List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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"Well, old man," said Jolyon, "so you thought you ought?"

"Yes," answered Jolly; "I don't want to a bit, of course."

How exactly those words represented Jolyon's own state of mind

"I admire you for it, old boy.  I don't believe I should have done
it at your age--too much of a Forsyte, I'm afraid.  But I suppose
the type gets thinner with each generation.  Your son, if you have
one, may be a pure altruist; who knows?"

"He won't be like me, then, Dad; I'm beastly selfish."

"No, my dear, that you clearly are not."  Jolly shook his head, and
they dug again.

"Strange life a dog's," said Jolyon suddenly: "The only four-footer
with rudiments of altruism and a sense of God!"

Jolly looked at his father.

"Do you believe in God, Dad?  I've never known."

At so searching a question from one to whom it was impossible to
make a light reply, Jolyon stood for a moment feeling his back
tried by the digging.

"What do you mean by God?" he said; "there are two irreconcilable
ideas of God.  There's the Unknowable Creative Principle--one
believes in That.  And there's the Sum of altruism in man naturally
one believes in That."

"I see.  That leaves out Christ, doesn't it?"

Jolyon stared.  Christ, the link between those two ideas!  Out of
the mouth of babes!  Here was orthodoxy scientifically explained at
last!  The sublime poem of the Christ life was man's attempt to
join those two irreconcilable conceptions of God.  And since the
Sum of human altruism was as much a part of the Unknowable Creative
Principle as anything else in Nature and the Universe, a worse link
might have been chosen after all!  Funny--how one went through life
without seeing it in that sort of way!

"What do you think, old man?" he said.

Jolly frowned.  "Of course, my first year we talked a good bit
about that sort of thing.  But in the second year one gives it up;
I don't know why--it's awfully interesting."

Jolyon remembered that he also had talked a good deal about it his
first year at Cambridge, and given it up in his second.

"I suppose," said Jolly, "it's the second God, you mean, that old
Balthasar had a sense of."

"Yes, or he would never have burst his poor old heart because of
something outside himself."

"But wasn't that just selfish emotion, really?"

Jolyon shook his head.  "No, dogs are not pure Forsytes, they love
something outside themselves."

Jolly smiled.

"Well, I think I'm one," he said.  "You know, I only enlisted
because I dared Val Dartie to."

"But why?"

"We bar each other," said Jolly shortly.

"Ah!" muttered Jolyon.  So the feud went on, unto the third
generation--this modern feud which had no overt expression?

'Shall I tell the boy about it?' he thought.  But to what end--if
he had to stop short of his own part?

And Jolly thought: 'It's for Holly to let him know about that chap.
If she doesn't, it means she doesn't want him told, and I should be
sneaking.  Anyway, I've stopped it.  I'd better leave well alone!'

So they dug on in silence, till Jolyon said:

"Now, old man, I think it's big enough."  And, resting on their
spades, they gazed down into the hole where a few leaves had
drifted already on a sunset wind.

"I can't bear this part of it," said Jolyon suddenly.

"Let me do it, Dad.  He never cared much for me."

Jolyon shook his head.

"We'll lift him very gently, leaves and all.  I'd rather not see
him again.  I'll take his head.  Now!"

With extreme care they raised the old dog's body, whose faded tan
and white showed here and there under the leaves stirred by the
wind.  They laid it, heavy, cold, and unresponsive, in the grave,
and Jolly spread more leaves over it, while Jolyon, deeply afraid
to show emotion before his son, began quickly shovelling the earth
on to that still shape.  There went the past!  If only there were a
joyful future to look forward to!  It was like stamping down earth
on one's own life.  They replaced the turf carefully on the smooth
little mound, and, grateful that they had spared each other's
feelings, returned to the house arm-in-arm.



On Forsyte 'Change news of the enlistment spread fast, together
with the report that June, not to be outdone, was going to become a
Red Cross nurse.  These events were so extreme, so subversive of
pure Forsyteism, as to have a binding effect upon the family, and
Timothy's was thronged next Sunday afternoon by members trying to
find out what they thought about it all, and exchange with each
other a sense of family credit.  Giles and Jesse Hayman would no
longer defend the coast but go to South Africa quite soon; Jolly
and Val would be following in April; as to June--well, you never
knew what she would really do.

The retirement from Spion Kop and the absence of any good news from
the seat of war imparted an air of reality to all this, clinched in
startling fashion by Timothy.  The youngest of the old Forsytes--
scarcely eighty, in fact popularly supposed to resemble their
father, 'Superior Dosset,' even in his best-known characteristic of
drinking Sherry--had been invisible for so many years that he was
almost mythical.  A long generation had elapsed since the risks of
a publisher's business had worked on his nerves at the age of
forty, so that he had got out with a mere thirty-five thousand
pounds in the world, and started to make his living by careful
investment.  Putting by every year, at compound interest, he had
doubled his capital in forty years without having once known what
it was like to shake in his shoes over money matters.  He was now
putting aside some two thousand a year, and, with the care he was
taking of himself, expected, so Aunt Hester said, to double his
capital again before he died.  What he would do with it then, with
his sisters dead and himself dead, was often mockingly queried by
free spirits such as Francie, Euphemia, or young Nicholas' second,
Christopher, whose spirit was so free that he had actually said he
was going on the stage.  All admitted, however, that this was best
known to Timothy himself, and possibly to Soames, who never
divulged a secret.

Those few Forsytes who had seen him reported a man of thick and
robust appearance, not very tall, with a brown-red complexion, grey
hair, and little of the refinement of feature with which most of
the Forsytes had been endowed by 'Superior Dosset's' wife, a woman
of some beauty and a gentle temperament.  It was known that he had
taken surprising interest in the war, sticking flags into a map
ever since it began, and there was uneasiness as to what would
happen if the English were driven into the sea, when it would be
almost impossible for him to put the flags in the right places.  As
to his knowledge of family movements or his views about them,
little was known, save that Aunt Hester was always declaring that
he was very upset.  It was, then, in the nature of a portent when
Forsytes, arriving on the Sunday after the evacuation of Spion Kop,
became conscious, one after the other, of a presence seated in the
only really comfortable armchair, back to the light, concealing the
lower part of his face with a large hand, and were greeted by the
awed voice of Aunt Hester:

"Your Uncle Timothy, my dear."

Timothy's greeting to them all was somewhat identical; and rather,
as it were, passed over by him than expressed:

"How de do?  How de do?  'Xcuse me gettin' up!"

Francie was present, and Eustace had come in his car; Winifred had
brought Imogen, breaking the ice of the restitution proceedings
with the warmth of family appreciation at Val's enlistment; and
Marian Tweetyman with the last news of Giles and Jesse.  These with
Aunt Juley and Hester, young Nicholas, Euphemia, and--of all
people!--George, who had come with Eustace in the car, constituted
an assembly worthy of the family's palmiest days.  There was not
one chair vacant in the whole of the little drawing-room, and
anxiety was felt lest someone else should arrive.

The constraint caused by Timothy's presence having worn off a
little, conversation took a military turn.  George asked Aunt Juley
when she was going out with the Red Cross, almost reducing her to a
state of gaiety; whereon he turned to Nicholas and said:

"Young Nick's a warrior bold, isn't he?  When's he going to don the
wild khaki?"

Young Nicholas, smiling with a sort of sweet deprecation, intimated
that of course his mother was very anxious.

"The Dromios are off, I hear," said George, turning to Marian
Tweetyman; "we shall all be there soon.  En avant, the Forsytes!
Roll, bowl, or pitch!  Who's for a cooler?"

Aunt Juley gurgled, George was so droll!  Should Hester get
Timothy's map?  Then he could show them all where they were.

At a sound from Timothy, interpreted as assent, Aunt Hester left
the room.

George pursued his image of the Forsyte advance, addressing Timothy
as Field Marshal; and Imogen, whom he had noted at once for 'a
pretty filly,'--as Vivandiere; and holding his top hat between his
knees, he began to beat it with imaginary drumsticks.  The
reception accorded to his fantasy was mixed.  All laughed--George
was licensed; but all felt that the family was being 'rotted'; and
this seemed to them unnatural, now that it was going to give five
of its members to the service of the Queen.  George might go too
far; and there was relief when he got up, offered his arm to Aunt
Juley, marched up to Timothy, saluted him, kissed his aunt with
mock passion, said, "Oh!  what a treat, dear papa!  Come on,
Eustace!" and walked out, followed by the grave and fastidious
Eustace, who had never smiled.

Aunt Juley's bewildered, "Fancy not waiting for the map!  You
mustn't mind him, Timothy.  He's so droll!" broke the hush, and
Timothy removed the hand from his mouth.

"I don't know what things are comin' to," he was heard to say.
"What's all this about goin' out there?  That's not the way to beat
those Boers."

Francie alone had the hardihood to observe: "What is, then, Uncle

"All this new-fangled volunteerin' and expense--lettin' money out
of the country."

Just then Aunt Hester brought in the map, handling it like a baby
with eruptions.  With the assistance of Euphemia it was laid on the
piano, a small Colwood grand, last played on, it was believed, the
summer before Aunt Ann died, thirteen years ago.  Timothy rose.  He
walked over to the piano, and stood looking at his map while they
all gathered round.

"There you are," he said; "that's the position up to date; and very
poor it is.  H'm!"

"Yes," said Francie, greatly daring, "but how are you going to
alter it, Uncle Timothy, without more men?"

"Men!" said Timothy; "you don't want men--wastin' the country's
money.  You want a Napoleon, he'd settle it in a month."

"But if you haven't got him, Uncle Timothy?"

"That's their business," replied Timothy.  "What have we kept the
Army up for--to eat their heads off in time of peace!  They ought
to be ashamed of themselves, comin' on the country to help them
like this!  Let every man stick to his business, and we shall get

And looking round him, he added almost angrily:

"Volunteerin', indeed!  Throwin' good money after bad!  We must
save!  Conserve energy that's the only way."  And with a prolonged
sound, not quite a sniff and not quite a snort, he trod on
Euphemia's toe, and went out, leaving a sensation and a faint scent
of barley-sugar behind him.

The effect of something said with conviction by one who has
evidently made a sacrifice to say it is ever considerable.  And the
eight Forsytes left behind, all women except young Nicholas, were
silent for a moment round the map.  Then Francie said:

"Really, I think he's right, you know.  After all, what is the Army
for?  They ought to have known.  It's only encouraging them."

"My dear!" cried Aunt Juley, "but they've been so progressive.
Think of their giving up their scarlet.  They were always so proud
of it.  And now they all look like convicts.  Hester and I were
saying only yesterday we were sure they must feel it very much.
Fancy what the Iron Duke would have said!"

"The new colour's very smart," said Winifred; "Val looks quite nice
in his."

Aunt Juley sighed.

"I do so wonder what Jolyon's boy is like.  To think we've never
seen him!  His father must be so proud of him."

"His father's in Paris," said Winifred.

Aunt Hester's shoulder was seen to mount suddenly, as if to ward
off her sister's next remark, for Juley's crumpled cheeks had

"We had dear little Mrs. MacAnder here yesterday, just back from
Paris.  And whom d'you think she saw there in the street?  You'll
never guess."

"We shan't try, Auntie," said Euphemia.

"Irene!  Imagine!  After all this time; walking with a fair

"Auntie! you'll kill me!  A fair beard...."

"I was going to say," said Aunt Juley severely, "a fair-bearded
gentleman.  And not a day older; she was always so pretty," she
added, with a sort of lingering apology.

"Oh! tell us about her, Auntie," cried Imogen; "I can just remember
her.  She's the skeleton in the family cupboard, isn't she?  And
they're such fun."

Aunt Hester sat down.  Really, Juley had done it now!

"She wasn't much of a skeleton as I remember her," murmured
Euphemia, "extremely well-covered."

"My dear!" said Aunt Juley, "what a peculiar way of putting it--not
very nice."

"No, but what was she like?" persisted Imogen.

"I'll tell you, my child," said Francie; "a kind of modern Venus,
very well-dressed."

Euphemia said sharply: "Venus was never dressed, and she had blue
eyes of melting sapphire."

At this juncture Nicholas took his leave.

"Mrs. Nick is awfully strict," said Francie with a laugh.

"She has six children," said Aunt Juley; "it's very proper she
should be careful."

"Was Uncle Soames awfully fond of her?" pursued the inexorable
Imogen, moving her dark luscious eyes from face to face.

Aunt Hester made a gesture of despair, just as Aunt Juley answered:

"Yes, your Uncle Soames was very much attached to her."

"I suppose she ran off with someone?"

"No, certainly not; that is--not precisely.'

"What did she do, then, Auntie?"

"Come along, Imogen," said Winifred, "we must be getting back."

But Aunt Juley interjected resolutely: "She--she didn't behave at
all well."

"Oh, bother!" cried Imogen; "that's as far as I ever get."

"Well, my dear," said Francie, "she had a love affair which ended
with the young man's death; and then she left your uncle.  I always
rather liked her."

"She used to give me chocolates," murmured Imogen, "and smell

"Of course!" remarked Euphemia.

"Not of course at all!" replied Francie, who used a particularly
expensive essence of gillyflower herself.

"I can't think what we are about," said Aunt Juley, raising her
hands, "talking of such things!"

"Was she divorced?" asked Imogen from the door.

"Certainly not," cried Aunt Juley; "that is--certainly not."

A sound was heard over by the far door.  Timothy had re-entered the
back drawing-room.  "I've come for my map," he said.  "Who's been

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