Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

A VOICE: One and eightpence too much.

CHARLES ALBERTA MARSH: Must be virgin. Good breath. Clean.

BELLO: (Gives a rap with his gavel) Two bar. Rockbottom figure and cheap at the price. Fourteen hands high. Touch and examine his points. Handle him. This downy skin, these soft muscles, this tender flesh. If I had only my gold piercer here! And quite easy to milk. Three newlaid gallons a day. A pure stockgetter, due to lay within the hour. His sire's milk record was a thousand gallons of whole milk in forty weeks. Whoa my jewel! Beg up! Whoa! (He brands his initial C on Bloom's croup) So! Warranted Cohen! What advance on two bob, gentlemen?

A DARKVISAGED MAN: (In disguised accent) Hoondert punt sterlink.

VOICES: (Subdued) For the Caliph. Haroun Al Raschid.

BELLO: (Gaily) Right. Let them all come. The scanty, daringly short skirt, riding up at the knee to show a peep of white pantalette, is a potent weapon and transparent stockings, emeraldgartered, with the long straight seam trailing up beyond the knee, appeal to the better instincts of the blase man about town. Learn the smooth mincing walk on four inch Louis Quinze heels, the Grecian bend with provoking croup, the thighs fluescent, knees modestly kissing. Bring all your powers of fascination to bear on them. Pander to their Gomorrahan vices.

BLOOM: (Bends his blushing face into his armpit and simpers with forefinger in mouth) O, I know what you're hinting at now!

BELLO: What else are you good for, an impotent thing like you? (He stoops and, peering, pokes with his fan rudely under the fat suet folds of Bloom's haunches) Up! Up! Manx cat! What have we here? Where's your curly teapot gone to or who docked it on you, cockyolly? Sing, birdy, sing. It's as limp as a boy of six's doing his pooly behind a cart. Buy a bucket or sell your pump. (Loudly) Can you do a man's job?

BLOOM: Eccles street . . .

BELLO: (Sarcastically) I wouldn't hurt your feelings for the world but there's a man of brawn in possession there. The tables are turned, my gay young fellow! He is something like a fullgrown outdoor man. Well for you, you muff, if you had that weapon with knobs and lumps and warts all over it. He shot his bolt, I can tell you! Foot to foot, knee to knee, belly to belly, bubs to breast! He's no eunuch. A shock of red hair he has sticking out of him behind like a furzebush! Wait for nine months, my lad! Holy ginger, it's kicking and coughing up and down in her guts already! That makes you wild, don't it? Touches the spot? (He spits in contempt) Spittoon!

BLOOM: I was indecently treated, I . . . Inform the police. Hundred pounds. Unmentionable. I . . .

BELLO: Would if you could, lame duck. A downpour we want not your drizzle.

BLOOM: To drive me mad! Moll! I forgot! Forgive! Moll . . . We . . . Still . . .

BELLO: (Ruthlessly) No, Leopold Bloom, all is changed by woman's will since you slept horizontal in Sleepy Hollow your night of twenty years. Return and see.

(Old Sleepy Hollow calls over the wold.)

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Rip van Wink! Rip van Winkle!

BLOOM: (In tattered mocassins with a rusty fowlingpiece, tiptoeing, fingertipping, his haggard bony bearded face peering through the diamond panes, cries out) I see her! It's she! The first night at Mat Dillon's! But that dress, the green! And her hair is dyed gold and he . . .

BELLO: (Laughs mockingly) That's your daughter, you owl, with a Mullingar student.

(Milly Bloom, fairhaired, greenvested, slimsandalled, her blue scarf in the seawind simply swirling, breaks from the arms of her lover and calls, her young eyes wonderwide.)

MILLY: My! It's Papli! But, O Papli, how old you've grown!

BELLO: Changed, eh? Our whatnot, our writingtable where we never wrote, aunt Hegarty's armchair, our classic reprints of old masters. A man and his menfriends are living there in clover. The Cuckoos' Rest! Why not? How many women had you, eh, following them up dark streets, flatfoot, exciting them by your smothered grunts, what, you male prostitute? Blameless dames with parcels of groceries. Turn about. Sauce for the goose, my gander O.

BLOOM: They . . . I . . .

BELLO: (Cuttingly) Their heelmarks will stamp the Brusselette carpet you bought at Wren's auction. In their horseplay with Moll the romp to find the buck flea in her breeches they will deface the little statue you carried home in the rain for art for art' sake. They will violate the secrets of your bottom drawer. Pages will be torn from your handbook of astronomy to make them pipespills. And they will spit in your ten shilling brass fender from Hampton Leedom's.

BLOOM: Ten and six. The act of low scoundrels. Let me go. I will return. I will prove . . .

A VOICE: Swear!

(Bloom clenches his fists and crawls forward, a bowieknife between his teeth.)

BELLO: As a paying guest or a kept man? Too late. You have made your secondbest bed and others must lie in it. Your epitaph is written. You are down and out and don't you forget it, old bean.

BLOOM: Justice! All Ireland versus one! Has nobody . . . ? (He bites his thumb)

BELLO: Die and be damned to you if you have any sense of decency or grace about you. I can give you a rare old wine that'll send you skipping to hell and back. Sign a will and leave us any coin you have! If you have none see you damn well get it, steal it, rob it! We'll bury you in our shrubbery jakes where you'll be dead and dirty with old Cuck Cohen, my stepnephew I married, the bloody old gouty procurator and sodomite with a crick in his neck, and my other ten or eleven husbands, whatever the buggers' names were, suffocated in the one cesspool. (He explodes in a loud phlegmy laugh) We'll manure you, Mr Flower! (He pipes scoffingly) Byby, Poldy! Byby, Papli!

BLOOM: (Clasps his head) My willpower! Memory! I have sinned! I have suff . . .

(He weeps tearlessly)

BELLO: (Sneers) Crybabby! Crocodile tears!

(Bloom, broken, closely veiled for the sacrifice, sobs, his face to the earth. The passing bell is heard. Darkshawled figures of the circumcised, in sackcloth and ashes, stand by the wailing wall. M. Shulomowitz, Joseph Goldwater, Moses Herzog, Harris Rosenberg, M. Moisel, J. Citron, Minnie Watchman, P. Mastiansky, The Reverend Leopold Abramovitz, Chazen. With swaying arms they wail in pneuma over the recreant Bloom.)

THE CIRCUMCISED: (In dark guttural chant as they cast dead sea fruit upon him, no flowers) Shema Israel Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad.

VOICES: (Sighing) So he's gone. Ah yes. Yes, indeed. Bloom? Never heard of him. No? Queer kind of chap. There's the widow. That so? Ah, yes.

(From the suttee pyre the flame of gum camphire ascends. The pall of incense smoke screens and disperses. Out of her oakframe a nymph with hair unbound, lightly clad in teabrown artcolours, descends from her grotto and passing under interlacing yews stands over Bloom.)

THE YEWS: (Their leaves whispering) Sister. Our sister. Ssh!

THE NYMPH: (Softly) Mortal! (Kindly) Nay, dost not weepest!

BLOOM: (Crawls jellily forward under the boughs, streaked by sunlight, with dignity) This position. I felt it was expected of me. Force of habit.

THE NYMPH: Mortal! You found me in evil company, highkickers, coster picnicmakers, pugilists, popular generals, immoral panto boys in fleshtights and the nifty shimmy dancers, La Aurora and Karini, musical act, the hit of the century. I was hidden in cheap pink paper that smelt of rock oil. I was surrounded by the stale smut of clubmen, stories to disturb callow youth, ads for transparencies, truedup dice and bustpads, proprietary articles and why wear a truss with testimonial from ruptured gentleman. Useful hints to the married.

BLOOM: (Lifts a turtle head towards her lap) We have met before. On another star.

THE NYMPH: (Sadly) Rubber goods. Neverrip brand as supplied to the aristocracy. Corsets for men. I cure fits or money refunded. Unsolicited testimonials for Professor Waldmann's wonderful chest exuber. My bust developed four inches in three weeks, reports Mrs Gus Rublin with photo.

BLOOM: You mean Photo Bits?

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