photo.jpg (26K)

Attack his fleas--though he was supposed

to have none

Dogs: with rudiments of altruism and a sense

of God

Don't hurt others more than is absolutely


Early morning does not mince words

Era which had canonised hypocrisy

Forgiven me; but she could never forget

Health--He did not want it at such cost

Is anything more pathetic than the faith 

of the young?

Law takes a low view of human nature

Let her come to me as she will, when she will, 

not at all if she will not

Love has no age, no limit; and no death

Never to see yourself as others see you

Old men learn to forego their whims

People who don't live are wonderfully


Perching-place; never--never her cage!

Putting up a brave show of being natural

Socialists: they want our goods

Thank you for that good lie

To seem to be respectable was to be

You have to buy experience

inscription.jpg (16K)


COURAGE Is but a word, and yet, of words,
The only sentinel of permanence;
The ruddy watch-fire of cold winter days,
We steal its comfort, lift our weary swords,
And on. For faith--without it--has no sense;
And love to wind of doubt and tremor sways;
And life for ever quaking marsh must tread.

Laws give it not; before it prayer will blush;
Hope has it not; nor pride of being true;
'Tis the mysterious soul which never yields,
But hales us on and on to breast the rush
Of all the fortunes we shall happen through.
And when Death calls across his shadowy
Dying, it answers: "Here! I am not dead!"


The simple truth, which underlies the whole story, that where sex

attraction is utterly and definitely lacking in one partner to a union,

no amount of pity, or reason, or duty, or what not, can overcome a

repulsion implicit in Nature.

The tragedy of whose life is the very simple, uncontrollable tragedy of

being unlovable, without quite a thick enough skin to be thoroughly

unconscious of the fact.  Not even Fleur loves Soames as he feels he

ought to be loved.  But in pitying Soames, readers incline, perhaps, to

animus against Irene: After all, they think, he wasn't a bad fellow, it

wasn't his fault; she ought to have forgiven him, and so on!

"Let the dead Past bury its dead" would be a better saying if the Past

ever died.  The persistence of the Past is one of those tragi-comic

blessings which each new age denies, coming cocksure on to the stage to

mouth its claim to a perfect novelty.

The figure of Irene, never, as the reader may possibly have observed,

present, except through the senses of other characters, is a concretion

of disturbing Beauty impinging on a possessive world.

She turned back into the drawing-room; but in a minute came out, and

stood as if listening.  Then she came stealing up the stairs, with a

kitten in her arms.  He could see her face bent over the little beast,

which was purring against her neck.  Why couldn't she look at him like


But though the impingement of Beauty and the claims of Freedom on a

possessive world are the main prepossessions of the Forsyte Saga, it

cannot be absolved from the charge of embalming the upper-middle class.

When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present;

when a Forsyte died--but no Forsyte had as yet died; they did not die;

death being contrary to their principles, they took precautions against

it, the instinctive precautions of highly vitalized persons who resent

encroachments on their property.

"It's my opinion," he said unexpectedly, "that it's just as well as it


The eldest by some years of all the Forsytes, she held a peculiar

position amongst them.  Opportunists and egotists one and all-- though

not, indeed, more so than their neighbours--they quailed before her

incorruptible figure, and, when opportunities were too strong, what could

they do but avoid her!

"I'm bad," he said, pouting--"been bad all the week; don't sleep at

night.  The doctor can't tell why.  He's a clever fellow, or I shouldn't

have him, but I get nothing out of him but bills."

There was little sentimentality about the Forsytes.  In that great

London, which they had conquered and become merged in, what time had they

to be sentimental?

A moment passed, and young Jolyon, turning on his heel, marched out at

the door.  He could hardly see; his smile quavered.  Never in all the

fifteen years since he had first found out that life was no simple

business, had he found it so singularly complicated.

As in all self-respecting families, an emporium had been established

where family secrets were bartered, and family stock priced.  It was

known on Forsyte 'Change that Irene regretted her marriage.  Her regret

was disapproved of.  She ought to have known her own mind; no dependable

woman made these mistakes.

Out of his other property, out of all the things he had collected, his

silver, his pictures, his houses, his investments, he got a secret and

intimate feeling; out of her he got none.

Of all those whom this strange rumour about Bosinney and Mrs. Soames

reached, James was the most affected.  He had long forgotten how he had

hovered, lanky and pale, in side whiskers of chestnut hue, round Emily,

in the days of his own courtship.  He had long forgotten the small house

in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his

married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the

small house,--a Forsyte never forgot a house--he had afterwards sold it

at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.

And those countless Forsytes, who, in the course of innumerable

transactions concerned with property of all sorts (from wives to

water rights)....

"I now move, 'That the report and accounts for the year 1886 be received

and adopted.'  You second that?  Those in favour signify the same in the

usual way.  Contrary--no.  Carried.  The next business, gentlemen...."

Soames smiled.  Certainly Uncle Jolyon had a way with him!

Forces regardless of family or class or custom were beating down his

guard; impending events over which he had no control threw their shadows

on his head.  The irritation of one accustomed to have his way was,

roused against he knew not what.

We are, of course, all of us the slaves of property, and I admit that

it's a question of degree, but what I call a 'Forsyte' is a man who is

decidedly more than less a slave of property.  He knows a good thing, he

knows a safe thing, and his grip on property--it doesn't matter whether

it be wives, houses, money, or reputation--is his hall-mark."--"Ah!"

murmured Bosinney.  "You should patent the word."--"I should like," said

young Jolyon, "to lecture on it: 'Properties and quality of a Forsyte':

This little animal, disturbed by the ridicule of his own sort, is

unaffected in his motions by the laughter of strange creatures (you or

I).  Hereditarily disposed to myopia, he recognises only the persons of

his own species, amongst which he passes an existence of competitive


"My people," replied young Jolyon, "are not very extreme, and they have

their own private peculiarities, like every other family, but they

possess in a remarkable degree those two qualities which are the real

tests of a Forsyte--the power of never being able to give yourself up to

anything soul and body, and the 'sense of property'."

An unhappy marriage!  No ill-treatment--only that indefinable malaise,

that terrible blight which killed all sweetness under Heaven; and so from

day to day, from night to night, from week to week, from year to year,

till death should end it.

The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good

or bad--merely comic, or pathetic.  You probably don't agree with me!'

"Don't touch me!" she cried.  He caught her wrist; she wrenched it away.

"And where may you have been?" he asked.  "In heaven--out of this house!"

With those words she fled upstairs.

It seemed to young Jolyon that he could hear her saying: "But, darling,

it would ruin you!"  For he himself had experienced to the full the

gnawing fear at the bottom of each woman's heart that she is a drag on

the man she loves.

She had come back like an animal wounded to death, not knowing

where to turn, not knowing what she was doing.

"What do you mean by God?" he said; "there are two irreconcilable ideas

of God.  There's the Unknowable Creative Principle--one believes in That.

And there's the Sum of altruism in man naturally one believes in That.

She was such a decided mortal; knew her own mind so terribly well; wanted

things so inexorably until she got them--and then, indeed, often dropped

them like a hot potato.  Her mother had been like that, whence had come

all those tears.  Not that his  incompatibility with his daughter was

anything like what it had been with the first Mrs. Young Jolyon.

One could be amused where a daughter was concerned; in a wife's case

one could not be amused.

"Thank you for that good lie.

Love has no age, no limit; and no death.

Did Nature permit a Forsyte not to make a slave of what he adored?  Could

beauty be confided to him?  Or should she not be just a visitor, coming

when she would, possessed for moments which passed, to return only at her

own choosing?  'We are a breed of spoilers!' thought Jolyon, 'close and

greedy; the bloom of life is not safe with us.  Let her come to me as she

will, when she will, not at all if she will not.  Let me be just her

stand-by, her perching-place; never-never her cage!'

....causing the animal to wake and attack his fleas; for though he was

supposed to have none, nothing could persuade him of the fact.

It's always worth while before you do anything to consider whether it's

going to hurt another person more than is absolutely necessary."


A thing slipped between him and all previous knowledge

Afraid of being afraid

Afraid to show emotion before his son

Always wanted more than he could have

Aromatic spirituality

As she will, when she will, not at all if she will not

Attack his fleas; for though he was supposed to have none

Avoided expression of all unfashionable emotion

Back of beauty was harmony

Back of harmony was--union

Beauty is the devil, when you're sensitive to it!

Blessed capacity of living again in the young

But it tired him and he was glad to sit down

But the thistledown was still as death

By the cigars they smoke, and the composers they love

Change--for there never was any--always upset her very much

Charm; and the quieter it was, the more he liked it

Compassion was checked by the tone of that close voice

Conceived for that law a bitter distaste

Conscious beauty

Detached and brotherly attitude towards his own son

Did not mean to try and get out of it by vulgar explanation

Did not want to be told of an infirmity

Dislike of humbug

Dogs: with rudiments of altruism and a sense of God

Don't care whether we're right or wrong

Don't hurt others more than is absolutely necessary

Early morning does not mince words

Era which had canonised hypocrisy

Evening not conspicuous for open-heartedness

Everything in life he wanted--except a little more breath

Fatigued by the insensitive, he avoided fatiguing others

Felt nearly young

Forgiven me; but she could never forget

Forsytes always bat

Free will was the strength of any tie, and not its weakness

Get something out of everything you do

Greater expense can be incurred for less result than anywhere

Hard-mouthed women who laid down the law

He could not plead with her; even an old man has his dignity

He saw himself reflected: An old-looking chap

Health--He did not want it at such cost

Horses were very uncertain

I have come to an end; if you want me, here I am

I never stop anyone from doing anything

I shan't marry a good man, Auntie, they're so dull!

If not her lover in deed he was in desire

Importance of mundane matters became increasingly grave

Intolerable to be squeezed out slowly, without a say youself

Ironical, which is fatal to expansiveness

Ironically mistrustful

Is anything more pathetic than the faith of the young?

It was their great distraction: To wait!

Know how not to grasp and destroy!

Law takes a low view of human nature

Let her come to me as she will, when she will

Little notion of how to butter her bread

Living on his capital

Longing to escape in generalities beset him

Love has no age, no limit; and no death

Man had money, he was free in law and fact

Ministered to his daughter's love of domination

More spiritual enjoyment of his coffee and cigar

Never give himself away

Never seemed to have occasion for verbal confidences

Never since had any real regard for conventional morality

Never to see yourself as others see you

No money! What fate could compare with that?

None of them quite knew what she meant

None of us--none of us can hold on for ever!

Not going to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds

Nothing left to do but enjoy beauty from afar off

Nothing overmastering in his feeling

Old men learn to forego their whims

One cannot see the havoc oneself is working

One could break away into irony--as indeed he often had to

One who has never known a struggle with desperation

One's never had enough

Only aversion lasts

Only Time was good for sorrow

Own feelings were not always what mattered most

People who don't live are wonderfully preserved

Perching-place; never-never her cage!

Philosophy of one on whom the world had turned its back

Pity, they said, was akin to love!

Preferred to concentrate on the ownership of themselves

Putting up a brave show of being natural

Quiet possession of his own property

Quivering which comes when a man has received a deadly insult

Self-consciousness is a handicap

Selfishness of age had not set its proper grip on him

Sense of justice stifled condemnation

Servants knew everything, and suspected the rest

Shall not expect this time more than I can get, or she can give

She used to expect me to say it more often  than I felt it

Sideways look which had reduced many to silence in its time

Smiled because he could have cried

So difficult to be sorry for him

'So we go out!' he thought 'No more beauty! Nothing?'

Socialists: they want our goods

Sorrowful pleasure

Spirit of the future, with the charm of the unknown

Striking horror of the moral attitude

Sum of altruism in man

Surprised that he could have had so paltry an idea

Tenderness to the young

Thank you for that good lie

Thanks awfully

That dog was a good dog

The Queen--God bless her!

The soundless footsteps on the grass!

There was no one in any sort of authority to notice him

There went the past!

To seem to be respectable was to be

Too afraid of committing himself in any direction

Trees take little account of time

Unfeeling process of legal regulation

Unknowable Creative Principle

Unlikely to benefit its beneficiaries

Wanted things so inexorably until she got them

Waves of sweetness and regret flooded his soul

Weighing you to the ground with care and love

Went out as if afraid of being answered

What do you mean by God?

When you fleece you're sorry

When you're fleeced you're sick

Where Beauty was, nothing ever ran quite straight

Whole world was in conspiracy to limit freedom

With the wisdom of a long life old JoIyon did not speak

Witticism of which he was not the author was hardly to his taste

Wonderful finality about a meal

You have to buy experience

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