|Primary Characters:||Joley, Soames, Bosinney|
|Warning:||m/m sex, violence, prostitution (nothing explicit)|
|Description:||June’s fiance, Bosinney, charms Soames and his wife, maybe his charms work a little too well. In the end disaster strikes.|
The day his daugther June brought her fiance, Bosinney, home for a visit, a sudden chill came over young Jolyon – Joley. A strong feeling of foreboding gripped him and his welcoming smile froze on his lips. At the time, he put his reaction down to a reluctance to let any member of his family go. As once he’d lost his mother, he was loath to lose anyone else.
He recovered his poise, and he doubted anyone noticed. It was only later, that he recalled the moment and began to wonder if somehow he might have averted the disaster that followed. If he had reacted more promptly, would he then have been able to save his dear, dear June the sorrow and grief that befell her, after giving her heart to a man who found it easy to give his in return, not only, as would have been proper, to his eager, young fiancee, but also to another woman.
It seemed to Joley that he might have been more understanding of young Bosinney’s reaction to Irene, his cousin Soames’ wife, had he not been affianced to his beloved June. However, under the circumstances, it was only natural that his sympathies lay solely with his closest kin, not a woman merely associated by marriage.
Perhaps young Bosinney also suffered from an excess of ambition, or – here Joley blamed himself again – the young man might have been striving too hard to live up to his future father-in-law’s expectations. In any case, Bosinney approached Soames and was engaged upon the project, and at the same time embarked upon his road to destruction, taking June’s peace of mind with him.
It all had the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. However, it was a long time, until Joley learned the full truth about the matter.
As far as the other participants in the drama, he knew nothing of Soames’ state of mind, almost nothing of Irene’s, little of Bosinney’s, but all the more of June’s.
And so it was that Bosinney, still the eager young man that June fell in love with – as so many others – met Soames Forsyte and the latter’s wife Irene.
It was plain from the start, that Irene Forsyte was not a happy woman. Soames, on the other hand, while not happy, at least seemed content, and visibly proud of his acquisition – for it was so he seemed to regard his lovely wife.
Much later, Bosinney recalled thinking she was like a beautiful, frail bird, caught in a trap. Keenly trying to find approval with Irene’s husband, Bosinney initially devoted his energy to impressing Soames. Bound by the laws of polite society, he would have been unable to openly befriend another man’s wife, though soon enough, he overcame those inhibitions.
In the meantime, he focused his efforts on charming the husband, rather than the wife.
Something about Bosinney made a deep impression on Soames. To begin with, he could not fathom what that was, but he found himself unable to get the image of the young man out his mind. Though normally not enclined to hasty decisions, Soames later concluded that he had moved too quickly and used far too little of his judgment when he contracted Bosinney to build the house he wished to at once impress the rest of London, and at the same time at last make his wife open her eyes and finally see him and respect him.
Soames’ decision to build the house did not mean that his interaction with the young architect was entirely without friction. Quite the opposite in fact. Their meetings were fraught with strife. Yet – as Bosinney set to work wooing his employer – while at the same time courting Irene – Soames became prey to conflicting emotions.
On the one hand, he abhorred the excessive expenditure, on the other he found himself spellbound by the young man’s charm.
There was something about the young man’s deceptively innocent, guileless countenance, animated with passion for his work which returned to haunt Soames at night. This made his visits to his wife’s bedroom far less frequent, which could not fail to please Irene, especially since she herself was enchanted with young Bosinney.
As time went by, Bosinney experienced a lull in the endless arguments about the money spent on building the house that would make his reputation. He put it down to his own skills of persuasion and was pleased, though truth be told, at the moment, his mind was occupied more with thoughts of the lovely Irene, than with his work.
It was not until the fateful time when his employer at last stumbled upon their secret, that the real reason for Soames’ indulgent behaviour towards the architect became plain.
Irene had fled, encouraged by Bosinney, and he prepared himself for the confrontation.
Soames was seething, almost literally. His eyes narrowed and the expression, always somewhat cool, turned decidedly chilly.
However, at the last moment, when Bosinney had already concluded that he would be forced to defend himself physically, and had in fact already clenched his fists in preparation of the fight which seemed inevitable, Soames’ manner altered before the younger man’s eyes.
Soames’ voice softened and an incoherent babble issued from his mouth. Bosinney could barely make out half of it. What little he did catch, at first did not enlighten him greatly as to the state of mind of the man before him.
“You betrayed me. Mine, I tell you. Mine. And you repay me like this?”
Interspersed between these words, more or less lucid statements, were others, words and sentences that made little or no sense to Bosinney. All he could catch were words such as ‘lovely’ ‘enchanting’ and ‘desirable’. As he himself clearly agreed that Irene was all of those things and more, he had no argument with that. However, when Soames’ hands convulsively reached out towards him, it did not take him long to realize that he had somehow formed entirely the wrong impression.
Soames did not after all, smash his fists into Bosinney’s face. His hands shot out, seized the younger man’s shoulders and rather than pushing him away, clasped him to his chest.
For a moment, Bosinney formed the impression that his employer had lost his mind. However, the second Soames’ mouth reached for his, Bosinney was rapidly forced to re-evaluate the situation.
Soames’ lips burned Bosinney’s for a seemingly endless moment, then at last, Bosinney tore himself free, to flee, rather than risk any more infamy at his employer’s hands.
When Bosinney had so brusquely broken free, Soames remained staring after him, chest heaving, eyes ablaze with an eerie light. It was quite a while until he once again came to his senses.
Soames began to pound the wall in useless rage. Bosinney had indeed betrayed him, but worse still, by confessing his love for a young man – he – Soames – had exposed himself to ridicule and Soames was not one to gladly suffer ignominy. He would make Bosinney suffer as he himself had been forced to suffer and Irene –
Irene would learn the consequences of defying him. However, when Soames arrived, breathless and feverish with rage, outside his wife’s bedroom, he found that she, too, had fled. He ran through her rooms, venting his rage on her possessions, but the lady herself was nowhere to be seen.
After extensive questioning of the servants, he found that Irene had not, as he at first had expected, left with Bosinney.
Further enquiry revealed that the two were not, at least not yet, living together, but Soames assumed that Bosinney was keeping her, and that they were hoping to make a life together. That, he would not have. And being a man of property and one of slow, deliberate thinking, he resolved to ruin Bosinney, at once financially and professionally, whereas a man with a different temperament, might have settled on a more direct means of revenge.
Thus Bosinney found himself summoned to court to face charges. To begin with, he was hopeful that he would win. Eventually, however, he realized that he had been overly optimistic. At last, facing the prospect of bankruptcy and professional disgrace, he became increasingly desperate.
He knew that this was Soames’ way of tearing him and Irene apart, rendering him incapable of supporting a wife.
On the day of the court proceedings, Bosinney set out, his mind in turmoil, dwelling miserably on the day ahead. So distraught was he, that he failed to notice that he was being followed.
After spending a night tossing and turning on his bed, he ended up leaving late for court, and realizing he was about to miss the beginning of the proceedings, in his desperation, he took a shortcut and ended up walking through back streets not fit for gentlemen of his class.
A ruffian, attracted by the fine cut of his coat, and the hope of a fat purse and other valuables chose a moment when Bosinney found himself in an insalubrious, badly lit alley, and assaulted him, wielding a heavy stick. Bosinney fell onto the filthy ground, senseless.
The villain bent over his victim and deftly pulled off the coat, put it on, and ran off, lest he be caught in the act. Hearing what he interpreted as sounds of pursuit, he raced towards the main street. Not paying attention, he ran straight into the path of a passing carriage. The ensuing carnage was still spoken about for years to come.
When it became clear that Bosinney had not appeared for the court proceedings, at first the immediate consequence was merely that for all intents and purposes, he lost. His absence was put down to a realisation that he had no chance whatsoever of winning and thus it was concluded that he had fled.
It was not until considerably later, that it occurred to anyone to look for him in the hospitals or his body in the morgues.
Faced with June’s despair, Jolyon Sr, visited such places where the bodies of the as yet unidentified could be found. The body of the young man in Bosinney’s coat, having much the same build and coloring, could not fail to be identified as Bosinney.
Greatly touched by the tragedy, Jolyon could not but conclude that this was indeed June’s poor unfortunate ‘Buccaneer’ and he returned home to report as much to the desolate young woman.
By now, the rumours of the incident between Soames and Bosinney had reached young Jolyon’s ears. Still haunted by the memories of his ordeal at Soames’ home Joley formed the impression that Soames had ravished the young man.
The other Forsytes were inclined to believe that Soames had challenged Bosinney to a duel, archaic as it might seem in present day England, and that he had defeated him, or that Bosinney had fled, rather than facing Soames’ wrath.
While the subject of so much speculation, the real Bosinney, quite unlike the unfortunate young thief, lay in the alley, deeply unconscious. Being the sort of neighbourhood it was, no one paid much heed to him. In so far as he was a hindrance to traffic, he was dragged aside, and left lying there, to perish or recover, as the case might be.
When at last he came to, it was night. The unfamiliar place struck him as being wrong, but he could not recall where by rights he ought to find himself. His nose wrinkled at the unfamiliar odours and the scurrying of little feet unnervingly close to his face made him start violently.
There was a pounding in his temples and a dull pain at the back of his skull. Bouts of nausea made him turn over and empty his stomach onto the slippery ground. Before long, he became aware of shivering with cold. He noticed that he was in his shirtsleeves but could not recall how he had lost his coat, or if indeed he had ever owned one.
During one of his periods of lucidity, it struck him that he did not even remember his own name. That insight filled him with a deep, chilling dread. He worked himself into quite a frenzy, trying to recall, but where once his name and identity had dwelled, there was now a gaping void.
The sun came up and the chill of night slowly gave way to sickly, lukewarm humidity. Towards the evening of the same day, the young man dragged himself away from the worst filth and began to look for some kind of shelter that would keep him out of the damp and hopefully, away from the ravages of the rats.
In the days and weeks to come, the young man learned to scrape a meager living by raiding dustbins and refuse heaps, but also by doing such odd jobs that even a gentleman, which he unmistakeably was, could be hired to do.
At times, he was approached by unsavoury-looking men. The nature of their interest in him eventually dawned on him and he felt his face heat up uncomfortably. However, with winter approaching, he knew he would need better shelter and warmer clothing. In the early days of his odyssey in the meaner quarter of the city, he had been forced to sell his shoes. Next followed his shirt and trousers. By the time winter came around, he had nothing left to sell, except himself, so he forced his revulsion down and did what was asked of him, distasteful as it was, and so was able to buy a warm coat.
This gruelling, mind-numbing existence lasted until one day while he was working on a builder’s site, a substantial piece of wood fell on his head. When he came to, he had not only regained use of his senses, but also had full access to his memories.
Filled with shame, he at first dreaded returning to Irene, but driven by his fears for her safety, made discreet enquiries as to her whereabouts. What he learned made a mockery of their feelings for each other. It seemed to him that Irene had merely been playing with him. In his absence, she had returned to Soames and later it seemed she had sought comfort easily enough.
Thus, with nothing left to lose, Bosinney left England and, once again having access to his knowledge and skills as an architect, he began to work in his own profession again, albeit in Germany and Italy.
In the years he spent on the continent, he was haunted by the thought of how he had betrayed poor June. No longer infatuated with Irene, he began to recall his feelings for his poor, jilted fiancee. It seemed to Bosinney that all the pain and degradation he had suffered had been well-deserved.
Eventually, he found himself irresistibly drawn back to his native Wales and later to London. Some day, he would need to atone for his crimes and he could not do so from abroad. It was time he faced up to his misdeeds, if ever he wished to regain his peace of mind.