His mother’s voice said:
“It’s only I, Jon dear!” Her hand pressed his forehead gently back; her white figure disappeared.
Alone! He fell heavily asleep again, and dreamed he saw his mother’s name crawling on his bed.
The announcement in The Times of his cousin Jolyon’s death affected Soames quite simply. So that chap was gone! There had never been a time in their two lives when love had not been lost between them. That quick-blooded sentiment hatred had run its course long since in Soames’ heart, and he had refused to allow any recrudescence, but he considered this early decease a piece of poetic justice. For twenty years the fellow had enjoyed the reversion of his wife and house, and—he was dead! The obituary notice, which appeared a little later, paid Jolyon—he thought—too much attention. It spoke of that “diligent and agreeable painter whose work we have come to look on as typical of the best late-Victorian water-colour art.” Soames, who had almost mechanically preferred Mole, Morpin, and Caswell Baye, and had always sniffed quite audibly when he came to one of his cousin’s on the line, turned The Times with a crackle.
He had to go up to Town that morning on Forsyte affairs, and was fully conscious of Gradman’s glance sidelong over his spectacles. The old clerk had about him an aura of regretful congratulation. He smelled, as it were, of old days. One could almost hear him thinking: “Mr. Jolyon, ye-es—just my age, and gone—dear, dear! I dare say she feels it. She was a mice-lookin’ woman. Flesh is flesh! They’ve given ’im a notice in the papers. Fancy!” His atmosphere in fact caused Soames to handle certain leases and conversions with exceptional swiftness.