In the afternoon one of the senior partners had made an unexpected call on his time; and he had reached home so late that May had preceded him to the van der Luydens’, and sent back the carriage.
It was thus, Archer reflected, that New York managed its transitions: conspiring to ignore them till they were well over, and then, in all good faith, imagining that they had taken place in a preceding age.
He and May were dining alone, all the family engagements having been postponed since Mrs. Manson Mingott’s illness; and as May was the more punctual of the two he was surprised that she had not preceded him.
There are no more uses of "precede" in the book.
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Stone tools preceded bronze tools.
In English, most adjectives precede the noun they modify.