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- Ulysses - 130/162 -
--A beautiful language. I mean for singing purposes. Why do you not write your poetry in that language? BELLA POETRIA! It is so melodious and full. BELLADONNA. VOGLIO.
Stephen, who was trying his dead best to yawn if he could, suffering from lassitude generally, replied:
--To fill the ear of a cow elephant. They were haggling over money.
--Is that so? Mr Bloom asked. Of course, he subjoined pensively, at the inward reflection of there being more languages to start with than were absolutely necessary, it may be only the southern glamour that surrounds it.
The keeper of the shelter in the middle of this TETE-A-TETE put a boiling swimming cup of a choice concoction labelled coffee on the table and a rather antediluvian specimen of a bun, or so it seemed. After which he beat a retreat to his counter, Mr Bloom determining to have a good square look at him later on so as not to appear to. For which reason he encouraged Stephen to proceed with his eyes while he did the honours by surreptitiously pushing the cup of what was temporarily supposed to be called coffee gradually nearer him.
--Sounds are impostures, Stephen said after a pause of some little time, like names. Cicero, Podmore. Napoleon, Mr Goodbody. Jesus, Mr Doyle. Shakespeares were as common as Murphies. What's in a name?
--Yes, to be sure, Mr Bloom unaffectedly concurred. Of course. Our name was changed too, he added, pushing the socalled roll across.
The redbearded sailor who had his weather eye on the newcomers boarded Stephen, whom he had singled out for attention in particular, squarely by asking:
--And what might your name be?
Just in the nick of time Mr Bloom touched his companion's boot but Stephen, apparently disregarding the warm pressure from an unexpected quarter, answered:
The sailor stared at him heavily from a pair of drowsy baggy eyes, rather bunged up from excessive use of boose, preferably good old Hollands and water.
--You know Simon Dedalus? he asked at length.
--I've heard of him, Stephen said.
Mr Bloom was all at sea for a moment, seeing the others evidently eavesdropping too.
--He's Irish, the seaman bold affirmed, staring still in much the same way and nodding. All Irish.
--All too Irish, Stephen rejoined.
As for Mr Bloom he could neither make head or tail of the whole business and he was just asking himself what possible connection when the sailor of his own accord turned to the other occupants of the shelter with the remark:
--I seen him shoot two eggs off two bottles at fifty yards over his shoulder. The lefthand dead shot.
Though he was slightly hampered by an occasional stammer and his gestures being also clumsy as it was still he did his best to explain.
--Bottles out there, say. Fifty yards measured. Eggs on the bottles. Cocks his gun over his shoulder. Aims.
He turned his body half round, shut up his right eye completely. Then he screwed his features up someway sideways and glared out into the night with an unprepossessing cast of countenance.
--Pom! he then shouted once.
The entire audience waited, anticipating an additional detonation, there being still a further egg.
--Pom! he shouted twice.
Egg two evidently demolished, he nodded and winked, adding bloodthirstily:
--BUFFALO BILL SHOOTS TO KILL, NEVER MISSED NOR HE NEVER WILL.
A silence ensued till Mr Bloom for agreeableness' sake just felt like asking him whether it was for a marksmanship competition like the Bisley.
--Beg pardon, the sailor said.
--Long ago? Mr Bloom pursued without flinching a hairsbreadth.
--Why, the sailor replied, relaxing to a certain extent under the magic influence of diamond cut diamond, it might be a matter of ten years. He toured the wide world with Hengler's Royal Circus. I seen him do that in Stockholm.
--Curious coincidence, Mr Bloom confided to Stephen unobtrusively.
--Murphy's my name, the sailor continued. D. B. Murphy of Carrigaloe. Know where that is?
--Queenstown harbour, Stephen replied.
--That's right, the sailor said. Fort Camden and Fort Carlisle. That's where I hails from. I belongs there. That's where I hails from. My little woman's down there. She's waiting for me, I know. FOR ENGLAND, HOME AND BEAUTY. She's my own true wife I haven't seen for seven years now, sailing about.
Mr Bloom could easily picture his advent on this scene, the homecoming to the mariner's roadside shieling after having diddled Davy Jones, a rainy night with a blind moon. Across the world for a wife. Quite a number of stories there were on that particular Alice Ben Bolt topic, Enoch Arden and Rip van Winkle and does anybody hereabouts remember Caoc O'Leary, a favourite and most trying declamation piece by the way of poor John Casey and a bit of perfect poetry in its own small way. Never about the runaway wife coming back, however much devoted to the absentee. The face at the window! Judge of his astonishment when he finally did breast the tape and the awful truth dawned upon him anent his better half, wrecked in his affections. You little expected me but I've come to stay and make a fresh start. There she sits, a grasswidow, at the selfsame fireside. Believes me dead, rocked in the cradle of the deep. And there sits uncle Chubb or Tomkin, as the case might be, the publican of the Crown and Anchor, in shirtsleeves, eating rumpsteak and onions. No chair for father. Broo! The wind! Her brandnew arrival is on her knee, POST MORTEM child. With a high ro! and a randy ro! and my galloping tearing tandy, O! Bow to the inevitable. Grin and bear it. I remain with much love your brokenhearted husband D B Murphy.
The sailor, who scarcely seemed to be a Dublin resident, turned to one of the jarvies with the request:
--You don't happen to have such a thing as a spare chaw about you?
The jarvey addressed as it happened had not but the keeper took a die of plug from his good jacket hanging on a nail and the desired object was passed from hand to hand.
--Thank you, the sailor said.
He deposited the quid in his gob and, chewing and with some slow stammers, proceeded:
--We come up this morning eleven o'clock. The threemaster ROSEVEAN from Bridgwater with bricks. I shipped to get over. Paid off this afternoon. There's my discharge. See? D. B. Murphy. A. B. S.
In confirmation of which statement he extricated from an inside pocket and handed to his neighbour a not very cleanlooking folded document.
--You must have seen a fair share of the world, the keeper remarked, leaning on the counter.
--Why, the sailor answered upon reflection upon it, I've circumnavigated a bit since I first joined on. I was in the Red Sea. I was in China and North America and South America. We was chased by pirates one voyage. I seen icebergs plenty, growlers. I was in Stockholm and the Black Sea, the Dardanelles under Captain Dalton, the best bloody man that ever scuttled a ship. I seen Russia. GOSPODI POMILYOU. That's how the Russians prays.
--You seen queer sights, don't be talking, put in a jarvey.
--Why, the sailor said, shifting his partially chewed plug. I seen queer things too, ups and downs. I seen a crocodile bite the fluke of an anchor same as I chew that quid.
He took out of his mouth the pulpy quid and, lodging it between his teeth, bit ferociously:
--Khaan! Like that. And I seen maneaters in Peru that eats corpses and the livers of horses. Look here. Here they are. A friend of mine sent me.
He fumbled out a picture postcard from his inside pocket which seemed to be in its way a species of repository and pushed it along the table. The printed matter on it stated: CHOZA DE INDIOS. BENI, BOLIVIA.
All focussed their attention at the scene exhibited, a group of savage women in striped loincloths, squatted, blinking, suckling, frowning, sleeping amid a swarm of infants (there must have been quite a score of them) outside some primitive shanties of osier.
--Chews coca all day, the communicative tarpaulin added. Stomachs like breadgraters. Cuts off their diddies when they can't bear no more children.
See them sitting there stark ballocknaked eating a dead horse's liver raw.
His postcard proved a centre of attraction for Messrs the greenhorns for several minutes if not more.
--Know how to keep them off? he inquired generally.
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