Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales

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You won't hear about the work she does either. But if you run into her, you won't be able to resist trying your luck. Maybe it's her amber eyes, or maybe it's her dangerous curves. Whatever it is, you'll be in for a memorable night -- as long as you're not on her "to-do" list. Chastity Flame loves her job as a secret government operative.

She foils criminal masterminds, travels the world, and finds new lovers in every city. When she meets art historian Damien Michelet in front of one of her favorite paintings, she discovers there's more to life than just lust although there's plenty of that, too. But Chastity doesn't have time to think about what this sexy distraction. Her job is amusing herself with various lovers across the continent in an effort to try and uncover a vast computer virus scheme that will destabilize European currency. Soames Forsyte emerged from the Knightsbridge Hotel, where he was staying, in the afternoon of the 12th of May, , with the intention of visiting a collection of pictures in a Gallery off Cork Street, and looking into the Future.

He walked. Since the War he never took a cab if he could help it. Their drivers were, in his view, an uncivil lot, though, now that the War was over and supply beginning to exceed demand again, getting more civil in accordance with the custom of human nature.

Still, he had not forgiven them, deeply identifying them with gloomy memories and, now dimly, like all members of their class, with revolution. The considerable anxiety he had passed through during the War, and the more considerable anxiety he had since undergone in the Peace, had produced psychological consequences in a tenacious nature. He had, mentally, so frequently experienced ruin, that he had ceased to believe in its material probability. Paying away four thousand a year in income and super-tax, one could not very well be worse off!

Air-raids, also, had acted beneficially on a spirit congenitally cautious, and hardened a character already dogged.

To be in danger of being entirely dispersed inclined one to be less apprehensive of the more partial dispersions involved in levies and taxation, while the habit of condemning the impudence of the Germans had led naturally to condemning that of Labor, if not openly at least in the sanctuary of his soul.

It was good for him to walk — his liver was a little constricted and his nerves rather on edge. His wife was always out when she was in Town, and his daughter WOULD flibberty-gibbet all over the place like most young women since the War. Still, he must be thankful that she had been too young to do anything in that War itself.

Not, of course, that he had not supported the War from its inception, with all his soul, but between that and supporting it with the bodies of his wife and daughter, there had been a gap fixed by something old-fashioned within him which abhorred emotional extravagance. Ruining her health and her looks! As if she were really a nurse!

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He had put a stopper on it. Let her do needlework for them at home, or knit! She had not gone, therefore, and had never been quite the same woman since. A bad tendency of hers to mock at him, not openly, but in continual little ways, had grown. As for Fleur, the War had resolved the vexed problem whether or not she should go to school. She was better away from her mother in her war mood, from the chance of air-raids, and the impetus to do extravagant things; so he had placed her in a seminary as far West as had seemed to him compatible with excellence, and had missed her horribly.

He had never regretted the somewhat outlandish name by which at her birth he had decided so suddenly to call her — marked concession though it had been to the French. A pretty name — a pretty child!


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But restless — too restless; and wilful! Knowing her power too over her father! Soames often reflected on the mistake it was to dote on his daughter. To get old and dote!

He had known but one real passion in his life — for that first wife of his — Irene. Yes, and that fellow, his Cousin Jolyon, who had gone off with her, was looking very shaky, they said. No wonder, at seventy-two, after twenty years of a third marriage! Soames paused a moment in his march to lean over the railings of the Row.

Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales

Now, after twenty years of his second edition, that old tragedy seemed to him like a previous existence — which had ended when Fleur was born in place of the son he had hoped for. For many years he had ceased regretting, even vaguely, the son who had not been born; Fleur filled the bill in his heart. After all, she bore his name; and he was not looking forward at all to the time when she would change it. Indeed, if he ever thought of such a calamity, it was seasoned by the vague feeling that he could make her rich enough to purchase perhaps and extinguish the name of the fellow who married her — why not, since, as it seemed, women were equal to men nowadays?

And Soames, secretly convinced that they were not, passed his curved hand over his face vigorously, till it reached the comfort of his chin.

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  • Thanks to abstemious habits, he had not grown fat and flabby; his nose was pale and thin, his grey moustache close-clipped, his eyesight unimpaired. A slight stoop closened and corrected the expansion given to his face by the heightening of his forehead in the recession of his grey hair. The shade from the plane-trees fell on his neat Homburg hat; he had given up top hats — it was no use attracting attention to wealth in days like these.

    His thoughts travelled sharply to Madrid — the Easter before the War, when, having to make up his mind about that Goya picture, he had taken a voyage of discovery to study the painter on his spot. The fellow had impressed him — great range, real genius!

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    Highly as the chap ranked, he would rank even higher before they had finished with him. The second Goya craze would be greater even than the first; oh, yes! And he had bought. He would still look at it, however, if his daughter were not there, for the sake of something irresistibly reminiscent in the light, erect balance of the figure, the width between the arching eyebrows, the eager dreaming of the dark eyes.

    He began to walk on again towards Hyde Park Corner. No greater change in all England than in the Row! Born almost within hail of it, he could remember it from on. Brought there as a child between the crinolines to stare at tight-trousered dandies in whiskers, riding with a cavalry seat; to watch the doffing of curly-brimmed and white top hats; the leisurely air of it all, and the little bow-legged man in a long red waistcoat who used to come among the fashion with dogs on several strings, and try to sell one to his mother: King Charles spaniels, Italian greyhounds, affectionate to her crinoline — you never saw them now.

    You saw no quality of any sort, indeed, just working people sitting in dull rows with nothing to stare at but a few young bouncing females in pot hats, riding astride, or desultory Colonials charging up and down on dismal-looking hacks; with, here and there, little girls on ponies, or old gentlemen jogging their livers, or an orderly trying a great galumphing cavalry horse; no thoroughbreds, no grooms, no bowing, no scraping, no gossip — nothing; only the trees the same — the trees indifferent to the generations and declensions of mankind.

    A democratic England — dishevelled, hurried, noisy, and seemingly without an apex. And that something fastidious in the soul of Soames turned over within him. Gone for ever, the close borough of rank and polish! Wealth there was — oh, yes! Little half-beaten pockets of gentility and caste lurking here and there, dispersed and chetif, as Annette would say; but nothing ever again firm and coherent to look up to. And into this new hurly-burly of bad manners and loose morals his daughter — flower of his life — was flung!

    And when those Labour chaps got power — if they ever did — the worst was yet to come! He passed out under the archway, at last no longer — thank goodness! George Forsyte, of course, would be sitting in the bay window of the Iseeum. The chap was so big now that he was there nearly all his time, like some immovable, sardonic, humorous eye noting the decline of men and things. Yes, there he was, tall, ponderous, neat, clean-shaven, with his smooth hair, hardly thinned, smelling, no doubt, of the best hair-wash, and a pink paper in his hand.

    And for perhaps the first time in his life Soames felt a kind of sympathy tapping in his waistcoat for that sardonic kinsman. With his weight, his perfectly parted hair, and bull-like gaze, he was a guarantee that the old order would take some shifting yet. He saw George move the pink paper as if inviting him to ascend — the chap must want to ask something about his property. Hesitating for just a moment, he nodded and went in. Since the death of his brother-inlaw Montague Dartie, in Paris, which no one had quite known what to make of, except that it was certainly not suicide — the Iseeum Club had seemed more respectable to Soames.

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    George put out a well-kept hand. He ought to have a pyramid by rights. They say he still takes an interest in food.

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    He might last on, you know. Ten of them — average age eighty-eight — I worked it out. That ought to be equal to triplets. It hits the fixed inherited income like the very deuce. What are you going to do for a living when it comes? I shall work a six-hour day teaching politicians how to see a joke. Take my tip, Soames; go into Parliament, make sure of your four hundred — and employ me. He himself had always been a worker and a saver, George always a drone and a spender; and yet, if confiscation once began, it was he — the worker and the saver — who would be looted! That was the negation of all virtue, the overturning of all Forsyte principles.

    Could civilisation be built on any other? He did not think so. But what would they be worth, if these maniacs once began to milk capital? A drug on the market. This fortune, so wisely invested, these treasures so carefully chosen and amassed, were all for her. Arriving at the Gallery off Cork Street, however, he paid his shilling, picked up a catalogue, and entered. Some ten persons were prowling round. Soames took steps and came on what looked to him like a lamp-post bent by collision with a motor omnibus. She appeared to him like nothing so much as a pump with two handles, lightly clad in snow.

    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales
    Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales Unquiet Dreams: A Murmuration of Unsettling Tales

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