'For about eight thousand I could build you a palace.'
Soames had become very pale--a struggle was going on within him. He dropped his eyes, and said stubbornly:
'I can't afford it.'
And slowly, with his mousing walk, he led the way back to the first site.
They spent some time there going into particulars of the projected house, and then Soames returned to the agent's cottage.
He came out in about half an hour, and, joining Bosinney, started for the station.
'Well,' he said, hardly opening his lips, 'I've taken that site of yours, after all.'
And again he was silent, confusedly debating how it was that this fellow, whom by habit he despised, should have overborne his own decision.
A FORSYTE MENAGE
LIKE the enlightened thousands of his class and generation in this great city of London, who no longer believe in red velvet chairs, and know that groups of modern Italian marble are 'vieux jeu,' Soames Forsyte inhabited a house which did what it could. It owned a copper door knocker of individual design, windows which had been altered to open outwards, hanging flower boxes filled with fuchsias, and at the back (a great feature) a little court tiled with jade-green tiles, and surrounded by pink hydrangeas in peacock-blue tubs. Here, under a parchment-coloured Japanese sunshade covering the whole end, inhabitants or visitors could be screened from the eyes of the curious while they drank tea and examined at their leisure that latest of Soames's little silver boxes.
The inner decoration favoured the First Empire* and William Morris.* For its size, the house was commodious; there were countless nooks resembling birds' nests, and little things made of silver were deposited like eggs.
In this general perfection two kinds of fastidiousness were at war. There lived here a mistress who would have dwelt daintily