2010 edition FW pages 60-82
1939 edition FW pages 75-103
I.4§1: HCE Resurfaces, 60 – 76.39 (75 – 96.25)
HCE's self-induced and continuous confinement is revisited. The protective telephone-booth of I.3 has become an imprisoning teak coffin. It is the general opinion of the locals that Earwicker is dead and embalmed entirely from his big toe to his great head, pharaoh-like, in an Irish pyramid. The sense of public safety is shattered, however, when a person who strongly resembles HCE makes an appearance on the plain and is victim to a fourth and final assault. A suspect is arrested and a trial held to seek to establish guilt. Four judges preside and witnesses are called. A map of the scene of the crime is handed up in court. The evidence proves inconclusive and no-one is convicted. The judges remain non-committal. They are faintly amused at the idea of two men falling out like that over the question of the correct time.
Earwicker's enforced three-and-a-half hour sojourn of hellish agony, petrified in his cell, is considered. His condition of fear-induced passiveness is seen as similar to Tim Finnegan's coma at his wake: surrounded by activity yet oblivious of it. He is like a caged lion in the Berlin zoo remembering the lotus-flowers of his native Nile. And shall the lion forget the taste of blood? No. Less then shall our silent hero forget the bare legs of his beloved mademoiselles.
And of what did he dream, it is asked, this King William in a Finglas mill, this artist minus a model, in those hours of excruciating pain. Of the isles of Greece where burning Sappho loved and sang? Of the two lilies of the field that had undone him? Of fields of wheat and golden corn? Of Chapelizod? Of Shem and Shaun? Yes, perhaps he did. Perhaps, as he sat there anxiously in his large tent, he silently prayed with deep-seeing insight that his ‘wordwounder’ would grow into a distinguished dynasty. In this way, he could realise his most cherished ambition: the foundation of a true criminal stratum of black sheep (recidivists) and crib-cracking yeggs (safe-breaking burglars), thereby eliminating from society much desultory delinquency so as to secure, by the obedience of all classes and masses, the felicity of the town.
We shall perhaps never be certain of what it was that he dreamt. It is idle to speculate. What we know for sure is that there was a coffin. Wrought of the best teak and equipped with glass-panels and facing east, it was later to come in uncommonly handy.
A number of conservative public bodies, while HCE's earthly body still persisted, before they voted his continuing existence unconstitutional, presented him with a grave of the best Lough Neagh pattern in Moyelta. This underground haven or ‘mole's paradise’ — it was possibly an inverted lighthouse or deep-sea submarine put there to assuage the wheat gods and generally ginger up the tourist trade (its architect had had his eyes knocked out in case he built another one) — the first of its kind, was in poor repair and difficult to inhabit in that it was made of solid non-porous rock that no one had yet been able to shove a spade into, let alone to occupy. Earwicker was undeterred. Using a quantity of T.N.T. he blasted out a cavity in the rock and carefully lined the result from wall to wall with bricks and mortar. So when the time arrived, as it was bound to, that he had to make himself scarce the dynamitard wisely retired into this lair he had created for himself in the solid stone. Thus encouraged, other public committees did not hesitate but hurried to grant him a huge stone slab that they shoved over the entrance to his home with the usual funereal pomp while uttering these ceremonious words: We've done with you, sir! Give over! Skedaddle!
Needless to say, public donation of various bric-a-brac would have followed the inhumation in the normal course of events — coffins, winding sheets, urns, brasses, chests, tubs, bags of provisions, and the like — miscellaneous treasure-trove to enable HCE to live out in comfort his remaining pre-senile days of confinement, his old age, his great age, and, finally, his decrepitude, till in the end he reverted to dust. But this was not to be. It thundered. Mines and fissures were formed in the rock. He burrowed worm-like through one of these out of his premature grave and onwards through a proliferation of channels, fissure by fissure, seam by seam, crack by crack, till he bellied his way back to the surface.
This phenomenon casts some light on what happened shortly after, something that could have come about entirely by accident. Humphrey had scarcely been three ‘monads’ (months? hours? eons?) in his watery grave, the house/rock at the bottom of a deep lake, and putrefaction could have been expected to have begun to set in when two men met on a plain ‘on the heights of Abraham [ides of April].’ The plain was enveloped in darkness, making visibility poor, when the ‘bully on the hill’ first sighted the ‘person garrotted.’ The person sighted, we are advised, may well have been ‘low cirque waggery’, the ‘first old wugger of himself’, Earwicker. For there now circulated among HCE's opposition the suspicion that he, who was well known to get outside his own length in trout and swallow as many roach a minute as a great crested grebe, was all of this time of supposed subterranean lifelessness persisting by hibernation and subsisting by consuming his own fat.
Details of the bully's encounter with the man garrotted have come down to us from Kate, Kate Strong, to give her her full name, a widow. She drew a picture of the scene as she saw it. We can appreciate from her plan of the dump the mass and heterogeneity of droppings, half-rotted vegetables and festering rubbish of every description that her brush had brushed up. Her statement reads that there was in those pagan days as yet no proper road servicing the park, barring an old footpath bordered with wild flowers. This path, she claimed, ceased where the plaintiff was struck. It was at this same place, she stated, where the path ended, that she customarily upended her scavenger's cart and emptied out the garbage. She could plainly see from all the footmarks and other signs of an involved and intricate design traced in the filth that a struggle had taken place. (And, the narrator adds, referring to events discussed later in the book, there was really no better place than this, where path ended and dump began, in which to conceal a book, such as the Book of Kells, or a letter, such as Finnegans Wake, respectfully hers, that would be lost on Ma.)
So it was here, close by the howe, on this desolate cold plain — it was rocky then though it has been resurfaced since — a long way from the city, this lonely spot where no tram stopped or train halted, a lea flooded by salt sea, that the attacker engaged an adversary whom he mistook in the pouring rain to be Oglethorpe or if not somebody else bearing a marked resemblance to Oglethorpe. The aggressor then made use of coarse and offensive language to the effect that he would have the bloody bugger's (the adversary's) bloody life as soon as the bloody bugger managed to squawk his last prayers out. He would plug him good and let the bloody ghost out of him and the wind into him, so he would, goddamn it, damn right he would.
The burglar then took hold of a long bar that he happened to have on him with which he usually smashed down doors and he lifted the stick to him. The struggle went on for a considerable time with neither man gaining the upper hand. In the course of the evenly-matched tussle, the taller man said to the minor who was carrying the worm:
— Let go of me, Pat! I hardly knew ye!
They continued to struggle after this admission, pausing only for refreshments. Eventually, the same man (if not a different, younger, man) asked with a very ugly grin:
— Was six pounds fifteen taken off of you by a pick-pocket ten to four months ago?
After more rugby-tackling and hand-grappling, which took the better part of an hour, the intruder dropped his wooden Webley, became calm and friendly-like and asked the other man would he mind not tearing the shirt on him and suggesting that, if he (the other man who gripped the worm) happened to have such a thing as the change of a ten-pound note on him as, if so, he would pay him back the six quid odd ‘for what was taken on the man of samples’ last June or July. To this, the other chap replied that he did not have anything remotely resembling the change of a ten-pound note on him just then but, it being Yuletide, he could see his way to giving him something in the region of four and seven that he might as well have to buy whiskey with.
At the mention of whiskey, the bully all of a sudden became strangely quiet and he swore by all the household gods he could invoke that he would do good by his mate some time, enlivened as he was at this opportunity of a lifetime and the reviving anticipation of whiskey and oysters. He added:
— You stocky little south-downer! I'd know you anywhere, dead or alive, by your bald patch! Pay-dirt I've struck this day of days. My hat, but you have some grit!
The two exchanged embraces and swore peace in the name of the god of the day after which the ‘queer mixture’ settled his hat and, having got rid of a few spare stones and horseshoes, headed off across the nearby bridge with the six shillings and seven pence (was it?) in his pocket and the bat he had picked up to keep some crow-plucking appointment somewhere else. The chap left behind bore up well considering the rain of blows he had courageously sustained, not to mention a bruised coccyx, and without undue delay reported the incident as well as he could piece it together at the nearest watchhouse (police-station), giving the constables there the military salute and exhibiting to their united gaze his face, crisscrossed as it was with red blood, as proof positive of his claims that he was dead serious and was, in fact, bleeding profusely from his nose, lip, ear (pinna) and mouth (palate), while some of his hair had been yanked clean off his scalp, though he was otherwise none the worse for the beating he had received. He then politely requested that some ointment be applied to the contusions.
At this point, we can review the account of the attack to determine who is attacker and who attacked, as it seems on first (second, third ) reading that Earwicker and the cad (clearly, the root-entities involved) are as identities somewhat intertwined. It is self-evident that Joyce intended this confusion (otherwise he would have written a different book or gone back to school and become a civil servant): ‘The pair (whethertheywere Nippoluono engaging Wei-Ling-Taon or de Razzkias trying to reconnoistre the general Boukeleff, man may not say) struggled apairently for some considerable time’ (65.17; 81.33). This situation provides us with a literary loop. Reading it from the beginning and connecting the various leads to some specific identity as these leads are presented results in the contrary identification to the one we would get if we were to connect the clues retrospectively. How this comes about is as follows.
1. Reading Forwards: HCE as the man attacked.
We have come to anticipate that it is Earwicker who is accosted, as this has been the pattern to date. When the new incident is broached, the two opposing sides are drawn as (a) ‘New South Ireland’ versus ‘Vetera Uladh’ (Old Ulster), (b) ‘bluemin’ v. ‘pillfaces’, (c) ‘With the Pope’ v. ‘On the Pope’, and (d) ‘moors’ v. ‘letts.’ There is nothing here to lead us to posit HCE or cad tropism. Each side is stated to be ‘on the purely doffensive.’ The site of the fight is given as ‘Bellona's Black Bottom, once Woolwhite's Waltz’ (Kate calls it ‘Finewell's Keepsacre’ later renamed ‘Pat's Purge’). At 63.06 (78.36) the term ‘the person garrotted’ is used. This suggests that the person being spoken of is the person under attack, somebody stated to resemble HCE. He is said to be emaciated. Earwicker, we will recall, has spent some time starving. His opponent is called a ‘bully on the hill’ (Billy in the Bowl), clearly an aggressor. An attack is described. The ‘attackler’, a ‘cropatkin’ (an Irish anarchist) goes for ‘the Adversary’ (HCE) with ‘native pluck.’ (In the first encounter, the cad is clearly native.) The attacker is ‘under medium’, that is, the smaller man. The adversary, on the other hand, seems to have no legs (like Johnny in the song, Johnny, I hardly knew ye). The assailant engages the adversary because he thinks he is ‘Oglethorpe’ or ‘Parr’ (a form of HCE in the opening episode) or someone to whom ‘the headandheelless chickenestegg bore some Michelangiolesque resemblance’, suggesting again that the adversary is legless (literally and also in the sense of being drunk) and perhaps also associating the struggle with the Nick/Mick (Lucifer/Michael) conflict.
The cad uses abusive language (as he does in the third assault). He brandishes a cudgel and the pair struggle. Later a ‘toller man’ (HCE as Tall Man as in the second assault) denies close acquaintance with the ‘miner’ (the ‘under medium’ cad). This same man then asks if money was stolen from the other (as it was from the cad type in the third assault). After some tussling, a wooden gun falls from the ‘intruser’, ‘Ned. Ned then changes his tone and offers to pay the other the missing money, even though it was from him that money was stolen, if HCE has the change of a tenner on him. HCE (‘he was hesitency carried to excelcism’) replies, stuttering (a HCE characteristic), that he has no handy change on him but he can give Ned four-and-seven-pence with which he can buy drink. (The cad is fond of a jar.) The gunman calms down on appreciating this new turn of fortune, swears by the gods (as the cad does earlier), and calls HCE a plucky little South African and/or a courageous Australian tramp, a Bonaparte among men, and says that he now remembers who he is by his ‘blanche patch.’ They make peace.
The cad heads off with the cash and the cudgel, discarding his heap of stones (the cad's weapon of choice in the third assault). Earwicker is left behind and reports the incident to the nearest police station. He indicates the satisfactory conclusion of their complex negotiations and the gentleman's agreement reached between them in the heel of the hunt: armistice.
2. Reading Backwards: HCE as the attacking man.
In the third assault, HCE, though in mortal danger, refuses to contact the police. The more usual thing, for him, is to be reported. We can therefore assume that the person left behind in this reading is the cad, who does head for the police-station. He is named ‘delaney.’ The fugitive is therefore Earwicker (flight is another HCE indicator). The weapon that he takes with him is a staff. (HCE carries his everywhere.) Before going, he praises the cad's ‘bully German grit.’ (In the third assault the cad appears as a German.) HCE is a ‘starving gunman’, starving because he has just escaped from the exiguous grave. It is thus he who is excited at the mention of money: ‘wick's ears pricked up’. The money is handed over to him by the cad fearing for his life and is offered in reaction to the aggressive question put to him: Had money been taken off him some months previously? We know it had. He fears retaliation for the aborted third assault.
On this view, the ‘toller man’ is the cad (the man associated with the tolling of the bell), and the ‘miner’ is Earwicker, who, we know, had escaped his mausoleum by worming through a network of underground mines. HCE, who escaped worm-like from his confinement, carries the worm, a form of the constantly self-transforming staff or parcel.
The cad, the taller man, then asks the other, ‘Pautheen’, to let him go and HCE loses the weapon. Re-arriving at the start, it is the ‘miner’ who is ‘under medium’, who is the native and who, seeking revenge, tackles his long-time enemy, the cad. He uses foul language on this occasion and replicates his first-assault menace by lifting the stick to strike at the cad.
3. Reading synoptically: HCE as both attacked and attacker.
At its most arcane, the fourth and final assault is archetypal, man versus man, and the protagonists merge into a ‘queer mixture’ at the point of reconciliation. Following this logic, Festy King (the man later arrested for the crime) can be interpreted as HCE + Cad, assailant and assailed undifferentiated. HCE is both bullied and bully. His single weapon, the staff, duplicates into staff/strongbox. After the struggle, when the pair reconcile their differences, they become brotherly. The one who leaves is referred to in the plural ‘they’, as also is he who remains. The staff qua staff (‘their humoral hurlbat’) goes; the staff qua strongbox remains (‘left along with the confederate fender’). This explains why HCE is both accused and accuser in the ensuing trial; he subsequently disentangles himself into Shem-Shaun particles. Notice how HCE calls his assailant ‘son’, or is the other way round?, at 66.13 (82.36).
As there have by now been four distinct physical assaults made upon the person of H.C. Earwicker by a shadowy figure (the cad), these can usefully be reviewed and compared before we continue.
l. The assault by the cad with the pipe (27.39ff; 35.01ff.).
The assailant is named ‘Gaping Gill.’ The incident occurs on the Ides (13th) of April, HCE's birthday, at noon in the Phoenix Park. It is as wet as windy. Earwicker, in boots and mackintosh, is out for a stroll and carries a cane. The cad, boasting a straw hat and carrying a coat thrown over a shoulder, addresses him in Irish, his ‘second-mouth language’, to ask the time. He has taken the pipe from his mouth while speaking and now holds it. Earwicker suspects he has drawn a gun on him and tries to defend himself with his cane or tipstaff. He swears before the cad that the stories about him are untrue. Perhaps he fears the cad has been sent to settle old scores. The cad, appreciating the seriousness of the situation, hastily departs.
2. The assault by the butcher with a bottle (50.19ff; 62.26ff.).
The assailant is variously named ‘Midweeks’, ‘MackPartland’, ‘Phillyps Captain’ and ‘Phelps.’ Earwicker, described as ‘one tall man’, is named ‘Patch’ and or ‘Thornton.’ The incident happens late one Wednesday night on a London street-corner outside HCE's temperance hotel. Earwicker is coming home and is carrying a suspicious-looking parcel. He walks through a dense fog (a particular). The cad attacks him and threatens him with pistol, blade and fist. There is some question of jealousy over a woman and of the ownership of the parcel. HCE remains calm and collected. The cad is later hauled up by the guards and confesses to having been drunk at the time. The town guard, who has arrested the cad whilst loitering outside HCE's hotel, gives evidence. The cad claims in his defence that that night he had only a bottle of stout in his possession, certainly not a weapon.
3. The assault by the commercial with the coat (56.01ff.; 69.30ff.).
The assailant is named ‘Herr Betreffender’. He is a cigar smoker and is stated to be a Continental, a commercial traveller and a newspaper reporter. The affray takes place outside HCE's shack, where the foreign gent is lodging, shortly after ten o'clock in the morning in gale-force conditions some time in June or July. The cad's English, once again, is imperfect. HCE is unambiguously called ‘House’, ‘Humphrey’ and plain ‘Earwicker.’ He is accused of theft but remains calm throughout the period of abuse. After a few hours of imprecation and stone-throwing, the cad, under the sinister name of Bully Acre, quits the scene. He has drink on him and is demanding more whiskey.
4. The assault on the hill (64.39ff.; 81.12ff.).
Two men fight at noon on a cold plain in heavy rain ‘three monads’ after the shack episode. There is severe mauling. Copious blood is drawn. Money is exchanged. A stick, stones, and possibly a pistol are produced. One combatant is badly bruised while his adversary has the teeth kicked out of his mouth. The men are reconciled after some hours and depart separately. The police are called in.
To revert to our story, as regards the firearm or worm the question of how it came into the possession of ‘boney’, or whoever it was, is secondary to the more salient point of the political bias — Whig? Tory? Anarchist? Marxist? — of a person who, when simply exercising one of the primary liberties of a citizen by strolling along a public thoroughfare with a parcel under his arm and a cane in his hand and just about to take a seat upon a public bench, without intent to hurt a fly and being thankful for the glorious weather, came within an aim's ace of being mistakenly ambushed and blasted into eternity by some heckler with a handgun.
As for the crime, little headway was made in solving it until, out of the blue, a suspect, a country man named Festy King of a long family long associated with poiteen and republicanism who gave his address as Mayo, was brought up in court on an improperly-framed indictment on two counts of ‘flying cushats [doves] out of his ouveralls and making fesses immodst his forces on the field.’ The prisoner appeared in the dock wearing stained, tattered, and patched clothes thrown on at random, he having ripped up his ready-mades in the meantime, to testify in Irish that the soot-and-sulphur staining he exhibited was occasioned not as one might suspect by a gun discharging but entirely by accident as he attempted to set fire to himself with a match.
It was attempted by the Crown to establish that King, alias Crowbar, alias Meleky, had impersonated a chimney-sweep by rubbing peat over his features to disguise them and had come to HCE's door on a Thursday, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, under an assumed name selected from a telephone directory, along with an unlicensed pedigree pig (this was perhaps the ‘suspicious parcel’ itself). P.C. Robort reported that this pig ate part of the doorpost and that King later disposed of the animal because she (the said sow) had consumed one side of her sty and also in order to pay off six pounds fifteen in arrears of rent (his, not hers).
Evidence which proved remarkable was given by an eye-witness, W.P., suspected of being a plain-clothes priest, who gave his address as ‘Nullnull, Medical Square.’ W.P. stated, while smiling under his moustache after having removed his hat and after having been cautioned against yawning while on oath, that he was sleeping there at the hotel at the time and he was able to remember the night in question, the fifth of November, a date that, he prophecised, would go down in the annals of history (‘decembs within the ephemerides of profane history’). One thing that particularly struck him was seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling a man known as Hyacinth O'Donnell attempting at the hour of ‘twentyfour o'clock’ to stab single-handedly with a dungfork ‘another two of the old kings, Gash MacGale and Roaring O'Crian, Jr, between him and whom bad blood existed over a girl. It ‘oozed out’ in court, however, under a crushing cross-examination of the case-hardened witness, that at the exact hour of the alleged ambush (midnight) there was less light from the moon to see by than what would emanate from a child's candle.
The cross-examination of Hyacinth, the ‘mixer’, is cited at length but his utterances are not particularly illuminating, nor indeed are the questions put to him. The cross ends with an absurd question, a hundred-lettered whore-word
to which O'Donnell replies, You have it alright.
Coming to the crux of the issue, Pegger Festy, once the dirt had been cleaned from his face at the insistence of some jurors, declared through his interpreter in an outburst, on his oath and before God and their honours, that (in reference to the unlicensed pig) if live turkeys followed him about that was not theft and he did not fire a stone either before or after he was born up to that very day. This declaration he supplemented in the same language before all those present (who were anxious to know why the defendant had left Ireland) by saying that he might perish by the stake that very night and never again see sight or light of this world or the next one either or any other world or taste the sharp tang of whiskey in the afterlife if he ever lifted a finger to throw stick or stone of any description whatever before or after his baptism up to that blessed hour. The ‘halfkneed castleknocker’ in his excitement then strove to lift his paw and make the Sign of the Cross to emphasise his sincerity while at the sight of his plight the court broke out in loud laughter, laughter in which the testifier himself joined.
Yet for all that, these two opposites, Festy and the witness, had their similarities, for is it not true that each power in nature and in spirit must evolve an opposite as the sole means and conditions of its manifestation and that all opposition is nothing if not a tendency to reconciliation? Is this not the universal law of polarity or essential dualism? Festy's hilarity contrasted with W.P.'s sadness. But their entwined destinies were still unalike. The girls clustered round W.P., ‘Show'm the Posed’, flustering, flattering, complimenting him, a captivating youth, a priestly ‘willingly pressed’, a lad with all his senses about him, all the time sticking hyacinths in his hair and kissing his rosy cheeks, letting themselves go ‘legando round his nice new neck for him’ and ‘pizzicagnoling his woolywags.’
The four judges presiding laid their heads together but they could do no more than pass their usual verdict of Not guilty, so the pocket-picking King (having murdered all the King's English that he knew) got off scot-free and left the court trailing his overcoat in his hurry, proudly showing off the patch on his breeches to prove himself really genteel.
On the court guard's politely asking him, How do you do today, my good man? the whiskey-loving blackguard responded with such a vile-smelling fart as would turn the steel stomach of a monk and the twenty-eight girls ‘pulling up their briefs’ saw through him for the gaolbird he was and shouted Shun the Punman! while urging the ‘Parish Poser’ to go home with himself back to his hole at ‘biss Drinkbattle's Dingy Dwellings’ with all his rubbish about their ‘Farvver.’
And they fair harried him: Honte! Vergogna! Pudor! Skam! Nau! Scham! and, in plain English, Shame!
And so it came to an end. Everybody ‘heard their plaint and all listened to their plause.’ The judges sat there like four geese, cackling on about Hyacinth and Festy and Gentian and O'Donnell and how well it was they remembered old ‘Singabob’ (Thingamabob, Sinbad the Sailor, HCE), wondering what on earth ALP ever saw in him. Why would she heed, one asks, ‘that old gasometer with his hooping coppin and his dyinboosycough’ and everybody in the south side after her. As per usual the four law-makers speak in turn to declare they remember him well and the chemical smell that lifted off him, a gush like the stench of a goat or a manure-works on a windy day. Wasn't it unadulterated hydrogen sulphide? 'Twould take a whole town's breath away! Do they ‘nose’ him, with his seaman's effluvium and the reek of tobacco cabbaging out of him? It's well and from miles off anyone could smell him, the great big belching brewer!
And so they bore on, the four four-bottle men, reminiscing about the whosebefores and the whereafters and how ALP got lost and how HCE was found and about the night-sounds and all the scandalmongers and the birds in the Australian bush and contradicting themselves and about Humpty Dumpty and, do you remember him?, Niall of the Nine Hostages and, will you ever forget him?, old Mark and spry young Tristan, and the old house there by the churchyard and all the goings-on and the saucy sisters pissing. Not that one could agree with the other or the other with another. I differ with ye! Are you sure of yourself now? You're a liar, excuse me! I will not and you're another! And about how it was too bad to be falling out the way the two men did and it all over nothing more than the godforsaken time. For Christ sake!
I.4§2: How HCE Survives, 76.36 – 82 (96.26 – 103)
The remainder of the chapter reconsiders HCE's escape from his mausoleum. Whereas in the previous section he appears initially as a lion, he is now portrayed as a fox on the run from hounds. An alternative explanation for his unexpected preservation is advanced. Various private and press statements reporting sightings of him are evinced. These are too many to allow anyone for long to doubt the reality of his continued existence. The belief that he is no more than a rumour, or a common phrase, or a piece of slang, is quickly shattered. He seems, however, to have dropped out of sight. His wife ALP is brought into the picture. It is she, she who sustained and protected him, who will put an end once and for all to all the poppycock going on about her dear, hard-working husband.
The trial was inconclusive, as trials often are. This was unfortunate but not inevitable because, pure fiction as the evidence presented invariably is — a frame-up, a mere figment — it remained possible for facts to have emerged quite by chance. Is it not conceivable that the false setting of a star-map may fortuitously cause a previously unheard-of astral body to be detected in space?
The best opinion held that by playing possum as he did our ancestor H.C. Earwicker most efficaciously saved his brush. Dogs of all breeds were barking in different tones, hot for the worry, straining at the leash for to run him when, suddenly, from his holt he bolted across the grasslands, fleeing from townland to townland. He dodged the dogs. The last sight seen of him was of a disappearing ‘full winter coat with ticker pads.’ He lost the hounds on ‘Ye Hill of Rut’ and from that good day onwards a fox's wisdom kept him safe. He lay low in covert, miraculously fed by wild crows and buoyed up on syllabub. The hounds hied home. HCE had got the better of the whole bunch of them that were out to get him by the simple stratagem of training his intestines to digest grass.
After that, little more was seen or heard of him for a good while. ‘Fugger's Newsletter’ reported that he had committed suicide: he was down under sprouting daisies after choosing a melancholy death. For three days an ex-servant proudly exhibited his master's boots in the town square. Other reports followed. Noise or silence, it was reputed, had driven the man mad. He had fled, escaping to another land through a subterranean tunnel lined with boards. He was alive and well in Asia, pestering belly-dancers when not begging at doorsteps.
Word was he had paid a brief visit to a priest immediately before being recalled and scrapped by his maker. The pox, others rumoured, had caught up with him. He had walked waist-high into a pond, three sheets to the wind, and was rescued by local anglers from seven feet of stagnant water. A workman reported having a conversation with him on a city street. Witnesses claimed to have seen him pedalling a bicycle. He was reputedly at large and might be anywhere. He may even have been the individual dressed as a nun who attracted attention to himself by unseemly behaviour while travelling on an omnibus. Wires hissed with rumour; aerials whizzed. Finally, news arrived of the discovery of a blood-spattered coat bearing a tailor's tab reading V.P.H. and many shivered to imagine what manner of wild beast had devoured him.
A notice was nailed up on his back door. Move up, Mumpty! Make room for Rumpty! By order! Everyone was quite sure he was done for this time. The I.R.A. had got to him. There had been real murder. His were the disarranged remains found in a field, his ‘dexter handcoup wresterected in a puree de paumee bloody proper.’ Indeed, several well-wishers went so far as to buy an evening paper just to ensure that he had really committed suicide and was genuinely ‘quite beetly dead.’
In spite of all of the rumours, word came to town that on the morning after the ‘suicidal murder of the unrescued expatriate’, at a quarter to nine, a plume of smoke was seen to rise from the ‘seventh gable’ of HCE's purple butter-tower, and lamps were lit at ten thirty p.m. within the ziggurat and the window-panes visibly suffused with light.
It was certain, then, that the inhabitant of that sacred edifice was something more substantial than a rumour and scarcely a soul doubted deeply or for long the stark reality of his continued existence.
It was after that that a new phrase was heard on the cracked lips of the citizens, Who is the scourge of Chapelizod? Just as in the years before the populace had been fond of asking What became of Peabody's money? and Who shot Buckley?
The spalpeens lounging around the village and the non-working classes in the bar-rooms had their nine-days' jeer and the local women as well and the rest of Chapelizod besides, but they soon shut up when ALP stepped out. She who had given him issue, who had sheltered him, who had waked him without sparing, who would not rest from running to seek him till such time as she found him, that little lady stepped forth, when the bell in the church rang for Septuagissima Sunday, to crush the slanderer's head .
HCE is not again to reappear outside his tomb. Yet ALP will protect his good name. We can safely leave him, our original gardener, where he is, and take no grave-spoil from him or mar his mound. A curse is on it. Beware! Let us sleeping dogs let lie.
Our concern is no longer with HCE but with ALP. With one who, though crippled with children, alone spoke up for poor Humphrey, dripping with sweat.
The chapter ends with the introduction of the leading lady. It closes with a song entitled ‘Sold him her lease of ninenineninetee’ modelled on two verses of ‘At Trinity Church I Met My Doom:’
At Trinity Church I met my doom:
She told me her age was five and twenty.
Cash in the bank of course she'd plenty.
I like a lamb believed it all.
I was an M U G
At Trinity Church I met my doom
Now we live in a top back room,
Up to the eyes in debt for renty
That's what she's done for me.
The closing paragraph is in imitation of Psalms 137.1-2:
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea;
We wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
With these words and this music we proceed to the next chapter in which the letter in exoneration of HCE, composed by ALP, written down by Shem and delivered by Shaun, is inspected. This is Earwicker's most extreme metamorphosis. He becomes Logos.