Corley at the first go-off was inclined to suspect it was something to do with Stephen being fired out of his digs for bringing in a bloody tart off the street. There was a dosshouse in Marlborough street, Mrs Maloney's, but it was only a tanner touch and full of undesirables but M'Conachie told him you got a decent enough do in the Brazen Head over in Winetavern street (which was distantly suggestive to the person addressed of friar Bacon) for a bob. He was starving too though he hadn't said a word about it.
Though this sort of thing went on every other night or very near it still Stephen's feelings got the better of him in a sense though he knew that Corley's brandnew rigmarole on a par with the others was hardly deserving of much credence. However haud ignarus malorum miseris succurrere disco etcetera as the Latin poet remarks especially as luck would have it he got paid his screw after every middle of the month on the sixteenth which was the date of the month as a matter of fact though a good bit of the wherewithal was demolished. But the cream of the joke was nothing would get it out of Corley's head that he was living in affluence and hadn't a thing to do but hand out the needful. Whereas. He put his hand in a pocket anyhow not with the idea of finding any food there but thinking he might lend him anything up to a bob or so in lieu so that he might endeavour at all events and get sufficient to eat but the result was in the negative for, to his chagrin, he found his cash missing. A few broken biscuits were all the result of his investigation. He tried his hardest to recollect for the moment whether he had lost as well he might have or left because in that contingency it was not a pleasant lookout, very much the reverse in fact. He was altogether too fagged out to institute a thorough search though he tried to recollect. About biscuits he dimly remembered. Who now exactly gave them he wondered or where was or did he buy. However in another pocket he came across what he surmised in the dark were pennies, erroneously however, as it turned out.
— Those are halfcrowns, man, Corley corrected him.
And so in point of fact they turned out to be. Stephen anyhow lent him one of them.
— Thanks, Corley answered, you're a gentleman. I'll pay you back one time. Who's that with you? I saw him a few times in the Bleeding Horse in Camden street with Boylan, the billsticker. You might put in a good word for us to get me taken on there. I'd carry a sandwichboard only the girl in the office told me they're full up for the next three weeks, man. God, you've to book ahead, man, you'd think it was for the Carl Rosa. I don't give a shite anyway so long as I get a job, even as a crossing sweeper.
Subsequently being not quite so down in the mouth after the two and six he got he informed Stephen about a fellow by the name of Bags Comisky that he said Stephen knew well out of Fullam's, the shipchandler's, bookkeeper there that used to be often round in Nagle's back with O'Mara and a little chap with a stutter the name of Tighe. Anyhow he was lagged the night before last and fined ten bob for a drunk and disorderly and refusing to go with the constable.
Mr Bloom in the meanwhile kept dodging about in the vicinity of the cobblestones near the brazier of coke in front of the corporation watchman's sentrybox who evidently a glutton for work, it struck him, was having a quiet forty winks for all intents and purposes on his own private account while Dublin slept. He threw an odd eye at the same time now and then at Stephen's anything but immaculately attired interlocutor as if he had seen that nobleman somewhere or other though where he was not in a position to truthfully state nor had he the remotest idea when. Being a levelheaded individual who could give points to not a few in point of shrewd observation he also remarked on his very dilapidated hat and slouchy wearing apparel generally testifying to a chronic impecuniosity. Palpably he was one of his hangerson but for the matter of that it was merely a question of one preying on his nextdoor neighbour all round, in every deep, so to put it, a deeper depth and for the matter of that if the man in the street chanced to be in the dock himself penal servitude with or without the option of a fine would be a very rara avis altogether. In any case he had a consummate amount of cool assurance intercepting people at that hour of the night or morning. Pretty thick that was certainly.
The pair parted company and Stephen rejoined Mr Bloom who, with his practised eye, was not without perceiving that he had succumbed to the blandiloquence of the other parasite. Alluding to the encounter he said, laughingly, Stephen, that is:
— He is down on his luck. He asked me to ask you to ask somebody named Boylan, a billsticker, to give him a job as a sandwichman.
At this intelligence, in which he seemingly evinced little interest, Mr Bloom gazed abstractedly for the space of a half a second or so in the direction of a bucketdredger, rejoicing in the farfamed name of Eblana, moored alongside Customhouse quay and quite possibly out of repair, whereupon he observed evasively:
— Everybody gets their own ration of luck, they say. Now you mention it his face was familiar to me. But, leaving that for the moment, how much did you part with, he queried, if I am not too inquisitive?
— Half a crown, Stephen responded. I daresay he needs it to sleep somewhere.
— Needs! Mr Bloom ejaculated, professing not the least surprise at the intelligence, I can quite credit the assertion and I guarantee he invariably does. Everyone according to his needs or everyone according to his deeds. But, talking about things in general, where, added he with a smile, will you sleep yourself? Walking to Sandycove is out of the question. And even supposing you did you won't get in after what occurred at Westland Row station. Simply fag out there for nothing. I don't mean to presume to dictate to you in the slightest degree but why did you leave your father's house?
— To seek misfortune, was Stephen's answer.
— I met your respected father on a recent occasion, Mr Bloom diplomatically returned, today in fact, or to be strictly accurate, on yesterday. Where does he live at present? I gathered in the course of conversation that he had moved.
— I believe he is in Dublin somewhere, Stephen answered unconcernedly. Why?
— A gifted man, Mr Bloom said of Mr Dedalus senior, in more respects than one and a born raconteur if ever there was one. He takes great pride, quite legitimate, out of you. You could go back perhaps, he hasarded, still thinking of the very unpleasant scene at Westland Row terminus when it was perfectly evident that the other two, Mulligan, that is, and that English tourist friend of his, who eventually euchred their third companion, were patently trying as if the whole bally station belonged to them to give Stephen the slip in the confusion, which they did.
There was no response forthcoming to the suggestion however, such as it was, Stephen's mind's eye being too busily engaged in repicturing his family hearth the last time he saw it with his sister Dilly sitting by the ingle, her hair hanging down, waiting for some weak Trinidad shell cocoa that was in the sootcoated kettle to be done so that she and he could drink it with the oatmealwater for milk after the Friday herrings they had eaten at two a penny with an egg apiece for Maggy, Boody and Katey, the cat meanwhile under the mangle devouring a mess of eggshells and charred fish heads and bones on a square of brown paper, in accordance with the third precept of the church to fast and abstain on the days commanded, it being quarter tense or if not, ember days or something like that.
— No, Mr Bloom repeated again, I wouldn't personally repose much trust in that boon companion of yours who contributes the humorous element, Dr Mulligan, as a guide, philosopher and friend if I were in your shoes. He knows which side his bread is buttered on though in all probability he never realised what it is to be without regular meals. Of course you didn't notice as much as I did. But it wouldn't occasion me the least surprise to learn that a pinch of tobacco or some narcotic was put in your drink for some ulterior object.
He understood however from all he heard that Dr Mulligan was a versatile allround man, by no means confined to medicine only, who was rapidly coming to the fore in his line and, if the report was verified, bade fair to enjoy a flourishing practice in the not too distant future as a tony medical practitioner drawing a handsome fee for his services in addition to which professional status his rescue of that man from certain drowning by artificial respiration and what they call first aid at Skerries, or Malahide was it?, was, he was bound to admit, an exceedingly plucky deed which he could not too highly praise, so that frankly he was utterly at a loss to fathom what earthly reason could be at the back of it except he put it down to sheer cussedness or jealousy, pure and simple.
— Except it simply amounts to one thing and he is what they call picking your brains, he ventured to throw out.