He ate off the crescent of water biscuit he had been nibbling and, hungered, made ready to nibble the biscuit in his other hand.
High falutin stuff. Bladderbags. Ned Lambert is taking a day off I see. Rather upsets a man's day, a funeral does. He has influence they say. Old Chatterton, the vicechancellor, is his granduncle or his greatgranduncle. Close on ninety they say. Subleader for his death written this long time perhaps. Living to spite them. Might go first himself. Johnny, make room for your uncle. The right honourable Hedges Eyre Chatterton. Daresay he writes him an odd shaky cheque or two on gale days. Windfall when he kicks out. Alleluia.
— Just another spasm, Ned Lambert said.
— What is it? Mr Bloom asked.
— A recently discovered fragment of Cicero, professor MacHugh answered with pomp of tone. Our lovely land. SHORT BUT TO THE POINT
— Whose land? Mr Bloom said simply.
— Most pertinent question, the professor said between his chews. With an accent on the whose.
— Dan Dawson's land Mr Dedalus said.
— Is it his speech last night? Mr Bloom asked.
Ned Lambert nodded.
— But listen to this, he said.
The doorknob hit Mr Bloom in the small of the back as the door was pushed in.
— Excuse me, J. J. O'Molloy said, entering.
Mr Bloom moved nimbly aside.
— I beg yours, he said.
— Good day, Jack.
— Come in. Come in.
— Good day.
— How are you, Dedalus?
— Well. And yourself?
J. J. O'Molloy shook his head.
Cleverest fellow at the junior bar he used to be. Decline, poor chap. That hectic flush spells finis for a man. Touch and go with him. What's in the wind, I wonder. Money worry.
— Or again if we but climb the serried mountain peaks.
— You're looking extra.
— Is the editor to be seen? J. J. O'Molloy asked, looking towards the inner door.
— Very much so, professor MacHugh said. To be seen and heard. He's in his sanctum with Lenehan.
J. J. O'Molloy strolled to the sloping desk and began to turn back the pink pages of the file.
Practice dwindling. A mighthavebeen. Losing heart. Gambling. Debts of honour. Reaping the whirlwind. Used to get good retainers from D. and T. Fitzgerald. Their wigs to show the grey matter. Brains on their sleeve like the statue in Glasnevin. Believe he does some literary work for the Express with Gabriel Conroy. Wellread fellow. Myles Crawford began on the Independent. Funny the way those newspaper men veer about when they get wind of a new opening. Weathercocks. Hot and cold in the same breath. Wouldn't know which to believe. One story good till you hear the next. Go for one another baldheaded in the papers and then all blows over. Hail fellow well met the next moment.
— Ah, listen to this for God' sake, Ned Lambert pleaded. Or again if we but climb the serried mountain peaks . . .
— Bombast! the professor broke in testily. Enough of the inflated windbag!
— Peaks, Ned Lambert went on, towering high on high, to bathe our souls, as it were . . .
— Bathe his lips, Mr Dedalus said. Blessed and eternal God! Yes? Is he taking anything for it?
— As 'twere, in the peerless panorama of Ireland's portfolio, unmatched, despite their wellpraised prototypes in other vaunted prize regions, for very beauty, of bosky grove and undulating plain and luscious pastureland of vernal green, steeped in the transcendent translucent glow of our mild mysterious Irish twilight . . .
HIS NATIVE DORIC
— The moon, professor MacHugh said. He forgot Hamlet.
— That mantles the vista far and wide and wait till the glowing orb of the moon shine forth to irradiate her silver effulgence . . .
— O! Mr Dedalus cried, giving vent to a hopeless groan. Shite and onions! That'll do, Ned. Life is too short.
He took off his silk hat and, blowing out impatiently his bushy moustache, welshcombed his hair with raking fingers.
Ned Lambert tossed the newspaper aside, chuckling with delight. An instant after a hoarse bark of laughter burst over professor MacHugh's unshaven blackspectacled face.
— Doughy Daw! he cried.
WHAT WETHERUP SAID
All very fine to jeer at it now in cold print but it goes down like hot cake that stuff. He was in the bakery line too, wasn't he? Why they call him Doughy Daw. Feathered his nest well anyhow. Daughter engaged to that chap in the inland revenue office with the motor. Hooked that nicely. Entertainments. Open house. Big blowout. Wetherup always said that. Get a grip of them by the stomach.
The inner door was opened violently and a scarlet beaked face, crested by a comb of feathery hair, thrust itself in. The bold blue eyes stared about them and the harsh voice asked:
— What is it?
— And here comes the sham squire himself! professor MacHugh said grandly.
— Getonouthat, you bloody old pedagogue! the editor said in recognition.
— Come, Ned, Mr Dedalus said, putting on his hat. I must get a drink after that.
— Drink! the editor cried. No drinks served before mass.
— Quite right too, Mr Dedalus said, going out. Come on, Ned.
Ned Lambert sidled down from the table. The editor's blue eyes roved towards Mr Bloom's face, shadowed by a smile.
— Will you join us, Myles? Ned Lambert asked.
MEMORABLE BATTLES RECALLED
— North Cork militia! the editor cried, striding to the mantelpiece. We won every time! North Cork and Spanish officers!
— Where was that, Myles? Ned Lambert asked with a reflective glance at his toecaps.
— In Ohio! the editor shouted.
— So it was, begad, Ned Lambert agreed.
Passing out he whispered to J. J. O'Molloy:
— Incipient jigs. Sad case.
— Ohio! the editor crowed in high treble from his uplifted scarlet face. My Ohio!
— A perfect cretic! the professor said. Long, short and long.
O, HARP EOLIAN!
He took a reel of dental floss from his waistcoat pocket and, breaking off a piece, twanged it smartly between two and two of his resonant unwashed teeth.
— Bingbang, bangbang.
Mr Bloom, seeing the coast clear, made for the inner door.
— Just a moment, Mr Crawford, he said. I just want to phone about an ad.
He went in.