[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 water.
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
sweetheart?
 —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
Tommy's sweetheart.
 —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 won't say.
 —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 Ciss.
 —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 him.
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 cist 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 by her.
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
quickly appeased.
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 retrousse 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.
 —Jacky! Tommy!
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 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 expose 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 was ...
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 deshabille.
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.
Ah!
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 1. 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.
Ah!
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 Dillon. Apoplectic.
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.
Lord!
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 detach.
Ow!
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 grass.
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, goodnight.
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 take
advantage.
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 bad.
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, senorita. 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. Will I?
Mr Bloom with his stick gently vexed the thick sand at his foot. Write
a message for her. Might remain. What?
I.
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 like.
AM. A.
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
design.
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 senorita 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

Cuckoo
Cuckoo
Cuckoo.

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

Cuckoo
Cuckoo
Cuckoo

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

Cuckoo
Cuckoo
Cuckoo.