[ 13 ]
The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious
embrace. Far away in the west the sun was setting and the last glow of
all too fleeting day lingered lovingly on sea and strand, on the proud
promontory of dear old Howth guarding as ever the waters of the bay, on
the weedgrown rocks along Sandymount shore and, last but not least, on
the quiet church whence there streamed forth at times upon the stillness
the voice of prayer to her who is in her pure radiance a beacon ever to
the stormtossed heart of man, Mary, star of the sea.
The three girl friends were seated on the rocks, enjoying the evening
scene and the air which was fresh but not too chilly. Many a time and
oft were they wont to come there to that favourite nook to have a cosy
chat beside the sparkling waves and discuss matters feminine, Cissy
Caffrey and Edy Boardman with the baby in the pushcar and Tommy and
Jacky Caffrey, two little curlyheaded boys, dressed in sailor suits with
caps to match and the name H. M. S. Belleisle printed on both. For Tommy
and Jacky Caffrey were twins, scarce four years old and very noisy and
spoiled twins sometimes but for all that darling little fellows with
bright merry faces and endearing ways about them. They were dabbling in
the sand with their spades and buckets, building castles as children do,
or playing with their big coloured ball, happy as the day was long. And
Edy Boardman was rocking the chubby baby to and fro in the pushcar while
that young gentleman fairly chuckled with delight. He was but eleven
months and nine days old and, though still a tiny toddler, was just
beginning to lisp his first babyish words. Cissy Caffrey bent over to
him to tease his fat little plucks and the dainty dimple in his chin.
—Now, baby, Cissy Caffrey said. Say out big, big. I want a drink of
And baby prattled after her:
—A jink a jink a jawbo.
Cissy Caffrey cuddled the wee chap for she was awfully fond of children,
so patient with little sufferers and Tommy Caffrey could never be got to
take his castor oil unless it was Cissy Caffrey that held his nose and
promised him the scatty heel of the loaf or brown bread with golden
syrup on. What a persuasive power that girl had! But to be sure baby
Boardman was as good as gold, a perfect little dote in his new fancy
bib. None of your spoilt beauties, Flora MacFlimsy sort, was Cissy
Caffrey. A truerhearted lass never drew the breath of life, always with
a laugh in her gipsylike eyes and a frolicsome word on her cherryripe
red lips, a girl lovable in the extreme. And Edy Boardman laughed too at
the quaint language of little brother.
But just then there was a slight altercation between Master Tommy and
Master Jacky. Boys will be boys and our two twins were no exception
to this golden rule. The apple of discord was a certain castle of sand
which Master Jacky had built and Master Tommy would have it right go
wrong that it was to be architecturally improved by a frontdoor like the
Martello tower had. But if Master Tommy was headstrong Master Jacky was
selfwilled too and, true to the maxim that every little Irishman’s
house is his castle, he fell upon his hated rival and to such purpose
that the wouldbe assailant came to grief and (alas to relate!) the
coveted castle too. Needless to say the cries of discomfited Master
Tommy drew the attention of the girl friends.
—Come here, Tommy, his sister called imperatively. At once! And you,
Jacky, for shame to throw poor Tommy in the dirty sand. Wait till I
catch you for that.
His eyes misty with unshed tears Master Tommy came at her call for their
big sister’s word was law with the twins. And in a sad plight he
was too after his misadventure. His little man-o’-war top and
unmentionables were full of sand but Cissy was a past mistress in the
art of smoothing over life’s tiny troubles and very quickly not one
speck of sand was to be seen on his smart little suit. Still the blue
eyes were glistening with hot tears that would well up so she kissed
away the hurtness and shook her hand at Master Jacky the culprit and
said if she was near him she wouldn’t be far from him, her eyes
dancing in admonition.
—Nasty bold Jacky! she cried.
She put an arm round the little mariner and coaxed winningly:
—What’s your name? Butter and cream?
—Tell us who is your sweetheart, spoke Edy Boardman. Is Cissy your
—Nao, tearful Tommy said.
—Is Edy Boardman your sweetheart? Cissy queried.
—Nao, Tommy said.
—I know, Edy Boardman said none too amiably with an arch glance from
her shortsighted eyes. I know who is Tommy’s sweetheart. Gerty is
—Nao, Tommy said on the verge of tears.
Cissy’s quick motherwit guessed what was amiss and she whispered to
Edy Boardman to take him there behind the pushcar where the gentleman
couldn’t see and to mind he didn’t wet his new tan shoes.
But who was Gerty?
Gerty MacDowell who was seated near her companions, lost in thought,
gazing far away into the distance was, in very truth, as fair a specimen
of winsome Irish girlhood as one could wish to see. She was pronounced
beautiful by all who knew her though, as folks often said, she was
more a Giltrap than a MacDowell. Her figure was slight and graceful,
inclining even to fragility but those iron jelloids she had been
taking of late had done her a world of good much better than the Widow
Welch’s female pills and she was much better of those discharges she
used to get and that tired feeling. The waxen pallor of her face was
almost spiritual in its ivorylike purity though her rosebud mouth was a
genuine Cupid’s bow, Greekly perfect. Her hands were of finely veined
alabaster with tapering fingers and as white as lemonjuice and queen of
ointments could make them though it was not true that she used to wear
kid gloves in bed or take a milk footbath either. Bertha Supple told
that once to Edy Boardman, a deliberate lie, when she was black out
at daggers drawn with Gerty (the girl chums had of course their little
tiffs from time to time like the rest of mortals) and she told her not
to let on whatever she did that it was her that told her or she’d
never speak to her again. No. Honour where honour is due. There was
an innate refinement, a languid queenly hauteur about Gerty which was
unmistakably evidenced in her delicate hands and higharched instep. Had
kind fate but willed her to be born a gentlewoman of high degree in
her own right and had she only received the benefit of a good education
Gerty MacDowell might easily have held her own beside any lady in the
land and have seen herself exquisitely gowned with jewels on her brow
and patrician suitors at her feet vying with one another to pay their
devoirs to her. Mayhap it was this, the love that might have been, that
lent to her softlyfeatured face at whiles a look, tense with suppressed
meaning, that imparted a strange yearning tendency to the beautiful
eyes, a charm few could resist. Why have women such eyes of witchery?
Gerty’s were of the bluest Irish blue, set off by lustrous lashes and
dark expressive brows. Time was when those brows were not so silkily
seductive. It was Madame Vera Verity, directress of the Woman Beautiful
page of the Princess Novelette, who had first advised her to try
eyebrowleine which gave that haunting expression to the eyes, so
becoming in leaders of fashion, and she had never regretted it. Then
there was blushing scientifically cured and how to be tall increase your
height and you have a beautiful face but your nose? That would suit Mrs
Dignam because she had a button one. But Gerty’s crowning glory was
her wealth of wonderful hair. It was dark brown with a natural wave in
it. She had cut it that very morning on account of the new moon and it
nestled about her pretty head in a profusion of luxuriant clusters and
pared her nails too, Thursday for wealth. And just now at Edy’s words
as a telltale flush, delicate as the faintest rosebloom, crept into
her cheeks she looked so lovely in her sweet girlish shyness that of a
surety God’s fair land of Ireland did not hold her equal.
For an instant she was silent with rather sad downcast eyes. She
was about to retort but something checked the words on her tongue.
Inclination prompted her to speak out: dignity told her to be silent.
The pretty lips pouted awhile but then she glanced up and broke out into
a joyous little laugh which had in it all the freshness of a young May
morning. She knew right well, no-one better, what made squinty Edy
say that because of him cooling in his attentions when it was simply a
lovers’ quarrel. As per usual somebody’s nose was out of joint about
the boy that had the bicycle off the London bridge road always riding up
and down in front of her window. Only now his father kept him in in the
evenings studying hard to get an exhibition in the intermediate that was
on and he was going to go to Trinity college to study for a doctor when
he left the high school like his brother W. E. Wylie who was racing
in the bicycle races in Trinity college university. Little recked he
perhaps for what she felt, that dull aching void in her heart sometimes,
piercing to the core. Yet he was young and perchance he might learn
to love her in time. They were protestants in his family and of course
Gerty knew Who came first and after Him the Blessed Virgin and then
Saint Joseph. But he was undeniably handsome with an exquisite nose and
he was what he looked, every inch a gentleman, the shape of his head too
at the back without his cap on that she would know anywhere something
off the common and the way he turned the bicycle at the lamp with his
hands off the bars and also the nice perfume of those good cigarettes
and besides they were both of a size too he and she and that was why Edy
Boardman thought she was so frightfully clever because he didn’t go
and ride up and down in front of her bit of a garden.
Gerty was dressed simply but with the instinctive taste of a votary of
Dame Fashion for she felt that there was just a might that he might be
out. A neat blouse of electric blue selftinted by dolly dyes (because it
was expected in the Lady’s Pictorial that electric blue would be worn)
with a smart vee opening down to the division and kerchief pocket (in
which she always kept a piece of cottonwool scented with her
favourite perfume because the handkerchief spoiled the sit) and a navy
threequarter skirt cut to the stride showed off her slim graceful figure
to perfection. She wore a coquettish little love of a hat of wideleaved
nigger straw contrast trimmed with an underbrim of eggblue chenille and
at the side a butterfly bow of silk to tone. All Tuesday week afternoon
she was hunting to match that chenille but at last she found what she
wanted at Clery’s summer sales, the very it, slightly shopsoiled but
you would never notice, seven fingers two and a penny. She did it up all
by herself and what joy was hers when she tried it on then, smiling at
the lovely reflection which the mirror gave back to her! And when she
put it on the waterjug to keep the shape she knew that that would take
the shine out of some people she knew. Her shoes were the newest thing
in footwear (Edy Boardman prided herself that she was very petite but
she never had a foot like Gerty MacDowell, a five, and never would
ash, oak or elm) with patent toecaps and just one smart buckle over
her higharched instep. Her wellturned ankle displayed its perfect
proportions beneath her skirt and just the proper amount and no more of
her shapely limbs encased in finespun hose with highspliced heels and
wide garter tops. As for undies they were Gerty’s chief care and who
that knows the fluttering hopes and fears of sweet seventeen (though
Gerty would never see seventeen again) can find it in his heart to
blame her? She had four dinky sets with awfully pretty stitchery,
three garments and nighties extra, and each set slotted with different
coloured ribbons, rosepink, pale blue, mauve and peagreen, and she aired
them herself and blued them when they came home from the wash and ironed
them and she had a brickbat to keep the iron on because she wouldn’t
trust those washerwomen as far as she’d see them scorching the things.
She was wearing the blue for luck, hoping against hope, her own colour
and lucky too for a bride to have a bit of blue somewhere on her because
the green she wore that day week brought grief because his father
brought him in to study for the intermediate exhibition and because
she thought perhaps he might be out because when she was dressing that
morning she nearly slipped up the old pair on her inside out and that
was for luck and lovers’ meeting if you put those things on inside
out or if they got untied that he was thinking about you so long as it
wasn’t of a Friday.
And yet and yet! That strained look on her face! A gnawing sorrow is
there all the time. Her very soul is in her eyes and she would give
worlds to be in the privacy of her own familiar chamber where, giving
way to tears, she could have a good cry and relieve her pentup feelings
though not too much because she knew how to cry nicely before the
mirror. You are lovely, Gerty, it said. The paly light of evening falls
upon a face infinitely sad and wistful. Gerty MacDowell yearns in vain.
Yes, she had known from the very first that her daydream of a marriage
has been arranged and the weddingbells ringing for Mrs Reggy Wylie T.
C. D. (because the one who married the elder brother would be Mrs Wylie)
and in the fashionable intelligence Mrs Gertrude Wylie was wearing a
sumptuous confection of grey trimmed with expensive blue fox was not
to be. He was too young to understand. He would not believe in love, a
woman’s birthright. The night of the party long ago in Stoer’s (he
was still in short trousers) when they were alone and he stole an arm
round her waist she went white to the very lips. He called her little
one in a strangely husky voice and snatched a half kiss (the first!) but
it was only the end of her nose and then he hastened from the room with
a remark about refreshments. Impetuous fellow! Strength of character
had never been Reggy Wylie’s strong point and he who would woo and win
Gerty MacDowell must be a man among men. But waiting, always waiting
to be asked and it was leap year too and would soon be over. No prince
charming is her beau ideal to lay a rare and wondrous love at her feet
but rather a manly man with a strong quiet face who had not found
his ideal, perhaps his hair slightly flecked with grey, and who would
understand, take her in his sheltering arms, strain her to him in all
the strength of his deep passionate nature and comfort her with a long
long kiss. It would be like heaven. For such a one she yearns this balmy
summer eve. With all the heart of her she longs to be his only, his
affianced bride for riches for poor, in sickness in health, till death
us two part, from this to this day forward.
And while Edy Boardman was with little Tommy behind the pushcar she was
just thinking would the day ever come when she could call herself his
little wife to be. Then they could talk about her till they went blue in
the face, Bertha Supple too, and Edy, little spitfire, because she would
be twentytwo in November. She would care for him with creature comforts
too for Gerty was womanly wise and knew that a mere man liked that
feeling of hominess. Her griddlecakes done to a goldenbrown hue and
queen Ann’s pudding of delightful creaminess had won golden opinions
from all because she had a lucky hand also for lighting a fire, dredge
in the fine selfraising flour and always stir in the same direction,
then cream the milk and sugar and whisk well the white of eggs though
she didn’t like the eating part when there were any people that made
her shy and often she wondered why you couldn’t eat something poetical
like violets or roses and they would have a beautifully appointed
drawingroom with pictures and engravings and the photograph of grandpapa
Giltrap’s lovely dog Garryowen that almost talked it was so human
and chintz covers for the chairs and that silver toastrack in Clery’s
summer jumble sales like they have in rich houses. He would be tall with
broad shoulders (she had always admired tall men for a husband) with
glistening white teeth under his carefully trimmed sweeping moustache
and they would go on the continent for their honeymoon (three wonderful
weeks!) and then, when they settled down in a nice snug and cosy little
homely house, every morning they would both have brekky, simple but
perfectly served, for their own two selves and before he went out to
business he would give his dear little wifey a good hearty hug and gaze
for a moment deep down into her eyes.
Edy Boardman asked Tommy Caffrey was he done and he said yes so then she
buttoned up his little knickerbockers for him and told him to run off
and play with Jacky and to be good now and not to fight. But Tommy said
he wanted the ball and Edy told him no that baby was playing with the
ball and if he took it there’d be wigs on the green but Tommy said it
was his ball and he wanted his ball and he pranced on the ground, if
you please. The temper of him! O, he was a man already was little Tommy
Caffrey since he was out of pinnies. Edy told him no, no and to be off
now with him and she told Cissy Caffrey not to give in to him.
—You’re not my sister, naughty Tommy said. It’s my ball.
But Cissy Caffrey told baby Boardman to look up, look up high at her
finger and she snatched the ball quickly and threw it along the sand and
Tommy after it in full career, having won the day.
—Anything for a quiet life, laughed Ciss.
And she tickled tiny tot’s two cheeks to make him forget and
played here’s the lord mayor, here’s his two horses, here’s his
gingerbread carriage and here he walks in, chinchopper, chinchopper,
chinchopper chin. But Edy got as cross as two sticks about him getting
his own way like that from everyone always petting him.
—I’d like to give him something, she said, so I would, where I
—On the beeoteetom, laughed Cissy merrily.
Gerty MacDowell bent down her head and crimsoned at the idea of Cissy
saying an unladylike thing like that out loud she’d be ashamed of her
life to say, flushing a deep rosy red, and Edy Boardman said she was
sure the gentleman opposite heard what she said. But not a pin cared
—Let him! she said with a pert toss of her head and a piquant tilt of
her nose. Give it to him too on the same place as quick as I’d look at
Madcap Ciss with her golliwog curls. You had to laugh at her sometimes.
For instance when she asked you would you have some more Chinese tea and
jaspberry ram and when she drew the jugs too and the men’s faces on
her nails with red ink make you split your sides or when she wanted to
go where you know she said she wanted to run and pay a visit to the Miss
White. That was just like Cissycums. O, and will you ever forget her
the evening she dressed up in her father’s suit and hat and the burned
cork moustache and walked down Tritonville road, smoking a cigarette.
There was none to come up to her for fun. But she was sincerity itself,
one of the bravest and truest hearts heaven ever made, not one of your
twofaced things, too sweet to be wholesome.
And then there came out upon the air the sound of voices and the pealing
anthem of the organ. It was the men’s temperance retreat conducted
by the missioner, the reverend John Hughes S. J., rosary, sermon and
benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. They were there gathered
together without distinction of social class (and a most edifying
spectacle it was to see) in that simple fane beside the waves, after the
storms of this weary world, kneeling before the feet of the immaculate,
reciting the litany of Our Lady of Loreto, beseeching her to intercede
for them, the old familiar words, holy Mary, holy virgin of virgins. How
sad to poor Gerty’s ears! Had her father only avoided the clutches of
the demon drink, by taking the pledge or those powders the drink habit
cured in Pearson’s Weekly, she might now be rolling in her carriage,
second to none. Over and over had she told herself that as she mused by
the dying embers in a brown study without the lamp because she hated two
lights or oftentimes gazing out of the window dreamily by the hour at
the rain falling on the rusty bucket, thinking. But that vile decoction
which has ruined so many hearths and homes had cast its shadow over her
childhood days. Nay, she had even witnessed in the home circle deeds of
violence caused by intemperance and had seen her own father, a prey to
the fumes of intoxication, forget himself completely for if there was
one thing of all things that Gerty knew it was that the man who lifts
his hand to a woman save in the way of kindness, deserves to be branded
as the lowest of the low.
And still the voices sang in supplication to the Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful. And Gerty, rapt in thought, scarce saw or heard
her companions or the twins at their boyish gambols or the gentleman
off Sandymount green that Cissy Caffrey called the man that was so like
himself passing along the strand taking a short walk. You never saw him
any way screwed but still and for all that she would not like him for a
father because he was too old or something or on account of his face
(it was a palpable case of Doctor Fell) or his carbuncly nose with the
pimples on it and his sandy moustache a bit white under his nose. Poor
father! With all his faults she loved him still when he sang Tell me,
Mary, how to woo thee or My love and cottage near Rochelle and they had
stewed cockles and lettuce with Lazenby’s salad dressing for supper
and when he sang The moon hath raised with Mr Dignam that died suddenly
and was buried, God have mercy on him, from a stroke. Her mother’s
birthday that was and Charley was home on his holidays and Tom and Mr
Dignam and Mrs and Patsy and Freddy Dignam and they were to have had a
group taken. No-one would have thought the end was so near. Now he was
laid to rest. And her mother said to him to let that be a warning to
him for the rest of his days and he couldn’t even go to the funeral on
account of the gout and she had to go into town to bring him the letters
and samples from his office about Catesby’s cork lino, artistic,
standard designs, fit for a palace, gives tiptop wear and always bright
and cheery in the home.
A sterling good daughter was Gerty just like a second mother in the
house, a ministering angel too with a little heart worth its weight in
gold. And when her mother had those raging splitting headaches who was
it rubbed the menthol cone on her forehead but Gerty though she didn’t
like her mother’s taking pinches of snuff and that was the only single
thing they ever had words about, taking snuff. Everyone thought the
world of her for her gentle ways. It was Gerty who turned off the gas at
the main every night and it was Gerty who tacked up on the wall of that
place where she never forgot every fortnight the chlorate of lime Mr
Tunney the grocer’s christmas almanac, the picture of halcyon days
where a young gentleman in the costume they used to wear then with a
threecornered hat was offering a bunch of flowers to his ladylove with
oldtime chivalry through her lattice window. You could see there was a
story behind it. The colours were done something lovely. She was in
a soft clinging white in a studied attitude and the gentleman was in
chocolate and he looked a thorough aristocrat. She often looked at them
dreamily when she went there for a certain purpose and felt her own
arms that were white and soft just like hers with the sleeves back
and thought about those times because she had found out in Walker’s
pronouncing dictionary that belonged to grandpapa Giltrap about the
halcyon days what they meant.
The twins were now playing in the most approved brotherly fashion
till at last Master Jacky who was really as bold as brass there was
no getting behind that deliberately kicked the ball as hard as ever he
could down towards the seaweedy rocks. Needless to say poor Tommy was
not slow to voice his dismay but luckily the gentleman in black who was
sitting there by himself came gallantly to the rescue and intercepted
the ball. Our two champions claimed their plaything with lusty cries and
to avoid trouble Cissy Caffrey called to the gentleman to throw it to
her please. The gentleman aimed the ball once or twice and then threw
it up the strand towards Cissy Caffrey but it rolled down the slope and
stopped right under Gerty’s skirt near the little pool by the rock.
The twins clamoured again for it and Cissy told her to kick it away and
let them fight for it so Gerty drew back her foot but she wished their
stupid ball hadn’t come rolling down to her and she gave a kick but
she missed and Edy and Cissy laughed.
—If you fail try again, Edy Boardman said.
Gerty smiled assent and bit her lip. A delicate pink crept into her
pretty cheek but she was determined to let them see so she just lifted
her skirt a little but just enough and took good aim and gave the ball a
jolly good kick and it went ever so far and the two twins after it down
towards the shingle. Pure jealousy of course it was nothing else to draw
attention on account of the gentleman opposite looking. She felt the
warm flush, a danger signal always with Gerty MacDowell, surging and
flaming into her cheeks. Till then they had only exchanged glances of
the most casual but now under the brim of her new hat she ventured a
look at him and the face that met her gaze there in the twilight, wan
and strangely drawn, seemed to her the saddest she had ever seen.
Through the open window of the church the fragrant incense was wafted
and with it the fragrant names of her who was conceived without stain of
original sin, spiritual vessel, pray for us, honourable vessel, pray
for us, vessel of singular devotion, pray for us, mystical rose. And
careworn hearts were there and toilers for their daily bread and many
who had erred and wandered, their eyes wet with contrition but for all
that bright with hope for the reverend father Father Hughes had told
them what the great saint Bernard said in his famous prayer of Mary, the
most pious Virgin’s intercessory power that it was not recorded in any
age that those who implored her powerful protection were ever abandoned
The twins were now playing again right merrily for the troubles of
childhood are but as fleeting summer showers. Cissy Caffrey played with
baby Boardman till he crowed with glee, clapping baby hands in air. Peep
she cried behind the hood of the pushcar and Edy asked where was Cissy
gone and then Cissy popped up her head and cried ah! and, my word,
didn’t the little chap enjoy that! And then she told him to say papa.
—Say papa, baby. Say pa pa pa pa pa pa pa.
And baby did his level best to say it for he was very intelligent for
eleven months everyone said and big for his age and the picture of
health, a perfect little bunch of love, and he would certainly turn out
to be something great, they said.
—Haja ja ja haja.
Cissy wiped his little mouth with the dribbling bib and wanted him to
sit up properly and say pa pa pa but when she undid the strap she cried
out, holy saint Denis, that he was possing wet and to double the half
blanket the other way under him. Of course his infant majesty was most
obstreperous at such toilet formalities and he let everyone know it:
—Habaa baaaahabaaa baaaa.
And two great big lovely big tears coursing down his cheeks. It was all
no use soothering him with no, nono, baby, no and telling him about the
geegee and where was the puffpuff but Ciss, always readywitted, gave
him in his mouth the teat of the suckingbottle and the young heathen was
Gerty wished to goodness they would take their squalling baby home out
of that and not get on her nerves, no hour to be out, and the little
brats of twins. She gazed out towards the distant sea. It was like the
paintings that man used to do on the pavement with all the coloured
chalks and such a pity too leaving them there to be all blotted out, the
evening and the clouds coming out and the Bailey light on Howth and to
hear the music like that and the perfume of those incense they burned
in the church like a kind of waft. And while she gazed her heart went
pitapat. Yes, it was her he was looking at, and there was meaning in his
look. His eyes burned into her as though they would search her through
and through, read her very soul. Wonderful eyes they were, superbly
expressive, but could you trust them? People were so queer. She could
see at once by his dark eyes and his pale intellectual face that he
was a foreigner, the image of the photo she had of Martin Harvey, the
matinee idol, only for the moustache which she preferred because she
wasn’t stagestruck like Winny Rippingham that wanted they two to
always dress the same on account of a play but she could not see whether
he had an aquiline nose or a slightly retroussé from where he was
sitting. He was in deep mourning, she could see that, and the story of a
haunting sorrow was written on his face. She would have given worlds to
know what it was. He was looking up so intently, so still, and he saw
her kick the ball and perhaps he could see the bright steel buckles of
her shoes if she swung them like that thoughtfully with the toes down.
She was glad that something told her to put on the transparent stockings
thinking Reggy Wylie might be out but that was far away. Here was that
of which she had so often dreamed. It was he who mattered and there was
joy on her face because she wanted him because she felt instinctively
that he was like no-one else. The very heart of the girlwoman went out
to him, her dreamhusband, because she knew on the instant it was him. If
he had suffered, more sinned against than sinning, or even, even, if he
had been himself a sinner, a wicked man, she cared not. Even if he was
a protestant or methodist she could convert him easily if he truly loved
her. There were wounds that wanted healing with heartbalm. She was a
womanly woman not like other flighty girls unfeminine he had known,
those cyclists showing off what they hadn’t got and she just yearned
to know all, to forgive all if she could make him fall in love with her,
make him forget the memory of the past. Then mayhap he would embrace her
gently, like a real man, crushing her soft body to him, and love her,
his ownest girlie, for herself alone.
Refuge of sinners. Comfortress of the afflicted. Ora pro nobis. Well has
it been said that whosoever prays to her with faith and constancy can
never be lost or cast away: and fitly is she too a haven of refuge for
the afflicted because of the seven dolours which transpierced her own
heart. Gerty could picture the whole scene in the church, the stained
glass windows lighted up, the candles, the flowers and the blue banners
of the blessed Virgin’s sodality and Father Conroy was helping Canon
O’Hanlon at the altar, carrying things in and out with his eyes cast
down. He looked almost a saint and his confessionbox was so quiet and
clean and dark and his hands were just like white wax and if ever she
became a Dominican nun in their white habit perhaps he might come to the
convent for the novena of Saint Dominic. He told her that time when she
told him about that in confession, crimsoning up to the roots of her
hair for fear he could see, not to be troubled because that was only the
voice of nature and we were all subject to nature’s laws, he said, in
this life and that that was no sin because that came from the nature of
woman instituted by God, he said, and that Our Blessed Lady herself said
to the archangel Gabriel be it done unto me according to Thy Word. He
was so kind and holy and often and often she thought and thought could
she work a ruched teacosy with embroidered floral design for him as a
present or a clock but they had a clock she noticed on the mantelpiece
white and gold with a canarybird that came out of a little house to tell
the time the day she went there about the flowers for the forty hours’
adoration because it was hard to know what sort of a present to give or
perhaps an album of illuminated views of Dublin or some place.
The exasperating little brats of twins began to quarrel again and Jacky
threw the ball out towards the sea and they both ran after it. Little
monkeys common as ditchwater. Someone ought to take them and give them
a good hiding for themselves to keep them in their places, the both of
them. And Cissy and Edy shouted after them to come back because they
were afraid the tide might come in on them and be drowned.
Not they! What a great notion they had! So Cissy said it was the very
last time she’d ever bring them out. She jumped up and called them and
she ran down the slope past him, tossing her hair behind her which had
a good enough colour if there had been more of it but with all the
thingamerry she was always rubbing into it she couldn’t get it to grow
long because it wasn’t natural so she could just go and throw her hat
at it. She ran with long gandery strides it was a wonder she didn’t
rip up her skirt at the side that was too tight on her because there
was a lot of the tomboy about Cissy Caffrey and she was a forward piece
whenever she thought she had a good opportunity to show off and just
because she was a good runner she ran like that so that he could see
all the end of her petticoat running and her skinny shanks up as far as
possible. It would have served her just right if she had tripped up over
something accidentally on purpose with her high crooked French heels
on her to make her look tall and got a fine tumble. Tableau! That would
have been a very charming exposé for a gentleman like that to witness.
Queen of angels, queen of patriarchs, queen of prophets, of all saints,
they prayed, queen of the most holy rosary and then Father Conroy handed
the thurible to Canon O’Hanlon and he put in the incense and censed
the Blessed Sacrament and Cissy Caffrey caught the two twins and she
was itching to give them a ringing good clip on the ear but she didn’t
because she thought he might be watching but she never made a bigger
mistake in all her life because Gerty could see without looking that
he never took his eyes off of her and then Canon O’Hanlon handed the
thurible back to Father Conroy and knelt down looking up at the Blessed
Sacrament and the choir began to sing the Tantum ergo and she just swung
her foot in and out in time as the music rose and fell to the Tantumer
gosa cramen tum. Three and eleven she paid for those stockings in
Sparrow’s of George’s street on the Tuesday, no the Monday before
Easter and there wasn’t a brack on them and that was what he was
looking at, transparent, and not at her insignificant ones that had
neither shape nor form (the cheek of her!) because he had eyes in his
head to see the difference for himself.
Cissy came up along the strand with the two twins and their ball with
her hat anyhow on her to one side after her run and she did look a
streel tugging the two kids along with the flimsy blouse she bought only
a fortnight before like a rag on her back and a bit of her petticoat
hanging like a caricature. Gerty just took off her hat for a moment to
settle her hair and a prettier, a daintier head of nutbrown tresses was
never seen on a girl’s shoulders—a radiant little vision, in sooth,
almost maddening in its sweetness. You would have to travel many a long
mile before you found a head of hair the like of that. She could almost
see the swift answering flash of admiration in his eyes that set her
tingling in every nerve. She put on her hat so that she could see from
underneath the brim and swung her buckled shoe faster for her breath
caught as she caught the expression in his eyes. He was eying her as a
snake eyes its prey. Her woman’s instinct told her that she had raised
the devil in him and at the thought a burning scarlet swept from throat
to brow till the lovely colour of her face became a glorious rose.
Edy Boardman was noticing it too because she was squinting at Gerty,
half smiling, with her specs like an old maid, pretending to nurse the
baby. Irritable little gnat she was and always would be and that was why
no-one could get on with her poking her nose into what was no concern of
hers. And she said to Gerty:
—A penny for your thoughts.
—What? replied Gerty with a smile reinforced by the whitest of teeth.
I was only wondering was it late.
Because she wished to goodness they’d take the snottynosed twins and
their babby home to the mischief out of that so that was why she just
gave a gentle hint about its being late. And when Cissy came up Edy
asked her the time and Miss Cissy, as glib as you like, said it was half
past kissing time, time to kiss again. But Edy wanted to know because
they were told to be in early.
—Wait, said Cissy, I’ll run ask my uncle Peter over there what’s
the time by his conundrum.
So over she went and when he saw her coming she could see him take his
hand out of his pocket, getting nervous, and beginning to play with his
watchchain, looking up at the church. Passionate nature though he was
Gerty could see that he had enormous control over himself. One moment he
had been there, fascinated by a loveliness that made him gaze, and the
next moment it was the quiet gravefaced gentleman, selfcontrol expressed
in every line of his distinguishedlooking figure.
Cissy said to excuse her would he mind please telling her what was the
right time and Gerty could see him taking out his watch, listening to it
and looking up and clearing his throat and he said he was very sorry his
watch was stopped but he thought it must be after eight because the
sun was set. His voice had a cultured ring in it and though he spoke in
measured accents there was a suspicion of a quiver in the mellow tones.
Cissy said thanks and came back with her tongue out and said uncle said
his waterworks were out of order.
Then they sang the second verse of the Tantum ergo and Canon O’Hanlon
got up again and censed the Blessed Sacrament and knelt down and he told
Father Conroy that one of the candles was just going to set fire to the
flowers and Father Conroy got up and settled it all right and she could
see the gentleman winding his watch and listening to the works and she
swung her leg more in and out in time. It was getting darker but he
could see and he was looking all the time that he was winding the watch
or whatever he was doing to it and then he put it back and put his hands
back into his pockets. She felt a kind of a sensation rushing all over
her and she knew by the feel of her scalp and that irritation against
her stays that that thing must be coming on because the last time too
was when she clipped her hair on account of the moon. His dark eyes
fixed themselves on her again drinking in her every contour, literally
worshipping at her shrine. If ever there was undisguised admiration in
a man’s passionate gaze it was there plain to be seen on that man’s
face. It is for you, Gertrude MacDowell, and you know it.
Edy began to get ready to go and it was high time for her and Gerty
noticed that that little hint she gave had had the desired effect
because it was a long way along the strand to where there was the place
to push up the pushcar and Cissy took off the twins’ caps and tidied
their hair to make herself attractive of course and Canon O’Hanlon
stood up with his cope poking up at his neck and Father Conroy handed
him the card to read off and he read out Panem de coelo praestitisti eis
and Edy and Cissy were talking about the time all the time and asking
her but Gerty could pay them back in their own coin and she just
answered with scathing politeness when Edy asked her was she heartbroken
about her best boy throwing her over. Gerty winced sharply. A brief cold
blaze shone from her eyes that spoke volumes of scorn immeasurable. It
hurt—O yes, it cut deep because Edy had her own quiet way of saying
things like that she knew would wound like the confounded little cat she
was. Gerty’s lips parted swiftly to frame the word but she fought back
the sob that rose to her throat, so slim, so flawless, so beautifully
moulded it seemed one an artist might have dreamed of. She had loved him
better than he knew. Lighthearted deceiver and fickle like all his sex
he would never understand what he had meant to her and for an instant
there was in the blue eyes a quick stinging of tears. Their eyes were
probing her mercilessly but with a brave effort she sparkled back in
sympathy as she glanced at her new conquest for them to see.
—O, responded Gerty, quick as lightning, laughing, and the proud head
flashed up. I can throw my cap at who I like because it’s leap year.
Her words rang out crystalclear, more musical than the cooing of the
ringdove, but they cut the silence icily. There was that in her young
voice that told that she was not a one to be lightly trifled with. As
for Mr Reggy with his swank and his bit of money she could just chuck
him aside as if he was so much filth and never again would she cast as
much as a second thought on him and tear his silly postcard into a dozen
pieces. And if ever after he dared to presume she could give him one
look of measured scorn that would make him shrivel up on the spot. Miss
puny little Edy’s countenance fell to no slight extent and Gerty could
see by her looking as black as thunder that she was simply in a towering
rage though she hid it, the little kinnatt, because that shaft had
struck home for her petty jealousy and they both knew that she was
something aloof, apart, in another sphere, that she was not of them and
never would be and there was somebody else too that knew it and saw it
so they could put that in their pipe and smoke it.
Edy straightened up baby Boardman to get ready to go and Cissy tucked in
the ball and the spades and buckets and it was high time too because the
sandman was on his way for Master Boardman junior. And Cissy told him
too that billy winks was coming and that baby was to go deedaw and baby
looked just too ducky, laughing up out of his gleeful eyes, and Cissy
poked him like that out of fun in his wee fat tummy and baby, without as
much as by your leave, sent up his compliments to all and sundry on to
his brandnew dribbling bib.
—O my! Puddeny pie! protested Ciss. He has his bib destroyed.
The slight contretemps claimed her attention but in two twos she set
that little matter to rights.
Gerty stifled a smothered exclamation and gave a nervous cough and Edy
asked what and she was just going to tell her to catch it while it was
flying but she was ever ladylike in her deportment so she simply passed
it off with consummate tact by saying that that was the benediction
because just then the bell rang out from the steeple over the quiet
seashore because Canon O’Hanlon was up on the altar with the veil that
Father Conroy put round his shoulders giving the benediction with the
Blessed Sacrament in his hands.
How moving the scene there in the gathering twilight, the last glimpse
of Erin, the touching chime of those evening bells and at the same
time a bat flew forth from the ivied belfry through the dusk, hither,
thither, with a tiny lost cry. And she could see far away the lights of
the lighthouses so picturesque she would have loved to do with a box of
paints because it was easier than to make a man and soon the lamplighter
would be going his rounds past the presbyterian church grounds and along
by shady Tritonville avenue where the couples walked and lighting the
lamp near her window where Reggy Wylie used to turn his freewheel like
she read in that book The Lamplighter by Miss Cummins, author of Mabel
Vaughan and other tales. For Gerty had her dreams that no-one knew of.
She loved to read poetry and when she got a keepsake from Bertha Supple
of that lovely confession album with the coralpink cover to write her
thoughts in she laid it in the drawer of her toilettable which, though
it did not err on the side of luxury, was scrupulously neat and clean.
It was there she kept her girlish treasure trove, the tortoiseshell
combs, her child of Mary badge, the whiterose scent, the eyebrowleine,
her alabaster pouncetbox and the ribbons to change when her things came
home from the wash and there were some beautiful thoughts written in it
in violet ink that she bought in Hely’s of Dame Street for she felt
that she too could write poetry if she could only express herself like
that poem that appealed to her so deeply that she had copied out of the
newspaper she found one evening round the potherbs. Art thou real, my
ideal? it was called by Louis J Walsh, Magherafelt, and after there was
something about twilight, wilt thou ever? and ofttimes the beauty of
poetry, so sad in its transient loveliness, had misted her eyes with
silent tears for she felt that the years were slipping by for her,
one by one, and but for that one shortcoming she knew she need fear no
competition and that was an accident coming down Dalkey hill and she
always tried to conceal it. But it must end, she felt. If she saw that
magic lure in his eyes there would be no holding back for her. Love
laughs at locksmiths. She would make the great sacrifice. Her every
effort would be to share his thoughts. Dearer than the whole world
would she be to him and gild his days with happiness. There was the
allimportant question and she was dying to know was he a married man or
a widower who had lost his wife or some tragedy like the nobleman
with the foreign name from the land of song had to have her put into a
madhouse, cruel only to be kind. But even if—what then? Would it make
a very great difference? From everything in the least indelicate her
finebred nature instinctively recoiled. She loathed that sort of person,
the fallen women off the accommodation walk beside the Dodder that went
with the soldiers and coarse men with no respect for a girl’s honour,
degrading the sex and being taken up to the police station. No, no:
not that. They would be just good friends like a big brother and sister
without all that other in spite of the conventions of Society with a big
ess. Perhaps it was an old flame he was in mourning for from the days
beyond recall. She thought she understood. She would try to understand
him because men were so different. The old love was waiting, waiting
with little white hands stretched out, with blue appealing eyes. Heart
of mine! She would follow, her dream of love, the dictates of her heart
that told her he was her all in all, the only man in all the world for
her for love was the master guide. Nothing else mattered. Come what
might she would be wild, untrammelled, free.
Canon O’Hanlon put the Blessed Sacrament back into the tabernacle and
genuflected and the choir sang Laudate Dominum omnes gentes and then he
locked the tabernacle door because the benediction was over and Father
Conroy handed him his hat to put on and crosscat Edy asked wasn’t she
coming but Jacky Caffrey called out:
—O, look, Cissy!
And they all looked was it sheet lightning but Tommy saw it too over the
trees beside the church, blue and then green and purple.
—It’s fireworks, Cissy Caffrey said.
And they all ran down the strand to see over the houses and the church,
helterskelter, Edy with the pushcar with baby Boardman in it and Cissy
holding Tommy and Jacky by the hand so they wouldn’t fall running.
—Come on, Gerty, Cissy called. It’s the bazaar fireworks.
But Gerty was adamant. She had no intention of being at their beck and
call. If they could run like rossies she could sit so she said she could
see from where she was. The eyes that were fastened upon her set her
pulses tingling. She looked at him a moment, meeting his glance, and
a light broke in upon her. Whitehot passion was in that face, passion
silent as the grave, and it had made her his. At last they were left
alone without the others to pry and pass remarks and she knew he could
be trusted to the death, steadfast, a sterling man, a man of inflexible
honour to his fingertips. His hands and face were working and a tremour
went over her. She leaned back far to look up where the fireworks were
and she caught her knee in her hands so as not to fall back looking up
and there was no-one to see only him and her when she revealed all her
graceful beautifully shaped legs like that, supply soft and delicately
rounded, and she seemed to hear the panting of his heart, his hoarse
breathing, because she knew too about the passion of men like that,
hotblooded, because Bertha Supple told her once in dead secret and made
her swear she’d never about the gentleman lodger that was staying with
them out of the Congested Districts Board that had pictures cut out of
papers of those skirtdancers and highkickers and she said he used to do
something not very nice that you could imagine sometimes in the bed. But
this was altogether different from a thing like that because there was
all the difference because she could almost feel him draw her face to
his and the first quick hot touch of his handsome lips. Besides there
was absolution so long as you didn’t do the other thing before being
married and there ought to be women priests that would understand
without your telling out and Cissy Caffrey too sometimes had that dreamy
kind of dreamy look in her eyes so that she too, my dear, and Winny
Rippingham so mad about actors’ photographs and besides it was on
account of that other thing coming on the way it did.
And Jacky Caffrey shouted to look, there was another and she leaned back
and the garters were blue to match on account of the transparent and
they all saw it and they all shouted to look, look, there it was and
she leaned back ever so far to see the fireworks and something queer was
flying through the air, a soft thing, to and fro, dark. And she saw a
long Roman candle going up over the trees, up, up, and, in the tense
hush, they were all breathless with excitement as it went higher and
higher and she had to lean back more and more to look up after it, high,
high, almost out of sight, and her face was suffused with a divine, an
entrancing blush from straining back and he could see her other things
too, nainsook knickers, the fabric that caresses the skin, better than
those other pettiwidth, the green, four and eleven, on account of being
white and she let him and she saw that he saw and then it went so high
it went out of sight a moment and she was trembling in every limb from
being bent so far back that he had a full view high up above her knee
where no-one ever not even on the swing or wading and she wasn’t
ashamed and he wasn’t either to look in that immodest way like that
because he couldn’t resist the sight of the wondrous revealment half
offered like those skirtdancers behaving so immodest before gentlemen
looking and he kept on looking, looking. She would fain have cried to
him chokingly, held out her snowy slender arms to him to come, to feel
his lips laid on her white brow, the cry of a young girl’s love, a
little strangled cry, wrung from her, that cry that has rung through the
ages. And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind blank and O! then the
Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh of O! and everyone cried O! O!
in raptures and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads
and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling with
golden, O so lovely, O, soft, sweet, soft!
Then all melted away dewily in the grey air: all was silent. Ah! She
glanced at him as she bent forward quickly, a pathetic little glance of
piteous protest, of shy reproach under which he coloured like a girl. He
was leaning back against the rock behind. Leopold Bloom (for it is he)
stands silent, with bowed head before those young guileless eyes. What a
brute he had been! At it again? A fair unsullied soul had called to him
and, wretch that he was, how had he answered? An utter cad he had been!
He of all men! But there was an infinite store of mercy in those eyes,
for him too a word of pardon even though he had erred and sinned and
wandered. Should a girl tell? No, a thousand times no. That was their
secret, only theirs, alone in the hiding twilight and there was none to
know or tell save the little bat that flew so softly through the evening
to and fro and little bats don’t tell.
Cissy Caffrey whistled, imitating the boys in the football field to show
what a great person she was: and then she cried:
—Gerty! Gerty! We’re going. Come on. We can see from farther up.
Gerty had an idea, one of love’s little ruses. She slipped a hand
into her kerchief pocket and took out the wadding and waved in reply of
course without letting him and then slipped it back. Wonder if he’s
too far to. She rose. Was it goodbye? No. She had to go but they would
meet again, there, and she would dream of that till then, tomorrow, of
her dream of yester eve. She drew herself up to her full height. Their
souls met in a last lingering glance and the eyes that reached
her heart, full of a strange shining, hung enraptured on her sweet
flowerlike face. She half smiled at him wanly, a sweet forgiving smile,
a smile that verged on tears, and then they parted.
Slowly, without looking back she went down the uneven strand to Cissy,
to Edy to Jacky and Tommy Caffrey, to little baby Boardman. It was
darker now and there were stones and bits of wood on the strand and
slippy seaweed. She walked with a certain quiet dignity characteristic
of her but with care and very slowly because—because Gerty MacDowell
Tight boots? No. She’s lame! O!
Mr Bloom watched her as she limped away. Poor girl! That’s why she’s
left on the shelf and the others did a sprint. Thought something was
wrong by the cut of her jib. Jilted beauty. A defect is ten times worse
in a woman. But makes them polite. Glad I didn’t know it when she was
on show. Hot little devil all the same. I wouldn’t mind. Curiosity
like a nun or a negress or a girl with glasses. That squinty one is
delicate. Near her monthlies, I expect, makes them feel ticklish. I have
such a bad headache today. Where did I put the letter? Yes, all right.
All kinds of crazy longings. Licking pennies. Girl in Tranquilla convent
that nun told me liked to smell rock oil. Virgins go mad in the end I
suppose. Sister? How many women in Dublin have it today? Martha, she.
Something in the air. That’s the moon. But then why don’t all women
menstruate at the same time with the same moon, I mean? Depends on the
time they were born I suppose. Or all start scratch then get out of
step. Sometimes Molly and Milly together. Anyhow I got the best of that.
Damned glad I didn’t do it in the bath this morning over her silly I
will punish you letter. Made up for that tramdriver this morning. That
gouger M’Coy stopping me to say nothing. And his wife engagement in
the country valise, voice like a pickaxe. Thankful for small mercies.
Cheap too. Yours for the asking. Because they want it themselves. Their
natural craving. Shoals of them every evening poured out of offices.
Reserve better. Don’t want it they throw it at you. Catch em alive, O.
Pity they can’t see themselves. A dream of wellfilled hose. Where was
that? Ah, yes. Mutoscope pictures in Capel street: for men only. Peeping
Tom. Willy’s hat and what the girls did with it. Do they snapshot
those girls or is it all a fake? Lingerie does it. Felt for the curves
inside her déshabillé. Excites them also when they’re. I’m all
clean come and dirty me. And they like dressing one another for the
sacrifice. Milly delighted with Molly’s new blouse. At first. Put them
all on to take them all off. Molly. Why I bought her the violet garters.
Us too: the tie he wore, his lovely socks and turnedup trousers. He
wore a pair of gaiters the night that first we met. His lovely shirt was
shining beneath his what? of jet. Say a woman loses a charm with every
pin she takes out. Pinned together. O, Mairy lost the pin of her.
Dressed up to the nines for somebody. Fashion part of their charm. Just
changes when you’re on the track of the secret. Except the east: Mary,
Martha: now as then. No reasonable offer refused. She wasn’t in a
hurry either. Always off to a fellow when they are. They never forget an
appointment. Out on spec probably. They believe in chance because like
themselves. And the others inclined to give her an odd dig. Girl friends
at school, arms round each other’s necks or with ten fingers locked,
kissing and whispering secrets about nothing in the convent garden. Nuns
with whitewashed faces, cool coifs and their rosaries going up and down,
vindictive too for what they can’t get. Barbed wire. Be sure now and
write to me. And I’ll write to you. Now won’t you? Molly and Josie
Powell. Till Mr Right comes along, then meet once in a blue moon.
Tableau! O, look who it is for the love of God! How are you at all? What
have you been doing with yourself? Kiss and delighted to, kiss, to
see you. Picking holes in each other’s appearance. You’re looking
splendid. Sister souls. Showing their teeth at one another. How many
have you left? Wouldn’t lend each other a pinch of salt.
Devils they are when that’s coming on them. Dark devilish appearance.
Molly often told me feel things a ton weight. Scratch the sole of my
foot. O that way! O, that’s exquisite! Feel it myself too. Good to
rest once in a way. Wonder if it’s bad to go with them then. Safe in
one way. Turns milk, makes fiddlestrings snap. Something about withering
plants I read in a garden. Besides they say if the flower withers she
wears she’s a flirt. All are. Daresay she felt I. When you feel like
that you often meet what you feel. Liked me or what? Dress they look at.
Always know a fellow courting: collars and cuffs. Well cocks and lions
do the same and stags. Same time might prefer a tie undone or something.
Trousers? Suppose I when I was? No. Gently does it. Dislike rough and
tumble. Kiss in the dark and never tell. Saw something in me. Wonder
what. Sooner have me as I am than some poet chap with bearsgrease
plastery hair, lovelock over his dexter optic. To aid gentleman in
literary. Ought to attend to my appearance my age. Didn’t let her
see me in profile. Still, you never know. Pretty girls and ugly men
marrying. Beauty and the beast. Besides I can’t be so if Molly.
Took off her hat to show her hair. Wide brim. Bought to hide her face,
meeting someone might know her, bend down or carry a bunch of flowers to
smell. Hair strong in rut. Ten bob I got for Molly’s combings when we
were on the rocks in Holles street. Why not? Suppose he gave her money.
Why not? All a prejudice. She’s worth ten, fifteen, more, a pound.
What? I think so. All that for nothing. Bold hand: Mrs Marion. Did
I forget to write address on that letter like the postcard I sent to
Flynn? And the day I went to Drimmie’s without a necktie. Wrangle
with Molly it was put me off. No, I remember. Richie Goulding: he’s
another. Weighs on his mind. Funny my watch stopped at half past four.
Dust. Shark liver oil they use to clean. Could do it myself. Save. Was
that just when he, she?
O, he did. Into her. She did. Done.
Mr Bloom with careful hand recomposed his wet shirt. O Lord, that little
limping devil. Begins to feel cold and clammy. Aftereffect not pleasant.
Still you have to get rid of it someway. They don’t care. Complimented
perhaps. Go home to nicey bread and milky and say night prayers with the
kiddies. Well, aren’t they? See her as she is spoil all. Must have the
stage setting, the rouge, costume, position, music. The name too. Amours
of actresses. Nell Gwynn, Mrs Bracegirdle, Maud Branscombe. Curtain
up. Moonlight silver effulgence. Maiden discovered with pensive bosom.
Little sweetheart come and kiss me. Still, I feel. The strength it gives
a man. That’s the secret of it. Good job I let off there behind the
wall coming out of Dignam’s. Cider that was. Otherwise I couldn’t
have. Makes you want to sing after. Lacaus esant taratara. Suppose I
spoke to her. What about? Bad plan however if you don’t know how to
end the conversation. Ask them a question they ask you another.
Good idea if you’re stuck. Gain time. But then you’re in a cart.
Wonderful of course if you say: good evening, and you see she’s on
for it: good evening. O but the dark evening in the Appian way I nearly
spoke to Mrs Clinch O thinking she was. Whew! Girl in Meath street that
night. All the dirty things I made her say. All wrong of course. My
arks she called it. It’s so hard to find one who. Aho! If you don’t
answer when they solicit must be horrible for them till they harden. And
kissed my hand when I gave her the extra two shillings. Parrots. Press
the button and the bird will squeak. Wish she hadn’t called me sir.
O, her mouth in the dark! And you a married man with a single girl!
That’s what they enjoy. Taking a man from another woman. Or even hear
of it. Different with me. Glad to get away from other chap’s wife.
Eating off his cold plate. Chap in the Burton today spitting back
gumchewed gristle. French letter still in my pocketbook. Cause of half
the trouble. But might happen sometime, I don’t think. Come in, all is
prepared. I dreamt. What? Worst is beginning. How they change the venue
when it’s not what they like. Ask you do you like mushrooms because
she once knew a gentleman who. Or ask you what someone was going to say
when he changed his mind and stopped. Yet if I went the whole hog, say:
I want to, something like that. Because I did. She too. Offend her.
Then make it up. Pretend to want something awfully, then cry off for her
sake. Flatters them. She must have been thinking of someone else all the
time. What harm? Must since she came to the use of reason, he, he and
he. First kiss does the trick. The propitious moment. Something inside
them goes pop. Mushy like, tell by their eye, on the sly. First thoughts
are best. Remember that till their dying day. Molly, lieutenant Mulvey
that kissed her under the Moorish wall beside the gardens. Fifteen
she told me. But her breasts were developed. Fell asleep then. After
Glencree dinner that was when we drove home. Featherbed mountain.
Gnashing her teeth in sleep. Lord mayor had his eye on her too. Val
There she is with them down there for the fireworks. My fireworks. Up
like a rocket, down like a stick. And the children, twins they must
be, waiting for something to happen. Want to be grownups. Dressing in
mother’s clothes. Time enough, understand all the ways of the world.
And the dark one with the mop head and the nigger mouth. I knew she
could whistle. Mouth made for that. Like Molly. Why that highclass whore
in Jammet’s wore her veil only to her nose. Would you mind, please,
telling me the right time? I’ll tell you the right time up a dark
lane. Say prunes and prisms forty times every morning, cure for fat
lips. Caressing the little boy too. Onlookers see most of the game. Of
course they understand birds, animals, babies. In their line.
Didn’t look back when she was going down the strand. Wouldn’t give
that satisfaction. Those girls, those girls, those lovely seaside girls.
Fine eyes she had, clear. It’s the white of the eye brings that out
not so much the pupil. Did she know what I? Course. Like a cat sitting
beyond a dog’s jump. Women never meet one like that Wilkins in the
high school drawing a picture of Venus with all his belongings on show.
Call that innocence? Poor idiot! His wife has her work cut out for her.
Never see them sit on a bench marked Wet Paint. Eyes all over them. Look
under the bed for what’s not there. Longing to get the fright of their
lives. Sharp as needles they are. When I said to Molly the man at the
corner of Cuffe street was goodlooking, thought she might like, twigged
at once he had a false arm. Had, too. Where do they get that?
Typist going up Roger Greene’s stairs two at a time to show her
understandings. Handed down from father to, mother to daughter, I mean.
Bred in the bone. Milly for example drying her handkerchief on the
mirror to save the ironing. Best place for an ad to catch a woman’s
eye on a mirror. And when I sent her for Molly’s Paisley shawl to
Prescott’s by the way that ad I must, carrying home the change in her
stocking! Clever little minx. I never told her. Neat way she carries
parcels too. Attract men, small thing like that. Holding up her hand,
shaking it, to let the blood flow back when it was red. Who did you
learn that from? Nobody. Something the nurse taught me. O, don’t they
know! Three years old she was in front of Molly’s dressingtable, just
before we left Lombard street west. Me have a nice pace. Mullingar. Who
knows? Ways of the world. Young student. Straight on her pins anyway not
like the other. Still she was game. Lord, I am wet. Devil you are. Swell
of her calf. Transparent stockings, stretched to breaking point. Not
like that frump today. A. E. Rumpled stockings. Or the one in Grafton
street. White. Wow! Beef to the heel.
A monkey puzzle rocket burst, spluttering in darting crackles. Zrads and
zrads, zrads, zrads. And Cissy and Tommy and Jacky ran out to see and
Edy after with the pushcar and then Gerty beyond the curve of the rocks.
Will she? Watch! Watch! See! Looked round. She smelt an onion. Darling,
I saw, your. I saw all.
Did me good all the same. Off colour after Kiernan’s, Dignam’s. For
this relief much thanks. In Hamlet, that is. Lord! It was all things
combined. Excitement. When she leaned back, felt an ache at the butt of
my tongue. Your head it simply swirls. He’s right. Might have made a
worse fool of myself however. Instead of talking about nothing. Then
I will tell you all. Still it was a kind of language between us. It
couldn’t be? No, Gerty they called her. Might be false name however
like my name and the address Dolphin’s barn a blind.
 Her maiden name was Jemina Brown
 And she lived with her mother in Irishtown.
Place made me think of that I suppose. All tarred with the same brush.
Wiping pens in their stockings. But the ball rolled down to her as if
it understood. Every bullet has its billet. Course I never could throw
anything straight at school. Crooked as a ram’s horn. Sad however
because it lasts only a few years till they settle down to potwalloping
and papa’s pants will soon fit Willy and fuller’s earth for the baby
when they hold him out to do ah ah. No soft job. Saves them. Keeps them
out of harm’s way. Nature. Washing child, washing corpse. Dignam.
Children’s hands always round them. Cocoanut skulls, monkeys, not
even closed at first, sour milk in their swaddles and tainted curds.
Oughtn’t to have given that child an empty teat to suck. Fill it up
with wind. Mrs Beaufoy, Purefoy. Must call to the hospital. Wonder is
nurse Callan there still. She used to look over some nights when Molly
was in the Coffee Palace. That young doctor O’Hare I noticed her
brushing his coat. And Mrs Breen and Mrs Dignam once like that too,
marriageable. Worst of all at night Mrs Duggan told me in the City Arms.
Husband rolling in drunk, stink of pub off him like a polecat. Have that
in your nose in the dark, whiff of stale boose. Then ask in the morning:
was I drunk last night? Bad policy however to fault the husband.
Chickens come home to roost. They stick by one another like glue. Maybe
the women’s fault also. That’s where Molly can knock spots off them.
It’s the blood of the south. Moorish. Also the form, the figure.
Hands felt for the opulent. Just compare for instance those others. Wife
locked up at home, skeleton in the cupboard. Allow me to introduce my.
Then they trot you out some kind of a nondescript, wouldn’t know
what to call her. Always see a fellow’s weak point in his wife. Still
there’s destiny in it, falling in love. Have their own secrets between
them. Chaps that would go to the dogs if some woman didn’t take them
in hand. Then little chits of girls, height of a shilling in coppers,
with little hubbies. As God made them he matched them. Sometimes
children turn out well enough. Twice nought makes one. Or old rich chap
of seventy and blushing bride. Marry in May and repent in December. This
wet is very unpleasant. Stuck. Well the foreskin is not back. Better
Other hand a sixfooter with a wifey up to his watchpocket. Long and
the short of it. Big he and little she. Very strange about my watch.
Wristwatches are always going wrong. Wonder is there any magnetic
influence between the person because that was about the time he. Yes, I
suppose, at once. Cat’s away, the mice will play. I remember looking
in Pill lane. Also that now is magnetism. Back of everything magnetism.
Earth for instance pulling this and being pulled. That causes movement.
And time, well that’s the time the movement takes. Then if one thing
stopped the whole ghesabo would stop bit by bit. Because it’s all
arranged. Magnetic needle tells you what’s going on in the sun, the
stars. Little piece of steel iron. When you hold out the fork. Come.
Come. Tip. Woman and man that is. Fork and steel. Molly, he. Dress
up and look and suggest and let you see and see more and defy you if
you’re a man to see that and, like a sneeze coming, legs, look, look
and if you have any guts in you. Tip. Have to let fly.
Wonder how is she feeling in that region. Shame all put on before third
person. More put out about a hole in her stocking. Molly, her underjaw
stuck out, head back, about the farmer in the ridingboots and spurs at
the horse show. And when the painters were in Lombard street west.
Fine voice that fellow had. How Giuglini began. Smell that I did. Like
flowers. It was too. Violets. Came from the turpentine probably in the
paint. Make their own use of everything. Same time doing it scraped her
slipper on the floor so they wouldn’t hear. But lots of them can’t
kick the beam, I think. Keep that thing up for hours. Kind of a general
all round over me and half down my back.
Wait. Hm. Hm. Yes. That’s her perfume. Why she waved her hand. I leave
you this to think of me when I’m far away on the pillow. What is it?
Heliotrope? No. Hyacinth? Hm. Roses, I think. She’d like scent of that
kind. Sweet and cheap: soon sour. Why Molly likes opoponax. Suits her,
with a little jessamine mixed. Her high notes and her low notes. At the
dance night she met him, dance of the hours. Heat brought it out. She
was wearing her black and it had the perfume of the time before. Good
conductor, is it? Or bad? Light too. Suppose there’s some connection.
For instance if you go into a cellar where it’s dark. Mysterious thing
too. Why did I smell it only now? Took its time in coming like herself,
slow but sure. Suppose it’s ever so many millions of tiny grains
blown across. Yes, it is. Because those spice islands, Cinghalese this
morning, smell them leagues off. Tell you what it is. It’s like a fine
fine veil or web they have all over the skin, fine like what do you
call it gossamer, and they’re always spinning it out of them, fine as
anything, like rainbow colours without knowing it. Clings to everything
she takes off. Vamp of her stockings. Warm shoe. Stays. Drawers: little
kick, taking them off. Byby till next time. Also the cat likes to sniff
in her shift on the bed. Know her smell in a thousand. Bathwater too.
Reminds me of strawberries and cream. Wonder where it is really. There
or the armpits or under the neck. Because you get it out of all holes
and corners. Hyacinth perfume made of oil of ether or something.
Muskrat. Bag under their tails. One grain pour off odour for years. Dogs
at each other behind. Good evening. Evening. How do you sniff? Hm. Hm.
Very well, thank you. Animals go by that. Yes now, look at it that way.
We’re the same. Some women, instance, warn you off when they have
their period. Come near. Then get a hogo you could hang your hat on.
Like what? Potted herrings gone stale or. Boof! Please keep off the
Perhaps they get a man smell off us. What though? Cigary gloves long
John had on his desk the other day. Breath? What you eat and drink gives
that. No. Mansmell, I mean. Must be connected with that because priests
that are supposed to be are different. Women buzz round it like flies
round treacle. Railed off the altar get on to it at any cost. The tree
of forbidden priest. O, father, will you? Let me be the first to. That
diffuses itself all through the body, permeates. Source of life. And
it’s extremely curious the smell. Celery sauce. Let me.
Mr Bloom inserted his nose. Hm. Into the. Hm. Opening of his waistcoat.
Almonds or. No. Lemons it is. Ah no, that’s the soap.
O by the by that lotion. I knew there was something on my mind. Never
went back and the soap not paid. Dislike carrying bottles like that hag
this morning. Hynes might have paid me that three shillings. I
could mention Meagher’s just to remind him. Still if he works that
paragraph. Two and nine. Bad opinion of me he’ll have. Call tomorrow.
How much do I owe you? Three and nine? Two and nine, sir. Ah. Might stop
him giving credit another time. Lose your customers that way. Pubs do.
Fellows run up a bill on the slate and then slinking around the back
streets into somewhere else.
Here’s this nobleman passed before. Blown in from the bay. Just went
as far as turn back. Always at home at dinnertime. Looks mangled out:
had a good tuck in. Enjoying nature now. Grace after meals. After supper
walk a mile. Sure he has a small bank balance somewhere, government sit.
Walk after him now make him awkward like those newsboys me today. Still
you learn something. See ourselves as others see us. So long as women
don’t mock what matter? That’s the way to find out. Ask yourself
who is he now. The Mystery Man on the Beach, prize titbit story by Mr
Leopold Bloom. Payment at the rate of one guinea per column. And that
fellow today at the graveside in the brown macintosh. Corns on his
kismet however. Healthy perhaps absorb all the. Whistle brings rain they
say. Must be some somewhere. Salt in the Ormond damp. The body feels
the atmosphere. Old Betty’s joints are on the rack. Mother Shipton’s
prophecy that is about ships around they fly in the twinkling. No. Signs
of rain it is. The royal reader. And distant hills seem coming nigh.
Howth. Bailey light. Two, four, six, eight, nine. See. Has to change or
they might think it a house. Wreckers. Grace Darling. People afraid of
the dark. Also glowworms, cyclists: lightingup time. Jewels diamonds
flash better. Women. Light is a kind of reassuring. Not going to hurt
you. Better now of course than long ago. Country roads. Run you through
the small guts for nothing. Still two types there are you bob against.
Scowl or smile. Pardon! Not at all. Best time to spray plants too in
the shade after the sun. Some light still. Red rays are longest. Roygbiv
Vance taught us: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. A
star I see. Venus? Can’t tell yet. Two. When three it’s night. Were
those nightclouds there all the time? Looks like a phantom ship. No.
Wait. Trees are they? An optical illusion. Mirage. Land of the setting
sun this. Homerule sun setting in the southeast. My native land,
Dew falling. Bad for you, dear, to sit on that stone. Brings on white
fluxions. Never have little baby then less he was big strong fight his
way up through. Might get piles myself. Sticks too like a summer cold,
sore on the mouth. Cut with grass or paper worst. Friction of the
position. Like to be that rock she sat on. O sweet little, you don’t
know how nice you looked. I begin to like them at that age. Green
apples. Grab at all that offer. Suppose it’s the only time we cross
legs, seated. Also the library today: those girl graduates. Happy chairs
under them. But it’s the evening influence. They feel all that. Open
like flowers, know their hours, sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes, in
ballrooms, chandeliers, avenues under the lamps. Nightstock in Mat
Dillon’s garden where I kissed her shoulder. Wish I had a full length
oilpainting of her then. June that was too I wooed. The year returns.
History repeats itself. Ye crags and peaks I’m with you once again.
Life, love, voyage round your own little world. And now? Sad about her
lame of course but must be on your guard not to feel too much pity. They
All quiet on Howth now. The distant hills seem. Where we. The
rhododendrons. I am a fool perhaps. He gets the plums, and I the
plumstones. Where I come in. All that old hill has seen. Names change:
that’s all. Lovers: yum yum.
Tired I feel now. Will I get up? O wait. Drained all the manhood out of
me, little wretch. She kissed me. Never again. My youth. Only once it
comes. Or hers. Take the train there tomorrow. No. Returning not the
same. Like kids your second visit to a house. The new I want. Nothing
new under the sun. Care of P. O. Dolphin’s Barn. Are you not happy in
your? Naughty darling. At Dolphin’s barn charades in Luke Doyle’s
house. Mat Dillon and his bevy of daughters: Tiny, Atty, Floey, Maimy,
Louy, Hetty. Molly too. Eightyseven that was. Year before we. And the
old major, partial to his drop of spirits. Curious she an only child,
I an only child. So it returns. Think you’re escaping and run into
yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home. And just when he
and she. Circus horse walking in a ring. Rip van Winkle we played. Rip:
tear in Henny Doyle’s overcoat. Van: breadvan delivering. Winkle:
cockles and periwinkles. Then I did Rip van Winkle coming back. She
leaned on the sideboard watching. Moorish eyes. Twenty years asleep in
Sleepy Hollow. All changed. Forgotten. The young are old. His gun rusty
from the dew.
Ba. What is that flying about? Swallow? Bat probably. Thinks I’m a
tree, so blind. Have birds no smell? Metempsychosis. They believed you
could be changed into a tree from grief. Weeping willow. Ba. There he
goes. Funny little beggar. Wonder where he lives. Belfry up there. Very
likely. Hanging by his heels in the odour of sanctity. Bell scared him
out, I suppose. Mass seems to be over. Could hear them all at it. Pray
for us. And pray for us. And pray for us. Good idea the repetition. Same
thing with ads. Buy from us. And buy from us. Yes, there’s the light
in the priest’s house. Their frugal meal. Remember about the mistake
in the valuation when I was in Thom’s. Twentyeight it is. Two houses
they have. Gabriel Conroy’s brother is curate. Ba. Again. Wonder why
they come out at night like mice. They’re a mixed breed. Birds are
like hopping mice. What frightens them, light or noise? Better sit
still. All instinct like the bird in drouth got water out of the end of
a jar by throwing in pebbles. Like a little man in a cloak he is with
tiny hands. Weeny bones. Almost see them shimmering, kind of a bluey
white. Colours depend on the light you see. Stare the sun for example
like the eagle then look at a shoe see a blotch blob yellowish. Wants
to stamp his trademark on everything. Instance, that cat this morning on
the staircase. Colour of brown turf. Say you never see them with three
colours. Not true. That half tabbywhite tortoiseshell in the City Arms
with the letter em on her forehead. Body fifty different colours.
Howth a while ago amethyst. Glass flashing. That’s how that wise man
what’s his name with the burning glass. Then the heather goes on fire.
It can’t be tourists’ matches. What? Perhaps the sticks dry rub
together in the wind and light. Or broken bottles in the furze act as
a burning glass in the sun. Archimedes. I have it! My memory’s not so
Ba. Who knows what they’re always flying for. Insects? That bee last
week got into the room playing with his shadow on the ceiling. Might
be the one bit me, come back to see. Birds too. Never find out. Or what
they say. Like our small talk. And says she and says he. Nerve they have
to fly over the ocean and back. Lots must be killed in storms, telegraph
wires. Dreadful life sailors have too. Big brutes of oceangoing steamers
floundering along in the dark, lowing out like seacows. Faugh a
ballagh! Out of that, bloody curse to you! Others in vessels, bit of a
handkerchief sail, pitched about like snuff at a wake when the stormy
winds do blow. Married too. Sometimes away for years at the ends of the
earth somewhere. No ends really because it’s round. Wife in every port
they say. She has a good job if she minds it till Johnny comes marching
home again. If ever he does. Smelling the tail end of ports. How can
they like the sea? Yet they do. The anchor’s weighed. Off he sails
with a scapular or a medal on him for luck. Well. And the tephilim
no what’s this they call it poor papa’s father had on his door to
touch. That brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of
bondage. Something in all those superstitions because when you go out
never know what dangers. Hanging on to a plank or astride of a beam for
grim life, lifebelt round him, gulping salt water, and that’s the last
of his nibs till the sharks catch hold of him. Do fish ever get seasick?
Then you have a beautiful calm without a cloud, smooth sea, placid, crew
and cargo in smithereens, Davy Jones’ locker, moon looking down so
peaceful. Not my fault, old cockalorum.
A last lonely candle wandered up the sky from Mirus bazaar in search of
funds for Mercer’s hospital and broke, drooping, and shed a cluster
of violet but one white stars. They floated, fell: they faded. The
shepherd’s hour: the hour of folding: hour of tryst. From house to
house, giving his everwelcome double knock, went the nine o’clock
postman, the glowworm’s lamp at his belt gleaming here and there
through the laurel hedges. And among the five young trees a hoisted
lintstock lit the lamp at Leahy’s terrace. By screens of lighted
windows, by equal gardens a shrill voice went crying, wailing: Evening
Telegraph, stop press edition! Result of the Gold Cup races! and from
the door of Dignam’s house a boy ran out and called. Twittering the
bat flew here, flew there. Far out over the sands the coming surf
crept, grey. Howth settled for slumber, tired of long days, of yumyum
rhododendrons (he was old) and felt gladly the night breeze lift, ruffle
his fell of ferns. He lay but opened a red eye unsleeping, deep and
slowly breathing, slumberous but awake. And far on Kish bank the
anchored lightship twinkled, winked at Mr Bloom.
Life those chaps out there must have, stuck in the same spot. Irish
Lights board. Penance for their sins. Coastguards too. Rocket and
breeches buoy and lifeboat. Day we went out for the pleasure cruise in
the Erin’s King, throwing them the sack of old papers. Bears in
the zoo. Filthy trip. Drunkards out to shake up their livers. Puking
overboard to feed the herrings. Nausea. And the women, fear of God in
their faces. Milly, no sign of funk. Her blue scarf loose, laughing.
Don’t know what death is at that age. And then their stomachs clean.
But being lost they fear. When we hid behind the tree at Crumlin. I
didn’t want to. Mamma! Mamma! Babes in the wood. Frightening them with
masks too. Throwing them up in the air to catch them. I’ll murder you.
Is it only half fun? Or children playing battle. Whole earnest. How can
people aim guns at each other. Sometimes they go off. Poor kids! Only
troubles wildfire and nettlerash. Calomel purge I got her for that.
After getting better asleep with Molly. Very same teeth she has. What do
they love? Another themselves? But the morning she chased her with the
umbrella. Perhaps so as not to hurt. I felt her pulse. Ticking. Little
hand it was: now big. Dearest Papli. All that the hand says when you
touch. Loved to count my waistcoat buttons. Her first stays I remember.
Made me laugh to see. Little paps to begin with. Left one is more
sensitive, I think. Mine too. Nearer the heart? Padding themselves out
if fat is in fashion. Her growing pains at night, calling, wakening
me. Frightened she was when her nature came on her first. Poor child!
Strange moment for the mother too. Brings back her girlhood. Gibraltar.
Looking from Buena Vista. O’Hara’s tower. The seabirds screaming.
Old Barbary ape that gobbled all his family. Sundown, gunfire for the
men to cross the lines. Looking out over the sea she told me. Evening
like this, but clear, no clouds. I always thought I’d marry a lord or
a rich gentleman coming with a private yacht. Buenas noches, señorita.
El hombre ama la muchacha hermosa. Why me? Because you were so foreign
from the others.
Better not stick here all night like a limpet. This weather makes you
dull. Must be getting on for nine by the light. Go home. Too late for
Leah, Lily of Killarney. No. Might be still up. Call to the hospital to
see. Hope she’s over. Long day I’ve had. Martha, the bath, funeral,
house of Keyes, museum with those goddesses, Dedalus’ song. Then that
bawler in Barney Kiernan’s. Got my own back there. Drunken ranters
what I said about his God made him wince. Mistake to hit back. Or? No.
Ought to go home and laugh at themselves. Always want to be swilling in
company. Afraid to be alone like a child of two. Suppose he hit me. Look
at it other way round. Not so bad then. Perhaps not to hurt he meant.
Three cheers for Israel. Three cheers for the sister-in-law he hawked
about, three fangs in her mouth. Same style of beauty. Particularly nice
old party for a cup of tea. The sister of the wife of the wild man of
Borneo has just come to town. Imagine that in the early morning at close
range. Everyone to his taste as Morris said when he kissed the cow. But
Dignam’s put the boots on it. Houses of mourning so depressing because
you never know. Anyhow she wants the money. Must call to those Scottish
Widows as I promised. Strange name. Takes it for granted we’re going
to pop off first. That widow on Monday was it outside Cramer’s that
looked at me. Buried the poor husband but progressing favourably on the
premium. Her widow’s mite. Well? What do you expect her to do? Must
wheedle her way along. Widower I hate to see. Looks so forlorn. Poor man
O’Connor wife and five children poisoned by mussels here. The sewage.
Hopeless. Some good matronly woman in a porkpie hat to mother him. Take
him in tow, platter face and a large apron. Ladies’ grey flannelette
bloomers, three shillings a pair, astonishing bargain. Plain and loved,
loved for ever, they say. Ugly: no woman thinks she is. Love, lie and be
handsome for tomorrow we die. See him sometimes walking about trying to
find out who played the trick. U. p: up. Fate that is. He, not me. Also
a shop often noticed. Curse seems to dog it. Dreamt last night? Wait.
Something confused. She had red slippers on. Turkish. Wore the breeches.
Suppose she does? Would I like her in pyjamas? Damned hard to answer.
Nannetti’s gone. Mailboat. Near Holyhead by now. Must nail that ad
of Keyes’s. Work Hynes and Crawford. Petticoats for Molly. She has
something to put in them. What’s that? Might be money.
Mr Bloom stooped and turned over a piece of paper on the strand. He
brought it near his eyes and peered. Letter? No. Can’t read. Better
go. Better. I’m tired to move. Page of an old copybook. All those
holes and pebbles. Who could count them? Never know what you find.
Bottle with story of a treasure in it, thrown from a wreck. Parcels
post. Children always want to throw things in the sea. Trust? Bread cast
on the waters. What’s this? Bit of stick.
O! Exhausted that female has me. Not so young now. Will she come here
tomorrow? Wait for her somewhere for ever. Must come back. Murderers do.
Mr Bloom with his stick gently vexed the thick sand at his foot. Write a
message for her. Might remain. What?
Some flatfoot tramp on it in the morning. Useless. Washed away. Tide
comes here. Saw a pool near her foot. Bend, see my face there, dark
mirror, breathe on it, stirs. All these rocks with lines and scars and
letters. O, those transparent! Besides they don’t know. What is the
meaning of that other world. I called you naughty boy because I do not
No room. Let it go.
Mr Bloom effaced the letters with his slow boot. Hopeless thing sand.
Nothing grows in it. All fades. No fear of big vessels coming up here.
Except Guinness’s barges. Round the Kish in eighty days. Done half by
He flung his wooden pen away. The stick fell in silted sand, stuck. Now
if you were trying to do that for a week on end you couldn’t. Chance.
We’ll never meet again. But it was lovely. Goodbye, dear. Thanks. Made
me feel so young.
Short snooze now if I had. Must be near nine. Liverpool boat long gone.
Not even the smoke. And she can do the other. Did too. And Belfast. I
won’t go. Race there, race back to Ennis. Let him. Just close my eyes
a moment. Won’t sleep, though. Half dream. It never comes the same.
Bat again. No harm in him. Just a few.
O sweety all your little girlwhite up I saw dirty bracegirdle made me do
love sticky we two naughty Grace darling she him half past the bed met
him pike hoses frillies for Raoul de perfume your wife black hair heave
under embon señorita young eyes Mulvey plump bubs me breadvan Winkle
red slippers she rusty sleep wander years of dreams return tail end
Agendath swoony lovey showed me her next year in drawers return next in
her next her next.
A bat flew. Here. There. Here. Far in the grey a bell chimed. Mr Bloom
with open mouth, his left boot sanded sideways, leaned, breathed. Just
for a few
The clock on the mantelpiece in the priest’s house cooed where Canon
O’Hanlon and Father Conroy and the reverend John Hughes S. J. were
taking tea and sodabread and butter and fried mutton chops with catsup
and talking about
Because it was a little canarybird that came out of its little house
to tell the time that Gerty MacDowell noticed the time she was there
because she was as quick as anything about a thing like that, was Gerty
MacDowell, and she noticed at once that that foreign gentleman that was
sitting on the rocks looking was