Set in pre-war England, Jacob's story starts when he is still a child, and the novel follows him through college at Cambridge, and then into adulthood. Told mainly through the eyes of women in his life, Jacob's time in London forms a large part of the story, leading to the beginning of World War I.
fall and possible demise-- for where was he? what was he? Shading her eyes, she looked along the road for Captain Barfoot--yes, there he was, punctual as ever; the attentions of the Captain--all ripened Betty Flanders, enlarged her figure, tinged her face with jollity, and flooded her eyes for no reason that any one could see perhaps three times a day.
True, there's no harm in crying for one's husband, and the tombstone, though plain, was a solid piece of work, and on summer's days when the widow brought her boys to stand there one felt kindly towards her. Hats were raised higher than usual; wives tugged their husbands' arms. Seabrook lay six foot beneath, dead these many years; enclosed in three shells; the crevices sealed with lead, so that, had earth and wood been glass, doubtless his very face lay visible beneath, the face of a young man whiskered, shapely, who had gone out duck-shooting and refused to change his boots.
"Merchant of this city," the tombstone said; though why Betty Flanders h