Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 16 - Eumaeus

The sailor, who scarcely seemed to be a Dublin resident, turned to one of the jarvies with the request:

— You don't happen to have such a thing as a spare chaw about you?

The jarvey addressed as it happened had not but the keeper took a die of plug from his good jacket hanging on a nail and the desired object was passed from hand to hand.

— Thank you, the sailor said.

He deposited the quid in his gob and, chewing and with some slow stammers, proceeded:

— We come up this morning eleven o'clock. The threemaster Rosevean from Bridgwater with bricks. I shipped to get over. Paid off this afternoon. There's my discharge. See? D. B. Murphy. A. B. S.

In confirmation of which statement he extricated from an inside pocket and handed to his neighbour a not very cleanlooking folded document.

— You must have seen a fair share of the world, the keeper remarked, leaning on the counter.

— Why, the sailor answered upon reflection upon it, I've circumnavigated a bit since I first joined on. I was in the Red Sea. I was in China and North America and South America. We was chased by pirates one voyage. I seen icebergs plenty, growlers. I was in Stockholm and the Black Sea, the Dardanelles under Captain Dalton, the best bloody man that ever scuttled a ship. I seen Russia. Gospodi pomilyou. That's how the Russians prays.

— You seen queer sights, don't be talking, put in a jarvey.

— Why, the sailor said, shifting his partially chewed plug. I seen queer things too, ups and downs. I seen a crocodile bite the fluke of an anchor same as I chew that quid.

He took out of his mouth the pulpy quid and, lodging it between his teeth, bit ferociously:

— Khaan! Like that. And I seen maneaters in Peru that eats corpses and the livers of horses. Look here. Here they are. A friend of mine sent me.

He fumbled out a picture postcard from his inside pocket which seemed to be in its way a species of repository and pushed it along the table. The printed matter on it stated: Choza de Indios. Beni, Bolivia.

All focussed their attention at the scene exhibited, a group of savage women in striped loincloths, squatted, blinking, suckling, frowning, sleeping amid a swarm of infants (there must have been quite a score of them) outside some primitive shanties of osier.

— Chews coca all day, the communicative tarpaulin added. Stomachs like breadgraters. Cuts off their diddies when they can't bear no more children.

See them sitting there stark ballocknaked eating a dead horse's liver raw.

His postcard proved a centre of attraction for Messrs the greenhorns for several minutes if not more.

— Know how to keep them off? he inquired generally.

Nobody volunteering a statement he winked, saying:

— Glass. That boggles 'em. Glass.

Mr Bloom, without evincing surprise, unostentatiously turned over the card to peruse the partially obliterated address and postmark. It ran as follows: Tarjeta Postal, Senor A Boudin, Galeria Becche, Santiago, Chile. There was no message evidently, as he took particular notice. Though not an implicit believer in the lurid story narrated (or the eggsniping transaction for that matter despite William Tell and the Lazarillo-Don Cesar de Bazan incident depicted in Maritana on which occasion the former's ball passed through the latter's hat) having detected a discrepancy between his name (assuming he was the person he represented himself to be and not sailing under false colours after having boxed the compass on the strict q.t. somewhere) and the fictitious addressee of the missive which made him nourish some suspicions of our friend's bona fides nevertheless it reminded him in a way of a longcherished plan he meant to one day realise some Wednesday or Saturday of travelling to London via long sea not to say that he had ever travelled extensively to any great extent but he was at heart a born adventurer though by a trick of fate he had consistently remained a landlubber except you call going to Holyhead which was his longest. Martin Cunningham frequently said he would work a pass through Egan but some deuced hitch or other eternally cropped up with the net result that the scheme fell through. But even suppose it did come to planking down the needful and breaking Boyd's heart it was not so dear, purse permitting, a few guineas at the outside considering the fare to Mullingar where he figured on going was five and six, there and back. The trip would benefit health on account of the bracing ozone and be in every way thoroughly pleasurable, especially for a chap whose liver was out of order, seeing the different places along the route, Plymouth, Falmouth, Southampton and so on culminating in an instructive tour of the sights of the great metropolis, the spectacle of our modern Babylon where doubtless he would see the greatest improvement, tower, abbey, wealth of Park lane to renew acquaintance with. Another thing just struck him as a by no means bad notion was he might have a gaze around on the spot to see about trying to make arrangements about a concert tour of summer music embracing the most prominent pleasure resorts, Margate with mixed bathing and firstrate hydros and spas, Eastbourne, Scarborough, Margate and so on, beautiful Bournemouth, the Channel islands and similar bijou spots, which might prove highly remunerative. Not, of course, with a hole and corner scratch company or local ladies on the job, witness Mrs C P M'Coy type lend me your valise and I'll post you the ticket. No, something top notch, an all star Irish caste, the Tweedy-Flower grand opera company with his own legal consort as leading lady as a sort of counterblast to the Elster Grimes and Moody-Manners, perfectly simple matter and he was quite sanguine of success, providing puffs in the local papers could be managed by some fellow with a bit of bounce who could pull the indispensable wires and thus combine business with pleasure. But who? That was the rub. Also, without being actually positive, it struck him a great field was to be opened up in the line of opening up new routes to keep pace with the times apropos of the Fishguard-Rosslare route which, it was mooted, was once more on the tapis in the circumlocution departments with the usual quantity of red tape and dillydallying of effete fogeydom and dunderheads generally. A great opportunity there certainly was for push and enterprise to meet the travelling needs of the public at large, the average man, i.e. Brown, Robinson and Co.

It was a subject of regret and absurd as well on the face of it and no small blame to our vaunted society that the man in the street, when the system really needed toning up, for the matter of a couple of paltry pounds was debarred from seeing more of the world they lived in instead of being always and ever cooped up since my old stick-in-the-mud took me for a wife. After all, hang it, they had their eleven and more humdrum months of it and merited a radical change of venue after the grind of city life in the summertime for choice when dame Nature is at her spectacular best constituting nothing short of a new lease of life. There were equally excellent opportunities for vacationists in the home island, delightful sylvan spots for rejuvenation, offering a plethora of attractions as well as a bracing tonic for the system in and around Dublin and its picturesque environs even, Poulaphouca to which there was a steamtram, but also farther away from the madding crowd in Wicklow, rightly termed the garden of Ireland, an ideal neighbourhood for elderly wheelmen so long as it didn't come down, and in the wilds of Donegal where if report spoke true the coup d'oeil was exceedingly grand though the lastnamed locality was not easily getatable so that the influx of visitors was not as yet all that it might be considering the signal benefits to be derived from it while Howth with its historic associations and otherwise, Silken Thomas, Grace O'Malley, George IV, rhododendrons several hundred feet above sealevel was a favourite haunt with all sorts and conditions of men especially in the spring when young men's fancy, though it had its own toll of deaths by falling off the cliffs by design or accidentally, usually, by the way, on their left leg, it being only about three quarters of an hour's run from the pillar. Because of course uptodate tourist travelling was as yet merely in its infancy, so to speak, and the accommodation left much to be desired. Interesting to fathom it seemed to him from a motive of curiosity, pure and simple, was whether it was the traffic that created the route or viceversa or the two sides in fact. He turned back the other side of the card, picture, and passed it along to Stephen.

— I seen a Chinese one time, related the doughty narrator, that had little pills like putty and he put them in the water and they opened and every pill was something different. One was a ship, another was a house, another was a flower. Cooks rats in your soup, he appetisingly added, the chinks does.

Possibly perceiving an expression of dubiosity on their faces the globetrotter went on, adhering to his adventures.

— And I seen a man killed in Trieste by an Italian chap. Knife in his back. Knife like that.

Whilst speaking he produced a dangerouslooking claspknife quite in keeping with his character and held it in the striking position.

— In a knockingshop it was count of a tryon between two smugglers. Fellow hid behind a door, come up behind him. Like that. Prepare to meet your God, says he. Chuk! It went into his back up to the butt.

His heavy glance drowsily roaming about kind of defied their further questions even should they by any chance want to.

— That's a good bit of steel, repeated he, examining his formidable stiletto.

After which harrowing denouement sufficient to appal the stoutest he snapped the blade to and stowed the weapon in question away as before in his chamber of horrors, otherwise pocket.

— They're great for the cold steel, somebody who was evidently quite in the dark said for the benefit of them all. That was why they thought the park murders of the invincibles was done by foreigners on account of them using knives.

At this remark passed obviously in the spirit of where ignorance is bliss Mr B. and Stephen, each in his own particular way, both instinctively exchanged meaning glances, in a religious silence of the strictly entre nous variety however, towards where Skin-the-Goat, alias the keeper, not turning a hair, was drawing spurts of liquid from his boiler affair. His inscrutable face which was really a work of art, a perfect study in itself, beggaring description, conveyed the impression that he didn't understand one jot of what was going on. Funny, very!

There ensued a somewhat lengthy pause. One man was reading in fits and starts a stained by coffee evening journal, another the card with the natives choza de, another the seaman's discharge. Mr Bloom, so far as he was personally concerned, was just pondering in pensive mood. He vividly recollected when the occurrence alluded to took place as well as yesterday, roughly some score of years previously in the days of the land troubles, when it took the civilised world by storm, figuratively speaking, early in the eighties, eightyone to be correct, when he was just turned fifteen.

— Ay, boss, the sailor broke in. Give us back them papers.

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