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  • 1906
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one eye, and the concealment of his lower with his upper lip, which gave a smothered turn to his speech. He had a way, too, of coming suddenly round the corner on the person he was talking to; this, with a disconcerting tone of voice, and a habit of growling before he began to speak–had secured a reputation second in Probate and Divorce to very few. Having listened, eye cocked, to Mr. Bellby’s breezy recapitulation of the facts, he growled, and said:

“I know all that;” and coming round the corner at Winifred, smothered the words:

“We want to get him back, don’t we, Mrs. Dartie?”

Soames interposed sharply:

“My sister’s position, of course, is intolerable.”

Dreamer growled. “Exactly. Now, can we rely on the cabled refusal, or must we wait till after Christmas to give him a chance to have written–that’s the point, isn’t it?”

“The sooner….” Soames began.

“What do you say, Bellby?” said Dreamer, coming round his corner.

Mr. Bellby seemed to sniff the air like a hound.

“We won’t be on till the middle of December. We’ve no need to give um more rope than that.”

“No,” said Soames, “why should my sister be incommoded by his choosing to go…”

“To Jericho!” said Dreamer, again coming round his corner; “quite so. People oughtn’t to go to Jericho, ought they, Mrs. Dartie?” And he raised his gown into a sort of fantail. “I agree. We can go forward. Is there anything more?”

“Nothing at present,” said Soames meaningly; “I wanted you to see my sister.”

Dreamer growled softly: “Delighted. Good evening!” And let fall the protection of his gown.

They filed out. Winifred went down the stairs. Soames lingered. In spite of himself he was impressed by Dreamer.

“The evidence is all right, I think,” he said to Bellby. “Between ourselves, if we don’t get the thing through quick, we never may. D’you think he understands that?”

“I’ll make um,” said Bellby. “Good man though–good man.”

Soames nodded and hastened after his sister. He found her in a draught, biting her lips behind her veil, and at once said:

“The evidence of the stewardess will be very complete.”

Winifred’s face hardened; she drew herself up, and they walked to the carriage. And, all through that silent drive back to Green Street, the souls of both of them revolved a single thought: ‘Why, oh! why should I have to expose my misfortune to the public like this? Why have to employ spies to peer into my private troubles? They were not of my making.’



The possessive instinct, which, so determinedly balked, was animating two members of the Forsyte family towards riddance of what they could no longer possess, was hardening daily in the British body politic. Nicholas, originally so doubtful concerning a war which must affect property, had been heard to say that these Boers were a pig-headed lot; they were causing a lot of expense, and the sooner they had their lesson the better. He would send out Wolseley! Seeing always a little further than other people–whence the most considerable fortune of all the Forsytes–he had perceived already that Buller was not the man–‘a bull of a chap, who just went butting, and if they didn’t look out Ladysmith would fall.’ This was early in December, so that when Black Week came, he was enabled to say to everybody: ‘I told you so.’ During that week of gloom such as no Forsyte could remember, very young Nicholas attended so many drills in his corps, ‘The Devil’s Own,’ that young Nicholas consulted the family physician about his son’s health and was alarmed to find that he was perfectly sound. The boy had only just eaten his dinners and been called to the bar, at some expense, and it was in a way a nightmare to his father and mother that he should be playing with military efficiency at a time when military efficiency in the civilian population might conceivably be wanted. His grandfather, of course, pooh-poohed the notion, too thoroughly educated in the feeling that no British war could be other than little and professional, and profoundly distrustful of Imperial commitments, by which, moreover, he stood to lose, for he owned De Beers, now going down fast, more than a sufficient sacrifice on the part of his grandson.

At Oxford, however, rather different sentiments prevailed. The inherent effervescence of conglomerate youth had, during the two months of the term before Black Week, been gradually crystallising out into vivid oppositions. Normal adolescence, ever in England of a conservative tendency though not taking things too seriously, was vehement for a fight to a finish and a good licking for the Boers. Of this larger faction Val Dartie was naturally a member. Radical youth, on the other hand, a small but perhaps more vocal body, was for stopping the war and giving the Boers autonomy. Until Black Week, however, the groups were amorphous, without sharp edges, and argument remained but academic. Jolly was one of those who knew not where he stood. A streak of his grandfather old Jolyon’s love of justice prevented, him from seeing one side only. Moreover, in his set of ‘the best’ there was a ‘jumping-Jesus’ of extremely advanced opinions and some personal magnetism. Jolly wavered. His father, too, seemed doubtful in his views. And though, as was proper at the age of twenty, he kept a sharp eye on his father, watchful for defects which might still be remedied, still that father had an ‘air’ which gave a sort of glamour to his creed of ironic tolerance. Artists of course; were notoriously Hamlet-like, and to this extent one must discount for one’s father, even if one loved him. But Jolyon’s original view, that to ‘put your nose in where you aren’t wanted’ (as the Uitlanders had done) ‘and then work the oracle till you get on top is not being quite the clean potato,’ had, whether founded in fact or no, a certain attraction for his son, who thought a deal about gentility. On the other hand Jolly could not abide such as his set called ‘cranks,’ and Val’s set called ‘smugs,’ so that he was still balancing when the clock of Black Week struck. One–two–three, came those ominous repulses at Stormberg, Magersfontein, Colenso. The sturdy English soul reacting after the first cried, ‘Ah! but Methuen!’ after the second: ‘Ah! but Buller!’ then, in inspissated gloom, hardened. And Jolly said to himself: ‘No, damn it! We’ve got to lick the beggars now; I don’t care whether we’re right or wrong.’ And, if he had known it, his father was thinking the same thought.

That next Sunday, last of the term, Jolly was bidden to wine with ‘one of the best.’ After the second toast, ‘Buller and damnation to the Boers,’ drunk–no heel taps–in the college Burgundy, he noticed that Val Dartie, also a guest, was looking at him with a grin and saying something to his neighbour. He was sure it was disparaging. The last boy in the world to make himself conspicuous or cause public disturbance, Jolly grew rather red and shut his lips. The queer hostility he had always felt towards his second- cousin was strongly and suddenly reinforced. ‘All right!’ he thought, ‘you wait, my friend!’ More wine than was good for him, as the custom was, helped him to remember, when they all trooped forth to a secluded spot, to touch Val on the arm.

“What did you say about me in there?”

“Mayn’t I say what I like?”


“Well, I said you were a pro-Boer–and so you are!”

“You’re a liar!”

“D’you want a row?”

“Of course, but not here; in the garden.”

“All right. Come on.”

They went, eyeing each other askance, unsteady, and unflinching; they climbed the garden railings. The spikes on the top slightly ripped Val’s sleeve, and occupied his mind. Jolly’s mind was occupied by the thought that they were going to fight in the precincts of a college foreign to them both. It was not the thing, but never mind–the young beast!

They passed over the grass into very nearly darkness, and took off their coats.

“You’re not screwed, are you?” said Jolly suddenly. “I can’t fight you if you’re screwed.”

“No more than you.”

“All right then.”

Without shaking hands, they put themselves at once into postures of defence. They had drunk too much for science, and so were especially careful to assume correct attitudes, until Jolly smote Val almost accidentally on the nose. After that it was all a dark and ugly scrimmage in the deep shadow of the old trees, with no one to call ‘time,’ till, battered and blown, they unclinched and staggered back from each other, as a voice said:

“Your names, young gentlemen?”

At this bland query spoken from under the lamp at the garden gate, like some demand of a god, their nerves gave way, and snatching up their coats, they ran at the railings, shinned up them, and made for the secluded spot whence they had issued to the fight. Here, in dim light, they mopped their faces, and without a word walked, ten paces apart, to the college gate. They went out silently, Val going towards the Broad along the Brewery, Jolly down the lane towards the High. His head, still fumed, was busy with regret that he had not displayed more science, passing in review the counters and knockout blows which he had not delivered. His mind strayed on to an imagined combat, infinitely unlike that which he had just been through, infinitely gallant, with sash and sword, with thrust and parry, as if he were in the pages of his beloved Dumas. He fancied himself La Mole, and Aramis, Bussy, Chicot, and D’Artagnan rolled into one, but he quite failed to envisage Val as Coconnas, Brissac, or Rochefort. The fellow was just a confounded cousin who didn’t come up to Cocker. Never mind! He had given him one or two. ‘Pro-Boer!’ The word still rankled, and thoughts of en- listing jostled his aching head; of riding over the veldt, firing gallantly, while the Boers rolled over like rabbits. And, turning up his smarting eyes, he saw the stars shining between the house- tops of the High, and himself lying out on the Karoo (whatever that was) rolled in a blanket, with his rifle ready and his gaze fixed on a glittering heaven.

He had a fearful ‘head’ next morning, which he doctored, as became one of ‘the best,’ by soaking it in cold water, brewing strong coffee which he could not drink, and only sipping a little Hock at lunch. The legend that ‘some fool’ had run into him round a corner accounted for a bruise on his cheek. He would on no account have mentioned the fight, for, on second thoughts, it fell far short of his standards.

The next day he went ‘down,’ and travelled through to Robin Hill. Nobody was there but June and Holly, for his father had gone to Paris. He spent a restless and unsettled Vacation, quite out of touch with either of his sisters. June, indeed, was occupied with lame ducks, whom, as a rule, Jolly could not stand, especially that Eric Cobbley and his family, ‘hopeless outsiders,’ who were always littering up the house in the Vacation. And between Holly and himself there was a strange division, as if she were beginning to have opinions of her own, which was so–unnecessary. He punched viciously at a ball, rode furiously but alone in Richmond Park, making a point of jumping the stiff, high hurdles put up to close certain worn avenues of grass–keeping his nerve in, he called it. Jolly was more afraid of being afraid than most boys are. He bought a rifle, too, and put a range up in the home field, shooting across the pond into the kitchen-garden wall, to the peril of gardeners, with the thought that some day, perhaps, he would enlist and save South Africa for his country. In fact, now that they were appealing for Yeomanry recruits the boy was thoroughly upset. Ought he to go? None of ‘the best,’ so far as he knew–and he was in correspondence with several–were thinking of joining. If they had been making a move he would have gone at once–very compet- itive, and with a strong sense of form, he could not bear to be left behind in anything–but to do it off his own bat might look like ‘swagger’; because of course it wasn’t really necessary. Besides, he did not want to go, for the other side of this young Forsyte recoiled from leaping before he looked. It was altogether mixed pickles within him, hot and sickly pickles, and he became quite unlike his serene and rather lordly self.

And then one day he saw that which moved him to uneasy wrath–two riders, in a glade of the Park close to the Ham Gate, of whom she on the left-hand was most assuredly Holly on her silver roan, and he on the right-hand as assuredly that ‘squirt’ Val Dartie. His first impulse was to urge on his own horse and demand the meaning of this portent, tell the fellow to ‘bunk,’ and take Holly home. His second–to feel that he would look a fool if they refused. He reined his horse in behind a tree, then perceived that it was equally impossible to spy on them. Nothing for it but to go home and await her coming! Sneaking out with that young bounder! He could not consult with June, because she had gone up that morning in the train of Eric Cobbley and his lot. And his father was still in ‘that rotten Paris.’ He felt that this was emphatically one of those moments for which he had trained himself, assiduously, at school, where he and a boy called Brent had frequently set fire to newspapers and placed them in the centre of their studies to accustom them to coolness in moments of danger. He did not feel at all cool waiting in the stable-yard, idly stroking the dog Balthasar, who queasy as an old fat monk, and sad in the absence of his master, turned up his face, panting with gratitude for this attention. It was half an hour before Holly came, flushed and ever so much prettier than she had any right to look. He saw her look at him quickly–guiltily of course–then followed her in, and, taking her arm, conducted her into what had been their grand- father’s study. The room, not much used now, was still vaguely haunted for them both by a presence with which they associated tenderness, large drooping white moustaches, the scent of cigar smoke, and laughter. Here Jolly, in the prime of his youth, before he went to school at all, had been wont to wrestle with his grand- father, who even at eighty had an irresistible habit of crooking his leg. Here Holly, perched on the arm of the great leather chair, had stroked hair curving silvery over an ear into which she would whisper secrets. Through that window they had all three sallied times without number to cricket on the lawn, and a mysterious game called ‘Wopsy-doozle,’ not to be understood by outsiders, which made old Jolyon very hot. Here once on a warm night Holly had appeared in her ‘nighty,’ having had a bad dream, to have the clutch of it released. And here Jolly, having begun the day badly by introducing fizzy magnesia into Mademoiselle Beauce’s new-laid egg, and gone on to worse, had been sent down (in the absence of his father) to the ensuing dialogue:

“Now, my boy, you mustn’t go on like this.”

“Well, she boxed my ears, Gran, so I only boxed hers, and then she boxed mine again.”

“Strike a lady? That’ll never do! Have you begged her pardon?”

“Not yet.”

“Then you must go and do it at once. Come along.”

“But she began it, Gran; and she had two to my one.”

“My dear, it was an outrageous thing to do.”

“Well, she lost her temper; and I didn’t lose mine.”

“Come along.”

“You come too, then, Gran.”

“Well–this time only.”

And they had gone hand in hand.

Here–where the Waverley novels and Byron’s works and Gibbon’s Roman Empire and Humboldt’s Cosmos, and the bronzes on the mantelpiece, and that masterpiece of the oily school, ‘Dutch Fishing-Boats at Sunset,’ were fixed as fate, and for all sign of change old Jolyon might have been sitting there still, with legs crossed, in the arm chair, and domed forehead and deep eyes grave above The Times–here they came, those two grandchildren. And Jolly said:

“I saw you and that fellow in the Park.”

The sight of blood rushing into her cheeks gave him some satisfaction; she ought to be ashamed!

“Well?” she said.

Jolly was surprised; he had expected more, or less.

“Do you know,” he said weightily, “that he called me a pro-Boer last term? And I had to fight him.”

“Who won?”

Jolly wished to answer: ‘I should have,’ but it seemed beneath him.

“Look here!” he said, “what’s the meaning of it? Without telling anybody!”

“Why should I? Dad isn’t here; why shouldn’t I ride with him?”

“You’ve got me to ride with. I think he’s an awful young rotter.”

Holly went pale with anger.

“He isn’t. It’s your own fault for not liking him.”

And slipping past her brother she went out, leaving him staring at the bronze Venus sitting on a tortoise, which had been shielded from him so far by his sister’s dark head under her soft felt riding hat. He felt queerly disturbed, shaken to his young foundations. A lifelong domination lay shattered round his feet. He went up to the Venus and mechanically inspected the tortoise.

Why didn’t he like Val Dartie? He could not tell. Ignorant of family history, barely aware of that vague feud which had started thirteen years before with Bosinney’s defection from June in favour of Soames’ wife, knowing really almost nothing about Val he was at sea. He just did dislike him. The question, however, was: What should he do? Val Dartie, it was true, was a second-cousin, but it was not the thing for Holly to go about with him. And yet to ‘tell’ of what he had chanced on was against his creed. In this dilemma he went and sat in the old leather chair and crossed his legs. It grew dark while he sat there staring out through the long window at the old oak-tree, ample yet bare of leaves, becoming slowly just a shape of deeper dark printed on the dusk.

‘Grandfather!’ he thought without sequence, and took out his watch. He could not see the hands, but he set the repeater going. ‘Five o’clock!’ His grandfather’s first gold hunter watch, butter-smooth with age–all the milling worn from it, and dented with the mark of many a fall. The chime was like a little voice from out of that golden age, when they first came from St. John’s Wood, London, to this house–came driving with grandfather in his carriage, and almost instantly took to the trees. Trees to climb, and grand- father watering the geranium-beds below! What was to be done? Tell Dad he must come home? Confide in June?–only she was so–so sudden! Do nothing and trust to luck? After all, the Vac. would soon be over. Go up and see Val and warn him off? But how get his address? Holly wouldn’t give it him! A maze of paths, a cloud of possibilities! He lit a cigarette. When he had smoked it halfway through his brow relaxed, almost as if some thin old hand had been passed gently over it; and in his ear something seemed to whisper: ‘Do nothing; be nice to Holly, be nice to her, my dear!’ And Jolly heaved a sigh of contentment, blowing smoke through his nostrils….

But up in her room, divested of her habit, Holly was still frowning. ‘He is not–he is not!’ were the words which kept forming on her lips.



A little private hotel over a well-known restaurant near the Gare St. Lazare was Jolyon’s haunt in Paris. He hated his fellow Forsytes abroad–vapid as fish out of water in their well-trodden runs, the Opera, Rue de Rivoli, and Moulin Rouge. Their air of having come because they wanted to be somewhere else as soon as possible annoyed him. But no other Forsyte came near this haunt, where he had a wood fire in his bedroom and the coffee was excel- lent. Paris was always to him more attractive in winter. The acrid savour from woodsmoke and chestnut-roasting braziers, the sharpness of the wintry sunshine on bright rays, the open cafes defying keen-aired winter, the self-contained brisk boulevard crowds, all informed him that in winter Paris possessed a soul which, like a migrant bird, in high summer flew away.

He spoke French well, had some friends, knew little places where pleasant dishes could be met with, queer types observed. He felt philosophic in Paris, the edge of irony sharpened; life took on a subtle, purposeless meaning, became a bunch of flavours tasted, a darkness shot with shifting gleams of light.

When in the first week of December he decided to go to Paris, he was far from admitting that Irene’s presence was influencing him. He had not been there two days before he owned that the wish to see her had been more than half the reason. In England one did not admit what was natural. He had thought it might be well to speak to her about the letting of her flat and other matters, but in Paris he at once knew better. There was a glamour over the city. On the third day he wrote to her, and received an answer which procured him a pleasurable shiver of the nerves:


“It will be a happiness for me to see you.


He took his way to her hotel on a bright day with a feeling such as he had often had going to visit an adored picture. No woman, so far as he remembered, had ever inspired in him this special sen- suous and yet impersonal sensation. He was going to sit and feast his eyes, and come away knowing her no better, but ready to go and feast his eyes again to-morrow. Such was his feeling, when in the tarnished and ornate little lounge of a quiet hotel near the river she came to him preceded by a small page-boy who uttered the word, “Madame,” and vanished. Her face, her smile, the poise of her figure, were just as he had pictured, and the expression of her face said plainly: ‘A friend!’

“Well,” he said, “what news, poor exile?”


“Nothing from Soames?”


“I have let the flat for you, and like a good steward I bring you some money. How do you like Paris?”

While he put her through this catechism, it seemed to him that he had never seen lips so fine and sensitive, the lower lip curving just a little upwards, the upper touched at one corner by the least conceivable dimple. It was like discovering a woman in what had hitherto been a sort of soft and breathed-on statue, almost impersonally admired. She owned that to be alone in Paris was a little difficult; and yet, Paris was so full of its own life that it was often, she confessed, as innocuous as a desert. Besides, the English were not liked just now!

“That will hardly be your case,” said Jolyon; “you should appeal to the French.”

“It has its disadvantages.”

Jolyon nodded.

“Well, you must let me take you about while I’m here. We’ll start to-morrow. Come and dine at my pet restaurant; and we’ll go to the Opera-Comique.”

It was the beginning of daily meetings.

Jolyon soon found that for those who desired a static condition of the affections, Paris was at once the first and last place in which to be friendly with a pretty woman. Revelation was alighting like a bird in his heart, singing: ‘Elle est ton reve! Elle est ton reve! Sometimes this seemed natural, sometimes ludicrous–a bad case of elderly rapture. Having once been ostracised by Society, he had never since had any real regard for conventional morality; but the idea of a love which she could never return–and how could she at his age?–hardly mounted beyond his subconscious mind. He was full, too, of resentment, at the waste and loneliness of her life. Aware of being some comfort to her, and of the pleasure she clearly took in their many little outings, he was amiably desirous of doing and saying nothing to destroy that pleasure. It was like watching a starved plant draw up water, to see her drink in his companionship. So far as they could tell, no one knew her address except himself; she was unknown in Paris, and he but little known, so that discretion seemed unnecessary in those walks, talks, visits to concerts, picture-galleries, theatres, little dinners, expeditions to Versailles, St. Cloud, even Fontainebleau. And time fled–one of those full months without past to it or future. What in his youth would certainly have been headlong passion, was now perhaps as deep a feeling, but far gentler, tempered to protective companionship by admiration, hopelessness, and a sense of chivalry- -arrested in his veins at least so long as she was there, smiling and happy in their friendship, and always to him more beautiful and spiritually responsive: for her philosophy of life seemed to march in admirable step with his own, conditioned by emotion more than by reason, ironically mistrustful, susceptible to beauty, almost passionately humane and tolerant, yet subject to instinctive rigidities of which as a mere man he was less capable. And during all this companionable month he never quite lost that feeling with which he had set out on the first day as if to visit an adored work of art, a well-nigh impersonal desire. The future–inexorable pendant to the present he took care not to face, for fear of breaking up his untroubled manner; but he made plans to renew this time in places still more delightful, where the sun was hot and there were strange things to see and paint. The end came swiftly on the 20th of January with a telegram:

“Have enlisted in Imperial Yeomanry.

Jolyon received it just as he was setting out to meet her at the Louvre. It brought him up with a round turn. While he was lotus- eating here, his boy, whose philosopher and guide he ought to be, had taken this great step towards danger, hardship, perhaps even death. He felt disturbed to the soul, realising suddenly how Irene had twined herself round the roots of his being. Thus threatened with severance, the tie between them–for it had become a kind of tie–no longer had impersonal quality. The tranquil enjoyment of things in common, Jolyon perceived, was gone for ever. He saw his feeling as it was, in the nature of an infatuation. Ridiculous, perhaps, but so real that sooner or later it must disclose itself. And now, as it seemed to him, he could not, must not, make any such disclosure. The news of Jolly stood inexorably in the way. He was proud of this enlistment; proud of his boy for going off to fight for the country; for on Jolyon’s pro-Boerism, too, Black Week had left its mark. And so the end was reached before the beginning! Well, luckily he had never made a sign!

When he came into the Gallery she was standing before the ‘Virgin of the Rocks,’ graceful, absorbed, smiling and unconscious. ‘Have I to give up seeing that?’ he thought. ‘It’s unnatural, so long as she’s willing that I should see her.’ He stood, unnoticed, watching her, storing up the image of her figure, envying the picture on which she was bending that long scrutiny. Twice she turned her head towards the entrance, and he thought: ‘That’s for me!’ At last he went forward.

“Look!” he said.

She read the telegram, and he heard her sigh.

That sigh, too, was for him! His position was really cruel! To be loyal to his son he must just shake her hand and go. To be loyal to the feeling in his heart he must at least tell her what that feeling was. Could she, would she understand the silence in which he was gazing at that picture?

“I’m afraid I must go home at once,” he said at last. “I shall miss all this awfully.”

“So shall I; but, of course, you must go.”

“Well!” said Jolyon holding out his hand.

Meeting her eyes, a flood of feeling nearly mastered him.

“Such is life!” he said. “Take care of yourself, my dear!”

He had a stumbling sensation in his legs and feet, as if his brain refused to steer him away from her. From the doorway, he saw her lift her hand and touch its fingers with her lips. He raised his hat solemnly, and did not look back again.



The suit–Dartie versus Dartie–for restitution of those conjugal rights concerning which Winifred was at heart so deeply undecided, followed the laws of subtraction towards day of judgment. This was not reached before the Courts rose for Christmas, but the case was third on the list when they sat again. Winifred spent the Christmas holidays a thought more fashionably than usual, with the matter locked up in her low-cut bosom. James was particularly liberal to her that Christmas, expressing thereby his sympathy, and relief, at the approaching dissolution of her marriage with that ‘precious rascal,’ which his old heart felt but his old lips could not utter.

The disappearance of Dartie made the fall in Consols a comparatively small matter; and as to the scandal–the real animus he felt against that fellow, and the increasing lead which property was attaining over reputation in a true Forsyte about to leave this world, served to drug a mind from which all allusions to the matter (except his own) were studiously kept. What worried him as a lawyer and a parent was the fear that Dartie might suddenly turn up and obey the Order of the Court when made. That would be a pretty how-de-do! The fear preyed on him in fact so much that, in presenting Winifred with a large Christmas cheque, he said: “It’s chiefly for that chap out there; to keep him from coming back.” It was, of course, to pitch away good money, but all in the nature of insurance against that bankruptcy which would no longer hang over him if only the divorce went through; and he questioned Winifred rigorously until she could assure him that the money had been sent. Poor woman!–it cost her many a pang to send what must find its way into the vanity-bag of ‘that creature!’ Soames, hearing of it, shook his head. They were not dealing with a Forsyte, reasonably tenacious of his purpose. It was very risky without knowing how the land lay out there. Still, it would look well with the Court; and he would see that Dreamer brought it out. “I wonder,” he said suddenly, “where that ballet goes after the Argentine”; never omitting a chance of reminder; for he knew that Winifred still had a weakness, if not for Dartie, at least for not laundering him in public. Though not good at showing admiration, he admitted that she was behaving extremely well, with all her children at home gaping like young birds for news of their father–Imogen just on the point of coming out, and Val very restive about the whole thing. He felt that Val was the real heart of the matter to Winifred, who certainly loved him beyond her other children. The boy could spoke the wheel of this divorce yet if he set his mind to it. And Soames was very careful to keep the proximity of the preliminary proceedings from his nephew’s ears. He did more. He asked him to dine at the Remove, and over Val’s cigar introduced the subject which he knew to be nearest to his heart.

“I hear,” he said, “that you want to play polo up at Oxford.”

Val became less recumbent in his chair.

“Rather!” he said.

“Well,” continued Soames, “that’s a very expensive business. Your grandfather isn’t likely to consent to it unless he can make sure that he’s not got any other drain on him.” And he paused to see whether the boy understood his meaning.

Val’s thick dark lashes concealed his eyes, but a slight grimace appeared on his wide mouth, and he muttered:

“I suppose you mean my Dad!”

“Yes,” said Soames; “I’m afraid it depends on whether he continues to be a drag or not;” and said no more, letting the boy dream it over.

But Val was also dreaming in those days of a silver-roan palfrey and a girl riding it. Though Crum was in town and an introduction to Cynthia Dark to be had for the asking, Val did not ask; indeed, he shunned Crum and lived a life strange even to himself, except in so far as accounts with tailor and livery stable were concerned. To his mother, his sisters, his young brother, he seemed to spend this Vacation in ‘seeing fellows,’ and his evenings sleepily at home. They could not propose anything in daylight that did not meet with the one response: “Sorry; I’ve got to see a fellow”; and he was put to extraordinary shifts to get in and out of the house unobserved in riding clothes; until, being made a member of the Goat’s Club, he was able to transport them there, where he could change unregarded and slip off on his hack to Richmond Park. He kept his growing sentiment religiously to himself. Not for a world would he breathe to the ‘fellows,’ whom he was not ‘seeing,’ anything so ridiculous from the point of view of their creed and his. But he could not help its destroying his other appetites. It was coming between him and the legitimate pleasures of youth at last on its own in a way which must, he knew, make him a milksop in the eyes of Crum. All he cared for was to dress in his last- created riding togs, and steal away to the Robin Hill Gate, where presently the silver roan would come demurely sidling with its slim and dark-haired rider, and in the glades bare of leaves they would go off side by side, not talking very much, riding races sometimes, and sometimes holding hands. More than once of an evening, in a moment of expansion, he had been tempted to tell his mother how this shy sweet cousin had stolen in upon him and wrecked his ‘life.’ But bitter experience, that all persons above thirty-five were spoil-sports, prevented him. After all, he supposed he would have to go through with College, and she would have to ‘come out,’ before they could be married; so why complicate things, so long as he could see her? Sisters were teasing and unsympathetic beings, a brother worse, so there was no one to confide in. Ah! And this beastly divorce business! What a misfortune to have a name which other people hadn’t! If only he had been called Gordon or Scott or Howard or something fairly common! But Dartie–there wasn’t another in the directory! One might as well have been named Morkin for all the covert it afforded! So matters went on, till one day in the middle of January the silver-roan palfrey and its rider were missing at the tryst. Lingering in the cold, he debated whether he should ride on to the house: But Jolly might be there, and the memory of their dark encounter was still fresh within him. One could not be always fighting with her brother! So he returned dismally to town and spent an evening plunged in gloom. At breakfast next day he noticed that his mother had on an unfamiliar dress and was wearing her hat. The dress was black with a glimpse of peacock blue, the hat black and large–she looked exceptionally well. But when after breakfast she said to him, “Come in here, Val,” and led the way to the drawing-room, he was at once beset by qualms. Winifred carefully shut the door and passed her handkerchief over her lips; inhaling the violette de Parme with which it had been soaked, Val thought: ‘Has she found out about Holly?’

Her voice interrupted

“Are you going to be nice to me, dear boy?”

Val grinned doubtfully.

“Will you come with me this morning….”

“I’ve got to see….” began Val, but something in her face stopped him. “I say,” he said, “you don’t mean ….”

“Yes, I have to go to the Court this morning.” Already!–that d—d business which he had almost succeeded in forgetting, since nobody ever mentioned it. In self-commiseration he stood picking little bits of skin off his fingers. Then noticing that his mother’s lips were all awry, he said impulsively: “All right, mother; I’ll come. The brutes!” What brutes he did not know, but the expression exactly summed up their joint feeling, and restored a measure of equanimity.

“I suppose I’d better change into a ‘shooter,”‘ he muttered, escaping to his room. He put on the ‘shooter,’ a higher collar, a pearl pin, and his neatest grey spats, to a somewhat blasphemous accompaniment. Looking at himself in the glass, he said, “Well, I’m damned if I’m going to show anything!” and went down. He found his grandfather’s carriage at the door, and his mother in furs, with the appearance of one going to a Mansion House Assembly. They seated themselves side by side in the closed barouche, and all the way to the Courts of Justice Val made but one allusion to the business in hand. “There’ll be nothing about those pearls, will there?”

The little tufted white tails of Winifred’s muff began to shiver.

“Oh, no,” she said, “it’ll be quite harmless to-day. Your grandmother wanted to come too, but I wouldn’t let her. I thought you could take care of me. You look so nice, Val. Just pull your coat collar up a little more at the back–that’s right.”

“If they bully you….” began Val.

“Oh! they won’t. I shall be very cool. It’s the only way.”

“They won’t want me to give evidence or anything?”

“No, dear; it’s all arranged.” And she patted his hand. The determined front she was putting on it stayed the turmoil in Val’s chest, and he busied himself in drawing his gloves off and on. He had taken what he now saw was the wrong pair to go with his spats; they should have been grey, but were deerskin of a dark tan; whether to keep them on or not he could not decide. They arrived soon after ten. It was his first visit to the Law Courts, and the building struck him at once.

“By Jove!” he said as they passed into the hall, “this’d make four or five jolly good racket courts.”

Soames was awaiting them at the foot of some stairs.

“Here you are!” he said, without shaking hands, as if the event had made them too familiar for such formalities. “It’s Happerly Browne, Court I. We shall be on first.”

A sensation such as he had known when going in to bat was playing now in the top of Val’s chest, but he followed his mother and uncle doggedly, looking at no more than he could help, and thinking that the place smelled ‘fuggy.’ People seemed to be lurking everywhere, and he plucked Soames by the sleeve.

“I say, Uncle, you’re not going to let those beastly papers in, are you?”

Soames gave him the sideway look which had reduced many to silence in its time.

“In here,” he said. “You needn’t take off your furs, Winifred.”

Val entered behind them, nettled and with his head up. In this confounded hole everybody–and there were a good many of them– seemed sitting on everybody else’s knee, though really divided from each other by pews; and Val had a feeling that they might all slip down together into the well. This, however, was but a momentary vision–of mahogany, and black gowns, and white blobs of wigs and faces and papers, all rather secret and whispery–before he was sitting next his mother in the front row, with his back to it all, glad of her violette de Parme, and taking off his gloves for the last time. His mother was looking at him; he was suddenly conscious that she had really wanted him there next to her, and that he counted for something in this business.

All right! He would show them! Squaring his shoulders, he crossed his legs and gazed inscrutably at his spats. But just then an ‘old Johnny’ in a gown and long wig, looking awfully like a funny raddled woman, came through a door into the high pew opposite, and he had to uncross his legs hastily, and stand up with everybody else.

‘Dartie versus Dartie!’

It seemed to Val unspeakably disgusting to have one’s name called out like this in public! And, suddenly conscious that someone nearly behind him had begun talking about his family, he screwed his face round to see an old be-wigged buffer, who spoke as if he were eating his own words–queer-looking old cuss, the sort of man he had seen once or twice dining at Park Lane and punishing the port; he knew now where they ‘dug them up.’ All the same he found the old buffer quite fascinating, and would have continued to stare if his mother had not touched his arm. Reduced to gazing before him, he fixed his eyes on the Judge’s face instead. Why should that old ‘sportsman’ with his sarcastic mouth and his quick-moving eyes have the power to meddle with their private affairs–hadn’t he affairs of his own, just as many, and probably just as nasty? And there moved in Val, like an illness, all the deep-seated individualism of his breed. The voice behind him droned along: “Differences about money matters–extravagance of the respondent” (What a word! Was that his father?)–“strained situation–frequent absences on the part of Mr. Dartie. My client, very rightly, your Ludship will agree, was anxious to check a course–but lead to ruin–remonstrated–gambling at cards and on the racecourse–” (‘That’s right!’ thought Val, ‘pile it on!’) “Crisis early in October, when the respondent wrote her this letter from his Club.” Val sat up and his ears burned. “I propose to read it with the emendations necessary to the epistle of a gentleman who has been– shall we say dining, me Lud?”

‘Old brute!’ thought Val, flushing deeper; ‘you’re not paid to make jokes!’

“‘You will not get the chance to insult me again in my own house. I am leaving the country to-morrow. It’s played out’–an expression, your Ludship, not unknown in the mouths of those who have not met with conspicuous success.”

‘Sniggering owls!’ thought Val, and his flush deepened.

“‘I am tired of being insulted by you.’ My client will tell your Ludship that these so-called insults consisted in her calling him ‘the limit’,–a very mild expression, I venture to suggest, in all the circumstances.”

Val glanced sideways at his mother’s impassive face, it had a hunted look in the eyes. ‘Poor mother,’ he thought, and touched her arm with his own. The voice behind droned on.

“‘I am going to live a new life. M. D.'”

“And next day, me Lud, the respondent left by the steamship Tuscarora for Buenos Aires. Since then we have nothing from him but a cabled refusal in answer to the letter which my client wrote the following day in great distress, begging him to return to her. With your Ludship’s permission. I shall now put Mrs. Dartie in the box.”

When his mother rose, Val had a tremendous impulse to rise too and say: ‘Look here! I’m going to see you jolly well treat her decently.’ He subdued it, however; heard her saying, ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,’ and looked up. She made a rich figure of it, in her furs and large hat, with a slight flush on her cheek-bones, calm, matter-of-fact; and he felt proud of her thus confronting all these ‘confounded lawyers.’ The examination began. Knowing that this was only the preliminary to divorce, Val followed with a certain glee the questions framed so as to give the impression that she really wanted his father back. It seemed to him that they were ‘foxing Old Bagwigs finely.’

And he received a most unpleasant jar when the Judge said suddenly:

“Now, why did your husband leave you–not because you called him ‘the limit,’ you know?”

Val saw his uncle lift his eyes to the witness box, without moving his face; heard a shuffle of papers behind him; and instinct told him that the issue was in peril. Had Uncle Soames and the old buffer behind made a mess of it? His mother was speaking with a slight drawl.

“No, my Lord, but it had gone on a long time.”

“What had gone on?”

“Our differences about money.”

“But you supplied the money. Do you suggest that he left you to better his position?”

‘The brute! The old brute, and nothing but the brute!’ thought Val suddenly. ‘He smells a rat he’s trying to get at the pastry!’ And his heart stood still. If–if he did, then, of course, he would know that his mother didn’t really want his father back. His mother spoke again, a thought more fashionably.

“No, my Lord, but you see I had refused to give him any more money. It took him a long time to believe that, but he did at last–and when he did….”

“I see, you had refused. But you’ve sent him some since.”

“My Lord, I wanted him back.”

“And you thought that would bring him?”

“I don’t know, my Lord, I acted on my father’s advice.”

Something in the Judge’s face, in the sound of the papers behind him, in the sudden crossing of his uncle’s legs, told Val that she had made just the right answer. ‘Crafty!’ he thought; ‘by Jove, what humbug it all is!’

The Judge was speaking:

“Just one more question, Mrs. Dartie. Are you still fond of your husband?”

Val’s hands, slack behind him, became fists. What business had that Judge to make things human suddenly? To make his mother speak out of her heart, and say what, perhaps, she didn’t know herself, before all these people! It wasn’t decent. His mother answered, rather low: “Yes, my Lord.” Val saw the Judge nod. ‘Wish I could take a cock-shy at your head!’ he thought irreverently, as his mother came back to her seat beside him. Witnesses to his father’s departure and continued absence followed–one of their own maids even, which struck Val as particularly beastly; there was more talking, all humbug; and then the Judge pronounced the decree for restitution, and they got up to go. Val walked out behind his mother, chin squared, eyelids drooped, doing his level best to despise everybody. His mother’s voice in the corridor roused him from an angry trance.

“You behaved beautifully, dear. It was such a comfort to have you. Your uncle and I are going to lunch.”

“All right,” said Val; “I shall have time to go and see that fellow.” And, parting from them abruptly, he ran down the stairs and out into the air. He bolted into a hansom, and drove to the Goat’s Club. His thoughts were on Holly and what he must do before her brother showed her this thing in to-morrow’s paper.


When Val had left them Soames and Winifred made their way to the Cheshire Cheese. He had suggested it as a meeting place with Mr. Bellby. At that early hour of noon they would have it to themselves, and Winifred had thought it would be ‘amusing’ to see this far-famed hostelry. Having ordered a light repast, to the consternation of the waiter, they awaited its arrival together with that of Mr. Bellby, in silent reaction after the hour and a half’s suspense on the tenterhooks of publicity. Mr. Bellby entered presently, preceded by his nose, as cheerful as they were glum. Well! they had got the decree of restitution, and what was the matter with that!

“Quite,” said Soames in a suitably low voice, “but we shall have to begin again to get evidence. He’ll probably try the divorce–it will look fishy if it comes out that we knew of misconduct from the start. His questions showed well enough that he doesn’t like this restitution dodge.”

“Pho!” said Mr. Bellby cheerily, “he’ll forget! Why, man, he’ll have tried a hundred cases between now and then. Besides, he’s bound by precedent to give ye your divorce, if the evidence is satisfactory. We won’t let um know that Mrs. Dartie had knowledge of the facts. Dreamer did it very nicely–he’s got a fatherly touch about um!”

Soames nodded.

“And I compliment ye, Mrs. Dartie,” went on Mr. Bellby; “ye’ve a natural gift for giving evidence. Steady as a rock.”

Here the, waiter arrived with three plates balanced on one arm, and the remark: “I ‘urried up the pudden, sir. You’ll find plenty o’ lark in it to-day.”

Mr. Bellby applauded his forethought with a dip of his nose. But Soames and Winifred looked with dismay at their light lunch of gravified brown masses, touching them gingerly with their forks in the hope of distinguishing the bodies of the tasty little song- givers. Having begun, however, they found they were hungrier than they thought, and finished the lot, with a glass of port apiece. Conversation turned on the war. Soames thought Ladysmith would fall, and it might last a year. Bellby thought it would be over by the summer. Both agreed that they wanted more men. There was nothing for it but complete victory, since it was now a question of prestige. Winifred brought things back to more solid ground by saying that she did not want the divorce suit to come on till after the summer holidays had begun at Oxford, then the boys would have forgotten about it before Val had to go up again; the London season too would be over. The lawyers reassured her, an interval of six months was necessary–after that the earlier the better. People were now beginning to come in, and they parted–Soames to the city, Bellby to his chambers, Winifred in a hansom to Park Lane to let her mother know how she had fared. The issue had been so satisfactory on the whole that it was considered advisable to tell James, who never failed to say day after day that he didn’t know about Winifred’s affair, he couldn’t tell. As his sands ran out; the importance of mundane matters became increasingly grave to him, as if he were feeling: ‘I must make the most of it, and worry well; I shall soon have nothing to worry about.’

He received the report grudgingly. It was a new-fangled way of going about things, and he didn’t know! But he gave Winifred a cheque, saying:

“I expect you’ll have a lot of expense. That’s a new hat you’ve got on. Why doesn’t Val come and see us?”

Winifred promised to bring him to dinner soon. And, going home, she sought her bedroom where she could be alone. Now that her husband had been ordered back into her custody with a view to putting him away from her for ever, she would try once more to find out from her sore and lonely heart what she really wanted.



The morning had been misty, verging on frost, but the sun came out while Val was jogging towards the Roehampton Gate, whence he would canter on to the usual tryst. His spirits were rising rapidly. There had been nothing so very terrible in the morning’s proceedings beyond the general disgrace of violated privacy. ‘If we were engaged!’ he thought, ‘what happens wouldn’t matter.’ He felt, indeed, like human society, which kicks and clamours at the results of matrimony, and hastens to get married. And he galloped over the winter-dried grass of Richmond Park, fearing to be late. But again he was alone at the trysting spot, and this second defection on the part of Holly upset him dreadfully. He could not go back without seeing her to-day! Emerging from the Park, he proceeded towards Robin Hill. He could not make up his mind for whom to ask. Suppose her father were back, or her sister or brother were in! He decided to gamble, and ask for them all first, so that if he were in luck and they were not there, it would be quite natural in the end to ask for Holly; while if any of them were in–an ‘excuse for a ride’ must be his saving grace.

“Only Miss Holly is in, sir.”

“Oh! thanks. Might I take my horse round to the stables? And would you say–her cousin, Mr. Val Dartie.”

When he returned she was in the hall, very flushed and shy. She led him to the far end, and they sat down on a wide window-seat.

“I’ve been awfully anxious,” said Val in a low voice. “What’s the matter?”

“Jolly knows about our riding.”

“Is he in?”

“No; but I expect he will be soon.”

“Then!” cried Val, and diving forward, he seized her hand. She tried to withdraw it, failed, gave up the attempt, and looked at him wistfully.

“First of all,” he said, “I want to tell you something about my family. My Dad, you know, isn’t altogether–I mean, he’s left my mother and they’re trying to divorce him; so they’ve ordered him to come back, you see. You’ll see that in the paper to-morrow.”

Her eyes deepened in colour and fearful interest; her hand squeezed his. But the gambler in Val was roused now, and he hurried on:

“Of course there’s nothing very much at present, but there will be, I expect, before it’s over; divorce suits are beastly, you know. I wanted to tell you, because–because–you ought to know–if–” and he began to stammer, gazing at her troubled eyes, “if–if you’re going to be a darling and love me, Holly. I love you–ever so; and I want to be engaged.” He had done it in a manner so inadequate that he could have punched his own head; and dropping on his knees, he tried to get nearer to that soft, troubled face. “You do love me–don’t you? If you don’t I….” There was a moment of silence and suspense, so awful that he could hear the sound of a mowing- machine far out on the lawn pretending there was grass to cut. Then she swayed forward; her free hand touched his hair, and he gasped: “Oh, Holly!”

Her answer was very soft: “Oh, Val!”

He had dreamed of this moment, but always in an imperative mood, as the masterful young lover, and now he felt humble, touched, trembly. He was afraid to stir off his knees lest he should break the spell; lest, if he did, she should shrink and deny her own surrender–so tremulous was she in his grasp, with her eyelids closed and his lips nearing them. Her eyes opened, seemed to swim a little; he pressed his lips to hers. Suddenly he sprang up; there had been footsteps, a sort of startled grunt. He looked round. No one! But the long curtains which barred off the outer hall were quivering.

“My God! Who was that?”

Holly too was on her feet.

“Jolly, I expect,” she whispered.

Val clenched fists and resolution.

“All right!” he said, “I don’t care a bit now we’re engaged,” and striding towards the curtains, he drew them aside. There at the fireplace in the hall stood Jolly, with his back elaborately turned. Val went forward. Jolly faced round on him.

“I beg your pardon for hearing,” he said.

With the best intentions in the world, Val could not help admiring him at that moment; his face was clear, his voice quiet, he looked somehow distinguished, as if acting up to principle.

“Well!” Val said abruptly, “it’s nothing to you.”

“Oh!” said Jolly; “you come this way,” and he crossed the hall. Val followed. At the study door he felt a touch on his arm; Holly’s voice said:

“I’m coming too.”

“No,” said Jolly.

“Yes,” said Holly.

Jolly opened the door, and they all three went in. Once in the little room, they stood in a sort of triangle on three corners of the worn Turkey carpet; awkwardly upright, not looking at each other, quite incapable of seeing any humour in the situation.

Val broke the silence.

“Holly and I are engaged.”,

Jolly stepped back and leaned against the lintel of the window.

“This is our house,” he said; “I’m not going to insult you in it. But my father’s away. I’m in charge of my sister. You’ve taken advantage of me.

“I didn’t mean to,” said Val hotly.

“I think you did,” said Jolly. “If you hadn’t meant to, you’d have spoken to me, or waited for my father to come back.”

“There were reasons,” said Val.

“What reasons?”

“About my family–I’ve just told her. I wanted her to know before things happen.”

Jolly suddenly became less distinguished.

“You’re kids,” he said, “and you know you are.

“I am not a kid,” said Val.

“You are–you’re not twenty.”

“Well, what are you?”

“I am twenty,” said Jolly.

“Only just; anyway, I’m as good a man as you.”

Jolly’s face crimsoned, then clouded. Some struggle was evidently taking place in him; and Val and Holly stared at him, so clearly was that struggle marked; they could even hear him breathing. Then his face cleared up and became oddly resolute.

“We’ll see that,” he said. “I dare you to do what I’m going to do.”

“Dare me?”

Jolly smiled. “Yes,” he said, “dare you; and I know very well you won’t.”

A stab of misgiving shot through Val; this was riding very blind.

“I haven’t forgotten that you’re a fire-eater,” said Jolly slowly, “and I think that’s about all you are; or that you called me a pro-Boer.”

Val heard a gasp above the sound of his own hard breathing, and saw Holly’s face poked a little forward, very pale, with big eyes.

“Yes,” went on Jolly with a sort of smile, “we shall soon see. I’m going to join the Imperial Yeomanry, and I dare you to do the same, Mr. Val Dartie.”

Val’s head jerked on its stem. It was like a blow between the eyes, so utterly unthought of, so extreme and ugly in the midst of his dreaming; and he looked at Holly with eyes grown suddenly, touchingly haggard.

“Sit down!” said Jolly. “Take your time! Think it over well.” And he himself sat down on the arm of his grandfather’s chair.

Val did not sit down; he stood with hands thrust deep into his breeches’ pockets-hands clenched and quivering. The full awfulness of this decision one way or the other knocked at his mind with double knocks as of an angry postman. If he did not take that ‘dare’ he was disgraced in Holly’s eyes, and in the eyes of that young enemy, her brute of a brother. Yet if he took it, ah! then all would vanish–her face, her eyes, her hair, her kisses just begun!

“Take your time,” said Jolly again; “I don’t want to be unfair.”

And they both looked at Holly. She had recoiled against the bookshelves reaching to the ceiling; her dark head leaned against Gibbon’s Roman Empire, her eyes in a sort of soft grey agony were fixed on Val. And he, who had not much gift of insight, had suddenly a gleam of vision. She would be proud of her brother– that enemy! She would be ashamed of him! His hands came out of his pockets as if lifted by a spring.

“All right!” he said. “Done!”

Holly’s face–oh! it was queer! He saw her flush, start forward. He had done the right thing–her face was shining with wistful admiration. Jolly stood up and made a little bow as who should say: ‘You’ve passed.’

“To-morrow, then,” he said, “we’ll go together.”

Recovering from the impetus which had carried him to that decision, Val looked at him maliciously from under his lashes. ‘All right,’ he thought, ‘one to you. I shall have to join–but I’ll get back on you somehow.’ And he said with dignity: “I shall be ready.”

“We’ll meet at the main Recruiting Office, then,” said Jolly, “at twelve o’clock.” And, opening the window, he went out on to the terrace, conforming to the creed which had made him retire when he surprised them in the hall.

The confusion in the mind of Val thus left alone with her for whom he had paid this sudden price was extreme. The mood of ‘showing- off’ was still, however, uppermost. One must do the wretched thing with an air.

“We shall get plenty of riding and shooting, anyway,” he said; “that’s one comfort.” And it gave him a sort of grim pleasure to hear the sigh which seemed to come from the bottom of her heart.

“Oh! the war’ll soon be over,” he said; “perhaps we shan’t even have to go out. I don’t care, except for you.” He would be out of the way of that beastly divorce. It was an ill-wind! He felt her warm hand slip into his. Jolly thought he had stopped their loving each other, did he? He held her tightly round the waist, looking at her softly through his lashes, smiling to cheer her up, promising to come down and see her soon, feeling somehow six inches taller and much more in command of her than he had ever dared feel before. Many times he kissed her before he mounted and rode back to town. So, swiftly, on the least provocation, does the possessive instinct flourish and grow.



Dinner parties were not now given at James’ in Park Lane–to every house the moment comes when Master or Mistress is no longer ‘up to it’; no more can nine courses be served to twenty mouths above twenty fine white expanses; nor does the household cat any longer wonder why she is suddenly shut up.

So with something like excitement Emily–who at seventy would still have liked a little feast and fashion now and then–ordered dinner for six instead of two, herself wrote a number of foreign words on cards, and arranged the flowers–mimosa from the Riviera, and white Roman hyacinths not from Rome. There would only be, of course, James and herself, Soames, Winifred, Val, and Imogen–but she liked to pretend a little and dally in imagination with the glory of the past. She so dressed herself that James remarked:

“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 something.”

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 college.”

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 said:

“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 speaking:

“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 throat.

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 rested.

“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 Timothy?”

“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 on.”

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 gushed.

“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 beard….”

“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.”