Almost a coda to the earlier Old Man Jim's Book of Knowledge (1973), this speculates about that honor system for rich-boys-only in a South which has fallen away in the Thirties. It also engages a few characters in sudden, unlikely confrontations before you've hardly been introduced to them. These spiculate hostilities take place in Charlottesville where Jack Cabell is working his way through the University and law school (filling in at the ""nigger"" whorehouse on the side) and doing well enough until his old enemy, the father of Colette, the gift he loves, discovers he's stolen an exam. Honor in fact has been noticeably lacking not only in Cabell, in spite of his first-family name, but also in Colette who was available to him both before and after her marriage to a friend. Then there's the new gift in town, Phoebe, who has certain chivalric notions about life and Cabell whom she hopes to retrieve. The mood is often close to Fitzgerald--frayed and dissolute and retrospective--before the genuinely horrible finale. Had Dabney developed it, the novel could have been stronger; think of it as a shot of 100-proof bourbon running right through that failed moral and social system.