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Title: Passers-by

Date of first publication: 1927

Author: John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

Date first posted: May 23, 2019

Date last updated: May 23, 2019

Faded Page eBook #20190538

This eBook was produced by: Delphine Lettau, Mark Akrigg, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net




Chapter I

In Washington, District of Columbia, the ‘Fall’ sun shone, and all that was not evergreen or stone in Rock Creek Cemetery was glowing. Before the Saint Gaudens statue Soames Forsyte sat on his overcoat, with the marble screen to his back, enjoying the seclusion and a streak of sunlight passaging between the cypresses.

With his daughter and her husband he had been up here already, the afternoon before, and had taken a fancy to the place. Apart from the general attraction of a cemetery, this statue awakened the connoisseur within him. Though not a thing you could acquire, it was undoubtedly a work of art, and produced a very marked effect. He did not remember a statue that made him feel so thoroughly at home. That great greenish bronze figure of seated woman within the hooding folds of her ample cloak seemed to carry him down to the bottom of his own soul. Yesterday, in the presence of Fleur, Michael, and other people, all gaping like himself, he had not so much noted the mood of the thing as its technical excellence, but now, alone, he could enjoy the luxury of his own sensations. Some called it ‘Nirvana’, some ‘The Adams Memorial’. He didn’t know, but in any case there it was, the best thing he had come across in America, the one that gave him the most pleasure, in spite of all the water he had seen at Niagara and those skyscrapers in New York. Three times he had changed his position on that crescent marble seat, varying his sensations every time. From his present position the woman had passed beyond grief. She sat in a frozen acceptance deeper than death itself, very remarkable! There was something about death! He remembered his own father, James, a quarter of an hour after death, as if—as if he had been told at last!

A red oak leaf fell on to his lapel, another on to his knee; Soames did not brush them off. Easy to sit still in front of that thing! They ought to make America sit there once a week!

He rose, crossed towards the statue, and gingerly touched a fold in the green bronze, as if questioning the possibility of ever-lasting nothingness.

“Got a sister living in Dallas—married a railroad man down there as a young girl. Why! Texas is a wonderful State. I know my sister laughs at the idea that the climate of Texas isn’t about right.”

Soames withdrew his hand from the bronze and returned to his seat. Two tall, thin, elderly figures were entering the sanctuary. They moved into the middle and stood silent. Presently one said “Well!” and they moved out again at the other end. A little stir of wind fluttered some fallen leaves at the base of the statue. Soames shifted along to the extreme end. From there the statue was once more woman—very noble! And he sat motionless in his attitude of a thinker, the lower part of his face buried in his hand.

Considerably browned and distinctly healthy-looking, he was accustomed to regard himself as worn out by his long travel, which, after encircling the world, would end, the day after to-morrow, by embarkation on the Adelphic. This three-day run to Washington was the last straw, and he was supporting it very well. The city was pleasing; it had some fine buildings and a great many trees with the tints on, there wasn’t the rush of New York, and plenty of houses that people could live in, he should think. Of course the place was full of Americans, but that was unavoidable. He was happy about Fleur too; she had quite got over that unpleasant Ferrar business, seemed on excellent terms with young Michael, and was looking forward to her home and her baby again. There was, indeed, in Soames a sense of culmination and of peace—a feeling of virtue having been its own reward, and, beyond all, the thought that he would soon be smelling English grass and seeing again the river flowing past his cows. Annette, even, might be glad to see him—he had bought her a really nice emerald bracelet in New York. To such general satisfaction this statue of ‘Nirvana’ was putting the finishing touch.

“Here we are, Anne.”

An English voice, and two young people at the far end—going to chatter, he supposed! He was preparing to rise when he heard the girl say in a voice American, indeed, but soft and curiously private:

“John, it’s terribly great. It makes me sink here.” From the gesture of the hand, Soames saw that it was where the thing had made him sink, too.

“Everlasting stillness. It makes me sad, John.”

As the young man’s arm slid under hers his face came into view. Quick as thought, half of Soames’s face disappeared again into his hand. “John?” “Jon” was what she had meant to say. Young Jon Forsyte—not a doubt of it! And this girl, his wife, sister—as he had heard—of that young American, Francis Wilmot! What a mischance! He remembered the boy’s face perfectly, though he had only seen it in that Gallery off Cork Street, and the pastrycook’s after, and once on that grim afternoon when he had gone down to Robin Hill to beg his own divorced first wife to let her son marry his daughter! Never had he been more pleased to be refused. Never had the fitness of things been better confirmed; and yet, the pain of telling Fleur of that refusal remained in his memory like a still-live ember, red and prickly under the ashes of time. Behind his shadowing hat and screening hand Soames made sure.

The young man was standing bareheaded, as if in reverence to the statue. A Forsyte look about him, in spite of too much hair. A poet—he had heard! The face wasn’t a bad one; it had what they called charm; the eyes were deep set, like his grandfather’s, old Jolyon’s, and the same colour, dark grey; the touch of brightness on his head came from his mother, no doubt; but the chin was a Forsyte’s chin. Soames looked at the girl. A fair height, brownish pale, brown hair, dark eyes; pretty trick of the neck, nice way of standing too; very straight, an attractive figure! But how could the young man have taken to her after Fleur? Still, for an American she looked natural; a little bit like a nymph, with a kind of privacy about her.

Nothing in America had struck Soames so much as the lack of privacy. If you wanted to be private you had to disconnect your telephone and get into a bath—otherwise they rang you up just as you were going to sleep, to ask if you were Mr. and Mrs. Newberg. The houses, too, were not divided from each other, nor even from the roads. In the hotels the rooms all ran into each other, and as likely as not there’d be a drove of bankers in the hall. Dinner too—nothing private about that; even if you went out to dinner, it was always the same: lobster-cocktails, shad, turkey, asparagus, salad, and ice-cream; very good dishes, no doubt, and you put on weight, but nothing private about them.

Those two were talking; he remembered the young man’s voice.

“It’s the greatest man-made thing in America, Anne. We haven’t anything so good at home. It makes me hungry—we’ll have to go to Egypt.”

“Your mother would just love that, Jon; and so would I.”

“Come and see it from the other side.”

Soames rose abruptly and left the alcove. Though not recognised, he was flustered. A ridiculous, even a dangerous encounter. He had travelled for six months to restore Fleur’s peace of mind, and now that she was tranquil, he would not for the world have her suddenly upset again by a sight of her first love. He remembered only too well how a sight of Irene used to upset himself. Yes—and as likely as not Irene was here too! Well, Washington was a big place. Not much danger! They were going to Mount Vernon in the afternoon, and to-morrow morning early were off again! At the top of the cemetery his taxicab was waiting. One of those other cars must belong to those two young people; and he glanced at them sidelong. Did there rise in him some fear, some hope, that in one of them he would see her whom, in another life, he had seen, day by day, night by night, waiting for what—it seemed—he could not give her. No! only the drivers and their voices, their ‘Yeahs!’ and their ‘Yeps!’ Americans no longer said ‘Yes’, it seemed. And getting into his taxi, he said:

“Hotel Pótomac.”

“Hotel Potómac?”

“If you prefer it.”

The driver grinned and shut Soames in. The Soldiers’ Home! They said the veterans had pretty well died off. Still, they’d have plenty coming on from this last war. Besides, what was space and money to America? They had so much they didn’t know what to do with it. Well, he didn’t mind that, now that he was leaving. He didn’t mind anything. Indeed, he had invited quite a number of Americans to come and see his pictures if they came to England. They had been very kind, very hospitable; he had seen a great many fine pictures too, including some Chinese; and a great many high buildings, and the air was very stimulating. It wouldn’t suit him to live here, but it was all very much alive, and a good tonic, for a bit. ‘I can’t see her living here!’ he thought suddenly. ‘There never was anyone more private.’ The cars streamed past him, or stood parked in rows. America was all cars and newspapers! And a sudden thought disturbed him. They put everything into the newspapers over here; what if his name was among the arrivals?

Reaching his hotel, he went at once towards the kiosk in the hall where you could buy newspapers, tooth-paste, ‘candy’ to pull your teeth out—teeth to replace them, he shouldn’t be surprised. List of arrivals? Here it was: ‘Hotel Potomac: Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus K. McGunn; the Misses Errick; Mr. H. Yellam Root; Mr. Semmes Forsyth; Mr. and Mrs. Munt.’ As large as life, but, fortunately, only half as natural! Forsyth! Munt! They never could get anything right in the papers. ‘Semmes!’ Unrecognisable, he should hope. And going over to the bureau, he turned the register towards him. Yes! he had written the names quite clearly. Lucky, too, or they’d have got ’em right, by mistake. And then, turning the leaf, he read: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Jolyon Forsyte.’ Here! At this hotel—those two! A day before them; yes, and at the very top, dated some days ago: ‘Mrs. Irene Forsyte.’ His mind travelled with incredible swiftness. He must deal with this at once. Where were Fleur and Michael? They had seen the Freer Gallery with him yesterday, and a beautiful little gallery it was, he had never seen anything better, and the Lincoln Memorial, and that great tower thing which he had refused to go up. This morning they had said they should go to the Corcoran Gallery, where there was a Centenary Exhibition. He had known what that meant. He had seen English centenaries in his time. All the fashionable painters of their day—and the result too melancholy for words! And to the clerk he said:

“Is there a restaurant here where I can get a good lunch?”

“Sure; they cook fine at Filler’s.”

“Good! If my daughter and her husband come in, kindly tell them to meet me at Filler’s at one o’clock.”

And, going back to the kiosk, he bought some tickets for the opera, so that they should be out in the evening, and in ten minutes was on his way to the Corcoran Gallery. From Filler’s they would go straight off to Mount Vernon; they would dine at another hotel before the opera, and to-morrow be off by the first train—he would take no chances. If only he could catch them at the Corcoran!

Arriving, he mechanically bought a catalogue and walked upstairs. The rooms opened off the gallery and he began at the end room. Ah! there they were, in front of a picture of the setting sun! Sure of them now, but not sure of himself—Fleur was so sharp—Soames glanced at the pictures. Modern stuff, trailing behind those French extravagances Dumetrius had shown him six months ago in London. As he had thought, too, a wholesale lot; might all have been painted by the same hand. He saw Fleur touch Michael’s arm and laugh. How pretty she looked! A thousand pities to have her apple-cart upset again! He came up behind them. What? That setting sun was a man’s face, was it? Well, you never knew nowadays.

And he said: “I thought I’d have a look in. We’re lunching at Filler’s; they tell me it’s better than the hotel; and we can go straight on from there to Mount Vernon. I’ve got some seats for the opera to-night, too.”

And conscious of Fleur’s scrutiny, he stared at the picture. He did not feel too comfortable.

“Are the older pictures better?” he asked.

“Well, sir, Fleur was just saying—how can anyone go on painting in these days?”

“How do you mean?”

“If you walk through, you’ll say the same. Here’s a hundred years of it.”

“The best pictures never get into these shows,” said Soames; “they just take anything they can get. Ryder, Innes, Whistler, Sargent—the Americans have had some great painters.”

“Of course,” said Fleur. “But do you really want to go round, Dad? I’m frightfully hungry.”

“No,” said Soames; “after that Saint Gaudens thing I don’t feel like it. Let’s go and lunch.”

Chapter II

Mount Vernon! The situation was remarkable! With all that colour on the trees, the grassy cliff, and below it the broad blue Potomac, which, even Soames confessed, was more imposing than the Thames. And the low white house up here, dignified and private, indeed, except for the trippers, almost English, giving him a feeling he had not had since he left home. He could imagine that fellow George Washington being very fond of it. One could have taken to the place oneself. Lord John Russell’s old house on the hill at Richmond was something like this, except, of course, for the breadth of river, and the feeling you always had in America and Canada, so far as he had seen, that they were trying to fill the country and not succeeding—such a terrific lot of space, and apparently no time. Fleur was in raptures, and young Michael had remarked that it was “absolutely topping”. The sun fell warmly on his cheek while he took his last look from the wide porch, before entering the house itself. He should remember this—America had not all been run up yesterday! He passed into the hall and proceeded, mousing through the lower rooms. Really! They had done it extraordinarily well. Nothing but the good old original stuff, from a century and a half ago, reminding Soames of half-hours spent in the antique shops of Taunton and Tunbridge Wells. Too much ‘George Washington’ of course! George Washington’s mug, George Washington’s foot-bath, and his letter to so-and-so, and the lace on his collar, and his sword and his gun and everything that was his! Still, that was unavoidable! Detached from the throng, detached even from his daughter, Soames moved—covered, as in a cloak, by his collector’s habit of silent appraisement; he so disliked his judgments to be confused by uncritical imbecilities. He had reached the bedroom upstairs where George Washington had died, and was gazing through the grille, when he heard sounds which almost froze his blood; the very voices he had listened to that morning before the Saint Gaudens statue, and with those voices Michael’s voice conjoined! Was Fleur there too? A backward glance relieved him. No! the three were standing at the head of the main stairs exchanging the remarks of strangers casually interested in the same thing. He heard Michael say: “Jolly good taste in those days.” And Jon Forsyte answering: “All hand-made, you see.”

Soames dived for the back stairs, jostled a stout lady, recoiled, stammering, and hurried on down. If Fleur was not with Michael it meant that she had got hold of the curator. Take her away, while those three were still upstairs! That was the thought in his mind. Two young Englishmen were not likely to exchange names or anything else, and, if they did, he must get hold of Michael quickly. But how to get Fleur away? Yes, there she was—talking to the curator in front of George Washington’s flute laid down on George Washington’s harpsichord in the music-room! And Soames suffered. Revolting to be unwell, still more revolting to pretend to be! And yet—what else? He could not go up to her and say: “I’ve had enough. Let’s go to the car!” Swallowing violently, he put his hand to his head and went towards the harpsichord.

“Fleur!” he said, and without pausing to let her take him in, went on: “I’m not feeling the thing. I must go to the car.”

The words no doubt were startling, coming from one so undramatic.

“Dad! What is it?”

“I don’t know,” said Soames; “giddy. Give me your arm.”

Really dreadful to him—the whole thing! On the way to the car, parked at the entrance, her concern was so embarrassing that he very nearly abandoned his ruse. But he managed to murmur:

“I’ve been doing too much, I expect; or else it’s that cookery. I’ll just sit quiet in the car.”

To his great relief she sat down with him, got out her smelling-bottle, and sent the chauffeur to tell Michael. Soames was touched, though incommoded by having to sniff the salts, which were very strong.

“Great fuss about nothing,” he muttered.

“We’d better get home, dear, at once, so that you can lie down.”

In a few minutes Michael came hurrying. He too expressed what seemed to Soames a genuine concern, and the car was started. Soames sat back with his hand in Fleur’s, and his mouth and eyes tight closed, feeling perhaps better than he’d ever felt in his life. Before they reached Alexandria he opened his lips to say that he had spoiled their trip for them; they must go home by way of Arlington, and he would stay in the car while they had a look at it. Fleur was for going straight on, but he insisted. Arrived, however, at this other white house, also desirably situated on the slope above the river, he almost had a fit while waiting for them in the car. What if the same idea had occurred to Jon Forsyte and he were suddenly to drive up? It was an intense relief when they came out again, saying that it was nice but not a patch on Mount Vernon: the porch columns were too thick. When the car was again traversing the bright woods Soames opened his eyes for good.

“I’m all right again now. It was liver, I expect.”

“You ought to have some brandy, Dad. We can get some on a doctor’s prescription.”

“Doctor? Nonsense. We’ll dine upstairs and I’ll get over the waiter; they must have something in the house.”

Dine upstairs! That was a happy thought!

In their sitting-room he lay down on the sofa, touched and gratified, for Fleur was propping up his cushions, shading the light, looking over the top of her book to see how he was. He did not remember when he had felt so definitely that she really did care about him. He even thought: ‘I ought to be ill a little, every now and then!’ And yet, if he ever complained of feeling ill at home, Annette at once complained of feeling worse!

Close by, in the little ‘salon’ opposite the stairs, a piano was being played.

“Does that music worry you, dear?”

Into Soames’s mind flashed the thought: ‘Irene!’ If it were, and Fleur were to go out to stop it, then, indeed, would fat be in the fire!

“No; I rather like it,” he said, hastily.

“It’s a very good touch.”

Irene’s touch! He remembered how June used to praise her touch; remembered how he had caught that fellow Bosinney listening to her, in the little drawing-room in Montpelier Square, with the wildcat look on his face, the fellow had; remembered how she used to stop playing when he himself came in—from consideration, or the feeling that it was wasted on him—which? He had never known. He had never known anything! Well—another life! He closed his eyes, and instantly saw Irene in her emerald-green dinner-gown, standing in the Park Lane hall, first feast after their honeymoon, waiting to be cloaked! Why did such pictures come back before closed eyes—pictures without rhyme or reason? Irene brushing her hair—grey now, of course! As he was seventy, she must be nearly sixty-two! How time went; Hair feuille morte—old Aunt Juley used to call it with a certain pride in having picked up the expression—and eyes so velvet dark! Ah! but handsome was as handsome did! Still—who could say! Perhaps, if he had known how to express his feelings! If he had understood music! If she hadn’t so excited his senses! Perhaps—oh, perhaps your grandmother! No riddling that out! And here—of all places. A tricksy business! Was one never to forget?

Fleur went to pack and dress. Dinner came up. Michael spoke of having met a refreshing young couple at Mount Vernon, “an Englishman; he said Mount Vernon made him awfully homesick.’

“What was his name, Michael?”

“Name? I didn’t ask. Why?”

“Oh! I don’t know. I thought you might have.”

Soames breathed again. He had seen her prick her ears. Give it a chance, and her feeling for that boy of Irene’s would flare up again. It was in the blood!

“Bright Markland,” said Michael, “has been gassing over the future of America—he’s very happy about it because there are so many farmers still, and people on the land; but he’s also been gashing over the future of England—he’s very happy about it, and there’s hardly anybody on the land.”

“Who’s Bright Markland?” muttered Soames.

“Editor of our Scrutator, sir. Never was a better example of optimism, or the science of having things both ways.”

“I’d hoped,” said Soames heavily, “that seeing these new countries would have made you feel there’s something in an old one, after all.”

Michael laughed. “No need to persuade me of that, sir. But you see I belong to what is called the fortunate class, and so I believe, do you.”

Soames stared. This young man was getting sarcastic!

“Well,” he said, “I shall be glad to be home. Are you packed?”

They were; and presently he telephoned for a cab to take them to the opera. So that they might not hang about in the hall, he went down, himself, to see them into it. The incident passed without let or hindrance; and with a deep sigh of relief he resumed his place in the lift, and was restored to his room.

Chapter III

He stood there at the window, looking out at the tall houses, the cars moving below and the clear starry sky. He was really tired now; another day of this and he would not need to simulate indisposition. A narrow squeak, indeed—a series of them! He wished he were safe home. To be under the same roof with that woman—how very queer! He had not passed a night under the same roof with her since that dreadful day in November ’87, when he walked round and round Montpelier Square in such mortal agony, and came to his front door to find young Jolyon there. One lover dead, and the other already on his threshold! That night she had stolen away from his house; never again till this night had the same roof covered them. That music again—soft and teasing! Was it she playing? To get away from it, he went into his bedroom and put his things together. He was not long about that, for he had only a suitcase with him. Should he go to bed? To bed, and lie awake? This thing had upset him. If it were she, sitting at that piano, a few yards away, what did she look like now? Seven times—no, eight—he had seen her since that long ago November night. Twice in her Chelsea flat; then by that fountain in the Bois de Boulogne; at Robin Hill when he delivered his ultimatum to her and young Jolyon; at Queen Victoria’s funeral; at Lord’s Cricket Ground; again at Robin Hill when he went to beg for Fleur; and in the Goupenor Gallery just before she came out here. Each meeting he could remember in every detail, down to the lifting of her gloved hand at the last—the faint smiling of her lips.

And Soames shivered. Too hot—these American rooms! He went back into the sitting-room; they had cleared away and brought him the evening paper; no good in that! He could never find anything in the papers over here. At this distance from the past, all this space and all this time—what did he feel about her? Hate? The word was too strong. One didn’t hate those who weren’t near one. Besides, he had never hated her! Not even when he first knew she was unfaithful. Contempt? No. She had made him ache too much for that. He didn’t know what he felt. And he began walking up and down, and once or twice stood at the door and listened, as might a prisoner in his cell. Undignified! And going to the sofa he stretched himself out on it. He would think about his travels. Had he enjoyed them? One long whirl of things, and—water. And yet, all had gone according to programme, except China, to which they had given as wide a berth as possible, owing to its state. The Sphinx and the Taj Mahal, Vancouver Harbour, and the Rocky Mountains, they played a sort of hide-and-seek within him; and now—that strumming; was it She? Strange! You had, it seemed, only just one season of real heat. Everything else that happened to you was in a way tepid, and perhaps it was as well, or the boiler would burst. His emotions in the years when he first knew her—would he go through them again? Not for the world. And yet! Soames got up. That music was going on and on; but when it stopped, the player—She or not She!—would be no longer visible. Why not walk past that little ‘salon’—just walk past, and—and take a glimpse? If it were She, well, probably she’d lost her looks—the beauty that had played such havoc with him! He had noticed the position of the piano; yes—the player would be in profile to him. He opened the door; the music swelled, and he stole forth.

The breadth of Fleur’s room, only, separated him from that little ‘salon’ opposite the stairs. No one was in the corridor, not even a bell-boy. Very likely some American woman after all, possibly that girl—Jon’s wife! Yet no—there was something—something in the sound! And holding up the evening paper before him, he moved along. Three pillars, with spaces between them, divided the ‘salon’ from the corridor, avoiding what Soames so missed in America—the fourth wall. At the first of these pillars he came to a stand. A tail lamp with an orange shade stood by the keyboard, and the light from it fell on the music, on the keys, on the cheek and hair of the player. She! Though he had supposed her grey by now, the sight of that hair without a thread in it of the old gold affected him strangely. Curved, soft, shining, it covered her like a silver casque. She was in evening dress, and he could see that her shoulders, neck and arms were still rounded and beautiful. All her body from the waist was moving lightly to the rhythm of her playing. Her frock was of a greyish heliotrope. Soames stood behind his pillar gazing, his hand over his face, lest she should turn her head. He did not exactly feel—the film of remembrance was unrolled too quickly. From the first sight of her in a Bournemouth drawing-room to the last sight of her in the Goupenor Gallery—the long sequence passed him by in its heat and its frost and its bitterness; the long struggle of sense, the long failure of spirit; the long aching passion, and its long schooling into numbness and indifference. The last thing he wanted, standing there was to speak with her, and yet he could not take his eyes away. Suddenly she stopped playing; bending forward she closed the music and reached to turn out the lamp. Her face came round in the light, and, cowering back, Soames saw it, still beautiful, perhaps more beautiful, a little worn, so that the eyes looked even darker than of old, larger, softer under the still dark eyebrows. And once more he had that feeling: ‘There sits a woman I have never known.’ With a sort of anger he craned back till he could see no longer. Ah! she had had many faults, but the worst of her faults had always been, was still, her infernal mystery! And, stepping silently like a cat, he regained his room.

He felt tired to death now, and, going into his bedroom, undressed hurriedly and got into bed. He wished with all his heart that he were on board, under the British flag. ‘I’m old,’ he thought suddenly, ‘old.’ This America was too young for him, so full of energy, bustling about to ends he could not see. Those Eastern places had been different. And yet, after all, he was a mere seventy. His father had lived to be ninety—old Jolyon eighty-five, Timothy a hundred, and so with all the old Forsytes. At seventy they weren’t playing golf; and yet they were younger, younger anyway than he felt to-night. The sight of that woman had—had——! Old!

‘I’m not going back to be old,’ he thought. ‘If I feel like this again I shall consult someone.’ They had some monkey things nowadays they could inject. He shouldn’t try that. Monkeys indeed! Why not pigs or tigers? Hold on somehow another ten or fifteen years! By that time they would have found out where they were in England. That precious capital levy would have been exploded. He would know what he had to leave to Fleur; would see her baby grow into a boy and go to school—public school—even! Eton? No—young Jolyon had been there. Winchester, the Monts’ school? Not there either, if he could help it. Harrow was handy; or his own school—Marlborough? Perhaps he would see him play at Lord’s. Another fifteen years before Kit could play at Lord’s! Well—something to look forward to, something to hold on for. If you hadn’t that, you felt old and if you felt old, you were old, and the end soon came. How well that woman had worn! She——! There were his pictures too; take them up more seriously. That Freer Gallery! Leave them to the nation, and your name lived—much comfort in that! She! She would never die!

A crack of light on the wall close to the door.

“Asleep, Dad?”

So Fleur had remembered to come and have a look at him!

“How are you now, dear?”

“All right; tired. How was the opera?”


“I’ve told them to call us at seven. We’ll breakfast on the train.”

Her lips touched his forehead. If—if that woman—but never—never once—never of her own accord——!

“Good-night,” he said. “Sleep well!”

The light on the wall narrowed and was gone! Well! He was drowsy now. But, in this house—Shapes—Shapes! Past—present—at the piano—at his bedside—passing—passing by—and there, behind them, the great bronze-hooded woman, with the closed eyes, deep sunk in ever-lasting—profound—pro——! And from Soames a gentle snore escaped.

Transcriber’s Notes

A small number of changes in hyphenation were made to achieve consistency.

[The end of Passers-by by John Galsworthy]