Nearing his Club at last he stopped to buy a paper. A headline ran: ‘Boers reported to repudiate suzerainty!’ Suzerainty! ‘Just like her!’ he thought: ’she always did. Suzerainty! I still have it by rights. She must be awfully lonely in that wretched little flat!’
ON FORSYTE ’CHANGE
Soames belonged to two clubs, ‘The Connoisseurs,’ which he put on his cards and seldom visited, and ‘The Remove,’ which he did not put on his cards and frequented. He had joined this Liberal institution five years ago, having made sure that its members were now nearly all sound Conservatives in heart and pocket, if not in principle. Uncle Nicholas had put him up. The fine reading-room was decorated in the Adam style.
On entering that evening he glanced at the tape for any news about the Transvaal, and noted that Consols were down seven-sixteenths since the morning. He was turning away to seek the reading-room when a voice behind him said:
“Well, Soames, that went off all right.”
It was Uncle Nicholas, in a frock-coat and his special cut-away collar, with a black tie passed through a ring. Heavens! How young and dapper he looked at eighty-two!
“I think Roger’d have been pleased,” his uncle went on. “The thing was very well done. Blackley’s? I’ll make a note of them. Buxton’s done me no good. These Boers are upsetting me—that fellow Chamberlain’s driving the country into war. What do you think?”
“Bound to come,” murmured Soames.
Nicholas passed his hand over his thin, clean-shaven cheeks, very rosy after his summer cure; a slight pout had gathered on his lips. This business had revived all his Liberal principles.
“I mistrust that chap; he’s a stormy petrel. House-property will go down if there’s war. You’ll have trouble with Roger’s estate. I often told him he ought to get out of some of his houses. He was an opinionated beggar.”
‘There was a pair of you!’ thought Soames. But he never argued with an uncle, in that way preserving their opinion of him as ’a long-headed chap,’ and the legal care of their property.
“They tell me at Timothy’s,” said Nicholas, lowering his voice, “that Dartie has gone off at last. That’ll be a relief to your father. He was a rotten egg.”
Again Soames nodded. If there was a subject on which the Forsytes really agreed, it was the character of Montague Dartie.