List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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feeling of property improperly owned, he mused.  If only Irene had
given him a son, he wouldn't now be squirming after women!  The
thought had jumped out of its little dark sentry-box in his inner
consciousness.  A son--something to look forward to, something to
make the rest of life worth while, something to leave himself to,
some perpetuity of self.  'If I had a son,' he thought bitterly,
'a proper legal son, I could make shift to go on as I used.  One
woman's much the same as another, after all.'  But as he walked he
shook his head.  No!  One woman was not the same as another.  Many
a time had he tried to think that in the old days of his thwarted
married life; and he had always failed.  He was failing now.  He
was trying to think Annette the same as that other.  But she was
not, she had not the lure of that old passion.  'And Irene's my
wife,' he thought, 'my legal wife.  I have done nothing to put her
away from me.  Why shouldn't she come back to me?  It's the right
thing, the lawful thing.  It makes no scandal, no disturbance.  If
it's disagreeable to her--but why should it be?  I'm not a leper,
and she--she's no longer in love!'  Why should he be put to the
shifts and the sordid disgraces and the lurking defeats of the
Divorce Court, when there she was like an empty house only waiting
to be retaken into use and possession by him who legally owned her?
To one so secretive as Soames the thought of reentry into quiet
possession of his own property with nothing given away to the world
was intensely alluring.  'No,' he mused, 'I'm glad I went to see
that girl.  I know now what I want most.  If only Irene will come
back I'll be as considerate as she wishes; she could live her own
life; but perhaps--perhaps she would come round to me.'  There was
a lump in his throat.  And doggedly along by the railings of the
Green Park, towards his father's house, he went, trying to tread on
his shadow walking before him in the brilliant moonlight.




Jolly Forsyte was strolling down High Street, Oxford, on a November
afternoon; Val Dartie was strolling up.  Jolly had just changed out
of boating flannels and was on his way to the 'Frying-pan,' to
which he had recently been elected.  Val had just changed out of
riding clothes and was on his way to the fire--a bookmaker's in

"Hallo!" said Jolly.

"Hallo!" replied Val.

The cousins had met but twice, Jolly, the second-year man, having
invited the freshman to breakfast; and last evening they had seen
each other again under somewhat exotic circumstances.

Over a tailor's in the Cornmarket resided one of those privileged
young beings called minors, whose inheritances are large, whose
parents are dead, whose guardians are remote, and whose instincts
are vicious.  At nineteen he had commenced one of those careers
attractive and inexplicable to ordinary mortals for whom a single
bankruptcy is good as a feast.  Already famous for having the only
roulette table then to be found in Oxford, he was anticipating his
expectations at a dazzling rate.  He out-crummed Crum, though of a
sanguine and rather beefy type which lacked the latter's
fascinating languor.  For Val it had been in the nature of baptism
to be taken there to play roulette; in the nature of confirmation
to get back into college, after hours, through a window whose bars
were deceptive.  Once, during that evening of delight, glancing up
from the seductive green before him, he had caught sight, through a
cloud of smoke, of his cousin standing opposite.  'Rouge gagne,
impair, et manque!'  He had not seen him again.

"Come in to the Frying-pan and have tea," said Jolly, and they went

A stranger, seeing them together, would have noticed an unseizable
resemblance between these second cousins of the third generations
of Forsytes; the same bone formation in face, though Jolly's eyes
were darker grey, his hair lighter and more wavy.

"Tea and buttered buns, waiter, please," said Jolly.

"Have one of my cigarettes?" said Val.  "I saw you last night.  How
did you do?"

"I didn't play."

"I won fifteen quid."

Though desirous of repeating a whimsical comment on gambling he had
once heard his father make--'When you're fleeced you're sick, and
when you fleece you're sorry--Jolly contented himself with:

"Rotten game, I think; I was at school with that chap.  He's an
awful fool."

"Oh! I don't know," said Val, as one might speak in defence of a
disparaged god; "he's a pretty good sport."

They exchanged whiffs in silence.

"You met my people, didn't you?" said Jolly.  "They're coming up

Val grew a little red.

"Really!  I can give you a rare good tip for the Manchester
November handicap."

"Thanks, I only take interest in the classic races."

"You can't make any money over them," said Val.

"I hate the ring," said Jolly; "there's such a row and stink.  I
like the paddock."

"I like to back my judgment,"' answered Val.

Jolly smiled; his smile was like his father's.

"I haven't got any.  I always lose money if I bet."

"You have to buy experience, of course."

"Yes, but it's all messed-up with doing people in the eye."

"Of course, or they'll do you--that's the excitement."

Jolly looked a little scornful.

"What do you do with yourself?  Row?"

"No--ride, and drive about.  I'm going to play polo next term, if I
can get my granddad to stump up."

"That's old Uncle James, isn't it?  What's he like?"

"Older than forty hills," said Val, "and always thinking he's going
to be ruined."

"I suppose my granddad and he were brothers."

"I don't believe any of that old lot were sportsmen," said Val;
they must have worshipped money."

"Mine didn't!" said Jolly warmly.

Val flipped the ash off his cigarette.

"Money's only fit to spend," he said; "I wish the deuce I had

Jolly gave him that direct upward look of judgment which he had
inherited from old Jolyon: One didn't talk about money!  And again
there was silence, while they drank tea and ate the buttered buns.

"Where are your people going to stay?" asked Val, elaborately

"'Rainbow.'  What do you think of the war?"

"Rotten, so far.  The Boers aren't sports a bit.  Why don't they
come out into the open?"

"Why should they?  They've got everything against them except their
way of fighting.  I rather admire them."

"They can ride and shoot," admitted Val, "but they're a lousy lot.
Do you know Crum?"

"Of Merton?  Only by sight.  He's in that fast set too, isn't he?
Rather La-di-da and Brummagem."

Val said fixedly: "He's a friend of mine."

"Oh! Sorry!"  And they sat awkwardly staring past each other,
having pitched on their pet points of snobbery.  For Jolly was
forming himself unconsciously on a set whose motto was:

'We defy you to bore us.  Life isn't half long enough, and we're
going to talk faster and more crisply, do more and know more, and
dwell less on any subject than you can possibly imagine.  We are
"the best"--made of wire and whipcord.'  And Val was unconsciously
forming himself on a set whose motto was: 'We defy you to interest
or excite us.  We have had every sensation, or if we haven't, we
pretend we have.  We are so exhausted with living that no hours are
too small for us.  We will lose our shirts with equanimity.  We
have flown fast and are past everything.  All is cigarette smoke.
Bismillah!'  Competitive spirit, bone-deep in the English, was
obliging those two young Forsytes to have ideals; and at the close
of a century ideals are mixed.  The aristocracy had already in the
main adopted the 'jumping-Jesus' principle; though here and there
one like Crum--who was an 'honourable'--stood starkly languid for
that gambler's Nirvana which had been the summum bonum of the old
'dandies' and of 'the mashers' in the eighties.  And round Crum
were still gathered a forlorn hope of blue-bloods with a
plutocratic following.

But there was between the cousins another far less obvious
antipathy--coming from the unseizable family resemblance, which
each perhaps resented; or from some half-consciousness of that old
feud persisting still between their branches of the clan, formed
within them by odd words or half-hints dropped by their elders.
And Jolly, tinkling his teaspoon, was musing: 'His tie-pin and his
waistcoat and his drawl and his betting--good Lord!'

And Val, finishing his bun, was thinking: 'He's rather a young

"I suppose you'll be meeting your people?" he said, getting up.
"I wish you'd tell them I should like to show them over B.N.C.--not
that there's anything much there--if they'd care to come."

"Thanks, I'll ask them."

"Would they lunch?  I've got rather a decent scout."

Jolly doubted if they would have time.

"You'll ask them, though?"

"Very good of you," said Jolly, fully meaning that they should not
go; but, instinctively polite, he added: "You'd better come and
have dinner with us to-morrow."

"Rather.  What time?"



"No."  And they parted, a subtle antagonism alive within them.

Holly and her father arrived by a midday train.  It was her first
visit to the city of spires and dreams, and she was very silent,
looking almost shyly at the brother who was part of this wonderful
place.  After lunch she wandered, examining his household gods with
intense curiosity.  Jolly's sitting-room was panelled, and Art
represented by a set of Bartolozzi prints which had belonged to old
Jolyon, and by college photographs--of young men, live young men, a
little heroic, and to be compared with her memories of Val.  Jolyon
also scrutinised with care that evidence of his boy's character and

Jolly was anxious that they should see him rowing, so they set
forth to the river.  Holly, between her brother and her father,
felt elated when heads were turned and eyes rested on her.  That
they might see him to the best advantage they left him at the Barge
and crossed the river to the towing-path.  Slight in build--for of
all the Forsytes only old Swithin and George were beefy--Jolly was
rowing 'Two' in a trial eight.  He looked very earnest and
strenuous.  With pride Jolyon thought him the best-looking boy of
the lot; Holly, as became a sister, was more struck by one or two
of the others, but would not have said so for the world.  The river
was bright that afternoon, the meadows lush, the trees still
beautiful with colour.  Distinguished peace clung around the old
city; Jolyon promised himself a day's sketching if the weather
held.  The Eight passed a second time, spurting home along the
Barges--Jolly's face was very set, so as not to show that he was
blown.  They returned across the river and waited for him.

"Oh!" said Jolly in the Christ Church meadows, "I had to ask that
chap Val Dartie to dine with us to-night.  He wanted to give you
lunch and show you B.N.C., so I thought I'd better; then you
needn't go.  I don't like him much."

Holly's rather sallow face had become suffused with pink.

"Why not?"

"Oh! I don't know.  He seems to me rather showy and bad form.  What
are his people like, Dad?  He's only a second cousin, isn't he?"

Jolyon took refuge in a smile.

"Ask Holly," he said; "she saw his uncle."

"I liked Val," Holly answered, staring at the ground before her;
"his uncle looked--awfully different."  She stole a glance at Jolly
from under her lashes.

"Did you ever," said Jolyon with whimsical intention, "hear our
family history, my dears?  It's quite a fairy tale.  The first
Jolyon Forsyte--at all events the first we know anything of, and
that would be your great-great-grandfather--dwelt in the land of
Dorset on the edge of the sea, being by profession an
'agriculturalist,' as your great-aunt put it, and the son of an
agriculturist--farmers, in fact; your grandfather used to call
them, 'Very small beer,'"  He looked at Jolly to see how his
lordliness was standing it, and with the other eye noted Holly's
malicious pleasure in the slight drop of her brother's face.

"We may suppose him thick and sturdy, standing for England as it
was before the Industrial Era began.  The second Jolyon Forsyte--
your great-grandfather, Jolly; better known as Superior Dosset
Forsyte--built houses, so the chronicle runs, begat ten children,
and migrated to London town.  It is known that he drank sherry.  We
may suppose him representing the England of Napoleon's wars, and
general unrest.  The eldest of his six sons was the third Jolyon,
your grandfather, my dears--tea merchant and chairman of companies,
one of the soundest Englishmen who ever lived--and to me the
dearest."  Jolyon's voice had lost its irony, and his son and
daughter gazed at him solemnly, "He was just and tenacious, tender
and young at heart.  You remember him, and I remember him.  Pass to
the others!  Your great-uncle James, that's young Val's grand-
father, had a son called Soames--whereby hangs a tale of no love
lost, and I don't think I'll tell it you.  James and the other
eight children of 'Superior Dosset,' of whom there are still five
alive, may be said to have represented Victorian England, with its
principles of trade and individualism at five per cent. and your
money back--if you know what that means.  At all events they've
turned thirty thousand pounds into a cool million between them in
the course of their long lives.  They never did a wild thing--
unless it was your great-uncle Swithin, who I believe was once
swindled at thimble-rig, and was called 'Four-in-hand Forsyte'
because he drove a pair.  Their day is passing, and their type, not
altogether for the advantage of the country.  They were pedestrian,
but they too were sound.  I am the fourth Jolyon Forsyte--a poor
holder of the name--"

"No, Dad," said Jolly, and Holly squeezed his hand.

"Yes," repeated Jolyon, "a poor specimen, representing, I'm afraid,
nothing but the end of the century, unearned income, amateurism,
and individual liberty--a different thing from individualism,
Jolly.  You are the fifth Jolyon Forsyte, old man, and you open the
ball of the new century."

As he spoke they turned in through the college gates, and Holly
said: "It's fascinating, Dad."

None of them quite knew what she meant.  Jolly was grave.

The Rainbow, distinguished, as only an Oxford hostel can be, for
lack of modernity, provided one small oak-panelled private sitting-
room, in which Holly sat to receive, white-frocked, shy, and alone,
when the only guest arrived.  Rather as one would touch a moth, Val
took her hand.  And wouldn't she wear this 'measly flower'?  It
would look ripping in her hair.  He removed a gardenia from his

"Oh!  No, thank you--I couldn't!"  But she took it and pinned it at
her neck, having suddenly remembered that word 'showy'!  Val's
buttonhole would give offence; and she so much wanted Jolly to like
him.  Did she realise that Val was at his best and quietest in her
presence, and was that, perhaps, half the secret of his attraction
for her?

"I never said anything about our ride, Val."

"Rather not!  It's just between us."

By the uneasiness of his hands and the fidgeting of his feet he was

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