List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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within her, painful, sullen, tenacious.  Mechanically she closed
drawer after drawer, went to her bed, lay on it, and buried her
face in the pillows.  She did not cry.  What was the use of that?
When she got off her bed to go down to lunch she felt as if only
one thing could do her good, and that was to have Val home.  He--
her eldest boy--who was to go to Oxford next month at James'
expense, was at Littlehampton taking his final gallops with his
trainer for Smalls, as he would have phrased it following his
father's diction.  She caused a telegram to be sent to him.

"I must see about his clothes," she said to Imogen; "I can't have
him going up to Oxford all anyhow.  Those boys are so particular."

"Val's got heaps of things," Imogen answered.

"I know; but they want overhauling.  I hope he'll come."

"He'll come like a shot, Mother.  But he'll probably skew his

"I can't help that," said Winifred.  "I want him."

With an innocent shrewd look at her mother's face, Imogen kept
silence.  It was father, of course!  Val did come 'like a shot' at
six o'clock.

Imagine a cross between a pickle and a Forsyte and you have young
Publius Valerius Dartie.  A youth so named could hardly turn out
otherwise.  When he was born, Winifred, in the heyday of spirits,
and the craving for distinction, had determined that her children
should have names such as no others had ever had.  (It was a mercy-
-she felt now--that she had just not named Imogen Thisbe.) But it
was to George Forsyte, always a wag, that Val's christening was
due.  It so happened that Dartie dining with him, a week after the
birth of his son and heir, had mentioned this aspiration of

"Call him Cato," said George, "it'll be damned piquant!"  He had
just won a tenner on a horse of that name.

"Cato!" Dartie had replied--they were a little 'on' as the phrase
was even in those days--"it's not a Christian name."

"Halo you!" George called to a waiter in knee breeches.  "Bring me
the Encyc'pedia Brit. from the Library, letter C."

The waiter brought it.

"Here you are!" said George, pointing with his cigar: "Cato Publius
Valerius by Virgil out of Lydia.  That's what you want.  Publius
Valerius is Christian enough."

Dartie, on arriving home, had informed Winifred.  She had been
charmed.  It was so 'chic.'  And Publius Valerius became the baby's
name, though it afterwards transpired that they had got hold of the
inferior Cato.  In 1890, however, when little Publius was nearly
ten, the word 'chic' went out of fashion, and sobriety came in;
Winifred began to have doubts.  They were confirmed by little
Publius himself who returned from his first term at school com-
plaining that life was a burden to him--they called him Pubby.
Winifred--a woman of real decision--promptly changed his school and
his name to Val, the Publius being dropped even as an initial.

At nineteen he was a limber, freckled youth with a wide mouth,
light eyes, long dark lashes; a rather charming smile, considerable
knowledge of what he should not know, and no experience of what he
ought to do.  Few boys had more narrowly escaped being expelled--
the engaging rascal.  After kissing his mother and pinching Imogen,
he ran upstairs three at a time, and came down four, dressed for
dinner.  He was, awfully sorry, but his 'trainer,' who had come up
too, had asked him to dine at the Oxford and Cambridge; it wouldn't
do to miss--the old chap would be hurt.  Winifred let him go with
an unhappy pride.  She had wanted him at home, but it was very nice
to know that his tutor was so fond of him.  He went out with a wink
at Imogen, saying: "I say, Mother, could I have two plover's eggs
when I come in?--cook's got some.  They top up so jolly well.  Oh!
and look here--have you any money?--I had to borrow a fiver from
old Snobby."

Winifred looking at him with fond shrewdness, answered:

"My dear, you are naughty about money.  But you shouldn't pay him
to-night, anyway; you're his guest.  "How nice and slim he looked
in his white waistcoat, and his dark thick lashes!

"Oh, but we may go to the theatre, you see, Mother; and I think I
ought to stand the tickets; he's always hard up, you know."

Winifred produced a five-pound note, saying:

"Well, perhaps you'd better pay him, but you mustn't stand the
tickets too."

Val pocketed the fiver.

"If I do, I can't," he said.  "Good-night, Mum!"

He went out with his head up and his hat cocked joyously, sniffing
the air of Piccadilly like a young hound loosed into covert.  Jolly
good biz!  After that mouldy old slow hole down there!

He found his 'tutor,' not indeed at the Oxford and Cambridge, but
at the Goat's Club.  This 'tutor' was a year older than himself, a
good-looking youth, with fine brown eyes, and smooth dark hair, a
small mouth, an oval face, languid, immaculate, cool to a degree,
one of those young men who without effort establish moral
ascendancy over their companions.  He had missed being expelled
from school a year before Val, had spent that year at Oxford, and
Val could almost see a halo round his head.  His name was Crum, and
no one could get through money quicker.  It seemed to be his only
aim in life--dazzling to young Val, in whom, however, the Forsyte
would stand apart, now and then, wondering where the value for that
money was.

They dined quietly, in style and taste; left the Club smoking
cigars, with just two bottles inside them, and dropped into stalls
at the Liberty.  For Val the sound of comic songs, the sight of
lovely legs were fogged and interrupted by haunting fears that he
would never equal Crum's quiet dandyism.  His idealism was roused;
and when that is so, one is never quite at ease.  Surely he had too
wide a mouth, not the best cut of waistcoat, no braid on his
trousers, and his lavender gloves had no thin black stitchings down
the back.  Besides, he laughed too much--Crum never laughed, he
only smiled, with his regular dark brows raised a little so that
they formed a gable over his just drooped lids.  No! he would never
be Crum's equal.  All the same it was a jolly good show, and
Cynthia Dark simply ripping.  Between the acts Crum regaled him
with particulars of Cynthia's private life, and the awful knowledge
became Val's that, if he liked, Crum could go behind.  He simply
longed to say: "I say, take me!" but dared not, because of his
deficiencies; and this made the last act or two almost miserable.
On coming out Crum said: "It's half an hour before they close;
let's go on to the Pandemonium."  They took a hansom to travel the
hundred yards, and seats costing seven-and-six apiece because they
were going to stand, and walked into the Promenade.  It was in
these little things, this utter negligence of money that Crum had
such engaging polish.  The ballet was on its last legs and--night,
and the traffic of the Promenade was suffering for the moment.  Men
and women were crowded in three rows against the barrier.  The
whirl and dazzle on the stage, the half dark, the mingled tobacco
fumes and women's scent, all that curious lure to promiscuity which
belongs to Promenades, began to free young Val from his idealism.
He looked admiringly in a young woman's face, saw she was not
young, and quickly looked away.  Shades of Cynthia Dark!  The young
woman's arm touched his unconsciously; there was a scent of musk
and mignonette.  Val looked round the corner of his lashes. Perhaps
she was young, after all.  Her foot trod on his; she begged his
pardon.  He said:

"Not at all; jolly good ballet, isn't it?"

"Oh, I'm tired of it; aren't you?"

Young Val smiled--his wide, rather charming smile.  Beyond that he
did not go--not yet convinced.  The Forsyte in him stood out for
greater certainty.  And on the stage the ballet whirled its
kaleidoscope of snow-white, salmon-pink, and emerald-green and
violet and seemed suddenly to freeze into a stilly spangled
pyramid.  Applause broke out, and it was over!  Maroon curtains had
cut it off.  The semi-circle of men and women round the barrier
broke up, the young woman's arm pressed his.  A little way off
disturbance seemed centring round a man with a pink carnation; Val
stole another glance at the young woman, who was looking towards
it.  Three men, unsteady, emerged, walking arm in arm.  The one in
the centre wore the pink carnation, a white waistcoat, a dark
moustache; he reeled a little as he walked.  Crum's voice said slow
and level: "Look at that bounder, he's screwed!"  Val turned to
look.  The 'bounder' had disengaged his arm, and was pointing
straight at them.  Crum's voice, level as ever, said:

"He seems to know you!"  The 'bounder' spoke:

"H'llo!" he said.  "You f'llows, look!  There's my young rascal of
a son!"

Val saw.  It was his father!  He could have sunk into the crimson
carpet.  It was not the meeting in this place, not even that his
father was 'screwed'; it was Crum's word 'bounder,' which, as by
heavenly revelation, he perceived at that moment to be true.  Yes,
his father looked a bounder with his dark good looks, and his pink
carnation, and his square, self-assertive walk.  And without a word
he ducked behind the young woman and slipped out of the Promenade.
He heard the word, "Val!" behind him, and ran down deep-carpeted
steps past the 'chuckersout,' into the Square.

To be ashamed of his own father is perhaps the bitterest experience
a young man can go through.  It seemed to Val, hurrying away, that
his career had ended before it had begun.  How could he go up to
Oxford now amongst all those chaps, those splendid friends of
Crum's, who would know that his father was a 'bounder'!  And
suddenly he hated Crum.  Who the devil was Crum, to say that?  If
Crum had been beside him at that moment, he would certainly have
been jostled off the pavement.  His own father--his own!  A choke
came up in his throat, and he dashed his hands down deep into his
overcoat pockets.  Damn Crum!  He conceived the wild idea of
running back and fending his father, taking him by the arm and
walking about with him in front of Crum; but gave it up at once and
pursued his way down Piccadilly.  A young woman planted herself
before him.  "Not so angry, darling!"  He shied, dodged her, and
suddenly became quite cool.  If Crum ever said a word, he would
jolly well punch his head, and there would be an end of it.  He
walked a hundred yards or more, contented with that thought, then
lost its comfort utterly.  It wasn't simple like that!  He
remembered how, at school, when some parent came down who did not
pass the standard, it just clung to the fellow afterwards.  It was
one of those things nothing could remove.  Why had his mother
married his father, if he was a 'bounder'?  It was bitterly unfair-
-jolly low-down on a fellow to give him a 'bounder' for father.
The worst of it was that now Crum had spoken the word, he realised
that he had long known subconsciously that his father was not 'the
clean potato.'  It was the beastliest thing that had ever happened
to him--beastliest thing that had ever happened to any fellow!
And, down-hearted as he had never yet been, he came to Green
Street, and let himself in with a smuggled latch-key.  In the
dining-room his plover's eggs were set invitingly, with some cut
bread and butter, and a little whisky at the bottom of a decanter--
just enough, as Winifred had thought, for him to feel himself a
man.  It made him sick to look at them, and he went upstairs.

Winifred heard him pass, and thought: 'The dear boy's in.  Thank
goodness!  If he takes after his father I don't know what I shall
do!  But he won't he's like me.  Dear Val!'



When Soames entered his sister's little Louis Quinze drawing-room,
with its small balcony, always flowered with hanging geraniums in
the summer, and now with pots of Lilium Auratum, he was struck by
the immutability of human affairs.  It looked just the same as on
his first visit to the newly married Darties twenty-one years ago.
He had chosen the furniture himself, and so completely that no
subsequent purchase had ever been able to change the room's
atmosphere.  Yes, he had founded his sister well, and she had
wanted it.  Indeed, it said a great deal for Winifred that after
all this time with Dartie she remained well-founded.  From the
first Soames had nosed out Dartie's nature from underneath the
plausibility, savoir faire, and good looks which had dazzled
Winifred, her mother, and even James, to the extent of permitting
the fellow to marry his daughter without bringing anything but
shares of no value into settlement.

Winifred, whom he noticed next to the furniture, was sitting at her
Buhl bureau with a letter in her hand.  She rose and came towards
him.  Tall as himself, strong in the cheekbones, well tailored,
something in her face disturbed Soames.  She crumpled the letter in
her hand, but seemed to change her mind and held it out to him.  He
was her lawyer as well as her brother.

Soames read, on Iseeum Club paper, these words:

'You will not get chance to insult in my own again.  I am leaving
country to-morrow.  It's played out.  I'm tired of being insulted
by you.  You've brought on yourself.  No self-respecting man can
stand it.  I shall not ask you for anything again.  Good-bye.  I
took the photograph of the two girls.  Give them my love.  I don't
care what your family say.  It's all their doing.  I'm going to
live new life.


This after-dinner note had a splotch on it not yet quite dry.  He
looked at Winifred--the splotch had clearly come from her; and he
checked the words: 'Good riddance!'  Then it occurred to him that
with this letter she was entering that very state which he himself
so earnestly desired to quit--the state of a Forsyte who was not

Winifred had turned away, and was taking a long sniff from a little
gold-topped bottle.  A dull commiseration, together with a vague
sense of injury, crept about Soames' heart.  He had come to her to
talk of his own position, and get sympathy, and here was she in the
same position, wanting of course to talk of it, and get sympathy
from him.  It was always like that!  Nobody ever seemed to think
that he had troubles and interests of his own.  He folded up the
letter with the splotch inside, and said:

"What's it all about, now?"

Winifred recited the story of the pearls calmly.

"Do you think he's really gone, Soames?  You see the state he was
in when he wrote that."

Soames who, when he desired a thing, placated Providence by
pretending that he did not think it likely to happen, answered:

"I shouldn't think so.  I might find out at his Club."

"If George is there," said Winifred, "he would know."

"George?" said Soames; "I saw him at his father's funeral."

"Then he's sure to be there."

Soames, whose good sense applauded his sister's acumen, said
grudgingly: "Well, I'll go round.  Have you said anything in Park

"I've told Emily," returned Winifred, who retained that 'chic' way
of describing her mother.  "Father would have a fit."

Indeed, anything untoward was now sedulously kept from James.  With

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