Lord Saxenden

I’d never got beyond the sixth volume of the Forsyte Saga, but now I’m reading (and enjoying) Maid in Waiting (1931), the first book of the final trilogy.
I especially like the way that Galsworthy introduces us to the character of Lord Saxenden:

“What sort of man is Lord Saxenden, really, Uncle Lawrence?”

“One of those who won the war by never having his opinion taken. You know the sort of thing: ‘Went down for week-end to Cooquers. The Capers were there, and Gwen Blandish; she was in force and had much to say about the Polish front. I had more. Talked with Capers; he thinks the Boches have had enough. I disagreed with him; he is very down on Lord T. Arthur Prose came over on Sunday; he estimates that the Russians now have two million rifles but no bullets. The war, he says, will be over by January. He is appalled by our losses. If he only knew what I know! Lady Thripp was there with her son, who has lost his left foot. She is most engaging; promised to go and see her hospital and tell her how to run it. Very pleasant dinner on Sunday–everybody in great form; we played at comfits. Alick came in after; he says we lost forty thousand men in the last attack, but the French lost more. I expressed the opinion that it was very serious. No one took it.'”

Dinny laughed. “Were there such people?”

“Were there not, my dear! Most valuable fellows; what we should have done without them–the way they kept their ends up and their courage and their conversation–the thing had to be seen to be believed. And almost all of them won the war. Saxenden was especially responsible. He had an active job all the time.”

“What job?”

“Being in the know. He was probably more in the know than anybody else on earth, judging by what he says. Remarkable constitution, too, and lets you see it: great yachtsman.”

“I shall look forward to him.”

“Snubby,” sighed her uncle, “is one of those persons at whom it is better to look back.”


One Comment

  1. Posted March 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Lovely to read that dialogue. I must confess that I only saw the BBC series on PBS years ago and loved it. My very failing eyesight simply inclines me to take the easy way out. i now only read large print editions of anything, and miss the printed word fiercely. Thanks for this, and for the wonderful fact that you are an avid reader and sharp reviewer. Your posts are illuminating.

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