“To Jericho!” said Dreamer, again coming round his corner; “quite so. People oughtn’t to go to Jericho, ought they, Mrs. Dartie?” And he raised his gown into a sort of fantail. “I agree. We can go forward. Is there anything more?”
“Nothing at present,” said Soames meaningly; “I wanted you to see my sister.”
Dreamer growled softly: “Delighted. Good evening!” And let fall the protection of his gown.
They filed out. Winifred went down the stairs. Soames lingered. In spite of himself he was impressed by Dreamer.
“The evidence is all right, I think,” he said to Bellby. “Between ourselves, if we don’t get the thing through quick, we never may. D’you think he understands that?”
“I’ll make um,” said Bellby. “Good man though—good man.”
Soames nodded and hastened after his sister. He found her in a draught, biting her lips behind her veil, and at once said:
“The evidence of the stewardess will be very complete.”
Winifred’s face hardened; she drew herself up, and they walked to the carriage. And, all through that silent drive back to Green Street, the souls of both of them revolved a single thought: ’Why, oh! why should I have to expose my misfortune to the public like this? Why have to employ spies to peer into my private troubles? They were not of my making.’
JOLLY SITS IN JUDGMENT
The possessive instinct, which, so determinedly balked, was animating two members of the Forsyte family towards riddance of what they could no longer possess, was hardening daily in the British body politic. Nicholas, originally so doubtful concerning a war which must affect property, had been heard to say that these Boers were a pig-headed lot; they were causing a lot of expense, and the sooner they had their lesson the better. He would send out Wolseley! Seeing always a little further than other people—whence the most considerable fortune of all the Forsytes—he had perceived already that Buller was not the man—’a bull of a chap, who just went butting, and if they didn’t look out Ladysmith would fall.’ This was early in December, so that when Black Week came, he was enabled to say to everybody: ‘I told you so.’ During that week of gloom such as no Forsyte could remember, very young Nicholas attended so many drills in his corps, ‘The Devil’s Own,’ that young Nicholas consulted the family physician about his son’s health and was alarmed to find that he was perfectly sound. The boy had only just eaten his dinners and been called to the bar, at some expense, and it was in a way a nightmare to his father and mother that he should be playing with military efficiency at a time when military efficiency in the civilian population might conceivably be wanted. His grandfather, of course, pooh-poohed the notion, too thoroughly educated in the feeling that no British war could be other than little and professional, and profoundly distrustful of Imperial commitments, by which, moreover, he stood to lose, for he owned De Beers, now going down fast, more than a sufficient sacrifice on the part of his grandson.