— The height of fine society. And sir William Davenant of oxford's mother with her cup of canary for any cockcanary.
Buck Mulligan, his pious eyes upturned, prayed:
— Blessed Margaret Mary Anycock!
— And Harry of six wives' daughter. And other lady friends from neighbour seats as Lawn Tennyson, gentleman poet, sings. But all those twenty years what do you suppose poor Penelope in Stratford was doing behind the diamond panes?
Do and do. Thing done. In a rosery of Fetter lane of Gerard, herbalist, he walks, greyedauburn. An azured harebell like her veins. Lids of Juno's eyes, violets. He walks. One life is all. One body. Do. But do. Afar, in a reek of lust and squalor, hands are laid on whiteness.
Buck Mulligan rapped John Eglinton's desk sharply.
— Whom do you suspect? he challenged.
— Say that he is the spurned lover in the sonnets. Once spurned twice spurned. But the court wanton spurned him for a lord, his dearmylove.
Love that dare not speak its name.
— As an Englishman, you mean, John sturdy Eglinton put in, he loved a lord.
Old wall where sudden lizards flash. At Charenton I watched them.
— It seems so, Stephen said, when he wants to do for him, and for all other and singular uneared wombs, the holy office an ostler does for the stallion. Maybe, like Socrates, he had a midwife to mother as he had a shrew to wife. But she, the giglot wanton, did not break a bedvow. Two deeds are rank in that ghost's mind: a broken vow and the dullbrained yokel on whom her favour has declined, deceased husband's brother. Sweet Ann, I take it, was hot in the blood. Once a wooer, twice a wooer.
Stephen turned boldly in his chair.
— The burden of proof is with you not with me, he said frowning. If you deny that in the fifth scene of Hamlet he has branded her with infamy tell me why there is no mention of her during the thirtyfour years between the day she married him and the day she buried him. All those women saw their men down and under: Mary, her goodman John, Ann, her poor dear Willun, when he went and died on her, raging that he was the first to go, Joan, her four brothers, Judith, her husband and all her sons, Susan, her husband too, while Susan's daughter, Elizabeth, to use granddaddy's words, wed her second, having killed her first.
O, yes, mention there is. In the years when he was living richly in royal London to pay a debt she had to borrow forty shillings from her father's shepherd. Explain you then. Explain the swansong too wherein he has commended her to posterity.
He faced their silence.
To whom thus Eglinton:
You mean the will.
But that has been explained, I believe, by jurists.
She was entitled to her widow's dower
At common law. His legal knowledge was great
Our judges tell us.
Him Satan fleers,
And therefore he left out her name
From the first draft but he did not leave out
The presents for his granddaughter, for his daughters,
For his sister, for his old cronies in Stratford
And in London. And therefore when he was urged,
As I believe, to name her
He left her his
— Pretty countryfolk had few chattels then, John Eglinton observed, as they have still if our peasant plays are true to type.
— He was a rich country gentleman, Stephen said, with a coat of arms and landed estate at Stratford and a house in Ireland yard, a capitalist shareholder, a bill promoter, a tithefarmer. Why did he not leave her his best bed if he wished her to snore away the rest of her nights in peace?
— It is clear that there were two beds, a best and a secondbest, Mr Secondbest Best said finely.
— Separatio a mensa et a thalamo, bettered Buck Mulligan and was smiled on.
— Antiquity mentions famous beds, Second Eglinton puckered, bedsmiling. Let me think.
— Antiquity mentions that Stagyrite schoolurchin and bald heathen sage, Stephen said, who when dying in exile frees and endows his slaves, pays tribute to his elders, wills to be laid in earth near the bones of his dead wife and bids his friends be kind to an old mistress (don't forget Nell Gwynn Herpyllis) and let her live in his villa.
— Do you mean he died so? Mr Best asked with slight concern. I mean . . .
— He died dead drunk, Buck Mulligan capped. A quart of ale is a dish for a king. O, I must tell you what Dowden said!
— What? asked Besteglinton.
William Shakespeare and company, limited. The people's William. For terms apply: E. Dowden, Highfield house . . .
— Lovely! Buck Mulligan suspired amorously. I asked him what he thought of the charge of pederasty brought against the bard. He lifted his hands and said: All we can say is that life ran very high in those days. Lovely!
— The sense of beauty leads us astray, said beautifulinsadness Best to ugling Eglinton.
Steadfast John replied severe:
— The doctor can tell us what those words mean. You cannot eat your cake and have it.
Sayest thou so? Will they wrest from us, from me, the palm of beauty?
— And the sense of property, Stephen said. He drew Shylock out of his own long pocket. The son of a maltjobber and moneylender he was himself a cornjobber and moneylender, with ten tods of corn hoarded in the famine riots. His borrowers are no doubt those divers of worship mentioned by Chettle Falstaff who reported his uprightness of dealing. He sued a fellowplayer for the price of a few bags of malt and exacted his pound of flesh in interest for every money lent. How else could Aubrey's ostler and callboy get rich quick? All events brought grist to his mill. Shylock chimes with the jewbaiting that followed the hanging and quartering of the queen's leech Lopez, his jew's heart being plucked forth while the sheeny was yet alive: Hamlet and Macbeth with the coming to the throne of a Scotch philosophaster with a turn for witchroasting. The lost armada is his jeer in Love's Labour Lost. His pageants, the histories, sail fullbellied on a tide of Mafeking enthusiasm. Warwickshire jesuits are tried and we have a porter's theory of equivocation. The Sea Venture comes home from Bermudas and the play Renan admired is written with Patsy Caliban, our American cousin. The sugared sonnets follow Sidney's. As for fay Elizabeth, otherwise carrotty Bess, the gross virgin who inspired The Merry Wives of Windsor, let some meinherr from Almany grope his life long for deephid meanings in the depths of the buckbasket.
I think you're getting on very nicely. Just mix up a mixture of theolologicophilolological. Mingo, minxi, mictum, mingere.
— Prove that he was a jew, John Eglinton dared,'expectantly. Your dean of studies holds he was a holy Roman.
— He was made in Germany, Stephen replied, as the champion French polisher of Italian scandals.
— A myriadminded man, Mr Best reminded. Coleridge called him myriadminded.
Amplius. In societate humana hoc est maxime necessarium ut sit amicitia inter multos.
— Saint Thomas, Stephen began . . .
— Ora pro nobis, Monk Mulligan groaned, sinking to a chair.