“Mother, let’s go to Italy.”
Irene pressed his arm, and said as casually:
“It would be very nice; but I’ve been thinking you ought to see and do more than you would if I were with you.”
“But then you’d be alone.”
“I was once alone for more than twelve years. Besides, I should like to be here for the opening of Father’s show.”
Jon’s grip tightened round her arm; he was not deceived.
“You couldn’t stay here all by yourself; it’s too big.”
“Not here, perhaps. In London, and I might go to Paris, after the show opens. You ought to have a year at least, Jon, and see the world.”
“Yes, I’d like to see the world and rough it. But I don’t want to leave you all alone.”
“My dear, I owe you that at least. If it’s for your good, it’ll be for mine. Why not start tomorrow? You’ve got your passport.”
“Yes; if I’m going it had better be at once. Only—Mother—if—if I wanted to stay out somewhere—America or anywhere, would you mind coming presently?”
“Wherever and whenever you send for me. But don’t send until you really want me.”
Jon drew a deep breath.
“I feel England’s choky.”
They stood a few minutes longer under the oak-tree—looking out to where the grand stand at Epsom was veiled in evening. The branches kept the moonlight from them, so that it only fell everywhere else—over the fields and far away, and on the windows of the creepered house behind, which soon would be to let.
The October paragraphs describing the wedding of Fleur Forsyte to Michael Mont hardly conveyed the symbolic significance of this event. In the union of the great-granddaughter of “Superior Dosset” with the heir of a ninth baronet was the outward and visible sign of that merger of class in class which buttresses the political stability of a realm. The time had come when the Forsytes might resign their natural resentment against a “flummery” not theirs by birth, and accept it as the still more natural due of their possessive instincts. Besides, they had to mount to make room for all those so much more newly rich. In that quiet but tasteful ceremony in Hanover Square, and afterward among the furniture in Green Street, it had been impossible for those not in the know to distinguish the Forsyte troop from the Mont contingent—so far away was “Superior Dosset” now. Was there, in the crease of his trousers, the expression of his moustache, his accent, or the shine on his top-hat, a pin to choose between Soames and the ninth baronet himself? Was not Fleur as self-possessed, quick, glancing, pretty, and hard as the likeliest Muskham, Mont, or Charwell filly present? If anything, the Forsytes had it in dress and looks and manners. They had become “upper class” and now their name would be formally recorded in the Stud Book,