Old Jolyon did not see them pass; he was petting poor Holly who was tired, but those in the carriage had taken in the little group; the ladies’ heads tilted suddenly, there was a spasmodic screening movement of parasols; James’ face protruded naively, like the head of a long bird, his mouth slowly opening. The shield-like rounds of the parasols grew smaller and smaller, and vanished.
Young Jolyon saw that he had been recognised, even by Winifred, who could not have been more than fifteen when he had forfeited the right to be considered a Forsyte.
There was not much change in them! He remembered the exact look of their turn-out all that time ago: Horses, men, carriage—all different now, no doubt—but of the precise stamp of fifteen years before; the same neat display, the same nicely calculated arrogance ease with security! The swing exact, the pose of the sunshades exact, exact the spirit of the whole thing.
And in the sunlight, defended by the haughty shields of parasols, carriage after carriage went by.
“Uncle James has just passed, with his female folk,” said young Jolyon.
His father looked black. “Did your uncle see us? Yes? Hmph! What’s he want, coming down into these parts?”
An empty cab drove up at this moment, and old Jolyon stopped it.
“I shall see you again before long, my boy!” he said. “Don’t you go paying any attention to what I’ve been saying about young Bosinney—I don’t believe a word of it!”
Kissing the children, who tried to detain him, he stepped in and was borne away.
Young Jolyon, who had taken Holly up in his arms, stood motionless at the corner, looking after the cab.
AFTERNOON AT TIMOTHY’S
If old Jolyon, as he got into his cab, had said: ’I won’t believe a word of it!’ he would more truthfully have expressed his sentiments.
The notion that James and his womankind had seen him in the company of his son had awakened in him not only the impatience he always felt when crossed, but that secret hostility natural between brothers, the roots of which—little nursery rivalries—sometimes toughen and deepen as life goes on, and, all hidden, support a plant capable of producing in season the bitterest fruits.
Hitherto there had been between these six brothers no more unfriendly feeling than that caused by the secret and natural doubt that the others might be richer than themselves; a feeling increased to the pitch of curiosity by the approach of death—that end of all handicaps—and the great ‘closeness’ of their man of business, who, with some sagacity, would profess to Nicholas ignorance of James’ income, to James ignorance of old Jolyon’s, to Jolyon ignorance of Roger’s, to Roger ignorance of Swithin’s, while to Swithin he would say most irritatingly that Nicholas must be a rich man. Timothy alone was exempt, being in gilt-edged securities.