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Jacob's Room

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
"The Height of the season," said Bonamy.
The sun had already blistered the paint on the backs of the green chairs in Hyde Park;
peeled the bark off the plane trees; and turned the earth to powder and to smooth
yellow pebbles. Hyde Park was circled, incessantly, by turning wheels.
"The height of the season," said Bonamy sarcastically.
He was sarcastic because of Clara Durrant; because Jacob had come back from
Greece very brown and lean, with his pockets full of Greek notes, which he pulled out
when the chair man came for pence; because Jacob was silent.
"He has not said a word to show that he is glad to see me," thought Bonamy bitterly.
The motor cars passed incessantly over the bridge of the Serpentine; the upper classes
walked upright, or bent themselves gracefully over the palings; the lower classes lay
with their knees cocked up, flat on their backs; the sheep grazed on pointed wooden
legs; small children ran down the sloping grass, stretched their arms, and fell.
"Very urbane," Jacob brought out.
"Urbane" on the lips of Jacob had mysteriously all the shapeliness of a character which
Bonamy thought daily more sublime, devastating, terrific than ever, though he was still,
and perhaps would be for ever, barbaric, obscure.
What superlatives! What adjectives! How acquit Bonamy of sentimentality of the
grossest sort; of being tossed like a cork on the waves; of having no steady insight into
character; of being unsupported by reason, and of drawing no comfort whatever from
the works of the classics?
"The height of civilization," said Jacob.
He was fond of using Latin words.
Magnanimity, virtue--such words when Jacob used them in talk with Bonamy meant that
he took control of the situation; that Bonamy would play round him like an affectionate
spaniel; and that (as likely as not) they would end by rolling on the floor.
"And Greece?" said Bonamy. "The Parthenon and all that?"
"There's none of this European mysticism," said Jacob.
 
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