Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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figure sitting there—­and be quite alone with possessions heaping up around him; to take no interest in anything because it had no future and must pass away from him to hands and mouths and eyes for whom he cared no jot!  No!  He would force it through now, and be free to marry, and have a son to care for him before he grew to be like the old old man his father, wistfully watching now his sweetbread, now his son.

In that mood he went up to bed.  But, lying warm between those fine linen sheets of Emily’s providing, he was visited by memories and torture.  Visions of Irene, almost the solid feeling of her body, beset him.  Why had he ever been fool enough to see her again, and let this flood back on him so that it was pain to think of her with that fellow—­that stealing fellow.

CHAPTER VI

A SUMMER DAY

His boy was seldom absent from Jolyon’s mind in the days which followed the first walk with Irene in Richmond Park.  No further news had come; enquiries at the War Office elicited nothing; nor could he expect to hear from June and Holly for three weeks at least.  In these days he felt how insufficient were his memories of Jolly, and what an amateur of a father he had been.  There was not a single memory in which anger played a part; not one reconciliation, because there had never been a rupture; nor one heart-to-heart confidence, not even when Jolly’s mother died.  Nothing but half-ironical affection.  He had been too afraid of committing himself in any direction, for fear of losing his liberty, or interfering with that of his boy.

Only in Irene’s presence had he relief, highly complicated by the ever-growing perception of how divided he was between her and his son.  With Jolly was bound up all that sense of continuity and social creed of which he had drunk deeply in his youth and again during his boy’s public school and varsity life—­all that sense of not going back on what father and son expected of each other.  With Irene was bound up all his delight in beauty and in Nature.  And he seemed to know less and less which was the stronger within him.  From such sentimental paralysis he was rudely awakened, however, one afternoon, just as he was starting off to Richmond, by a young man with a bicycle and a face oddly familiar, who came forward faintly smiling.

“Mr. Jolyon Forsyte?  Thank you!” Placing an envelope in Jolyon’s hand he wheeled off the path and rode away.  Bewildered, Jolyon opened it.

“Admiralty Probate and Divorce, Forsyte v.  Forsyte and Forsyte!”

A sensation of shame and disgust was followed by the instant reaction ‘Why, here’s the very thing you want, and you don’t like it!’ But she must have had one too; and he must go to her at once.  He turned things over as he went along.  It was an ironical business.  For, whatever the Scriptures said about the heart, it took more than mere longings to satisfy the law. 

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