Man of Property eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 412 pages of information about Man of Property.

But then against his will, came one of those moments of philosophy which made old Jolyon different from other Forsytes: 

After all why should the man care?  He wasn’t paid to care, and why expect it?  In this world people couldn’t look for affection unless they paid for it.  It might be different in the next—­he didn’t know—­couldn’t tell!  And again he shut his eyes.

Relentless and stealthy, the butler pursued his labours, taking things from the various compartments of the sideboard.  His back seemed always turned to old Jolyon; thus, he robbed his operations of the unseemliness of being carried on in his master’s presence; now and then he furtively breathed on the silver, and wiped it with a piece of chamois leather.  He appeared to pore over the quantities of wine in the decanters, which he carried carefully and rather high, letting his heard droop over them protectingly.  When he had finished, he stood for over a minute watching his master, and in his greenish eyes there was a look of contempt: 

After all, this master of his was an old buffer, who hadn’t much left in him!

Soft as a tom-cat, he crossed the room to press the bell.  His orders were ‘dinner at seven.’  What if his master were asleep; he would soon have him out of that; there was the night to sleep in!  He had himself to think of, for he was due at his Club at half-past eight!

In answer to the ring, appeared a page boy with a silver soup tureen.  The butler took it from his hands and placed it on the table, then, standing by the open door, as though about to usher company into the room, he said in a solemn voice: 

“Dinner is on the table, sir!”

Slowly old Jolyon got up out of his chair, and sat down at the table to eat his dinner.



Forsytes, as is generally admitted, have shells, like that extremely useful little animal which is made into Turkish delight, in other words, they are never seen, or if seen would not be recognised, without habitats, composed of circumstance, property, acquaintances, and wives, which seem to move along with them in their passage through a world composed of thousands of other Forsytes with their habitats.  Without a habitat a Forsyte is inconceivable—­he would be like a novel without a plot, which is well-known to be an anomaly.

To Forsyte eyes Bosinney appeared to have no habitat, he seemed one of those rare and unfortunate men who go through life surrounded by circumstance, property, acquaintances, and wives that do not belong to them.

His rooms in Sloane Street, on the top floor, outside which, on a plate, was his name, ‘Philip Baynes Bosinney, Architect,’ were not those of a Forsyte.—­He had no sitting-room apart from his office, but a large recess had been screened off to conceal the necessaries of life—­a couch, an easy chair, his pipes, spirit case, novels and slippers.  The business part of the room had the usual furniture; an open cupboard with pigeon-holes, a round oak table, a folding wash-stand, some hard chairs, a standing desk of large dimensions covered with drawings and designs.  June had twice been to tea there under the chaperonage of his aunt.

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Man of Property from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.