List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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the screw on, Bellby"--he would have all his work cut out to keep
Winifred up to the scratch.

"Mr. Dreamer will see you now, sir."

They filed in, Mr. Bellby going first, and Soames escorting
Winifred after an interval of one minute by his watch.

Dreamer Q.C., in a gown but divested of wig, was standing before
the fire, as if this conference were in the nature of a treat; he
had the leathery, rather oily complexion which goes with great
learning, a considerable nose with glasses perched on it, and
little greyish whiskers; he luxuriated in the perpetual cocking of
one eye, and the concealment of his lower with his upper lip, which
gave a smothered turn to his speech.  He had a way, too, of coming
suddenly round the corner on the person he was talking to; this,
with a disconcerting tone of voice, and a habit of growling before
he began to speak--had secured a reputation second in Probate and
Divorce to very few.  Having listened, eye cocked, to Mr. Bellby's
breezy recapitulation of the facts, he growled, and said:

"I know all that;" and coming round the corner at Winifred,
smothered the words:

"We want to get him back, don't we, Mrs. Dartie?"

Soames interposed sharply:

"My sister's position, of course, is intolerable."

Dreamer growled.  "Exactly.  Now, can we rely on the cabled
refusal, or must we wait till after Christmas to give him a chance
to have written--that's the point, isn't it?"

"The sooner...."  Soames began.

"What do you say, Bellby?" said Dreamer, coming round his corner.

Mr. Bellby seemed to sniff the air like a hound.

"We won't be on till the middle of December.  We've no need to give
um more rope than that."

"No," said Soames, "why should my sister be incommoded by his
choosing to go"

"To Jericho!" said Dreamer, again coming round his corner; "quite
so.  People oughtn't to go to Jericho, ought they, Mrs. Dartie?"
And he raised his gown into a sort of fantail.  "I agree.  We can
go forward.  Is there anything more?"

"Nothing at present," said Soames meaningly; "I wanted you to see
my sister."

Dreamer growled softly: "Delighted.  Good evening!"  And let fall
the protection of his gown.

They filed out.  Winifred went down the stairs.  Soames lingered.
In spite of himself he was impressed by Dreamer.

"The evidence is all right, I think," he said to Bellby.  "Between
ourselves, if we don't get the thing through quick, we never may.
D'you think be understands that?"

"I'll make um," said Bellby.  "Good man though--good man."

Soames nodded and hastened after his sister.  He found her in a
draught, biting her lips behind her veil, and at once said:

"The evidence of the stewardess will be very complete."

Winifred's face hardened; she drew herself up, and they walked to
the carriage.  And, all through that silent drive back to Green
Street, the souls of both of them revolved a single thought: 'Why,
oh! why should I have to expose my misfortune to the public like
this?  Why have to employ spies to peer into my private troubles?
They were not of my making.'



The possessive instinct, which, so determinedly balked, was
animating two members of the Forsyte family towards riddance of
what they could no longer possess, was hardening daily in the
British body politic.  Nicholas, originally so doubtful concerning
a war which must affect property, had been heard to say that these
Boers were a pig-headed lot; they were causing a lot of expense,
and the sooner they had their lesson the better.  He would send out
Wolseley!  Seeing always a little further than other people--whence
the most considerable fortune of all the Forsytes--he had perceived
already that Buller was not the man--'a bull of a chap, who just
went butting, and if they didn't look out Ladysmith would fall.'
This was early in December, so that when Black Week came, he was
enabled to say to everybody: 'I told you so.'  During that week of
gloom such as no Forsyte could remember, very young Nicholas
attended so many drills in his corps, 'The Devil's Own,' that young
Nicholas consulted the family physician about his son's health and
was alarmed to find that he was perfectly sound.  The boy had only
just eaten his dinners and been called to the bar, at some expense,
and it was in a way a nightmare to his father and mother that he
should be playing with military efficiency at a time when military
efficiency in the civilian population might conceivably be wanted.
His grandfather, of course, pooh-poohed the notion, too thoroughly
educated in the feeling that no British war could be other than
little and professional, and profoundly distrustful of Imperial
commitments, by which, moreover, he stood to lose, for he owned De
Beers, now going down fast, more than a sufficient sacrifice on the
part of his grandson.

At Oxford, however, rather different sentiments prevailed.  The
inherent effervescence of conglomerate youth had, during the two
months of the term before Black Week, been gradually crystallising
out into vivid oppositions.  Normal adolescence, ever in England of
a conservative tendency though not taking things too seriously, was
vehement for a fight to a finish and a good licking for the Boers.
Of this larger faction Val Dartie was naturally a member.  Radical
youth, on the other hand, a small but perhaps more vocal body, was
for stopping the war and giving the Boers autonomy.  Until Black
Week, however, the groups were amorphous, without sharp edges, and
argument remained but academic.  Jolly was one of those who knew
not where he stood.  A streak of his grandfather old Jolyon's love
of justice prevented, him from seeing one side only.  Moreover, in
his set of 'the best' there was a 'jumping-Jesus' of extremely
advanced opinions and some personal magnetism.  Jolly wavered.  His
father, too, seemed doubtful in his views.  And though, as was
proper at the age of twenty, he kept a sharp eye on his father,
watchful for defects which might still be remedied, still that
father had an 'air' which gave a sort of glamour to his creed of
ironic tolerance.  Artists of course; were notoriously Hamlet-like,
and to this extent one must discount for one's father, even if one
loved him.  But Jolyon's original view, that to 'put your nose in
where you aren't wanted' (as the Uitlanders had done) 'and then
work the oracle till you get on top is not being quite the clean
potato,' had, whether founded in fact or no, a certain attraction
for his son, who thought a deal about gentility.  On the other hand
Jolly could not abide such as his set called 'cranks,' and Val's
set called 'smugs,' so that he was still balancing when the clock
of Black Week struck.  One--two--three, came those ominous repulses
at Stormberg, Magersfontein, Colenso.  The sturdy English soul
reacting after the first cried, 'Ah! but Methuen!' after the
second: 'Ah! but Buller!' then, in inspissated gloom, hardened.
And Jolly said to himself: 'No, damn it!  We've got to lick the
beggars now; I don't care whether we're right or wrong.'  And, if
he had known it, his father was thinking the same thought.

That next Sunday, last of the term, Jolly was bidden to wine with
'one of the best.'  After the second toast, 'Buller and damnation
to the Boers,' drunk--no heel taps--in the college Burgundy, he
noticed that Val Dartie, also a guest, was looking at him with a
grin and saying something to his neighbour.  He was sure it was
disparaging.  The last boy in the world to make himself conspicuous
or cause public disturbance, Jolly grew rather red and shut his
lips.  The queer hostility he had always felt towards his second-
cousin was strongly and suddenly reinforced.  'All right!'  he
thought, 'you wait, my friend!'  More wine than was good for him,
as the custom was, helped him to remember, when they all trooped
forth to a secluded spot, to touch Val on the arm.

"What did you say about me in there?"

"Mayn't I say what I like?"


"Well, I said you were a pro-Boer--and so you are!"

"You're a liar!"

"D'you want a row?"

"Of course, but not here; in the garden."

"All right.  Come on."

They went, eyeing each other askance, unsteady, and unflinching;
they climbed the garden railings.  The spikes on the top slightly
ripped Val's sleeve, and occupied his mind.  Jolly's mind was
occupied by the thought that they were going to fight in the
precincts of a college foreign to them both.  It was not the thing,
but never mind--the young beast!

They passed over the grass into very nearly darkness, and took off
their coats.

"You're not screwed, are you?" said Jolly suddenly.  "I can't fight
you if you're screwed."

"No more than you."

"All right then."

Without shaking hands, they put themselves at once into postures of
defence.  They had drunk too much for science, and so were
especially careful to assume correct attitudes, until Jolly smote
Val almost accidentally on the nose.  After that it was all a dark
and ugly scrimmage in the deep shadow of the old trees, with no one
to call 'time,' till, battered and blown, they unclinched and
staggered back from each other, as a voice said:

"Your names, young gentlemen?"

At this bland query spoken from under the lamp at the garden gate,
like some demand of a god, their nerves gave way, and snatching up
their coats, they ran at the railings, shinned up them, and made
for the secluded spot whence they had issued to the fight.  Here,
in dim light, they mopped their faces, and without a word walked,
ten paces apart, to the college gate.  They went out silently, Val
going towards the Broad along the Brewery, Jolly down the lane
towards the High.  His head, still fumed, was busy with regret that
he had not displayed more science, passing in review the counters
and knockout blows which he had not delivered.  His mind strayed on
to an imagined combat, infinitely unlike that which he had just
been through, infinitely gallant, with sash and sword, with thrust
and parry, as if he were in the pages of his beloved Dumas.  He
fancied himself La Mole, and Aramis, Bussy, Chicot, and D'Artagnan
rolled into one, but he quite failed to envisage Val as Coconnas,
Brissac, or Rochefort.  The fellow was just a confounded cousin who
didn't come up to Cocker.  Never mind!  He had given him one or
two.  'Pro-Boer!'  The word still rankled, and thoughts of en-
listing jostled his aching head; of riding over the veldt, firing
gallantly, while the Boers rolled over like rabbits.  And, turning
up his smarting eyes, he saw the stars shining between the house-
tops of the High, and himself lying out on the Karoo (whatever that
was) rolled in a blanket, with his rifle ready and his gaze fixed
on a glittering heaven.

He had a fearful 'head' next morning, which he doctored, as became
one of 'the best,' by soaking it in cold water, brewing strong
coffee which he could not drink, and only sipping a little Hock at
lunch.  The legend that 'some fool' had run into him round a corner
accounted for a bruise on his cheek.  He would on no account have
mentioned the fight, for; on second thoughts, it fell far short of
his standards.

The next day he went 'down,' and travelled through to Robin Hill.
Nobody was there but June and Holly, for his father had gone to
Paris.  He spent a restless and unsettled Vacation, quite out of
touch with either of his sisters.  June, indeed, was occupied with
lame ducks, whom, as a rule, Jolly could not stand, especially that
Eric Cobbley and his family, 'hopeless outsiders,' who were always
littering up the house in the Vacation.  And between Holly and
himself there was a strange division, as if she were beginning to
have opinions of her own, which was so--unnecessary.  He punched
viciously at a ball, rode furiously but alone in Richmond Park,
making a point of jumping the stiff, high hurdles put up to close
certain worn avenues of grass--keeping his nerve in, he called it.
Jolly was more afraid of being afraid than most boys are.  He
bought a rifle, too, and put a range up in the home field, shooting
across the pond into the kitchen--garden wall, to the peril of
gardeners, with the thought that some day, perhaps, he would enlist
and save South Africa for his country.  In fact, now that they were
appealing for Yeomanry recruits the boy was thoroughly upset.
Ought he to go?  None of 'the best,' so far as he knew--and he was
in correspondence with several--were thinking of joining.  If they
had been making a move he would have gone at once--very compet-
itive, and with a strong sense of form, he could not bear to be
left behind in anything--but to do it off his own bat might look
like 'swagger'; because of course it wasn't really necessary.
Besides, he did not want to go, for the other side of this young
Forsyte recoiled from leaping before he looked.  It was altogether
mixed pickles within him, hot and sickly pickles, and he became
quite unlike his serene and rather lordly self.

And then one day he saw that which moved him to uneasy wrath--two
riders, in a glade of the Park close to the Ham Gate, of whom she
on the left-hand was most assuredly Holly on her silver roan, and
he on the right-hand as assuredly that 'squirt' Val Dartie.  His
first impulse was to urge on his own horse and demand the meaning
of this portent, tell the fellow to 'bunk,' and take Holly home.
His second-to feel that he would look a fool if they refused.  He
reined his horse in behind a tree, then perceived that it was
equally impossible to spy on them.  Nothing for it but to go home
and await her coming!  Sneaking out with that young bounder!  He
could not consult with June, because she had gone up that morning
in the train of Eric Cobbley and his lot.  And his father was still
in 'that rotten Paris.'  He felt that this was emphatically one of
those moments for which he had trained himself, assiduously, at
school, where he and a boy called Brent had frequently set fire to
newspapers and placed them in the centre of their studies to
accustom them to coolness in moments of danger.  He did not feel at
all cool waiting in the stable-yard, idly stroking the dog
Balthasar, who queasy as an old fat monk, and sad in the absence of
his master, turned up his face, panting with gratitude for this
attention.  It was half an hour before Holly came, flushed and ever
so much prettier than she had any right to look.  He saw her look
at him quickly--guiltily of course--then followed her in, and,
taking her arm, conducted her into what had been their grand-
father's study.  The room, not much used now, was still vaguely
haunted for them both by a presence with which they associated
tenderness, large drooping white moustaches, the scent of cigar
smoke, and laughter.  Here Jolly, in the prime of his youth, before
he went to school at all, had been wont to wrestle with his grand-
father, who even at eighty had an irresistible habit of crooking
his leg.  Here Holly, perched on the arm of the great leather
chair, had stroked hair curving silvery over an ear into which she
would whisper secrets.  Through that window they had all three

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