List Of Contents | Contents of Indian Summer of a Forsyte, by John Galsworthy
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her life only."

Had Soames heard that?

Soames nodded.

"Your cousin Jolyon is a widower now.  He is her trustee; you knew
that, of course?"

Soames shook his head.  He did know, but wished to show no
interest.  Young Jolyon and he had not met since the day of
Bosinney's death.

"He must be quite middle-aged by now," went on Aunt Juley dreamily.
"Let me see, he was born when your dear uncle lived in Mount
Street; long before they went to Stanhope Gate in December.  Just
before that dreadful Commune.  Over fifty!  Fancy that!  Such a
pretty baby, and we were all so proud of him; the very first of you
all."  Aunt Juley sighed, and a lock of not quite her own hair came
loose and straggled, so that Aunt Hester gave a little shiver.
Soames rose, he was experiencing a curious piece of self-discovery.
That old wound to his pride and self-esteem was not yet closed.  He
had come thinking he could talk of it, even wanting to talk of his
fettered condition, and--behold! he was shrinking away from this
reminder by Aunt Juley, renowned for her Malapropisms.

Oh, Soames was not going already!

Soames smiled a little vindictively, and said:

"Yes.  Good-bye.  Remember me to Uncle Timothy!"  And, leaving a
cold kiss on each forehead, whose wrinkles seemed to try and cling
to his lips as if longing to be kissed away, he left them looking
brightly after him--dear Soames, it had been so good of him to come
to-day, when they were not feeling very....!

With compunction tweaking at his chest Soames descended the stairs,
where was always that rather pleasant smell of camphor and port
wine, and house where draughts are not permitted.  The poor old
things--he had not meant to be unkind!  And in the street he
instantly forgot them, repossessed by the image of Annette and the
thought of the cursed coil around him.  Why had he not pushed the
thing through and obtained divorce when that wretched Bosinney was
run over, and there was evidence galore for the asking!  And he
turned towards his sister Winifred Dartie's residence in Green
Street, Mayfair.



That a man of the world so subject to the vicissitudes of fortunes
as Montague Dartie should still be living in a house he had
inhabited twenty years at least would have been more noticeable if
the rent, rates, taxes, and repairs of that house had not been
defrayed by his father-in-law.  By that simple if wholesale device
James Forsyte had secured a certain stability in the lives of his
daughter and his grandchildren.  After all, there is something
invaluable about a safe roof over the head of a sportsman so
dashing as Dartie.  Until the events of the last few days he had
been almost-supernaturally steady all this year.  The fact was he
had acquired a half share in a filly of George Forsyte's, who had
gone irreparably on the turf, to the horror of Roger, now stilled
by the grave.  Sleeve-links, by Martyr, out of Shirt-on-fire, by
Suspender, was a bay filly, three years old, who for a variety of
reasons had never shown her true form.  With half ownership of this
hopeful animal, all the idealism latent somewhere in Dartie, as in
every other man, had put up its head, and kept him quietly ardent
for months past.  When a man has some thing good to live for it is
astonishing how sober he becomes; and what Dartie had was really
good--a three to one chance for an autumn handicap, publicly
assessed at twenty-five to one.  The old-fashioned heaven was a
poor thing beside it, and his shirt was on the daughter of Shirt-
on-fire.  But how much more than his shirt depended on this
granddaughter of Suspender!  At that roving age of forty-five,
trying to Forsytes--and, though perhaps less distinguishable from
any other age, trying even to Darties--Montague had fixed his
current fancy on a dancer.  It was no mean passion, but without
money, and a good deal of it, likely to remain a love as airy as
her skirts; and Dartie never had any money, subsisting miserably on
what he could beg or borrow from Winifred--a woman of character,
who kept him because he was the father of her children, and from a
lingering admiration for those now-dying Wardour Street good looks
which in their youth had fascinated her.  She, together with anyone
else who would lend him anything, and his losses at cards and on
the turf (extraordinary how some men make a good thing out of
losses!) were his whole means of subsistence; for James was now too
old and nervous to approach, and Soames too formidably adamant.  It
is not too much to say that Dartie had been living on hope for
months.  He had never been fond of money for itself, had always
despised the Forsytes with their investing habits, though careful
to make such use of them as he could.  What he liked about money
was what it bought--personal sensation.

"No real sportsman cares for money," he would say, borrowing a
'pony' if it was no use trying for a 'monkey.'  There was something
delicious about Montague Dartie.  He was, as George Forsyte said, a

The morning of the Handicap dawned clear and bright, the last day
of September, and Dartie who had travelled to Newmarket the night
before, arrayed himself in spotless checks and walked to an
eminence to see his half of the filly take her final canter: If she
won he would be a cool three thou. in pocket--a poor enough
recompense for the sobriety and patience of these weeks of hope,
while they had been nursing her for this race.  But he had not been
able to afford more.  Should he 'lay it off' at the eight to one to
which she had advanced?  This was his single thought while the
larks sang above him, and the grassy downs smelled sweet, and the
pretty filly passed, tossing her head and glowing like satin.

After all, if he lost it would not be he who paid, and to 'lay it
off' would reduce his winnings to some fifteen hundred--hardly
enough to purchase a dancer out and out.  Even more potent was the
itch in the blood of all the Darties for a real flutter.  And
turning to George he said: "She's a clipper.  She'll win hands
down; I shall go the whole hog."  George, who had laid off every
penny, and a few besides, and stood to win, however it came out,
grinned down on him from his bulky height, with the words: "So ho,
my wild one!" for after a chequered apprenticeship weathered with
the money of a deeply complaining Roger, his Forsyte blood was
beginning to stand him in good stead in the profession of owner.

There are moments of disillusionment in the lives of men from which
the sensitive recorder shrinks.  Suffice it to say that the good
thing fell down.  Sleeve-links finished in the ruck.  Dartie's
shirt was lost.

Between the passing of these things and the day when Soames turned
his face towards Green Street, what had not happened!

When a man with the constitution of Montague Dartie has exercised
self-control for months from religious motives, and remains un-
rewarded, he does not curse God and die, he curses God and lives,
to the distress of his family.

Winifred--a plucky woman, if a little too fashionable--who had
borne the brunt of him for exactly twenty-one years, had never
really believed that he would do what he now did.  Like so many
wives, she thought she knew the worst, but she had not yet known
him in his forty-fifth year, when he, like other men, felt that it
was now or never.  Paying on the 2nd of October a visit of inspec-
tion to her jewel case, she was horrified to observe that her
woman's crown and glory was gone--the pearls which Montague had
given her in '86, when Benedict was born, and which James had been
compelled to pay for in the spring of '87, to save scandal.  She
consulted her husband at once.  He 'pooh-poohed' the matter.  They
would turn up!  Nor till she said sharply: "Very well, then, Monty,
I shall go down to Scotland Yard myself," did he consent to take
the matter in hand.  Alas! that the steady and resolved continuity
of design necessary to the accomplishment of sweeping operations
should be liable to interruption by drink.  That night Dartie
returned home without a care in the world or a particle of
reticence.  Under normal conditions Winifred would merely have
locked her door and let him sleep it off, but torturing suspense
about her pearls had caused her to wait up for him.  Taking a small
revolver from his pocket and holding on to the dining table, he
told her at once that he did not care a cursh whether she lived
s'long as she was quiet; but he himself wash tired o' life.
Winifred, holding onto the other side of the dining table,

"Don't be a clown, Monty.  Have you been to Scotland Yard?"

Placing the revolver against his chest, Dartie had pulled the
trigger several times.  It was not loaded.  Dropping it with an
imprecation, he had muttered: "For shake o' the children," and sank
into a chair.  Winifred, having picked up the revolver, gave him
some soda water.  The liquor had a magical effect.  Life had
illused him; Winifred had never 'unshtood'm.'  If he hadn't the
right to take the pearls he had given her himself, who had?  That
Spanish filly had got'm.  If Winifred had any 'jection he w'd cut--
her--throat.  What was the matter with that?  (Probably the first
use of that celebrated phrase--so obscure are the origins of even
the most classical language!)

Winifred, who had learned self-containment in a hard school, looked
up at him, and said: "Spanish filly!  Do you mean that girl we saw
dancing in the Pandemonium Ballet?  Well, you are a thief and a
blackguard."  It had been the last straw on a sorely loaded
consciousness; reaching up from his chair Dartie seized his wife's
arm, and recalling the achievements of his boyhood, twisted it.
Winifred endured the agony with tears in her eyes, but no murmur.
Watching for a moment of weakness, she wrenched it free; then
placing the dining table between them, said between her teeth: "You
are the limit, Monty."  (Undoubtedly the inception of that phrase--
so is English formed under the stress of circumstances.) Leaving
Dartie with foam on his dark moustache she went upstairs, and,
after locking her door and bathing her arm in hot water, lay awake
all night, thinking of her pearls adorning the neck of another, and
of the consideration her husband had presumably received therefor.

The man of the world awoke with a sense of  being lost to that
world, and a dim recollection  of having been called a 'limit.'  He
sat for half  an hour in the dawn and the armchair where he  had
slept perhaps the unhappiest half-hour he  had ever spent, for even
to a Dartie there is something tragic about an end.  And he knew
that he  had reached it.  Never again would he sleep in his
dining-room and wake with the light filtering  through those
curtains bought by Winifred at  Nickens and Jarveys with the money
of James.  Never again eat a devilled kidney at that rose-wood
table, after a roll in the sheets and a hot bath.  He took his note
case from his dress coat pocket.  Four hundred pounds, in fives and
tens--the remainder of the proceeds of his half of Sleeve-links,
sold last night, cash down, to George Forsyte, who, having won over
the race, had not conceived the sudden dislike to the animal which
he himself now felt.  The ballet was going to Buenos Aires the day
after to-morrow, and he was going too.  Full value for the pearls
had not yet been received; he was only at the soup.

He stole upstairs.  Not daring to have a bath, or shave (besides,
the water would be cold), he changed his clothes and packed
stealthily all he could.  It was hard to leave so many shining
boots, but one must sacrifice something.  Then, carrying a valise
in either hand, he stepped out onto the landing.  The house was
very quiet--that house where he had begotten his four children.  It
was a curious moment, this, outside the room of his wife, once
admired, if not perhaps loved, who had called him 'the limit.'  He
steeled himself with that phrase, and tiptoed on; but the next door
was harder to pass.  It was the room his daughters slept in.  Maud
was at school, but Imogen would be lying there; and moisture came
into Dartie's early morning eyes.  She was the most like him of the
four, with her dark hair, and her luscious brown glance.  Just
coming out, a pretty thing!  He set down the two valises.  This
almost formal abdication of fatherhood hurt him.  The morning light
fell on a face which worked with real emotion.  Nothing so false as
penitence moved him; but genuine paternal feeling, and that
melancholy of 'never again.'  He moistened his lips; and complete
irresolution for a moment paralysed his legs in their check
trousers.  It was hard--hard to be thus compelled to leave his
home!  "D---nit!" he muttered, "I never thought it would come to
this."  Noises above warned him that the maids were beginning to
get up.  And grasping the two valises, he tiptoed on downstairs.
His cheeks were wet, and the knowledge of that was comforting, as
though it guaranteed the genuineness of his sacrifice.  He lingered
a little in the rooms below, to pack all the cigars he had, some
papers, a crush hat, a silver cigarette box, a Ruff's Guide.  Then,
mixing himself a stiff whisky and soda, and lighting a cigarette,
he stood hesitating before a photograph of his two girls, in a
silver frame.  It belonged to Winifred.  'Never mind,' he thought;
'she can get another taken, and I can't!'  He slipped it into the
valise.  Then; putting on his hat and overcoat, he took two others,
his best malacca cane, an umbrella, and opened the front door.
Closing it softly behind him, he walked out, burdened as he had
never been in all his life, and made his way round the corner to
wait there for an early cab to come by.

Thus had passed Montague Dartie in the forty-fifth year of his age
from the house which he had called his own.

When Winifred came down, and realised that he was not in the house,
her first feeling was one of dull anger that he should thus elude
the reproaches she had carefully prepared in those long wakeful
hours.  He had gone off to Newmarket or Brighton, with that woman
as likely as not.  Disgusting!  Forced to a complete reticence
before Imogen and the servants, and aware that her father's nerves
would never stand the disclosure, she had been unable to refrain
from going to Timothy's that afternoon, and pouring out the story
of the pearls to Aunts Juley and Hester in utter confidence.  It
was only on the following morning that she noticed the
disappearance of that photograph.  What did it mean?  Careful
examination of her husband's relics prompted the thought that he
had gone for good.  As that conclusion hardened she stood quite
still in the middle of his dressing-room, with all the drawers
pulled out, to try and realise what she was feeling.  By no means
easy!  Though he was 'the limit' he was yet her property, and for
the life of her she could not but feel the poorer.  To be widowed
yet not widowed at forty-two; with four children; made conspicuous,
an object of commiseration!  Gone to the arms of a Spanish Jade!
Memories, feelings, which she had thought quite dead, revived

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