The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious embrace. Far away in the west the sun was setting and the last glow of all too fleeting day lingered lovingly on sea and strand, on the proud promontory of dear old Howth guarding as ever the waters of the bay, on the weedgrown rocks along Sandymount shore and, last but not least, on the quiet church whence there streamed forth at times upon the stillness the voice of prayer to her who is in her pure radiance a beacon ever to the stormtossed heart of man, Mary, star of the sea.
The three girl friends were seated on the rocks, enjoying the evening scene and the air which was fresh but not too chilly. Many a time and oft were they wont to come there to that favourite nook to have a cosy chat and discuss matters feminine, Cissy Caffrey and Edy Boardman with the baby in the pushcar and Tommy and Jacky Caffrey, two little curlyheaded boys, dressed in sailor suits with caps to match and the name H.M.S. Belleisle printed on both. For Tommy and Jacky Caffrey were twins, scarce four years old and very noisy and spoiled twins sometimes but for all that darling little fellows with bright merry faces and endearing ways about them. They were dabbling in the sand with their spades and buckets, building castles as children do, or playing with their big coloured ball, happy as the day was long. And Edy Boardman was rocking the chubby baby to and fro in the pushcar while that young gentleman fairly chuckled with delight. He was but eleven months and nine days old and, though still a tiny toddler, was just beginning to lisp his first babyish words. Cissy Caffrey bent over to him to tease his fat little plucks and the dainty dimple in his chin.
— Now, baby, Cissy Caffrey said. Say out big, big. I want a drink of water.
And baby prattled after her:
— A jink a jink a jawbo.
Cissy Caffrey cuddled the wee chap for she was awfully fond of children, so
patient with little sufferers and Tommy Caffrey could never be got to take his
castor oil unless it was Cissy Caffrey that held his nose. But to be sure baby was as good as gold, a perfect little dote in his new fancy bib. None of your spoilt beauties was Cissy Caffrey. A truerhearted girl never drew the breath of life, always with a laugh in her gipsylike eyes and a frolicsome word on her cherryripe red lips, a girl lovable in the extreme. And Edy Boardman laughed too at the quaint language of little brother.
But just then there was a slight altercation between Master Tommy and Master Jacky. Boys will be boys and (4the ourº4) two twins were no exception to this rule. The apple of discord was a certain castle of sand which Master Jacky had built and Master Tommy would have it right go wrong that it was to be architecturally improved by a frontdoor like the Martello tower had. But if Master Tommy was headstrong Master Jacky was selfwilled too and, true to the maxim that every little Irishman's house is his castle, he fell upon his hated rival and to such purpose that the wouldbe assailant came to grief and (alas to relate!) the coveted castle too. Needless to say the cries of discomfited Master Tommy drew the attention of the girl friends.
— Come here, Tommy, his sister called imperatively, at once! And you, Jacky, for shame to throw poor Tommy in the dirty sand. Wait till I catch you for that.
His eyes misty with unshed tears Master Tommy came at her call for their big sister's word was law with the twins. And in a sad plight he was after his misadventure. His little man-o'-war top and unmentionables were full of sand but Cissy was a past mistress in the art of smoothing over life's tiny troubles and very quickly not one speck of sand was to be seen on his smart little suit. Still the blue eyes were glistening with hot tears that would well up so she shook her hand at Master Jacky the culprit, her eyes dancing in admonition.
— Nasty bold Jacky! she cried.
She put an arm round the little mariner and coaxed winningly:
— What's your name? Butter and cream?
— Tell us who is your sweetheart, spoke Edy Boardman. Is Cissy your sweetheart?
— Nao, tearful Tommy said.
— Is Edy Boardman your sweetheart? Cissy queried.
— Nao, Tommy said.
— I know, Edy Boardman said none too amiably with an arch
glance from her shortsighted eyes. I know who is Tommy's sweetheart. Gerty is Tommy's sweetheart.
— Nao, Tommy said on the verge of tears.
Cissy's quick motherwit guessed what was amiss and she whispered to Edy Boardman to take him there behind the pushcar where the gentleman couldn't see and to mind he didn't wet his new tan shoes.
But who was Gerty?
Gerty MacDowell who was seated near her companions, lost in thought, gazing
far away into the distance was in very truth as fair a specimen of winsome Irish
girlhood as one could wish to see. She was pronounced beautiful by all who knew
her though, as folks often said, she was more a Giltrap than a MacDowell. Her
figure was slight and graceful, inclining even to fragility but those iron
jelloids she had been taking of late had done her a world of good and she was
much better of those discharges she used to get. The waxen pallor of her face
was almost spiritual in its ivorylike purity. Her hands were of finely veined
alabaster with tapering fingers and as white as lemonjuice and queen of
ointments could make them though it was not true that she used to wear kid
gloves in bed. Bertha Supple told that once to Edy Boardman when she was black
out with Gerty (the girl chums had of course their little tiffs from time to
time like the rest of mortals) and she told her not to let on whatever she did
that it was her that told her or she'd never speak to her again. No. Honour
where honour is due. There was an innate refinement, a languid queenly hauteur
about Gerty which was unmistakably evidenced in her delicate hands and
higharched instep. Had kind fate but willed her to be born a gentlewoman of high
degree in her own right and had she only received the benefit of a good
education Gerty MacDowell might easily have held her own beside any lady in the
land and have seen herself exquisitely gowned with jewels on her brow and
patrician suitors at her feet vying with one another to pay their devoirs to
her. Mayhap it was this, the love that might have been, that lent to her softlyfeatured face at whiles a look, tense with suppressed meaning, that imparted a strange yearning tendency to the beautiful eyes, a charm few could resist. Why have women such eyes of witchery? Gerty's were of the bluest Irish blue, set off by lustrous lashes and dark expressive brows. Time was when those brows were not so silkily seductive. It was Madame Vera Verity, directress of the Woman Beautiful page of the Princess novelette, who had first advised her to try eyebrowleine which gave that haunting expression to the eyes, so becoming in leaders of fashion, and she had never regretted it. But Gerty's crowning glory was her wealth of hair. It was dark brown with a natural wave in it. She had cut it that very morning on account of the new moon and it nestled about her pretty head in a profusion of luxuriant clusters. And just now at Edy's words as a telltale flush, delicate as the faintest rosebloom, crept into her cheeks she looked so lovely in her sweet girlish shyness that of a surety God's fair land of Ireland did not hold her equal.
For an instant she was silent with rather sad downcast eyes. She was about
to retort but something checked the words on her tongue. Inclination prompted
her to speak out: dignity told her to be silent. The pretty lips pouted awhile
but then she glanced up and broke out into a joyous little laugh which had in it
all the freshness of a young May morning. She knew right well, no-one better,
what made squinty Edy say that. As per usual somebody's nose was out of
joint about the boy that had the bicycle always riding up and down in front of
her window. Only now his father kept him in in the evenings studying hard to get
an exhibition in the intermediate that was on and he was going to Trinity
college to study for a doctor when he left the high school like his brother
W. E. Wylie who was racing in the bicycle races in Trinity college
university. Little recked he perhaps for what she felt, that dull ache in her
heart sometimes, piercing to the core. Yet he was young and perchance he might
learn to love her in time. They were protestants in his family and of course
came first and after Him the blessed virgin and then saint Joseph. But he was
undeniably handsome and he was what he looked, every inch a gentleman, the shape
of his head too at the back without his cap on
something off the common and the way he turned the bicycle at the lamp with his hands off the bars and also the nice perfume of those good cigarettes and besides they were both of a size and that was why Edy Boardman thought she was so frightfully clever because he didn't go and ride up and down in front of her bit of a garden.
Gerty was dressed simply but with instinctive taste for she felt that there
was just a might that he might be out. A neat blouse of electric blue,
selftinted by dolly dyes, with a smart vee opening and kerchief pocket (in which
she always kept a piece of cottonwool scented with her favourite perfume because
the handkerchief spoiled the sit) and a navy threequarter skirt cut to the
stride showed off her slim graceful figure to perfection. She wore a coquettish wideleaved hat of
nigger straw with an underbrim of eggblue chenille and at the side a butterfly bow to tone. All Tuesday week afternoon she was hunting to match that chenille but at last she found what she wanted at Clery's summer sales, the very it, slightly shopsoiled but you would never notice, seven fingers two and a penny. She did it up all by herself and tried it on then, smiling back at her lovely reflection in the mirror and when she put it on the waterjug to keep the shape she knew that that would take the shine out of some people she knew. Her shoes were the newest thing in footwear (Edy Boardman prided herself that she was very (4petite petite4) but she never had a foot like Gerty MacDowell, a five, and never would ash, oak or elm) with patent toecaps and just one smart buckle. Her wellturned ankle displayed its proportions beneath her skirt and just the proper amount and no more of her shapely leg encased in finespun hose with highspliced heels and wide garter tops. As for undies they were Gerty's chief care and who that knows the fluttering hopes and fears of sweet seventeen (though Gerty would never see seventeen again) can find it in his heart to blame her? She had four dinky sets, three articles and nighties extra, and each set slotted with different coloured ribbons, rosepink, pale blue, mauve and peagreen and she aired them herself and blued them when they came home from the wash and ironed them and she had a brickbat to keep the iron on because she wouldn't trust those washerwomen as far as she'd see them scorching the things. She was wearing the blue for luck, her own colour and the lucky colour too for a bride to have a bit of blue somewhere on
her because the green she wore that day week brought grief because his father brought him in to study for the intermediate exhibition and because she thought perhaps he might be out because when she was dressing that morning she nearly slipped up the old pair on her inside out and that was for luck and lovers' meeting if you put those things on inside out so long as it wasn't of a Friday.
And yet — and yet! A gnawing sorrow is there all the time. Her very soul is in her eyes and she would give worlds to be in her own familiar chamber where she could have a good cry and relieve her pentup feelings. The paly light of evening falls upon a face infinitely sad and wistful. Gerty MacDowell yearns in vain. Yes, she had known from the first that it was not to be. He was too young to understand. He would not believe in love. The night of the party long ago in Stoer's (he was still in short trousers) when they were alone and he stole an arm round her waist she went white to the very lips. He called her little one and half kissed her (the first!) but it was only the end of her nose and then he hastened from the room with a remark about refreshments. Impetuous fellow! Strength of character had never been Reggy Wylie's strong point and he who would woo and win Gerty MacDowell must be a man among men. But waiting, always waiting to be asked and it was leap year too and would soon be over. No prince charming is her beau ideal to lay a rare and wondrous love at her feet but rather a manly man with a strong quiet face, perhaps his hair slightly flecked with grey, and who would understand, take her in his sheltering arms, strain her to him in all the strength of his deep passionate nature and comfort her with a long long kiss. For such a one she yearns this balmy summer eve. With all the heart of her she longs to be his only, his affianced bride for riches for poor in sickness in health till death us two part from this to this day forward.
And while Edy Boardman was with little Tommy behind the pushcar she was just
thinking would the day ever come when she could call herself
his little wife to be. Then they could talk about her, Bertha Supple too, and Edy, the spitfire, because she would be twentytwo in November. She would care for him with creature comforts too for Gerty was womanly wise and knew that a mere man liked that feeling of homeyness. Her griddlecakes and queen Ann's pudding had won golden opinions from all because she had a lucky hand also for lighting a fire, dredge in the fine flour and always stir in the same direction then cream the milk and sugar and whisk well the white of eggs and they would have a nice drawingroom with pictures and chintz covers for the chairs and that silver toastrack in Clery's summer sales like they have in rich houses. He would be tall (she had always admired tall men for a husband) with glistening white teeth under his carefully trimmed sweeping moustache and every morning they would both have brekky for their own two selves and before he went out to business he would give her a good hearty hug and gaze for a moment deep down into her eyes.
Edy Boardman asked Tommy Caffrey was he done and he said yes so then she buttoned up his little knickerbockers for him and told him to run off and play with Jacky and to be good and not to fight. But Tommy said he wanted the ball and Edy told him no that baby was playing with the ball and if he took it there'd be wigs on the green but Tommy said it was his ball his ball and he wanted his ball and he pranced on the ground, if you please. The temper of him! O, he was a man already was little Tommy Caffrey. Edy told him no, no and to be off now with him and she told Cissy Caffrey not to give in to him.
— You're not my sister, naughty Tommy said. It's my ball.
But Cissy Caffrey told baby Boardman to look up, look up high at her finger and she snatched the ball quickly and threw it along the sand and Tommy after it in full career, having won the day.
— Anything for a quiet life, laughed Ciss.
And she tickled
two cheeks to make him forget and played here's
the lord mayor, here's his two horses, here's his gingerbread carriage and here he walks in, chinchopper, chinchopper, chinchopper chin. But Edy got as cross as two sticks about his getting his own way like that from everyone always petting him.
— I'd like to give him something, she said, so I would, where I won't say.
— On the beeoteetom, laughed Cissy merrily.
Gerty MacDowell bent down her head at the idea of Cissy saying a thing like that out she'd be ashamed of her life to say, flushing a deep rosy red and Edy Boardman said she was sure the gentleman opposite heard what she said. But not a pin cared Ciss.
— Let him! she said with a pert toss of her head and a piquant tilt of her nose. Give it to him too on the same place as quick as I'd look at him.
Madcap Ciss. You had to laugh at her sometimes. For instance when she asked
you would you have some more Chinese tea and jaspberry ram and when she drew the
jugs too and the men's faces make you split your sides or when she said she
wanted to run and pay a visit to the miss white. That was just like Cissycums.
O, and will you ever forget the evening she dressed up in her father's suit
and hat and walked down Tritonville road, smoking a cigarette. But she was
sincerity itself, one of the bravest and truest hearts heaven ever made, not one
of your twofaced things, too sweet to be wholesome.
And then there came out upon the air the sound of voices and the pealing anthem of the organ. It was the men's temperance retreat conducted by the missioner, the reverend John Hughes S.J., rosary, sermon and benediction of the most blessed sacrament. They were there gathered together without distinction of social class (and a most edifying spectacle it was to see) in that simple fane beside the waves after the storms of this weary world, kneeling before the feet of the immaculate, beseeching her to intercede for them, holy Mary, holy virgin of virgins. How sad to poor Gerty's ears! Had her father only avoided the clutches of the demon drink she might now be rolling in her carriage, second to none. Over and over had she told herself that as she mused by the dying embers in a brown study or gazing out of the window by the hour at the rain falling on the rusty bucket. But that vile decoction which has ruined so many hearths and homes had cast its shadow over her childhood days. Nay, she had even witnessed in the home circle deeds of violence caused by intemperance and had seen her own father, a prey to the fumes of intoxication, forget himself completely for if there was one thing of all things that Gerty knew it was that the man who lifts his hand to a woman save in the way of kindness deserves to be branded as the lowest of the low.
And still the voices sang in supplication to the virgin most powerful,
virgin most merciful. And Gerty, wrapt in thought, scarce saw or heard her
companions or the twins at their boyish gambols or the gentleman off Sandymount
green that Cissy Caffrey called the man that was so like himself passing along
the strand taking a short walk. You never saw him anyway screwed but still and
for all that she would not like him for a father because he was too old or
something or on account of his face (it was a palpable case of doctor Fell) or
his carbuncly nose with the pimples on it. Poor father! With all his faults she
loved him still when he sang Tell me, Mary, how to woo thee and they had
stewed cockles and lettuce with salad dressing for supper and when he sang
The moon hath raised with Mr Dignam that died suddenly and was buried,
God have mercy on him, from a stroke. Her mother's birthday that was and
Charley was home on his holidays and Tom and Mr Dignam and Mrs and Patsy and
Freddy Dignam and they were to have had a group taken. No-one would have thought
the end was so near. Now he was laid to rest. And her mother said to him to let
that be a warning to him for the rest of his days and he couldn't even go
to the funeral on account of the gout and she had to go into town to bring him the letters and samples from his
office about Catesby's cork lino, artistic designs, fit for a palace, gives tiptop wear and always bright and cheery in the home.
A sterling good daughter was Gerty just like a second mother in the house, a
ministering angel too. And when her mother had those splitting headaches who was
it rubbed on the menthol cone on her forehead but Gerty though she didn't
like her mother taking pinches of snuff and that was the only single thing they
ever had words about, taking snuff. It was Gerty who turned off the gas at the main every night and it was Gerty
who tacked up on the wall of that place Mr Tunney the grocer's christmas almanac the picture of halcyon days where a young gentleman in the costume they used to wear then with a threecornered hat was offering a bunch of flowers to his ladylove with oldtime chivalry through her lattice window. The colours were done something lovely. She was in a soft clinging white and the gentleman was in chocolate and he looked a thorough aristocrat. She often looked at them dreamily when she went there for a certain purpose and thought about those times because she had found out in Walker's pronouncing dictionary that belonged to grandpapa Giltrap about the halcyon days what they meant.
The twins were now playing in the most approved brotherly fashion, till at last Master Jacky who was really as bold as brass there was no getting behind that deliberately kicked the ball as hard as ever he could down towards the seaweedy rocks. Needless to say poor Tommy was not slow to voice his dismay but luckily the gentleman in black who was sitting there by himself came to the rescue and intercepted the ball. Our two champions claimed their plaything with lusty cries and to avoid trouble Cissy Caffrey called to the gentleman to throw it to her please. The gentleman aimed the ball once or twice and then threw it up the strand towards Cissy Caffrey but it rolled down the slope and stopped right under Gerty's skirt near the little pool by the rock. The twins clamoured again for it and Cissy told her to kick it away and let them fight for it it so Gerty drew back her foot but she wished their stupid ball hadn't come rolling down to her and she gave a kick but she missed and Edy and Cissy laughed.
— If you fail try again, Edy Boardman said.
Gerty smiled assent. A delicate pink crept into her pretty cheek but she was
determined to let them see so she just lifted her skirt a little but just enough
and took good aim and gave the ball a jolly good kick and it went ever so far
and the two twins after it down towards the shingle. Pure
jealousy of course it was nothing else to draw attention on account of the gentleman opposite looking. She felt the warm flush, a danger signal always with Gerty MacDowell, surging and flaming into her cheeks. Till then they had only exchanged glances of the most casual but now under the brim of her new hat she ventured a look at him and the face that met her gaze there in the twilight, wan and strangely drawn, seemed to her the saddest she had ever seen.
Through the open window of the church the fragrant incense was wafted and with it the fragrant names of her who was conceived without stain of original sin, spiritual vessel, pray for us, honourable vessel, pray for us, vessel of singular devotion, pray for us, mystical rose. And careworn hearts were there and toilers for their daily bread and many who had erred and wandered, their eyes wet with contrition but for all that bright with hope for the reverend father Hughes had told them what the great saint Bernard said in his famous prayer of Mary, the most pious virgin's intercessory power that it was not recorded in any age that those who implored her powerful protection were ever abandoned by her.
The twins were now playing again right merrily for the troubles of childhood are but as passing summer showers. Cissy played with baby Boardman till he crowed with glee, clapping baby hands in air(4,.º4) Peep she cried behind the hood of the pushcar and Edy asked where was Cissy gone and then Cissy popped up her head and cried ah! and, my word, didn't the little chap enjoy that! And then she told him to say papa.
— Say papa, baby. Say pa pa pa pa pa pa pa.
And baby did his level best to say it for he was very intelligent for eleven months everyone said and he would certainly turn out to be something great, they said.
— Haja ja ja haja.
Cissy wiped his little mouth with the dribbling bib and wanted him to sit up properly and say pa pa pa but when she undid the strap she cried out, holy saint Denis, that he was possing wet and to double the half blanket the other way under him. Of course his infant majesty was most obstreperous at such toilet formalities and he let everyone know it:
— Habaa baaaahabaaa baaaa.
It was all no use soothering him with no, nono, baby, no and telling him
about the geegee and where was the puffpuff but Ciss, always readywitted, gave
him in his mouth the teat of the suckingbottle and the young heathen was quickly appeased.
Gerty wished to goodness they would take their squalling baby home out of
that, no hour to be out, and the little brats of twins. She gazed out towards
the distant sea. It was like a picture the evening and the clouds coming
out and the Bailey light on Howth and to hear the music like that and the perfume of those incense they burned in the church. And while she gazed her heart went pitapat. Yes, it was her he was looking at and there was meaning in his look. His eyes burned into her as though they would search her through and through, read her very soul. Wonderful eyes they were, superbly expressive, but could you trust them? She could see at once by his dark eyes that he was a foreigner but she could not see whether he had an aquiline nose from where he was sitting. He was in deep mourning, she could see that, and the story of a haunting sorrow was written on his face. She would have given worlds to know what it was. He was looking up so intently, so still and he saw her kick the ball and perhaps he could see the bright steel buckles of her shoes if she swung them like that thoughtfully. She was glad that something told her to put on the transparent stockings thinking Reggy Wylie might be out but that was far away. Here was that of which she had so often dreamed. The heart of the girl-woman went out to him. If he had suffered, more sinned against than sinning, or even, even, if he had been himself a sinner, a wicked man, she cared not. There were wounds that wanted healing and she just yearned to know all, to forgive all if she could make him fall in love with her, make him forget the memory of the past. Then mayhap he would embrace her gently, crushing her soft body to him, and love her for herself alone.
Refuge of sinners. Comfortress of the afflicted. Ora pro nobis. Well
has it been said that whosoever prays to her with faith and constancy can never
be lost or cast away: and fitly is she too a haven of refuge for the afflicted because
of the seven dolours which transpierced her own heart. Gerty could picture the whole scene in the church, the stained glass windows lighted up, the candles, the flowers and the blue banners of the blessed virgin's sodality and Father
Conroy was helping Canon O'Hanlon at the altar, carrying things in and out with his eyes cast down. He looked almost a saint and his confessionbox was so quiet and clean and dark and his hands were just like white wax. He told her that time when she told him about that in confession crimsoning up to the roots of her hair for fear he could see, not to be troubled because that was only the voice of nature and we were all subject to nature's laws, he said, in this life and that that was no sin because that came from the nature of woman instituted by God, he said, and that Our Blessed Lady herself said to the archangel Gabriel be it done unto me according to Thy Word. He was so kind and holy and often and often she thought could she work an embroidered teacosy for him as a present or a clock but they had a clock she noticed on the mantelpiece white and gold with a canary that came out of a little house to tell the time the day she went there about the flowers for the forty hours' adoration because it was hard to know what sort of a present to give or perhaps an album of illuminated views of Dublin or some place.
The little brats of twins began to quarrel again and Jacky threw the ball out towards the sea and they both ran after it. Little monkeys common as ditchwater. Someone ought to take them and give them a good hiding for themselves to keep them in their places the both of them. And Cissy and Edy shouted after them to come back because they were afraid the tide might come in on them and be drowned.
— Jacky! Tommy!
Not they! What a great notion they had! So Cissy said it was the very last
time she'd ever bring them out. She jumped up and called them and then she
ran down the slope past him, tossing her hair behind her which had a good enough
colour if there had been more of it but with all the thingamerry she was always
rubbing into it she couldn't get it to grow long because it wasn't
natural so she could just go and throw her hat at it. She ran with long gandery
strides it was a wonder she didn't rip up her skirt at the side that was
too tight on her because there was a lot of the tomboy about Cissy Caffrey
whenever she thought she had a good opportunity to show off and just because she
was a good runner she ran like that so that he could see all the end of her
petticoat running and her skinny shanks up as far as possible. It would have
served her just right if she had tripped up over something with her high French heels on her to make
her look tall and
got a fine tumble. That would have been a very charming exposé for a gentleman like that to witness.
Queen of angels, queen of patriarchs, queen of prophets, of all saints, they prayed, queen of the most holy rosary and then Father Conroy handed the thurible to Canon O'Hanlon and he put in the incense and censed the blessed sacrament and Cissy Caffrey caught the two twins and she was itching to give them a good clip on the ear but she didn't because she thought he might be watching but she never made a bigger mistake in her life because Gerty could see without looking that he never took his eyes off of her and then Canon O'Hanlon handed the thurible back to Father Conroy and knelt down looking up at the blessed sacrament and the choir began to sing Tantum ergo and she just swung her foot in and out in time to the Tantumer gosa cramen tum. Three and eleven she paid for those stockings in Sparrow's of George's street on the Tuesday, no the Monday before easter and there wasn't a brack on them and that was what he was looking at, transparent, and not at her that had neither shape nor form because he had eyes in his head to see the difference for himself.
Cissy came up along the strand with the two twins and their ball with her hat anyhow on her on one side after her run and she did look a streel tugging the two kids along with the blouse she bought only a fortnight before like a rag on her back. Gerty just took off her hat for a moment to settle her hair and a prettier, a daintier head of nutbrown tresses was never seen on a girl's shoulders — a radiant little vision, in sooth, almost maddening in its sweetness. You would have to travel many a long mile before you found a head of hair the like of that. She could almost see the swift answering flash of admiration in his eyes that set her tingling in every nerve. She put on her hat so that she could see from underneath the brim and swung her buckled shoe faster for her breath caught as she caught the expression in his eyes. He was eying her as a snake eyes its prey. Her woman's instinct told her that she had raised the devil in him and at the thought a burning scarlet swept from throat to brow till the lovely colour of her face became a glorious rose.
Edy Boardman was noticing it too because she was squinting at Gerty, half
smiling, with her specs, like an old maid, pretending to nurse the baby.
Irritable little gnat she was and always would be and that was why no-one could
get on with her, poking her nose into what was no concern of hers. And she said to Gerty:
— A penny for your thoughts.
— What? laughed Gerty. I was only wondering was it late.
Because she wished to goodness they'd take the snottynosed twins and their baby home to the mischief out of that so that was why she just gave a gentle hint about (4it its4) being late. And when Cissy came up Edy asked her the time and Miss Cissy, as glib as you like, said it was half past kissing time, time to kiss again. But Edy wanted to know because they were told to be in early.
— Wait, said Cissy, I'll ask my uncle Peter over there what's the time by his conundrum.
So over she went and when he saw her coming she could see him take his hand out of his pocket, getting nervous, and beginning to play with his watchchain, looking at the church. Passionate nature though he was Gerty could see that he had enormous control over himself. One moment he had been there, fascinated by a loveliness that made him gaze, and the next moment it was the quiet gravefaced gentleman, selfcontrol expressed in every line of his distinguishedlooking figure.
Cissy said to excuse her would he mind telling her what was the right time and Gerty could see him taking out his watch listening to it and looking up and he said he was very sorry his watch was stopped but he thought it must be after eight because the sun was set. His voice had a cultured ring in it and there was a suspicion of a quiver in the mellow tones. Cissy said thanks and came back with her tongue out and said his waterworks were out of order.
Then they sang the second verse of the Tantum ergo and Canon
O'Hanlon got up again and censed the blessed sacrament and knelt down and
he told Father Conroy that one of the candles was just going to set fire to the
flowers and Father Conroy got up and settled it all right and she could see the
gentleman winding his watch and listening to the works and she swung her leg
more in and out in time. It was getting darker but he could see and he was
looking all the time that he was winding the watch or whatever he was doing to
it and then he put it back and put his hands back into his pockets. She felt a
kind of a sensation rushing all over her and she knew by the feel of her scalp
and that irritation against her stays that that thing must be coming on because
the last time too was when she clipped her hair on account of the moon. His dark
eyes fixed themselves on her again, drinking in her every contour,
literally worshipping at her shrine. If ever there was undisguised admiration in a man's passionate gaze it was there plain to be seen on that man's face. It is for you, Gertrude MacDowell, and you know it.
Edy began to get ready to go and she noticed that that little hint she gave
had the desired effect because it was a long way along the strand to where there
was the place to push up the pushcar and Cissy took off the twins' caps and
tidied their hair to make herself attractive of
course and Canon O'Hanlon stood up with his cope poking up at his neck and Father Conroy handed him the card to read off and he read out Panem de coelo praestitisti eis and Edy and Cissy were talking about the time all the time and asking her but Gerty could pay them back in their own coin and she just answered with scathing politeness when Edy asked her was she heartbroken about her best boy throwing her over. Gerty winced sharply. A brief cold blaze shone from her eyes that spoke of scorn immeasurable. It hurt — O yes, it cut deep because Edy had her own quiet way of saying things like that she knew would wound like the confounded little cat she was. Gerty's lips parted swiftly but she fought back the sob that rose to her throat, so slim, so flawless, so beautifully moulded it seemed one an artist might have dreamed of. She had loved him better than he knew. Lighthearted deceiver and fickle like all his sex he would never understand what he had meant to her and for an instant there was in the blue eyes a quick stinging of tears. Their eyes were probing her mercilessly but with a brave effort she sparkled back in sympathy as she glanced at her new conquest for them to see.
— O, she laughed, and the proud head flashed up. I can throw my cap at who I like because it's leap year.
Her words rang out crystalclear, more musical than the cooing of the
ringdove but they cut the silence icily. There was that in her young voice that
told that she was not a one to be lightly trifled with. Miss Edy's
countenance fell to no slight extent and Gerty could see by her looking as black
as thunder that she was simply in a towering rage because that shaft had struck
home and they both knew that she was something aloof, apart, in another sphere,
that she was not of them and never would be and there
was somebody else too that knew it and saw it so they could put that in their pipe and smoke it.
Edy straightened up baby Boardman to get ready to go and Cissy tucked in the
ball and the spades and buckets and it was high time too because the sandman was
on his way for Master Boardman junior and Cissy told him too that Billy Winks
was coming and that baby was to go deedaw and baby looked just too ducky,
laughing up out of his gleeful eyes, and Cissy poked him like that out of fun in
his wee fat tummy and baby, without as much as by your leave, sent up his
compliments to all and sundry on to his brand new dribbling bib.
— O my! Puddeny pie! protested Ciss.
The slight contretemps claimed her attention but in two twos she set that little matter to rights.
Gerty stifled a smothered exclamation and Edy asked what and she was just going to tell her to catch it while it was flying but she was ever ladylike in her deportment so she simply passed it off by saying that that was the benediction because just then the bell rang out from the steeple over the quiet seashore because Canon O'Hanlon was up on the altar with the veil that Father Conroy put round him round his shoulders giving (4them4) the benediction with the blessed sacrament in his hands.
How moving the scene there in the gathering twilight, the last glimpse of
Erin, the touching chime of those evening bells and at the same time a bat flew
forth from the ivied belfry through the dusk, hither, thither, with a tiny lost
cry. And she could see far away the lights of the lighthouses and soon the
lamplighter would be going his rounds lighting the lamp near her window where
Reggy Wylie used to turn the bicycle like she read in that book The
Lamplighter by Miss Cummins, author of Mabel Vaughan and other tales.
For Gerty had her dreams that no-one knew of. She loved to read poetry and she
got a keepsake from Bertha Supple of that lovely confession album with the
coralpink cover to write her thoughts in she laid it in the drawer of her
toilet-table which, though it did not err on the side of luxury, was
scrupulously neat and clean. It was there she kept her girlish treasure trove,
the tortoiseshell combs, her child of Mary badge, the whiterose scent, the
eyebrowleine, her alabaster pouncetbox and the ribbons to change when her things
came home from the wash and there were some beautiful thoughts written in it in
violet ink that she bought in Wisdom Hely's
for she felt that she too could write poetry if she could only express herself like that poem she had copied out of the newspaper she found one evening round the potherbs. Art thou real, my ideal? it was called by Louis (4J J.4) Walshe, Magherafelt, and after there was something about twilight, wilt thou ever? and often the beauty of poetry, so sad in its transient loveliness had misted her eyes with silent tears that the years were slipping by for her, one by one, and but for that one shortcoming she knew she need fear no competition and that was an accident coming down the hill and she always tried to conceal it. But it must end, she felt. If she saw that magic lure in his eyes there would be no holding back for her. Love laughs at locksmiths. She would make the great
sacrifice. Dearer than the whole world would she be to him and gild his days with happiness. There was the allimportant question and she was dying to know was he a married man or a widower who had lost his wife or some tragedy like the nobleman with the foreign name from the land of song had to have her put into a madhouse, cruel only to be kind. But even if — what then? Would it make a very great difference? From everything in the least indelicate her finebred nature instinctively recoiled. She loathed that sort of person, the fallen women off the accomodation walk beside the Dodder that went with the soldiers and coarse men, degrading the sex and being taken up to the police station. No, no: not that. They would be just good friends in spite of the conventions of society with a big ess. Perhaps it was an old flame he was in mourning for from the days beyond recall. She thought she understood. She would try to understand him because men were so different. The old love was waiting, waiting with little white hands stretched out, with blue appealing eyes. She would follow the dictates of her heart for love was the master guide. Nothing else mattered. Come what might she would be wild, untrammelled, free.
Canon O'Hanlon put the blessed sacrament back into the tabernacle and the choir sang Laudate Dominum omnes gentes and then he locked the tabernacle door because the benediction was over and Father Conroy handed him his hat to put on and Edy asked was she coming but Jacky Caffrey called out:
— O, look, Cissy!
And they all looked was it sheet lightning but Tommy saw it too over the
trees beside the church, blue and then green and purple.
— It's fireworks, Cissy Caffrey said.
And they all ran down the strand to see over the houses and the church, helterskelter, Edy with the pushcar with baby Boardman in it and Cissy holding Tommy and Jacky by the hand so they wouldn't fall running.
— Come on, Gerty, Cissy called. It's the bazaar fireworks.
But Gerty was adamant. She had no intention of being at their beck and call. If they could run like rossies she could sit so she said she could see from where she was. The eyes that were fastened upon her set her pulses tingling. She looked at him a moment, meeting his glance, and a light broke in upon her. Whitehot passion was in that face, passion silent as the grave(4,º4) and it had made her his. At last they were left alone without the others to pry and pass remarks and she knew he could be trusted to the death, steadfast, a man of honour to his fingertips. She leaned back far to look up where the fireworks were and she caught her knee in her hands so as not to fall back looking up and there was no-one to see only him and her when she revealed all her graceful beautifully shaped legs like that, supply soft and delicately rounded, and she seemed to hear the panting of his heart, his hoarse breathing, because she knew about the passion of men like that, hotblooded, because Bertha Supple told her once in secret about the gentleman lodger that was staying with them out of the record office that had pictures cut out of papers of those skirtdancers and she said he used to do something not very nice that you could imagine sometimes in the bed. But this was different from a thing like that there was all the difference because she could almost feel him draw her face to his and the first quick hot touch of his handsome lips. Besides there was absolution so long as you didn't do the other thing before being married and there ought to be women priests that would understand without telling out and Cissy Caffrey too sometimes had that dreamy kind of dreamy look in her eyes so that she too, my dear, and besides it was on account of that other thing coming on the way it did.
And Jacky Caffrey shouted to look, there was another and she leaned back and
the garters were blue to match on account of the transparent and they all saw it
and shouted to look, look, there it was and she leaned back ever so far to see
the fireworks and something queer was flying about through the air, a soft
thing, to and fro, dark. And she saw a long Roman candle going up over
the trees up, up, and they were all breathless with excitement as it went higher and higher and she had to lean back more and more to look up after it, high, high, almost out of sight, and her face was suffused with a divine, an entrancing blush from straining back and he could see her other things too, nainsook knickers, four and eleven, on account of being white and she let him and she saw that he saw and then it went so high it went out of sight a moment and she was trembling in every limb from being bent so far back that he could see high up above her knee where no-one ever and she wasn't ashamed and he wasn't either to look in that immodest way like that because he couldn't resist the sight like those skirtdancers behaving so immodest before gentlemen looking and he kept on looking, looking. She would fain have cried to him chokingly, held out her snowy slender arms to him to come, to feel his lips laid on her white brow. And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind blank and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh of O! and everyone cried O! O! and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling with golden, O so lovely(4,!º4) O so soft, sweet, soft!
Then all melted away dewily in the grey air: all was silent. Ah! She glanced at him as she bent forward quickly, a glance of piteous protest, of shy reproach under which he coloured like a girl. He was leaning back against the rock behind. Leopold Bloom (for it is he) stands silent with bowed head before those young guileless eyes. What a brute he had been! At it again? A fair unsullied soul had called to him and, wretch that he was, how had he answered? An utter cad he had been! But there was an infinite store of mercy in those eyes, for him too a word of pardon even though he had erred and sinned and wandered. That was their secret, only theirs, alone in the hiding twilight and there was none to know or tell save the little bat that flew so softly through the evening to and fro and little bats don't tell.
Cissy Caffrey whistled, imitating the boys in the football field to show what a great person she was: and then she cried:
— Gerty! Gerty! We're going. Come on. We can see from farther up.
Gerty had an idea. She slipped a hand into her
kerchief pocket and took out the wadding and waved in reply of course without letting him and then slipped it back. Wonder if he's too far to. She rose. She had to go but they would meet again, there, and she would dream of that till then, tomorrow. She drew herself up to her full height. Their souls met in a last lingering glance and the eyes that reached her heart, full of a strange shining, hung enraptured on her sweet flowerlike face. She half smiled at him, a sweet forgiving smile — and then they parted.
Slowly without looking back she went down the uneven strand to Cissy, to Edy, to Jacky and Tommy Caffrey, to little baby Boardman. It was darker now and there were stones and bits of wood on the strand and slippy seaweed. She walked with a certain quiet dignity characteristic of her but with care and very slowly because — because Gerty MacDowell was …
Tight boots? No. She's lame! O!
Mr Bloom watched her as she limped away. Poor girl! That's why
she's left on the shelf and the others did a sprint. Thought something was
wrong by the cut of her jib. Jilted beauty. Glad I didn't know it when she
was on show. Hot little devil all the same.
Near her monthlies, I expect, makes them feel ticklish. I have such a bad headache today. Where did I put the letter? Yes, all right. All kinds of crazy longings. Girl in Tranquilla convent nun told me liked to smell rock oil. Sister? That's the moon. But then why don't all women menstruate at the same time with the same moon? I mean. Depends on the time they were born, I suppose. Anyhow I got the best of that. Made up for that tramdriver this morning. That gouger M'Coy stopping me to say nothing. And his wife engagement in the country valise voice like a pickaxe. Thankful for small mercies. Cheap too. Yours for the asking. Because they want it themselves. Shoals of them every evening poured out of offices. Catch em alive, O. Pity they can't see themselves. A dream of wellfilled hose. Where was that? Ah, yes. Mutoscope pictures in Capel street: for men only. Peeping Tom. Willie's hat and what the girls did with it. Do they snapshot those girls or is it all a
fake. (4Lingerie Lingerie4) does it. Felt for the curves inside her (4deshabille deshabilleº4). Excites them also when they're. Molly. Why I bought her the violet garters. Say a woman loses a charm with every pin she takes out. Pinned together. O Mairy lost the pin of her. Dressed up to the nines for somebody. In no hurry either. Always off to a fellow when they are. Out on spec probably. They believe in chance because like themselves. And the others inclined to give her an odd dig. Mary and Martha. Girl friends at school, arms round each other's necks, kissing and whispering secrets about nothing in the convent garden. Nuns with whitewashed faces, cool coifs and their rosaries going up and down, vindictive too for what they can't get. Barbed wire. Be sure now and write to me. And I'll write to you. Now won't you? Molly and Josie Powell. Then meet once in a blue moon. Tableau. O, look who it is for the love of God! How are you at all? What have you been doing with yourself? Kiss and delighted to, kiss, to see you. Picking holes in each other's appearance. You're looking splendid. Wouldn't lend each other a pinch of salt.
Devils they are when that's coming on them. Molly often told me feel
things a ton weight. Scratch the sole of my foot. O that way! O, that's
exquisite! Feel it myself too. Good to rest once in a way. Wonder if it's
bad to go with them then. Safe in one way. Something about withering plants I
read in a garden. Besides they say if the flower withers she wears she's a
flirt. All are. Daresay she felt I. When you feel like that you often meet what
you feel. Liked me or what? Dress they look at. Always know a fellow courting:
collars and cuffs. Same time might prefer a tie undone or something. Trousers?
Suppose I when I was? No. Gently does it. Dislike rough and tumble. Kiss in the
dark and never tell. Saw something in me. Wonder what. Sooner have me as I am than some poet
chap with bearsgrease plastery hair, lovelock over his dexter optic. To aid gentleman in literary. Ought to attend to my appearance my age. Didn't let her see me in profile. Still, you never know. Pretty girls and ugly men marrying. Beauty and the beast. Besides I can't be so if Molly. Took off her hat to show her hair. Wide brim bought to hide her face, meeting someone might know her, bend down or carry a bunch of flowers to smell. Hair strong in rut. Ten bob I got for Molly's combings when we were on the rocks in Holles street. Why not? Suppose he gave her money. Why not? All a prejudice. She's worth ten, fifteen, more a pound. What? I think so. All that for nothing. Bold hand. Mrs Marion. Did I forget to write address on that letter like the postcard I sent to Flynn. And the day I went to Drimmie's without a necktie. Wrangle with Molly it was put me off. No, I remember. Richie Goulding. He's another. Weighs on his mind. Funny my watch stopped at half past four. Was that just when he, she?
O, he did. Into her. She did. Done.
Mr Bloom with careful hand recomposed his wet shirt. O Lord, that little
limping devil. Begins to feel cold and clammy. After effect not pleasant. They
don't care. Complimented perhaps. Go home and say night prayers with the
kiddies. Well, aren't they? Still I feel. The strength it gives a man. That's the secret of it.
Good job I let off there behind coming out of Dignam's. Cider that was. Otherwise I couldn't have. Makes you want to sing after. Lacaus esant tatatara. Suppose I spoke to her. What about? Bad plan however if you don't know how to end the conversation. Ask them a question they ask you another. Good idea if you're stuck. Gain time. But then you're in a cart. Wonderful of course if you say: good evening, and you see she's on for it: good evening. Girl in Meath street that night. All the dirty things I made her say. Parrots. Wish she hadn't called me sir. O, her mouth in the dark! And you a married man with a single girl. That's what they enjoy. Taking a man from another woman. French letter still in my pocketbook. But might happen sometime, I don't think. Come in. All is prepared. I dreamt. What? Worst is beginning. How they change the venue when it's not what they like. Ask you do you like mushrooms because she once knew a gentleman who. Yet if I went the whole hog, say: I want to, something like that. Because I did. She too. Offend her. Then make it up. Pretend to want something awfully, then cry off for her sake. Flatters them. She must have been thinking of someone else all the time. What harm? Must since she came to the use of reason, he, he and he. First kiss does the trick. Something inside them goes pop. Mushy like, tell by their eye, on the sly. First thoughts are best. Remember that till their dying day. Molly, lieutenant Mulvey that kissed her under the Moorish wall beside the gardens. Fifteen she told me. But her breasts were developed. Fell asleep then. After Glencree dinner that was when we drove home the featherbed mountain. Gnashing her teeth in sleep. Lord mayor had his eye on her too. Val Dillon. Apoplectic.
There she is with them down there for the fireworks. My fireworks. Up like a
rocket, down like a stick. And the children, twins they must be, waiting for
something to happen. Want to be grownups. Dressing in mother's clothes.
Time enough, understand all the ways of the world. And the dark one with the mop
head and the nigger mouth. I knew she could whistle. Mouth made for that. Why
that highclass whore in Jammet's wore her veil only to her nose. Would you
mind, please, telling me the right time? I'll tell you the right time up a
lane. Say prunes and prisms forty times every morning,
cure for fat lips. Caressing the little boy too. Onlookers see most of the game. Of course they understand birds, animals, babies. In their line.
Didn't look back when she was going down the strand. Wouldn't give
that satisfaction. Those girls, those girls, those lovely seaside girls. Fine
eyes she had, clear. It's the white of the eye brings that out not so much
the pupil. Did she know what I? Course. Like a cat sitting beyond a dog's
jump. Woman. Never meet one like that Wilkins in the high school drawing a
picture of Venus with all his belongings on show. Call that innocence? Poor idiot! His wife
has her work cut out for her. Sharp as needles they are. When I said to Molly the man at the corner of Cuffe street was goodlooking, thought she might like, twigged at once he had a false arm. Had too. Where do they get that? Handed down from father to, mother to daughter, I mean. Bred in the bone. Milly for example drying her handkerchief on the mirror to save the ironing. And when I sent her for Molly's Paisley shawl to Prescott's, by the way that ad I must, carrying home the change in her stocking. Clever little minx! I never told her. Neat way she carries parcels too. Attract men, small thing like that. Holding up her hand, shaking it, to let the blood flow back when it was red. Who did you learn that from? Nobody. Something the nurse taught me. O, don't they know? (4Five Three4) years old she was in front of Molly's dressingtable just before we left Lombard street west. Me have a nice pace. Mullingar. Who knows? Ways of the world. Young student. Straight on her pins anyway not like the other. Still she was game. Lord, I am wet. Devil you are. Swell of her calf. Transparent stockings, stretched to breaking point. Not like that frump today. A.E. Rumpled stockings. Or the one in Grafton street. White. Wow! Beef to the heel.
A monkey puzzle rocket burst, spluttering in darting crackles. Zrads and zrads, zrads, zrads. And Cissy and Tommy and Jacky ran out to see and Edy after with the pushcar and then Gerty beyond the curve of the rocks. Will she? Watch! Watch! See! Looked round. She smelt an onion. Darling, I saw your. I saw all.
Did me good all the same. Off colour after Kiernan's, Dignam's.
For this relief much thanks. In Hamlet, that is. Lord! It was all things
combined. Excitement. When she leaned back felt an ache at the butt of my
tongue. Your head it simply swirls. He's right. Might have made a worse
fool of myself however. Instead of talking about nothing. Then I will tell you all. Still it was a
kind of language between us. It couldn't be? No, Gerty they called her. Might be false name however like mine and the address Dolphin's barn a blind.
Her maiden name was Jemima Brown
And she lived with her mother in Irishtown.
Place made me think of that I suppose. All tarred with the same brush. Wiping pens in their stockings. But the ball rolled down to her as if it understood. Every bullet has its billet. Course I never could throw anything straight at school. Crooked as a ram's horn. Sad however because it lasts only a few years till they settle down to potwalloping and fuller's earth for the baby when he does ah ah. No soft job. Saves them. Keeps them out of harm's way. Nature. Washing child, washing corpse. Dignam. Children's hands always round them. Cocoanut skulls, monkeys, not even closed at first, sour milk in their swaddles and tainted curds. Oughtn't to have given that child an empty teat to suck. Fill it up with wind. Mrs Beaufoy, Purefoy. Must call to the hospital. Wonder is nurse Callan there still. And Mrs Breen and Mrs Dignam once like that too, marriageable. Worst of all the night Mrs Duggan told me in the City Arms. Husband rolling in drunk, stink of pub off him like a polecat. Have that in your nose all night, whiff of stale boose. Bad policy however to fault the husband. Chickens come home to roost. They stick by one another like glue. Maybe the women's fault also. That's where Molly can knock spots off them. It is the blood of the south. Moorish. Also the form, the figure. Hands felt for the opulent. Just compare for instance those others. Wife locked up at home, skeleton in the cupboard. Allow me to introduce my. Then they trot you out some kind of a nondescript, wouldn't know what to call her. Always see a fellow's weak point in his wife. Still there's destiny in it, falling in love. Have their own secrets between them. Chaps that would go (4toº4) the dogs if some woman didn't take them in hand. Then little chits of girls, height of a shilling in coppers, with little hubbies. As God made them He matched them. Sometimes children turn out well enough. Twice nought makes one. This wet is very unpleasant.
Other hand a sixfooter with a wifey up to his watchpocket. Long and the
short of it. Very strange about my watch. Wonder is there any magnetic influence between the
person because that was about the time he. Yes, I suppose, at once. Cat's away the mice will play. I remember looking in Pill lane. Also that now is magnetism.
Back of everything magnetism. Earth for instance pulling this and being pulled. That causes movement. And time? Well that's the time the movement takes. Then if one thing stopped the whole ghesabo would stop bit by bit. Because it's all arranged. Magnetic needle tells you what's going on in the sun, the stars. Little piece of steel iron. When you hold out the fork. Come. Come. Tip. Woman and man that is. Fork and steel. Molly, he. Dress up and look and suggest and let you see and see more and defy you if you're a man to see that and legs, look, look and. Tip. Have to let fly.
Wonder how is she feeling in that region. Shame all put on before third person. Molly, her underjaw stuck out, head back about the farmer in the ridingboots with the spurs. And when the painters were in Lombard street west. Smell that I did, like flowers. It was too. Violets. Came from the turpentine probably in the paint. Make their own use of everything. Same time doing it scraped her slipper on the floor so they wouldn't hear. But lots of them can't kick the beam, I think. Keep that thing up for hours. Kind of a general all round over me and half down my back.
Wait. Hm. Hm. Yes. That's her perfume. Why she waved her hand. I leave
you this to think of me when I'm far away on the pillow. What is it?
Heliotrope? No. Hyacinth? Hm. Roses, I think. She'd like scent of that
kind. Sweet and cheap: soon sour. Why Molly likes opoponax. Suits her with a
little jessamine mixed. Her high notes and her low notes. At the dance night she
met him, dance of the hours. Heat brought it out. She was wearing her black and
it had the perfume of the time before. Good conductor, is it? Or bad? Light too.
Suppose there's some connection. For instance if you go into a cellar where
it's dark. Mysterious thing too. Why did I smell it only now? Took its time
in coming like herself, slow but sure. Suppose it's ever so many millions
of tiny grains blown across. Yes, it is. Because those spice islands, Cinghalese
this morning, smell them leagues off. Tell you what it is. It's like a fine
fine veil or web they have all over the skin, fine like what do you call it
gossamer and they're always spinning it out of them, fine as anything,
rainbow colours without knowing it. Clings to everything she takes off. Vamp of
her stockings. Warm shoe. Stays. Drawers: little kick, taking them off. Byby
till next time. Also the cat likes to sniff in her shift on the bed. Know her
smell in a thousand. Bathwater too. Reminds me of strawberries and cream. Wonder
where it is really. There or the armpits or under the neck. Because
you get it out of all holes and corners. Hyacinth perfume made of oil of ether or something.
Muskrat. Bag under their tails. Dogs at each other behind. Good evening. Evening. How do you sniff? Hm. Hm. Very well, thank you. Animals go by that. Yes now, look at it that way. We're the same. Some women for instance warn you off when they have their period. Come near. Then get a hogo you could hang your hat on. Like what? Potted herrings gone stale or. Boof! Please keep off the grass.
Perhaps they get a man smell off us. What though? Cigary gloves Long John had on his desk the other. Breath? What you eat and drink gives that. No. Mansmell, I mean. Must be connected with that because priests that are supposed to be are different. Women buzz round it like flies round treacle. O father, will you? Let me be the first to. That diffuses itself all through the body, permeates. Source of life. And it's extremely curious the smell. Celery sauce. Let me.
Mr Bloom inserted his nose. Hm. Into the. Hm. Opening of his waistcoat. Almonds or. No. Lemons it is. Ah no, that's the soap.
O by the by that lotion. I knew there was something on my mind. Never went back and the soap not paid. Two and nine. Bad opinion of me he'll have. Call tomorrow. How much do I owe you? Three and nine? Two and nine, sir. Ah. Might stop him giving credit another time. Lose your customers that way. Pubs do. Fellows run up a bill on the slate and then slinking around the back streets into somewhere else.
Here's this nobleman passed before. Blown in from the bay. Just went as
far as turn back. Always at home at dinnertime. Looks mangled out: had a good
tuck in. Enjoying nature now. Grace after meals. After supper walk a mile. Sure
he has a small bank balance somewhere, government sit. Walk after him now make
him awkward like those newsboys me today. That's the way to find out. Ask
yourself who is he now. The Man on the Beach, prize titbit story by Mr
Leopold Bloom. Payment at the rate of one guinea per column. And that fellow
today at the graveside in the brown mackintosh. Corns on his kismet however.
Healthy perhaps absorb all the. Whistle brings rain they say. Must be some somewhere. Salt in the
Ormond damp. The body feels the atmosphere. Old Betty's joints are on the rack. Mother Shipton's prophecy that is about ships around they fly in the twinkling. No. Signs of rain it is. The royal reader. And distant hills seem coming nigh.
Howth. Bailey light. Two, four, six, eight, nine. See. People afraid of the dark.
Also glowworms, cyclists: lighting up time. Jewels diamonds flash better. Light is a kind of reassuring. Not going to hurt you. Better now of course than long ago. Country roads. Run you through the small guts for nothing. Still two types there are you bob against. Scowl or smile. Not at all. Best time to spray plants too in the shade after the sun. Were those nightclouds there all the time? Land of the setting sun this. Homerule sun setting in the northeast. My native land, goodnight.
Dew falling. Bad for you, dear, to sit on that stone. Brings on white fluxions. Might get piles myself. Sticks too like a summer cold, sore on the mouth. Friction of the position. Like to be that rock she sat on. Also the library today: those girl graduates. Happy chairs under them. But it's the evening influence. They feel all that. Open like flowers, know their hours, sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes, in ballrooms, chandeliers, avenues under the lamps. Nightstock in Mat Dillon's garden where I kissed her shoulder. June that was too I wooed. The year returns. And now? Sad about her lame of course but must be on your guard not to feel too much pity. They take advantage.
All quiet on Howth now. The distant hills seem. Where we. The rhododendrons. I am a fool perhaps. He gets the plums and I the leavings. All that old hill has seen. Names change: that's all. Lovers: yum yum.
Tired I feel now. Drained all the manhood out of me, little wretch. She
kissed me. My youth. Never again. Only once it comes.
Or hers. Take the train there tomorrow. No. Returning not the same. Like kids your second visit to a house. The new I want. Nothing new under the sun. Care of P.O. Dolphin's barn. Are you not happy in your? Naughty darling. At Dolphin's barn charades in Luke Doyle's house. Mat Dillon and his bevy of daughters: Tiny, Atty, Floey, Sara. Molly too. Eightyseven that was. Year before we. And the old major partial to his drop of spirits. Curious she an only child, I an only child. So it returns. Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home. And just when he and she. Circus horse walking in a ring. Rip van Winkle we played. Rip: tear in
Henny Doyle's overcoat. Van: breadvan delivering. Winkle: cockles and periwinkles. Then I did Rip van Winkle coming back. She leaned on the sideboard watching. Moorish eyes. Twenty years asleep. All changed. Forgotten. The young are old. His gun rusty from the dew.
Ba. What is that flying about? Swallow? Bat probably. Thinks I'm a
tree, so blind. Metempsychosis. They believed you could be changed into a tree
from grief. Weeping willow. Ba. There he goes. Funny little beggar. Wonder where
he lives. Belfry up there. Very likely. Hanging by the heels in the odour of
sanctity. Bell scared him out, I suppose. Mass seems to be over. Yes,
there's the light in the priest's house. Their frugal meal. Remember
about the mistake in the valuation when I was in Thom's. Twentyeight it is.
Two houses they have. Gabriel Conroy's brother is curate. Ba. Again. Wonder
why they come out at night like mice. They're a mixed breed. Birds are like
hopping mice. What frightens them, light or noise? Better sit still. All
instinct like the bird in drouth got water out of the end of a jar by throwing
in pebbles. Like a little man in a cloak he is with tiny hands. Weeny bones.
Almost see them shimmering, kind of a bluey white. Colours depend on the light
you see. Instance, that cat this morning on the staircase. Colour of brown turf.
Howth a while ago amethyst. Glass flashing. That's how that wise man
what's his name with the burning glass. Then the heather goes on fire. It
can't be tourists' matches. What? Perhaps the sticks dry rub together in the
wind and light.
Ba. Who knows what they're always flying for. Insects? That bee last
week got into the room playing with his shadow on the ceiling. Birds too never
find out what they say. Like our small talk. And says she and says he. Nerve
they have to fly over the ocean and back. Lots must be killed in storms,
telegraph wires. Dreadful life sailors have too. Big brutes of steamers
floundering along in the dark, lowing out like seacows. Faugh a ballagh.
Out of that, bloody curse to you. Others in vessels, bit of a handkerchief sail,
pitched about like snuff at a wake when the stormy winds do blow. Married too.
Sometimes away for years at the ends of the earth somewhere. No ends really
because it's round. Wife in every port they say. She has a good job if she minds it till Johnny comes marching home
again. If ever he does. Smelling the tail end of ports. How can they like the sea? Yet they do. The anchor's weighed. Off he sails with a scapular or a medal on him for luck. Well? And the tephilim poor papa's father had on his door to touch. That brought us out of the land of Egypt and into the house of bondage. Something in all those superstitions because when you go out never know what dangers. Hanging on to a plank for grim life, lifebelt round him, gulping salt water, and that's the last of his nibs till the sharks catch hold of him. Do fish ever get seasick?
Then you have a beautiful calm without a cloud, smooth sea, placid, crew and cargo in smithereens, Davy Jones' locker. Moon looking down. Not my fault, old cockalorum.
A lost long candle wandered up the sky from Mirus bazaar in aid of funds for
Mercer's hospital and broke, drooping, and shed a cluster of violet but one
white stars. They floated, fell: they faded. And among the elms a hoisted
lintstock lit the lamp at Leahy's terrace. By the screens of lighted
windows, by equal gardens a shrill voice went crying, wailing: Evening
Telegraph, extra edition. Result of the Gold Cup races: and from the door of
Dignam's house a boy ran out and called. Twittering the bat flew here, flew
there. Far out over the sands the coming surf crept, grey. Howth settled for
slumber, tired of long days, of yumyum rhododendrons (he was old) and felt
gladly the night breeze lift, ruffle his many ferns. He lay but opened a red eye unsleeping, deep and slowly breathing, slumberous but awake. And far on Kish bank the anchored lightship twinkled, winked at Mr Bloom.
Life those chaps out there must have, stuck in the same spot. Irish Lights
board. Penance for their sins. Day we went out in the Erin's King,
throwing them the sack of old papers. Bears in the zoo. Filthy trip. Drunkards
out to shake up their livers. Puking overboard to feed the herrings. And the
women, fear of God in their faces. Milly, no sign of funk. Her blue scarf loose,
laughing. Don't know what death is at that age. And then their stomachs
clean. But being lost they fear. When we hid behind the tree at Crumlin. I
didn't want to. Mamma! Mamma! Frightening them with masks too. Poor kids.
Only troubles wildfire and nettlerash. Calomel purge I got her for that. After
getting better asleep with Molly. Very same teeth she has. What do they love? Another themselves?
But the morning she chased her with the umbrella. Perhaps so as not to hurt. I felt her pulse. Ticking. Little hand it was: now big. Dearest Papli. All that the hand says when you touch. Loved to count my waistcoat buttons. Her first stays I remember. Made me laugh to see. Little paps to begin with. Left one is more sensitive, I think. Mine too. Nearer the heart. Her growing pains at night, calling, wakening me. Frightened she was when her nature came on her first. Poor child! Strange moment for the mother too. Brings back her girlhood. Gibraltar. Looking from Buena Vista. O'Hara's tower. The seabirds screaming. Old Barbary ape that gobbled all his family. Sundown, gunfire for the men to cross the lines. Looking out over the sea she told me. Evening like this, but clear, no clouds. I always thought I'd marry a lord or a gentleman with a private yacht. Buenas noches, señorita. El hombre ama la muchacha hormosa. Why me? Because you were so foreign from the others.
Better not stick here all night like an oyster. This weather makes you dull.
Must be getting on for nine by the light. Go home. Too late for Leah.
Lily of Killarney. No. Might be still up. Call to the hospital to see.
Hope she's over. Long day I've had. Martha, the bath, funeral, house
of Keyes, museum with those goddesses, Dedalus' song. Then that bawler in
Barney Kiernan's. Got my own back there. Drunken ranters. Ought to go home
and laugh at themselves. Always want to be swilling in company. Afraid to be
alone like a child of two. Suppose he hit me. Look at it other way round. Not so
bad then. Perhaps not to hurt he meant. Three cheers for Israel. Three cheers
for the sister-in-law he hawked about, three fangs in her mouth. Extremely nice
cup of tea. Imagine that in the early morning. Everyone to his taste as Morris
said when he kissed the cow. But Dignam's put the boots on it. Houses of
mourning so depressing because you never know. Anyhow she wants the money. Must
call to the Scottish Widows as I promised. Strange name. Takes it for granted
we're going to pop off first. That widow on Monday was it outside
Cramer's that looked at me. Buried the poor husband but progressing
favourably. Well? What do you expect her to do? Must wheedle her way along.
Widower I hate to see. Looks so forlorn. Poor man O'Connor wife and five
children poisoned by mussels here. The sewage. Hopeless. Some good motherly
woman take him in tow, platter face and a large apron. See him sometimes walking about
trying to find out who played the trick. U. p: up. Fate that is. He, not me. Also a shop often noticed. Curse seems to dog it. Dreamt last night? Wait. Something confused. She had red slippers on. Turkish. Wore the breeches. Suppose she does. Would I like her in pyjamas? Damned hard to answer. Nannetti's gone. Mailboat. Near Holyhead by now. Must nail that ad of Keyes's. Work Hynes and Crawford. Petticoats for Molly. She has something to put in them. What's that? Might be money.
Mr Bloom stooped and turned over a piece of paper on the strand. He brought it near his eyes and peered. Letter? No. Can't read. Better go. Better. I'm tired to move. Page of an old copybook. Never know what you find. Bottle with story of a treasure in it thrown from a wreck. Parcels post. Children always want to throw things in the sea. Trust? Bread cast on the waters. What's this? Bit of stick.
O! Exhausted that female has me. Not so young now. Will she come here tomorrow? Will I?
Mr Bloom with his stick gently vexed the thick sand at his foot. Write a message for her. Might remain. What?
Some flatfoot tramp on it in the morning. Useless. Tide comes here a pool near her foot. O, those transparent! Besides they don't know. What is the meaning of that other world. I called you naughty boy because I do not like.
No room. Let it go.
Mr Bloom effaced the letters with his slow boot. Hopeless thing sand. Nothing grows in it. All fades. No fear of big vessels coming up here. Except Guinness's barges. Round the Kish in eighty days. Done half by design.
He flung his wooden pen away. The stick fell in silted sand, stuck. Now if you were trying to do that for a week on end you couldn't. Chance. We'll never meet again. But it was lovely. Goodbye, dear. Made me feel so young.
Short snooze now if I had. And she can do the other. Did too. And Belfast. I won't go. Let him. Just close my eyes a moment. Won't sleep though. Bat again. No harm in him. Just a few.
O sweety all your little white up I saw dirty girl made me do love sticky we
two naughty darling she him half past the bed met him
pike hoses frillies for Raoul de perfume your wife black hair heave under embon señorita young eyes Mulvey plump bubs me breadvan Winkle red slippers she rusty sleep wander years dreams return tail end Agendath lovey showed me her next year in drawers return next in her next her next.
A bat flew. Here. There. Here. Far in the grey a bell chimed. Mr Bloom with open mouth, his left boot sanded sideways, leaned, breathed. Just for a few.
The clock on the mantelpiece in the priest's house cooed where Canon
O'Hanlon and Father Conroy and the reverend John Hughes S.J. were taking
tea and sodabread and butter and fried mutton chops with catsup and talking about
Because it was a bird that came out of its little house to tell the time that Gerty MacDowell noticed the time she was there because she was as quick as anything about a thing like that, was Gerty MacDowell, and she noticed at once that (4that theº4) foreign gentleman that was sitting on the rocks looking was