On the far side of the Square newspaper boys were calling their evening wares, and the ghoulish cries mingled and jangled with the sound of those church bells.
Soames covered his ears. The thought flashed across him that but for a chance, he himself, and not Bosinney, might be lying dead, and she, instead of crouching there like a shot bird with those dying eyes....
Something soft touched his legs, the cat was rubbing herself against them. And a sob that shook him from head to foot burst from Soames’ chest. Then all was still again in the dark, where the houses seemed to stare at him, each with a master and mistress of its own, and a secret story of happiness or sorrow.
And suddenly he saw that his own door was open, and black against the light from the hall a man standing with his back turned. Something slid too in his breast, and he stole up close behind.
He could see his own fur coat flung across the carved oak chair; the Persian rugs; the silver bowls, the rows of porcelain plates arranged along the walls, and this unknown man who was standing there.
And sharply he asked: “What is it you want, sir?”
The visitor turned. It was young Jolyon.
“The door was open,” he said. “Might I see your wife for a minute, I have a message for her?”
Soames gave him a strange, sidelong stare.
“My wife can see no one,” he muttered doggedly.
Young Jolyon answered gently: “I shouldn’t keep her a minute.”
Soames brushed by him and barred the way.
“She can see no one,” he said again.
Young Jolyon’s glance shot past him into the hall, and Soames turned. There in the drawing-room doorway stood Irene, her eyes were wild and eager, her lips were parted, her hands outstretched. In the sight of both men that light vanished from her face; her hands dropped to her sides; she stood like stone.
Soames spun round, and met his visitor’s eyes, and at the look he saw in them, a sound like a snarl escaped him. He drew his lips back in the ghost of a smile.
“This is my house,” he said; “I manage my own affairs. I’ve told you once—I tell you again; we are not at home.”
And in young Jolyon’s face he slammed the door.
THE FORSYTE SAGA
By John Galsworthy
Indian Summer of a Forsyte
TO ANDRE CHEVRILLON
INDIAN SUMMER OF A FORSYTE
“And Summer’s lease
too short a date.”