The cars came scudding in towards Dublin, running evenly like pellets

in the groove of the Naas Road. At the crest of the hill at Inchicore

sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars careering homeward

and through this channel of poverty and inaction the Continent sped its

wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps of people raised the

cheer of the gratefully oppressed. Their sympathy, however, was for the

blue cars—the cars of their friends, the French.

The French, moreover, were virtual victors. Their team had finished

solidly; they had been placed second and third and the driver of the

winning German car was reported a Belgian. Each blue car, therefore,

received a double measure of welcome as it topped the crest of the hill

and each cheer of welcome was acknowledged with smiles and nods by

those in the car. In one of these trimly built cars was a party of four

young men whose spirits seemed to be at present well above the level of

successful Gallicism: in fact, these four young men were almost

hilarious. They were Charles Ségouin, the owner of the car; André

Rivière, a young electrician of Canadian birth; a huge Hungarian named

Villona and a neatly groomed young man named Doyle. Ségouin was in good

humour because he had unexpectedly received some orders in advance (he

was about to start a motor establishment in Paris) and Rivière was in

good humour because he was to be appointed manager of the

establishment; these two young men (who were cousins) were also in good

humour because of the success of the French cars. Villona was in good

humour because he had had a very satisfactory luncheon; and besides he

was an optimist by nature. The fourth member of the party, however, was

too excited to be genuinely happy.

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. Rivière, 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.

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



“It’s Farley!”

A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an American. No one knew very

well what the talk was about. Villona and Rivière 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! Hohé, 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


“It is delightful!”

There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Villona played a waltz for Farley

and Rivière, Farley acting as cavalier and Rivière 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


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 Ségouin.

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


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 light:

“Daybreak, gentlemen!”

Shaws and Goolees

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