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John Galsworthy. Forsyte Saga
The Man of Property (1906)
In this first novel of the Forsyte Saga, after introducing us to the impressive array of senior Forsytes headed by the formidable Aunt Ann, Galsworthy moves into the main action of the saga by detailing Soames Forsyte's desire to own things, including his beautiful wife, Irene Forsyte (née Heron). He is jealous of her friendships and wants that she should be his alone. He concocts a plan to move her to the country, away from everyone, but she resists his grasping intentions and falls in love with architect Philip Bosinney. However, Bosinney is the fiancé of her friend June Forsyte, the daughter of Soames's cousin Jolyon.
In a short interlude after The Man of Property, Galsworthy delves into the newfound friendship between Old Jolyon Forsyte (June's grandfather) and Irene, who has left Soames. This attachment gives Old Jolyon pleasure, but exhausts his strength. He leaves Irene money in his will with Young Jolyon, his son as trustee.
The marital discord of both Soames and his sister Winifred is the subject of the second novel, the title "Chancery" being a reference to the system of courts that deal with domestic issues. They take steps to divorce their spouses, Irene, and Montague Dartie respectively. However, while Soames tells his sister to brave the consequences of going to court, he is not willing to go through a divorce himself. Instead he stalks and hounds Irene, following her abroad, and asking her to have his child, which is his father's wish. Ultimately, Soames remarries, wedding the young Annette, the daughter of a French Soho restaurant owner. Through his new wife, he has his only child, Fleur Forsyte.
As for Irene, she is left the sum of £15,000 after Old Jolyon's death. His son, Young Jolyon Forsyte, also Soames's cousin, takes care of Irene's finances. When she first leaves her husband, he offers his support. At the time of the death of Young Jolyon's son Jolly, Irene has developed a strong friendship with Jolyon. They begin an affair, and she has his son after they marry.
The subject of the second interlude is the naive and exuberant lifestyle of eight-year-old Jon Forsyte. He loves and is loved by his parents. He has an idyllic youth, his every desire indulged.
This novel concludes the Forsyte Saga. Second cousins Fleur and Jon Forsyte meet and fall in love, unknowing of their parents' past affairs, indiscretions, and misdeeds. Once Soames, Jolyon, and Irene discover their romance, they forbid their children to see each other again. Jolyon warns his son that once he dies, there will be no one to protect Irene from her ex-husband. Jon is torn between the past and his present love for Fleur. Despite her feelings for Jon, Fleur has a very suitable suitor, Michael Mont, heir to a baronetcy. Should they marry, Fleur would elevate the status of her family from "nouveau riche" to the aristocratic upper class. The title derives from Soames' reflections as he breaks up the house in which his Uncle Timothy, recently deceased at age 100 and the last of the older generation of Forsytes, had lived a recluse, hoarding his life like property.
John Galsworthy (1867 - 1933)
THE MAN OF PROPERTY (1906)
Chapter V. A Forsyte Menage (extract)
The happy pair were seated, not opposite each other, but rectangularly, at the handsome rosewood table; they dined without a cloth - a distinguishing elegance - and so far had not spoken a word. Soames liked to talk during dinner about business, or what he had been buying, and so long as he talked Irene's silence did not distress him. This evening he had found it impossible to talk. The decision to build had been weighing on his mind all the week, and he had made up his mind to tell her.
His nervousness about this disclosure irritated him profoundly; she had no business to make him feel like that - a wife and a husband being one person. She had not looked at him once since they sat down; and he wondered what on earth she had been thinking about all the time. It was hard, when a man worked as he did, making money for her - yes, and with an ache in his heart - that she should sit there, looking - looking as if she saw the walls of the room closing in. It was enough to make a man get up and leave the table.
The light from the rose-shaded lamp fell on her neck and arms - Soames liked her to dine in a low dress, it gave him an inexpressible feeling of superiority to the majority of his acquaintance, whose wives were contented with their best high frocks or with teagowns, when they dined at home. Under that rosy light her amber-coloured hair and fair skin made a strange contrast with her dark brown eyes. Could a man own anything prettier than this dining-table with its deep tints, the starry, soft-petalled roses, the ruby-coloured glass, and quaint silver furnishing; could a man own anything prettier than the woman who sat at it? Gratitude was no virtue among Forsytes, who, competitive and full of common sense, had no occasion for it; and Soames only experienced a sense of exasperation amounting to pain, that he did not own her as it was his right to own her, that he could not, as by stretching out his hand to that rose, pluck her and sniff the very secrets of her heart.
menage - хозяйство
rosewood table-стол палисандрового дерева
weigh on- тяготить
a low dress -декольте
high frocks - платье
teagowns – платье для полуофициальных приемов
deep tints-глубокие тона
soft-petalled roses –розы с нежными лепестками
quaint silver-причудливое, вычурное серебро
common sense-здравый смысл
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