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Helmholtz has always been disturbed by the boasting of Bernard, his spurts of whining in self-pity, and his "deplorable habit" of "theoretical courage," acting boldly after something occurred, and in the absence of the event, having "the most extraordinary presence of mind" when he had previously been craven and cowardly.
After Bernard talks with the Director, having received permission to take Lenina to the reservation, and having been privy to a revealing personal experience of the Director, who, in embarrassment that he has said too much, threatens to send him to Iceland if he does not conform to the behavior expected of an Alpha, Bernard walks arrogantly out the door
...with a swagger, exulting... in the the thought that he stood alone, embattled against the order of things; elated by the intoxicating consciousness of his individual significance and importance....And this confidence was the greater for his not for a moment really believing that he would be called upon to face anything at all.
Because Bernard does not believe that he will be called upon to face anything, he acts boldly, behavior that Helmholtz finds repellent. However, after he arrives at the reservation and then realizes that he has left a scent faucet on--an action that will be costly to him--Bernard calls Helmholtz, asking him to please go to his residence and turn off the faucet. As he speaks with his friend, Bernard is told that he will, indeed, be transferred to Iceland. When he did not believe these threats, Bernard was elated, feeling large; however, now that they are a real possibility, all his bravado and stoicism are gone.
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