Dubliners by James Joyce
After the Race

Dublin The Sisters
An Encounter
Araby
Eveline
After the Race
Two Gallants
The Boarding House
A Little Cloud
Counterparts
Clay
A Painful Case
Ivy Day in the Committee Room
A Mother
Grace
The Dead

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[1128]     AFTER THE RACE
[1129]     
[1130]     THE cars came scudding in towards Dublin, running evenly like
[1131]     pellets in the groove of the Naas Road. At the crest of the hill at
[1132]     Inchicore sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars
[1133]     careering homeward and through this channel of poverty and
[1134]     inaction the Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again
[1135]     the clumps of people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed.
[1136]     Their sympathy, however, was for the blue cars--the cars of their
[1137]     friends, the French.
[1138]     
[1139]     The French, moreover, were virtual victors. Their team had
[1140]     finished solidly; they had been placed second and third and the
[1141]     driver of the winning German car was reported a Belgian. Each
[1142]     blue car, therefore, received a double measure of welcome as it
[1143]     topped the crest of the hill and each cheer of welcome was
[1144]     acknowledged with smiles and nods by those in the car. In one of
[1145]     these trimly built cars was a party of four young men whose spirits
[1146]     seemed to be at present well above the level of successful
[1147]     Gallicism: in fact, these four young men were almost hilarious.
[1148]     They were Charles Segouin, the owner of the car; Andre Riviere, a
[1149]     young electrician of Canadian birth; a huge Hungarian named
[1150]     Villona and a neatly groomed young man named Doyle. Segouin
[1151]     was in good humour because he had unexpectedly received some
[1152]     orders in advance (he was about to start a motor establishment in
[1153]     Paris) and Riviere was in good humour because he was to be
[1154]     appointed manager of the establishment; these two young men
[1155]     (who were cousins) were also in good humour because of the
[1156]     success of the French cars. Villona was in good humour because
[1157]     he had had a very satisfactory luncheon; and besides he was an
[1158]     optimist by nature. The fourth member of the party, however, was
[1159]     too excited to be genuinely happy.
[1160]     
[1161]     He was about twenty-six years of age, with a soft, light brown
[1162]     moustache and rather innocent-looking grey eyes. His father, who
[1163]     had begun life as an advanced Nationalist, had modified his views
[1164]     early. He had made his money as a butcher in Kingstown and by
[1165]     opening shops in Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his
[1166]     money many times over. He had also been fortunate enough to
[1167]     secure some of the police contracts and in the end he had become
[1168]     rich enough to be alluded to in the Dublin newspapers as a
[1169]     merchant prince. He had sent his son to England to be educated in
[1170]     a big Catholic college and had afterwards sent him to Dublin
[1171]     University to study law. Jimmy did not study very earnestly and
[1172]     took to bad courses for a while. He had money and he was popular;
[1173]     and he divided his time curiously between musical and motoring
[1174]     circles. Then he had been sent for a term to Cambridge to see a
[1175]     little life. His father, remonstrative, but covertly proud of the
[1176]     excess, had paid his bills and brought him home. It was at
[1177]     Cambridge that he had met Segouin. They were not much more
[1178]     than acquaintances as yet but Jimmy found great pleasure in the
[1179]     society of one who had seen so much of the world and was reputed
[1180]     to own some of the biggest hotels in France. Such a person (as his
[1181]     father agreed) was well worth knowing, even if he had not been
[1182]     the charming companion he was. Villona was entertaining also--a
[1183]     brilliant pianist--but, unfortunately, very poor.
[1184]     
[1185]     The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilarious youth. The two
[1186]     cousins sat on the front seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat
[1187]     behind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent spirits; he kept up a
[1188]     deep bass hum of melody for miles of the road The Frenchmen
[1189]     flung their laughter and light words over their shoulders and often
[1190]     Jimmy had to strain forward to catch the quick phrase. This was
[1191]     not altogether pleasant for him, as he had nearly always to make a
[1192]     deft guess at the meaning and shout back a suitable answer in the
[1193]     face of a high wind. Besides Villona's humming would confuse
[1194]     anybody; the noise of the car, too.
[1195]     
[1196]     Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does
[1197]     the possession of money. These were three good reasons for
[1198]     Jimmy's excitement. He had been seen by many of his friends that
[1199]     day in the company of these Continentals. At the control Segouin
[1200]     had presented him to one of the French competitors and, in answer
[1201]     to his confused murmur of compliment, the swarthy face of the
[1202]     driver had disclosed a line of shining white teeth. It was pleasant
[1203]     after that honour to return to the profane world of spectators amid
[1204]     nudges and significant looks. Then as to money--he really had a
[1205]     great sum under his control. Segouin, perhaps, would not think it a
[1206]     great sum but Jimmy who, in spite of temporary errors, was at
[1207]     heart the inheritor of solid instincts knew well with what difficulty
[1208]     it had been got together. This knowledge had previously kept his
[1209]     bills within the limits of reasonable recklessness, and if he had
[1210]     been so conscious of the labour latent in money when there had
[1211]     been question merely of some freak of the higher intelligence, how
[1212]     much more so now when he was about to stake the greater part of
[1213]     his substance! It was a serious thing for him.
[1214]     
[1215]     Of course, the investment was a good one and Segouin had
[1216]     managed to give the impression that it was by a favour of
[1217]     friendship the mite of Irish money was to be included in the capital
[1218]     of the concern. Jimmy had a respect for his father's shrewdness in
[1219]     business matters and in this case it had been his father who had
[1220]     first suggested the investment; money to be made in the motor
[1221]     business, pots of money. Moreover Segouin had the unmistakable
[1222]     air of wealth. Jimmy set out to translate into days' work that lordly
[1223]     car in which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style they had
[1224]     come careering along the country roads! The journey laid a
[1225]     magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the
[1226]     machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses
[1227]     of the swift blue animal.
[1228]     
[1229]     They drove down Dame Street. The street was busy with unusual
[1230]     traffic, loud with the horns of motorists and the gongs of impatient
[1231]     tram-drivers. Near the Bank Segouin drew up and Jimmy and his
[1232]     friend alighted. A little knot of people collected on the footpath to
[1233]     pay homage to the snorting motor. The party was to dine together
[1234]     that evening in Segouin's hotel and, meanwhile, Jimmy and his
[1235]     friend, who was staying with him, were to go home to dress. The
[1236]     car steered out slowly for Grafton Street while the two young men
[1237]     pushed their way through the knot of gazers. They walked
[1238]     northward with a curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise,
[1239]     while the city hung its pale globes of light above them in a haze of
[1240]     summer evening.
[1241]     
[1242]     In Jimmy's house this dinner had been pronounced an occasion. A
[1243]     certain pride mingled with his parents' trepidation, a certain
[1244]     eagerness, also, to play fast and loose for the names of great
[1245]     foreign cities have at least this virtue. Jimmy, too, looked very
[1246]     well when he was dressed and, as he stood in the hall giving a last
[1247]     equation to the bows of his dress tie, his father may have felt even
[1248]     commercially satisfied at having secured for his son qualities often
[1249]     unpurchaseable. His father, therefore, was unusually friendly with
[1250]     Villona and his manner expressed a real respect for foreign
[1251]     accomplishments; but this subtlety of his host was probably lost
[1252]     upon the Hungarian, who was beginning to have a sharp desire for
[1253]     his dinner.
[1254]     
[1255]     The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin, Jimmy decided, had
[1256]     a very refined taste. The party was increased by a young
[1257]     Englishman named Routh whom Jimmy had seen with Segouin at
[1258]     Cambridge. The young men supped in a snug room lit by electric
[1259]     candle lamps. They talked volubly and with little reserve. Jimmy,
[1260]     whose imagination was kindling, conceived the lively youth of the
[1261]     Frenchmen twined elegantly upon the firm framework of the
[1262]     Englishman's manner. A graceful image of his, he thought, and a
[1263]     just one. He admired the dexterity with which their host directed
[1264]     the conversation. The five young men had various tastes and their
[1265]     tongues had been loosened. Villona, with immense respect, began
[1266]     to discover to the mildly surprised Englishman the beauties of the
[1267]     English madrigal, deploring the loss of old instruments. Riviere,
[1268]     not wholly ingenuously, undertook to explain to Jimmy the
[1269]     triumph of the French mechanicians. The resonant voice of the
[1270]     Hungarian was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious lutes of
[1271]     the romantic painters when Segouin shepherded his party into
[1272]     politics. Here was congenial ground for all. Jimmy, under generous
[1273]     influences, felt the buried zeal of his father wake to life within
[1274]     him: he aroused the torpid Routh at last. The room grew doubly
[1275]     hot and Segouin's task grew harder each moment: there was even
[1276]     danger of personal spite. The alert host at an opportunity lifted his
[1277]     glass to Humanity and, when the toast had been drunk, he threw
[1278]     open a window significantly.
[1279]     
[1280]     That night the city wore the mask of a capital. The five young men
[1281]     strolled along Stephen's Green in a faint cloud of aromatic smoke.
[1282]     They talked loudly and gaily and their cloaks dangled from their
[1283]     shoulders. The people made way for them. At the corner of
[1284]     Grafton Street a short fat man was putting two handsome ladies on
[1285]     a car in charge of another fat man. The car drove off and the short
[1286]     fat man caught sight of the party.
[1287]     
[1288]     "Andre."
[1289]     
[1290]     "It's Farley!"
[1291]     
[1292]     A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an American. No one knew
[1293]     very well what the talk was about. Villona and Riviere were the
[1294]     noisiest, but all the men were excited. They got up on a car,
[1295]     squeezing themselves together amid much laughter. They drove by
[1296]     the crowd, blended now into soft colours, to a music of merry
[1297]     bells. They took the train at Westland Row and in a few seconds,
[1298]     as it seemed to Jimmy, they were walking out of Kingstown
[1299]     Station. The ticket-collector saluted Jimmy; he was an old man:
[1300]     
[1301]     "Fine night, sir!"
[1302]     
[1303]     It was a serene summer night; the harbour lay like a darkened
[1304]     mirror at their feet. They proceeded towards it with linked arms,
[1305]     singing Cadet Roussel in chorus, stamping their feet at every:
[1306]     
[1307]     "Ho! Ho! Hohe, vraiment!"
[1308]     
[1309]     They got into a rowboat at the slip and made out for the
[1310]     American's yacht. There was to be supper, music, cards. Villona
[1311]     said with conviction:
[1312]     
[1313]     "It is delightful!"
[1314]     
[1315]     There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Villona played a waltz for
[1316]     Farley and Riviere, Farley acting as cavalier and Riviere as lady.
[1317]     Then an impromptu square dance, the men devising original
[1318]     figures. What merriment! Jimmy took his part with a will; this was
[1319]     seeing life, at least. Then Farley got out of breath and cried "Stop!"
[1320]     A man brought in a light supper, and the young men sat down to it
[1321]     for form's sake. They drank, however: it was Bohemian. They
[1322]     drank Ireland, England, France, Hungary, the United States of
[1323]     America. Jimmy made a speech, a long speech, Villona saying:
[1324]     "Hear! hear!" whenever there was a pause. There was a great
[1325]     clapping of hands when he sat down. It must have been a good
[1326]     speech. Farley clapped him on the back and laughed loudly. What
[1327]     jovial fellows! What good company they were!
[1328]     
[1329]     Cards! cards! The table was cleared. Villona returned quietly to his
[1330]     piano and played voluntaries for them. The other men played game
[1331]     after game, flinging themselves boldly into the adventure. They
[1332]     drank the health of the Queen of Hearts and of the Queen of
[1333]     Diamonds. Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience: the wit
[1334]     was flashing. Play ran very high and paper began to pass. Jimmy
[1335]     did not know exactly who was winning but he knew that he was
[1336]     losing. But it was his own fault for he frequently mistook his cards
[1337]     and the other men had to calculate his I.O.U.'s for him. They were
[1338]     devils of fellows but he wished they would stop: it was getting late.
[1339]     Someone gave the toast of the yacht The Belle of Newport and
[1340]     then someone proposed one great game for a finish.
[1341]     
[1342]     The piano had stopped; Villona must have gone up on deck. It was
[1343]     a terrible game. They stopped just before the end of it to drink for
[1344]     luck. Jimmy understood that the game lay between Routh and
[1345]     Segouin. What excitement! Jimmy was excited too; he would lose,
[1346]     of course. How much had he written away? The men rose to their
[1347]     feet to play the last tricks. talking and gesticulating. Routh won.
[1348]     The cabin shook with the young men's cheering and the cards were
[1349]     bundled together. They began then to gather in what they had won.
[1350]     Farley and Jimmy were the heaviest losers.
[1351]     
[1352]     He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was
[1353]     glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his
[1354]     folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head
[1355]     between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin
[1356]     door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey
[1357]     light:
[1358]     
[1359]     "Daybreak, gentlemen!"
[1360]