Death of Old Jolyon: Indian Summer of a Forsyte
The stable clock struck four; in half an hour she
would be here. He would have just one tiny nap, because he had had
so little sleep of late; and then he would be fresh for her, fresh
for youth and beauty, coming towards him across the sunlit lawn —
lady in grey! And settling back in his chair he closed his eyes.
Some thistledown came on what little air there was, and pitched on
his moustache more white then itself. He did not know; but his
breathing stirred it, caught there. A ray of sunlight struck through
and lodged on his boot. A bumble-bee alighted and strolled on the
crown of his Panama hat. And the delicious surge of slumber reached
the brain beneath that hat, and the head swayed forward and rested
on his breast. Summer — summer! So went the hum.
The stable clock struck the quarter past. The dog
Balthasar stretched and looked up at his master. The thistledown no
longer moved. The dog placed his chin over the sunlit foot. It did
not stir. The dog withdrew his chin quickly, rose, and leaped on old Jolyon’s lap, looked in his face, whined; then leaping down, sat on
his haunches, gazing up. And suddenly he uttered a long, long howl.
But the thistledown was still as death, and the face
of his old master.
Summer — summer — summer! The soundless footsteps on
Death of the Dog Balthasar: Chapter X
…He passed the pond and mounted the hill slowly.
Near the top a hoarse barking greeted him. Up on the lawn above the
fernery he could see his old dog Balthasar. The animal, whose dim
eyes took his master for a stranger, was warning the world against
him. Jolyon gave a special whistle. Even at that distance of a
hundred yards and more he could see the dawning recognition in the
obese brown-white body. The old dog got off his haunches, and his
tail, close-curled over his back, began a feeble, exciting
fluttering; he came waddling forward, gathered momentum, and
disappeared over the edge of the fernery. Jolyon expected to meet
him at the wicket gate, but Balthasar was not there, and, rather
alarmed, he turned into the fernery. On his fat side, looking up
with eyes already glazing, the old dog lay.
"What is it, my poor old man?" cried Jolyon.
Balthasar’s curled and fluffy tail just moved; his filming eyes
seemed saying: "I can’t get up, master, but I’m glad to see you."
Jolyon knelt down; his eyes, very dimmed, could
hardly see the slowly ceasing heave of the dog’s side. He raised his
head a little— very heavy.
"What is it, dear man? Where are you hurt?" The tail fluttered
once; the eyes lost the look of life. Jolyon passed his hands all
over the inert warm bulk. There was nothing — the heart had simply
failed in that obese body from the emotion of his master’s return.
Jolyon could feel the muzzle, where a few whitish bristles grew,
cooling already against his lips. He stayed for some minutes
kneeling, with his hands beneath the stiffening head. The body was
very heavy when he bore it to the top of the field; leaves had
drifted there, and he strewed it with a covering of them, there was
no wind, and they would keep him from the curious eyes until the
afternoon. ‘I’ll bury him myself,’ he thought. Eighteen years had
gone since he first went into the St. John’s Wood house with that
tiny puppy in his pocket. Strange that the old dog should die just
now! Was it an omen? He turned at the gate to look back at that
russet mound, then went slowly towards the house, very choky in the