Winifred invites everyone to an Eton-Harrow cricket match. Profond turns up. Annette tells Soames she is going to Paris – he knows it is with Profond. Jolyon sees Jon with Fleur. He is furious.
Determined to be with Fleur, and furious at his parents' objections, Jon moves into a cottage near the farm. Fleur joins him for a few idyllic days, and they vow to elope to Scotland. The plan goes smoothly until Jolyon's illness and a chance encounter with Soames forces the families' ugly secret out into the open. Mont presses his suit with Fleur, but she remains steadfastly attached to Jon. As he grieves, Jon begins to feel torn between Fleur and his mother.
Having already declared their love for each other, Fleur and Jon wonder about the secret that divides their families. Soames arranges a house party to distract Fleur and pairs her with the dashing Michael Mont for tennis. To please his father, Jon reluctantly agrees to accompany his mother on a three-month holiday abroad, but Irene cuts the trip short when she realizes that the separation from Fleur has only strengthened Jon's feelings for her. Crushed to discover that the flirtatious Profond has turned his attentions to another married woman, Winifred berates Dartie for his years of drinking and gambling.
Period drama based on John Galsworthy's novels. A chance meeting with Jon spurs Fleur on to find out more about him, and why everyone seems to want to keep them apart.
With their families bitterly estranged, Fleur Forsyte and her cousin Jon know nothing of each other until they accidentally meet as children and cause a puzzling uproar among the adults. By the next time they meet, at June's gallery, Fleur has grown into a spirited and ravishing young woman and Jon a sensitive and attractive young man. They are drawn to each other, though their families recoil at the idea of any contact between them. Accustomed to getting anything she wants, Fleur cleverly evades her father's dictate and pursues Jon to the country, where he is trying his hand at farming.
With the war preparations looming, Winifred takes Dartie back, but he soon returns to his old habits. Winifred goes to her mother for comfort, and Emily responds in the only way she knows. When the Forsytes all gather to see Val and Jolly off to South Africa, only Jolyon manages an honest display of emotion. Soames continues to employ detectives to follow Irene, but even his employees no longer believe that he is only interested in evidence for a divorce. He tracks Irene down in Paris and makes another futile attempt to bring her home. As Irene and Jolyon begin to build a future together, Soames lets go of his obsession with Irene and moves on. With Annette, his dream of a son and heir seems finally within his grasp.
Seven years pass and Soames, at 45, has found some hope of happiness with Annette, a young French girl. But he cannot marry again because he is still married to Irene. After a terrible row with Dartie, who has begun stealing her jewelry to give to his girlfriends, Winifred takes Soames' advice to seek a divorce as quickly and quietly as possible. Soames pursues his own divorce, but a visit to Irene at her Chelsea flat leaves him desperate to have her back again. Alarmed, she flees to Paris, followed by Soames' hated cousin Jolyon, who is falling in love with Irene himself. In the younger generation, love stirs between the opposing sides of the family. The boys, Val and Jolly, impulsively enlist to fight in the Boer War.
Irene cannot return to her old life and leaves Montpelier Square forever. June confronts Soames with the truth about his marriage, and Soames briefly lets his feelings overwhelm him. Robin Hill becomes the happy family home it was always meant to be after Old Jolyon buys it from Soames for Young Jolyon and Helene. Five years pass, Helene has died and Young Jolyon and June are away when Irene returns and visits Robin Hill to see Bosinney's creation. Old Jolyon discovers her there and the two begin an affectionate friendship, making Irene once again grist for the family gossip mill. When Old Jolyon dies, his son delivers a pointed eulogy that distinguishes his father from the rest of the Forsyte clan.
Though Soames tries desperately to keep her, Irene recoils from his entreaties. Enraged, he challenges Bosinney over the bill for the now-completed house and instigates legal action that taints the architect's reputation. Irene and Bosinney defy Soames and continue to meet secretly. June returns from a therapeutic holiday abroad and is horrified at news of the lawsuit, knowing it will just deepen the lovers' bond. Old Jolyon is disgusted by Soames' vindictiveness and withdraws his business from the family firm. After a night when Soames turns violent, Irene and Bosinney determine to run off together.
At a Forsyte family gathering, Winifred announces her engagement to Montague Dartie. Young Jolyon, distracted by the illness of his daughter, June, reveals his feelings for the child's governess, forcing a showdown with his wife. Deciding to follow his heart, Young Jolyon is disowned by his father. Four years later, Soames Forsyte's search for a suitable wife leads him to Irene, a beautiful young woman dependent on her avaricious stepmother. Though she makes no secret of her lack of feelings for Soames, Irene agrees in desperation to marry him. June, now grown into a spirited beauty, introduces young architect Phil Bosinney to the family as her husband-to-be. In church soon after, Bosinney and Irene have eyes only for each other.
Soames tries for one last chance with Irene, only for her to spurn him and marry Young Jolyon.
Winifred starts painful divorce proceedings. Soames decides to force Irene to return to him
Soames goes to Paris to try one last chance with Irene. She tells him she hates him and would never live with him.
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