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- Ulysses - 6/162 -


Son. Words Mulligan had spoken a moment since in mockery to the stranger. Idle mockery. The void awaits surely all them that weave the wind: a menace, a disarming and a worsting from those embattled angels of the church, Michael's host, who defend her ever in the hour of conflict with their lances and their shields.

Hear, hear! Prolonged applause. ZUT! NOM DE DIEU!

--Of course I'm a Britisher, Haines's voice said, and I feel as one. I don't want to see my country fall into the hands of German jews either. That's our national problem, I'm afraid, just now.

Two men stood at the verge of the cliff, watching: businessman, boatman.

--She's making for Bullock harbour.

The boatman nodded towards the north of the bay with some disdain.

--There's five fathoms out there, he said. It'll be swept up that way when the tide comes in about one. It's nine days today.

The man that was drowned. A sail veering about the blank bay waiting for a swollen bundle to bob up, roll over to the sun a puffy face, saltwhite. Here I am.

They followed the winding path down to the creek. Buck Mulligan stood on a stone, in shirtsleeves, his unclipped tie rippling over his shoulder. A young man clinging to a spur of rock near him, moved slowly frogwise his green legs in the deep jelly of the water.

--Is the brother with you, Malachi?

--Down in Westmeath. With the Bannons.

--Still there? I got a card from Bannon. Says he found a sweet young thing down there. Photo girl he calls her.

--Snapshot, eh? Brief exposure.

Buck Mulligan sat down to unlace his boots. An elderly man shot up near the spur of rock a blowing red face. He scrambled up by the stones, water glistening on his pate and on its garland of grey hair, water rilling over his chest and paunch and spilling jets out of his black sagging loincloth.

Buck Mulligan made way for him to scramble past and, glancing at Haines and Stephen, crossed himself piously with his thumbnail at brow and lips and breastbone.

--Seymour's back in town, the young man said, grasping again his spur of rock. Chucked medicine and going in for the army.

--Ah, go to God! Buck Mulligan said.

--Going over next week to stew. You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily?

--Yes.

--Spooning with him last night on the pier. The father is rotto with money.

--Is she up the pole?

--Better ask Seymour that.

--Seymour a bleeding officer! Buck Mulligan said.

He nodded to himself as he drew off his trousers and stood up, saying tritely:

--Redheaded women buck like goats.

He broke off in alarm, feeling his side under his flapping shirt.

--My twelfth rib is gone, he cried. I'm the UBERMENSCH. Toothless Kinch and I, the supermen.

He struggled out of his shirt and flung it behind him to where his clothes lay.

--Are you going in here, Malachi?

--Yes. Make room in the bed.

The young man shoved himself backward through the water and reached the middle of the creek in two long clean strokes. Haines sat down on a stone, smoking.

--Are you not coming in? Buck Mulligan asked.

--Later on, Haines said. Not on my breakfast.

Stephen turned away.

--I'm going, Mulligan, he said.

--Give us that key, Kinch, Buck Mulligan said, to keep my chemise flat.

Stephen handed him the key. Buck Mulligan laid it across his heaped clothes.

--And twopence, he said, for a pint. Throw it there.

Stephen threw two pennies on the soft heap. Dressing, undressing. Buck Mulligan erect, with joined hands before him, said solemnly:

--He who stealeth from the poor lendeth to the Lord. Thus spake Zarathustra.

His plump body plunged.

--We'll see you again, Haines said, turning as Stephen walked up the path and smiling at wild Irish.

Horn of a bull, hoof of a horse, smile of a Saxon.

--The Ship, Buck Mulligan cried. Half twelve.

--Good, Stephen said.

He walked along the upwardcurving path.

LILIATA RUTILANTIUM. TURMA CIRCUMDET. IUBILANTIUM TE VIRGINUM.

The priest's grey nimbus in a niche where he dressed discreetly. I will not sleep here tonight. Home also I cannot go.

A voice, sweettoned and sustained, called to him from the sea. Turning the curve he waved his hand. It called again. A sleek brown head, a seal's, far out on the water, round.

Usurper.

* * * * * * *

--You, Cochrane, what city sent for him?

--Tarentum, sir.

--Very good. Well?

--There was a battle, sir.

--Very good. Where?

The boy's blank face asked the blank window.

Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left us then?

--I forget the place, sir. 279 B. C.

--Asculum, Stephen said, glancing at the name and date in the gorescarred book.

--Yes, sir. And he said: ANOTHER VICTORY LIKE THAT AND WE ARE DONE FOR.

That phrase the world had remembered. A dull ease of the mind. From a hill above a corpsestrewn plain a general speaking to his officers, leaned upon his spear. Any general to any officers. They lend ear.

--You, Armstrong, Stephen said. What was the end of Pyrrhus?

--End of Pyrrhus, sir?

--I know, sir. Ask me, sir, Comyn said.

--Wait. You, Armstrong. Do you know anything about Pyrrhus?

A bag of figrolls lay snugly in Armstrong's satchel. He curled them between his palms at whiles and swallowed them softly. Crumbs adhered to the tissue of his lips. A sweetened boy's breath. Welloff people, proud that their eldest son was in the navy. Vico road, Dalkey.

--Pyrrhus, sir? Pyrrhus, a pier.

All laughed. Mirthless high malicious laughter. Armstrong looked round at his classmates, silly glee in profile. In a moment they will laugh more loudly, aware of my lack of rule and of the fees their papas pay.

--Tell me now, Stephen said, poking the boy's shoulder with the book, what is a pier.

--A pier, sir, Armstrong said. A thing out in the water. A kind of a bridge. Kingstown pier, sir.

Some laughed again: mirthless but with meaning. Two in the back bench whispered. Yes. They knew: had never learned nor ever been innocent. All. With envy he watched their faces: Edith, Ethel, Gerty, Lily. Their likes: their breaths, too, sweetened with tea and jam, their bracelets tittering in the struggle.


Ulysses - 6/162

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