Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 16 - Eumaeus

— Just bears out what I was saying, he, with glowing bosom said to Stephen, about blood and the sun. And, if I don't greatly mistake she was Spanish too.

— The king of Spain's daughter, Stephen answered, adding something or other rather muddled about farewell and adieu to you Spanish onions and the first land called the Deadman and from Ramhead to Scilly was so and so many.

— Was she? Bloom ejaculated, surprised though not astonished by any means, I never heard that rumour before. Possible, especially there, it was as she lived there. So, Spain.

Carefully avoiding a book in his pocket Sweets of, which reminded him by the by of that Cap l street library book out of date, he took out his pocketbook and, turning over the various contents it contained rapidly finally he.

— Do you consider, by the by, he said, thoughtfully selecting a faded photo which he laid on the table, that a Spanish type?

Stephen, obviously addressed, looked down on the photo showing a large sized lady with her fleshy charms on evidence in an open fashion as she was in the full bloom of womanhood in evening dress cut ostentatiously low for the occasion to give a liberal display of bosom, with more than vision of breasts, her full lips parted and some perfect teeth, standing near, ostensibly with gravity, a piano on the rest of which was In Old Madrid, a ballad, pretty in its way, which was then all the vogue. Her (the lady's) eyes, dark, large, looked at Stephen, about to smile about something to be admired, Lafayette of Westmoreland street, Dublin's premier photographic artist, being responsible for the esthetic execution.

— Mrs Bloom, my wife the prima donna Madam Marion Tweedy, Bloom indicated. Taken a few years since. In or about ninety six. Very like her then.

Beside the young man he looked also at the photo of the lady now his 1440 legal wife who, he intimated, was the accomplished daughter of Major Brian Tweedy and displayed at an early age remarkable proficiency as a singer having even made her bow to the public when her years numbered barely sweet sixteen. As for the face it was a speaking likeness in expression but it did not do justice to her figure which came in for a lot of notice usually and which did not come out to the best advantage in that getup. She could without difficulty, he said, have posed for the ensemble, not to dwell on certain opulent curves of the. He dwelt, being a bit of an artist in his spare time, on the female form in general developmentally because, as it so happened, no later than that afternoon he had seen those Grecian statues, 1450 perfectly developed as works of art, in the National Museum. Marble could give the original, shoulders, back, all the symmetry, all the rest. Yes, puritanisme, it does though Saint Joseph's sovereign thievery alors (Bandez!) Figne toi trop. Whereas no photo could because it simply wasn't art in a word.

The spirit moving him he would much have liked to follow Jack Tar's good example and leave the likeness there for a very few minutes to speak for itself on the plea he so that the other could drink in the beauty for himself, her stage presence being, frankly, a treat in itself which the camera could not at all do justice to. But it was scarcely professional etiquette so. Though it was a warm pleasant sort of a night now yet wonderfully cool for the season considering, for sunshine after storm. And he did feel a kind of need there and then to follow suit like a kind of inward voice and satisfy a possible need by moving a motion. Nevertheless he sat tight just viewing the slightly soiled photo creased by opulent curves, none the worse for wear however, and looked away thoughtfully with the intention of not further increasing the other's possible embarrassment while gauging her symmetry of heaving embonpoint. In fact the slight soiling was only an added charm like the case of linen slightly soiled, good as new, much better in fact with the starch out. Suppose she was gone when he? I looked for the lamp which she told me came into his mind but merely as a passing fancy of his because he then recollected the morning littered bed etcetera and the book about Ruby with met him pike hoses (sic) in it which must have fell down sufficiently appropriately beside the domestic chamberpot with apologies to Lindley Murray.

The vicinity of the young man he certainly relished, educated, distingue and impulsive into the bargain, far and away the pick of the bunch though you wouldn't think he had it in him yet you would. Besides he said the picture was handsome which, say what you like, it was though at the moment she was distinctly stouter. And why not? An awful lot of makebelieve went on about that sort of thing involving a lifelong slur with the usual splash page of gutterpress about the same old matrimonial tangle alleging misconduct with professional golfer or the newest stage favourite instead of being honest and aboveboard about the whole business. How they were fated to meet and an attachment sprang up between the two so that their names were coupled in the public eye was told in court with letters containing the habitual mushy and compromising expressions leaving no loophole to show that they openly cohabited two or three times a week at some wellknown seaside hotel and relations, when the thing ran its normal course, became in due course intimate. Then the decree nisi and the King's proctor tries to show cause why and, he failing to quash it, nisi was made absolute. But as for that the two misdemeanants, wrapped up as they largely were in one another, could safely afford to ignore it as they very largely did till the matter was put in the hands of a solicitor who filed a petition for the party wronged in due course. He, B, enjoyed the distinction of being close to Erin's uncrowned king in the flesh when the thing occurred on the historic fracas when the fallen leader's, who notoriously stuck to his guns to the last drop even when clothed in the mantle of adultery, (leader's) trusty henchmen to the number of ten or a dozen or possibly even more than that penetrated into the printing works of the Insuppressible or no it was United Ireland (a by no means by the by appropriate appellative) and broke up the typecases with hammers or something like that all on account of some scurrilous effusions from the facile pens of the O'Brienite scribes at the usual mudslinging occupation reflecting on the erstwhile tribune's private morals. Though palpably a radically altered man he was still a commanding figure though carelessly garbed as usual with that look of settled purpose which went a long way with the shillyshallyers till they discovered to their vast discomfiture that their idol had feet of clay after placing him upon a pedestal which she, however, was the first to perceive. As those were particularly hot times in the general hullaballoo Bloom sustained a minor injury from a nasty prod of some chap's elbow in the crowd that of course congregated lodging some place about the pit of the stomach, fortunately not of a grave character. His hat (Parnell's) a silk one was inadvertently knocked off and, as a matter of strict history, Bloom was the man who picked it up in the crush after witnessing the occurrence meaning to return it to him (and return it to him he did with the utmost celerity) who panting and hatless and whose thoughts were miles away from his hat at the time all the same being a gentleman born with a stake in the country he, as a matter of fact, having gone into it more for the kudos of the thing than anything else, what's bred in the bone instilled into him in infancy at his mother's knee in the shape of knowing what good form was came out at once because he turned round to the donor and thanked him with perfect aplomb, saying: Thank you, sir, though in a very different tone of voice from the ornament of the legal profession whose headgear Bloom also set to rights earlier in the course of the day, history repeating itself with a difference, after the burial of a mutual friend when they had left him alone in his glory after the grim task of having committed his remains to the grave.

On the other hand what incensed him more inwardly was the blatant jokes of the cabman and so on who passed it all off as a jest, laughing 1530 immoderately, pretending to understand everything, the why and the wherefore, and in reality not knowing their own minds, it being a case for the two parties themselves unless it ensued that the legitimate husband happened to be a party to it owing to some anonymous letter from the usual boy Jones, who happened to come across them at the crucial moment in a loving position locked in one another's arms, drawing attention to their illicit proceedings and leading up to a domestic rumpus and the erring fair one begging forgiveness of her lord and master upon her knees and promising to sever the connection and not receive his visits any more if only the aggrieved husband would overlook the matter and let bygones be bygones with tears in her eyes though possibly with her tongue in her fair cheek at the same time as quite possibly there were several others. He personally, being of a sceptical bias, believed and didn't make the smallest bones about saying so either that man or men in the plural were always hanging around on the waiting list about a lady, even supposing she was the best wife in the world and they got on fairly well together for the sake of argument, when, neglecting her duties, she chose to be tired of wedded life and was on for a little flutter in polite debauchery to press their attentions on her with improper intent, the upshot being that her affections centred on another, the cause of many liaisons between still attractive married women getting on for fair and forty and younger men, no doubt as several famous cases of feminine infatuation proved up to the hilt.

It was a thousand pities a young fellow, blessed with an allowance of brains as his neighbour obviously was, should waste his valuable time with profligate women who might present him with a nice dose to last him his lifetime. In the nature of single blessedness he would one day take unto himself a wife when Miss Right came on the scene but in the interim ladies' society was a conditio sine qua non though he had the gravest possible doubts, not that he wanted in the smallest to pump Stephen about Miss Ferguson (who was very possibly the particular lodestar who brought him down to Irishtown so early in the morning), as to whether he would find much satisfaction basking in the boy and girl courtship idea and the company of smirking misses without a penny to their names bi or triweekly with the orthodox preliminary canter of complimentplaying and walking out leading up to fond lovers' ways and flowers and chocs. To think of him house and homeless, rooked by some landlady worse than any stepmother, was really too bad at his age. The queer suddenly things he popped out with attracted the elder man who was several years the other's senior or like his father but something substantial he certainly ought to eat even were it only an eggflip made on unadulterated maternal nutriment or, failing that, the homely Humpty Dumpty boiled.

— At what o'clock did you dine? he questioned of the slim form and tired though unwrinkled face.

— Some time yesterday, Stephen said.

— Yesterday! exclaimed Bloom till he remembered it was already tomorrow Friday. Ah, you mean it's after twelve!

— The day before yesterday, Stephen said, improving on himself.

Literally astounded at this piece of intelligence Bloom reflected. Though they didn't see eye to eye in everything a certain analogy there somehow was as if both their minds were travelling, so to speak, in the one train of thought. At his age when dabbling in politics roughly some score of years previously when he had been a quasi aspirant to parliamentary honours in the Buckshot Foster days he too recollected in retrospect (which was a source of keen satisfaction in itself) he had a sneaking regard for those same ultra ideas. For instance when the evicted tenants question, then at its first inception, bulked largely in people's mind though, it goes without saying, not contributing a copper or pinning his faith absolutely to its dictums, some of which wouldn't exactly hold water, he at the outset in principle at all events was in thorough sympathy with peasant possession as voicing the trend of modern opinion (a partiality, however, which, realising his mistake, he was subsequently partially cured of) and even was twitted with going a step farther than Michael Davitt in the striking views he at one time inculcated as a backtothelander, which was one reason he strongly resented the innuendo put upon him in so barefaced a fashion by our friend at the gathering of the clans in Barney Kiernan's so that he, though often considerably misunderstood and the least pugnacious of mortals, be it repeated, departed from his customary habit to give him (metaphorically) one in the gizzard though, so far as politics themselves were concerned, he was only too conscious of the casualties invariably resulting from propaganda and displays of mutual animosity and the misery and suffering it entailed as a foregone conclusion on fine young fellows, chiefly, destruction of the fittest, in a word.

Anyhow upon weighing up the pros and cons, getting on for one, as it was, it was high time to be retiring for the night. The crux was it was a bit risky to bring him home as eventualities might possibly ensue (somebody having a temper of her own sometimes) and spoil the hash altogether as on the night he misguidedly brought home a dog (breed unknown) with a lame paw (not that the cases were either identical or the reverse though he had hurt his hand too) to Ontario Terrace as he very distinctly remembered, having been there, so to speak. On the other hand it was altogether far and away too late for the Sandymount or Sandycove suggestion so that he was in some perplexity as to which of the two alternatives. Everything pointed to the fact that it behoved him to avail himself to the full of the opportunity, all things considered. His initial impression was he was a shade standoffish or not over effusive but it grew on him someway. For one thing he mightn't what you call jump at the idea, if approached, and what mostly worried him was he didn't know how to lead up to it or word it exactly, supposing he did entertain the proposal, as it would afford him very great personal pleasure if he would allow him to help to put coin in his way or some wardrobe, if found suitable. At all events he wound up by concluding, eschewing for the nonce hidebound precedent, a cup of Epps's cocoa and a shakedown for the night plus the use of a rug or two and overcoat doubled into a pillow at least he would be in safe hands and as warm as a toast on a trivet he failed to perceive any very vast amount of harm in that always with the proviso no rumpus of any sort was kicked up. A move had to be made because that merry old soul, the grasswidower in question who appeared to be glued to the spot, didn't appear in any particular hurry to wend his way home to his dearly beloved Queenstown and it was highly likely some sponger's bawdyhouse of retired beauties where age was no bar off Sheriff street lower would be the best clue to that equivocal character's whereabouts for a few days to come, alternately racking their feelings (the mermaids') with sixchamber revolver anecdotes verging on the tropical calculated to freeze the marrow of anybody's bones and mauling their largesized charms betweenwhiles with rough and tumble gusto to the accompaniment of large potations of potheen and the usual blarney about himself for as to who he in reality was let x equal my right name and address, as Mr Algebra remarks passim. At the same time he inwardly chuckled over his gentle repartee to the blood and ouns champion about his god being a jew. People could put up with being bitten by a wolf but what properly riled them was a bite from a sheep. The most vulnerable point too of tender Achilles. Your god was a jew. Because mostly they appeared to imagine he came from Carrick-on-Shannon or somewhereabouts in the county Sligo.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

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




Quiz