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The Forsyte Saga

By John Galsworthy; Geoffrey Harvey | Go to book overview

'and let the past die.' He held out his hand. Her pale face grew paler, her eyes so dark, rested immovably on his, her hands remained clasped in front of her. He heard a sound and turned. That boy was standing in the opening of the curtains. Very queer he looked, hardly recognizable as the young fellow he had seen in the Gallery off Cork Street--very queer; much older, no youth in the face at all--haggard, rigid, his hair ruffled, his eyes deep in his head. Soames made an effort, and said with a lift of his lip, not quite a smile nor quite a sneer:

'Well, young man! I'm here for my daughter; it rests with you, it seems--this matter. Your mother leaves it in your hands.'

The boy continued staring at his mother's face, and made no answer.

'For my daughter's sake I've brought myself to come,' said Soames. 'What am I to say to her when I go back?'

Still looking at his mother, the boy said, quietly:

'Tell Fleur that it's no good, please; I must do as my father wished before he died.''Jon!'

'It's all right, Mother.'

In a kind of stupefaction Soames looked from one to the other; then, taking up hat and umbrella which he had put down on a chair, he walked toward the curtains. The boy stood aside for him to go by. He passed through and heard the grate of the rings as the curtains were drawn behind him. The sound liberated something in his chest.

'So that's that!' he thought, and passed out of the front door.


CHAPTER VIII
THE DARK TUNE

As Soames walked away from the house at Robin Hill the sun broke through the grey of that chill afternoon, in smoky radiance. So absorbed in landscape painting that he seldom looked seriously for effects of Nature out of doors--he was struck by that moody effulgence--it mourned with a triumph suited to his own feeling. Victory in defeat! His embassy had come to naught. But he was rid of those people, had regained his daughter at the

-825-

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