Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

BEAUFOY: You low cad! You ought to be ducked in the horsepond, you rotter! (To the court) Why, look at the man's private life! Leading a quadruple existence! Street angel and house devil. Not fit to be mentioned in mixed society! The archconspirator of the age!

BLOOM: (To the court) And he, a bachelor, how . . .

FIRST WATCH: The King versus Bloom. Call the woman Driscoll.

THE CRIER: Mary Driscoll, scullerymaid!

(Mary Driscoll, a slipshod servant girl, approaches. She has a bucket on the crook of her arm and a scouringbrush in her hand.)

SECOND WATCH: Another! Are you of the unfortunate class?

MARY DRISCOLL: (Indignantly) I'm not a bad one. I bear a respectable character and was four months in my last place. I was in a situation, six pounds a year and my chances with Fridays out and I had to leave owing to his carryings on.

FIRST WATCH: What do you tax him with?

MARY DRISCOLL: He made a certain suggestion but I thought more of myself as poor as I am.

BLOOM: (In housejacket of ripplecloth, flannel trousers, heelless slippers, unshaven, his hair rumpled: softly) I treated you white. I gave you mementos, smart emerald garters far above your station. Incautiously I took your part when you were accused of pilfering. There's a medium in all things. Play cricket.

MARY DRISCOLL: (Excitedly) As God is looking down on me this night if ever I laid a hand to them oysters!

FIRST WATCH: The offence complained of? Did something happen?

MARY DRISCOLL: He surprised me in the rere of the premises, Your honour, when the missus was out shopping one morning with a request for a safety pin. He held me and I was discoloured in four places as a result. And he interfered twict with my clothing.

BLOOM: She counterassaulted.

MARY DRISCOLL: (Scornfully) I had more respect for the scouringbrush, so I had. I remonstrated with him, Your lord, and he remarked: keep it quiet.

(General laughter.)

GEORGE FOTTRELL: (Clerk of the crown and peace, resonantly) Order in court! The accused will now make a bogus statement.

(Bloom, pleading not guilty and holding a fullblown waterlily, begins a long unintelligible speech. They would hear what counsel had to say in his stirring address to the grand jury. He was down and out but, though branded as a black sheep, if he might say so, he meant to reform, to retrieve the memory of the past in a purely sisterly way and return to nature as a purely domestic animal. A sevenmonths' child, he had been carefully brought up and nurtured by an aged bedridden parent. There might have been lapses of an erring father but he wanted to turn over a new leaf and now, when at long last in sight of the whipping post, to lead a homely life in the evening of his days, permeated by the affectionate surroundings of the heaving bosom of the family. An acclimatised Britisher, he had seen that summer eve from the footplate of an engine cab of the Loop line railway company while the rain refrained from falling glimpses, as it were, through the windows of loveful households in Dublin city and urban district of scenes truly rural of happiness of the better land with Dockrell's wallpaper at one and ninepence a dozen, innocent Britishborn bairns lisping prayers to the Sacred Infant, youthful scholars grappling with their pensums or model young ladies playing on the pianoforte or anon all with fervour reciting the family rosary round the crackling Yulelog while in the boreens and green lanes the colleens with their swains strolled what times the strains of the organtoned melodeon Britannia metalbound with four acting stops and twelvefold bellows, a sacrifice, greatest bargain ever . . .

(Renewed laughter. He mumbles incoherently. Reporters complain that they cannot hear.)

LONGHAND AND SHORTHAND: (Without looking up from their notebooks) Loosen his boots.

PROFESSOR MACHUGH: (From the presstable, coughs and calls) Cough it up, man. Get it out in bits.

(The crossexamination proceeds re Bloom and the bucket. A large bucket. Bloom himself. Bowel trouble. In Beaver street Gripe, yes. Quite bad. A plasterer's bucket. By walking stifflegged. Suffered untold misery. Deadly agony. About noon. Love or burgundy. Yes, some spinach. Crucial moment. He did not look in the bucket Nobody. Rather a mess. Not completely. A Titbits back number.)

(Uproar and catcalls. Bloom in a torn frockcoat stained with whitewash, dinged silk hat sideways on his head, a strip of stickingplaster across his nose, talks inaudibly.)

J. J. O'MOLLOY: (In barrister's grey wig and stuffgown, speaking with a voice of pained protest) This is no place for indecent levity at the expense of an erring mortal disguised in liquor. We are not in a beargarden nor at an Oxford rag nor is this a travesty of justice. My client is an infant, a poor foreign immigrant who started scratch as a stowaway and is now trying to turn an honest penny. The trumped up misdemeanour was due to a momentary aberration of heredity, brought on by hallucination, such familiarities as the alleged guilty occurrence being quite permitted in my client's native place, the land of the Pharaoh. Prima facie, I put it to you that there was no attempt at carnally knowing. Intimacy did not occur and the offence complained of by Driscoll, that her virtue was solicited, was not repeated. I would deal in especial with atavism. There have been cases of shipwreck and somnambulism in my client's family. If the accused could speak he could a tale unfold — one of the strangest that have ever been narrated between the covers of a book. He himself, my lord, is a physical wreck from cobbler's weak chest. His submission is that he is of Mongolian extraction and irresponsible for his actions. Not all there, in fact.

BLOOM: (Barefoot, pigeonbreasted, in lascar's vest and trousers, apologetic toes turned in, opens his tiny mole's eyes and looks about him dazedly, passing a slow hand across his forehead. Then he hitches his belt sailor fashion and with a shrug of oriental obeisance salutes the court, pointing one thumb heavenward.) Him makee velly muchee fine night. (He begins to lilt simply)

Li li poo lil chile
Blingee pigfoot evly night
Payee two shilly . . .

(He is howled down.)

J. J. O'MOLLOY: (Hotly to the populace) This is a lonehand fight. By Hades, I will not have any client of mine gagged and badgered in this fashion by a pack of curs and laughing hyenas. The Mosaic code has superseded the law of the jungle. I say it and I say it emphatically, without wishing for one moment to defeat the ends of justice, accused was not accessory before the act and prosecutrix has not been tampered with. The young person was treated by defendant as if she were his very own daughter. (Bloom takes J. J. O'Molloy's hand and raises it to his lips.) I shall call rebutting evidence to prove up to the hilt that the hidden hand is again at its old game. When in doubt persecute Bloom. My client, an innately bashful man, would be the last man in the world to do anything ungentlemanly which injured modesty could object to or cast a stone at a girl who took the wrong turning when some dastard, responsible for her condition, had worked his own sweet will on her. He wants to go straight. I regard him as the whitest man I know. He is down on his luck at present owing to the mortgaging of his extensive property at Agendath Netaim in faraway Asia Minor, slides of which will now be shown. (To Bloom) I suggest that you will do the handsome thing.

BLOOM: A penny in the pound.

(The image of the lake of Kinnereth with blurred cattle cropping in silver haze is projected on the wall. Moses Dlugacz, ferreteyed albino, in blue dungarees, stands up in the gallery, holding in each hand an orange citron and a pork kidney.)

DLUGACZ: (Hoarsely) Bleibtreustrasse, Berlin, W.13.

(J. J. O'Molloy steps on to a low plinth and holds the lapel of his coat with solemnity. His face lengthens, grows pale and bearded, with sunken eyes, the blotches of phthisis and hectic cheekbones of John F. Taylor. He applies his handkerchief to his mouth and scrutinises the galloping tide of rosepink blood.)

J.J.O'MOLLOY: (Almost voicelessly) Excuse me. I am suffering from a severe chill, have recently come from a sickbed. A few wellchosen words. (He assumes the avine head, foxy moustache and proboscidal eloquence of Seymour Bushe.) When the angel's book comes to be opened if aught that the pensive bosom has inaugurated of soultransfigured and of soultransfiguring deserves to live I say accord the prisoner at the bar the sacred benefit of the doubt. (A paper with something written on it is handed into court.)

BLOOM: (In court dress) Can give best references. Messrs Callan, Coleman. Mr Wisdom Hely J. P. My old chief Joe Cuffe. Mr V. B. Dillon, ex lord mayor of Dublin. I have moved in the charmed circle of the highest . . . Queens of Dublin society. (Carelessly) I was just chatting this afternoon at the viceregal lodge to my old pals, sir Robert and lady Ball, astronomer royal at the levee. Sir Bob, I said . . .

MRS YELVERTON BARRY: (In lowcorsaged opal balldress and elbowlength ivory gloves, wearing a sabletrimmed brickquilted dolman, a comb of brilliants and panache of osprey in her hair) Arrest him, constable. He wrote me an anonymous letter in prentice backhand when my husband was in the North Riding of Tipperary on the Munster circuit, signed James Lovebirch. He said that he had seen from the gods my peerless globes as I sat in a box of the Theatre Royal at a command performance of La Cigale. I deeply inflamed him, he said. He made improper overtures to me to misconduct myself at half past four p.m. on the following Thursday, Dunsink time. He offered to send me through the post a work of fiction by Monsieur Paul de Kock, entitled The Girl with the Three Pairs of Stays.

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