Awakening eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 379 pages of information about Awakening.
been reached—­the natural term of its inherent vitality; so that if the body were broken by accident, excess, violent disease, consciousness might still persist till, in the course of Nature uninterfered with, it would naturally have faded out.  It had struck him because he had never heard any one else suggest it.  When the heart failed like this—­surely it was not quite natural!  Perhaps his father’s consciousness was in the room with him.  Above the bed hung a picture of his father’s father.  Perhaps his consciousness, too, was still alive; and his brother’s—­his half-brother, who had died in the Transvaal.  Were they all gathered round this bed?  Jon kissed the forehead, and stole back to his own room.  The door between it and his mother’s was ajar; she had evidently been in—­everything was ready for him, even some biscuits and hot milk, and the letter no longer on the floor.  He ate and drank, watching the last light fade.  He did not try to see into the future—­just stared at the dark branches of the oak-tree, level with his window, and felt as if life had stopped.  Once in the night, turning in his heavy sleep, he was conscious of something white and still, beside his bed, and started up.

His mother’s voice said: 

“It’s only I, Jon dear!” Her hand pressed his forehead gently back; her white figure disappeared.

Alone!  He fell heavily asleep again, and dreamed he saw his mother’s name crawling on his bed.



The announcement in The Times of his cousin Jolyon’s death affected Soames quite simply.  So that chap was gone!  There had never been a time in their two lives when love had not been lost between them.  That quick-blooded sentiment hatred had run its course long since in Soames’ heart, and he had refused to allow any recrudescence, but he considered this early decease a piece of poetic justice.  For twenty years the fellow had enjoyed the reversion of his wife and house, and—­he was dead!  The obituary notice, which appeared a little later, paid Jolyon—­he thought—­too much attention.  It spoke of that “diligent and agreeable painter whose work we have come to look on as typical of the best late-Victorian water-colour art.”  Soames, who had almost mechanically preferred Mole, Morpin, and Caswell Baye, and had always sniffed quite audibly when he came to one of his cousin’s on the line, turned The Times with a crackle.

He had to go up to Town that morning on Forsyte affairs, and was fully conscious of Gradman’s glance sidelong over his spectacles.  The old clerk had about him an aura of regretful congratulation.  He smelled, as it were, of old days.  One could almost hear him thinking:  “Mr. Jolyon, ye-es—­just my age, and gone—­dear, dear!  I dare say she feels it.  She was a mice-lookin’ woman.  Flesh is flesh!  They’ve given ’im a notice in the papers.  Fancy!” His atmosphere in fact caused Soames to handle certain leases and conversions with exceptional swiftness.

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Awakening from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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