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|The price of everything, and everyone
Written by Linda (Ann)
(9/22/2004 2:39 p.m.)
Two things that particularly struck me -
One, that Soames married Irene, a woman with no money and no connections. Soames, the most Forsyte-like of the next generation, gives up a tremendous opportunity to marry to his benefit. And that this decision causes him discomfort or even pain, as Irene does not return her affection and prefers (best that I can interpret) to not be in the same room with him.
Obviously Soames wanted her, to offer for her 5 times (I believe it was 5?) - but part of me wonders if the fact Irene refused him at first (and second, and third) made him that much more resolved to have her. He must have been overbearing in their courtship as he was so determined - and her living conditions must have been verging on desperate for her to accept him. This was dysfunctional from the get-go - how could marriage improve such a relationship?
Secondly, and an observation on the more amusing side, in Chapter Six when Soames father, James, visits for dinner and looks at Irene with a froth of lace at her bosom, and James exclaims "That rose-point, that's not real!" And of course it is real because Soames does pay a pretty penny to dress his lovely wife.
Now, from my modern prespective (out of place I know) can you see a man of James age who would know what kind of lace Irene was wearing? I think it is a hoot that he is so knowledgable of the expense of fashionable dressing that he would know at a glance Irene is wearing rose-point, remark on it, and then give it a good look as she approaches to take his arm and acknowledge that it is real. Not only does he know his lace, but he knows if it is real.
Do you think Soames "increases" the value of his wife by dressing her so expensively? It seems so sad, gilding the lily that does not want to be held by him.
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