“Why!” he stammered, “you know that....” but he stopped, suddenly perceiving his danger.
“Well,” he said, “if you don’t want to tell me I suppose you won’t! Nobody tells me anything.”
Somewhat to his surprise Bosinney asked him a question.
“By the by,” he said, “could you tell me if there are likely to be any more of you coming down? I should like to be on the spot!”
“Any more?” said James bewildered, “who should there be more? I don’t know of any more. Good-bye?”
Looking at the ground he held out his hand, crossed the palm of it with Bosinney’s, and taking his umbrella just above the silk, walked away along the terrace.
Before he turned the corner he glanced back, and saw Bosinney following him slowly—’slinking along the wall’ as he put it to himself, ’like a great cat.’ He paid no attention when the young fellow raised his hat.
Outside the drive, and out of sight, he slackened his pace still more. Very slowly, more bent than when he came, lean, hungry, and disheartened, he made his way back to the station.
The Buccaneer, watching him go so sadly home, felt sorry perhaps for his behaviour to the old man.
SOAMES AND BOSINNEY CORRESPOND
James said nothing to his son of this visit to the house; but, having occasion to go to Timothy’s on morning on a matter connected with a drainage scheme which was being forced by the sanitary authorities on his brother, he mentioned it there.
It was not, he said, a bad house. He could see that a good deal could be made of it. The fellow was clever in his way, though what it was going to cost Soames before it was done with he didn’t know.
Euphemia Forsyte, who happened to be in the room—she had come round to borrow the Rev. Mr. Scoles’ last novel, ‘Passion and Paregoric’, which was having such a vogue—chimed in.
“I saw Irene yesterday at the Stores; she and Mr. Bosinney were having a nice little chat in the Groceries.”
It was thus, simply, that she recorded a scene which had really made a deep and complicated impression on her. She had been hurrying to the silk department of the Church and Commercial Stores—that Institution than which, with its admirable system, admitting only guaranteed persons on a basis of payment before delivery, no emporium can be more highly recommended to Forsytes—to match a piece of prunella silk for her mother, who was waiting in the carriage outside.
Passing through the Groceries her eye was unpleasantly attracted by the back view of a very beautiful figure. It was so charmingly proportioned, so balanced, and so well clothed, that Euphemia’s instinctive propriety was at once alarmed; such figures, she knew, by intuition rather than experience, were rarely connected with virtue—certainly never in her mind, for her own back was somewhat difficult to fit.