Text - "Dubliners" James Joyce

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He was about twenty-six years of age, with a soft, light brown
moustache and rather innocent-looking grey eyes. His father, who had
begun life as an advanced Nationalist, had modified his views early. He
had made his money as a butcher in Kingstown and by opening shops in
Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his money many times over. He had
also been fortunate enough to secure some of the police contracts and
in the end he had become rich enough to be alluded to in the Dublin
newspapers as a merchant prince. He had sent his son to England to be
educated in a big Catholic college and had afterwards sent him to
Dublin University to study law. Jimmy did not study very earnestly and
took to bad courses for a while. He had money and he was popular; and
he divided his time curiously between musical and motoring circles.
Then he had been sent for a term to Cambridge to see a little life. His
father, remonstrative, but covertly proud of the excess, had paid his
bills and brought him home. It was at Cambridge that he had met
Ségouin. They were not much more than acquaintances as yet but Jimmy
found great pleasure in the society of one who had seen so much of the
world and was reputed to own some of the biggest hotels in France. Such
a person (as his father agreed) was well worth knowing, even if he had
not been the charming companion he was. Villona was entertaining also - a
brilliant pianist - but, unfortunately, very poor.

The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilarious youth. The two
cousins sat on the front seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat
behind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent spirits; he kept up a deep
bass hum of melody for miles of the road. The Frenchmen flung their
laughter and light words over their shoulders and often Jimmy had to
strain forward to catch the quick phrase. This was not altogether
pleasant for him, as he had nearly always to make a deft guess at the
meaning and shout back a suitable answer in the face of a high wind.
Besides Villona's humming would confuse anybody; the noise of the car,

Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does the
possession of money. These were three good reasons for Jimmy's
excitement. He had been seen by many of his friends that day in the
company of these Continentals. At the control Ségouin had presented him
to one of the French competitors and, in answer to his confused murmur
of compliment, the swarthy face of the driver had disclosed a line of
shining white teeth. It was pleasant after that honour to return to the
profane world of spectators amid nudges and significant looks. Then as
to money - he really had a great sum under his control. Ségouin, 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 Ségouin 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 Ségouin
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 Ségouin 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 Ségouin'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. Ségouin, Jimmy decided, had a very
refined taste. The party was increased by a young Englishman named
Routh whom Jimmy had seen with Ségouin 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. Rivi?re, 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
Ségouin 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 Ségouin'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.