Scylla and Charybdis part 4

James Joyce -- Ulysses -- Published 1922

Ulysses 10: Wandering Rocks

THE SUPERIOR, THE VERY REVEREND JOHN CONMEE S. J., RESET HIS smooth watch in his interior pocket as he came down the presbytery steps. Five to three. Just nice time to walk to Artane. What was that boy's name again? Dignam, yes. Vere dignum et justum est. Brother Swan was the person to see. Mr Cunningham's letter. Yes. Oblige him, if possible. Good practical catholic: useful at mission time.

A onelegged sailor, swinging himself onward by lazy jerks of his crutches, growled some notes. He jerked short before the convent of the sisters of charity and held out a peaked cap for aims towards the very reverend John Conmee S. J. Father Conmee blessed him in the sun for his purse held, he knew, one silver crown.

Father Conmee crossed to Mountjoy square. He thought, but not for long, of soldiers and sailors, whose legs had been shot off by cannonballs, ending their days in some pauper ward, and of cardinal Wolsey's words: If I had served my God as I have served my king He would not have abandoned me in my old days. He walked by the treeshade of sunnywinking leaves and towards him came the wife of Mr David Sheehy M. P.

-- Very well, indeed, father. And you father?

Father Conmee was wonderfully well indeed. He would go to Buxton probably for the waters. And her boys, were they getting on well at Belvedere? Was that so? Father Conmee was very glad indeed to hear that. And Mr Sheehy himself? Still in London. The house was still sitting, to be sure it was. Beautiful weather it was, delightful indeed. Yes, it was very probable that Father Bernard Vaughan would come again to preach. O, yes: a very great success. A wonderful man really.

Father Conmee was very glad to see the wife of Mr David Sheehy M. P. looking so well and he begged to be remembered to Mr David Sheehy M. P. Yes, he would certainly call.

-- Good afternoon, Mrs Sheehy.

Father Conmee doffed his silk hat, as he took leave, at the jet beads of her mantilla inkshining in the sun. And smiled yet again in going. He had cleaned his teeth, he knew, with arecanut paste.

Father Conmee walked and, walking, smiled for he thought on Father Bernard Vaughan's droll eyes and cockney voice.

-- Pilate! Wy don't you old back that owlin mob?

A zealous man, however. Really he was. And really did great good in his way. Beyond a doubt. He loved Ireland, he said, and he loved the Irish. Of good family too would one think it? Welsh, were they not?

O, lest he forget. That letter to father provincial.

Father Conmee stopped three little schoolboys at the corner of Mountjoy square. Yes: they were from Belvedere. The little house: Aha. And were they good boys at school? O. That was very good now. And what was his name? Jack Sohan. And his name? Ger. Gallaher. And the other little man? His name was Brunny Lynam. O, that was a very nice name to have.

Father Conmee gave a letter from his breast to master Brunny Lynam and pointed to the red pillarbox at the corner of Fitzgibbon street.

-- But mind you don't post yourself into the box, little man, he said.

The boys sixeyed Father Conmee and laughed.

-- O, sir.

-- Well, let me see if you can post a letter, Father Conmee said.

Master Brunny Lynam ran across the road and put Father Conmee's letter to father provincial into the mouth of the bright red letterbox, Father Conmee smiled and nodded and smiled and walked along Mountjoy square east.

Mr Denis J. Maginni, professor of dancing, &c., in silk hat, slate frockcoat with silk facings, white kerchief tie, tight lavender trousers, canary gloves and pointed patent boots, walking with grave deportment most respectfully took the curbstone as he passed lady Maxwell at the corner of Dignam's court.

Was that not Mrs M'Guinness?

Mrs M'Guinness, stately, silverhaired, bowed to Father Conmee from the farther footpath along which she smiled. And Father Conmee smiled and saluted. How did she do?

A fine carriage she had. Like Mary, queen of Scots, something. And to think that she was a pawnbroker. Well, now! Such a... what should he say?... such a queenly mien.

Father Conmee walked down Great Charles street and glanced at the shutup free church on his left. The reverend T. R. Green B. A. will (D. V.) speak. The incumbent they called him. He felt it incumbent on him to say a few words. But one should be charitable. Invincible ignorance. They acted according to their lights.

Father Conmee turned the corner and walked along the North Circular road. It was a wonder that there was not a tramline in such an important thoroughfare. Surely, there ought to be.

A band of satchelled schoolboys crossed from Richmond street. All raised untidy caps. Father Conmee greeted them more than once benignly. Christian brother boys.

Father Conmee smelled incense on his right hand as he walked. Saint Joseph's church, Portland row. For aged and virtuous females. Father Conmee raised his hat to the Blessed Sacrament. Virtuous: but occasionally they were also badtempered.

Near Aldborough house Father Conmee thought of that spendthrift nobleman. And now it was an office or something.

Father Conmee began to walk along the North Strand road and was saluted by Mr William Gallagher who stood in the doorway of his shop. Father Conmee saluted Mr William Gallagher and perceived the odours that came from baconflitches and ample cools of butter. He passed Grogan's the tobacconist against which newsboards leaned and told of a dreadful catastrophe in New York. In America those things were continually happening. Unfortunate people to die like that, unprepared. Still, an act of perfect contrition.

Father Conmee went by Daniel Bergin's publichouse against the window of which two unlabouring men lounged. They saluted him and were saluted.

Father Conmee passed H. J. O'Neill's funeral establishment where Corny Kelleher totted figures in the daybook while he chewed a blade of hay. A constable on his beat saluted Father Conmee and Father Conmee saluted the constable. In Youkstetter's, the pork-butcher's, Father Conmee observed pig's puddings, white and black and red, lying neatly curled in tubes.

Moored under the trees of Charleville Mall Father Conmee saw a turf barge, a towhorse with pendent head, a bargeman with a hat of dirty straw seated amidships, smoking and staring at a branch of poplar above him. It was idyllic: and Father Conmee reflected on the providence of the Creator who had made turf to be in bogs where men might dig it out and bring it to town and hamlet to make fires in the houses of poor people.

On Newcomen bridge the very reverend John Conmee S. J. of saint Francis Xavier's church, upper Gardiner street, stepped on to an outward bound tram.

Off an inward bound tram stepped the reverend Nicholas Dudley C. C. of saint Agatha's church, north William street, on to Newcomen bridge.

At Newcomen bridge Father Conmee stepped into an outward bound tram for he disliked to traverse on foot the dingy way past Mud Island.

Father Conmee sat in a corner of the tramcar, a blue ticket tucked with care in the eye of one plump kid glove, while four shillings, a sixpence and five pennies chuted from his other plump glovepalm into his purse. Passing the ivy church he reflected that the ticket inspector usually made his visit when one had carelessly thrown away the ticket. The solemnity of the occupants of the car seemed to Father Conmee excessive for a journey so short and cheap. Father Conmee liked cheerful decorum.

It was a peaceful day. The gentleman with the glasses opposite Father Conmee had finished explaining and looked down. His wife, Father Conmee supposed. A tiny yawn opened the mouth of the wife of the gentleman with the glasses. She raised her small gloved fist, yawned ever so gently, tiptapping her small gloved fist on her opening mouth and smiled tinily, sweetly.

Father Conmee perceived her perfume in the car. He perceived also that the awkward man at the other side of her was sitting on the edge of the seat.

Father Conmee at the altarrails placed the host with difficulty in the mouth of the awkward old man who had the shaky head.

At Annesley bridge the tram halted and, when it was about to go, an old woman rose suddenly from her place to alight. The conductor pulled the bellstrap to stay the car for her. She passed out with her basket and a market net: and Father Conmee saw the conductor help her and net and basket down: and Father Conmee thought that, as she had nearly passed the end of the penny fare, she was one of those good souls who had always to be told twice bless you, my child, that they have been absolved, pray for me. But they had so many worries in life, so many cares, poor creatures.

From the hoardings Mr Eugene Stratton grinned with thick niggerlips at Father Conmee.

Father Conmee thought of the souls of black and brown and yellow men and of his sermon of saint Peter Claver S. J. and the African mission and of the propagation of the faith and of the millions of black and brown and yellow souls that had not received the baptism of water when their last hour came like a thief in the night. That book by the Belgian jesuit, Le Nombre des Élus, seemed to Father Conmee a reasonable plea. Those were millions of human souls created by God in His Own likeness to whom the faith had not (D. V.) been brought. But they were God's souls created by God. It seemed to Father Conmee a pity that they should all be lost, a waste, if one might say.

At the Howth road stop Father Conmee alighted, was saluted by the conductor and saluted in his turn.

The Malahide road was quiet. It pleased Father Conmee, road and name. The joybells were ringing in gay Malahide. Lord Talbot de Malahide, immediate hereditary lord admiral of Malahide and the seas adjoining. Then came the call to arms and she was maid, wife and widow in one day. Those were oldworldish days, loyal times in joyous townlands, old times in the barony.

Father Conmee, walking, thought of his little book Old Times in the Barony and of the book that might be written about jesuit houses and of Mary Rochfort, daughter of lord Molesworth, first countess of Belvedere.

A listless lady, no more young, walked alone the shore of lough Ennel, Mary, first countess of Belvedere, listlessly walking in the evening, not startled when an otter plunged. Who could know the truth? Not the jealous lord Belvedere and not her confessor if she had not committed adultery fully, eiaculatio seminis inter vas naturale mulieris, with her husband's brother? She would half confess if she had not all sinned as women did. Only God knew and she and he, her husband's brother.

Father Conmee thought of that tyrannous incontinence, needed however for men's race on earth, and of the ways of God which were not our ways.

Don John Conmee walked and moved in times of yore. He was humane and honoured there. He bore in mind secrets confessed and he smiled at smiling noble faces in a beeswaxed drawingroom, ceiled with full fruit clusters. And the hands of a bride and of a bridegroom, noble to noble, were impalmed by don John Conmee.

It was a charming day.

The lychgate of a field showed Father Conmee breadths of cabbages, curtseying to him with ample underleaves. The sky showed him a flock of small white clouds going slowly down the wind. Moutonner, the French said. A homely and just word.

Father Conmee, reading his office, watched a flock of muttoning clouds over Rathcoffey. His thinsocked ankles were tickled by the stubble of Clongowes field. He walked there, reading in the evening, and heard the cries of the boys' lines at their play, young cries in the quiet evening. He was their rector: his reign was mild.

Father Conmee drew off his gloves and took his rededged breviary out. An ivory bookmark told him the page.

Nones. He should have read that before lunch. But lady Maxwell had come.

Father Conmee read in secret Pater and Ave and crossed his breast. Deus in adiutorium.

He wamked calmly and read mutely the nones, walking and reading till he came to Res in Beati immaculati: Principium verborum tuotum veritas: in eternum omnia iudicia iustitu tu&Aelig;.

A flushed young man came from a gap of a hedge and after him came a young woman with wild nodding daisies in her hand. The young man raised his cap abruptly: the young woman abruptly bent and with slow care detached from her light skirt a clinging twig.

Father Conmee blessed both gravely and turned a thin page of his breviary. Sin: Principes persecuti sunt me gratis: et a verbis tuis formidavit cor meum.


Corny Kelleher closed his long daybook and glanced with his drooping eye at a pine coffinlid sentried in a corner. He pulled himself erect, went to it and, spinning it on its axle, viewed its shape and brass furnishings. Chewing his blade of hay he laid the coffinlid by and came to the doorway. There he tilted his hatbrim to give shade to his eyes and leaned against the doorcase, looking idly out.

Father John Conmee stepped into the Dollymount tram on Newcomen bridge.

Corny Kelleher locked his largefooted boots and gazed, his hat downtilted, chewing his blade of hay.

Constable 57C, on his beat, stood to pass the time of day.

-- That's a fine day, Mr Kelleher.

-- Ay, Corny Kelleher said.

-- It's very close, the constable said.

Corny Kelleher sped a silent jet of hayjuice arching from his mouth while a generous white arm from a window in Eccles street flung forth a coin.

-- What's the best news? he asked.

-- I seen that particular party last evening, the constable said with bated breath.


A onelegged sailor crutched himself round MacConnell's corner, skirting Rabaiotti's icecream car, and jerked himself up Eccles street. Towards Larry O'Rourke, in shirtsleeves in his doorway, he growled unamiably

-- For England...

He swung himself violently forward past Katey and Boody Dedalus, halted and growled:

-- home and beauty.

J.J. O'Molloy's white careworn face was told that Mr Lambert was in the warehouse with a visitor.

A stout lady stopped, took a copper coin from her purse and dropped it into the cap held out to her. The sailor grumbled thanks and glanced sourly at the unheeding windows, sank his head and swung himself forward four strides.

He halted and growled angrily:

-- For England...

Two barefoot urchins, sucking long liquorice laces, halted near him, gaping at his stump with their yellow-slobbered mouths.

He swung himself forward in vigorous jerks, halted, lifted his head towards a window and bayed deeply:

-- home and beauty.

The gay sweet chirping whistling within went on a bar or two, ceased. The blind of the window was drawn aside. A card Unfurnished Apartments slipped from the sash and fell.

A plump bare generous arm shone, was seen, held forth from a white petticoatbodice and taut shiftstraps. A woman's hand flung forth a coin over the area railings. It fell on the path.

One of the urchins ran to it, picked it up and dropped it into the minstrel's cap, saying:

-- There, sir.


Katey and Boody Dedalus shoved in the door of the closesteaming kitchen.

-- Did you put in the books? Boody asked.

Maggy at the range rammed down a greyish mass beneath bubbling suds twice with her potstick and wiped her brow.

-- They wouldn't give anything on them, she said.

Father Conmee walked through Clongowes fields, his thinsocked ankles tickled by stubble.

-- Where did you try? Boody asked.

-- M'Guinness's.

Body stamped her foot and threw her satchel on the table.

-- Bad cess to her big face! she cried.

Katey went to the range and peered with squinting eyes.

-- What's in the pot? she asked.

-- Shirts, Maggy said.

Boody cried angrily:

-- Crickey, is there nothing for us to eat?

Katey, lifting the kettlelid in a pad of her stained skirt, asked:

-- And what's in this?

A heavy fume gushed in answer.

-- Peasoup, Maggy said.

-- Where did you get it? Katey asked.

-- Sister Mary Patrick, Maggy said.

The lacquey rang his bell.

-- Barang!

Boody sat down at the table and said hungrily:

-- Give us it here!

Maggy poured yellow thick soup from the kettle into a bowl. Katey, sitting opposite Boody, said quietly, as her fingertip lifted to her mouth random crumbs.

-- A good job we have that much. Where's Dilly?

-- Gone to meet father, Maggy said.

Boody, breaking big chunks of bread into the yellow soup, added:

-- Our father who art not in heaven.

Maggy, pouring yellow soup in Katey's bowl, exclaimed:

-- Boody! For shame!

A skiff, a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming, rode lightly down the Liffey, under Loopline bridge, shooting the rapids where water chafed around the bridgepiers, sailing eastward past hulls and anchorchains, between the Customhouse old dock and George's quay.


The blonde girl in Thornton's bedded the wicker basket with rustling fibre. Blazes Boylan handed her the bottle swathed in pink tissue paper and a small jar.

-- Put these in first, will you? he said.

-- Yes, sir, the blond girl said, and the fruit on top.

-- That'll do, game ball, Blazes Boylan said.

She bestowed fat pears neatly, head by tail, and among them ripe shamefaced peaches.

Blazes Boylan walked here and there in new tan shoes about the fruitsmelling shop, lifting fruits, young juicy crinkled and plump red tomatoes, sniffing smells.

H. E. L. Y.'S. filed before him, tallwhitehatted, past Tangier lane, plodding towards their goal.

He turned suddenly from a chip of strawberries, drew a gold watch from his fob and held it at its chain's length.

-- Can you send them by tram? Now?

A darkbacked figure under Merchants' arch scanned books on the hawker's car.

-- Certainly, sir. Is it in the city?

-- O, yes, Blazes Boylan said. Ten minutes.

The blond girl handed him a docket and pencil.

-- Will you write the address, sir?

Blazes Boylan at the counter wrote and pushed the docket to her.

-- Send it at once, will you? he said. It's for an invalid.

-- Yes, sir. I will, sir.

Blazes Boylan rattled merry money in his trousers' pocket.

-- What's the damage? he asked.

The blond girl's slim fingers reckoned the fruits.

Blazes Boylan looked into the cut of her blouse. A young pullet. He took a red carnation from the tall stemglass.

-- This for me? he asked gallantly.

The blond girl glanced sideways at him, got up regardless, with his tie a bit crooked, blushing.

-- Yes, sir, she said.

Bending archly she reckoned again fat pears and blushing peaches.

Blazes Boylan looked in her blouse with more favour, the stalk of the red flower between his smiling teeth.

-- May I say a word to your telephone, missy? he asked roguishly.


-- Ma! Almidano Artifoni said.

He gazed over Stephen's shoulder at Goldsmith's knobby poll.

Two carfuls of tourists passed slowly, their women sitting fore, gripping frankly the handrests. Pale faces. Men's arms frankly round their stunted forms. They looked from Trinity to the blind columned porch of the bank of Ireland where pigeons roocoocooed.

-- Anch'io ho avuto di queste idee, Almidano Artifoni said, quand' ero giovine come Lei. Eppoi mi sono convinto che il mondo è una bestia. È peccato. Perche la sua voce... sarebbe un cespite di rendita, via. Invece, Lei si sacrifica.

-- Sacrifizio incruento, Stephen said smiling, swaying his ashplant in slow swingswong from its midpoint, lightly.

-- Speriamo, the round mustachioed face said pleasantly. Ma, dia retta a me. Ci rifletta.

By the stern stone hand of Grattan, bidding halt, an Inchicore tram unloaded straggling Highland soldiers of a band.

-- Ci riflettò, Stephen said, glancing down the solid trouser-leg.

-- Ma, sul serio, eh? Almidano Artifoni said.

His heavy hand took Stephen's firmly. Human eyes. They gazed curiously an instant and turned quickly towards a Dalkey tram.

-- Eccolo, Almidano Artifoni said in friendly haste. Venga a trovarmi e ci pensi. Addio, caro.

-- Arrivederla, maestro, Stephen said, raising his hat when his hand was freed. E grazie.

-- Di che? Almidano Artifoni said. Scusi, eh? Tante belle cose!

Almidano Artifoni, holding up a baton of rolled music as a signal, trotted on stout trousers after the Dalkey tram. In vain he trotted, signalling in vain among the rout of bare-kneed gillies smuggling implements of music through Trinity gates.


Miss Dunne hid the Capel street library copy of The Woman in White far back in her drawer and rolled a sheet of gaudy notepaper into her typewriter.

Too much mystery business in it. Is he in love with that one, Marion? Change it and get another by Mary Cecil Haye.

The disk shot down the groove, wobbled a while, ceased and ogled them: six.

Miss Dunne clicked on the keyboard:

-- 16 June 1904.

Five tallwhitehatted sandwichmen between Monypeny's corner and the slab where Wolfe Tone's statue was not, eeled themselves turning H. E. L. Y.'S and plodded back as they had come.

Then she stared at the large poster of Marie Kendall, charming soubrette, and, listlessly lolling, scribbled on the jotter sixteens and capital esses. Mustard hair and dauby cheeks. She's not nicelooking, is she? The way she is holding up her bit of a skirt. Wonder will that fellow be at the band tonight. If I could get that dressmaker to make a concertina skirt like Susy Nagle's. They kick out grand. Shannon and all the boatclub swells never took his eyes off her. Hope to goodness he won't keep me here till seven.

The telephone rang rudely by her ear.

-- Hello. Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, sir. I'll ring them up after five. Only those two, sir, for Belfast and Liverpool. All right, sir. Then I can go after six if you're not back. A quarter after. Yes, sir. Twentyseven and six. I'll tell him. Yes: one, seven, six.

She scribbled three figures on an envelope.

-- Mr Boylan! Hello! That gentleman from Sport was in looking for you. Mr Lenehan, yes. He said he'll be in the Ormond at four. No, sir. Yes, sir. I'll ring them up after five.


Wandering Rocks part 2

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