List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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giving her a sense of power very delicious; a soft feeling too--the
wish to make him happy.

"Do tell me about Oxford.  It must be ever so lovely."

Val admitted that it was frightfully decent to do what you liked;
the lectures were nothing; and there were some very good chaps.
"Only," he added, "of course I wish I was in town, and could come
down and see you."

Holly moved one hand shyly on her knee, and her glance dropped.

"You haven't forgotten," he said, suddenly gathering courage, "that
we're going mad-rabbiting together?"

Holly smiled.

"Oh!  That was only make-believe.  One can't do that sort of thing
after one's grown up, you know."

"Dash it!  cousins can," said Val.  "Next Long Vac.--it begins in
June, you know, and goes on for ever--we'll watch our chance."

But, though the thrill of conspiracy ran through her veins, Holly
shook her head.  "It won't come off," she murmured.

"Won't it!" said Val fervently; "who's going to stop it?  Not your
father or your brother."

At this moment Jolyon and Jolly came in; and romance fled into
Val's patent leather and Holly's white satin toes, where it itched
and tingled during an evening not conspicuous for open-heartedness.

Sensitive to atmosphere, Jolyon soon felt the latent antagonism
between the boys, and was puzzled by Holly; so he became un-
consciously ironical, which is fatal to the expansiveness of youth.
A letter, handed to him after dinner, reduced him to a silence
hardly broken till Jolly and Val rose to go.  He went out with
them, smoking his cigar, and walked with his son to the gates of
Christ Church.  Turning back, he took out the letter and read it
again beneath a lamp.


"Soames came again to-night--my thirty-seventh birthday.  You were
right, I mustn't stay here.  I'm going to-morrow to the Piedmont
Hotel, but I won't go abroad without seeing you.  I feel lonely and

"Yours affectionately,


He folded the letter back into his pocket and walked on, astonished
at the violence of his feelings.  What had the fellow said or done?

He turned, into High Street, down the Turf, and on among a maze of
spires and domes and long college fronts and walls, bright or
darkshadowed in the strong moonlight.  In this very heart of
England's gentility it was difficult to realise that a lonely woman
could be importuned or hunted, but what else could her letter mean?
Soames must have been pressing her to go back to him again, with
public opinion and the Law on his side, too!  'Eighteen-ninety-
nine!,' he thought, gazing at the broken glass shining on the top
of a villa garden wall; 'but when it comes to property we're still
a heathen people!  I'll go up to-morrow morning.  I dare say it'll
be best for her to go abroad.'  Yet the thought displeased him.
Why should Soames hunt her out of England!  Besides, he might
follow, and out there she would be still more helpless against the
attentions of her own husband!  'I must tread warily,' he thought;
'that fellow could make himself very nasty.  I didn't like his
manner in the cab the other night.'  His thoughts turned to his
daughter June.  Could she help?  Once on a time Irene had been her
greatest friend, and now she was a 'lame duck,' such as must appeal
to June's nature!  He determined to wire to his daughter to meet
him at Paddington Station.  Retracing his steps towards the Rainbow
he questioned his own sensations.  Would he be upsetting himself
over every woman in like case?  No! he would not.  The candour of
this conclusion discomfited him; and, finding that Holly had gone
up to bed, he sought his own room.  But he could not sleep, and sat
for a long time at his window, huddled in an overcoat, watching the
moonlight on the roofs.

Next door Holly too was awake, thinking of the lashes above and
below Val's eyes, especially below; and of what she could do to
make Jolly like him better.  The scent of the gardenia was strong
in her little bedroom, and pleasant to her.

And Val, leaning out of his first-floor window in B.N.C., was
gazing at a moonlit quadrangle without seeing it at all, seeing
instead Holly, slim and white-frocked, as she sat beside the fire
when he first went in.

But Jolly, in his bedroom narrow as a ghost, lay with a hand
beneath his cheek and dreamed he was with Val in one boat, rowing a
race against him, while his father was calling from the towpath:
'Two!  Get your hands away there, bless you!'



Of all those radiant firms which emblazon with their windows the
West End of London, Gaves and Cortegal were considered by Soames
the most 'attractive' word just coming into fashion.  He had never
had his Uncle Swithin's taste in precious stones, and the
abandonment by Irene when she left his house in 1887 of all the
glittering things he had given her had disgusted him with this form
of invest-ment.  But he still knew a diamond when he saw one, and
during the week before her birthday he had taken occasion, on his
way into the Poultry or his way out therefrom, to dally a little
before the greater jewellers where one got, if not one's money's
worth, at least a certain cachet with the goods.

Constant cogitation since his drive with Jolyon had convinced him
more and more of the supreme importance of this moment in his life,
the supreme need for taking steps and those not wrong.  And,
alongside the dry and reasoned sense that it was now or never with
his self-preservation, now or never if he were to range himself and
found a family, went the secret urge of his senses roused by the
sight of her who had once been a passionately desired wife, and the
conviction that it was a sin against common sense and the decent
secrecy of Forsytes to waste the wife he had.

In an opinion on Winifred's case, Dreamer, Q.C.--he would much have
preferred Waterbuck, but they had made him a judge (so late in the
day as to rouse the usual suspicion of a political job)--had
advised that they should go forward and obtain restitution of
conjugal rights, a point which to Soames had never been in doubt.
When they had obtained a decree to that effect they must wait to
see if it was obeyed.  If not, it would constitute legal desertion,
and they should obtain evidence of misconduct and file their
petition for divorce.  All of which Soames knew perfectly well.
They had marked him ten and one.  This simplicity in his sister's
case only made him the more desperate about the difficulty in his
own.  Everything, in fact, was driving him towards the simple
solution of Irene's return.  If it were still against the grain
with her, had he not feelings to subdue, injury to forgive, pain to
forget?  He at least had never injured her, and this was a world of
compromise!  He could offer her so much more than she had now.  He
would be prepared to make a liberal settlement on her which could
not be upset.  He often scrutinised his image in these days.  He
had never been a peacock like that fellow Dartie, or fancied
himself a woman's man, but he had a certain belief in his own
appearance--not unjustly, for it was well-coupled and preserved,
neat, healthy, pale, unblemished by drink or excess of any kind.
The Forsyte jaw and the concentration of his face were, in his
eyes, virtues.  So far as he could tell there was no feature of him
which need inspire dislike.

Thoughts and yearnings, with which one lives daily, become natural,
even if far-fetched in their inception.  If he could only give
tangible proof enough of his determination to let bygones be
bygones, and to do all in his power to please her, why should she
not come back to him?

He entered Gaves and Cortegal's therefore, on the morning of
November the 9th, to buy a certain diamond brooch.  "Four
twenty-five and dirt cheap, sir, at the money.  It's a lady's
brooch."  There was that in his mood which made him accept without
demur.  And he went on into the Poultry with the flat green morocco
case in his breast pocket.  Several times that day he opened it to
look at the seven soft shining stones in their velvet oval nest.

"If the lady doesn't like it, sir, happy to exchange it any time.
But there's no fear of that."  If only there were not!  He got
through a vast amount of work, only soother of the nerves he knew.
A cablegram came while he was in the office with details from the
agent in Buenos Aires, and the name and address of a stewardess who
would be prepared to swear to what was necessary.  It was a timely
spur to Soames, with his rooted distaste for the washing of dirty
linen in public.  And when he set forth by Underground to Victoria
Station he received a fresh impetus towards the renewal of his
married life from the account in his evening paper of a fashionable
divorce suit.  The homing instinct of all true Forsytes in anxiety
and trouble, the corporate tendency which kept them strong and
solid, made him choose to dine at Park Lane.  He neither could nor
would breath a word to his people of his intention--too reticent
and proud--but the thought that at least they would be glad if they
knew, and wish him luck, was heartening.

James was in lugubrious mood, for the fire which the impudence of
Kruger's ultimatum had lit in him had been cold-watered by the poor
success of the last month, and the exhortations to effort in The
Times.  He didn't know where it would end.  Soames sought to cheer
him by the continual use of the word Buller.  But James couldn't
tell!  There was Colley--and he got stuck on that hill, and this
Ladysmith was down in a hollow, and altogether it looked to him a
'pretty kettle of fish'; he thought they ought to be sending the
sailors--they were the chaps, they did a lot of good in the Crimea.
Soames shifted the ground of consolation.  Winifred had heard from
Val that there had been a 'rag' and a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Day at
Oxford, and that he had escaped detection by blacking his face.

"Ah!" James muttered, "he's a clever little chap."  But he shook
his head shortly afterwards and remarked that he didn't know what
would become of him, and looking wistfully at his son, murmured on
that Soames had never had a boy.  He would have liked a grandson of
his own name.  And now--well, there it was!

Soames flinched.  He had not expected such a challenge to disclose
the secret in his heart.  And Emily, who saw him wince, said:

"Nonsense, James; don't talk like that!"

But James, not looking anyone in the face, muttered on.  There were
Roger and Nicholas and Jolyon; they all had grandsons.  And Swithin
and Timothy had never married.  He had done his best; but he would
soon be gone now.  And, as though he had uttered words of profound
consolation, he was silent, eating brains with a fork and a piece
of bread, and swallowing the bread.

Soames excused himself directly after dinner.  It was not really
cold, but he put on his fur coat, which served to fortify him
against the fits of nervous shivering to which he had been subject
all day.  Subconsciously, he knew that he looked better thus than
in an ordinary black overcoat.  Then, feeling the morocco case flat
against his heart, he sallied forth.  He was no smoker, but he lit
a cigarette, and smoked it gingerly as he walked along.  He moved
slowly down the Row towards Knightsbridge, timing himself to get to
Chelsea at nine-fifteen.  What did she do with herself evening
after evening in that little hole?  How mysterious women were!  One
lived alongside and knew nothing of them.  What could she have seen
in that fellow Bosinney to send her mad?  For there was madness
after all in what she had done--crazy moonstruck madness, in which
all sense of values had been lost, and her life and his life
ruined!  And for a moment he was filled with a sort of exaltation,
as though he were a man read of in a story who, possessed by the
Christian spirit, would restore to her all the prizes of existence,
forgiving and forgetting, and becoming  the godfather of her
future.  Under a tree opposite Knightsbridge Barracks, where the
moon-light struck down clear and white, he took out once more the
morocco case, and let the beams draw colour from those stones.
Yes, they were of the first water!  But, at the hard closing snap
of the case, another cold shiver ran through his nerves; and he
walked on faster, clenching his gloved hands in the pockets of his
coat, almost hoping she would not be in.  The thought of how
mysterious she was again beset him.  Dining alone there night after
night--in an evening dress, too, as if she were making believe to
be in society!  Playing the piano--to herself!  Not even a dog or
cat, so far as he had seen.  And that reminded him suddenly of the
mare he kept for station work at Mapledurham.  If ever he went to
the stable, there she was quite alone, half asleep, and yet, on her
home journeys going more freely than on her way out, as if longing
to be back and lonely in her stable!  'I would treat her well,' he
thought incoherently.  'I would be very careful.'  And all that
capacity for home life of which a mocking Fate seemed for ever to
have deprived him swelled suddenly in Soames, so that he dreamed
dreams opposite South Kensington Station.  In the King's Road a man
came slithering out of a public house playing a concertina.  Soames
watched him for a moment dance crazily on the pavement to his own
drawling jagged sounds, then crossed over to avoid contact with
this piece of drunken foolery.  A night in the lock-up!  What asses
people were!  But the man had noticed his movement of avoidance,
and streams of genial blasphemy followed him across the street.
'I hope they'll run him in,' thought Soames viciously.  'To have
ruffians like that about, with women out alone!'  A woman's figure
in front had induced this thought.  Her walk seemed oddly familiar,
and when she turned the corner for which he was bound, his heart
began to, beat.  He hastened on to the corner to make certain.
Yes!  It was Irene; he could not mistake her walk in that little
drab street.  She threaded two more turnings, and from the last
corner he saw her enter her block of flats.  To make sure of her
now, he ran those few paces, hurried up the stairs, and caught her
standing at her door.  He heard the latchkey in the lock, and
reached her side just as she turned round, startled, in the open

"Don't be alarmed," he said, breathless.  "I happened to see you.
Let me come in a minute."

She had put her hand up to her breast, her face was colourless, her
eyes widened by alarm.  Then seeming to master herself, she
inclined her head, and said: "Very well."

Soames closed the door.  He, too, had need to recover, and when she
had passed into the sitting-room, waited a full minute, taking deep
breaths to still the beating of his heart.  At this moment, so
fraught with the future, to take out that morocco case seemed
crude.  Yet, not to take it out left him there before her with no
preliminary excuse for coming.  And in this dilemma he was seized
with impatience at all this paraphernalia of excuse and
justification.  This was a scene--it could be nothing else, and he

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