List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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love with this girl?" he would have replied: "In love?  What is
love?  If you mean do I feel to her as I did towards Irene in those
old days when I first met her and she would not have me; when I
sighed and starved after her and couldn't rest a minute until she
yielded--no!  If you mean do I admire her youth and prettiness, do
my senses ache a little when I see her moving about--yes!  Do I
think she will keep me straight, make me a creditable wife and a
good mother for my children?--again, yes!"

"What more do I need? and what more do three-quarters of the women
who are married get from the men who marry them?" And if the
enquirer had pursued his query, "And do you think it was fair to
have tempted this girl to give herself to you for life unless you
have really touched her heart?" he would have answered: "The French
see these things differently from us.  They look at marriage from
the point of view of establishments and children; and, from my own
experience, I am not at all sure that theirs is not the sensible
view.  I shall not expect this time more than I can get, or she can
give.  Years hence I shouldn't be surprised if I have trouble with
her; but I shall be getting old, I shall have children by then.  I
shall shut my eyes.  I have had my great passion; hers is perhaps
to come--I don't suppose it will be for me.  I offer her a great
deal, and I don't expect much in return, except children, or at
least a son.  But one thing I am sure of--she has very good sense!"

And if, insatiate, the enquirer had gone on, "You do not look,
then, for spiritual union in this marriage?" Soames would have
lifted his sideway smile, and rejoined: "That's as it may be.  If I
get satisfaction for my senses, perpetuation of myself; good taste
and good humour in the house; it is all I can expect at my age.  I
am not likely to be going out of my way towards any far-fetched
sentimentalism."  Whereon, the enquirer must in good taste have
ceased enquiry.

The Queen was dead, and the air of the greatest city upon earth
grey with unshed tears.  Fur-coated and top-hatted, with Annette
beside him in dark furs, Soames crossed Park Lane on the morning of
the funeral procession, to the rails in Hyde Park.  Little moved
though he ever was by public matters, this event, supremely
symbolical, this summing-up of a long rich period, impressed his
fancy.  In '37, when she came to the throne, 'Superior Dosset' was
still building houses to make London hideous; and James, a
stripling of twenty-six, just laying the foundations of his
practice in the Law.  Coaches still ran; men wore stocks, shaved
their upper lips, ate oysters out of barrels; 'tigers' swung behind
cabriolets; women said, 'La!' and owned no property; there were
manners in the land, and pigsties for the poor; unhappy devils were
hanged for little crimes, and Dickens had but just begun to write.
Well-nigh two generations had slipped by--of steamboats, railways,
telegraphs, bicycles, electric light, telephones, and now these
motorcars--of such accumulated wealth, that eight per cent. had
become three, and Forsytes were numbered by the thousand!  Morals
had changed, manners had changed, men had become monkeys twice-
removed, God had become Mammon--Mammon so respectable as to deceive
himself: Sixty-four years that favoured property, and had made the
upper middle class; buttressed, chiselled, polished it, till it was
almost indistinguishable in manners, morals, speech, appearance,
habit, and soul from the nobility.  An epoch which had gilded
individual liberty so that if a man had money, he was free in law
and fact, and if he had not money he was free in law and not in
fact.  An era which had canonised hypocrisy, so that to seem to be
respectable was to be.  A great Age, whose transmuting influence
nothing had escaped save the nature of man and the nature of the

And to witness the passing of this Age, London--its pet and fancy--
was pouring forth her citizens through every gate into Hyde Park,
hub of Victorianism, happy hunting-ground of Forsytes.  Under the
grey heavens, whose drizzle just kept off, the dark concourse
gathered to see the show.  The 'good old'  Queen, full of years and
virtue, had emerged from her seclusion for the last time to make a
London holiday.  From Houndsditch, Acton, Ealing, Hampstead,
Islington, and Bethnal Green; from Hackney, Hornsey, Leytonstone,
Battersea, and Fulham; and from those green pastures where Forsytes
flourish--Mayfair and Kensington, St. James' and Belgravia,
Bayswater and Chelsea and the Regent's Park, the people swarmed
down on to the roads where death would presently pass with dusky
pomp and pageantry.  Never again would a Queen reign so long, or
people have a chance to see so much history buried for their money.
A pity the war dragged on, and that the Wreath of Victory could not
be laid upon her coffin!  All else would be there to follow and
commemorate--soldiers, sailors, foreign princes, half-masted
bunting, tolling bells, and above all the surging, great,
dark-coated crowd, with perhaps a simple sadness here and there
deep in hearts beneath black clothes put on by regulation.  After
all, more than a Queen was going to her rest, a woman who had
braved sorrow, lived well and wisely according to her lights.

Out in the crowd against the railings, with his arm hooked in
Annette's, Soames waited.  Yes!  the Age was passing!  What with
this Trade Unionism, and Labour fellows in the House of Commons,
with continental fiction, and something in the general feel of
everything, not to be expressed in words, things were very
different; he recalled the crowd on Mafeking night, and George
Forsyte saying: "They're all socialists, they want our goods."
Like James, Soames didn't know, he couldn't tell--with Edward on
the throne!  Things would never be as safe again as under good old
Viccy!  Convulsively he pressed his young wife's arm.  There, at
any rate, was something substantially his own, domestically certain
again at last; something which made property worth while--a real
thing once more.  Pressed close against her and trying to ward
others off, Soames was content.  The crowd swayed round them, ate
sandwiches and dropped crumbs; boys who had climbed the plane-trees
chattered above like monkeys, threw twigs and orange-peel.  It was
past time; they should be coming soon!  And, suddenly, a little
behind them to the left, he saw a tallish man with a soft hat and
short grizzling beard, and a tallish woman in a little round fur
cap and veil.  Jolyon and Irene talking, smiling at each other,
close together like Annette and himself!  They had not seen him;
and stealthily, with a very queer feeling in his heart, Soames
watched those two.  They looked happy!  What had they come here
for--inherently illicit creatures, rebels from the Victorian ideal?
What business had they in this crowd?  Each of them twice exiled by
morality--making a boast, as it were, of love and laxity!  He
watched them fascinated; admitting grudgingly even with his arm
thrust through Annette's that--that she--Irene--No! he would not
admit it; and he turned his eyes away.  He would not see them, and
let the old bitterness, the old longing rise up within him!  And
then Annette turned to him and said: "Those two people, Soames;
they know you, I am sure.  Who are they?"

Soames nosed sideways.

"What people?"

"There, you see them; just turning away.  They know you."

"No," Soames answered; "a mistake, my dear."

"A lovely face!  And how she walk!  Elle est tres distinguee!"

Soames looked then.  Into his life, out of his life she had walked
like that swaying and erect, remote, unseizable; ever eluding the
contact of his soul!  He turned abruptly from that receding
vision of the past.

"You'd better attend," he said, "they're coming now!"

But while he stood, grasping her arm, seemingly intent on the head
of the procession, he was quivering with the sense of always
missing something, with instinctive regret that he had not got them

Slow came the music and the march, till, in silence, the long line
wound in through the Park gate.  He heard Annette whisper, "How sad
it is and beautiful!" felt the clutch of her hand as she stood up
on tiptoe; and the crowd's emotion gripped him.  There it was--the
bier of the Queen, coffin of the Age slow passing!  And as it went
by there came a murmuring groan from all the long line of those who
watched, a sound such as Soames had never heard, so unconscious,
primitive, deep and wild, that neither he nor any knew whether they
had joined in uttering it.  Strange sound, indeed!  Tribute of an
Age to its own death....  Ah!  Ah!....  The hold on life had
slipped.  That which had seemed eternal was gone!  The Queen--God
bless her!

It moved on with the bier, that travelling groan, as a fire moves
on over grass in a thin line; it kept step, and marched alongside
down the dense crowds mile after mile.  It was a human sound, and
yet inhuman, pushed out by animal subconsciousness, by intimate
knowledge of universal death and change.  None of us--none of us
can hold on for ever!

It left silence for a little--a very little time, till tongues
began, eager to retrieve interest in the show.  Soames lingered
just long enough to gratify Annette, then took her out of the Park
to lunch at his father's in Park Lane....

James had spent the morning gazing out of his bedroom window.  The
last show he would see, last of so many!  So she was gone!  Well,
she was getting an old woman.  Swithin and he had seen her crowned-
-slim slip of a girl, not so old as Imogen!  She had got very stout
of late.  Jolyon and he had seen her married to that German chap,
her husband--he had turned out all right before he died, and left
her with that son of his.  And he remembered the many evenings he
and his brothers and their cronies had wagged their heads over
their wine and walnuts and that fellow in his salad days.  And now
he had come to the throne.  They said he had steadied down--he
didn't know--couldn't tell!  He'd make the money fly still, he
shouldn't wonder.  What a lot of people out there!  It didn't seem
so very long since he and Swithin stood in the crowd outside
Westminster Abbey when she was crowned, and Swithin had taken him
to Cremorne afterwards--racketty chap, Swithin; no, it didn't seem
much longer ago than Jubilee Year, when he had joined with Roger in
renting a balcony in Piccadilly.

Jolyon, Swithin, Roger all gone, and he would be ninety in August!
And there was Soames married again to a French girl.  The French
were a queer lot, but they made good mothers, he had heard.  Things
changed!  They said this German Emperor was here for the funeral,
his telegram to old Kruger had been in shocking taste.  He should
not be surprised if that chap made trouble some day.  Change!  H'm!
Well, they must look after themselves when he was gone: he didn't
know where he'd be!  And now Emily had asked Dartie to lunch, with
Winifred and Imogen, to meet Soames' wife--she was always doing
something.  And there was Irene living with that fellow Jolyon,
they said.  He'd marry her now, he supposed.

'My brother Jolyon,' he thought, 'what would he have said to it
all?' And somehow the utter impossibility of knowing what his elder
brother, once so looked up to, would have said, so worried James
that he got up from his chair by the window, and began slowly,
feebly to pace the room.

'She was a pretty thing, too,' he thought; 'I was fond of her.
Perhaps Soames didn't suit her--I don't know--I can't tell.  We
never had any trouble with our wives.'  Women had changed
everything had changed!  And now the Queen was dead--well, there it
was!  A movement in the crowd brought him to a standstill at the
window, his nose touching the pane and whitening from the chill of
it.  They had got her as far as Hyde Park Corner--they were passing
now!  Why didn't Emily come up here where she could see, instead of
fussing about lunch.  He missed her at that moment--missed her!
Through the bare branches of the plane-trees he could just see the
procession, could see the hats coming off the people's heads--a lot
of them would catch colds, he shouldn't wonder!  A voice behind him

"You've got a capital view here, James!"

"There you are!" muttered James; "why didn't you come before?  You
might have missed it!"

And he was silent, staring with all his might.

"What's the noise?" he asked suddenly.

"There's no noise," returned Emily; "what are you thinking of?--
they wouldn't cheer."

"I can hear it."

"Nonsense, James!"

No sound came through those double panes; what James heard was the
groaning in his own heart at sight of his Age passing.

"Don't you ever tell me where I'm buried," he said suddenly.  "I
shan't want to know."  And he turned from the window.  There she
went, the old Queen; she'd had a lot of anxiety--she'd be glad to
be out of it, he should think!

Emily took up the hair-brushes.

"There'll be just time to brush your head," she said, "before they
come.  You must look your best, James."

"Ah!" muttered James; "they say she's pretty."

The meeting with his new daughter-in-law took place in the
dining-room.  James was seated by the fire when she was brought in.
He placed, his hands on the arms of the chair and slowly raised
himself.  Stooping and immaculate in his frock-coat, thin as a line
in Euclid, he received Annette's hand in his; and the anxious eyes
of his furrowed face, which had lost its colour now, doubted above
her.  A little warmth came into them and into his cheeks, refracted
from her bloom.

"How are you?" he said.  "You've been to see the Queen, I suppose?
Did you have a good crossing?"

In this way he greeted her from whom he hoped for a grandson of his

Gazing at him, so old, thin, white, and spotless, Annette murmured
something in French which James did not understand.

"Yes, yes," he said, "you want your lunch, I expect.  Soames, ring
the bell; we won't wait for that chap Dartie."  But just then they
arrived.  Dartie had refused to go out of his way to see 'the old
girl.'  With an early cocktail beside him, he had taken a 'squint'
from the smoking-room of the Iseeum, so that Winifred and Imogen
had been obliged to come back from the Park to fetch him thence.
His brown eyes rested on Annette with a stare of almost startled
satisfaction.  The second beauty that fellow Soames had picked up!
What women could see in him!  Well, she would play him the same
trick as the other, no doubt; but in the meantime he was a lucky
devil!  And he brushed up his moustache, having in nine months of
Green Street domesticity regained almost all his flesh and his
assurance.  Despite the comfortable efforts of Emily, Winifred's
composure, Imogen's enquiring friendliness, Dartie's showing-off,
and James' solicitude about her food, it was not, Soames felt, a
successful lunch for his bride.  He took her away very soon.

"That Monsieur Dartie," said Annette in the cab, "je n'aime pas ce

"No, by George!" said Soames.

"Your sister is veree amiable, and the girl is pretty.  Your father

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