He moved a little to the side of M'Coy's talking head. Getting up in a minute.
— What's wrong with him? He said. He's dead, he said. And, faith, he filled up. Is it Paddy Dignam? I said. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. I was with him no later than Friday last or Thursday was it in the Arch. Yes, he said. He's gone. He died on Monday, poor fellow. Watch! Watch! Silk flash rich stockings white. Watch!
A heavy tramcar honking its gong slewed between.
Lost it. Curse your noisy pugnose. Feels locked out of it. Paradise and the peri. Always happening like that. The very moment. Girl in Eustace street hallway Monday was it settling her garter. Her friend covering the display of esprit de corps. Well, what are you gaping at?
— Yes, yes, Mr Bloom said after a dull sigh. Another gone.
— One of the best, M'Coy said.
The tram passed. They drove off towards the Loop Line bridge, her rich gloved hand on the steel grip. Flicker, flicker: the laceflare of her hat in the sun: flicker, flick.
— Wife well, I suppose? M'Coy's changed voice said.
— O, yes, Mr Bloom said. Tiptop, thanks.
He unrolled the newspaper baton idly and read idly:
What is home without Plumtree's Potted Meat? Incomplete With it an abode of bliss.
— My missus has just got an engagement. At least it's not settled yet.
Valise tack again. By the way no harm. I'm off that, thanks.
Mr Bloom turned his largelidded eyes with unhasty friendliness.
— My wife too, he said. She's going to sing at a swagger affair in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on the twenty-fifth.
— That so? M'Coy said. Glad to hear that, old man. Who's getting it up?
Mrs Marion Bloom. Not up yet. Queen was in her bedroom eating bread and. No book. Blackened court cards laid along her thigh by sevens. Dark lady and fair man. Letter. Cat furry black ball. Torn strip of envelope.
Comes lo-ove's old . . .
— It's a kind of a tour, don't you see, Mr Bloom said thoughtfully. Sweeeet song. There's a committee formed. Part shares and part profits.
M'Coy nodded, picking at his moustache stubble.
— O, well, he said. That's good news.
He moved to go.
— Well, glad to see you looking fit, he said. Meet you knocking around.
— Yes, Mr Bloom said.
— Tell you what, M'Coy said. You might put down my name at the funeral, will you? I'd like to go but I mightn't be able, you see. There's a drowning case at Sandycove may turn up and then the coroner and myself would have to go down if the body is found. You just shove in my name if I'm not there, will you?
— I'll do that, Mr Bloom said, moving to get off. That'll be all right.
— Right, M'Coy said brightly. Thanks, old man. I'd go if I possibly could. Well, tolloll. Just C. P. M'Coy will do.
— That will be done, Mr Bloom answered firmly.
Didn't catch me napping that wheeze. The quick touch. Soft mark. I'd like my job. Valise I have a particular fancy for. Leather. Capped corners, rivetted edges, double action lever lock. Bob Cowley lent him his for the Wicklow regatta concert last year and never heard tidings of it from that good day to this.
Mr Bloom, strolling towards Brunswick street, smiled. My missus has just got an. Reedy freckled soprano. Cheeseparing nose. Nice enough in its way: for a little ballad. No guts in it. You and me, don't you know: in the same boat. Softsoaping. Give you the needle that would. Can't he hear the difference? Think he's that way inclined a bit. Against my grain somehow. Thought that Belfast would fetch him. I hope that smallpox up there doesn't get worse. Suppose she wouldn't let herself be vaccinated again. Your wife and my wife.
Wonder is he pimping after me?
Mr Bloom stood at the corner, his eyes wandering over the multicoloured hoardings. Cantrell and Cochrane's Ginger Ale (Aromatic). Clery's Summer Sale. No, he's going on straight. Hello. Leah tonight. Mrs Bandmann Palmer. Like to see her again in that. Hamlet she played last night. Male impersonator. Perhaps he was a woman. Why Ophelia committed suicide. Poor papa! How he used to talk of Kate Bateman in that. Outside the Adelphi in London waited all the afternoon to get in. Year before I was born that was: sixtyfive. And Ristori in Vienna. What is this the right name is? By Mosenthal it is. Rachel, is it? No. The scene he was always talking about where the old blind Abraham recognises the voice and puts his fingers on his face.
Nathan's voice! His son's voice! I hear the voice of Nathan who left his father to die of grief and misery in my arms, who left the house of his father and left the God of his father.
Every word is so deep, Leopold.
Poor papa! Poor man! I'm glad I didn't go into the room to look at his face. That day! O, dear! O, dear! Ffoo! Well, perhaps it was best for him.
Mr Bloom went round the corner and passed the drooping nags of the hazard. No use thinking of it any more. Nosebag time. Wish I hadn't met that M'Coy fellow.
He came nearer and heard a crunching of gilded oats, the gently champing teeth. Their full buck eyes regarded him as he went by, amid the sweet oaten reek of horsepiss. Their Eldorado. Poor jugginses! Damn all they know or care about anything with their long noses stuck in nosebags. Too full for words. Still they get their feed all right and their doss. Gelded too: a stump of black guttapercha wagging limp between their haunches. Might be happy all the same that way. Good poor brutes they look. Still their neigh can be very irritating.
He drew the letter from his pocket and folded it into the newspaper he carried. Might just walk into her here. The lane is safer.
He passed the cabman's shelter. Curious the life of drifting cabbies. All weathers, all places, time or setdown, no will of their own. Voglio e non. Like to give them an odd cigarette. Sociable. Shout a few flying syllables as they pass. He hummed:
La ci darem la mano
La la lala la la.
He turned into Cumberland street and, going on some paces, halted in the lee of the station wall. No-one. Meade's timberyard. Piled balks. Ruins and tenements. With careful tread he passed over a hopscotch court with its forgotten pickeystone. Not a sinner. Near the timberyard a squatted child at marbles, alone, shooting the taw with a cunnythumb. A wise tabby, a blinking sphinx, watched from her warm sill. Pity to disturb them. Mohammed cut a piece out of his mantle not to wake her. Open it. And once I played marbles when I went to that old dame's school. She liked mignonette. Mrs Ellis's. And Mr? He opened the letter within the newspaper.
A flower. I think it's a. A yellow flower with flattened petals. Not annoyed then? What does she say?
I got your last letter to me and thank you very much for it. I am sorry you did not like my last letter. Why did you enclose the stamps? I am awfully angry with you. I do wish I could punish you for that. I called you naughty boy because I do not like that other world. Please tell me what is the real meaning of that word? Are you not happy in your home you poor little naughty boy? I do wish I could do something for you. Please tell me what you think of poor me. I often think of the beautiful name you have. Dear Henry, when will we meet? I think of you so often you have no idea. I have never felt myself so much drawn to a man as you. I feel so bad about. Please write me a long letter and tell me more. Remember if you do not I will punish you. So now you know what I will do to you, you naughty boy, if you do not wrote. O how I long to meet you. Henry dear, do not deny my request before my patience are exhausted. Then I will tell you all. Goodbye now, naughty darling, I have such a bad headache. today. and write by return to your longing
P. S. Do tell me what kind of perfume does your wife use. I want to know.