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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 117, No. 2 (August, 1930)

Galsworthy, John
Sands of time,   pp. 10-11 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 10

A story that stirs the deepest
places of the heart. Poignant,
grim, tender... and only this
author, who created the famous
Forsyte Saga and many other
flne novels, could have written it
N THE Spring of S6o, on the afternoon of the last day
before his son went to Eton. old Jolyon hung up his top
hat on a wooden antler in the hall at Stanhope Gate and
went into the dining-room. Young Jolyon, who had hung
up his top hat on a lower wooden antler, followed, and
so soon as his father was seated in his large leather
chair, perched himself on the arm thereof.  Whether
from the Egyptian mummies they had just been see-
ing in the British Museum, or merely because the boy's
venture to a new school, and a public school at that,
loomed heavy before them, they were both feeling old,
for between the ages of fifty-four and thirteen there is not,
on occasions like this, a great gulf set. And that physical
juxtaposition, which, until he first went to school at the
age of ten, had been constant between young Jolyon and
his sire, was resumed almost unconsciously under the
boy's foreboding that tomorrow he would be a man. He
leaned back until his head was tucked down on his father's
shoulder. To old Jolvon, moments like this, getting rarer
with the years, were precious as any that life afforded him
--an immense comfort that the boy was such an affection-
ate chap.
"Well, Jo," he said, "what did you think of the
"Horrible things, Dad."
"Um-ves. Still, if we hadn't got 'em, somebody else
would. They say thev're worth a lot of money. Queer
thing, Jo, to think there are descendants of those mum-
mies still living, perhaps. Well, you'll be able to say
you ve seen them: I don't suppose many other boys have.
You'll like Eton, I expect." This he said because he was
afraid his boy would not. He didn't know much about
it, but it was a great place to send a little chap to. The
pressure of the boy's cheek against the hollow between
chest and arm was increased; and he heard the treble
voice, somewhat muffled, murmur:
"Tell me about your school, Dad."
"My school, Jo? It was no great shakes. I went to
school at Epsom-used to go by coach up to London all
the way from Bosport, and then down by postshay-no
railways then, you know. Put in charge of the guard,
great big red-faced chap with a horn. Travel all night-
ten miles an hour-and change horses every hour-like
"Did you go outside, Dad?"
"Yes-there I was, a little shaver wedged up between
the coachman and a passenger; cold work-shawls there
were in those days, over your eyes. My mother used to
give me a mutton pie and a flask of cherry brandy. Good
sort, the old coachman, hoarse as a crow and round as a
barrel; and see him drive-take a fly off the leader's ear
with his whip."
"Were there many boys?"
"No; a small school, about thirty. But I left school at
"My mother died when your Aunt Susan was born, so
we left Bosport and came up to London, and I was put
to business."
"What was your mother like, Dad?"
"Mv mother?" Old Jolyon was silent, tracing back in
thought through crowded memories. "I was fond of her,
Jo. Eldest boy', you know; they say I took after her.
Don't know about that; she was a pretty woman, refined
face. Nick Treffry would tell you she was the prettiest
woman in the town-good woman, too-very good to me.
I felt her death very much."
A LITTLE more pressure of the head in the hollow of
his arm. All that he felt for the boy, and that he
hoped and believed the boy felt for him, he had felt for
his own mother all that time ago. Only forty-one when
she had died bearing her tenth child. Tenth! In those
days they made nothing of that sort of thing till the pitcher
went once too often to the well. Ah! Losing her had
been a bitter business. Young Jolyon got off the arm of
"Tell me about your school, Dad,"
said young Jolyon. "My school,
Jo? I used to go by coach-a
little shaver wedged up beside
the coachman. Good sort-you
ought to have seen him take a fly
off the horse's ear with his whip"

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