— Bushe? the editor said. Well, yes: Bushe, yes. He has a strain of it in his blood. Kendal Bushe or I mean Seymour Bushe.
— He would have been on the bench long ago, the professor said, only for . . . But no matter.
J. J. O'Molloy turned to Stephen and said quietly and slowly:
— One of the most polished periods I think I ever listened to in my life fell from the lips of Seymour Bushe. It was in that case of fratricide, the Childs murder case. Bushe defended him. And in the porches of mine ear did pour.
By the way how did he find that out? He died in his sleep. Or the other story, beast with two backs?
— What was that? the professor asked.
ITALIA, MAGISTRA ARTIUM
— He spoke on the law of evidence, J. J. O'Molloy said, of Roman justice as contrasted with the earlier Mosaic code, the lex talionis. And he cited the Moses of Michelangelo in the vatican.
— A few wellchosen words, Lenehan prefaced. Silence!
Pause. J. J. O'Molloy took out his cigarettecase.
False lull. Something quite ordinary.
Messenger took out his matchbox thoughtfully and lit his cigar.
I have often thought since on looking back over that strange time that it was that small act, trivial in itself, that striking of that match, that determined the whole aftercourse of both our lives. A POLISHED PERIOD
J. J. O'Molloy resumed, moulding his words:
— He said of it: that stony effigy in frozen music, horned and terrible, of the human form divine, that eternal symbol of wisdom and of prophecy which, if aught that the imagination or the hand of sculptor has wrought in marble of soultransfigured and of soultransfiguring deserves to live, deserves to live.
His slim hand with a wave graced echo and fall.
— Fine! Myles Crawford said at once.
— The divine afflatus, Mr O'Madden Burke said.
— You like it? J. J. O'Molloy asked Stephen.
Stephen, his blood wooed by grace of language and gesture, blushed. He took a cigarette from the case. J. J. O'Molloy offered his case to Myles Crawford. Lenehan lit their cigarettes as before and took his trophy, saying:
— Muchibus thankibus.
A MAN OF HIGH MORALE
— Professor Magennis was speaking to me about you, J. J. O'Molloy said to Stephen. What do you think really of that hermetic crowd, the opal hush poets: A. E. the mastermystic? That Blavatsky woman started it. She was a nice old bag of tricks. A. E. has been telling some yankee interviewer that you came to him in the small hours of the morning to ask him about planes of consciousness. Magennis thinks you must have been pulling A. E.'s leg. He is a man of the very highest morale, Magennis.
Speaking about me. What did he say? What did he say? What did he say about me? Don't ask.
— No, thanks, professor MacHugh said, waving the cigarettecase aside. Wait a moment. Let me say one thing. The finest display of oratory I ever heard was a speech made by John F Taylor at the college historical society. Mr Justice Fitzgibbon, the present lord justice of appeal, had spoken and the paper under debate was an essay (new for those days), advocating the revival of the Irish tongue.
He turned towards Myles Crawford and said:
— You know Gerald Fitzgibbon. Then you can imagine the style of his discourse.
— He is sitting with Tim Healy, J. J. O'Molloy said, rumour has it, on the Trinity college estates commission.
— He is sitting with a sweet thing, Myles Crawford said, in a child's frock. Go on. Well?
— It was the speech, mark you, the professor said, of a finished orator, full of courteous haughtiness and pouring in chastened diction I will not say the vials of his wrath but pouring the proud man's contumely upon the new movement. It was then a new movement. We were weak, therefore worthless.
He closed his long thin lips an instant but, eager to be on, raised an outspanned hand to his spectacles and, with trembling thumb and ringfinger touching lightly the black rims, steadied them to a new focus.
In ferial tone he addressed J. J. O'Molloy:
— Taylor had come there, you must know, from a sickbed. That he had prepared his speech I do not believe for there was not even one shorthandwriter in the hall. His dark lean face had a growth of shaggy beard round it. He wore a loose white silk neckcloth and altogether he looked (though he was not) a dying man.
His gaze turned at once but slowly from J. J. O'Molloy's towards Stephen's face and then bent at once to the ground, seeking. His unglazed linen collar appeared behind his bent head, soiled by his withering hair. Still seeking, he said:
— When Fitzgibbon's speech had ended John F Taylor rose to reply. Briefly, as well as I can bring them to mind, his words were these.
He raised his head firmly. His eyes bethought themselves once more. Witless shellfish swam in the gross lenses to and fro, seeking outlet.
— Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen: Great was my admiration in listening to the remarks addressed to the youth of Ireland a moment since by my learned friend. It seemed to me that I had been transported into a country far away from this country, into an age remote from this age, that I stood in ancient Egypt and that I was listening to the speech of some highpriest of that land addressed to the youthful Moses.
His listeners held their cigarettes poised to hear, their smokes ascending in frail stalks that flowered with his speech. And let our crooked smokes. Noble words coming. Look out. Could you try your hand at it yourself?
— And it seemed to me that I heard the voice of that Egyptian highpriest raised in a tone of like haughtiness and like pride. I heard his words and their meaning was revealed to me.
FROM THE FATHERS
It was revealed to me that those things are good which yet are corrupted which neither if they were supremely good nor unless they were good could be corrupted. Ah, curse you! That's saint Augustine.
— Why will you jews not accept our culture, our religion and our language? You are a tribe of nomad herdsmen: we are a mighty people. You have no cities nor no wealth: our cities are hives of humanity and our galleys, trireme and quadrireme, laden with all manner merchandise furrow the waters of the known globe. You have but emerged from primitive conditions: we have a literature, a priesthood, an agelong history and a polity.
Child, man, effigy.
By the Nilebank the babemaries kneel, cradle of bulrushes: a man supple in combat: stonehorned, stonebearded, heart of stone.
— You pray to a local and obscure idol: our temples, majestic and mysterious, are the abodes of Isis and Osiris, of Horus and Ammon Ra. Yours serfdom, awe and humbleness: ours thunder and the seas. Israel is weak and few are her children: Egypt is an host and terrible are her arms. Vagrants and daylabourers are you called: the world trembles at our name.
A dumb belch of hunger cleft his speech. He lifted his voice above it boldly:
— But, ladies and gentlemen, had the youthful Moses listened to and accepted that view of life, had he bowed his head and bowed his will and bowed his spirit before that arrogant admonition he would never have brought the chosen people out of their house of bondage, nor followed the pillar of the cloud by day. He would never have spoken with the Eternal amid lightnings on Sinai's mountaintop nor ever have come down with the light of inspiration shining in his countenance and bearing in his arms the tables of the law, graven in the language of the outlaw.