SOAMES AT BAY
WHEN the door had closed behind the departing Directors, Soames sought a window as far as possible from the lunch eaten before the Meeting.
"Funeral baked meats, eh, Forsyte?" said a voice in his ear. "Our number's up, I think. Poor old Mothergill's looking very blue. I think he ought to ask for a second shirt!"
Soames' tenacity began wriggling within him.
"The thing wants tackling," he grumbled; "the Chairman's not the man for the job!" Shades of old Uncle Jolyon! He would have made short work of this! It wanted a masterful hand.
"Warning to us all, Forsyte, against loyalty! It's not in the period. Ah! Fontenoy!"
Soames became conscious of features rather above the level of his own.
"Well, Mr. Forsyte, hope you're satisfied? A pretty damned mess! If I'd been the Chairman, I'd never have withdrawn. Always keep hounds under your eye, Mont. Take it off, and they'll go for you! Wish I could get among 'em with a whip; I'd give it those two heavy pug- faced chaps--they mean business! Unless you've got something up your sleeve, Mr. Forsyte, we're dished."
"What should I have up my sleeve?" said Soames coldly.
"Hang it, sir, you put the chestnuts in the fire; it's up to you to pull 'em out. I can't afford to lose these fees!"