“I want—I must—Kathleen, I—–”
She lifted her shoulders again in that little shrug. “Yes—I know; all right!”
A wave of heat and shame, and of God knows what came over Mr. Bosengate; he fell on his knees and pressed his forehead to her arm; and he was silent, more silent than the grave. Nothing—nothing came from him but two long sighs. Suddenly he felt her hand stroke his cheek—compassionately, it seemed to him. She made a little movement towards him; her lips met his, and he remembered nothing but that....
In his own room Mr. Bosengate sat at his wide open window, smoking a cigarette; there was no light. Moths went past, the moon was creeping up. He sat very calm, puffing the smoke out in to the night air. Curious thing-life! Curious world! Curious forces in it—making one do the opposite of what one wished; always—always making one do the opposite, it seemed! The furtive light from that creeping moon was getting hold of things down there, stealing in among the boughs of the trees. ‘There’s something ironical,’ he thought, ’which walks about. Things don’t come off as you think they will. I meant, I tried but one doesn’t change like that all of a sudden, it seems. Fact is, life’s too big a thing for one! All the same, I’m not the man I was yesterday—not quite!’ He closed his eyes, and in one of those flashes of vision which come when the senses are at rest, he saw himself as it were far down below—down on the floor of a street narrow as a grave, high as a mountain, a deep dark slit of a street walking down there, a black midget of a fellow, among other black midgets—his wife, and the little soldier, the judge, and those jury chaps—fantoches straight up on their tiny feet, wandering down there in that dark, infinitely tall, and narrow street. ‘Too much for one!’ he thought; ’Too high for one—no getting on top of it. We’ve got to be kind, and help one another, and not expect too much, and not think too much. That’s—all!’ And, squeezing out his cigarette, he took six deep breaths of the night air, and got into bed.
lease hath all
too short a date.”
In the last day of May in the early ’nineties, about six o’clock of the evening, old Jolyon Forsyte sat under the oak tree below the terrace of his house at Robin Hill. He was waiting for the midges to bite him, before abandoning the glory of the afternoon. His thin brown hand, where blue veins stood out, held the end of a cigar in its tapering, long-nailed fingers—a pointed polished nail had survived with him from those earlier Victorian days when to touch nothing, even with the tips of the fingers, had been so distinguished. His domed forehead, great white moustache, lean cheeks, and