A voice said:
— Intellectual crankery is better out of this movement than in it.
Stephen, recognizing the harsh tone of MacAlister's voice did not turn in the direction of the voice. Cranly pushed solemnly through the throng of students, linking Stephen and Temple like a celebrant attended by his ministers on his way to the altar.
Temple bent eagerly across Cranly's breast and said:
— Did you hear MacAlister what he said? That youth is jealous of you. Did you see that? I bet Cranly didn't see that. By hell, I saw that at once.
As they crossed the inner hall, the dean of studies was in the act of escaping from the student with whom he had been conversing. He stood at the foot of the staircase, a foot on the lowest step, his threadbare soutane gathered about him for the ascent with womanish care, nodding his head often and repeating:
— Not a doubt of it, Mr Hackett! Very fine! Not a doubt of it!
In the middle of the hall the prefect of the college sodality was speaking earnestly, in a soft querulous voice, with a boarder. As he spoke he wrinkled a little his freckled brow and bit, between his phrases, at a tiny bone pencil.
— I hope the matric men will all come. The first arts' men are pretty sure. Second arts, too. We must make sure of the newcomers.
Temple bent again across Cranly, as they were passing through the doorway, and said in a swift whisper:
— Do you know that he is a married man? he was a married man before they converted him. He has a wife and children somewhere. By hell, I think that's the queerest notion I ever heard! Eh?
His whisper trailed off into sly cackling laughter. The moment they were through the doorway Cranly seized him rudely by the neck and shook him, saying:
— You flaming floundering fool! I'll take my dying bible there isn't a bigger bloody ape, do you know, than you in the whole flaming bloody world!
Temple wriggled in his grip, laughing still with sly content, while Cranly repeated flatly at every rude shake:
— A flaming flaring bloody idiot!
They crossed the weedy garden together. The president, wrapped in a heavy loose cloak, was coming towards them along one of the walks, reading his office. At the end of the walk he halted before turning and raised his eyes. The students saluted, Temple fumbling as before at the peak of his cap. They walked forward in silence. As they neared the alley Stephen could hear the thuds of the players' hands and the wet smacks of the ball and Davin's voice crying out excitedly at each stroke.
The three students halted round the box on which Davin sat to follow the game. Temple, after a few moments, sidled across to Stephen and said:
— Excuse me, I wanted to ask you, do you believe that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a sincere man?
Stephen laughed outright. Cranly, picking up the broken stave of a cask from the grass at his feet, turned swiftly and said sternly:
— Temple, I declare to the living God if you say another word, do you know, to anybody on any subject, I'll kill you SUPER SPOTTUM.
— He was like you, I fancy, said Stephen, an emotional man.
— Blast him, curse him! said Cranly broadly. Don't talk to him at all. Sure, you might as well be talking, do you know, to a flaming chamber-pot as talking to Temple. Go home, Temple. For God's sake, go home.
— I don't care a damn about you, Cranly, answered Temple, moving out of reach of the uplifted stave and pointing at Stephen. He's the only man I see in this institution that has an individual mind.
— Institution! Individual! cried Cranly. Go home, blast you, for you're a hopeless bloody man.
— I'm an emotional man, said Temple. That's quite rightly expressed. And I'm proud that I'm an emotionalist.
He sidled out of the alley, smiling slyly. Cranly watched him with a blank expressionless face.
— Look at him! he said. Did you ever see such a go-by-the-wall?
His phrase was greeted by a strange laugh from a student who lounged against the wall, his peaked cap down on his eyes. The laugh, pitched in a high key and coming from a so muscular frame, seemed like the whinny of an elephant. The student's body shook all over and, to ease his mirth, he rubbed both his hands delightedly over his groins.
— Lynch is awake, said Cranly.
Lynch, for answer, straightened himself and thrust forward his chest.
— Lynch puts out his chest, said Stephen, as a criticism of life.
Lynch smote himself sonorously on the chest and said:
— Who has anything to say about my girth?
Cranly took him at the word and the two began to tussle. When their faces had flushed with the struggle they drew apart, panting. Stephen bent down towards Davin who, intent on the game, had paid no heed to the talk of the others.
— And how is my little tame goose? he asked. Did he sign, too?
David nodded and said:
— And you, Stevie?
Stephen shook his head.
— You're a terrible man, Stevie, said Davin, taking the short pipe from his mouth, always alone.
— Now that you have signed the petition for universal peace, said Stephen, I suppose you will burn that little copybook I saw in your room.
As Davin did not answer, Stephen began to quote:
— Long pace, fianna! Right incline, fianna! Fianna, by numbers, salute, one, two!
— That's a different question, said Davin. I'm an Irish nationalist, first and foremost. But that's you all out. You're a born sneerer, Stevie.
— When you make the next rebellion with hurleysticks, said Stephen, and want the indispensable informer, tell me. I can find you a few in this college.
— I can't understand you, said Davin. One time I hear you talk against English literature. Now you talk against the Irish informers. What with your name and your ideas — Are you Irish at all?
— Come with me now to the office of arms and I will show you the tree of my family, said Stephen.
— Then be one of us, said Davin. Why don't you learn Irish? Why did you drop out of the league class after the first lesson?
— You know one reason why, answered Stephen.
Davin tossed his head and laughed.
— Oh, come now, he said. Is it on account of that certain young lady and Father Moran? But that's all in your own mind, Stevie. They were only talking and laughing.
Stephen paused and laid a friendly hand upon Davin's shoulder.
— Do you remember, he said, when we knew each other first? The first morning we met you asked me to show you the way to the matriculation class, putting a very strong stress on the first syllable. You remember? Then you used to address the jesuits as father, you remember? I ask myself about you: IS HE AS INNOCENT AS HIS SPEECH?
— I'm a simple person, said Davin. You know that. When you told me that night in Harcourt Street those things about your private life, honest to God, Stevie, I was not able to eat my dinner. I was quite bad. I was awake a long time that night. Why did you tell me those things?
— Thanks, said Stephen. You mean I am a monster.
— No, said Davin. But I wish you had not told me.
A tide began to surge beneath the calm surface of Stephen's friendliness.
— This race and this country and this life produced me, he said I shall express myself as I am.
— Try to be one of us, repeated Davin. In heart you are an Irish man but your pride is too powerful.
— My ancestors threw off their language and took another Stephen said. They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you fancy I am going to pay in my own life and person debts they made? What for?