Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

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pursued—­who was almost the father of the new Tory policy:  Assist the farmers to buy their own land.  And Colonel Martlett, representing the older Tory policy of:  What the devil would happen to the landowners if they did?  Secretly (Clara felt sure) he would never go into a lobby to support that.  He had said to her:  ’Look at my brother James’s property; if we bring this policy in, and the farmers take advantage, his house might stand there any day without an acre round it.’  Quite true—­it might.  The same might even happen to Becket.

Stanley grunted.

Exactly!—­Clara went on:  And that was the beauty of having got the Mallorings; theirs was such a steady point of view, and she was not sure that they weren’t right, and the whole thing really a question of model proprietorship.

“H’m!” Stanley muttered.  “Felix will have his knife into that.”

Clara did not think that mattered.  The thing was to get everybody’s opinion.  Even Mr. Moorsome’s would be valuable—­if he weren’t so terrifically silent, for he must think a lot, sitting all day, as he did, painting the land.

“He’s a heavy ass,” said Stanley.

Yes; but Clara did not wish to be narrow.  That was why it was so splendid to have got Mr. Sleesor.  If anybody knew the Radical mind he did, and he could give full force to what one always felt was at the bottom of it—­that the Radicals’ real supporters were the urban classes; so that their policy must not go too far with ‘the Land,’ for fear of seeming to neglect the towns.  For, after all, in the end it was out of the pockets of the towns that ‘the Land’ would have to be financed, and nobody really could expect the towns to get anything out of it.  Stanley paused in the adjustment of his tie; his wife was a shrewd woman.

“You’ve hit it there,” he said.  “Wiltram will give it him hot on that, though.”

Of course, Clara assented.  And it was magnificent that they had got Henry Wiltram, with his idealism and his really heavy corn tax; not caring what happened to the stunted products of the towns—­and they truly were stunted, for all that the Radicals and the half-penny press said—­till at all costs we could grow our own food.  There was a lot in that.

“Yes,” Stanley muttered, “and if he gets on to it, shan’t I have a jolly time of it in the smoking-room?  I know what Cuthcott’s like with his shirt out.”

Clara’s eyes brightened; she was very curious herself to see Mr. Cuthcott with his—­that is, to hear him expound the doctrine he was always writing up, namely, that ‘the Land’ was gone and, short of revolution, there was nothing for it but garden cities.  She had heard he was so cutting and ferocious that he really did seem as if he hated his opponents.  She hoped he would get a chance—­perhaps Felix could encourage him.

“What about the women?” Stanley asked suddenly.  “Will they stand a political powwow?  One must think of them a bit.”

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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