One of the criticisms some people have made of Anthony Powell is his occasional timing problems with Dance to the Music of Time. This book starts in a place where it feels as if there is a continuity problem.
This is a time when Deacon is alive and in a pub with some musicians and critics who become central to this book. It feels odd because why were they never mentioned in the previous books in a period when they would have overlapped?
The answer probably has more to do with the theme of this book - marriage. Central to the first scene apart from Deacon is Moreland who is a musician who is sitting with critics Maclintick, Gossage and fellow musician Carolo. An actor, Norman Chandler arrives to try to get Deacon to buy an antique and the party move on to Casanova's Chinese Restaurant.
From there they move onto see Matilda, the focus of Moreland's attention, acting alongside Chandler. At the end of the performance Jenkins foes back stage to meet Matilda but the interest is the fawning Charles Stringham's mother Mrs Foxe shows for Chandler begging him to join her for dinner.