Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

MRS BELLINGHAM: (In cap and seal coney mantle, wrapped up to the nose, steps out of her brougham and scans through tortoiseshell quizzing-glasses which she takes from inside her huge opossum muff) Also to me. Yes, I believe it is the same objectionable person. Because he closed my carriage door outside sir Thornley Stoker's one sleety day during the cold snap of February ninetythree when even the grid of the wastepipe and the ballstop in my bath cistern were frozen. Subsequently he enclosed a bloom of edelweiss culled on the heights, as he said, in my honour. I had it examined by a botanical expert and elicited the information that it was ablossom of the homegrown potato plant purloined from a forcingcase of the model farm.


(A crowd of sluts and ragamuffins surges forward)

THE SLUTS AND RAGAMUFFINS: (Screaming) Stop thief! Hurrah there, Bluebeard! Three cheers for Ikey Mo!

SECOND WATCH: (Produces handcuffs) Here are the darbies.

MRS BELLINGHAM: He addressed me in several handwritings with fulsome compliments as a Venus in furs and alleged profound pity for my frostbound coachman Palmer while in the same breath he expressed himself as envious of his earflaps and fleecy sheepskins and of his fortunate proximity to my person, when standing behind my chair wearing my livery and the armorial bearings of the Bellingham escutcheon garnished sable, a buck's head couped or. He lauded almost extravagantly my nether extremities, my swelling calves in silk hose drawn up to the limit, and eulogised glowingly my other hidden treasures in priceless lace which, he said, he could conjure up. He urged me (stating that he felt it his mission in life to urge me) to defile the marriage bed, to commit adultery at the earliest possible opportunity.

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS: (In amazon costume, hard hat, jackboots cockspurred, vermilion waistcoat, fawn musketeer gauntlets with braided drums, long train held up and hunting crop with which she strikes her welt constantly) Also me. Because he saw me on the polo ground of the Phoenix park at the match All Ireland versus the Rest of Ireland. My eyes, I know, shone divinely as I watched Captain Slogger Dennehy of the Inniskillings win the final chukkar on his darling cob Centaur. This plebeian Don Juan observed me from behind a hackney car and sent me in double envelopes an obscene photograph, such as are sold after dark on Paris boulevards, insulting to any lady. I have it still. It represents a partially nude senorita, frail and lovely (his wife, as he solemnly assured me, taken by him from nature), practising illicit intercourse with a muscular torero, evidently a blackguard. He urged me to do likewise, to misbehave, to sin with officers of the garrison. He implored me to soil his letter in an unspeakable manner, to chastise him as he richly deserves, to bestride and ride him, to give him a most vicious horsewhipping.



(Several highly respectable Dublin ladies hold up improper letters received from Bloom.)

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS: (Stamps her jingling spurs in a sudden paroxysm of fury) I will, by the God above me. I'll scourge the pigeonlivered cur as long as I can stand over him. I'll flay him alive.

BLOOM: (His eyes closing, quails expectantly) Here? (He squirms) Again! (He pants cringing) I love the danger.

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS: Very much so! I'll make it hot for you. I'll make you dance Jack Latten for that.

MRS BELLINGHAM: Tan his breech well, the upstart! Write the stars and stripes on it!

MRS YELVERTON BARRY: Disgraceful! There's no excuse for him! A married man!

BLOOM: All these people. I meant only the spanking idea. A warm tingling glow without effusion. Refined birching to stimulate the circulation.

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS: (Laughs derisively) O, did you, my fine fellow? Well, by the living God, you'll get the surprise of your life now, believe me, the most unmerciful hiding a man ever bargained for. You have lashed the dormant tigress in my nature into fury.

MRS BELLINGHAM: (Shakes her muff and quizzing-glasses vindictively) Make him smart, Hanna dear. Give him ginger. Thrash the mongrel within an inch of his life. The cat-o'-nine-tails. Geld him. Vivisect him.

BLOOM: (Shuddering, shrinking, joins his hands: with hangdog mien) O cold! O shivery! It was your ambrosial beauty. Forget, forgive. Kismet. Let me off this once. (He offers the other cheek)

MRS YELVERTON BARRY: (Severely) Don't do so on any account, Mrs Talboys! He should be soundly trounced!

THE HONOURABLE MRS MERVYN TALBOYS: (Unbuttoning her gauntlet violently) I'll do no such thing. Pigdog and always was ever since he was pupped! To dare address me! I'll flog him black and blue in the public streets. I'll dig my spurs in him up to the rowel. He is a wellknown cuckold. (She swishes her huntingcrop savagely in the air) Take down his trousers without loss of time. Come here, sir! Quick! Ready?

BLOOM: (Trembling, beginning to obey) The weather has been so warm.

(Davy Stephens, ringletted, passes with a bevy of barefoot newsboys.)

DAVY STEPHENS: Messenger of the Sacred Heart and Evening Telegraph with Saint Patrick's Day supplement. Containing the new addresses of all the cuckolds in Dublin.

(The very reverend Canon O'Hanlon in cloth of gold cope elevates and exposes a marble timepiece. Before him Father Conroy and the reverend John Hughes S.J. bend low.)

THE TIMEPIECE: (Unportalling)


(The brass quoits of a bed are heard to jingle.)

THE QUOITS: Jigjag. Jigajiga. Jigjag.

(A panel of fog rolls back rapidly, revealing rapidly in the jurybox the faces of Martin Cunningham, foreman, silkhatted, Jack Power, Simon Dedalus, Tom Kernan, Ned Lambert, John Henry Menton Myles Crawford, Lenehan, Paddy Leonard, Nosey Flynn, M'Coy and the featureless face of a Nameless One.)

THE NAMELESS ONE: Bareback riding. Weight for age. Gob, he organised her.

THE JURORS: (All their heads turned to his voice) Really?

THE NAMELESS ONE: (Snarls) Arse over tip. Hundred shillings to five.

THE JURORS: (All their heads lowered in assent) Most of us thought as much.

FIRST WATCH: He is a marked man. Another girl's plait cut. Wanted: Jack the Ripper. A thousand pounds reward.

SECOND WATCH: (Awed, whispers) And in black. A mormon. Anarchist.

THE CRIER: (Loudly) Whereas Leopold Bloom of no fixed abode is a wellknown dynamitard, forger, bigamist, bawd and cuckold and a public nuisance to the citizens of Dublin and whereas at this commission of assizes the most honourable . . .

(His Honour, sir Frederick Falkiner, recorder of Dublin, in judicial garb of grey stone rises from the bench, stonebearded. He bears in his arms an umbrella sceptre. From his forehead arise starkly the Mosaic ramshorns.)

THE RECORDER: I will put an end to this white slave traffic and rid Dublin of this odious pest. Scandalous! (He dons the black cap) Let him be taken, Mr Subsheriff, from the dock where he now stands and detained in custody in Mountjoy prison during His Majesty's pleasure and there be hanged by the neck until he is dead and therein fail not at your peril or may the Lord have mercy on your soul. Remove him. (A black skullcap descends upon his head.)

(The subsheriff Long John Fanning appears, smoking a pungent Henry Clay.)

LONG JOHN FANNING: (Scowls and calls with rich rolling utterance) Who'll hang Judas Iscariot?

(H. Rumbold, master barber, in a bloodcoloured jerkin and tanner's apron, a rope coiled over his shoulder, mounts the block. A life preserver and a nailstudded bludgeon are stuck in his belt. He rubs grimly his grappling hands, knobbed with knuckledusters.)

RUMBOLD: (To the recorder with sinister familiarity) Hanging Harry, your Majesty, the Mersey terror. Five guineas a jugular. Neck or nothing.

(The bells of George's church toll slowly, loud dark iron.)

THE BELLS: Heigho! Heigho!

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