Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

BELLO: (Squats with a grunt on Bloom's upturned face, puffing cigarsmoke, nursing a fat leg) I see Keating Clay is elected vicechairman of the Richmond asylum and by the by Guinness's preference shares are at sixteen three quaffers. Curse me for a fool that didn't buy that lot Craig and Gardner told me about. Just my infernal luck, curse it. And that Goddamned outsider Throwaway at twenty to one. (He quenches his cigar angrily on Bloom's ear) Where's that Goddamned cursed ashtray?

BLOOM: (Goaded, buttocksmothered) O! O! Monsters! Cruel one!

BELLO: Ask for that every ten minutes. Beg. Pray for it as you never prayed before. (He thrusts out a figged fist and foul cigar) Here, kiss that. Both. Kiss. (He throws a leg astride and, pressing with horseman's knees, calls in a hard voice) Gee up! A cockhorse to Banbury cross. I'll ride him for the Eclipse stakes. (He bends sideways and squeezes his mount's testicles roughly, shouting) Ho! Off we pop! I'll nurse you in proper fashion. (He horserides cockhorse, leaping in the saddle) The lady goes a pace a pace and the coachman goes a trot a trot and the gentleman goes a gallop a gallop a gallop a gallop.

FLORRY: (Pulls at Bello) Let me on him now. You had enough. I asked before you.

ZOE: (Pulling at florry) Me. Me. Are you not finished with him yet, suckeress?

BLOOM: (Stifling) Can't.

BELLO: Well, I'm not. Wait. (He holds in his breath) Curse it. Here. This bung's about burst. (He uncorks himself behind: then, contorting his features, farts loudly) Take that! (He recorks himself) Yes, by Jingo, sixteen three quarters.

BLOOM: (A sweat breaking out over him) Not man. (He sniffs) Woman.

BELLO: (Stands up) No more blow hot and cold. What you longed for has come to pass. Henceforth you are unmanned and mine in earnest, a thing under the yoke. Now for your punishment frock. You will shed your male garments, you understand, Ruby Cohen? and don the shot silk luxuriously rustling over head and shoulders. And quickly too!

BLOOM: (Shrinks) Silk, mistress said! O crinkly! scrapy! Must I tiptouch it with my nails?

BELLO: (Points to his whores) As they are now so will you be, wigged, singed, perfumesprayed, ricepowdered, with smoothshaven armpits. Tape measurements will be taken next your skin. You will be laced with cruel force into vicelike corsets of soft dove coutille with whalebone busk to the diamondtrimmed pelvis, the absolute outside edge, while your figure, plumper than when at large, will be restrained in nettight frocks, pretty two ounce petticoats and fringes and things stamped, of course, with my houseflag, creations of lovely lingerie for Alice and nice scent for Alice. Alice will feel the pullpull. Martha and Mary will be a little chilly at first in such delicate thighcasing but the frilly flimsiness of lace round your bare knees will remind you . . .

BLOOM: (A charming soubrette with dauby cheeks, mustard hair and large male hands and nose, leering mouth) I tried her things on only twice, a small prank, in Holles street. When we were hard up I washed them to save the laundry bill. My own shirts I turned. It was the purest thrift.

BELLO: (Jeers) Little jobs that make mother pleased, eh? And showed off coquettishly in your domino at the mirror behind closedrawn blinds your unskirted thighs and hegoat's udders in various poses of surrender, eh? Ho! ho! I have to laugh! That secondhand black operatop shift and short trunkleg naughties all split up the stitches at her last rape that Mrs Miriam Dandrade sold you from the Shelbourne hotel, eh?

BLOOM: Miriam. Black. Demimondaine.

BELLO: (Guffaws) Christ Almighty it's too tickling, this! You were a nicelooking Miriam when you clipped off your backgate hairs and lay swooning in the thing across the bed as Mrs Dandrade about to be violated by lieutenant Smythe-Smythe, Mr Philip Augustus Blockwell M. P., signor Laci Daremo, the robust tenor, blueeyed Bert, the liftboy, Henri Fleury of Gordon Bennett fame, Sheridan, the quadroon Croesus, the varsity wetbob eight from old Trinity, Ponto, her splendid Newfoundland and Bobs, dowager duchess of Manorhamilton. (He guffaws again) Christ, wouldn't it make a Siamese cat laugh?

BLOOM: (Her hands and features working) It was Gerald converted me to be a true corsetlover when I was female impersonator in the High School play Vice Versa. It was dear Gerald. He got that kink, fascinated by sister's stays. Now dearest Gerald uses pinky greasepaint and gilds his eyelids. Cult of the beautiful.

BELLO: (With wicked glee) Beautiful! Give us a breather! When you took your seat with womanish care, lifting your billowy flounces, on the smoothworn throne.

BLOOM: Science. To compare the various joys we each enjoy. (Earnestly) And really it's better the position . . . because often I used to wet . . .

BELLO: (Sternly) No insubordination! The sawdust is there in the corner for you. I gave you strict instructions, didn't I? Do it standing, sir! I'll teach you to behave like a jinkleman! If I catch a trace on your swaddles. Aha! By the ass of the Dorans you'll find I'm a martinet. The sins of your past are rising against you. Many. Hundreds.

THE SINS OF THE PAST: (In a medley of voices) He went through a form of clandestine marriage with at least one woman in the shadow of the Black church. Unspeakable messages he telephoned mentally to Miss Dunn at an address in D'Olier street while he presented himself indecently to the instrument in the callbox. By word and deed he frankly encouraged a nocturnal strumpet to deposit fecal and other matter in an unsanitary outhouse attached to empty premises. In five public conveniences he wrote pencilled messages offering his nuptial partner to all strongmembered males. And by the offensively smelling vitriol works did he not pass night after night by loving courting couples to see if and what and how much he could see? Did he not lie in bed, the gross boar, gloating over a nauseous fragment of wellused toilet paper presented to him by a nasty harlot, stimulated by gingerbread and a postal order?

BELLO: (Whistles loudly) Say! What was the most revolting piece of obscenity in all your career of crime? Go the whole hog. Puke it out! Be candid for once.

(Mute inhuman faces throng forward, leering, vanishing, gibbering, Booloohoom. Poldy Kock, Bootlaces a penny Cassidy's hag, blind stripling, Larry Rhinoceros, the girl, the woman, the whore, the other, the . . . )

BLOOM: Don't ask me! Our mutual faith. Pleasants street. I only thought the half of the . . . I swear on my sacred oath . . .

BELLO: (Peremptorily) Answer. Repugnant wretch! I insist on knowing. Tell me something to amuse me, smut or a bloody good ghoststory or a line of poetry, quick, quick, quick! Where? How? What time? With how many? I give you just three seconds. One! Two! Thr . . .

BLOOM: (Docile, gurgles) I rererepugnosed in rerererepugnant

BELLO: (Imperiously) O, get out, you skunk! Hold your tongue! Speak when you're spoken to.

BLOOM: (Bows) Master! Mistress! Mantamer!

(He lifts his arms. His bangle bracelets fill.)

BELLO: (Satirically) By day you will souse and bat our smelling underclothes also when we ladies are unwell, and swab out our latrines with dress pinned up and a dishclout tied to your tail. Won't that be nice? (He places a ruby ring on her finger) And there now! With this ring I thee own. Say, thank you, mistress.

BLOOM: Thank you, mistress.

BELLO: You will make the beds, get my tub ready, empty the pisspots in the different rooms, including old Mrs Keogh's the cook's, a sandy one. Ay, and rinse the seven of them well, mind, or lap it up like champagne. Drink me piping hot. Hop! You will dance attendance or I'll lecture you on your misdeeds, Miss Ruby, and spank your bare bot right well, miss, with the hairbrush. You'll be taught the error of your ways. At night your wellcreamed braceletted hands will wear fortythreebutton gloves newpowdered with talc and having delicately scented fingertips. For such favours knights of old laid down their lives. (He chuckles) My boys will be no end charmed to see you so ladylike, the colonel, above all, when they come here the night before the wedding to fondle my new attraction in gilded heels. First I'll have a go at you myself. A man I know on the turf named Charles Alberta Marsh (I was in bed with him just now and another gentleman out of the Hanaper and Petty Bag office) is on the lookout for a maid of all work at a short knock. Swell the bust. Smile. Droop shoulders. What offers? (He points) For that lot. Trained by owner to fetch and carry, basket in mouth. (He bares his arm and plunges it elbowdeep in Bloom's vulva) There's fine depth for you! What, boys? That give you a hardon? (He shoves his arm in a bidder's face) Here wet the deck and wipe it round!

A BIDDER: A florin.

(Dillon's lacquey rings his handbell.)


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