling that the
fellow had done something unique to him.  Then with a sudden homing
instinct, he took a cab to Paddington, and all the way in the train
read the evening paper, or sat staring out of the carriage window.

He said nothing when he got home--nothing whatever to anybody of
what he had heard--the whole of him absorbed in a sort of silent
and awful adjustment.  That fellow Grey--a steady chap, best of the
bunch--must be making his speech to the House by now.  What was he
saying?  And how were they taking it?  He got into his punt and sat
there listening to the wood-pigeons, in the leafy peace of the
bright day.  He didn't want a soul near him.  England!  They said
the fleet was ready.  His mind didn't seem able to get further than
that.  To be on water gave him queer consolation, as if his faith
in the fleet would glide with that water down to the sea whereon
the pride and the protection of England lay.  He put his hand down
and the water flowed green-tinged through his opened fingers.  By
George!  There went that kingfisher--hadn't seen him for weeks--
flash of blue among the reeds.  He wouldn't be that fellow Grey for
something.  They said he was a fisherman and liked birds.  What was
he saying to them in there under Big Ben?  The chap had always been
a gentleman, could he say anything but that England would stand by
her word?  And for the second time Soames uttered a sound which
seemed to travel up from the very tips of his toes.  He didn't see
what was to be done except agree with that.  And what then?  All
this green peace, every home throughout the land, and stocks and
shares--falling, falling!  And old Uncle Timothy--ninety-four!  He
would have to see that they kept it from the old chap.  Luckily no
newspaper had come into the "Nook" since Aunt Hester died; reading
about the House of Lords in 1910 had so upset Timothy, that he had
given up taking even The Times.

'And my pictures!' thought Soames.  Yes, and Fleur's governess--a
German, Fleur having always spoken French with her mother.  Annette
would want to get rid of her, he wouldn't be surprised.  And what
would become of her--nobody would want a German, if there were war.
A dragon-fly flew past.  Soames watched it with an ache, dumb and
resentful, deep within him.  A beautiful summer, fine and hot, and
they couldn't leave it alone, but must kick up this devil's tattoo,
all over the world.  This thing might--might come to be anything
before it was over.  He got up and slowly punted himself across.
From there he could see the church.  He never went to it, but he
supposed it meant something.  And now all over Europe they were
going to blow each other to bits.  What would the parsons say?
Nothing--he shouldn't wonder--they were a funny lot.  Seven
o'clock!  It must be over by now in the House of Commons.  And he
punted himself slowly back.  The scent of lime blossom and of
meadow-sweet, the scent of sweetbriar and of honeysuckle, yes, and
the scent of grass beginning to cool, drifted and clung.  He didn't
want to leave the water, but it was getting damp.

The mothers of the boys going off to the war out there; young
chaps--conscripts--Russia and Austria, Germany and France--and not
one knowing or caring a dump about it.  A pretty how-de-do!
There'd be a lot of volunteering here--if--if--!  Only he didn't
know, he couldn't tell what use England could be except at sea.

He got out of the punt and walked slowly up past the house to his
front gate.  Heat was over, light paling, stars peering through,
the air smelled a little of dust.  Soames stood like some pelican
awaiting it knew not what.  A motor-cycle came sputtering from the
direction of Reading.  The rider, in dusty overalls, flung words at
him:

"Pawlyment!  We're goin' in!" and sputtered past.  Soames stretched
out a hand.  So might a blind man have moved.

Going in?  With little food inside and the stars above him, all the
imaginative power, which as a rule he starved, turned active,
clutched and groped.  Scattered, scuttling images of war came
flying across the screen of his consciousness like so many wild
geese over the sand, over the sea, out of the darkness into the
darkness of a layman's mind; a layman who had thought in terms of
peace all his days, and his days many.  What a thing to happen to
one at sixty!  They might have waited till he was like old Timothy.
Anxiety!  That was it, anxiety.  Kitchener was over from Egypt,
they said.  That was something.  A grim-looking chap, with his eyes
fixed beyond you like a lion's at the Zoo; but he'd always come
through.  Soames remembered, suddenly, his sensations during the
black week of the Boer war--potty little affair, compared with
this.  And there was old Roberts--too old, he supposed.

'But perhaps,' he thought, 'we shan't have to fight on land.'
Besides, who knew?  The Germans might come to their senses yet,
when they heard England was going in.  There was Russia, she had
more millions than all the rest put together--Steam-roller, they
called her; but had she the steam?  Japan had beaten her.

'Well!' and the thought gave him the queerest feeling, proud and
miserable:  'If we begin, we shall hold on.'  There was something
at once terrible to him and deeply satisfying about that
instinctive knowledge.  They'd be singing "Rule Britannia"
everywhere to-night--he shouldn't wonder.  People didn't THINK--a
little-headed lot!

The stars burned through a sky growing blue-dark.  All over Europe
men and guns moving--all over the seas ships tearing along.  And
this silence--this hush before the storm.  That couldn't last.  No;
there they were already--singing back there along the road--drunk,
he should say.  Tune--words--he didn't know them--vulgar stuff:


     "It's a long long way to Tipperary,
      It's a long, long way to go . . .
      Good-bye, Piccadilly, Farewell, Leicester Square!
      It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
      And my heart's right there!"


What had that to do with it--he should like to know?  They were
cheering now.  Some beanfeast or other had got the news--common
people!  But--common or not, tonight all was England, England!
Well, he must go indoors.


2


Silence, as of one stricken by decision, come to instinctively
rather than by will, weighed on Soames that night and all next day.
He read 'that chap Grey's' speech and, in conspiracy with his
country, waited for what he felt would never come: an answer to the
ultimatum sent.  The Germans had tasted of force, and would never
go back on their invasion of Belgium.

In the afternoon he could neither bear his own gloom nor the
excitement of Annette, and, walking to the station, he took a train
to Town.  The streets seemed full and to get fuller every minute.
He sat down late, at the Connoisseurs' Club, to dine.  When he had
finished a meal which seemed to stick in his gizzard, he went
downstairs.  From his seat in the window he could see St. James'
Street, and the people eddying down it towards the centre of the
country's life.  He sat there practically alone.  At eleven--they
said--the ultimatum would expire.  In this quiet room, where the
furniture and wall-decorations had been accumulated for men of
taste throughout a century of peace, was the reality of life as he
had known it, the reality of Victorian and Edwardian England.  The
Boer wars, and all those other little wars, Ashanti, Afghan,
Soudan, expeditionary adventures, professional affairs far away,
had hardly ruffled the minds of Connoisseurs.  One had walked and
talked upon one's normal way, just conscious of their disagreeable
necessity, and their stimulation at breakfast time, like a pinch of
Glauber's salts.  But this great thing--why, it had united even the
politicians, so he had read in the paper that morning.  And there
came into his mind Lewis Carroll's rhyme:


     "And then came down a monstrous crow,
      As black as a tar-barrel;
      It frightened both the heroes so
      They quite forgot their quarrel."


He got up and moved, restless, into the hall.  All there was of
connoisseur in the club was gathered round the tape--some half-
dozen members, none of whom he knew.  Soames stood a little apart.
Somebody turned and spoke to him.  A shrinking from his fellows,
accentuated in Soames' emotional moments, sent a shiver down his
spine.  He couldn't stay here and have chaps babbling.  Answering
curtly, he got his hat and went out.  In the crowd he'd be alone,
and he moved with it down Pall Mall towards Whitehall.  Thicker
every moment, it was a curious blend of stillness and excitement.
Down Cockspur Street into Whitehall he was slowly swept, till at
the mouth of Downing Street the crowd became solidity itself, and
there was no moving.  Ten minutes to the hour!  Impervious by
nature and by training to mob-emotion, Soames yet was emotionalised.
Here was something that was not mere mob-sensation--something made
up of individual feelings stronger than mere impulse; something to
which noise was but embroidery.  There was plenty of noise,
rumorous, and strident now and again, but it didn't seem to belong
to the faces--didn't seem to suit them any more than it suited the
stars that winked and waited.  All sorts and conditions of men and
women, and he cheek by jowl with them--like sardines in a box--and
he didn't mind.  Civilians, they were, peaceful folk--not a soldier
or a sailor in the lot!  They had begun to sing 'God save the King!'
His own lips moved; he could not hear himself, and that consoled
him.  He fixed his eyes on Big Ben.  The hands of the bright clock,
halfway to the stars, crept with incredible slowness.  Two minutes
more and the thing would begin--the Thing!  What would come of it?
He couldn't tell, he didn't know.  A bad business, a mad business--
once in, you couldn't get out--you had to hold on--to the death--to
the death!  The faces were all turned one way now under the street
lights, white faces, from whose open mouths still came that song;
and then--Boom!  The clock had struck, and cheering rose.  Queer
thing to cheer for! "Hoora-a-ay!"  The Thing had started! . . .

Soames walked away.  Had he cheered?  He did not seem to know.  A
little ashamed he walked.  Why couldn't he have waited down there
on the river, instead of rushing up into the crowd like one of
these young clerks or shop fellows?  He was glad nobody would know
where he had been.  As if it did any good for him to get excited;
as if it did any good for him to do or get anything at his age.
Sixty!  He was glad he hadn't got a son.  Bad enough to have three
nephews.  Still, Val was in South Africa and his leg wasn't sound;
but Winifred's second son, Benedict--what age was he--thirty?  Then
there was Cicely's boy--just gone up to Cambridge.  All these boys!
Some of them would be rushing off to get themselves killed.  A bad
sad business!  And all because--!  Exactly!  Because of what?

Walking in a sort of trance he had reached the Ritz.  All was fiz-
gig in the streets.  Waiters stood on the pavement.  Ladies of the
night talked together excitedly or spoke to policemen as though
they had lost their profession.  Soames went on down Berkeley
Square through quieter streets to his sister's house.  Winifred was
waiting up for him, still in that half mourning for Montague
Dartie, which Soames considered superfluous.  As trustee, he had
been compelled to learn the true history of that French staircase,
if only to keep it from the rest of the world.

"They tell me war's declared, Soames.  Such a relief!"

"Relief!  Pretty relief!"

"You know what I mean, dear boy.  One never knows what those
Radicals might have done."

"This'll cost a thousand millions," said Soames, "before it's over.
Over?  I don't know when it'll be over--the Germans are no joke."

"But surely, Soames, with Russia and ourselves.  And they say the
French are so good now."

"They'd say anything," said Soames.

"But you're glad, aren't you?"

"Glad we haven't ratted, yes.  But it's ruination all round.
Where's your boy Benedict?"

Winifred looked up sharply.

"Oh!" she said.  "But he's not even a volunteer."

"He will be," said Soames, gloomily.

"Do you really think it's as serious as that, Soames?"

"Serious as hell," answered Soames; "you mark my words."

Winifred was silent for some minutes; on her face, so fashionably
composed, was a look as though someone had half drawn up its blind.
She said in a small voice:

"I'm thankful dear Val has got his leg.  You don't think we shall
be invaded, Soames?"

"Not if they keep their heads.  All depends on the fleet.  They say
there's a chap called Jellicoe, but you never know.  There are
these Zeppelins, too--I shall send Fleur down to school in the west
somewhere."

"Ought one to lay in provisions?"

"If everyone does that, there'll be a shortage, and that won't do.
The less fuss the better.  I shall go down home by the first train.
Going to bed, now.  Good-night."  He kissed the forehead of a face
where the blind was still half drawn down.

He slept well, and was back at Mapledurham before noon.  Fleur's
greeting, and the bright peace of the river, soothed him, so that
he lunched with a certain appetite.  On the verandah, afterwards,
his head gardener came up.

"They're puttin' off the 'orticultural show this afternoon, Sir.
Looks as if the Germans had bitten off more than they can chew,
don't you think, Sir?"

"Can't tell," said Soames.  Everybody seemed to think it was going
to be a picnic, and this annoyed him.

"It's lucky Lord Kitchener's over here," said the gardener, "he'll
show them."

"This may last a year and more," said Soames; "no waste of any
sort, d'you understand me?"

The gardener looked surprised.

"I thought--"

"Think what you like, but don't waste anything, and grow
vegetables.  See?"

"Yes, Sir.  So you think it's serious, Sir?"

"I do," said Soames.

"Yes, Sir."  The gardener moved away; a narrow-headed chap!  That
was the trouble; hearts were in the right place, but heads were
narrow.  They said those Germans had big round heads and no backs
to them.  So they had, if he remembered.  He went in and took up
The Times.  To read the papers seemed the only thing one could do.
While he was sitting there Annette came in.  She was flushed and
had a ball of wool in her hand.

"Well," he said, over the top of the paper, "are you satisfied
now?"

She came across to him.

"Put your paper down, Soames, and let me kiss you."

"What for?" said Soames.

Annette removed The Times and sank on his knees.  Placing her hands
on his shoulders she bent and kissed him.

"Because you have not deserted my country.  I am proud of England."

"That's new," said Soames.  She was a weight, and smelled of
verbena; "I don't know what we can do," he added, "except at sea."

"Oh! it is everything.  We have not our backs on the wall any more;
we have our backs on you."

"You certainly have," said Soames; not that it was unpleasant.

Annette rose.  She stood, slightly transfigured.

"We shall beat those 'orrible Germans now.  Soames, we cannot keep
Fräulein, she must go."

"I thought that was coming.  Why?  It's not her fault."

"To have a German in the house?  No!"

"Why not?  She's harmless.  If you send her away, what'll she do?"

"What she likes, but not in this house.  Who knows if she is a
spy."

"Stuff and nonsense!"

"Oh! you English are so slow--you wait always till the fat is in
the fire, as you say."

"I don't see any good in hysteria," muttered Soames.

"They will talk in the neighbourhood."

"Let them!"

"Non!  I have told her she must go.  After the holiday Fleur must
go to school.  It is no use, Soames, I am not going to keep a
German.  'A la guerre comme à la guerre!'"

Soames uttered a sound of profound disapproval.  There she went on
her high horse!  Something deeply just within him was offended, but
something sagacious knew that if he opposed her, the situation
would become impossible.

"Send her to me, then," he said.

"Do not be sloppee with her," said Annette, and went away.

Sloppy!  The word outraged him.  Sloppy!  He was still brooding
over it, when he became conscious that the German governess was in
the room.

She was a tall young woman, with a rather high-cheek-boned, high-
coloured face, and candid grey eyes, and she stood without
speaking, her hands folded one over the other.

"This is a bad business, Fräulein."

"Yes, Mr. Forsyte; Madame says I am to go."

Soames nodded.  "The French have very strong feelings.  Have you
made any arrangements?"

The young woman shook her head.  Soames received an impression of
desolation from the gesture.

"What arrangements could I make?  No one will want me, I suppose.
I wish I had gone back to Germany a week ago.  Will they let me
now?"

"Why not?  This isn't a seaside place.  You'd better go up and see
the authorities.  I'll give you a letter to say you've been quietly
down here."

"Thank you, Mr. Forsyte.  That is kind."

"_I_ don't want you to go," said Soames.  "It's all nonsense; but
one can't control these things"; and, seeing two tears glistening
on her cheekbones, he added hastily:  "Fleur'll miss you.  Have you
got money?"

"Very little.  I send my salary to my old parents."

There it was!  Old parents, young children, invalids, and all the
rest of it.  The pinch!  And here he was administering it!  A
personable young woman, too!  Nothing against her except the war!
"If I were you," he said slowly, "I shouldn't waste time.  I'd go
up before they know where they are.  There'll be a lot of hysteria.
Wait a minute, I'll give you money."

He went to the old walnut bureau, which he had picked up in
Reading--a fine piece with a secret drawer, and a bargain at that.
He didn't know what to give her--the whole thing was so uncertain.
Though she stood there so quietly, he was conscious that her tears
were in motion.

"Damn it!" he said, softly, "I shall give you a term's salary and
fifteen pounds in cash for your journey.  If they won't let you go,
let me know when you come to the end of it."

The young woman raised her clasped hands.

"I don't want to take money, Mr. Forsyte."

"Nonsense," said Soames; "you'll take what I give you.  It's all
against my wish.  You ought to be staying, in my opinion.  What's
it to do with women?"

He took from the secret drawer an adequate number of notes and went
towards her.

"I'll send you to the station.  Go up and see the authorities this
very afternoon; and while you get ready I'll write that letter."

The young woman bent and kissed his hand.  Such a thing had never
happened to him before, and he didn't know that he ever wanted it
to happen again.

"There, there!" he said, and turning back to the bureau, wrote:


"SIR,--

"The bearer of this, Fräulein Schulz, has been governess to my
daughter for the last eighteen months.  I can testify to her
character and attainments.  She has lived quietly at my house at
Mapledurham all the time with the exception of one or two holidays
spent, I believe, in Wales.  Fräulein Schulz wishes to return to
Germany, and I trust you will afford her every facility.  I enclose
my card, and am, Sir,

Faithfully yours,

"SOAMES FORSYTE."


He then telephoned for a car, having refused so far to have one of
his own--tearing great things, always getting out of order.

When the machine arrived, he went out into the hall to wait for the
young woman to come down.  Fleur and a little friend had gone off
to some wood or other; Annette was in the garden and would stay
there, he shouldn't wonder; he didn't want the young woman to go
off without a hand to shake.

First they brought down a shiny foreign trunk, then a handbag, and
a little roll with an umbrella stuck through it.  The young woman
came last.  Her eyes were red.  The whole thing suddenly seemed to
Soames extraordinarily barbarous.  To be thrown out at a moment's
notice like this because her confounded Kaiser's military cut-
throats had lost their senses!  It wasn't English!

"Here's the letter.  You'd better stay at that hotel near Victoria
until you go.  Good-bye, then; I'm very sorry, but you'll be more
comfortable at home while the war's on."

He shook her gloved hand, and perceiving that his own was again in
danger, withdrew it hastily.

"Give Fleur a kiss for me, please, Sir."

"I will.  She'll be sorry to have missed you.  Well, good-bye!"  He
was terrified that she would begin crying again, or attempt to
thank him, and he added hastily:  "You'll have a nice drive."  As a
fact he doubted it, for in fancy he could see her oozing into her
handkerchief all the way.

The luggage was in now, and so was she.  The car was making the
usual noises.  Soames, in the doorway, lifted his hand, twiddling
it towards her turned red face.

Her lip was drooping, she wore a scared expression.  He gave her a
wan smile, and turned back into the house.  Too bad!


3


Rumours!  Soames would never have believed that people could be
such fools.  Rumours of naval engagements, rumours of spies,
rumours of Russians.  Take, for instance, his meeting with the
village schoolmistress outside the school.

"Have you heard the terrible news, Mr. Forsyte?"

Soames' hair stood up under his hat.

"No; what's that?"

"Oh! there's been a dreadful battle at sea.  We've lost six
battleships.  Isn't it awful?"

Soames' fists clenched themselves in his pockets.

"Who told you that?"

"It's all over the village.  Six ships--isn't it terrible?"

"What did the Germans lose?"

"Twelve!"

Soames almost jumped.

"Twelve!  Then the war's over.  What do you mean--terrible--why,
it's the best news we could have!"

"Oh! but six of our own ships--it's awful!"

"War is awful," said Soames.  "But if this is true--"  He left her
abruptly and made for the Post Office.  It was not true, of course.
Nothing was true.  Not even his own suspicions.  Take, for
instance, those two square-shouldered men in straw hats whom he met
walking down a lane with their feet at right angles, as Englishmen
never walked.  Germans, and spies into the bargain, or he was a
Dutchman; especially as his telephone went out of order that very
afternoon.  And of course they turned out to be two Americans
staying at Pangbourne on a holiday, and the wire had been affected
by a thunderstorm.  But what were you to think, when the newspapers
were full of spy stories, and the very lightning was apparently in
the German secret service.  As to mirrors in daylight and matches
after dark, they were in obvious communication with the German
fleet in the Kiel Canal, or wherever it was.  Time and again Soames
would say:

"Bunkum!  The whole thing's weak-minded!"  Only to feel himself
weak-minded the next moment.  Look at those two hundred thousand
Russians whom everybody was seeing in trains all over the country.
They turned out to be eggs, and probably addled at that; but how
could you help believing in them, especially when you wanted to!
And then the authorities told you nothing; dumb as oysters; as if
that were the way to treat an Englishman--it only made him fancy
things.  And there was Mons.  They couldn't even let you know about
the army, except that it was heroic, and had killed a lot of
Germans, and was marching backwards in order to put the finishing
touch to them.  That was about all one heard, till suddenly one
found it was touch and go whether Paris could be saved, and the
French Government had packed their traps and gone off to Bordeaux.
And all the time nothing to do but read the papers, which he
couldn't believe, and listen to the click of Annette's needles.
And then came the news of the battle of the Marne, and he could
breathe again.

He breathed freely--he had gone weeks, it seemed to him, without
taking a deep breath.  People were saying it was the beginning of
the end, and the Allies--he himself had always called it Allies--
and why not?--would soon be in Germany now.  He wanted to believe
this so much, that he said he didn't believe a word of it, much as
when, the weather looking fine, he would take his umbrella to make
sure.  And then, forsooth, they went and dug themselves in!  This
beginning of warfare which was to last four years, produced but
moderate premonition in his mind.  There was a certain relief in
the immobility of things after the plunging excitement of Mons and
the Marne.  He continued to read the papers, shake his head, and
invest in War Loan.  His nephew Benedict was training for a
commission in Kitchener's army; Cicely's boy, also, had joined up,
as they called it.  He supposed they had to.  Annette had said
several times that she wanted to go to France and be a nurse.  It
was all her fancy.  She could do much more good by knitting and
being economical.

Presently he took Fleur down to her school in the West; and not
much too early, for the Zeppelins became busy soon after.  In
regard to their exploits, he displayed a somewhat natural
perversity, for though he had taken his daughter down to a remote
region to avoid them, he thought people made much too much fuss
about them altogether.  From a top window in his Club he was
privileged to see one of them burst into flames.  He said nothing
and was glad of it afterwards--some of his fellow-members had shown
their feelings, and those not all they should be.  There was
provocation, no doubt; but, after all, the crew were being burned
alive.  Generally speaking, while the war dragged on, the reality
of it was kept from him most efficiently not only by the
Government, the papers, and his age, but by a sort of barrage put
up by himself from within himself.  There the thing was, and what
was the use of making more of it than he absolutely had to?  If one
ever came to the end, one might indulge one's feelings, perhaps.
And always the doings at sea, the adventures and misadventures of
ships, impinged on him with a poignancy absent from the events on
land.  Of all that happened in the early part of the war, the
bombardment of Scarborough affected him, perhaps, most painfully.
It was like a half-arm jab above the heart.  His pride was stunned.
The notion that ships had dared to come so near as to throw shells
into English houses and not been sunk for doing it, was peculiarly
horrible to him.  What would they be doing next?  He had a
continual longing for something definite at sea, some sign there of
British superiority, as if "Rule Britannia" had got into the
composition of his blood.  The sinking of the Lusitania gave him at
first much the same shock that it gave everyone else, but when he
heard people abusing the Americans for not declaring war at once,
he felt that they were extravagant.  The Americans were a long way
off--to talk about their being in danger was as good as saying that
England was going to be defeated; which, curiously, considering his
constitutional apprehensiveness, Soames never could believe.  He
had a sort of deep feeling, indeed, that he did not want to be
rescued by America or anybody else.  But these feelings were
curiously mixed up with another feeling that if England had, like
America, lost a lot of English people drowned like that, she would
have gone to war like a shot, and with his approval, into the
bargain.

Early in 1915, owing to depletion of the office staff, he had gone
back into regular harness at Cuthcott Kingson and Forsyte's.  He
worked there, harder than he had ever worked.  In view of national
anxieties the legal issues he was dealing with often seemed to him
"petty," but he dealt with them conscientiously; they took his mind
off, and incidentally gave him more money to invest in War Loan.
After the second battle of Ypres, he had contributed an ambulance,
and had the exquisite discomfort of seeing his name in the papers.
When in the train, going up and down, or at lunch time in his City
Club, he listened to elderly wiseacres discussing the conduct of
the war, the nature of Germans, politicians, Americans, and other
reprehensible characters, he would look exactly as if he were going
to sniff.

'What do they know about it,' he would think, 'talking through
their hats like that--it's un-English.'  There was so much in those
days that was hysterical and 'un-English'; the papers encouraged it
with their "intern-the-Hun" and other "stunts," as they called it
nowadays.  If ever there were a time when mouths required shutting,
it was now; and there they were, spluttering and bawling all over
the place.

In these ways, then, nearly two years passed before in his paper
that June morning he read the first official account of the battle
of Jutland.  Taking the journal in his hand so that no one else
should see it till he himself had recovered, he passed out of the
drawing-room window on to the dewy lawn, and walked blindly towards
the river.  There was a sinking sensation in the pit of his
stomach.  Standing there bareheaded in the sunshine and the peace
of leaves and water, with birds all round as if nothing had
happened, he tried to get hold of himself.  Almost a sense of panic
he had.  A real battle at last, and all those losses!  Under a
poplar tree he read the account again.  The sting was in the head
of it; the tail was all right!  Why couldn't they have reversed the
order and begun with the fact that the Germans had run for home?
What had possessed them to make him feel so bad?  It was a victory
even if we HAD lost all those ships.  A blundering lot--making the
worst of it like that!  It was like being shot by your own side.
Tell the truth--yes; but not so as to give you a stomach-ache,
where there was no need for it.  He went back to breakfast with his
jaw set.

"There's been a big battle at sea," he said to Annette; "we lost a
lot of ships, but the Germans cut and ran for it.  I shouldn't be
surprised if they never come out again."  Thus out of instinctive
perversity did he foretell the future.

The rest of the day and the day after, further reports confirmed
his resentment with the authorities for making him suffer like
that.  What on earth had they been about!  They kept all sorts of
things from you, and then when they had what really amounted to
good news, blurted it out as if it were a disaster.

The death of Kitchener a few days later, though lowering to his
temperature, had not the same staggering effect.  He had done a lot
for the country, and looked like a lion in a Zoo, but in the ebb
and flow of world events even his great figure seemed small.

Towards the end of 1916 he had a curious little personal experience
which affected him more than he would have admitted, so that he
never mentioned it.  This was in the train going up to London.
From patriotic motives he was at that time travelling third, but on
this particular morning, the train being full, he got into a first-
class compartment, occupied by a young officer in uniform with his
military kit in the rack above, and a pretty young woman whose eyes
were red.  From behind his paper Soames felt that if they were not
married, they ought to be, for they were mutually occupied with
each other's eyes and hands and lips.  At stations where their
occupation had to cease he observed them round his nose.  The
pallid desperation of the young man's face and the look in the
girl's reddened eyes gave him definite discomfort.  Here was a case
of impending separation, with all the tragic foreboding, and utter
grief of war-time partings such as were taking place millionfold
all over the world.  It was the first Soames had seen, close up,
and far more painful than he had realised.  They were locked in a
desperate embrace when the train ran in to Westbourne Park.  The
girl was evidently to get out here, and seemed incapable of doing
so.  She stood swaying with the tears running down her face.  The
young officer wrenched the door open and almost pushed her out.
Her face, looking up from the platform, was so intensely wretched
that it made Soames sore.  The train moved on, the young officer
flung himself back into his corner with a groan.  Soames looked out
of the opposite window.  For a whole minute even after the train
had reached Paddington, he continued to gaze in at a deserted
carriage alongside.  At last, grasping his umbrella, he evacuated
the now empty compartment and getting into a taxi, uttered the word
"Poultry" in a gruff voice.  He was gruff all day.  All over the
world it was like that--a shocking business!  And yet, by now,
people seemed more concerned about their sugar and butter rations
than about the war itself.  Air-raids, ships being sunk, and what
they could get to eat, were all people thought about--except, of
course, dancing in night clubs and making up their faces.  In all
his life he had never seen so many made-up faces as he saw now.  In
coming from the office late and passing down the Strand, every
woman he met seemed like the street women he used to see in his
younger days.  Paint and powder, with khaki alongside!

And so 1917 went by, and Fleur was getting a big girl.  He had good
reports of her--she was quick at lessons and games; it was some
comfort.  At her school down in the west, he gathered, they heard
and saw very little of the war; and in the holidays he kept her at
home as much as he could.  There were few signs of war at
Mapledurham, though of course khaki was everywhere.  When
conscription came in, Soames had shaken his head.  He didn't know
what the newspapers were about.  The thing was un-English.  Once it
was introduced, however, he supposed it was the only thing.  All
the same, he never approved of the way they bullied those
conscientious objectors.  He had no sympathy with the fellows'
consciences, of course, but the idea of harassing your fellow-
countrymen at a time like this, repelled him; all his native
individualism, too, remained in secret revolt against the slave-
driving which had become the everyday procedure of abominable
times.  He had lost two gardeners in the opening year, and now they
took the other two and left him with an old man and a boy, so that
he often took a spud and dug up weeds himself, while Annette killed
slugs with a French mixture.  In the house he had never had
anything but maids, so that they couldn't take the butler he hadn't
got, which was some consolation.  But if he'd had a car, they'd
have taken his chauffeur.  He felt he could have lost the lot with
composure, if they'd gone of their own free will, but he would not
have urged their going.  Some reticent, secret belief in the
sanctity of private feelings, even feelings about the country,
would have prevented him.  They had a right, he supposed, to their
own ideas about things.  If he, himself, had been under forty, he
supposed he would have gone--though the mere notion gave him a pain
below the ribs, so crude, so brutal, and so empty did all this
military business appear to him; but he was not prepared to tell
anybody else to go.  His retention of this kind of delicacy made
him lonelier than ever in the City, in the Club, and in trains,
where most people seemed prepared to tell anybody to do anything.
Soames himself was almost ashamed of his delicacy; you couldn't
carry on a war without ordering people about.  And he tried to
conduct himself so that people shouldn't suspect him of this
weakness.  But on one occasion it led him into a serious tiff with
his cousin George Forsyte at the "Iseeum" Club.  George, just a
year younger than himself, had, it appeared, gone in for recruiting
down in Hampshire; while spending the week-ends in town "to enjoy
the air-raids," as he put it.  Soames suspected him of enjoying
something else, besides.  Catching sight of George, then, one
Saturday afternoon, sitting in the bow window of the "Iseeum,"
Soames had inadvertently returned his greeting and was beckoned up.

"Have a drink?" said George:  "No?  Some tea, then; you can have my
sugar."

His japing, heavy-lidded eyes took Soames in from top to toe.

"You're thin as a lathe," he said:  "What are you doing--breeding
for the country?"

Soames drew up the corner of his lip.

"That's not funny," he said tartly.  "What are you doing?"

"Getting chaps killed.  You'd better take to it, too.  The
blighters want driving, now."

"Thank you," said Soames; "not in my line."

George grinned.

"Too squeamish?"

"If you like."

"What's your general game, then?"

"Minding my own business," said Soames.

"Making the wills, eh?"

Soames put his cup down, and took his hat up.  He had never
disliked George more than at that moment.

"Don't get your shirt out," said George; "somebody must make the
wills.  You might make mine, by the way--equal shares to Roger,
Eustace and Francie.  Executors yourself and Eustace.  Come and do
an air-raid with me one night.  Did you see St. John Hayman's boy
was killed?  They say the Huns are preparing a big push for the
spring."

Soames shrugged.

"Good-bye," he said; "I'll send you a draft of your will."

"Pitch it short," said George, "and have me roasted.  No bones by
request."

Soames nodded, and went out.

A big push!  Would they never tire of making mincemeat of the
world?  He had often been tempted towards the Lansdowne attitude;
but some essential bulldog within him had always stirred and
growled.  An end that was no end--after all this, it wouldn't do!
Hold on--until!  For never, even at the worst moments, had he
believed that England could be beaten.

In March 1918 he had been laid up at Mapledurham with a chill and
was only just out again, when the big German "push" began.  It came
with a suddenness that shook him to the marrow, and induced the
usual longing to get away somewhere by himself.  He went up rather
slowly on to a bit of commonland, and sat down on his overcoat
among gorse bushes.  It was peaceful and smelled of spring; a lark
was singing.  And out there the Germans were breaking through!  A
sort of prayer went up from him while he sat in the utter peace of
the mild day.  He had heard so many times that we were ready for
it; and now we weren't, it seemed.  Always the way!  Too cocksure!
He sat listening, as if--as if one could hear the guns all that way
off.  The man down at the lock was reported to have heard them
once.  All me eye!  You couldn't!  Couldn't you?  Wasn't that--?
Nonsense!  He lay back and put his ear to the ground, but only the
whisper of a very gentle wind came to him, and the hum of a wild
bee wending to some blossom of the gorse.  A better sound than that
of guns.  And then the first chime of the village church bell
tingled his ears.  There they would soon be sitting and kneeling
and thinking about the break-through, and the parson would offer up
a special prayer for the destruction of Germans--he shouldn't
wonder.  Well, it was destroy or be destroyed--it all came back to
that.  Funny thing, life--living on life, or rather on death!
According to the latest information, all matter was alive, and
every shape lived on some other shape, or at least on the elements
of shape.  The earth was nothing but disintegrated shape, out of
which came more shapes and you ate them, and then you disintegrated
and gave rise to shapes, and somebody ate them, and so it went on.
In spite of the break-through, he could not help being glad to be
alive after a fortnight cooped up in the house.  His sense of
smell, too, so long confined to eau-de-Cologne, was very keen this
morning; he could smell the gorse--a scent more delicate than most,
'the scent of gorse far-blown from distant hill,' he'd read
somewhere.  And to think that out there his countrymen were
struggling and dying and being blown to smithereens--young fellows,
from his office, from his garden, from every English office and
garden to save England--to save the world, they said--but that was
flim-flam!  And, perhaps, after all these horrible four years they
wouldn't save England!  Drawing his thin legs under him, he sat
staring down towards the river where his home lay.  Yes, they would
save her, if it meant putting another ten years on to the
conscription age, or taking the age limit off altogether.  England
under a foreigner?  Not for Joe!  He scrabbled with his hand,
brought up a fistful of earth, and mechanically put it to his nose.
It smelled exactly as it should smell--of earth, and gave him ever
so queer and special a sensation.  English earth!  H'm!  Earth was
earth, whether in England or in Timbuctoo!  Funny to give your life
for what smelled exactly like his mushroom house.  You put a name
to a thing and you died for it!  There was a lark singing--very
English bird, cheery and absent-minded, singing away without
knowing a thing about anything and caring less, he supposed.  The
bell had ceased to toll for service.  If people thought God was
particularly interested in England, they were mistaken.  He
wouldn't do a thing about it!  People had to do things for
themselves, and if they didn't, that was the end.  Take those
submarines.  Leave them to God and see what happened--one would be
eating one's fantails before one could say Jack Robinson!

The mild air and a slant of March sunlight gently warmed his cheek
pale from too much contact with a pillow.  And--out there!  If ever
this thing ended, he would come up here again and see what it was
like without an ache under his fifth rib.  A nice spot--open and
high.  And now he would have to get back to the house and they
would give him chicken broth, and he would have to listen to
Annette saying that the English never saw an inch before their
noses--which as a matter of fact they didn't--and tell her that
they did.  A weary business when you felt as he felt about this
news.  He rose.  Twelve o'clock!  They'd have finished praying now
and got to the sermon.  He pitied that parson--preaching about the
Philistines, he shouldn't wonder!  There were the jawbones of asses
about, plenty, but not a Samson among the lot of them.  The gorse--
it was early--looked pretty blooming round him--when the gorse was
out of bloom, kissing was out of fashion.  He wondered idly what
had to go out of bloom before killing was out of fashion.  There
was a hawk!  He stood and watched it hover and swoop sideways, and
the red glint of it, till again it rested hovering on the air; then
slowly in the pale sunlight he wended his way down towards the
river.


4


July came.  The break-through had long been checked, the fronts
repaired, the Americans had come over in great numbers, Foch was in
supreme command.  Soames didn't know--perhaps it was necessary, but
Annette's undisguised relief was unpleasant to him, and so far as
he could see, things were going on as interminably as before.  It
was to Winifred that he spoke the words which definitely changed
the fortunes of the world.

"We shall never win," he said, "I despair of it.  The men are all
right, but leaders!  There isn't one among the lot--I despair of
it."  No one had ever heard him talk like that before, or use such
a final word.  The morning papers on the following day were buoyant
with the news that the German offensive against the French had been
stopped and that the French and Americans had broken through.  From
that day on the Allies, as Soames still called them, never looked
back.

Those interested in such questions will pause, perhaps to consider
whether Soames--like so many other people--really won the war, or
whether it was that in him some hidden sensibility received in
advance of the newspapers the impact of events and put up the
instantaneous contradiction natural from one so individualistic.
Whichever is true, the relief he felt at having his dictum
contradicted was extraordinary.  For the first time in three years
he spent the following Sunday afternoon in his picture gallery.
The French were advancing, the English were waiting to advance; the
Americans were doing well; the air-raids had ceased; the submarines
were beaten.  And it all seemed to have happened in two days.
While he stood looking at his Goya and turning over photographs of
pictures in the Prado, a notion came to him.  In that painting of
Goya's called "La Vendimia," the girl with the basket on her head
reminded him of Fleur.  There was really quite a resemblance.  If
the war ever stopped, he would commission an artist to make him a
copy of that Goya girl--the colouring, if he remembered rightly,
was very agreeable.  It would remind him of pleasant things--his
daughter and his visit to the Prado before he bought Lord
Burlingford's 'Goya' in 1910.  A notion so utterly unconnected with
the war had not occurred to him for years--it was almost like a
blessing, with its suggestion of life apart from battle and murder,
and once more connected with Dumetrius.  And ringing the bell, he
ordered a jug of claret cup.  He drank very little of it, but it
gave him a feeling that was almost Victorian.  What had that fellow
Jolyon, and Irene, done with themselves all these war years?  Had
they sweated in their shoes and lost weight as he had done--he
hoped so!  Their boy, if he remembered, would be of military age
next year; for the thousandth time he was glad that Fleur had
disappointed him and been a girl.  That day was, on the whole,
the happiest he had spent since he bought his James Maris in
July 1914 . . .

He began now to put on weight slowly, for though the battles went
on, anxious and bloody, the movement was always in the right
direction, of which he had despaired just in time.  The enemy was
caving-in; the Bulgarians, the Turks, soon the Austrians would go--
they said.  And all the time the Americans were swarming over.
Soames met their officers in London on his way to and from the
City.  They wore khaki with high collars and sometimes pince-nez--
they must feel very uncomfortable; but they seemed in good spirits
and had everything money could buy--which was the great thing.  He
often thought what he would do when the end came.  Some men would
get drunk, he supposed; others would lose their heads and probably
their hats; but so far as he could see, there didn't seem to be any
adequate way of expressing what he himself would feel.  He thought
of Brighton, and of fishing in a punt; he thought of taking train
down to Fleur's school and taking train back; he thought of
standing in a crowd opposite Downing Street, as he had stood when
the thing began.  Nothing seemed satisfactory.  Then the Austrians
gave up.  Somehow he had never thought that he had actually been at
war with the Austrians--they were an amiable lot, with too many
archdukes.  And now that they were down and out, and the archdukes
done with, he felt quite sorry for them.  People were saying it had
become a question of days.  Soames didn't know.  The Germans always
seemed to have something up their sleeves.  They had been
marvellous fighters--no good saying they hadn't--in fact, they had
fought too well altogether.  He shouldn't be surprised if they
tried to destroy London at the last minute.  And with unconscious
perversity he took up his quarters with Winifred in Green Street.
On the ninth of November he had his sixty-fourth birthday there--
fortunately no one remembered it; he never could bear receiving
presents and being wished many happy returns, such nonsense!
Everybody was sure now that it was all over bar the shouting.
Soames, however, said:  "You mark my words--they'll try a big air-
raid before they finish."  Terms for an Armistice were being
prepared: it was rumoured that they would be signed at any moment.
Soames shook his head.  He was sufficiently in two minds, however,
not to go to the City on November 11th, and was seated in the
dining-room at Green Street, when there came the sound of maroons
which always preluded an air-raid.  What had he told them?  It
would be a quarter-of-an-hour or more before the raid began.  He
would put his nose out, and see what they were up to.  The street
was empty but for an old woman--charlady she seemed to be--standing
with a duster in her hand on the doorstep of the next house.
Soames was struck by her face.  It wore a smile such as a poet
might have called ecstatic.  She waved her duster at him, and then--
most peculiar--began to wipe her eyes with it.  Sound rolled into
the street from Park Lane--cheering, gusts of it, waves of
cheering.  Soames saw other people rushing out of houses.  One of
them threw his hat down and danced on it.  It couldn't be an air-
raid then--no man would do that for an air-raid.  Why?  Why--of
course--it was the Armistice!  AT LAST!  And very quietly,
trembling all over, Soames muttered:  "Thank God!"  For a moment he
was tempted to hurry down towards Park Lane whence the sound of
cheering came.  Then, suddenly, the idea seemed to him vulgar.  He
walked back into the house and slammed the door.  Going into the
dining-room, he sat down in an armchair which had its back to
everything.  He sat there without movement except that he breathed
as if he had been running.  His lips kept quivering.  It was queer.
And then--he never admitted it to a soul--tears ran out of his eyes
and rolled on to his stiff collar.  He would not have believed them
possible and he let them roll.  The long, long Thing--it was over.
All over!  Then suddenly, feeling that if he didn't take care he
would have to change his collar, he took out his pocket
handkerchief.  This confession of his emotion acted like a charm.
The moisture ceased, and removing all trace of it, he leaned back
with eyes closed.  For some time he stayed like that, as if at the
end of a long day's work.  The clamour of bells and rejoicing
penetrated the closed room, but Soames sat with his head sunk on
his chest, still quivering all over.  It was as if age-long
repression of his feelings were taking revenge in this long,
relaxed, quivering immobility.  Out there, they would be dancing
and shouting; laughing and drinking; praying and weeping.  And
Soames sat and quivered.

He got up at last and going to the sideboard, helped himself to a
glass of his dead father's old brown sherry.  Then taking his
overcoat and umbrella, he went out--he didn't know why, or whither
on earth.

He walked through quiet streets towards Piccadilly.  When he passed
people they smiled at him, and he didn't like it--having to smile
back.  Some seemed to toss remarks at the air as they passed--
talking to themselves, or to God, or what not.  Every now and then
somebody ran.  He reached Piccadilly, and didn't like it either--
full of lorries and omnibuses crowded with people all cheering and
behaving like fools.  He crossed it, as quickly as possible, and
went down through the Green Park, past the crowds in front of
Buckingham Palace.  He walked on to the Abbey and the Houses of
Parliament--crowds there--crowds everywhere!  He skirted them and
kept on along the Embankment--he didn't know why and he didn't know
where.  From Blackfriars he moved up Citywards and reached Ludgate
Hill.  And suddenly he knew where he was going--St. Paul's!  There
stood the dome, curved massive against the grey November sky, huge
above the stir of flags and traffic, silent in the din of cheering
and of bells.  He walked up the steps and went in.  He hadn't been
since the war began, and his visit now had no connection with God.
He went because it was big and old and empty, and English, and
because it reminded him.  He walked up the aisle and stood looking
at the roof of the dome.  Christopher Wren!  Good old English name!
Good old quiet English stones and bones!  No more sudden death, no
more bombs, no more drowning ships, no more poor young devils taken
from home and killed!  Peace!  He stood with his hands folded on
the handle of his umbrella and his left knee flexed as if standing
at ease; on his restrained pale face upturned was a look wistful
and sardonic.  Rivers of blood and tears!  Why?  A gleam of colour
caught his eye.  Flags!  They couldn't do without them even here!
The Flag!  Terrible thing--sublime and terrible--the Flag!



THE END





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