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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 935 pages of information about The Forsyte Saga.

It was quite shady under the tree; the sun could not get at him, only make the rest of the world bright so that he could see the Grand Stand at Epsom away out there, very far, and the cows cropping the clover in the field and swishing at the flies with their tails.  He smelled the scent of limes, and lavender.  Ah! that was why there was such a racket of bees.  They were excited—­busy, as his heart was busy and excited.  Drowsy, too, drowsy and drugged on honey and happiness; as his heart was drugged and drowsy.  Summer—­summer—­they seemed saying; great bees and little bees, and the flies too!

The stable clock struck four; in half an hour she would be here.  He would have just one tiny nap, because he had had so little sleep of late; and then he would be fresh for her, fresh for youth and beauty, coming towards him across the sunlit lawn—­lady in grey!  And settling back in his chair he closed his eyes.  Some thistle-down came on what little air there was, and pitched on his moustache more white than itself.  He did not know; but his breathing stirred it, caught there.  A ray of sunlight struck through and lodged on his boot.  A bumble-bee alighted and strolled on the crown of his Panama hat.  And the delicious surge of slumber reached the brain beneath that hat, and the head swayed forward and rested on his breast.  Summer—­summer!  So went the hum.

The stable clock struck the quarter past.  The dog Balthasar stretched and looked up at his master.  The thistledown no longer moved.  The dog placed his chin over the sunlit foot.  It did not stir.  The dog withdrew his chin quickly, rose, and leaped on old Jolyon’s lap, looked in his face, whined; then, leaping down, sat on his haunches, gazing up.  And suddenly he uttered a long, long howl.

But the thistledown was still as death, and the face of his old master.

Summer—­summer—­summer!  The soundless footsteps on the grass! 1917

IN CHANCERY

Two households both alike in dignity, From ancient grudge, break into new mutiny.

—­Romeo and Juliet
to Jessie and Joseph Conrad

PART 1

CHAPTER I

AT TIMOTHY’S

The possessive instinct never stands still.  Through florescence and feud, frosts and fires, it followed the laws of progression even in the Forsyte family which had believed it fixed for ever.  Nor can it be dissociated from environment any more than the quality of potato from the soil.

The historian of the English eighties and nineties will, in his good time, depict the somewhat rapid progression from self-contented and contained provincialism to still more self-contented if less contained imperialism—­in other words, the ‘possessive’ instinct of the nation on the move.  And so, as if in conformity, was it with the Forsyte family.  They were spreading not merely on the surface, but within.

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