Francie Forsyte

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Successful composer of waltzes and popular songs in the 1906 novel The Man of Property by John Galworthy.

"Little Francie," as she was usually called with good- natured contempt, was an important personage, if only as a standing illustration of the attitude of Forsytes towards the Arts. She was not really "little," but rather tall, with dark hair for a Forsyte, which, together with a grey eye, gave her what was called "a Celtic appearance." She wrote songs with titles like Breathing Sighs, or Kiss me, Mother, ere I Die, with a refrain like an anthem:

Kiss me, Mother, ere I die ;

Kiss me kiss me, Mother, ah!

Kiss, ah ! kiss me-e ere I

Kiss me, Mother, ere I d-d-die!

She wrote the words to them herself, and other poems. In lighter moments she wrote waltzes, one of which, the Kensington Coil, was almost national to Kensington, having a sweet dip in it. Thus :

Forsyte Francie The Man of Property.png

It was very original. Then there were her Songs for Little People, at once educational and witty, especially Gran'ma's Porgie, and that ditty, almost prophetically imbued with the coming Imperial spirit, entitled Black him in his Little Eye.

Any publisher would take these, and reviews like High Living, and the Ladies' Genteel Guide went into raptures over: "Another of Miss Francie Forsyte's spirited ditties, sparkling and pathetic. We ourselves were moved to tears and laughter. Miss Forsyte should go far."

With the true instinct of her breed, Francie had made a point of knowing the right people people who would write about her, and talk about her, and people in Society, too keeping a mental register of just where to exert her fascinations, and an eye on that steady scale of rising prices, which in her mind's eye represented the future. In this way she caused herself to be universally respected.

Once, at a time when her emotions were whipped by an attachment for the tenor of Roger's life, with its whole-hearted collection of house property, had induced in his eldest daughter a tendency towards passion she turned to great and sincere work, choosing the sonata form for the violin. This was the only one of her pro- ductions that troubled the Forsytes. They felt at once that it would not sell.

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