A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man By James Joyce Chapter V

He bit off the rest of the fig and flung away the butt.

— I suffer little children to come unto me, Glynn said amiably.

— A bloody ape, Cranly repeated with emphasis, and a blasphemous bloody ape!

Temple stood up and, pushing past Cranly, addressed Glynn:

— That phrase you said now, he said, is from the new testament about suffer the children to come to me.

— Go to sleep again, Temple, said O'Keeffe.

— Very well, then, Temple continued, still addressing Glynn, and if Jesus suffered the children to come why does the church send them all to hell if they die unbaptized? Why is that?

— Were you baptized yourself, Temple? the consumptive student asked.

— But why are they sent to hell if Jesus said they were all to come? Temple said, his eyes searching Glynn's eyes.

Glynn coughed and said gently, holding back with difficulty the nervous titter in his voice and moving his umbrella at every word:

— And, as you remark, if it is thus, I ask emphatically whence comes this thusness.

— Because the church is cruel like all old sinners, Temple said.

— Are you quite orthodox on that point, Temple? Dixon said suavely.

— Saint Augustine says that about unbaptized children going to hell, Temple answered, because he was a cruel old sinner too.

— I bow to you, Dixon said, but I had the impression that limbo existed for such cases.

— Don't argue with him, Dixon, Cranly said brutally. Don't talk to him or look at him. Lead him home with a sugan the way you'd lead a bleating goat.

— Limbo! Temple cried. That's a fine invention too. Like hell.

— But with the unpleasantness left out, Dixon said.

He turned smiling to the others and said:

— I think I am voicing the opinions of all present in saying so much.

— You are, Glynn said in a firm tone. On that point Ireland is united.

He struck the ferrule of his umbrella on the stone floor of the colonnade.

— Hell, Temple said. I can respect that invention of the grey spouse of Satan. Hell is Roman, like the walls of the Romans, strong and ugly. But what is limbo?

— Put him back into the perambulator, Cranly, O'Keeffe called out.

Cranly made a swift step towards Temple, halted, stamping his foot, crying as if to a fowl:

— Hoosh!

Temple moved away nimbly.

— Do you know what limbo is? he cried. Do you know what we call a notion like that in Roscommon?

— Hoosh! Blast you! Cranly cried, clapping his hands.

— Neither my arse nor my elbow! Temple cried out scornfully. And that's what I call limbo.

— Give us that stick here, Cranly said.

He snatched the ashplant roughly from Stephen's hand and sprang down the steps: but Temple, hearing him move in pursuit, fled through the dusk like a wild creature, nimble and fleet-footed. Cranly's heavy boots were heard loudly charging across the quadrangle and then returning heavily, foiled and spurning the gravel at each step.

His step was angry and with an angry abrupt gesture he thrust the stick back into Stephen's hand. Stephen felt that his anger had another cause but, feigning patience, touched his arm slightly and said quietly:

— Cranly, I told you I wanted to speak to you. Come away.

Cranly looked at him for a few moments and asked:

— Now?

— Yes, now, Stephen said. We can't speak here. Come away.

They crossed the quadrangle together without speaking. The bird call from SIEGFRIED whistled softly followed them from the steps of the porch. Cranly turned, and Dixon, who had whistled, called out:

— Where are you fellows off to? What about that game, Cranly?

They parleyed in shouts across the still air about a game of billiards to be played in the Adelphi hotel. Stephen walked on alone and out into the quiet of Kildare Street opposite Maple's hotel he stood to wait, patient again. The name of the hotel, a colourless polished wood, and its colourless front stung him like a glance of polite disdain. He stared angrily back at the softly lit drawing-room of the hotel in which he imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland housed in calm. They thought of army commissions and land agents: peasants greeted them along the roads in the country; they knew the names of certain French dishes and gave orders to jarvies in high-pitched provincial voices which pierced through their skin-tight accents.

How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over the imaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them, that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under the deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he belonged flitting like bats across the dark country lanes, under trees by the edges of streams and near the pool-mottled bogs. A woman had waited in the doorway as Davin had passed by at night and, offering him a cup of milk, had all but wooed him to her bed; for Davin had the mild eyes of one who could be secret. But him no woman's eyes had wooed.

His arm was taken in a strong grip and Cranly's voice said:

— Let us eke go.

They walked southward in silence. Then Cranly said:

— That blithering idiot, Temple! I swear to Moses, do you know, that I'll be the death of that fellow one time.

But his voice was no longer angry and Stephen wondered was he thinking of her greeting to him under the porch.

They turned to the left and walked on as before. When they had gone on so for some time Stephen said:

— Cranly, I had an unpleasant quarrel this evening.

— With your people? Cranly asked.

— With my mother.

— About religion?

— Yes, Stephen answered.

After a pause Cranly asked:

— What age is your mother?

— Not old, Stephen said. She wishes me to make my easter duty.

— And will you?

— I will not, Stephen said.

— Why not? Cranly said.

— I will not serve, answered Stephen.

— That remark was made before, Cranly said calmly.

— It is made behind now, said Stephen hotly.

Cranly pressed Stephen's arm, saying:

— Go easy, my dear man. You're an excitable bloody man, do you know.

He laughed nervously as he spoke and, looking up into Stephen's face with moved and friendly eyes, said:

— Do you know that you are an excitable man?

— I daresay I am, said Stephen, laughing also.

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