Dribbling a quiet message from his bladder came to go to do not to do there to do. A man and ready he drained his glass to the lees and walked, to men too they gave themselves, manly conscious, lay with men lovers, a youth enjoyed her, to the yard.
When the sound of his boots had ceased Davy Byrne said from his book:
— What is this he is? Isn't he in the insurance line?
— He's out of that long ago, Nosey Flynn said. He does canvassing for the Freeman.
— I know him well to see, Davy Byrne said. Is he in trouble?
— Trouble? Nosey Flynn said. Not that I heard of. Why?
— I noticed he was in mourning.
— Was he? Nosey Flynn said. So he was, faith. I asked him how was all at home. You're right, by God. So he was.
— I never broach the subject, Davy Byrne said humanely, if I see a gentleman is in trouble that way. It only brings it up fresh in their minds.
— It's not the wife anyhow, Nosey Flynn said. I met him the day before yesterday and he coming out of that Irish farm dairy John Wyse Nolan's wife has in Henry street with a jar of cream in his hand taking it home to his better half. She's well nourished, I tell you. Plovers on toast.
— And is he doing for the Freeman? Davy Byrne said.
Nosey Flynn pursed his lips.
— -He doesn't buy cream on the ads he picks up. You can make bacon of that.
— How so? Davy Byrne asked, coming from his book.
Nosey Flynn made swift passes in the air with juggling fingers. He winked.
— He's in the craft, he said.
— -Do you tell me so? Davy Byrne said.
— Very much so, Nosey Flynn said. Ancient free and accepted order. He's an excellent brother. Light, life and love, by God. They give him a leg up. I was told that by a — well, I won't say who.
— Is that a fact?
— O, it's a fine order, Nosey Flynn said. They stick to you when you're down. I know a fellow was trying to get into it. But they're as close as damn it. By God they did right to keep the women out of it.
Davy Byrne smiledyawnednodded all in one:
— There was one woman, Nosey Flynn said, hid herself in a clock to find out what they do be doing. But be damned but they smelt her out and swore her in on the spot a master mason. That was one of the saint Legers of Doneraile.
Davy Byrne, sated after his yawn, said with tearwashed eyes:
— And is that a fact? Decent quiet man he is. I often saw him in here and I never once saw him — you know, over the line.
— God Almighty couldn't make him drunk, Nosey Flynn said firmly. Slips off when the fun gets too hot. Didn't you see him look at his watch? Ah, you weren't there. If you ask him to have a drink first thing he does he outs with the watch to see what he ought to imbibe. Declare to God he does.
— There are some like that, Davy Byrne said. He's a safe man, I'd say.
— He's not too bad, Nosey Flynn said, snuffling it up. He's been known to put his hand down too to help a fellow. Give the devil his due. O, Bloom has his good points. But there's one thing he'll never do.
His hand scrawled a dry pen signature beside his grog.
— I know, Davy Byrne said.
— Nothing in black and white, Nosey Flynn said.
Paddy Leonard and Bantam Lyons came in. Tom Rochford followed frowning, a plaining hand on his claret waistcoat.
— Day, Mr Byrne.
— Day, gentlemen.
They paused at the counter.
— Who's standing? Paddy Leonard asked.
— I'm sitting anyhow, Nosey Flynn answered.
— Well, what'll it be? Paddy Leonard asked.
— I'll take a stone ginger, Bantam Lyons said.
— How much? Paddy Leonard cried. Since when, for God' sake? What's yours, Tom?
— How is the main drainage? Nosey Flynn asked, sipping.
For answer Tom Rochford pressed his hand to his breastbone and hiccupped.
— Would I trouble you for a glass of fresh water, Mr Byrne? he said.
— Certainly, sir.
Paddy Leonard eyed his alemates.
— Lord love a duck, he said. Look at what I'm standing drinks to! Cold water and gingerpop! Two fellows that would suck whisky off a sore leg. He has some bloody horse up his sleeve for the Gold cup. A dead snip.
— Zinfandel is it? Nosey Flynn asked.
Tom Rochford spilt powder from a twisted paper into the water set before him.
— That cursed dyspepsia, he said before drinking.
— Breadsoda is very good, Davy Byrne said.
Tom Rochford nodded and drank.
— Is it Zinfandel?
— Say nothing! Bantam Lyons winked. I'm going to plunge five bob on my own.
— Tell us if you're worth your salt and be damned to you, Paddy Leonard said. Who gave it to you?
Mr Bloom on his way out raised three fingers in greeting.
— So long! Nosey Flynn said.
The others turned.
— That's the man now that gave it to me, Bantam Lyons whispered.
— Prrwht! Paddy Leonard said with scorn. Mr Byrne, sir, we'll take two of your small Jamesons after that and a . . .
— Stone ginger, Davy Byrne added civilly.
— Ay, Paddy Leonard said. A suckingbottle for the baby.
Mr Bloom walked towards Dawson street, his tongue brushing his teeth smooth. Something green it would have to be: spinach, say. Then with those Rontgen rays searchlight you could.
At Duke lane a ravenous terrier choked up a sick knuckly cud on the cobblestones and lapped it with new zest. Surfeit. Returned with thanks having fully digested the contents. First sweet then savoury. Mr Bloom coasted warily. Ruminants. His second course. Their upper jaw they move. Wonder if Tom Rochford will do anything with that invention of his? Wasting time explaining it to Flynn's mouth. Lean people long mouths. Ought to be a hall or a place where inventors could go in and invent free. Course then you'd have all the cranks pestering.
He hummed, prolonging in solemn echo the closes of the bars:
Don Giovanni, a cenar teco M'invitasti.
Feel better. Burgundy. Good pick me up. Who distilled first? Some chap in the blues. Dutch courage. That Kilkenny People in the national library now I must.
Bare clean closestools waiting in the window of William Miller, plumber, turned back his thoughts. They could: and watch it all the way down, swallow a pin sometimes come out of the ribs years after, tour round the body changing biliary duct spleen squirting liver gastric juice coils of intestines like pipes. But the poor buffer would have to stand all the time with his insides entrails on show. Science.
— A cenar teco.
What does that teco mean? Tonight perhaps.
Don Giovanni, thou hast me invited
To come to supper tonight,
The rum the rumdum.