XIII
TENTER-HOOKS

MICHAEL had gone to the Labour Candidate's meeting partly because he wanted to, and partly out of fellow feeling for 'Old Forsyte,' whom he was always conscious of having robbed. His father-in-law had been very decent about Fleur and he liked 'the old man' to have her to himself when he could.

In a constituency which had much casual and no trades-union labour to speak of, the meeting would be one of those which enabled the intellectuals of the Party to get it 'off their chests.' Sentiment being 'slop,' and championship mere condescension, one might look for sound economic speeches which left out discredited factors, such as human nature. Michael was accustomed to hearing people disparaged for deprecating change because human nature was constant; he was accustomed to hearing people despised for feeling compassion; he knew that one ought to be purely economic. And anyway that kind of speech was preferable to the tub-thumpings of the north or of the Park which provoked a nasty underlying class spirit in himself.

The meeting was in full swing when he arrived, the Candidate pitilessly exposing the fallacies of a capitalism which in his view had brought on the war. For fear that it should bring on another, it must be changed for a system which would insure that nations should not want anything too much. The individual--said the Candidate --was in every respect superior to the nation of which he formed a part; and the problem before them was to

-108-

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