Quotations from the works of John Galsworthy
night. The doctor can’t tell why. He’s a clever fellow, or I shouldn’t
have him, but I get nothing out of him but bills.”
There was little sentimentality about the Forsytes. In that great
London, which they had conquered and become merged in, what time had they
to be sentimental?
A moment passed, and young Jolyon, turning on his heel, marched out at
the door. He could hardly see; his smile quavered. Never in all the
ﬁfteen years since he had ﬁrst found out that life was no simple
business, had he found it so singularly complicated.
As in all self-res pecting families, an emporium had been established
where family secrets were bartered, and family stock priced. It was
known on Forsyte ’Change that Irene regretted her marriage. Her regret
was disapproved of. She ought to have known her own mind; no dependable
woman made these mistakes.
Out of his other property, out of all the things he had collected, his
silver, his pictures, his hous es, his investments, he got a secret and
intimate feeling; out of her he got none.
2Of all those whom this strange rumour about Bosinney and Mrs. Soames
reached, James was the most aﬀected. He had long forgotten how he had
hovered, lanky and pale, in side whiskers of chestnut hue, round Emily,
in the days of his own courtship. He had long forgotten the small house
in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his
married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the
small house,–a Forsyte never forgot a house–he had afterwards sold it
at a clear proﬁt of four hundred pounds.
And those countless Forsytes, who, in the course of innumerable
transactions concerned with property of all sorts (from wives to
”I now move, ’That the report and accounts for the year 1886 be received
and adopted.’ You second that? Those in favour signify the same in the
usual way. Contrary–no. Carried. The next business, gentlemen....”
Soames smiled. Certainly Uncle Jolyon had a way with him!
Forces regardless of family or class or custom were beating down his
guard; impending events over which he had no control threw their shadows
on his head. The irritation of one accustomed to have his way was,
roused against he knew not what.
We are, of course, all of us the slaves of property, and I admit that
it’s a question of degree, but what I call a ’Forsyte’ is a man who is
decidedly more than less a slave of property. He knows a good thing, he
knows a safe thing, and his grip on property–it doesn’t matter whether
it be wives, houses, money, or reputation–is his hall-mark.”–”Ah!”
murmured Bosinney. ”You should patent the word.”–”I should like,” said
young Jolyon, ”to lecture on it: ’Properties and quality of a Forsyte’:
This little animal, disturbed by the ridic ule of his own sort, is
unaﬀected in his motions by the laughter of strange creatures (you or
I). Hereditarily disposed to myopia, he rec ognises only the persons of
his own species, amongst which he passes an existence of competitive
”My people,” replied young Jolyon, ”are not very extreme, and they have
their own private pec uliarities, like every other family, but they
possess in a remarkable degree those two qualities which are the real
tests of a Forsyte–the power of never being able to give yourself up to
anything soul and body, and the ’sense of property’.”
An unhappy marriage! No ill-treatment–only that indeﬁnable malaise,
that terrible blight which killed all sweetness under Heaven; and so from