With characteristic decision old Jolyon came at once to the point. “I’ve been altering my arrangements, Jo,” he said. “You can cut your coat a bit longer in the future—I’m settling a thousand a year on you at once. June will have fifty thousand at my death; and you the rest. That dog of yours is spoiling the garden. I shouldn’t keep a dog, if I were you!”
The dog Balthasar, seated in the centre of the lawn, was examining his tail.
Young Jolyon looked at the animal, but saw him dimly, for his eyes were misty.
“Yours won’t come short of a hundred thousand, my boy,” said old Jolyon; “I thought you’d better know. I haven’t much longer to live at my age. I shan’t allude to it again. How’s your wife? And—give her my love.”
Young Jolyon put his hand on his father’s shoulder, and, as neither spoke, the episode closed.
Having seen his father into a hansom, young Jolyon came back to the drawing-room and stood, where old Jolyon had stood, looking down on the little garden. He tried to realize all that this meant to him, and, Forsyte that he was, vistas of property were opened out in his brain; the years of half rations through which he had passed had not sapped his natural instincts. In extremely practical form, he thought of travel, of his wife’s costume, the children’s education, a pony for Jolly, a thousand things; but in the midst of all he thought, too, of Bosinney and his mistress, and the broken song of the thrush. Joy—tragedy! Which? Which?
The old past—the poignant, suffering, passionate, wonderful past, that no money could buy, that nothing could restore in all its burning sweetness—had come back before him.
When his wife came in he went straight up to her and took her in his arms; and for a long time he stood without speaking, his eyes closed, pressing her to him, while she looked at him with a wondering, adoring, doubting look in her eyes.
VOYAGE INTO THE INFERNO
The morning after a certain night on which Soames at last asserted his rights and acted like a man, he breakfasted alone.
He breakfasted by gaslight, the fog of late November wrapping the town as in some monstrous blanket till the trees of the Square even were barely visible from the dining-room window.
He ate steadily, but at times a sensation as though he could not swallow attacked him. Had he been right to yield to his overmastering hunger of the night before, and break down the resistance which he had suffered now too long from this woman who was his lawful and solemnly constituted helpmate?
He was strangely haunted by the recollection of her face, from before which, to soothe her, he had tried to pull her hands—of her terrible smothered sobbing, the like of which he had never heard, and still seemed to hear; and he was still haunted by the odd, intolerable feeling of remorse and shame he had felt, as he stood looking at her by the flame of the single candle, before silently slinking away.