pace, Soames returned moodily to the drawing-room, where Irene was putting away the music, and, moved by an uncontrollable spasm of curiosity, he asked:
'Well, what do you think of "The Buccaneer"?'
He looked at the carpet while waiting for her answer, and he had to wait some time.
'I don't know,' she said at last.
'Do you think he's good-looking?'
Irene smiled. And it seemed to Soames that she was mocking him.
'Yes,' she answered; 'very.'
DEATH OF AUNT ANN
THERE came a morning at the end of September when Aunt Ann was unable to take from Smither's hands the insignia of personal dignity. After one look at the old face, the doctor, hurriedly sent for, announced that Miss Forsyte had passed away in her sleep.
Aunts Juley and Hester were overwhelmed by the shock. They had never imagined such an ending. Indeed, it is doubtful whether they had ever realized that an ending was bound to come. Secretly they felt it unreasonable of Ann to have left them like this without a word, without even a struggle. It was unlike her.
Perhaps what really affected them so profoundly was the thought that a Forsyte should have let go her grasp on life. If one, then why not all!
It was a full hour before they could make up their minds to tell Timothy. If only it could be kept from him! If only it could be broken to him by degree!
And long they stood outside his door whispering together. And when it was over they whispered together again.
He would feel it more, they were afraid, as time went on. Still, he had taken it better than could have been expected. He would keep his bed, of course!
They separated, crying quietly.