Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

BLOOM: (Desperately) Wait. Stop. Gulls. Good heart. I saw. Innocence. Girl in the monkeyhouse. Zoo. Lewd chimpanzee. (Breathlessly) Pelvic basin. Her artless blush unmanned me. (Overcome with emotion) I left the precincts. (He turns to a figure in the crowd, appealing) Hynes, may I speak to you? You know me. That three shillings you can keep. If you want a little more . . .

HYNES: (Coldly) You are a perfect stranger.

SECOND WATCH: (Points to the corner) The bomb is here.

FIRST WATCH: Infernal machine with a time fuse.

BLOOM: No, no. Pig's feet. I was at a funeral.

FIRST WATCH: (Draws his truncheon) Liar!

(The beagle lifts his snout, showing the grey scorbutic face of Paddy Dignam. He has gnawed all. He exhales a putrid carcasefed breath. He grows to human size and shape. His dachshund coat becomes a brown mortuary habit. His green eye flashes bloodshot. Half of one ear, all the nose and both thumbs are ghouleaten.)

PADDY DIGNAM: (In a hollow voice) It is true. It was my funeral. Doctor Finucane pronounced life extinct when I succumbed to the disease from natural causes.

(He lifts his mutilated ashen face moonwards and bays lugubriously.)

BLOOM: (In triumph) You hear?

PADDY DIGNAM: Bloom, I am Paddy Dignam's spirit. List, list, O list!

BLOOM: The voice is the voice of Esau.

SECOND WATCH: (Blesses himself) How is that possible?

FIRST WATCH: It is not in the penny catechism.

PADDY DIGNAM: By metempsychosis. Spooks.

A VOICE: O rocks.

PADDY DIGNAM: (Earnestly) Once I was in the employ of Mr J. H. Menton, solicitor, commissioner for oaths and affidavits, of 27 Bachelor's Walk. Now I am defunct, the wall of the heart hypertrophied. Hard lines. The poor wife was awfully cut up. How is she bearing it? Keep her off that bottle of sherry. (He looks round him) A lamp. I must satisfy an animal need. That buttermilk didn't agree with me.

(The portly figure of John O'Connell, caretaker, stands forth, holding a bunch of keys tied with crape. Beside him stands Father Coffey, chaplain, toadbellied, wrynecked, in a surplice and bandanna nightcap, holding sleepily a staff twisted poppies.)

FATHER COFFEY: (Yawns, then chants with a hoarse croak) Namine. Jacobs. Vobiscuits. Amen.

JOHN O'CONNELL: (Foghorns stormily through his megaphone) Dignam, Patrick T, deceased.

PADDY DIGNAM: (With pricked up ears, winces) Overtones. (He wriggles forward and places an ear to the ground) My master's voice!

JOHN O'CONNELL: Burial docket letter number U. P. eightyfive thousand. Field seventeen. House of Keys. Plot, one hundred and one.

(Paddy Dignam listens with visible effort, thinking, his tail stiffpointcd, his ears cocked.)

PADDY DIGNAM: Pray for the repose of his soul.

(He worms down through a coalhole, his brown habit trailing its tether over rattling pebbles. After him toddles an obese grandfather rat on fungus turtle paws under a grey carapace. Dignam's voice, muffled, is heard baying under ground: Dignam's dead and gone below. Tom Rochford, robinredbreasted, in cap and breeches, jumps from his twocolumned machine.)

TOM ROCHFORD: (A hand to his breastbone, bows) Reuben J. A florin I find him. (He fixes the manhole with a resolute stare) My turn now on. Follow me up to Carlow.

(He executes a daredevil salmon leap in the air and is engulfed in the coalhole. Two discs on the columns wobble, eyes of nought. All recedes. Bloom plodges forward again through the sump. Kisses chirp amid the rifts of fog a piano sounds. He stands before a lighted house, listening. The kisses, winging from their bowers fly about him, twittering, warbling, cooing.)

THE KISSES: (Warbling) Leo! (Twittering) Icky licky micky sticky for Leo! (Cooing) Coo coocoo! Yummyyum, Womwom! (Warbling) Big comebig! Pirouette! Leopopold! (Twittering) Leeolee! (Warbling) O Leo!

(They rustle, flutter upon his garments, alight, bright giddy flecks, silvery sequins.)

BLOOM: A man's touch. Sad music. Church music. Perhaps here.

(Zoe Higgins, a young whore in a sapphire slip, closed with three bronze buckles, a slim black velvet fillet round her throat, nods, trips down the steps and accosts him.)

ZOE: Are you looking for someone? He's inside with his friend.

BLOOM: Is this Mrs Mack's?

ZOE: No, eightyone. Mrs Cohen's. You might go farther and fare worse. Mother Slipperslapper. (Familiarly) She's on the job herself tonight with the vet her tipster that gives her all the winners and pays for her son in Oxford. Working overtime but her luck's turned today. (Suspiciously) You're not his father, are you?

BLOOM: Not I!

ZOE: You both in black. Has little mousey any tickles tonight?

(His skin, alert, feels her fingertips approach. A hand glides over his left thigh.)

ZOE: How's the nuts?

BLOOM: Off side. Curiously they are on the right. Heavier, I suppose. One in a million my tailor, Mesias, says.

ZOE: (In sudden alarm) You've a hard chancre.

BLOOM: Not likely.

ZOE: I feel it.

(Her hand slides into his left trouser pocket and brings out a hard black shrivelled potato. She regards it and Bloom with dumb moist lips.)

BLOOM: A talisman. Heirloom.

ZOE: For Zoe? For keeps? For being so nice, eh?

(She puts the potato greedily into a pocket then links his arm, cuddling him with supple warmth. He smiles uneasily. Slowly, note by note, oriental music is played. He gazes in the tawny crystal of her eyes, ringed with kohol. His smile softens.)

ZOE: You'll know me the next time.

BLOOM: (Forlornly) I never loved a dear gazelle but it was sure to . . .

(Gazelles are leaping, feeding on the mountains. Near are lakes. Round their shores file shadows black of cedargroves. Aroma rises, a strong hairgrowth of resin. It burns, the orient, a sky of sapphire, cleft by the bronze flight of eagles. Under it lies the womancity nude, white, still, cool, in luxury. A fountain murmurs among damask roses. Mammoth roses murmur of scarlet winegrapes. A wine of shame, lust, blood exudes, strangely murmuring.)

ZOE: (Murmuring singsong with the music, her odalisk lips lusciously smeared with salve of swinefat and rosewater) Schorach ani wenowach, benoith Hierushaloim.

BLOOM: (Fascinated) I thought you were of good stock by your accent.

ZOE: And you know what thought did?

(She bites his ear gently with little goldstopped teeth, sending on him a cloying breath of stale garlic. The roses draw apart, disclose a sepulchre of the gold of kings and their mouldering bones.)

BLOOM: (Draws back, mechanically caressing her right bub with a flat awkward hand) Are you a Dublin girl?

ZOE: (Catches a stray hair deftly and twists it to her coil) No bloody fear. I'm English. Have you a swaggerroot?

BLOOM: (As before) Rarely smoke, dear. Cigar now and then. Childish device. (Lewdly) The mouth can be better engaged than with a cylinder of rank weed.

ZOE: Go on. Make a stump speech out of it.

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At the graveside where Paddy Dignam is to be buried, the mysterious man in a Macintosh coat turns out to be




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