5. Lotus Eaters
[ 5 ]
By lorries along sir John Rogerson’s quay Mr Bloom walked soberly,
past Windmill lane, Leask’s the linseed crusher, the postal telegraph
office. Could have given that address too. And past the sailors’ home.
He turned from the morning noises of the quayside and walked through
Lime street. By Brady’s cottages a boy for the skins lolled, his
bucket of offal linked, smoking a chewed fagbutt. A smaller girl
with scars of eczema on her forehead eyed him, listlessly holding her
battered caskhoop. Tell him if he smokes he won’t grow. O let him! His
life isn’t such a bed of roses. Waiting outside pubs to bring da
home. Come home to ma, da. Slack hour: won’t be many there. He crossed
Townsend street, passed the frowning face of Bethel. El, yes: house of:
Aleph, Beth. And past Nichols’ the undertaker. At eleven it is. Time
enough. Daresay Corny Kelleher bagged the job for O’Neill’s. Singing
with his eyes shut. Corny. Met her once in the park. In the dark. What a
lark. Police tout. Her name and address she then told with my
tooraloom tooraloom tay. O, surely he bagged it. Bury him cheap in a
whatyoumaycall. With my tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom.
In Westland row he halted before the window of the Belfast and Oriental
Tea Company and read the legends of leadpapered packets: choice blend,
finest quality, family tea. Rather warm. Tea. Must get some from Tom
Kernan. Couldn’t ask him at a funeral, though. While his eyes still
read blandly he took off his hat quietly inhaling his hairoil and
sent his right hand with slow grace over his brow and hair. Very warm
morning. Under their dropped lids his eyes found the tiny bow of the
leather headband inside his high grade ha. Just there. His right hand
came down into the bowl of his hat. His fingers found quickly a card
behind the headband and transferred it to his waistcoat pocket.
So warm. His right hand once more more slowly went over his brow and
hair. Then he put on his hat again, relieved: and read again: choice
blend, made of the finest Ceylon brands. The far east. Lovely spot it
must be: the garden of the world, big lazy leaves to float about on,
cactuses, flowery meads, snaky lianas they call them. Wonder is it like
that. Those Cinghalese lobbing about in the sun in dolce far niente, not
doing a hand’s turn all day. Sleep six months out of twelve. Too hot
to quarrel. Influence of the climate. Lethargy. Flowers of idleness. The
air feeds most. Azotes. Hothouse in Botanic gardens. Sensitive plants.
Waterlilies. Petals too tired to. Sleeping sickness in the air. Walk on
roseleaves. Imagine trying to eat tripe and cowheel. Where was the chap
I saw in that picture somewhere? Ah yes, in the dead sea floating on his
back, reading a book with a parasol open. Couldn’t sink if you tried:
so thick with salt. Because the weight of the water, no, the weight of
the body in the water is equal to the weight of the what? Or is it the
volume is equal to the weight? It’s a law something like that.
Vance in High school cracking his fingerjoints, teaching. The college
curriculum. Cracking curriculum. What is weight really when you say the
weight? Thirtytwo feet per second per second. Law of falling bodies: per
second per second. They all fall to the ground. The earth. It’s the
force of gravity of the earth is the weight.
He turned away and sauntered across the road. How did she walk with her
sausages? Like that something. As he walked he took the folded Freeman
from his sidepocket, unfolded it, rolled it lengthwise in a baton and
tapped it at each sauntering step against his trouserleg. Careless air:
just drop in to see. Per second per second. Per second for every second
it means. From the curbstone he darted a keen glance through the door of
the postoffice. Too late box. Post here. No-one. In.
He handed the card through the brass grill.
—Are there any letters for me? he asked.
While the postmistress searched a pigeonhole he gazed at the recruiting
poster with soldiers of all arms on parade: and held the tip of his
baton against his nostrils, smelling freshprinted rag paper. No answer
probably. Went too far last time.
The postmistress handed him back through the grill his card with a
letter. He thanked her and glanced rapidly at the typed envelope.
 Henry Flower Esq,
 c/o P. O. Westland Row,
Answered anyhow. He slipped card and letter into his sidepocket,
reviewing again the soldiers on parade. Where’s old Tweedy’s
regiment? Castoff soldier. There: bearskin cap and hackle plume. No,
he’s a grenadier. Pointed cuffs. There he is: royal Dublin fusiliers.
Redcoats. Too showy. That must be why the women go after them. Uniform.
Easier to enlist and drill. Maud Gonne’s letter about taking them off
O’Connell street at night: disgrace to our Irish capital. Griffith’s
paper is on the same tack now: an army rotten with venereal disease:
overseas or halfseasover empire. Half baked they look: hypnotised like.
Eyes front. Mark time. Table: able. Bed: ed. The King’s own. Never see
him dressed up as a fireman or a bobby. A mason, yes.
He strolled out of the postoffice and turned to the right. Talk: as if
that would mend matters. His hand went into his pocket and a forefinger
felt its way under the flap of the envelope, ripping it open in jerks.
Women will pay a lot of heed, I don’t think. His fingers drew forth
the letter the letter and crumpled the envelope in his pocket. Something
pinned on: photo perhaps. Hair? No.
M’Coy. Get rid of him quickly. Take me out of my way. Hate company
—Hello, Bloom. Where are you off to?
—Hello, M’Coy. Nowhere in particular.
—How’s the body?
—Fine. How are you?
—Just keeping alive, M’Coy said.
His eyes on the black tie and clothes he asked with low respect:
—Is there any... no trouble I hope? I see you’re...
—O, no, Mr Bloom said. Poor Dignam, you know. The funeral is today.
—To be sure, poor fellow. So it is. What time?
A photo it isn’t. A badge maybe.
—E...eleven, Mr Bloom answered.
—I must try to get out there, M’Coy said. Eleven, is it? I only
heard it last night. Who was telling me? Holohan. You know Hoppy?
Mr Bloom gazed across the road at the outsider drawn up before the door
of the Grosvenor. The porter hoisted the valise up on the well. She
stood still, waiting, while the man, husband, brother, like her,
searched his pockets for change. Stylish kind of coat with that roll
collar, warm for a day like this, looks like blanketcloth. Careless
stand of her with her hands in those patch pockets. Like that haughty
creature at the polo match. Women all for caste till you touch the spot.
Handsome is and handsome does. Reserved about to yield. The honourable
Mrs and Brutus is an honourable man. Possess her once take the starch
out of her.
—I was with Bob Doran, he’s on one of his periodical bends, and what
do you call him Bantam Lyons. Just down there in Conway’s we were.
Doran Lyons in Conway’s. She raised a gloved hand to her hair. In came
Hoppy. Having a wet. Drawing back his head and gazing far from beneath
his vailed eyelids he saw the bright fawn skin shine in the glare, the
braided drums. Clearly I can see today. Moisture about gives long sight
perhaps. Talking of one thing or another. Lady’s hand. Which side will
she get up?
—And he said: Sad thing about our poor friend Paddy! What Paddy? I
said. Poor little Paddy Dignam, he said.
Off to the country: Broadstone probably. High brown boots with laces
dangling. Wellturned foot. What is he foostering over that change for?
Sees me looking. Eye out for other fellow always. Good fallback. Two
strings to her bow.
—Why? I said. What’s wrong with him? I said.
Proud: rich: silk stockings.
—Yes, Mr Bloom said.
He moved a little to the side of M’Coy’s talking head. Getting up in
—What’s wrong with him? He said. He’s dead, he said. And, faith,
he filled up. Is it Paddy Dignam? I said. I couldn’t believe it when I
heard it. I was with him no later than Friday last or Thursday was it in
the Arch. Yes, he said. He’s gone. He died on Monday, poor fellow.
Watch! Watch! Silk flash rich stockings white. Watch!
A heavy tramcar honking its gong slewed between.
Lost it. Curse your noisy pugnose. Feels locked out of it. Paradise and
the peri. Always happening like that. The very moment. Girl in Eustace
street hallway Monday was it settling her garter. Her friend covering
the display of. Esprit de corps. Well, what are you gaping at?
—Yes, yes, Mr Bloom said after a dull sigh. Another gone.
—One of the best, M’Coy said.
The tram passed. They drove off towards the Loop Line bridge, her rich
gloved hand on the steel grip. Flicker, flicker: the laceflare of her
hat in the sun: flicker, flick.
—Wife well, I suppose? M’Coy’s changed voice said.
—O, yes, Mr Bloom said. Tiptop, thanks.
He unrolled the newspaper baton idly and read idly:
 What is home without
 Plumtree’s Potted Meat?
 With it an abode of bliss.
—My missus has just got an engagement. At least it’s not settled
Valise tack again. By the way no harm. I’m off that, thanks.
Mr Bloom turned his largelidded eyes with unhasty friendliness.
—My wife too, he said. She’s going to sing at a swagger affair in
the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on the twentyfifth.
—That so? M’Coy said. Glad to hear that, old man. Who’s getting it
Mrs Marion Bloom. Not up yet. Queen was in her bedroom eating bread and.
No book. Blackened court cards laid along her thigh by sevens. Dark lady
and fair man. Letter. Cat furry black ball. Torn strip of envelope.
 Comes lo-ove’s old...
—It’s a kind of a tour, don’t you see, Mr Bloom said thoughtfully.
Sweeeet song. There’s a committee formed. Part shares and part
M’Coy nodded, picking at his moustache stubble.
—O, well, he said. That’s good news.
He moved to go.
—Well, glad to see you looking fit, he said. Meet you knocking around.
—Yes, Mr Bloom said.
—Tell you what, M’Coy said. You might put down my name at the
funeral, will you? I’d like to go but I mightn’t be able, you see.
There’s a drowning case at Sandycove may turn up and then the coroner
and myself would have to go down if the body is found. You just shove in
my name if I’m not there, will you?
—I’ll do that, Mr Bloom said, moving to get off. That’ll be all
—Right, M’Coy said brightly. Thanks, old man. I’d go if I possibly
could. Well, tolloll. Just C. P. M’Coy will do.
—That will be done, Mr Bloom answered firmly.
Didn’t catch me napping that wheeze. The quick touch. Soft mark.
I’d like my job. Valise I have a particular fancy for. Leather. Capped
corners, rivetted edges, double action lever lock. Bob Cowley lent him
his for the Wicklow regatta concert last year and never heard tidings of
it from that good day to this.
Mr Bloom, strolling towards Brunswick street, smiled. My missus has just
got an. Reedy freckled soprano. Cheeseparing nose. Nice enough in its
way: for a little ballad. No guts in it. You and me, don’t you know:
in the same boat. Softsoaping. Give you the needle that would. Can’t
he hear the difference? Think he’s that way inclined a bit. Against
my grain somehow. Thought that Belfast would fetch him. I hope that
smallpox up there doesn’t get worse. Suppose she wouldn’t let
herself be vaccinated again. Your wife and my wife.
Wonder is he pimping after me?
Mr Bloom stood at the corner, his eyes wandering over the multicoloured
hoardings. Cantrell and Cochrane’s Ginger Ale (Aromatic). Clery’s
Summer Sale. No, he’s going on straight. Hello. Leah tonight. Mrs
Bandmann Palmer. Like to see her again in that. Hamlet she played last
night. Male impersonator. Perhaps he was a woman. Why Ophelia committed
suicide. Poor papa! How he used to talk of Kate Bateman in that. Outside
the Adelphi in London waited all the afternoon to get in. Year before
I was born that was: sixtyfive. And Ristori in Vienna. What is this the
right name is? By Mosenthal it is. Rachel, is it? No. The scene he was
always talking about where the old blind Abraham recognises the voice
and puts his fingers on his face.
Nathan’s voice! His son’s voice! I hear the voice of Nathan who left
his father to die of grief and misery in my arms, who left the house of
his father and left the God of his father.
Every word is so deep, Leopold.
Poor papa! Poor man! I’m glad I didn’t go into the room to look at
his face. That day! O, dear! O, dear! Ffoo! Well, perhaps it was best
Mr Bloom went round the corner and passed the drooping nags of the
hazard. No use thinking of it any more. Nosebag time. Wish I hadn’t
met that M’Coy fellow.
He came nearer and heard a crunching of gilded oats, the gently champing
teeth. Their full buck eyes regarded him as he went by, amid the sweet
oaten reek of horsepiss. Their Eldorado. Poor jugginses! Damn all they
know or care about anything with their long noses stuck in nosebags.
Too full for words. Still they get their feed all right and their doss.
Gelded too: a stump of black guttapercha wagging limp between their
haunches. Might be happy all the same that way. Good poor brutes they
look. Still their neigh can be very irritating.
He drew the letter from his pocket and folded it into the newspaper he
carried. Might just walk into her here. The lane is safer.
He passed the cabman’s shelter. Curious the life of drifting cabbies.
All weathers, all places, time or setdown, no will of their own. Voglio
e non. Like to give them an odd cigarette. Sociable. Shout a few flying
syllables as they pass. He hummed:
 Là ci darem la mano
 La la lala la la.
He turned into Cumberland street and, going on some paces, halted in
the lee of the station wall. No-one. Meade’s timberyard. Piled balks.
Ruins and tenements. With careful tread he passed over a hopscotch court
with its forgotten pickeystone. Not a sinner. Near the timberyard a
squatted child at marbles, alone, shooting the taw with a cunnythumb.
A wise tabby, a blinking sphinx, watched from her warm sill. Pity to
disturb them. Mohammed cut a piece out of his mantle not to wake her.
Open it. And once I played marbles when I went to that old dame’s
school. She liked mignonette. Mrs Ellis’s. And Mr? He opened the
letter within the newspaper.
A flower. I think it’s a. A yellow flower with flattened petals. Not
annoyed then? What does she say?
I got your last letter to me and thank you very much for it. I am sorry
you did not like my last letter. Why did you enclose the stamps? I am
awfully angry with you. I do wish I could punish you for that. I called
you naughty boy because I do not like that other world. Please tell me
what is the real meaning of that word? Are you not happy in your home
you poor little naughty boy? I do wish I could do something for you.
Please tell me what you think of poor me. I often think of the beautiful
name you have. Dear Henry, when will we meet? I think of you so often
you have no idea. I have never felt myself so much drawn to a man as
you. I feel so bad about. Please write me a long letter and tell me
more. Remember if you do not I will punish you. So now you know what I
will do to you, you naughty boy, if you do not wrote. O how I long to
meet you. Henry dear, do not deny my request before my patience are
exhausted. Then I will tell you all. Goodbye now, naughty darling, I
have such a bad headache. today. and write by return to your longing
P. S. Do tell me what kind of perfume does your wife use. I want to
He tore the flower gravely from its pinhold smelt its almost no smell
and placed it in his heart pocket. Language of flowers. They like it
because no-one can hear. Or a poison bouquet to strike him down. Then
walking slowly forward he read the letter again, murmuring here and
there a word. Angry tulips with you darling manflower punish your cactus
if you don’t please poor forgetmenot how I long violets to dear
roses when we soon anemone meet all naughty nightstalk wife Martha’s
perfume. Having read it all he took it from the newspaper and put it
back in his sidepocket.
Weak joy opened his lips. Changed since the first letter. Wonder did she
wrote it herself. Doing the indignant: a girl of good family like me,
respectable character. Could meet one Sunday after the rosary. Thank
you: not having any. Usual love scrimmage. Then running round corners.
Bad as a row with Molly. Cigar has a cooling effect. Narcotic. Go
further next time. Naughty boy: punish: afraid of words, of course.
Brutal, why not? Try it anyhow. A bit at a time.
Fingering still the letter in his pocket he drew the pin out of it.
Common pin, eh? He threw it on the road. Out of her clothes somewhere:
pinned together. Queer the number of pins they always have. No roses
Flat Dublin voices bawled in his head. Those two sluts that night in the
Coombe, linked together in the rain.
 O, Mairy lost the pin of her drawers.
 She didn’t know what to do
 To keep it up,
 To keep it up.
It? Them. Such a bad headache. Has her roses probably. Or sitting all
day typing. Eyefocus bad for stomach nerves. What perfume does your wife
use. Now could you make out a thing like that?
 To keep it up.
Martha, Mary. I saw that picture somewhere I forget now old master or
faked for money. He is sitting in their house, talking. Mysterious. Also
the two sluts in the Coombe would listen.
 To keep it up.
Nice kind of evening feeling. No more wandering about. Just loll there:
quiet dusk: let everything rip. Forget. Tell about places you have been,
strange customs. The other one, jar on her head, was getting the supper:
fruit, olives, lovely cool water out of a well, stonecold like the hole
in the wall at Ashtown. Must carry a paper goblet next time I go to the
trottingmatches. She listens with big dark soft eyes. Tell her: more and
more: all. Then a sigh: silence. Long long long rest.
Going under the railway arch he took out the envelope, tore it swiftly
in shreds and scattered them towards the road. The shreds fluttered
away, sank in the dank air: a white flutter, then all sank.
Henry Flower. You could tear up a cheque for a hundred pounds in the
same way. Simple bit of paper. Lord Iveagh once cashed a sevenfigure
cheque for a million in the bank of Ireland. Shows you the money to be
made out of porter. Still the other brother lord Ardilaun has to change
his shirt four times a day, they say. Skin breeds lice or vermin. A
million pounds, wait a moment. Twopence a pint, fourpence a quart,
eightpence a gallon of porter, no, one and fourpence a gallon of porter.
One and four into twenty: fifteen about. Yes, exactly. Fifteen millions
of barrels of porter.
What am I saying barrels? Gallons. About a million barrels all the same.
An incoming train clanked heavily above his head, coach after coach.
Barrels bumped in his head: dull porter slopped and churned inside.
The bungholes sprang open and a huge dull flood leaked out, flowing
together, winding through mudflats all over the level land, a lazy
pooling swirl of liquor bearing along wideleaved flowers of its froth.
He had reached the open backdoor of All Hallows. Stepping into the porch
he doffed his hat, took the card from his pocket and tucked it again
behind the leather headband. Damn it. I might have tried to work M’Coy
for a pass to Mullingar.
Same notice on the door. Sermon by the very reverend John Conmee S. J.
on saint Peter Claver S. J. and the African Mission. Prayers for the
conversion of Gladstone they had too when he was almost unconscious. The
protestants are the same. Convert Dr William J. Walsh D.D. to the true
religion. Save China’s millions. Wonder how they explain it to the
heathen Chinee. Prefer an ounce of opium. Celestials. Rank heresy for
them. Buddha their god lying on his side in the museum. Taking it easy
with hand under his cheek. Josssticks burning. Not like Ecce Homo. Crown
of thorns and cross. Clever idea Saint Patrick the shamrock. Chopsticks?
Conmee: Martin Cunningham knows him: distinguishedlooking. Sorry I
didn’t work him about getting Molly into the choir instead of that
Father Farley who looked a fool but wasn’t. They’re taught that.
He’s not going out in bluey specs with the sweat rolling off him to
baptise blacks, is he? The glasses would take their fancy, flashing.
Like to see them sitting round in a ring with blub lips, entranced,
listening. Still life. Lap it up like milk, I suppose.
The cold smell of sacred stone called him. He trod the worn steps,
pushed the swingdoor and entered softly by the rere.
Something going on: some sodality. Pity so empty. Nice discreet place
to be next some girl. Who is my neighbour? Jammed by the hour to slow
music. That woman at midnight mass. Seventh heaven. Women knelt in the
benches with crimson halters round their necks, heads bowed. A batch
knelt at the altarrails. The priest went along by them, murmuring,
holding the thing in his hands. He stopped at each, took out a
communion, shook a drop or two (are they in water?) off it and put it
neatly into her mouth. Her hat and head sank. Then the next one. Her hat
sank at once. Then the next one: a small old woman. The priest bent down
to put it into her mouth, murmuring all the time. Latin. The next one.
Shut your eyes and open your mouth. What? Corpus: body. Corpse. Good
idea the Latin. Stupefies them first. Hospice for the dying. They
don’t seem to chew it: only swallow it down. Rum idea: eating bits of
a corpse. Why the cannibals cotton to it.
He stood aside watching their blind masks pass down the aisle, one by
one, and seek their places. He approached a bench and seated himself in
its corner, nursing his hat and newspaper. These pots we have to wear.
We ought to have hats modelled on our heads. They were about him here
and there, with heads still bowed in their crimson halters, waiting for
it to melt in their stomachs. Something like those mazzoth: it’s that
sort of bread: unleavened shewbread. Look at them. Now I bet it makes
them feel happy. Lollipop. It does. Yes, bread of angels it’s called.
There’s a big idea behind it, kind of kingdom of God is within you
feel. First communicants. Hokypoky penny a lump. Then feel all like one
family party, same in the theatre, all in the same swim. They do. I’m
sure of that. Not so lonely. In our confraternity. Then come out a bit
spreeish. Let off steam. Thing is if you really believe in it. Lourdes
cure, waters of oblivion, and the Knock apparition, statues bleeding.
Old fellow asleep near that confessionbox. Hence those snores. Blind
faith. Safe in the arms of kingdom come. Lulls all pain. Wake this time
He saw the priest stow the communion cup away, well in, and kneel an
instant before it, showing a large grey bootsole from under the lace
affair he had on. Suppose he lost the pin of his. He wouldn’t know
what to do to. Bald spot behind. Letters on his back: I.N.R.I? No:
I.H.S. Molly told me one time I asked her. I have sinned: or no: I have
suffered, it is. And the other one? Iron nails ran in.
Meet one Sunday after the rosary. Do not deny my request. Turn up with
a veil and black bag. Dusk and the light behind her. She might be here
with a ribbon round her neck and do the other thing all the same on the
sly. Their character. That fellow that turned queen’s evidence on the
invincibles he used to receive the, Carey was his name, the communion
every morning. This very church. Peter Carey, yes. No, Peter Claver I am
thinking of. Denis Carey. And just imagine that. Wife and six children
at home. And plotting that murder all the time. Those crawthumpers, now
that’s a good name for them, there’s always something shiftylooking
about them. They’re not straight men of business either. O, no,
she’s not here: the flower: no, no. By the way, did I tear up that
envelope? Yes: under the bridge.
The priest was rinsing out the chalice: then he tossed off the dregs
smartly. Wine. Makes it more aristocratic than for example if he drank
what they are used to Guinness’s porter or some temperance beverage
Wheatley’s Dublin hop bitters or Cantrell and Cochrane’s ginger ale
(aromatic). Doesn’t give them any of it: shew wine: only the other.
Cold comfort. Pious fraud but quite right: otherwise they’d have one
old booser worse than another coming along, cadging for a drink. Queer
the whole atmosphere of the. Quite right. Perfectly right that is.
Mr Bloom looked back towards the choir. Not going to be any music. Pity.
Who has the organ here I wonder? Old Glynn he knew how to make that
instrument talk, the vibrato: fifty pounds a year they say he had in
Gardiner street. Molly was in fine voice that day, the Stabat Mater
of Rossini. Father Bernard Vaughan’s sermon first. Christ or Pilate?
Christ, but don’t keep us all night over it. Music they wanted.
Footdrill stopped. Could hear a pin drop. I told her to pitch her voice
against that corner. I could feel the thrill in the air, the full, the
people looking up:
Quis est homo.
Some of that old sacred music splendid. Mercadante: seven last words.
Mozart’s twelfth mass: Gloria in that. Those old popes keen on music,
on art and statues and pictures of all kinds. Palestrina for example
too. They had a gay old time while it lasted. Healthy too, chanting,
regular hours, then brew liqueurs. Benedictine. Green Chartreuse. Still,
having eunuchs in their choir that was coming it a bit thick. What kind
of voice is it? Must be curious to hear after their own strong basses.
Connoisseurs. Suppose they wouldn’t feel anything after. Kind of a
placid. No worry. Fall into flesh, don’t they? Gluttons, tall, long
legs. Who knows? Eunuch. One way out of it.
He saw the priest bend down and kiss the altar and then face about and
bless all the people. All crossed themselves and stood up. Mr Bloom
glanced about him and then stood up, looking over the risen hats. Stand
up at the gospel of course. Then all settled down on their knees again
and he sat back quietly in his bench. The priest came down from the
altar, holding the thing out from him, and he and the massboy answered
each other in Latin. Then the priest knelt down and began to read off a
—O God, our refuge and our strength...
Mr Bloom put his face forward to catch the words. English. Throw them
the bone. I remember slightly. How long since your last mass? Glorious
and immaculate virgin. Joseph, her spouse. Peter and Paul. More
interesting if you understood what it was all about. Wonderful
organisation certainly, goes like clockwork. Confession. Everyone wants
to. Then I will tell you all. Penance. Punish me, please. Great weapon
in their hands. More than doctor or solicitor. Woman dying to. And I
schschschschschsch. And did you chachachachacha? And why did you? Look
down at her ring to find an excuse. Whispering gallery walls have ears.
Husband learn to his surprise. God’s little joke. Then out she comes.
Repentance skindeep. Lovely shame. Pray at an altar. Hail Mary and Holy
Mary. Flowers, incense, candles melting. Hide her blushes. Salvation
army blatant imitation. Reformed prostitute will address the meeting.
How I found the Lord. Squareheaded chaps those must be in Rome: they
work the whole show. And don’t they rake in the money too? Bequests
also: to the P.P. for the time being in his absolute discretion.
Masses for the repose of my soul to be said publicly with open doors.
Monasteries and convents. The priest in that Fermanagh will case in the
witnessbox. No browbeating him. He had his answer pat for everything.
Liberty and exaltation of our holy mother the church. The doctors of the
church: they mapped out the whole theology of it.
The priest prayed:
—Blessed Michael, archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict. Be
our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil (may God
restrain him, we humbly pray!): and do thou, O prince of the heavenly
host, by the power of God thrust Satan down to hell and with him those
other wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
The priest and the massboy stood up and walked off. All over. The women
remained behind: thanksgiving.
Better be shoving along. Brother Buzz. Come around with the plate
perhaps. Pay your Easter duty.
He stood up. Hello. Were those two buttons of my waistcoat open all the
time? Women enjoy it. Never tell you. But we. Excuse, miss, there’s
a (whh!) just a (whh!) fluff. Or their skirt behind, placket unhooked.
Glimpses of the moon. Annoyed if you don’t. Why didn’t you tell
me before. Still like you better untidy. Good job it wasn’t farther
south. He passed, discreetly buttoning, down the aisle and out through
the main door into the light. He stood a moment unseeing by the cold
black marble bowl while before him and behind two worshippers
dipped furtive hands in the low tide of holy water. Trams: a car of
Prescott’s dyeworks: a widow in her weeds. Notice because I’m in
mourning myself. He covered himself. How goes the time? Quarter past.
Time enough yet. Better get that lotion made up. Where is this? Ah yes,
the last time. Sweny’s in Lincoln place. Chemists rarely move. Their
green and gold beaconjars too heavy to stir. Hamilton Long’s, founded
in the year of the flood. Huguenot churchyard near there. Visit some
He walked southward along Westland row. But the recipe is in the other
trousers. O, and I forgot that latchkey too. Bore this funeral affair.
O well, poor fellow, it’s not his fault. When was it I got it made up
last? Wait. I changed a sovereign I remember. First of the month it must
have been or the second. O, he can look it up in the prescriptions book.
The chemist turned back page after page. Sandy shrivelled smell he seems
to have. Shrunken skull. And old. Quest for the philosopher’s stone.
The alchemists. Drugs age you after mental excitement. Lethargy then.
Why? Reaction. A lifetime in a night. Gradually changes your character.
Living all the day among herbs, ointments, disinfectants. All his
alabaster lilypots. Mortar and pestle. Aq. Dist. Fol. Laur. Te Virid.
Smell almost cure you like the dentist’s doorbell. Doctor Whack. He
ought to physic himself a bit. Electuary or emulsion. The first fellow
that picked an herb to cure himself had a bit of pluck. Simples. Want to
be careful. Enough stuff here to chloroform you. Test: turns blue
litmus paper red. Chloroform. Overdose of laudanum. Sleeping draughts.
Lovephiltres. Paragoric poppysyrup bad for cough. Clogs the pores or the
phlegm. Poisons the only cures. Remedy where you least expect it. Clever
—About a fortnight ago, sir?
—Yes, Mr Bloom said.
He waited by the counter, inhaling slowly the keen reek of drugs, the
dusty dry smell of sponges and loofahs. Lot of time taken up telling
your aches and pains.
—Sweet almond oil and tincture of benzoin, Mr Bloom said, and then
It certainly did make her skin so delicate white like wax.
—And white wax also, he said.
Brings out the darkness of her eyes. Looking at me, the sheet up to
her eyes, Spanish, smelling herself, when I was fixing the links in my
cuffs. Those homely recipes are often the best: strawberries for the
teeth: nettles and rainwater: oatmeal they say steeped in buttermilk.
Skinfood. One of the old queen’s sons, duke of Albany was it? had only
one skin. Leopold, yes. Three we have. Warts, bunions and pimples to
make it worse. But you want a perfume too. What perfume does your? Peau
d’Espagne. That orangeflower water is so fresh. Nice smell these
soaps have. Pure curd soap. Time to get a bath round the corner. Hammam.
Turkish. Massage. Dirt gets rolled up in your navel. Nicer if a nice
girl did it. Also I think I. Yes I. Do it in the bath. Curious longing
I. Water to water. Combine business with pleasure. Pity no time for
massage. Feel fresh then all the day. Funeral be rather glum.
—Yes, sir, the chemist said. That was two and nine. Have you brought a
—No, Mr Bloom said. Make it up, please. I’ll call later in the day
and I’ll take one of these soaps. How much are they?
Mr Bloom raised a cake to his nostrils. Sweet lemony wax.
—I’ll take this one, he said. That makes three and a penny.
—Yes, sir, the chemist said. You can pay all together, sir, when you
—Good, Mr Bloom said.
He strolled out of the shop, the newspaper baton under his armpit, the
coolwrappered soap in his left hand.
At his armpit Bantam Lyons’ voice and hand said:
—Hello, Bloom. What’s the best news? Is that today’s? Show us a
Shaved off his moustache again, by Jove! Long cold upper lip. To look
younger. He does look balmy. Younger than I am.
Bantam Lyons’s yellow blacknailed fingers unrolled the baton. Wants a
wash too. Take off the rough dirt. Good morning, have you used Pears’
soap? Dandruff on his shoulders. Scalp wants oiling.
—I want to see about that French horse that’s running today, Bantam
Lyons said. Where the bugger is it?
He rustled the pleated pages, jerking his chin on his high collar.
Barber’s itch. Tight collar he’ll lose his hair. Better leave him
the paper and get shut of him.
—You can keep it, Mr Bloom said.
—Ascot. Gold cup. Wait, Bantam Lyons muttered. Half a mo. Maximum the
—I was just going to throw it away, Mr Bloom said.
Bantam Lyons raised his eyes suddenly and leered weakly.
—What’s that? his sharp voice said.
—I say you can keep it, Mr Bloom answered. I was going to throw it
away that moment.
Bantam Lyons doubted an instant, leering: then thrust the outspread
sheets back on Mr Bloom’s arms.
—I’ll risk it, he said. Here, thanks.
He sped off towards Conway’s corner. God speed scut.
Mr Bloom folded the sheets again to a neat square and lodged the soap
in it, smiling. Silly lips of that chap. Betting. Regular hotbed of it
lately. Messenger boys stealing to put on sixpence. Raffle for large
tender turkey. Your Christmas dinner for threepence. Jack Fleming
embezzling to gamble then smuggled off to America. Keeps a hotel now.
They never come back. Fleshpots of Egypt.
He walked cheerfully towards the mosque of the baths. Remind you of a
mosque, redbaked bricks, the minarets. College sports today I see. He
eyed the horseshoe poster over the gate of college park: cyclist doubled
up like a cod in a pot. Damn bad ad. Now if they had made it round
like a wheel. Then the spokes: sports, sports, sports: and the hub big:
college. Something to catch the eye.
There’s Hornblower standing at the porter’s lodge. Keep him
on hands: might take a turn in there on the nod. How do you do, Mr
Hornblower? How do you do, sir?
Heavenly weather really. If life was always like that. Cricket weather.
Sit around under sunshades. Over after over. Out. They can’t play it
here. Duck for six wickets. Still Captain Culler broke a window in the
Kildare street club with a slog to square leg. Donnybrook fair more in
their line. And the skulls we were acracking when M’Carthy took the
floor. Heatwave. Won’t last. Always passing, the stream of life, which
in the stream of life we trace is dearer than them all.
Enjoy a bath now: clean trough of water, cool enamel, the gentle tepid
stream. This is my body.
He foresaw his pale body reclined in it at full, naked, in a womb of
warmth, oiled by scented melting soap, softly laved. He saw his
trunk and limbs riprippled over and sustained, buoyed lightly upward,
lemonyellow: his navel, bud of flesh: and saw the dark tangled curls of
his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of
thousands, a languid floating flower.