List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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Soames!  But his sense of justice stifled condemnation.  No, she
would certainly have died rather than take another penny from him.
Soft as she looked, there must be strength in her somewhere--
strength and fidelity.  But what business had young Bosinney to
have got run over and left her stranded like this!

"Well, you must come to me now," he said, "for anything you want,
or I shall be quite cut up."  And putting on his hat, he rose.
"Let's go and get some tea.  I told that lazy chap to put the
horses up for an hour, and come for me at your place.  We'll take a
cab presently; I can't walk as I used to."

He enjoyed that stroll to the Kensington end of the gardens--the
sound of her voice, the glancing of her eyes, the subtle beauty of
a charming form moving beside him.  He enjoyed their tea at
Ruffel's in the High Street, and came out thence with a great box
of chocolates swung on his little finger.  He enjoyed the drive
back to Chelsea in a hansom, smoking his cigar.  She had promised
to come down next Sunday and play to him again, and already in
thought he was plucking carnations and early roses for her to carry
back to town.  It was a pleasure to give her a little pleasure, if
it WERE pleasure from an old chap like him!  The carriage was
already there when they arrived.  Just like that fellow, who was
always late when he was wanted!  Old Jolyon went in for a minute to
say good-bye.  The little dark hall of the fiat was impregnated
with a disagreeable odour of patchouli, and on a bench against the
wall--its only furniture--he saw a figure sitting.  He heard Irene
say softly: "Just one minute."  In the little drawing-room when the
door was shut, he asked gravely: "One of your protegees?"

"Yes.  Now thanks to you, I can do something for her."

He stood, staring, and stroking that chin whose strength had
frightened so many in its time.  The idea of her thus actually in
contact with this outcast, grieved and frightened him.  What could
she do for them?  Nothing.  Only soil and make trouble for herself,
perhaps.  And he said: "Take care, my dear!  The world puts the
worst construction on everything."

"I know that."

He was abashed by her quiet smile.  "Well then--Sunday," he
murmured: "Good-bye."

She put her cheek forward for him to kiss.

"Good-bye," he said again; "take care of yourself."  And he went
out, not looking towards the figure on the bench.  He drove home by
way of Hammersmith; that he might stop at a place he knew of and
tell them to send her in two dozen of their best Burgundy.  She
must want picking-up sometimes!  Only in Richmond Park did he
remember that he had gone up to order himself some boots, and was
surprised that he could have had so paltry an idea.


The little spirits of the past which throng an old man's days had
never pushed their faces up to his so seldom as in the seventy
hours elapsing before Sunday came.  The spirit of the future, with
the charm of the unknown, put up her lips instead.  Old Jolyon was
not restless now, and paid no visits to the log, because she was
coming to lunch.  There is wonderful finality about a meal; it
removes a world of doubts, for no one misses meals except for
reasons beyond control.  He played many games with Holly on the
lawn, pitching them up to her who was batting so as to be ready to
bowl to Jolly in the holidays.  For she was not a Forsyte, but
Jolly was--and Forsytes always bat, until they have resigned and
reached the age of eighty-five.  The dog Balthasar, in attendance,
lay on the ball as often as he could, and the page-boy fielded,
till his face was like the harvest moon.  And because the time was
getting shorter, each day was longer and more golden than the last.
On Friday night he took a liver pill, his side hurt him rather, and
though it was not the liver side, there is no remedy like that.
Anyone telling him that he had found a new excitement in life and
that excitement was not good for him, would have been met by one of
those steady and rather defiant looks of his deep-set iron-grey
eyes, which seemed to say: 'I know my own business best.'  He
always had and always would.

On Sunday morning, when Holly had gone with her governess to
church, he visited the strawberry beds.  There, accompanied by the
dog Balthasar, he examined the plants narrowly and succeeded in
finding at least two dozen berries which were really ripe.
Stooping was not good for him, and he became very dizzy and red in
the forehead.  Having placed the strawberries in a dish on the
dining-table, he washed his hands and bathed his forehead with eau
de Cologne.  There, before the mirror, it occurred to him that he
was thinner.  What a 'threadpaper' he had been when he was young!
It was nice to be slim--he could not bear a fat chap; and yet
perhaps his cheeks were too thin!  She was to arrive by train at
half-past twelve and walk up, entering from the road past Drage's
farm at the far end of the coppice.  And, having looked into June's
room to see that there was hot water ready, he set forth to meet
her, leisurely, for his heart was beating.  The air smelled sweet,
larks sang, and the Grand Stand at Epsom was visible.  A perfect
day!  On just such a one, no doubt, six years ago, Soames had
brought young Bosinney down with him to look at the site before
they began to build.  It was Bosinney who had pitched on the exact
spot for the house--as June had often told him.  In these days he
was thinking much about that young fellow, as if his spirit were
really haunting the field of his last work, on the chance of
seeing--her.  Bosinney--the one man who had possessed her heart, to
whom she had given her whole self with rapture!  At his age one
could not, of course, imagine such things, but there stirred in him
a queer vague aching--as it were the ghost of an impersonal
jealousy; and a feeling, too, more generous, of pity for that love
so early lost.  All over in a few poor months!  Well, well!  He
looked at his watch before entering the coppice--only a quarter
past, twenty-five minutes to wait!  And then, turning the corner of
the path, he saw her exactly where he had seen her the first time,
on the log; and realised that she must have come by the earlier
train to sit there alone for a couple of hours at least.  Two hours
of her society missed!  What memory could make that log so dear to
her?  His face showed what he was thinking, for she said at once:

"Forgive me, Uncle Jolyon; it was here that I first knew."

"Yes, yes; there it is for you whenever you like.  You're looking a
little Londony; you're giving too many lessons."

That she should have to give lessons worried him.  Lessons to a
parcel of young girls thumping out scales with their thick fingers.

"Where do you go to give them?" he asked.

"They're mostly Jewish families, luckily."

Old Jolyon stared; to all Forsytes Jews seem strange and doubtful.

"They love music, and they're very kind."

"They had better be, by George!"  He took her arm--his side always
hurt him a little going uphill--and said:

"Did you ever see anything like those buttercups?  They came like
that in a night."

Her eyes seemed really to fly over the field, like bees after the
flowers and the honey.  "I wanted you to see them--wouldn't let
them turn the cows in yet."  Then, remembering that she had come to
talk about Bosinney, he pointed to the clock-tower over the

"I expect be wouldn't have let me put that there--had no notion of
time, if I remember."

But, pressing his arm to her, she talked of flowers instead, and he
knew it was done that he might not feel she came because of her
dead lover.

"The best flower I can show you," he said, with a sort of triumph,
"is my little sweet.  She'll be back from Church directly.  There's
something about her which reminds me a little of you," and it did
not seem to him peculiar that he had put it thus, instead of
saying: "There's something about you which reminds me a little of
her."  Ah! And here she was!

Holly, followed closely by her elderly French governess, whose
digestion had been ruined twenty-two years ago in the siege of
Strasbourg, came rushing towards them from under the oak tree.  She
stopped about a dozen yards away, to pat Balthasar and pretend that
this was all she had in her mind.  Old Jolyon who knew better,

"Well, my darling, here's the lady in grey I promised you."

Holly raised herself and looked up.  He watched the two of them
with a twinkle, Irene smiling, Holly beginning with grave inquiry,
passing into a shy smile too, and then to something deeper.  She
had a sense of beauty, that child--knew what was what!  He enjoyed
the sight of the kiss between them.

"Mrs. Heron, Mam'zelle Beauce.  Well, Mam'zelle--good sermon?"

For, now that he had not much more time before him, the only part
of the service connected with this world absorbed what interest in
church remained to him.  Mam'zelle Beauce stretched out a spidery
hand clad in a black kid glove--she had been in the best families--
and the rather sad eyes of her lean yellowish face seemed to ask:
"Are you well-brrred?" Whenever Holly or Jolly did anything
unpleasing to her--a not uncommon occurrence he would say to them:
"The little Tayleurs never did that--they were such well-brrred
little children."  Jolly hated the little Tayleurs; Holly wondered
dreadfully how it was she fell so short of them.  'A thin rum
little soul,' old Jolyon thought her--Mam'zelle Beauce.

Luncheon was a successful meal, the mushrooms which he himself had
picked in the mushroom house, his chosen strawberries, and another
bottle of the Steinberg cabinet filled him with a certain aromatic
spirituality, and a conviction that he would have a touch of eczema

After lunch they sat under the oak tree drinking Turkish coffee.
It was no matter of grief to him when Mademoiselle Beauce withdrew
to write her Sunday letter to her sister, whose future had been
endangered in the past by swallowing a pin--an event held up daily
in warning to the children to eat slowly and digest what they had
eaten.  At the foot of the bank, on a carriage rug, Holly and the
dog Balthasar teased and loved each other, and in the shade old
Jolyon with his legs crossed and his cigar luxuriously savoured,
gazed at Irene sitting in the swing.  A light, vaguely swaying,
grey figure with a fleck of sunlight here and there upon it, lips
just opened, eyes dark and soft under lids a little drooped.  She
looked content; surely it did her good to come and see him!  The
selfishness of age had not set its proper grip on him, for he could
still feel pleasure in the pleasure of others, realising that what
he wanted, though much, was not quite all that mattered.

"It's quiet here," he said; "you mustn't come down if you find it
dull.  But it's a pleasure to see you.  My little sweet's is the
only face which gives me any pleasure, except yours."

>From her smile he knew that she was not beyond liking to be
appreciated, and this reassured him.  "That's not humbug," he said.
"I never told a woman I admired her when I didn't.  In fact I
don't know when I've told a woman I admired her, except my wife in
the old days; and wives are funny."  He was silent, but resumed

"She used to expect me to say it more often than I felt it, and
there we were."  Her face looked  mysteriously troubled, and,
afraid that he had said something painful, he hurried on: "When my
little sweet marries, I hope she'll find someone who knows what
women feel.  I shan't be here to see it, but there's too much
topsy-turvydom in marriage; I don't want her to pitch up against
that."  And, aware that he had made bad worse, he added: "That dog
will scratch."

A silence followed.  Of what was she thinking, this pretty creature
whose life was spoiled; who had done with love, and yet was made
for love?  Some day when he was gone, perhaps, she would find
another mate--not so disorderly as that young fellow who had got
himself run over.  Ah! but her husband?

"Does Soames never trouble you?" he asked.

She shook her head.  Her face had closed up  suddenly.  For all her
softness there was something irreconcilable about her.  And a
glimpse of light on the inexorable nature of sex antipathies
strayed into a brain which, belonging to early Victorian civil-
isation--so much older than this of his old age--had never thought
about such primitive things.

"That's a comfort," he said.  "You can see the Grand Stand to-day.
Shall we take a turn round?"

Through the flower and fruit garden, against whose high outer walls
peach trees and nectarines were trained to the sun, through the
stables, the vinery, the mushroom house, the asparagus beds, the
rosery, the summer-house, he conducted her--even into the kitchen
garden to see the tiny green peas which Holly loved to scoop out of
their pods with her finger, and lick up from the palm of her little
brown hand.  Many delightful things he showed her, while Holly and
the dog Balthasar danced ahead, or came to them at intervals for
attention.  It was one of the happiest afternoons he had ever
spent, but it tired him and he was glad to sit down in the music
room and let her give him tea.  A special little friend of Holly's
had come in--a fair child with short hair like a boy's.  And the
two sported in the distance, under the stairs, on the stairs, and
up in the gallery.  Old Jolyon begged for Chopin.  She played
studies, mazurkas, waltzes, till the two children, creeping near,
stood at the foot of the piano their dark and golden heads bent
forward, listening.  Old Jolyon watched.

"Let's see you dance, you two!"

Shyly, with a false start, they began.  Bobbing and circling,
earnest, not very adroit, they went past and past his chair to the
strains of that waltz.  He watched them and the face of her who was
playing turned smiling towards those little dancers thinking:

'Sweetest picture I've seen for ages.'

A voice said:

"Hollee! Mais enfin--quest-ce que tu fais la--danser, le dimanche!
Viens, donc!"

But the children came close to old Jolyon, knowing that he would
save them, and gazed into a face which was decidedly 'caught out.'

"Better the day, better the deed, Mam'zelle.  It's all my doing.
Trot along, chicks, and have your tea."

And, when they were gone, followed by the dog Balthasar, who took
every meal, he looked at Irene with a twinkle and said:

"Well, there we are! Aren't they sweet? Have you any little ones
among your pupils?"

"Yes, three--two of them darlings."



Old Jolyon sighed; he had an insatiable appetite for the very
young.  "My little sweet," he said, "is devoted to music; she'll be
a musician some day.  You wouldn't give me your opinion of her
playing, I suppose?"

"Of course I will."

"You wouldn't like--" but he stifled the words "to give her
lessons."  The idea that she gave lessons was unpleasant to him;
yet it would mean that he would see her regularly.  She left the
piano and came over to his chair.

"I would like, very much; but there is--June.  When are they coming

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