SOAMES IN PARIS
SOAMES had travelled little. Aged nineteen he had made the 'petty tour'* with his father, mother, and Winifred--Brussels, the Rhine, Switzerland, and home by way of Paris. Aged twenty- seven, just when he began to take interest in pictures, he had spent five hot weeks in Italy, looking into the Renaissance--not so much in it as he had been led to expect--and a fortnight in Paris on his way back, looking into himself, as became a Forsyte surrounded by people so strongly self-centred and 'foreign' as the French. His knowledge of their language being derived from his public school, he did not understand them when they spoke. Silence he had found better for all parties; one did not make a fool of oneself. He had disliked the look of the men's clothes, the closed-in cabs, the theatres which looked like beehives, the galleries which smelled of beeswax. He was too cautious and too shy to explore that side of Paris supposed by Forsytes to constitute its attraction under the rose; and as for a collector's bargain--not one to be had! As Nicholas might have put it--they were a grasping lot. He had come back uneasy, saying Paris was overrated.
When, therefore, in June of 1900, he went to Paris, it was but his third attempt on the centre of civilisation. This time, however, the mountain was going to Mahomet; for he felt by now more deeply civilised than Paris, and perhaps he really was. Moreover, he had a definite objective. This was no mere genuflexion to a shrine of taste and immorality, but the prosecution of his own legitimate affairs. He went, indeed, because things were getting past a joke. The watch went on and on, and-- nothing--nothing! Jolyon had never returned to Paris, and no one else was 'suspect!' Busy with new and very confidential matters, Soames was realising more than ever how essential reputation is to a solicitor. But at night and in his leisure moments he was ravaged by the thought that time was always flying and money flowing in, and his own future as much 'in irons'* as