And Madame. Twenty past eleven. Up. Mrs Fleming is in to clean. Doing her hair, humming. voglio e non vorrei. No. vorrei e non. Looking at the tips of her hairs to see if they are split. Mi trema un poco il. Beautiful on that tre her voice is: weeping tone. A thrush. A throstle. There is a word throstle that expresses that.
His eyes passed lightly over Mr Power's goodlooking face. Greyish over the ears. Madame: smiling. I smiled back. A smile goes a long way. Only politeness perhaps. Nice fellow. Who knows is that true about the woman he keeps? Not pleasant for the wife. Yet they say, who was it told me, there is no carnal. You would imagine that would get played out pretty quick. Yes, it was Crofton met him one evening bringing her a pound of rumpsteak. What is this she was? Barmaid in Jury's. Or the Moira, was it?
They passed under the hugecloaked Liberator's form.
Martin Cunningham nudged Mr Power.
— Of the tribe of Reuben, he said.
A tall blackbearded figure, bent on a stick, stumping round the corner of Elvery's Elephant house, showed them a curved hand open on his spine.
— In all his pristine beauty, Mr Power said.
Mr Dedalus looked after the stumping figure and said mildly:
— The devil break the hasp of your back!
Mr Power, collapsing in laughter, shaded his face from the window as the carriage passed Gray's statue.
— We have all been there, Martin Cunningham said broadly.
His eyes met Mr Bloom's eyes. He caressed his beard, adding:
— Well, nearly all of us.
Mr Bloom began to speak with sudden eagerness to his companions' faces.
— That's an awfully good one that's going the rounds about Reuben J and the son.
— About the boatman? Mr Power asked.
— Yes. Isn't it awfully good?
— What is that? Mr Dedalus asked. I didn't hear it.
— There was a girl in the case, Mr Bloom began, and he determined to send him to the Isle of Man out of harm's way but when they were both . . .
— What? Mr Dedalus asked. That confirmed bloody hobbledehoy is it?
— Yes, Mr Bloom said. They were both on the way to the boat and he tried to drown . . .
— Drown Barabbas! Mr Dedalus cried. I wish to Christ he did!
Mr Power sent a long laugh down his shaded nostrils.
— No, Mr Bloom said, the son himself . . .
Martin Cunningham thwarted his speech rudely:
— Reuben and the son were piking it down the quay next the river on their way to the Isle of Man boat and the young chiseller suddenly got loose and over the wall with him into the Liffey.
— For God's sake! Mr Dedalus exclaimed in fright. Is he dead?
— Dead! Martin Cunningham cried. Not he! A boatman got a pole and fished him out by the slack of the breeches and he was landed up to the father on the quay more dead than alive. Half the town was there.
— Yes, Mr Bloom said. But the funny part is . . .
— And Reuben J, Martin Cunningham said, gave the boatman a florin for saving his son's life.
A stifled sigh came from under Mr Power's hand.
— O, he did, Martin Cunningham affirmed. Like a hero. A silver florin.
— Isn't it awfully good? Mr Bloom said eagerly.
— One and eightpence too much, Mr Dedalus said drily.
Mr Power's choked laugh burst quietly in the carriage.
— Eight plums a penny! Eight for a penny!
— We had better look a little serious, Martin Cunningham said.
Mr Dedalus sighed.
— Ah then indeed, he said, poor little Paddy wouldn't grudge us a laugh. Many a good one he told himself.
— The Lord forgive me! Mr Power said, wiping his wet eyes with his fingers. Poor Paddy! I little thought a week ago when I saw him last and he was in his usual health that I'd be driving after him like this. He's gone from us.
— As decent a little man as ever wore a hat, Mr Dedalus said. He went very suddenly.
— Breakdown, Martin Cunningham said. Heart.
He tapped his chest sadly.
Blazing face: redhot. Too much John Barleycorn. Cure for a red nose. Drink like the devil till it turns adelite. A lot of money he spent colouring it.
Mr Power gazed at the passing houses with rueful apprehension.
— He had a sudden death, poor fellow, he said.
— The best death, Mr Bloom said.
Their wide open eyes looked at him.
— No suffering, he said. A moment and all is over. Like dying in sleep.
Dead side of the street this. Dull business by day, land agents, temperance hotel, Falconer's railway guide, civil service college, Gill's, catholic club, the industrious blind. Why? Some reason. Sun or wind. At night too. Chummies and slaveys. Under the patronage of the late Father Mathew. Foundation stone for Parnell. Breakdown. Heart.
White horses with white frontlet plumes came round the Rotunda corner, galloping. A tiny coffin flashed by. In a hurry to bury. A mourning coach. Unmarried. Black for the married. Piebald for bachelors. Dun for a nun.
— Sad, Martin Cunningham said. A child.
A dwarf's face, mauve and wrinkled like little Rudy's was. Dwarf's body, weak as putty, in a whitelined deal box. Burial friendly society pays. Penny a week for a sod of turf. Our. Little. Beggar. Baby. Meant nothing. Mistake of nature. If it's healthy it's from the mother. If not from the man. Better luck next time.
— Poor little thing, Mr Dedalus said. It's well out of it.
The carriage climbed more slowly the hill of Rutland square. Rattle his bones. Over the stones. Only a pauper. Nobody owns.
— In the midst of life, Martin Cunningham said.
— But the worst of all, Mr Power said, is the man who takes his own life.
Martin Cunningham drew out his watch briskly, coughed and put it back.
— The greatest disgrace to have in the family, Mr Power added.
— Temporary insanity, of course, Martin Cunningham said decisively. We must take a charitable view of it.
— They say a man who does it is a coward, Mr Dedalus said.
— It is not for us to judge, Martin Cunningham said.
Mr Bloom, about to speak, closed his lips again. Martin Cunningham's large eyes. Looking away now. Sympathetic human man he is. Intelligent. Like Shakespeare's face. Always a good word to say. They have no mercy on that here or infanticide. Refuse christian burial. They used to drive a stake of wood through his heart in the grave. As if it wasn't broken already. Yet sometimes they repent too late. Found in the riverbed clutching rushes. He looked at me. And that awful drunkard of a wife of his. Setting up house for her time after time and then pawning the furniture on him every Saturday almost. Leading him the life of the damned. Wear the heart out of a stone, that. Monday morning. Start afresh. Shoulder to the wheel. Lord, she must have looked a sight that night Dedalus told me he was in there. Drunk about the place and capering with Martin's umbrella.
And they call me the jewel of Asia,