List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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"What are you putting on that thing for?  You'll catch cold."

But Emily knew that the necks of women are protected by love of
shining, unto fourscore years, and she only answered:

"Let me put you on one of those dickies I got you, James; then
you'll only have to change your trousers, and put on your velvet
coat, and there you'll be.  Val likes you to look nice."

"Dicky!" said James.  "You're always wasting your money on

But he suffered the change to be made till his neck also shone,
murmuring vaguely:

"He's an extravagant chap, I'm afraid."

A little brighter in the eye, with rather more colour than usual in
his cheeks, he took his seat in the drawing-room to wait for the
sound of the front-door bell.

"I've made it a proper dinner party," Emily said comfortably; "I
thought it would be good practice for Imogen--she must get used to
it now she's coming out."

James uttered an indeterminate sound, thinking of Imogen as she
used to climb about his knee or pull Christmas crackers with him.

"She'll be pretty," he muttered, "I shouldn't wonder."

"She is pretty," said Emily; "she ought to make a good match."

"There you go," murmured James; "she'd much better stay at home and
look after her mother."  A second Dartie carrying off his pretty
granddaughter would finish him!  He had never quite forgiven Emily
for having been as much taken in by Montague Dartie as he himself
had been.

"Where's Warmson?" he said suddenly.  "I should like a glass of
Madeira to-night."

"There's champagne, James."

James shook his head.  "No body," he said; "I can't get any good
out of it."

Emily reached forward on her side of the fire and rang the bell.

"Your master would like a bottle of Madeira opened, Warmson."

"No, no!" said James, the tips of his ears quivering with
vehemence, and his eyes fixed on an object seen by him alone.
"Look here, Warmson, you go to the inner cellar, and on the middle
shelf of the end bin on the left you'll see seven bottles; take the
one in the centre, and don't shake it.  It's the last of the
Madeira I had from Mr. Jolyon when we came in here--never been
moved; it ought to be in prime condition still; but I don't know, I
can't tell."

"Very good, sir," responded the withdrawing Warmson.

"I was keeping it for our golden wedding," said James suddenly,
"but I shan't live three years at my age."

"Nonsense, James," said Emily, "don't talk like that."

"I ought to have got it up myself," murmured James, "he'll shake it
as likely as not."  And he sank into silent recollection of long
moments among the open gas-jets, the cobwebs and the good smell of
wine-soaked corks, which had been appetiser to so many feasts.  In
the wine from that cellar was written the history of the forty odd
years since he had come to the Park Lane house with his young
bride, and of the many generations of friends and acquaintances who
had passed into the unknown; its depleted bins preserved the record
of family festivity--all the marriages, births, deaths of his kith
and kin.  And when he was gone there it would be, and he didn't
know what would become of it.  It'd be drunk or spoiled, he
shouldn't wonder!

>From that deep reverie the entrance of his son dragged him,
followed very soon by that of Winifred and her two eldest.

They went down arm-in-arm--James with Imogen, the debutante,
because his pretty grandchild cheered him; Soames with Winifred;
Emily with Val, whose eyes lighting on the oysters brightened.
This was to be a proper full 'blowout' with 'fizz' and port!  And
he felt in need of it, after what he had done that day, as yet
undivulged.  After the first glass or two it became pleasant to
have this bombshell up his sleeve, this piece of sensational
patriotism, or example, rather, of personal daring, to display--for
his pleasure in what he had done for his Queen and Country was so
far entirely personal.  He was now a 'blood,' indissolubly
connected with guns and horses; he had a right to swagger--not, of
course, that he was going to.  He should just announce it quietly,
when there was a pause.  And, glancing down the menu, he determined
on 'Bombe aux fraises' as the proper moment; there would be a
certain solemnity while they were eating that.  Once or twice
before they reached that rosy summit of the dinner he was attacked
by remembrance that his grandfather was never told anything!
Still, the old boy was drinking Madeira, and looking jolly fit!
Besides, he ought to be pleased at this set-off to the disgrace of
the divorce.  The sight of his uncle opposite, too, was a sharp
incentive.  He was so far from being a sportsman that it would be
worth a lot to see his face.  Besides, better to tell his mother in
this way than privately, which might upset them both!  He was sorry
for her, but after all one couldn't be expected to feel much for
others when one had to part from Holly.

His grandfather's voice travelled to him thinly.  "Val, try a
little of the Madeira with your ice.  You won't get that up at

Val watched the slow liquid filling his glass, the essential oil of
the old wine glazing the surface; inhaled its aroma, and thought:
'Now for it!'  It was a rich moment.  He sipped, and a gentle glow
spread in his veins, already heated.  With a rapid look round, he
said, "I joined the Imperial Yeomanry to-day, Granny," and emptied
his glass as though drinking the health of his own act.

"What!"  It was his mother's desolate little word.

"Young Jolly Forsyte and I went down there together."

"You didn't sign?" from Uncle Soames.

"Rather!  We go into camp on Monday."

"I say!" cried Imogen.

All looked at James.  He was leaning forward with his hand behind
his ear.

"What's that?" he said.  "What's he saying?  I can't hear."

Emily reached forward to pat Val's hand.

"It's only that Val has joined the Yeomanry, James; it's very nice
for him.  He'll look his best in uniform."

"Joined the--rubbish!" came from James, tremulously loud.  "You
can't see two yards before your nose.  He--he'll have to go out
there.  Why! he'll be fighting before he knows where he is."

Val saw Imogen's eyes admiring him, and his mother still and
fashionable with her handkerchief before her lips.

Suddenly his uncle spoke.

"You're under age."

"I thought of that," smiled Val; "I gave my age as twenty-one."

He heard his grandmother's admiring, "Well, Val, that was plucky of
you;" was conscious of Warmson deferentially filling his champagne
glass; and of his grandfather's voice moaning: "I don't know
what'll become of you if you go on like this."

Imogen was patting his shoulder, his uncle looking at him sidelong;
only his mother sat unmoving, till, affected by her stillness, Val

"It's all right, you know; we shall soon have them on the run.  I
only hope I shall come in for something."

He felt elated, sorry, tremendously important all at once.  This
would show Uncle Soames, and all the Forsytes, how to be sportsmen.
He had certainly done something heroic and exceptional in giving
his age as twenty-one.

Emily's voice brought him back to earth.

"You mustn't have a second glass, James.  Warmson!"

"Won't they be astonished at Timothy's!" burst out Imogen.  "I'd
give anything to see their faces.  Do you have a sword, Val, or
only a popgun?"

"What made you?"

His uncle's voice produced a slight chill in the pit of Val's
stomach.  Made him?  How answer that?  He was grateful for his
grandmother's comfortable:

"Well, I think it's very plucky of Val.  I'm sure he'll make a
splendid soldier; he's just the figure for it.  We shall all be
proud of him."

"What had young Jolly Forsyte to do with it?  Why did you go
together?" pursued Soames, uncannily relentless.  "I thought you
weren't friendly with him?"

"I'm not," mumbled Val, "but I wasn't going to be beaten by him."
He saw his uncle look at him quite differently, as if approving.
His grandfather was nodding too, his grandmother tossing her head.
They all approved of his not being beaten by that cousin of his.
There must be a reason!  Val was dimly conscious of some disturbing
point outside his range of vision; as it might be, the unlocated
centre of a cyclone.  And, staring at his uncle's face, he had a
quite unaccountable vision of a woman with dark eyes, gold hair,
and a white neck, who smelt nice, and had pretty silken clothes
which he had liked feeling when he was quite small.  By Jove, yes!
Aunt Irene!  She used to kiss him, and he had bitten her arm once,
playfully, because he liked it--so soft.  His grandfather was

"What's his father doing?"

"He's away in Paris," Val said, staring at the very queer
expression on his uncle's face, like--like that of a snarling dog.

"Artists!" said James.  The word coming from the very bottom of his
soul, broke up the dinner.

Opposite his mother in the cab going home, Val tasted the after-
fruits of heroism, like medlars over-ripe.

She only said, indeed, that he must go to his tailor's at once and
have his uniform properly made, and not just put up with what they
gave him.  But he could feel that she was very much upset.  It was
on his lips to console her with the spoken thought that he would be
out of the way of that beastly divorce, but the presence of Imogen,
and the knowledge that his mother would not be out of the way,
restrained him.  He felt aggrieved that she did not seem more proud
of him.  When Imogen had gone to bed, he risked the emotional.

"I'm awfully sorry to have to leave you, Mother."

"Well, I must make the best of it.  We must try and get you a
commission as soon as we can; then you won't have to rough it so.
Do you know any drill, Val?"

"Not a scrap."

"I hope they won't worry you much.  I must take you about to get
the things to-morrow.  Good-night; kiss me."

With that kiss, soft and hot, between his eyes, and those words, 'I
hope they won't worry you much,' in his ears, he sat down to a
cigarette, before a dying fire.  The heat was out of him--the glow
of cutting a dash.  It was all a damned heart-aching bore.  'I'll
be even with that chap Jolly,' he thought, trailing up the stairs,
past the room where his mother was biting her pillow to smother a
sense of desolation which was trying to make her sob.

And soon only one of the diners at James' was awake--Soames, in his
bedroom above his father's.

So that fellow Jolyon was in Paris--what was he doing there?
Hanging round Irene!  The last report from Polteed had hinted that
there might be something soon.  Could it be this?  That fellow,
with his beard and his cursed amused way of speaking--son of the
old man who had given him the nickname 'Man of Property,' and
bought the fatal house from him.  Soames had ever resented having
had to sell the house at Robin Hill; never forgiven his uncle for
having bought it, or his cousin for living in it.

Reckless of the cold, he threw his window up and gazed out across
the Park.  Bleak and dark the January night; little sound of
traffic; a frost coming; bare trees; a star or two.  'I'll see
Polteed to-morrow,' he thought.  'By God!  I'm mad, I think, to
want her still.  That fellow!  If...?  Um!  No!'



Jolyon, who had crossed from Calais by night, arrived at Robin--
Hill on Sunday morning.  He had sent no word beforehand, so walked
up from the station, entering his domain by the coppice gate.
Coming to the log seat fashioned out of an old fallen trunk, he sat
down, first laying his overcoat on it.

'Lumbago!'  he thought; 'that's what love ends in at my time of
life!'  And suddenly Irene seemed very near, just as she had been
that day of rambling at Fontainebleau when they had sat on a log to
eat their lunch.  Hauntingly near!  Odour drawn out of fallen
leaves by the pale-filtering sunlight soaked his nostrils.  'I'm
glad it isn't spring,' he thought.  With the scent of sap, and the
song of birds, and the bursting of the blossoms, it would have been
unbearable!  'I hope I shall be over it by then, old fool that I
am!' and picking up his coat, he walked on into the field.  He
passed the pond and mounted the hill slowly.

Near the top a hoarse barking greeted him.  Up on the lawn above
the fernery he could see his old dog Balthasar.  The animal, whose
dim eyes took his master for a stranger, was warning the world
against him.  Jolyon gave his special whistle.  Even at that
distance of a hundred yards and more he could see the dawning
recognition in the obese brown-white body.  The old dog got off his
haunches, and his tail, close-curled over his back, began a feeble,
excited fluttering; he came waddling forward, gathered momentum,
and disappeared over the edge of the fernery.  Jolyon expected to
meet him at the wicket gate, but Balthasar was not there, and,
rather alarmed, he turned into the fernery.  On his fat side,
looking up with eyes already glazing, the old dog lay.

"What is it, my poor old man?" cried Jolyon.  Balthasar's curled
and fluffy tail just moved; his filming eyes seemed saying: "I
can't get up, master, but I'm glad to see you."

Jolyon knelt down; his eyes, very dimmed, could hardly see the
slowly ceasing heave of the dog's side.  He raised the head a
little--very heavy.

"What is it, dear man?  Where are you hurt?" The tail fluttered
once; the eyes lost the look of life.  Jolyon passed his hands all
over the inert warm bulk.  There was nothing--the heart had simply
failed in that obese body from the emotion of his master's return.
Jolyon could feel the muzzle, where a few whitish bristles grew,
cooling already against his lips.  He stayed for some minutes
kneeling; with his hand beneath the stiffening head.  The body was
very heavy when he bore it to the top of the field; leaves had
drifted there, and he strewed it with a covering of them; there was
no wind, and they would keep him from curious eyes until the
afternoon.  'I'll bury him myself,' he thought.  Eighteen years had
gone since he first went into the St. John's Wood house with that
tiny puppy in his pocket.  Strange that the old dog should die just
now!  Was it an omen?  He turned at the gate to look back at that
russet mound, then went slowly towards the house, very choky in the

June was at home; she had come down hotfoot on hearing the news of
Jolly's enlistment.  His patriotism had conquered her feeling for
the Boers.  The atmosphere of his house was strange and pocketty
when Jolyon came in and told them of the dog Balthasar's death.
The news had a unifying effect.  A link with the past had snapped--
the dog Balthasar!  Two of them could remember nothing before his
day; to June he represented the last years of her grandfather; to
Jolyon that life of domestic stress and aesthetic struggle before
he came again into the kingdom of his father's love and wealth!
And he was gone!

In the afternoon he and Jolly took picks and spades and went out to
the field.  They chose a spot close to the russet mound, so that
they need not carry him far, and, carefully cutting off the surface
turf, began to dig.  They dug in silence for ten minutes, and then

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