List Of Contents | Contents of Dubliners, by James Joyce
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nudges and significant looks. Then as to money -- he really had a
great sum under his control. Segouin, perhaps, would not think it a
great sum but Jimmy who, in spite of temporary errors, was at
heart the inheritor of solid instincts knew well with what difficulty
it had been got together. This knowledge had previously kept his
bills within the limits of reasonable recklessness, and if he had
been so conscious of the labour latent in money when there had
been question merely of some freak of the higher intelligence, how
much more so now when he was about to stake the greater part of
his substance! It was a serious thing for him. 

Of course, the investment was a good one and Segouin had
managed to give the impression that it was by a favour of
friendship the mite of Irish money was to be included in the capital
of the concern. Jimmy had a respect for his father's shrewdness in
business matters and in this case it had been his father who had
first suggested the investment; money to be made in the motor
business, pots of money. Moreover Segouin had the unmistakable
air of wealth. Jimmy set out to translate into days' work that lordly
car in which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style they had
come careering along the country roads! The journey laid a
magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the
machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses
of the swift blue animal. 

They drove down Dame Street. The street was busy with unusual
traffic, loud with the horns of motorists and the gongs of impatient
tram-drivers. Near the Bank Segouin drew up and Jimmy and his
friend alighted. A little knot of people collected on the footpath to
pay homage to the snorting motor. The party was to dine together
that evening in Segouin's hotel and, meanwhile, Jimmy and his
friend, who was staying with him, were to go home to dress. The
car steered out slowly for Grafton Street while the two young men
pushed their way through the knot of gazers. They walked
northward with a curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise,
while the city hung its pale globes of light above them in a haze of
summer evening. 

In Jimmy's house this dinner had been pronounced an occasion. A
certain pride mingled with his parents' trepidation, a certain
eagerness, also, to play fast and loose for the names of great
foreign cities have at least this virtue. Jimmy, too, looked very
well when he was dressed and, as he stood in the hall giving a last
equation to the bows of his dress tie, his father may have felt even
commercially satisfied at having secured for his son qualities often
unpurchaseable. His father, therefore, was unusually friendly with
Villona and his manner expressed a real respect for foreign
accomplishments; but this subtlety of his host was probably lost
upon the Hungarian, who was beginning to have a sharp desire for
his dinner. 

The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin, Jimmy decided, had
a very refined taste. The party was increased by a young
Englishman named Routh whom Jimmy had seen with Segouin at
Cambridge. The young men supped in a snug room lit by electric
candle lamps. They talked volubly and with little reserve. Jimmy,
whose imagination was kindling, conceived the lively youth of the
Frenchmen twined elegantly upon the firm framework of the
Englishman's manner. A graceful image of his, he thought, and a
just one. He admired the dexterity with which their host directed
the conversation. The five young men had various tastes and their
tongues had been loosened. Villona, with immense respect, began
to discover to the mildly surprised Englishman the beauties of the
English madrigal, deploring the loss of old instruments. Riviere,
not wholly ingenuously, undertook to explain to Jimmy the
triumph of the French mechanicians. The resonant voice of the
Hungarian was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious lutes of
the romantic painters when Segouin shepherded his party into
politics. Here was congenial ground for all. Jimmy, under generous
influences, felt the buried zeal of his father wake to life within
him: he aroused the torpid Routh at last. The room grew doubly
hot and Segouin's task grew harder each moment: there was even
danger of personal spite. The alert host at an opportunity lifted his
glass to Humanity and, when the toast had been drunk, he threw
open a window significantly. 

That night the city wore the mask of a capital. The five young men
strolled along Stephen's Green in a faint cloud of aromatic smoke.
They talked loudly and gaily and their cloaks dangled from their
shoulders. The people made way for them. At the corner of
Grafton Street a short fat man was putting two handsome ladies on
a car in charge of another fat man. The car drove off and the short
fat man caught sight of the party. 


"It's Farley!" 

A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an American. No one knew
very well what the talk was about. Villona and Riviere were the
noisiest, but all the men were excited. They got up on a car,
squeezing themselves together amid much laughter. They drove by
the crowd, blended now into soft colours, to a music of merry
bells. They took the train at Westland Row and in a few seconds,
as it seemed to Jimmy, they were walking out of Kingstown
Station. The ticket-collector saluted Jimmy; he was an old man: 

"Fine night, sir!" 

It was a serene summer night; the harbour lay like a darkened
mirror at their feet. They proceeded towards it with linked arms,
singing Cadet Roussel in chorus, stamping their feet at every: 

"Ho! Ho! Hohe, vraiment!" 

They got into a rowboat at the slip and made out for the
American's yacht. There was to be supper, music, cards. Villona
said with conviction: 

"It is delightful!" 

There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Villona played a waltz for
Farley and Riviere, Farley acting as cavalier and Riviere as lady.
Then an impromptu square dance, the men devising original
figures. What merriment! Jimmy took his part with a will; this was
seeing life, at least. Then Farley got out of breath and cried "Stop!"
A man brought in a light supper, and the young men sat down to it
for form's sake. They drank, however: it was Bohemian. They
drank Ireland, England, France, Hungary, the United States of
America. Jimmy made a speech, a long speech, Villona saying:
"Hear! hear!" whenever there was a pause. There was a great
clapping of hands when he sat down. It must have been a good
speech. Farley clapped him on the back and laughed loudly. What
jovial fellows! What good company they were! 

Cards! cards! The table was cleared. Villona returned quietly to his
piano and played voluntaries for them. The other men played game
after game, flinging themselves boldly into the adventure. They
drank the health of the Queen of Hearts and of the Queen of
Diamonds. Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience: the wit
was flashing. Play ran very high and paper began to pass. Jimmy
did not know exactly who was winning but he knew that he was
losing. But it was his own fault for he frequently mistook his cards
and the other men had to calculate his I.O.U.'s for him. They were
devils of fellows but he wished they would stop: it was getting late.
Someone gave the toast of the yacht The Belle of Newport and
then someone proposed one great game for a finish. 

The piano had stopped; Villona must have gone up on deck. It was
a terrible game. They stopped just before the end of it to drink for
luck. Jimmy understood that the game lay between Routh and
Segouin. What excitement! Jimmy was excited too; he would lose,
of course. How much had he written away? The men rose to their
feet to play the last tricks. talking and gesticulating. Routh won.
The cabin shook with the young men's cheering and the cards were
bundled together. They began then to gather in what they had won.
Farley and Jimmy were the heaviest losers. 

He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was
glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his
folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head
between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin
door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey

"Daybreak, gentlemen!" 


THE grey warm evening of August had descended upon the city
and a mild warm air, a memory of summer, circulated in the
streets. The streets, shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed
with a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps
shone from the summits of their tall poles upon the living texture
below which, changing shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the
warm grey evening air an unchanging unceasing murmur. 

Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square. On of
them was just bringing a long monologue to a close. The other,
who walked on the verge of the path and was at times obliged to
step on to the road, owing to his companion's rudeness, wore an
amused listening face. He was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap
was shoved far back from his forehead and the narrative to which
he listened made constant waves of expression break forth over his
face from the corners of his nose and eyes and mouth. Little jets of
wheezing laughter followed one another out of his convulsed body.
His eyes, twinkling with cunning enjoyment, glanced at every
moment towards his companion's face. Once or twice he
rearranged the light waterproof which he had slung over one
shoulder in toreador fashion. His breeches, his white rubber shoes
and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But his figure
fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey and his
face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a
ravaged look. 

When he was quite sure that the narrative had ended he laughed
noiselessly for fully half a minute. Then he said: 

"Well!... That takes the biscuit!" 

His voice seemed winnowed of vigour; and to enforce his words he
added with humour: 

"That takes the solitary, unique, and, if I may so call it, recherche

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