“I suppose,” said Jolly, “it’s the second God, you mean, that old Balthasar had a sense of.”
“Yes, or he would never have burst his poor old heart because of something outside himself.”
“But wasn’t that just selfish emotion, really?”
Jolyon shook his head. “No, dogs are not pure Forsytes, they love something outside themselves.”
“Well, I think I’m one,” he said. “You know, I only enlisted because I dared Val Dartie to.”
“We bar each other,” said Jolly shortly.
“Ah!” muttered Jolyon. So the feud went on, unto the third generation—this modern feud which had no overt expression?
‘Shall I tell the boy about it?’ he thought. But to what end—if he had to stop short of his own part?
And Jolly thought: ’It’s for Holly to let him know about that chap. If she doesn’t, it means she doesn’t want him told, and I should be sneaking. Anyway, I’ve stopped it. I’d better leave well alone!’
So they dug on in silence, till Jolyon said:
“Now, old man, I think it’s big enough.” And, resting on their spades, they gazed down into the hole where a few leaves had drifted already on a sunset wind.
“I can’t bear this part of it,” said Jolyon suddenly.
“Let me do it, Dad. He never cared much for me.”
Jolyon shook his head.
“We’ll lift him very gently, leaves and all. I’d rather not see him again. I’ll take his head. Now!”
With extreme care they raised the old dog’s body, whose faded tan and white showed here and there under the leaves stirred by the wind. They laid it, heavy, cold, and unresponsive, in the grave, and Jolly spread more leaves over it, while Jolyon, deeply afraid to show emotion before his son, began quickly shovelling the earth on to that still shape. There went the past! If only there were a joyful future to look forward to! It was like stamping down earth on one’s own life. They replaced the turf carefully on the smooth little mound, and, grateful that they had spared each other’s feelings, returned to the house arm-in-arm.
TIMOTHY STAYS THE ROT
On Forsyte ’Change news of the enlistment spread fast, together with the report that June, not to be outdone, was going to become a Red Cross nurse. These events were so extreme, so subversive of pure Forsyteism, as to have a binding effect upon the family, and Timothy’s was thronged next Sunday afternoon by members trying to find out what they thought about it all, and exchange with each other a sense of family credit. Giles and Jesse Hayman would no longer defend the coast but go to South Africa quite soon; Jolly and Val would be following in April; as to June—well, you never knew what she would really do.