The Forsyte Saga

By John Galsworthy; Geoffrey Harvey | Go to book overview

PART III

CHAPTER I
OLD JOLYON WALKS

TWOFOLD impulse had made Jolyon say to his wife at breakfast: 'Let's go up to Lord's!'

'Wanted'--something to abate the anxiety in which those two had lived during the sixty hours since Jon bad brought Fleur down. 'Wanted'--too, that which might assuage the pangs of memory in one who knew he might lose them any day!

Fifty-eight years ago Jolyon had become an Eton boy, for old Jolyon's whim had been that he should be canonized at the greatest possible expense. Year after year he had gone to Lord's from Stanhope Gate with a father whose youth in the eighteen- twenties had been passed without polish in the game of cricket. Old Jolyon would speak quite openly of swipes, full tosses, half and three-quarter balls; and young Jolyon with the guileless snobbery of youth had trembled lest his sire should be over- heard. Only in this supreme matter of cricket he had been nervous, for his father--in Crimean whiskers* then--had ever impressed him as the beau idéal. Though never canonized himself, Old Jolyon's natural fastidiousness and balance had saved him from the errors of the vulgar.' How delicious, after howling in a top hat and a sweltering heat, to go home with his father in a hansom cab, bathe, dress, and forth to the 'Disunion' Club, to dine off whitebait, cutlets, and a tart, and go--two 'swells,' old and young, in lavender kid gloves--to the opera or play. And on Sunday, when the match was over, and his top hat duly broken, down with his father in a special hansom to the 'Crown and Sceptre,' and the terrace above the river--the golden sixties when the world was simple, dandies glamorous, Democracy not born, and the books of Whyte Melville* coming thick and fast.

A generation later, with his own boy, Jolly, Harrow-button- holed with corn-flowers--by old Jolyon's whim his grandson had been canonized at a trifle less expense--again Jolyon had experienced the heat and counter-passions of the day, and come

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