Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1372
The Man of Property. It is 1886, and all the Forsytes are gathered at Old Jolyon Forsyte’s house to celebrate the engagement of his granddaughter, June, to Philip Bosinney, a young architect. Young Jolyon Forsyte, June’s father, is estranged from his family because he ran away with a governess, whom he later married after June’s mother’s death. Because of the ensuing scandal, June has grown up in the home of her grandfather.
Old Jolyon complains that since June became engaged he has seen little of her. Because he is lonely, he calls on Young Jolyon, whom he has not seen in many years. He finds his son painting watercolors and also working as an underwriter for Lloyd’s. Young Jolyon has two children, Holly and Jolly, by his second wife, and Old Jolyon comes to dote upon them. Old Jolyon, who has the tenderest heart among the six Forsyte brothers (there are ten siblings in all) realizes that he wishes for a complete reconciliation with his son.
The family knows that Soames, son of Old Jolyon’s brother James, has been having trouble with his lovely wife, Irene. She has developed a profound aversion for her husband and has recently reminded him of her premarital stipulation that she should have her freedom if the marriage were not a success. Desperate to please her, Soames plans to build a large country place at Robin Hill and hires June’s fiancé to design and build the house.
When Soames suggests alterations to the plans, Bosinney appears offended, and in the end, the plans remain as they were drawn. As work on the house proceeds, the two men argue over the costs, which are exceeding the original estimate. One day, Soames’s uncle, Swithin Forsyte, takes Irene to see the house, where she meets Bosinney. While Swithin dozes, the architect and Irene talk and fall deeply in love with each other. From this point on, Irene’s already unbearable life with Soames becomes impossible. She asks for a separate room.
Problems over the house continue. Bosinney has agreed to decorate it but only if he can have a free hand, to which Soames finally agrees. Irene and Bosinney begin to meet secretly. As their affair progresses, June becomes more unhappy, and as her suspicions grow, her deep friendship with Irene is strained. Finally, Old Jolyon takes June away for a holiday. He writes to Young Jolyon, asking him to see Bosinney and learn his intentions toward June. Young Jolyon talks to Bosinney, but the report he makes to his father is vague.
When the house is completed, Soames sues Bosinney for exceeding his highest estimate. Irene refuses to move to Robin Hill. When the lawsuit over the house comes to trial, Soames wins his case without difficulty. This same night, Bosinney, after spending the afternoon with Irene and learning that Soames has forced himself on her, is accidentally run over and killed. There is a lingering suspicion that his death may have been a suicide. Irene leaves her husband on the day of the trial, but that night she returns to his house because there is nowhere else for her to go.
“Indian Summer of a Forsyte.” June persuades her grandfather to buy Robin Hill for Jolyon’s family. A short time after Bosinney’s death, Irene leaves Soames permanently; she settles in a small flat and starts giving music lessons to support herself. Several years later, Irene visits Robin Hill secretly and meets Old Jolyon. She wins him over with her gentleness and charm, and during that summer, she makes his days happy. Each of her visits is a joy to the old man. Late in the summer, he dies quietly while waiting for her to come to him again.
In Chancery . After his separation from Irene, Soames devotes himself to making money. Then, still hoping to have an heir, he begins to court a young French woman, Annette Lamotte. His sister, Winifred Dartie, is facing...
(The entire section contains 1372 words.)
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