house. My shoes, encrusted with a collar of
mud, lay on the clay tiles beside me. Looking
down at them I wondered how they got off
me. I felt the wind between my toes. Good to
feel. But how come by this new place, and
when? Thrown into the world. Perhaps there
had been some dustup between the men at
bowling. Another contest like thatIn re: to Pyrrhus’ victory at Tarentum in 279 b.c., Ulysses, 2. 20 and we will
all be tossed inside.
Thrown inside by Mother to thwart an ugly
sight. I remember mother screaming (at
whom?), a projectile (a pin?), and those same
expletives, but now hurled like tomahawks:
sharp and worn from throwing.
Anyhow, inside now. Dillon’s home and
hearth. Would I find the mother’s room? I
heard nothing but my heartbeat. A Cricket
chirp. Music died out by then. Those sounds
last longest. I walked deeper into the dark
corridor. Odor of sherry like my mother’s
devotional drinks. Bread and wine. Why does
the holy spirit feed on biscuits? We feed on
of the trees covering the roof. Stops the sun
looking down on it. Dirty though. Keep
off the dirt or it needs reshingling. Begins
to leak. He was glad to feel cool air
and a reprise from the sun. A few summers
there like that and every man would be
at another’s throat. Make even a good
will sour. Then to be stuck
inside. Temperature eventually goes up, too.
Ugly business. Mercurial weather. He looked
at young Stephen, whose suit was not not the
same as Bloom’s own. Hot too. Ought to be
tomahawks in America. Wear nothing,
throw spears after fat, gray squirrels.
I bet it’s not a bit like thatU. 4.99. Probably enjoy
Cricket as much as the rest. Story of savage
sounds more fierce. Harder to overcome a
dark adversary. Tell the children listen to
mother’s word or the red man will come,
does the trick. That Dedalus boy looks
on as though the world holds no mysteries for
Farewell, my mother
Bury me in the old churchyard
Beside my eldest brotherPortrait, I. 606..A song I knew! Brigid the washerwoman’s song. She sang it out the window, scrubbing what the children felt guilty for. From my window I heard her sing below. Flying out across the sea. Brigid?
No. Emptiness where she never wasFor Stephen’s obsession over tangibility of space and lack in time see Ulysses 3. 32 passim.. Another girl. To fill the void that wasn’t there. Eileen Vance sat in the empty room, alone. Immediately the singing ceased. She looked at me over her shoulder from a chair in the corner. She was looking out a window towards the setting sun. She set some small book down beside her and smiled the smile:
–Hello Stephen, she said. She clasped her palms tightly under her dress and pressed the surface of the seat so as to lift herself up anxiously. I think she was preparing a defense for being caught in the act.
–Hello Eileen, I said, unabashed. You have a pretty voice. Her hair looked like the pictures Mrs. Riordan showed me of the Prato MadonnaA 1506 canvas by Raphael. You cup your hands like how you do a baby.
–Don’t say that.
–It’s a pretty song.
–I wasn’t singing.
Sad to know more than her. It was a song that Brigid had sung for years. Feels like you have to make a choice already: to tell or not that you know more? Annoying to. Hard not to. She was so shy towards me. I had seen her look at me almost frightened before. I didn’t know why.
Everyone was somehow scared of me. Even Simon MoonanPortrait I.150. at Clongowes, who was not afraid of anything, who tied the prefects shirtsleeves, looked away from me. I was in the habit of sharing stories Dante told me, to Eileen, to her brother, to the other children at Clongowes, about the Tower of Babel and Mozambique and the great Pyramids and other wonderful things and places with strange foreign names. And everyone just listened. How could that be frightening?
–I didn’t know you were at the party, I said. I saw your Mother dancing outside. She was having fun.
–Yes I came with Mother. We live at number 7, down the road. It’s not far. You’ve never been there. But I like being inside. It’s quieter in here. And I don’t like dancing, especially with all those people.
–I didn’t know you were a singer.
–No, I’m not. She looked away embarrassed. On the floor her feet beat a thousandfold.
–Wasn’t that you just now I heard singing?
—No — no. I don’t sing. I can’t sing.
Better to think it magic.
–I thought I heard someone singing. Pitter patter of her feet running amok.
–Sorry then Eileen. Did I interrupt something?
She shyly turned away towards the open window. I saw the sun break under the horizon. A candle, lit. Picture of a cow on the wall. Down the road where Betty Byrne lived…Portrait, I. 8. The lilac was drifting into the room, or through the walls, I didn’t know how. A scent to make you cry.
I didn’t know what Eileen wanted to say, or if. It was best to appear paralysed. Perhaps I should have run away. Then, her voice warbling like a flute, she said,
— I…I didn’t think you were coming.
Nod. Nod, smile, encourage.
–My mother told me all the neighbors were invited to the party, so I asked, is Stephen coming? And she said yes perhaps you might just happen to pass through with your Mother and Father and all the rest.
–Oh, yes. I came with my mother.
–And your father?
–Father is outside too. He’s always at work, though. He’s a Marshall, you know. That means he’s in charge of over forty men. That’s higher than a magistrate, much higherPortrait 1. 480.. But mother, she was playing piano earlier. You must have heard. In the foyer before all the dancing and the rest. When it was still pretty out.
Eileen sat askew on the chair, anxious to say something.
–My mother can sing, too, you know. She’s a very good singer.
Eileen didn’t speak. Instead I saw something fearful, as if she could not bear to hear what was to come next, cross her face like a wrinkle or a scar.
–You know, Eileen, if I tell Mother, you could sing with her if you want.
Eileen looked down, dejected. I misspoke. Like falling into a trap. I wondered what asphyxiation would feel like? Better than this. You muzzle yourself either way.
–But you don’t have to agree to that. Forget I offered.
Eileen looked up to me for an instant. Quick. Then she picked up a little red songbook on the chair between her legs. Quicker, dashing. She held it close to her chest. The flame, extinguished.
Miss Tweedy had joined them inside. From my place on the couch, I watched her consorting with each of the men in turn. She wants my husband for herself; I know it. I know her type. An awful, fallen woman. A real vampire, the very whore of Babylon. Probably been with half the men here.
God, I hope she doesn’t sit here, atop me.
I just know that I would catch something.
How a woman like that comes from such a stately man as her father, I’ll never know. But it was a woman like that who gave Adam the apple, I’ll warrant. I’m glad that I never was that way. I just wish that I had been able to stay stronger for dear Mat. All these girls, raised by himself. Such a dear heart. A true saint.
There’s dear Floey now. Don’t let her talk to that Tweedy woman, Mat. It’s catching, the way she is. What she is.
Oh, word.And there’s that cad Bloom, going at her like a feral dog. Quite a catch he’d be for her, each sneaking around the other’s back. Probably tell one another about it and not bother even to hide it.
Such fallen times we live in. Still, it’s better that they should be together if it saves some virtuous man or woman from a life of pain. Just hope the Lord doesn’t visit his curse upon their future generations.
Although I’ve heard he’s a Jew, so it seems like that He would.
No more than they both deserve, by Christ.
Mat Dillon’s wife’s sad monologue was cut short when she was unceremoniously leaned upon by Eileen, whose embarrassed dialogue with young Stephen had just begun. Those with the ears to hear could just make out her muffled words, rising up through the upholstery. Whether this was a judgement to her in death, or whether it was merely a singular example of metempsychosis the reader must decide. Though surely even the Lord in his wisdom would struggle to know the moment of a cushion’s death. From this to what shall she pass on? Perhaps the brush of a shoeshine boy? Or the lightning quick life of a dog’s kibble as it hits the pan? If such terrors awaited Mat Dillon’s wife, such a good, Christian soul, then they await us all, dear reader.
Miss Tweedy had joined them inside. As Young Stephen had tried to strike conversation with Older Eileen with little to no success, so too had Young Though Older Bloom engaged Everyoung Miss Tweedy, though with more success. This fledgling courtship summoned dark Rumor from her vaulted halls, and, braving the light of day, she flitted among the guests, infecting them with her vile speech. For those with stouter, more devout hearts, she summoned Thisiphone, old Fury, to aid in the calamity. Foreigner and a Jew, they whispered to some. Buxom girl like that needs Irish seed, they called to others. True, some dainty hearts shunned this speech and smiled in spite of themselves for young love. These even the darkest spellwork of Rumor, though it were tempered by Morgan herself, would not avail. But this was no news to these eldest calamities. Ever it was so. Some are meant to judge. Some to be judged. Who was it that decided the great power of Jesus when he summoned Legion into the herd? What great hand gave him either right or might to topple that noonday devil? Did the broken bodies of those possessed swine, dying in agony at the cliff’s base, speak a different history? One of infinite tyranny of good over evil? Or did they, released from that struggle, simply wonder why the Creator had chosen them to thus punish? Had they, after all, chosen to be born with a cloven hoof, in that field, on that day? Was it their lot ever to relive such a life? To scream a resounding no, time and time again, against that resounding thunder?