The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
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Title: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Author: James Joyce
Release Date: December 8, 2001 [eBook #4217]
[Most recently updated: November 28, 2020]
Character set encoding: UTF-8
Produced by: Col Choat. HTML version by Al Haines. Further corrections by Menno de Leeuw.
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN ***
by James Joyce
“Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes.”
Ovid, Metamorphoses, VIII., 18.
Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow comingdown along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the roadmet a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo....
His father told him that story: his father looked at him through aglass: he had a hairy face.
He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrnelived: she sold lemon platt.
O, the wild rose blossoms
On the little green place.
He sang that song. That was his song.
O, the green wothe botheth.
When you wet the bed, first it is warm then it gets cold. His mother puton the oilsheet. That had the queer smell.
His mother had a nicer smell than his father. She played on the pianothe sailor’s hornpipe for him to dance. He danced:
Uncle Charles and Dante clapped. They were older than his father andmother but uncle Charles was older than Dante.
Dante had two brushes in her press. The brush with the maroon velvetback was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet backwas for Parnell. Dante gave him a cachou every time he brought her apiece of tissue paper.
The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father andmother. They were Eileen’s father and mother. When they were grown uphe was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother said:
—O, Stephen will apologise.
—O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.—
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes.
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes,
The wide playgrounds were swarming with boys. All were shouting and theprefects urged them on with strong cries. The evening air was pale andchilly and after every charge and thud of the footballers the greasyleather orb flew like a heavy bird through the grey light. He kept onthe fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect, out of the reachof the rude feet, feigning to run now and then. He felt his body smalland weak amid the throng of the players and his eyes were weak andwatery. Rody Kickham was not like that: he would be captain of thethird line all the fellows said.
Rody Kickham was a decent fellow but Nasty Roche was a stink. RodyKickham had greaves in his number and a hamper in the refectory. NastyRoche had big hands. He called the Friday pudding dog-in-the-blanket.And one day he had asked:
—What is your name?
Stephen had answered: Stephen Dedalus.
Then Nasty Roche had said:
—What kind of a name is that?
And when Stephen had not been able to answer Nasty Roche had asked:
—What is your father?
Stephen had answered:
Then Nasty Roche had asked:
—Is he a magistrate?
He crept about from point to point on the fringe of his line, makinglittle runs now and then. But his hands were bluish with cold. He kepthis hands in the side pockets of his belted grey suit. That was a beltround his pocket. And belt was also to give a fellow a belt. One day afellow said to Cantwell:
—I’d give you such a belt in a second.
Cantwell had answered:
—Go and fight your match. Give Cecil Thunder a belt. I’d like to seeyou. He’d give you a toe in the rump for yourself.
That was not a nice expression. His mother had told him not to speakwith the rough boys in the college. Nice mother! The first day in thehall of the castle when she had said goodbye she had put up her veildouble to her nose to kiss him: and her nose and eyes were red. But hehad pretended not to see that she was going to cry. She was a nicemother but she was not so nice when she cried. And his father had givenhim two five-shilling pieces for pocket money. And his father had toldhim if he wanted anything to write home to him and, whatever he did,never to peach on a fellow. Then at the door of the castle the rectorhad shaken hands with his father and mother, his soutane fluttering inthe breeze, and the car had driven off with his father and mother onit. They had cried to him from the car, waving their hands:
—Goodbye, Stephen, goodbye!
—Goodbye, Stephen, goodbye!
He was caught in the whirl of a scrimmage and, fearful of the flashingeyes and muddy boots, bent down to look through the legs. The fellowswere struggling and groaning and their legs were rubbing and kickingand stamping. Then Jack Lawton’s yellow boots dodged out the ball andall the other boots and legs ran after. He ran after them a little wayand then stopped. It was useless to run on. Soon they would be goinghome for the holidays. After supper in the study hall he would changethe number pasted up inside his desk from seventyseven to seventysix.
It would be better to be in the study hall than out there in the cold.The sky was pale and cold but there were lights in the castle. Hewondered from which window Hamilton Rowan had thrown his hat on thehaha and had there been flowerbeds at that time under the windows. Oneday when he had been called to the castle the butler had shown him themarks of the soldiers’ slugs in the wood of the door and had given hima piece of shortbread that the community ate. It was nice and warm tosee the lights in the castle. It was like something in a book. PerhapsLeicester Abbey was like that. And there were nice sentences in DoctorCornwell’s Spelling Book. They were like poetry but they were onlysentences to learn the spelling from.
Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
Where the abbots buried him.
Canker is a disease of plants,
Cancer one of animals.
It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fire, leaning hishead upon his hands, and think on those sentences. He shivered as if hehad cold slimy water next his skin. That was mean of Wells to shoulderhim into the square ditch because he would not swop his little snuffboxfor Wells’s seasoned hacking chestnut, the conqueror of forty.How cold and slimy the water had been! A fellow had once seen a big ratjump into the scum. Mother was sitting at the fire with Dante waitingfor Brigid to bring in the tea. She had her feet on the fender and herjewelly slippers were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell!Dante knew a lot of things. She had taught him where the MozambiqueChannel was and what was the longest river in America and what was thename of the highest mountain in the moon. Father Arnall knew more thanDante because he was a priest but both his father and uncle Charlessaid that Dante was a clever woman and a wellread woman. And whenDante made that noise after dinner and then put up her hand to hermouth: that was heartburn.
A voice cried far out on the playground:
Then other voices cried from the lower and third lines:
—All in! All in!
The players closed around, flushed and muddy, and he went among them,glad to go in. Rody Kickham held the ball by its greasy lace. A fellowasked him to give it one last: but he walked on without even answeringthe fellow. Simon Moonan told him not to because the prefect waslooking. The fellow turned to Simon Moonan and said:
—We all know why you speak. You are McGlade’s suck.
Suck was a queer word. The fellow called Simon Moonan that name becauseSimon Moonan used to tie the prefect’s false sleeves behind his backand the prefect used to let on to be angry. But the sound was ugly.Once he had washed his hands in the lavatory of the Wicklow Hotel andhis father pulled the stopper up by the chain after and the dirty waterwent down through the hole in the basin. And when it had all gone downslowly the hole in the basin had made a sound like that: suck. Onlylouder.
To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel coldand then hot. There were two cocks that you turned and water came out:cold and hot. He felt cold and then a little hot: and he could see thenames printed on the cocks. That was a very queer thing.
And the air in the corridor chilled him too. It was queer and wettish.But soon the gas would be lit and in burning it made a light noise likea little song. Always the same: and when the fellows stopped talking inthe playroom you could hear it.
It was the hour for sums. Father Arnall wrote a hard sum on the boardand then said:
—Now then, who will win? Go ahead, York! Go ahead, Lancaster!
Stephen tried his best but the sum was too hard and he felt confused.The little silk badge with the white rose on it that was pinned on thebreast of his jacket began to flutter. He was no good at sums but hetried his best so that York might not lose. Father Arnall’s face lookedvery black but he was not in a wax: he was laughing. Then Jack Lawtoncracked his fingers and Father Arnall looked at his copybook and said:
—Right. Bravo Lancaster! The red rose wins. Come on now, York! Forgeahead!
Jack Lawton looked over from his side. The little silk badge with thered rose on it looked very rich because he had a blue sailor top on.Stephen felt his own face red too, thinking of all the bets about whowould get first place in elements, Jack Lawton or he. Some weeks JackLawton got the card for first and some weeks he got the card for first.His white silk badge fluttered and fluttered as he worked at the nextsum and heard Father Arnall’s voice. Then all his eagerness passed awayand he felt his face quite cool. He thought his face must be whitebecause it felt so cool. He could not get out the answer for the sumbut it did not matter. White roses and red roses: those were beautifulcolours to think of. And the cards for first place and second place andthird place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender.Lavender and cream and pink roses were beautiful to think of. Perhaps awild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song aboutthe wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could nothave a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could.
The bell rang and then the classes began to file out of the rooms andalong the corridors towards the refectory. He sat looking at the twoprints of butter on his plate but could not eat the damp bread. Thetablecloth was damp and limp. But he drank off the hot weak tea whichthe clumsy scullion, girt with a white apron, poured into his cup. Hewondered whether the scullion’s apron was damp too or whether all whitethings were cold and damp. Nasty Roche and Saurin drank cocoa thattheir people sent them in tins. They said they could not drink the tea;that it was hogwash. Their fathers were magistrates, the fellows said.
All the boys seemed to him very strange. They had all fathers andmothers and different clothes and voices. He longed to be at home andlay his head on his mother’s lap. But he could not: and so he longedfor the play and study and prayers to be over and to be in bed.
He drank another cup of hot tea and Fleming said:
—What’s up? Have you a pain or what’s up with you?
—I don’t know, Stephen said.
—Sick in your breadbasket, Fleming said, because your face lookswhite. It will go away.
—O yes, Stephen said.
But he was not sick there. He thought that he was sick in his heart ifyou could be sick in that place. Fleming was very decent to ask him. Hewanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and openedthe flaps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory everytime he opened the flaps of his ears. It made a roar like a train atnight. And when he closed the flaps the roar was shut off like a traingoing into a tunnel. That night at Dalkey the train had roared likethat and then, when it went into the tunnel, the roar stopped. Heclosed his eyes and the train went on, roaring and then stopping;roaring again, stopping. It was nice to hear it roar and stop and thenroar out of the tunnel again and then stop.
Then the higher line fellows began to come down along the matting inthe middle of the refectory, Paddy Rath and Jimmy Magee and theSpaniard who was allowed to smoke cigars and the little Portuguese whowore the woolly cap. And then the lower line tables and the tables ofthe third line. And every single fellow had a different way of walking.
He sat in a corner of the playroom pretending to watch a game ofdominos and once or twice he was able to hear for an instant thelittle song of the gas. The prefect was at the door with some boys andSimon Moonan was knotting his false sleeves. He was telling themsomething about Tullabeg.
Then he went away from the door and Wells came over to Stephen andsaid:
—Tell us, Dedalus, do you kiss your mother before you go to bed?
Wells turned to the other fellows and said:
—O, I say, here’s a fellow says he kisses his mother every nightbefore he goes to bed.
The other fellows stopped their game and turned round, laughing.Stephen blushed under their eyes and said:
—I do not.
—O, I say, here’s a fellow says he doesn’t kiss his mother before hegoes to bed.
They all laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh with them. He felt hiswhole body hot and confused in a moment. What was the right answer tothe question? He had given two and still Wells laughed. But Wells mustknow the right answer for he was in third of grammar. He tried to thinkof Wells’s mother but he did not dare to raise his eyes to Wells’sface. He did not like Wells’s face. It was Wells who had shouldered himinto the square ditch the day before because he would not swop hislittle snuffbox for Wells’s seasoned hacking chestnut, the conquerorof forty. It was a mean thing to do; all the fellows said it was. Andhow cold and slimy the water had been! And a fellow had once seen a bigrat jump plop into the scum.
The cold slime of the ditch covered his whole body; and, when the bellrang for study and the lines filed out of the playrooms, he felt thecold air of the corridor and staircase inside his clothes. He stilltried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss hismother or wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean, to kiss? Youput your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother puther face down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek;her lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tinylittle noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces?
Sitting in the study hall he opened the lid of his desk and changed thenumber pasted up inside from seventyseven to seventysix. But theChristmas vacation was very far away: but one time it would comebecause the earth moved round always.
There was a picture of the earth on the first page of his geography: abig ball in the middle of clouds. Fleming had a box of crayons and onenight during free study he had coloured the earth green and the cloudsmaroon. That was like the two brushes in Dante’s press, the brush withthe green velvet back for Parnell and the brush with the maroon velvetback for Michael Davitt. But he had not told Fleming to colour themthose colours. Fleming had done it himself.
He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn thenames of places in America. Still they were all different places thathad different names. They were all in different countries and thecountries were in continents and the continents were in the world andthe world was in the universe.
He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had writtenthere: himself, his name and where he was.
Class of Elements
Clongowes Wood College
That was in his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written onthe opposite page:
Stephen Dedalus is my name,
Ireland is my nation.
Clongowes is my dwellingplace
And heaven my expectation.
He read the verses backwards but then they were not poetry. Then heread the flyleaf from the bottom to the top till he came to his ownname. That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after theuniverse? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to showwhere it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be awall but there could be a thin thin line there all round everything.It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only Godcould do that. He tried to think what a big thought that must be buthe could only think of God. God was God’s name just as his namewas Stephen. Dieu was the French for God and that was God’sname too; and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu then God knew atonce that it was a French person that was praying. But though therewere different names for God in all the different languages in the worldand God understood what all the people who prayed said in their differentlanguages still God remained always the same God and God’s realname was God.
It made him very tired to think that way. It made him feel his headvery big. He turned over the flyleaf and looked wearily at the greenround earth in the middle of the maroon clouds. He wondered which wasright, to be for the green or for the maroon, because Dante had rippedthe green velvet back off the brush that was for Parnell one day withher scissors and had told him that Parnell was a bad man. He wonderedif they were arguing at home about that. That was called politics.There were two sides in it: Dante was on one side and his father and MrCasey were on the other side but his mother and uncle Charles were onno side. Every day there was something in the paper about it.
It pained him that he did not know well what politics meant and that hedid not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak. Whenwould he be like the fellows in poetry and rhetoric? They had bigvoices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very faraway. First came the vacation and then the next term and then vacationagain and then again another term and then again the vacation. It waslike a train going in and out of tunnels and that was like the noise ofthe boys eating in the refectory when you opened and closed the flapsof the ears. Term, vacation; tunnel, out; noise, stop. How far away itwas! It was better to go to bed to sleep. Only prayers in the chapeland then bed. He shivered and yawned. It would be lovely in bed afterthe sheets got a bit hot. First they were so cold to get into. Heshivered to think how cold they were first. But then they got hot andthen he could sleep. It was lovely to be tired. He yawned again. Nightprayers and then bed: he shivered and wanted to yawn. It would belovely in a few minutes. He felt a warm glow creeping up from the coldshivering sheets, warmer and warmer till he felt warm all over, ever sowarm and yet he shivered a little and still wanted to yawn.
The bell rang for night prayers and he filed out of the study hallafter the others and down the staircase and along the corridors to thechapel. The corridors were darkly lit and the chapel was darkly lit.Soon all would be dark and sleeping. There was cold night air in thechapel and the marbles were the colour the sea was at night. The seawas cold day and night: but it was colder at night. It was cold anddark under the seawall beside his father’s house. But the kettle wouldbe on the hob to make punch.
The prefect of the chapel prayed above his head and his memory knew theresponses:
O Lord, open our lips
And our mouths shall announce Thy praise.
Incline unto our aid, O God!
O Lord, make haste to help us!
There was a cold night smell in the chapel. But it was a holy smell. Itwas not like the smell of the old peasants who knelt at the back of thechapel at Sunday mass. That was a smell of air and rain and turf andcorduroy. But they were very holy peasants. They breathed behind him onhis neck and sighed as they prayed. They lived in Clane, a fellow said:there were little cottages there and he had seen a woman standing atthe halfdoor of a cottage with a child in her arms, as the cars hadcome past from Sallins. It would be lovely to sleep for one night inthat cottage before the fire of smoking turf, in the dark lit by thefire, in the warm dark, breathing the smell of the peasants, air andrain and turf and corduroy. But, O, the road there between the treeswas dark! You would be lost in the dark. It made him afraid to thinkof how it was.
He heard the voice of the prefect of the chapel saying the lastprayer. He prayed it too against the dark outside under the trees.
Visit, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this habitation and
drive away from it all the snares of the enemy. May
Thy holy angels dwell herein to preserve us in peace
and may Thy blessing be always upon us through
Christ our Lord. Amen.
His fingers trembled as he undressed himself in the dormitory. He toldhis fingers to hurry up. He had to undress and then kneel and say hisown prayers and be in bed before the gas was lowered so that he mightnot go to hell when he died. He rolled his stockings off and put on hisnightshirt quickly and knelt trembling at his bedside and repeated hisprayers quickly, fearing that the gas would go down. He felt hisshoulders shaking as he murmured:
God bless my father and my mother and spare them to me!
God bless my little brothers and sisters and spare them to me!
God bless Dante and uncle Charles and spare them to me!
He blessed himself and climbed quickly into bed and, tucking the end ofthe nightshirt under his feet, curled himself together under the coldwhite sheets, shaking and trembling. But he would not go to hell whenhe died; and the shaking would stop. A voice bade the boys in thedormitory goodnight. He peered out for an instant over the coverletand saw the yellow curtains round and before his bed that shut him offon all sides. The light was lowered quietly.
The prefect’s shoes went away. Where? Down the staircase and along thecorridors or to his room at the end? He saw the dark. Was it true aboutthe black dog that walked there at night with eyes as big ascarriagelamps? They said it was the ghost of a murderer. A long shiverof fear flowed over his body. He saw the dark entrance hall of thecastle. Old servants in old dress were in the ironingroom above thestaircase. It was long ago. The old servants were quiet. There was afire there but the hall was still dark. A figure came up the staircasefrom the hall. He wore the white cloak of a marshal; his face was paleand strange; he held his hand pressed to his side. He looked out ofstrange eyes at the old servants. They looked at him and saw theirmaster’s face and cloak and knew that he had received his deathwound.But only the dark was where they looked: only dark silent air. Theirmaster had received his deathwound on the battlefield of Prague faraway over the sea. He was standing on the field; his hand was pressedto his side; his face was pale and strange and he wore the white cloakof a marshal.
O how cold and strange it was to think of that! All the dark was coldand strange. There were pale strange faces there, great eyes likecarriagelamps. They were the ghosts of murderers, the figures ofmarshals who had received their deathwound on battlefields far awayover the sea. What did they wish to say that their faces were sostrange?
Visit, we beseech Thee, O Lord, this habitation and drive away from itall...
Going home for the holidays! That would be lovely: the fellows had toldhim. Getting up on the cars in the early wintry morning outside thedoor of the castle. The cars were rolling on the gravel. Cheers for therector!
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
The cars drove past the chapel and all caps were raised. They drovemerrily along the country roads. The drivers pointed with their whipsto Bodenstown. The fellows cheered. They passed the farmhouseof the Jolly Farmer. Cheer after cheer after cheer. Through Clane theydrove, cheering and cheered. The peasant women stood at the halfdoors,the men stood here and there. The lovely smell there was in the wintryair: the smell of Clane: rain and wintry air and turf smouldering andcorduroy.
The train was full of fellows: a long long chocolate train with creamfacings. The guards went to and fro opening, closing, locking,unlocking the doors. They were men in dark blue and silver; they hadsilvery whistles and their keys made a quick music: click, click:click, click.
And the train raced on over the flat lands and past the Hill of Allen.The telegraph poles were passing, passing. The train went on and on. Itknew. There were lanterns in the hall of his father’s house and ropesof green branches. There were holly and ivy round the pierglass andholly and ivy, green and red, twined round the chandeliers. There werered holly and green ivy round the old portraits on the walls. Holly andivy for him and for Christmas.
All the people. Welcome home, Stephen! Noises of welcome. His motherkissed him. Was that right? His father was a marshal now: higher than amagistrate. Welcome home, Stephen!
There was a noise of curtainrings running back along the rods, ofwater being splashed in the basins. There was a noise of rising anddressing and washing in the dormitory: a noise of clapping of hands asthe prefect went up and down telling the fellows to look sharp. A palesunlight showed the yellow curtains drawn back, the tossed beds. Hisbed was very hot and his face and body were very hot.
He got up and sat on the side of his bed. He was weak. He tried to pullon his stocking. It had a horrid rough feel. The sunlight was queer andcold.
—Are you not well?
He did not know; and Fleming said:
—Get back into bed. I’ll tell McGlade you’re not well.
—Get back into bed.
—Is he sick?
A fellow held his arms while he loosened the stocking clinging to hisfoot and climbed back into the hot bed.
He crouched down between the sheets, glad of their tepid glow. He heardthe fellows talk among themselves about him as they dressed for mass.It was a mean thing to do, to shoulder him into the square ditch, theywere saying.
Then their voices ceased; they had gone. A voice at his bed said:
—Dedalus, don’t spy on us, sure you won’t?
Wells’s face was there. He looked at it and saw that Wells was afraid.
—I didn’t mean to. Sure you won’t?
His father had told him, whatever he did, never to peach on a fellow.He shook his head and answered no and felt glad.
—I didn’t mean to, honour bright. It was only for cod. I’m sorry.
The face and the voice went away. Sorry because he was afraid. Afraidthat it was some disease. Canker was a disease of plants and cancer oneof animals: or another different. That was a long time ago then out onthe playgrounds in the evening light, creeping from point to point onthe fringe of his line, a heavy bird flying low through the grey light.Leicester Abbey lit up. Wolsey died there. The abbots buried himthemselves.
It was not Wells’s face, it was the prefect’s. He was not foxing. No,no: he was sick really. He was not foxing. And he felt the prefect’shand on his forehead; and he felt his forehead warm and damp againstthe prefect’s cold damp hand. That was the way a rat felt, slimy anddamp and cold. Every rat had two eyes to look out of. Sleek slimycoats, little little feet tucked up to jump, black slimy eyes to lookout of. They could understand how to jump. But the minds of rats couldnot understand trigonometry. When they were dead they lay on theirsides. Their coats dried then. They were only dead things.
The prefect was there again and it was his voice that was saying thathe was to get up, that Father Minister had said he was to get up anddress and go to the infirmary. And while he was dressing himself asquickly as he could the prefect said:
—We must pack off to Brother Michael because we have thecollywobbles!
He was very decent to say that. That was all to make him laugh. But hecould not laugh because his cheeks and lips were all shivery: and thenthe prefect had to laugh by himself.
The prefect cried:
—Quick march! Hayfoot! Strawfoot!
They went together down the staircase and along the corridor and pastthe bath. As he passed the door he remembered with a vague fear thewarm turfcoloured bogwater, the warm moist air, the noise of plunges,the smell of the towels, like medicine.
Brother Michael was standing at the door of the infirmary and from thedoor of the dark cabinet on his right came a smell like medicine. Thatcame from the bottles on the shelves. The prefect spoke to BrotherMichael and Brother Michael answered and called the prefect sir. He hadreddish hair mixed with grey and a queer look. It was queer that hewould always be a brother. It was queer too that you could not call himsir because he was a brother and had a different kind of look. Was henot holy enough or why could he not catch up on the others?
There were two beds in the room and in one bed there was a fellow: andwhen they went in he called out:
—Hello! It’s young Dedalus! What’s up?
—The sky is up, Brother Michael said.
He was a fellow out of the third of grammar and, while Stephen wasundressing, he asked Brother Michael to bring him a round of butteredtoast.
—Ah, do! he said.
—Butter you up! said Brother Michael. You’ll get your walking papersin the morning when the doctor comes.
—Will I? the fellow said. I’m not well yet.
Brother Michael repeated:
—You’ll get your walking papers. I tell you.
He bent down to rake the fire. He had a long back like the long back ofa tramhorse. He shook the poker gravely and nodded his head at thefellow out of third of grammar.
Then Brother Michael went away and after a while the fellow out ofthird of grammar turned in towards the wall and fell asleep.
That was the infirmary. He was sick then. Had they written home to tellhis mother and father? But it would be quicker for one of the prieststo go himself to tell them. Or he would write a letter for the priestto bring.
I am sick. I want to go home. Please come and take me home. I am in the infirmary.
Your fond son,
How far away they were! There was cold sunlight outside the window. Hewondered if he would die. You could die just the same on a sunny day.He might die before his mother came. Then he would have a dead mass inthe chapel like the way the fellows had told him it was when Little haddied. All the fellows would be at the mass, dressed in black, all withsad faces. Wells too would be there but no fellow would look at him.The rector would be there in a cope of black and gold and there wouldbe tall yellow candles on the altar and round the catafalque. And theywould carry the coffin out of the chapel slowly and he would be buriedin the little graveyard of the community off the main avenue of limes.And Wells would be sorry then for what he had done. And the bell wouldtoll slowly.
He could hear the tolling. He said over to himself the song that Brigidhad taught him.
Dingdong! The castle bell!
Farewell, my mother!
Bury me in the old churchyard
Beside my eldest brother.
My coffin shall be black,
Six angels at my back,
Two to sing and two to pray
And two to carry my soul away.
How beautiful and sad that was! How beautiful the words were where theysaid Bury me in the old churchyard! A tremor passed over his body.How sad and how beautiful! He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself:for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music. The bell! The bell!Farewell! O farewell!
The cold sunlight was weaker and Brother Michael was standing at hisbedside with a bowl of beeftea. He was glad for his mouth was hot anddry. He could hear them playing in the playgrounds. And the day wasgoing on in the college just as if he were there.
Then Brother Michael was going away and the fellow out of the third ofgrammar told him to be sure and come back and tell him all the news inthe paper. He told Stephen that his name was Athy and that his fatherkept a lot of racehorses that were spiffing jumpers and that his fatherwould give a good tip to Brother Michael any time he wanted it becauseBrother Michael was very decent and always told him the news out of thepaper they got every day up in the castle. There was every kind of newsin the paper: accidents, shipwrecks, sports and politics.
—Now it is all about politics in the papers, he said. Do your peopletalk about that too?
—Yes, Stephen said.
—Mine too, he said.
Then he thought for a moment and said:
—You have a queer name, Dedalus, and I have a queer name too, Athy.My name is the name of a town. Your name is like Latin.
Then he asked:
—Are you good at riddles?
—Not very good.
Then he said:
—Can you answer me this one? Why is the county of Kildare like theleg of a fellow’s breeches?
Stephen thought what could be the answer and then said:
—I give it up.
—Because there is a thigh in it, he said. Do you see the joke? Athyis the town in the county Kildare and a thigh is the other thigh.
—Oh, I see, Stephen said.
—That’s an old riddle, he said.
After a moment he said:
—What? asked Stephen.
—You know, he said, you can ask that riddle another way.
—Can you? said Stephen.
—The same riddle, he said. Do you know the other way to ask it?
—No, said Stephen.
—Can you not think of the other way? he said.
He looked at Stephen over the bedclothes as he spoke. Then he lay backon the pillow and said:
—There is another way but I won’t tell you what it is.
Why did he not tell it? His father, who kept the racehorses, must be amagistrate too like Saurin’s father and Nasty Roche’s father. Hethought of his own father, of how he sang songs while his mother playedand of how he always gave him a shilling when he asked for sixpence andhe felt sorry for him that he was not a magistrate like the other boys’fathers. Then why was he sent to that place with them? Buthis father had told him that he would be no stranger there because hisgranduncle had presented an address to the Liberator there fifty yearsbefore. You could know the people of that time by their old dress. Itseemed to him a solemn time: and he wondered if that was the time whenthe fellows in Clongowes wore blue coats with brass buttons and yellowwaistcoats and caps of rabbitskin and drank beer like grownup peopleand kept greyhounds of their own to course the hares with.
He looked at the window and saw that the daylight had grown weaker.There would be cloudy grey light over the playgrounds. There was nonoise on the playgrounds. The class must be doing the themes or perhapsFather Arnall was reading out of the book.
It was queer that they had not given him any medicine. Perhaps BrotherMichael would bring it back when he came. They said you got stinkingstuff to drink when you were in the infirmary. But he felt better nowthan before. It would be nice getting better slowly. You could get abook then. There was a book in the library about Holland. There werelovely foreign names in it and pictures of strangelooking cities andships. It made you feel so happy.
How pale the light was at the window! But that was nice. The fire roseand fell on the wall. It was like waves. Someone had put coal on and heheard voices. They were talking. It was the noise of the waves. Or thewaves were talking among themselves as they rose and fell.
He saw the sea of waves, long dark waves rising and falling, dark underthe moonless night. A tiny light twinkled at the pierhead where theship was entering: and he saw a multitude of people gathered by thewaters’ edge to see the ship that was entering their harbour. A tallman stood on the deck, looking out towards the flat dark land: and bythe light at the pierhead he saw his face, the sorrowful face ofBrother Michael.
He saw him lift his hand towards the people and heard him say in a loudvoice of sorrow over the waters:
—He is dead. We saw him lying upon the catafalque. A wail of sorrowwent up from the people.
—Parnell! Parnell! He is dead!
They fell upon their knees, moaning in sorrow.
And he saw Dante in a maroon velvet dress and with a green velvetmantle hanging from her shoulders walking proudly and silently past thepeople who knelt by the water’s edge.
A great fire, banked high and red, flamed in the grate and under theivytwined branches of the chandelier the Christmas table was spread.They had come home a little late and still dinner was not ready: but itwould be ready in a jiffy, his mother had said. They were waiting forthe door to open and for the servants to come in, holding the bigdishes covered with their heavy metal covers.
All were waiting: uncle Charles, who sat far away in the shadow of thewindow, Dante and Mr Casey, who sat in the easychairs at either sideof the hearth, Stephen, seated on a chair between them, his feetresting on the toasted boss. Mr Dedalus looked at himself in thepierglass above the mantelpiece, waxed out his moustache ends and then,parting his coat tails, stood with his back to the glowing fire: andstill from time to time he withdrew a hand from his coat tail to waxout one of his moustache ends. Mr Casey leaned his head to one sideand, smiling, tapped the gland of his neck with his fingers. AndStephen smiled too for he knew now that it was not true that Mr Caseyhad a purse of silver in his throat. He smiled to think how the silverynoise which Mr Casey used to make had deceived him. And when he hadtried to open Mr Casey’s hand to see if the purse of silver was hiddenthere he had seen that the fingers could not be straightened out: andMr Casey had told him that he had got those three cramped fingersmaking a birthday present for Queen Victoria. Mr Casey tapped the glandof his neck and smiled at Stephen with sleepy eyes: and Mr Dedalus saidto him:
—Yes. Well now, that’s all right. O, we had a good walk, hadn’t we,John? Yes... I wonder if there’s any likelihood of dinner this evening.Yes... O, well now, we got a good breath of ozone round the Head today. Ay,bedad.
He turned to Dante and said:
—You didn’t stir out at all, Mrs Riordan?
Dante frowned and said shortly:
Mr Dedalus dropped his coat tails and went over to the sideboard. Hebrought forth a great stone jar of whisky from the locker and filledthe decanter slowly, bending now and then to see how much he had pouredin. Then replacing the jar in the locker he poured a little of thewhisky into two glasses, added a little water and came back with themto the fireplace.
—A thimbleful, John, he said, just to whet your appetite.
Mr Casey took the glass, drank, and placed it near him on themantelpiece. Then he said:
—Well, I can’t help thinking of our friend Christopher manufacturing...
He broke into a fit of laughter and coughing and added:
—...manufacturing that champagne for those fellows.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly.
—Is it Christy? he said. There’s more cunning in one of those wartson his bald head than in a pack of jack foxes.
He inclined his head, closed his eyes, and, licking his lips profusely,began to speak with the voice of the hotel keeper.
—And he has such a soft mouth when he’s speaking to you, don’t youknow. He’s very moist and watery about the dewlaps, God bless him.
Mr Casey was still struggling through his fit of coughing and laughter.Stephen, seeing and hearing the hotel keeper through his father’s faceand voice, laughed.
Mr Dedalus put up his eyeglass and, staring down at him, said quietlyand kindly:
—What are you laughing at, you little puppy, you?
The servants entered and placed the dishes on the table. Mrs Dedalusfollowed and the places were arranged.
—Sit over, she said.
Mr Dedalus went to the end of the table and said:
—Now, Mrs Riordan, sit over. John, sit you down, my hearty.
He looked round to where uncle Charles sat and said:
—Now then, sir, there’s a bird here waiting for you.
When all had taken their seats he laid his hand on the cover and thensaid quickly, withdrawing it:
Stephen stood up in his place to say the grace before meals:
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which throughThy bounty we are about to receive through Christ ourLord. Amen.
All blessed themselves and Mr Dedalus with a sigh of pleasure liftedfrom the dish the heavy cover pearled around the edge with glisteningdrops.
Stephen looked at the plump turkey which had lain, trussed andskewered, on the kitchen table. He knew that his father had paid aguinea for it in Dunn’s of D’Olier Street and that the man had proddedit often at the breastbone to show how good it was: and he rememberedthe man’s voice when he had said:
—Take that one, sir. That’s the real Ally Daly.
Why did Mr Barrett in Clongowes call his pandybat a turkey? ButClongowes was far away: and the warm heavy smell of turkey and ham andcelery rose from the plates and dishes and the great fire was bankedhigh and red in the grate and the green ivy and red holly made you feelso happy and when dinner was ended the big plum pudding would becarried in, studded with peeled almonds and sprigs of holly, withbluish fire running around it and a little green flag flying from thetop.
It was his first Christmas dinner and he thought of his little brothersand sisters who were waiting in the nursery, as he had often waited,till the pudding came. The deep low collar and the Eton jacket made himfeel queer and oldish: and that morning when his mother had brought himdown to the parlour, dressed for mass, his father had cried. That wasbecause he was thinking of his own father. And uncle Charles had saidso too.
Mr Dedalus covered the dish and began to eat hungrily. Then he said:
—Poor old Christy, he’s nearly lopsided now with roguery.
—Simon, said Mrs Dedalus, you haven’t given Mrs Riordan any sauce.
Mr Dedalus seized the sauceboat.
—Haven’t I? he cried. Mrs Riordan, pity the poor blind.
Dante covered her plate with her hands and said:
Mr Dedalus turned to uncle Charles.
—How are you off, sir?
—Right as the mail, Simon.
—I’m all right. Go on yourself.
—Mary? Here, Stephen, here’s something to make your hair curl.
He poured sauce freely over Stephen’s plate and set the boat again onthe table. Then he asked uncle Charles was it tender. Uncle Charlescould not speak because his mouth was full but he nodded that it was.
—That was a good answer our friend made to the canon. What? said MrDedalus.
—I didn’t think he had that much in him, said Mr Casey.
—I’ll pay your dues, father, when you cease turning the houseof God into a polling-booth.
—A nice answer, said Dante, for any man calling himself a catholic togive to his priest.
—They have only themselves to blame, said Mr Dedalus suavely. If theytook a fool’s advice they would confine their attention to religion.
—It is religion, Dante said. They are doing their duty in warning thepeople.
—We go to the house of God, Mr Casey said, in all humility to pray toour Maker and not to hear election addresses.
—It is religion, Dante said again. They are right. They must directtheir flocks.
—And preach politics from the altar, is it? asked Mr Dedalus.
—Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priestwould not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right andwhat is wrong.
Mrs Dedalus laid down her knife and fork, saying:
—For pity sake and for pity sake let us have no political discussionon this day of all days in the year.
—Quite right, ma’am, said uncle Charles. Now Simon, that’s quiteenough now. Not another word now.
—Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus quickly.
He uncovered the dish boldly and said:
—Now then, who’s for more turkey?
Nobody answered. Dante said:
—Nice language for any catholic to use!
—Mrs Riordan, I appeal to you, said Mrs Dedalus, to let the matterdrop now.
Dante turned on her and said:
—And am I to sit here and listen to the pastors of my church beingflouted?
—Nobody is saying a word against them, said Mr Dedalus, so long asthey don’t meddle in politics.
—The bishops and priests of Ireland have spoken, said Dante, and theymust be obeyed.
—Let them leave politics alone, said Mr Casey, or the people mayleave their church alone.
—You hear? said Dante, turning to Mrs Dedalus.
—Mr Casey! Simon! said Mrs Dedalus, let it end now.
—Too bad! Too bad! said uncle Charles.
—What? cried Mr Dedalus. Were we to desert him at the bidding of theEnglish people?
—He was no longer worthy to lead, said Dante. He was a public sinner.
—We are all sinners and black sinners, said Mr Casey coldly.
—Woe be to the man by whom the scandal cometh! said Mrs Riordan. Itwould be better for him that a millstone were tied about his neck andthat he were cast into the depths of the sea rather than that he shouldscandalise one of these, my least little ones. That is the language ofthe Holy Ghost.
—And very bad language if you ask me, said Mr Dedalus coolly.
—Simon! Simon! said uncle Charles. The boy.
—Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus. I meant about the... I was thinking about thebad language of the railway porter. Well now, that’s all right. Here,Stephen, show me your plate, old chap. Eat away now. Here.
He heaped up the food on Stephen’s plate and served uncle Charles andMr Casey to large pieces of turkey and splashes of sauce. Mrs Dedaluswas eating little and Dante sat with her hands in her lap. She was redin the face. Mr Dedalus rooted with the carvers at the end of the dishand said:
—There’s a tasty bit here we call the pope’s nose. If any lady orgentleman...
He held a piece of fowl up on the prong of the carvingfork. Nobodyspoke. He put it on his own plate, saying:
—Well, you can’t say but you were asked. I think I had better eat itmyself because I’m not well in my health lately.
He winked at Stephen and, replacing the dishcover, began to eat again.
There was a silence while he ate. Then he said:
—Well now, the day kept up fine after all. There were plenty ofstrangers down too.
Nobody spoke. He said again:
—I think there were more strangers down than last Christmas.
He looked round at the others whose faces were bent towards theirplates and, receiving no reply, waited for a moment and said bitterly:
—Well, my Christmas dinner has been spoiled anyhow.
—There could be neither luck nor grace, Dante said, in a house wherethere is no respect for the pastors of the church.
Mr Dedalus threw his knife and fork noisily on his plate.
—Respect! he said. Is it for Billy with the lip or for the tub ofguts up in Armagh? Respect!
—Princes of the church, said Mr Casey with slow scorn.
—Lord Leitrim’s coachman, yes, said Mr Dedalus.
—They are the Lord’s anointed, Dante said. They are an honour to theircountry.
—Tub of guts, said Mr Dedalus coarsely. He has a handsome face, mindyou, in repose. You should see that fellow lapping up his bacon andcabbage of a cold winter’s day. O Johnny!
He twisted his features into a grimace of heavy bestiality and made alapping noise with his lips.
—Really, Simon, you should not speak that way before Stephen. It’snot right.
—O, he’ll remember all this when he grows up, said Dante hotly—thelanguage he heard against God and religion and priests in his own home.
—Let him remember too, cried Mr Casey to her from across the table,the language with which the priests and the priests’ pawns brokeParnell’s heart and hounded him into his grave. Let him remember thattoo when he grows up.
—Sons of bitches! cried Mr Dedalus. When he was down they turned onhim to betray him and rend him like rats in a sewer. Lowlived dogs!And they look it! By Christ, they look it!
—They behaved rightly, cried Dante. They obeyed their bishops andtheir priests. Honour to them!
—Well, it is perfectly dreadful to say that not even for one day inthe year, said Mrs Dedalus, can we be free from these dreadfuldisputes!
Uncle Charles raised his hands mildly and said:
—Come now, come now, come now! Can we not have our opinions whateverthey are without this bad temper and this bad language? It is too badsurely.
Mrs Dedalus spoke to Dante in a low voice but Dante said loudly:
—I will not say nothing. I will defend my church and my religion whenit is insulted and spit on by renegade catholics.
Mr Casey pushed his plate rudely into the middle of the table and,resting his elbows before him, said in a hoarse voice to his host:
—Tell me, did I tell you that story about a very famous spit?
—You did not, John, said Mr Dedalus.
—Why then, said Mr Casey, it is a most instructive story. It happenednot long ago in the county Wicklow where we are now.
He broke off and, turning towards Dante, said with quiet indignation:
—And I may tell you, ma’am, that I, if you mean me, am no renegadecatholic. I am a catholic as my father was and his father before himand his father before him again when we gave up our lives rather thansell our faith.
—The more shame to you now, Dante said, to speak as you do.
—The story, John, said Mr Dedalus smiling. Let us have the storyanyhow.
—Catholic indeed! repeated Dante ironically. The blackest protestantin the land would not speak the language I have heard this evening.
Mr Dedalus began to sway his head to and fro, crooning like a countrysinger.
—I am no protestant, I tell you again, said Mr Casey, flushing.
Mr Dedalus, still crooning and swaying his head, began to sing in agrunting nasal tone:
O, come all you Roman catholics
That never went to mass.
He took up his knife and fork again in good humour and set to eating,saying to Mr Casey:
—Let us have the story, John. It will help us to digest.
Stephen looked with affection at Mr Casey’s face which stared acrossthe table over his joined hands. He liked to sit near him at the fire,looking up at his dark fierce face. But his dark eyes were never fierceand his slow voice was good to listen to. But why was he then againstthe priests? Because Dante must be right then. But he had heard hisfather say that she was a spoiled nun and that she had come out of theconvent in the Alleghanies when her brother had got the money from thesavages for the trinkets and the chainies. Perhaps that made her severeagainst Parnell. And she did not like him to play with Eileen becauseEileen was a protestant and when she was young she knew children thatused to play with protestants and the protestants used to make fun ofthe litany of the Blessed Virgin. Tower of Ivory, they used tosay, House of Gold! How could a woman be a tower of ivory or ahouse of gold? Who was right then? And he remembered the evening in theinfirmary in Clongowes, the dark waters, the light at the pierhead andthe moan of sorrow from the people when they had heard.
Eileen had long white hands. One evening when playing tig she had puther hands over his eyes: long and white and thin and cold and soft.That was ivory: a cold white thing. That was the meaning of Tower ofIvory.
—The story is very short and sweet, Mr Casey said. It was one daydown in Arklow, a cold bitter day, not long before the chief died. MayGod have mercy on him!
He closed his eyes wearily and paused. Mr Dedalus took a bone from hisplate and tore some meat from it with his teeth, saying:
—Before he was killed, you mean.
Mr Casey opened his eyes, sighed and went on:
—It was down in Arklow one day. We were down there at a meeting andafter the meeting was over we had to make our way to the railwaystation through the crowd. Such booing and baaing, man, you neverheard. They called us all the names in the world. Well there was oneold lady, and a drunken old harridan she was surely, that paid all herattention to me. She kept dancing along beside me in the mud bawlingand screaming into my face: Priesthunter! The Paris Funds! Mr Fox!Kitty O’Shea!
—And what did you do, John? asked Mr Dedalus.
—I let her bawl away, said Mr Casey. It was a cold day and to keep upmy heart I had (saving your presence, ma’am) a quid of Tullamore in mymouth and sure I couldn’t say a word in any case because my mouth wasfull of tobacco juice.
—Well. I let her bawl away, to her heart’s content, KittyO’Shea and the rest of it till at last she called that lady aname that I won’t sully this Christmas board nor your ears, ma’am,nor my own lips by repeating.
He paused. Mr Dedalus, lifting his head from the bone, asked:
—And what did you do, John?
—Do! said Mr Casey. She stuck her ugly old face up at me when shesaid it and I had my mouth full of tobacco juice. I bent down to herand Phth! says I to her like that.
He turned aside and made the act of spitting.
—Phth! says I to her like that, right into her eye.
He clapped his hand to his eye and gave a hoarse scream of pain.
—O Jesus, Mary and Joseph! says she. I’m blinded!I’m blinded and drownded!
He stopped in a fit of coughing and laughter, repeating:
—I’m blinded entirely.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly and lay back in his chair while uncle Charlesswayed his head to and fro.
Dante looked terribly angry and repeated while they laughed:
—Very nice! Ha! Very nice!
It was not nice about the spit in the woman’s eye.
But what was the name the woman had called Kitty O’Shea that Mr Caseywould not repeat? He thought of Mr Casey walking through the crowds ofpeople and making speeches from a wagonette. That was what he had beenin prison for and he remembered that one night Sergeant O’Neill hadcome to the house and had stood in the hall, talking in a low voicewith his father and chewing nervously at the chinstrap of his cap. Andthat night Mr Casey had not gone to Dublin by train but a car had cometo the door and he had heard his father say something about theCabinteely road.
He was for Ireland and Parnell and so was his father: and so was Dantetoo for one night at the band on the esplanade she had hit a gentlemanon the head with her umbrella because he had taken off his hat when theband played God save the Queen at the end.
Mr Dedalus gave a snort of contempt.
—Ah, John, he said. It is true for them. We are an unfortunatepriestridden race and always were and always will be till the end ofthe chapter.
Uncle Charles shook his head, saying:
—A bad business! A bad business!
Mr Dedalus repeated:
—A priestridden Godforsaken race!
He pointed to the portrait of his grandfather on the wall to his right.
—Do you see that old chap up there, John? he said. He was a goodIrishman when there was no money in the job. He was condemned to deathas a whiteboy. But he had a saying about our clerical friends, that hewould never let one of them put his two feet under his mahogany.
Dante broke in angrily:
—If we are a priestridden race we ought to be proud of it! They are theapple of God’s eye. Touch them not, says Christ, for they arethe apple of My eye.
—And can we not love our country then? asked Mr Casey. Are we not tofollow the man that was born to lead us?
—A traitor to his country! replied Dante. A traitor, an adulterer!The priests were right to abandon him. The priests were always the truefriends of Ireland.
—Were they, faith? said Mr Casey.
He threw his fist on the table and, frowning angrily, protruded onefinger after another.
—Didn’t the bishops of Ireland betray us in the time of the unionwhen Bishop Lanigan presented an address of loyalty to the MarquessCornwallis? Didn’t the bishops and priests sell the aspirations oftheir country in 1829 in return for catholic emancipation? Didn’t theydenounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confession box?And didn’t they dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew MacManus?
His face was glowing with anger and Stephen felt the glow rise to hisown cheek as the spoken words thrilled him. Mr Dedalus uttered a guffawof coarse scorn.
—O, by God, he cried, I forgot little old Paul Cullen! Another appleof God’s eye!
Dante bent across the table and cried to Mr Casey:
—Right! Right! They were always right! God and morality and religioncome first.
Mrs Dedalus, seeing her excitement, said to her:
—Mrs Riordan, don’t excite yourself answering them.
—God and religion before everything! Dante cried. God and religionbefore the world.
Mr Casey raised his clenched fist and brought it down on the table witha crash.
—Very well then, he shouted hoarsely, if it comes to that, no God forIreland!
—John! John! cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coat sleeve.
Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey struggledup from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scraping theair from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing asidea cobweb.
—No God for Ireland! he cried. We have had too much God in Ireland.Away with God!
—Blasphemer! Devil! screamed Dante, starting to her feet and almostspitting in his face.
Uncle Charles and Mr Dedalus pulled Mr Casey back into his chair again,talking to him from both sides reasonably. He stared before him out ofhis dark flaming eyes, repeating:
—Away with God, I say!
Dante shoved her chair violently aside and left the table, upsettingher napkinring which rolled slowly along the carpet and came to restagainst the foot of an easychair. Mrs Dedalus rose quickly andfollowed her towards the door. At the door Dante turned round violentlyand shouted down the room, her cheeks flushed and quivering with rage:
—Devil out of hell! We won! We crushed him to death! Fiend!
The door slammed behind her.
Mr Casey, freeing his arms from his holders, suddenly bowed his head onhis hands with a sob of pain.
—Poor Parnell! he cried loudly. My dead king!
He sobbed loudly and bitterly.
Stephen, raising his terrorstricken face, saw that his father’s eyeswere full of tears.
The fellows talked together in little groups.
One fellow said:
—They were caught near the Hill of Lyons.
—Who caught them?
—Mr Gleeson and the minister. They were on a car.
The same fellow added:
—A fellow in the higher line told me.
—But why did they run away, tell us?
—I know why, Cecil Thunder said. Because they had fecked cash out ofthe rector’s room.
—Who fecked it?
—Kickham’s brother. And they all went shares in it.
—But that was stealing. How could they have done that?
—A fat lot you know about it, Thunder! Wells said. I know why theyscut.
—Tell us why.
—I was told not to, Wells said.
—O, go on, Wells, all said. You might tell us. We won’t let it out.
Stephen bent forward his head to hear. Wells looked round to see ifanyone was coming. Then he said secretly:
—You know the altar wine they keep in the press in the sacristy?
—Well, they drank that and it was found out who did it by the smell.And that’s why they ran away, if you want to know.
And the fellow who had spoken first said:
—Yes, that’s what I heard too from the fellow in the higher line.
The fellows all were silent. Stephen stood among them, afraid to speak,listening. A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How could theyhave done that? He thought of the dark silent sacristy. There were darkwooden presses there where the crimped surplices lay quietly folded. Itwas not the chapel but still you had to speak under your breath. It wasa holy place. He remembered the summer evening he had been there to bedressed as boatbearer, the evening of the procession to the littlealtar in the wood. A strange and holy place. The boy that held thecenser had swung it gently to and fro near the door with the silverycap lifted by the middle chain to keep the coals lighting. That wascalled charcoal: and it had burned quietly as the fellow had swung itgently and had given off a weak sour smell. And then when all were vestedhe had stood holding out the boat to the rector and the rector had put aspoonful of incense in it and it had hissed on the red coals.
The fellows were talking together in little groups here and there onthe playground. The fellows seemed to him to have grown smaller: thatwas because a sprinter had knocked him down the day before, a fellowout of second of grammar. He had been thrown by the fellow’s machinelightly on the cinderpath and his spectacles had been broken in threepieces and some of the grit of the cinders had gone into his mouth.
That was why the fellows seemed to him smaller and farther away and thegoalposts so thin and far and the soft grey sky so high up. But therewas no play on the football grounds for cricket was coming: and somesaid that Barnes would be prof and some said it would be Flowers. Andall over the playgrounds they were playing rounders and bowlingtwisters and lobs. And from here and from there came the sounds of thecricket bats through the soft grey air. They said: pick, pack, pock,puck: little drops of water in a fountain slowly falling in thebrimming bowl.
Athy, who had been silent, said quietly:
—You are all wrong.
All turned towards him eagerly.
—Do you know?
—Who told you?
—Tell us, Athy.
Athy pointed across the playground to where Simon Moonan was walking byhimself kicking a stone before him.
—Ask him, he said.
The fellows looked there and then said:
—Is he in it?
Athy lowered his voice and said:
—Do you know why those fellows scut? I will tell you but you must notlet on you know.
—Tell us, Athy. Go on. You might if you know.
He paused for a moment and then said mysteriously:
—They were caught with Simon Moonan and Tusker Boyle in the square onenight.
The fellows looked at him and asked:
All the fellows were silent: and Athy said:
—And that’s why.
Stephen looked at the faces of the fellows but they were all lookingacross the playground. He wanted to ask somebody about it. What didthat mean about the smugging in the square? Why did the five fellowsout of the higher line run away for that? It was a joke, he thought.Simon Moonan had nice clothes and one night he had shown him a ball ofcreamy sweets that the fellows of the football fifteen had rolled downto him along the carpet in the middle of the refectory when he was atthe door. It was the night of the match against the Bective Rangersand the ball was made just like a red and green apple only it openedand it was full of the creamy sweets. And one day Boyle had said thatan elephant had two tuskers instead of two tusks and that was why hewas called Tusker Boyle but some fellows called him Lady Boyle becausehe was always at his nails, paring them.
Eileen had long thin cool white hands too because she was a girl. Theywere like ivory; only soft. That was the meaning of Tower of Ivorybut protestants could not understand it and made fun of it. One day hehad stood beside her looking into the hotel grounds. A waiter was runningup a trail of bunting on the flagstaff and a fox terrier was scamperingto and fro on the sunny lawn. She had put her hand into his pocketwhere his hand was and he had felt how cool and thin and soft her handwas. She had said that pockets were funny things to have: and then allof a sudden she had broken away and had run laughing down the slopingcurve of the path. Her fair hair had streamed out behind her like goldin the sun. Tower of Ivory. House of Gold. By thinking of thingsyou could understand them.
But why in the square? You went there when you wanted to do something.It was all thick slabs of slate and water trickled all day out of tinypinholes and there was a queer smell of stale water there. And behindthe door of one of the closets there was a drawing in red pencil of abearded man in a Roman dress with a brick in each hand and underneathwas the name of the drawing:
Balbus was building a wall.
Some fellow had drawn it there for a cod. It had a funny face but itwas very like a man with a beard. And on the wall of another closetthere was written in backhand in beautiful writing:
Julius Cæsar wrote The Calico Belly.
Perhaps that was why they were there because it was a place where somefellows wrote things for cod. But all the same it was queer what Athysaid and the way he said it. It was not a cod because they had runaway. He looked with the others across the playground and began to feelafraid.
At last Fleming said:
—And we are all to be punished for what other fellows did?
—I won’t come back, see if I do, Cecil Thunder said. Three days’ silencein the refectory and sending us up for six and eight every minute.
—Yes, said Wells. And old Barrett has a new way of twisting the noteso that you can’t open it and fold it again to see how many ferulæ youare to get. I won’t come back too.
—Yes, said Cecil Thunder, and the prefect of studies was in second ofgrammar this morning.
—Let us get up a rebellion, Fleming said. Will we?
All the fellows were silent. The air was very silent and you could hearthe cricket bats but more slowly than before: pick, pock.
—What is going to be done to them?
—Simon Moonan and Tusker are going to be flogged, Athy said, and thefellows in the higher line got their choice of flogging or beingexpelled.
—And which are they taking? asked the fellow who had spoken first.
—All are taking expulsion except Corrigan, Athy answered. He’s goingto be flogged by Mr Gleeson.
—I know why, Cecil Thunder said. He is right and the other fellowsare wrong because a flogging wears off after a bit but a fellow thathas been expelled from college is known all his life on account of it.Besides Gleeson won’t flog him hard.
—It’s best of his play not to, Fleming said.
—I wouldn’t like to be Simon Moonan and Tusker, Cecil Thunder said.But I don’t believe they will be flogged. Perhaps they will be sent upfor twice nine.
—No, no, said Athy. They’ll both get it on the vital spot.
Wells rubbed himself and said in a crying voice:
—Please, sir, let me off!
Athy grinned and turned up the sleeves of his jacket, saying:
It can’t be helped;
It must be done.
So down with your breeches
And out with your bum.
The fellows laughed; but he felt that they were a little afraid. In thesilence of the soft grey air he heard the cricket bats from here andfrom there: pock. That was a sound to hear but if you were hit then youwould feel a pain. The pandybat made a sound too but not like that. Thefellows said it was made of whalebone and leather with lead inside: andhe wondered what was the pain like. There were different kinds ofsounds. A long thin cane would have a high whistling sound and hewondered what was that pain like. It made him shivery to think of itand cold: and what Athy said too. But what was there to laugh at in it?It made him shivery: but that was because you always felt like a shiverwhen you let down your trousers. It was the same in the bath when youundressed yourself. He wondered who had to let them down, the master orthe boy himself. O how could they laugh about it that way?
He looked at Athy’s rolled-up sleeves and knuckly inky hands. He hadrolled up his sleeves to show how Mr Gleeson would roll up his sleeves.But Mr Gleeson had round shiny cuffs and clean white wrists and fattishwhite hands and the nails of them were long and pointed. Perhaps hepared them too like Lady Boyle. But they were terribly long and pointednails. So long and cruel they were though the white fattish hands werenot cruel but gentle. And though he trembled with cold and fright tothink of the cruel long nails and of the high whistling sound of the caneand of the chill you felt at the end of your shirt when you undressedyourself yet he felt a feeling of queer quiet pleasure inside him to thinkof the white fattish hands, clean and strong and gentle. And he thought ofwhat Cecil Thunder had said; that Mr Gleeson would not flog Corrigan hard.And Fleming had said he would not because it was best of his play notto. But that was not why.
A voice from far out on the playground cried:
And other voices cried:
—All in! All in!
During the writing lesson he sat with his arms folded, listening to theslow scraping of the pens. Mr Harford went to and fro making littlesigns in red pencil and sometimes sitting beside the boy to show himhow to hold his pen. He had tried to spell out the headline for himselfthough he knew already what it was for it was the last of the book.Zeal without prudence is like a ship adrift. But the lines of theletters were like fine invisible threads and it was only by closing hisright eye tight and staring out of the left eye that he could make outthe full curves of the capital.
But Mr Harford was very decent and never got into a wax. All the othermasters got into dreadful waxes. But why were they to suffer for whatfellows in the higher line did? Wells had said that they had drunk someof the altar wine out of the press in the sacristy and that it had beenfound out who had done it by the smell. Perhaps they had stolen amonstrance to run away with and sell it somewhere. That must have beena terrible sin, to go in there quietly at night, to open the dark pressand steal the flashing gold thing into which God was put on the altarin the middle of flowers and candles at benediction while the incensewent up in clouds at both sides as the fellow swung the censer andDominic Kelly sang the first part by himself in the choir. But God wasnot in it of course when they stole it. But still it was a strange anda great sin even to touch it. He thought of it with deep awe; aterrible and strange sin: it thrilled him to think of it in the silencewhen the pens scraped lightly. But to drink the altar wine out of thepress and be found out by the smell was a sin too: but it was notterrible and strange. It only made you feel a little sickish on accountof the smell of the wine. Because on the day when he had made his firstholy communion in the chapel he had shut his eyes and opened his mouthand put out his tongue a little: and when the rector had stooped downto give him the holy communion he had smelt a faint winy smell off therector’s breath after the wine of the mass. The word was beautiful:wine. It made you think of dark purple because the grapes were darkpurple that grew in Greece outside houses like white temples. But thefaint smell of the rector’s breath had made him feel a sick feeling onthe morning of his first communion. The day of your first communion wasthe happiest day of your life. And once a lot of generals had askedNapoleon what was the happiest day of his life. They thought he wouldsay the day he won some great battle or the day he was made an emperor.But he said:
—Gentlemen, the happiest day of my life was the day on which I mademy first holy communion.
Father Arnall came in and the Latin lesson began and he remained stillleaning on the desk with his arms folded. Father Arnall gave out thethemebooks and he said that they were scandalous and that they wereall to be written out again with the corrections at once. But the worstof all was Fleming’s theme because the pages were stuck together by ablot: and Father Arnall held it up by a corner and said it was aninsult to any master to send him up such a theme. Then he asked JackLawton to decline the noun mare and Jack Lawton stopped at theablative singular and could not go on with the plural.
—You should be ashamed of yourself, said Father Arnall sternly. You,the leader of the class!
Then he asked the next boy and the next and the next. Nobody knew.Father Arnall became very quiet, more and more quiet as each boy triedto answer it and could not. But his face was blacklooking andhis eyes were staring though his voice was so quiet. Then he askedFleming and Fleming said that the word had no plural. Father Arnallsuddenly shut the book and shouted at him:
—Kneel out there in the middle of the class. You are one of theidlest boys I ever met. Copy out your themes again the rest of you.
Fleming moved heavily out of his place and knelt between the two lastbenches. The other boys bent over their themebooks and began to write.A silence filled the classroom and Stephen, glancing timidly at FatherArnall’s dark face, saw that it was a little red from the wax he was in.
Was that a sin for Father Arnall to be in a wax or was he allowed toget into a wax when the boys were idle because that made them studybetter or was he only letting on to be in a wax? It was because he wasallowed because a priest would know what a sin was and would not doit. But if he did it one time by mistake what would he do to go toconfession? Perhaps he would go to confession to the minister. And ifthe minister did it he would go to the rector: and the rector to theprovincial: and the provincial to the general of the jesuits. That wascalled the order: and he had heard his father say that they were allclever men. They could all have become high-up people in the world ifthey had not become jesuits. And he wondered what Father Arnall andPaddy Barrett would have become and what Mr McGlade and Mr Gleesonwould have become if they had not become jesuits. It was hard to thinkwhat because you would have to think of them in a different way withdifferent coloured coats and trousers and with beards and moustachesand different kinds of hats.
The door opened quietly and closed. A quick whisper ran through theclass: the prefect of studies. There was an instant of dead silence andthen the loud crack of a pandybat on the last desk. Stephen’s heartleapt up in fear.
—Any boys want flogging here, Father Arnall? cried the prefect ofstudies. Any lazy idle loafers that want flogging in this class?
He came to the middle of the class and saw Fleming on his knees.
—Hoho! he cried. Who is this boy? Why is he on his knees? What isyour name, boy?
—Hoho, Fleming! An idler of course. I can see it in your eye. Why ishe on his knees, Father Arnall?
—He wrote a bad Latin theme, Father Arnall said, and he missed allthe questions in grammar.
—Of course he did! cried the prefect of studies, of course he did! Aborn idler! I can see it in the corner of his eye.
He banged his pandybat down on the desk and cried:
—Up, Fleming! Up, my boy!
Fleming stood up slowly.
—Hold out! cried the prefect of studies.
Fleming held out his hand. The pandybat came down on it with a loudsmacking sound: one, two, three, four, five, six.
The pandybat came down again in six loud quick smacks.
—Kneel down! cried the prefect of studies.
Fleming knelt down, squeezing his hands under his armpits, his facecontorted with pain, but Stephen knew how hard his hands were becauseFleming was always rubbing rosin into them. But perhaps he was in greatpain for the noise of the pandybat was terrible. Stephen’s heart wasbeating and fluttering.
—At your work, all of you! shouted the prefect of studies. We want nolazy idle loafers here, lazy idle little schemers. At your work, I tellyou. Father Dolan will be in to see you every day. Father Dolan will bein tomorrow.
He poked one of the boys in the side with his pandybat, saying:
—You, boy! When will Father Dolan be in again?
—Tomorrow, sir, said Tom Furlong’s voice.
—Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, said the prefect of studies.Make up your minds for that. Every day Father Dolan. Write away. You,boy, who are you?
Stephen’s heart jumped suddenly.
—Why are you not writing like the others?
He could not speak with fright.
—Why is he not writing, Father Arnall?
—He broke his glasses, said Father Arnall, and I exempted him fromwork.
—Broke? What is this I hear? What is this? Your name is? said theprefect of studies.
—Out here, Dedalus. Lazy little schemer. I see schemer in your face.Where did you break your glasses?
Stephen stumbled into the middle of the class, blinded by fear and haste.
—Where did you break your glasses? repeated the prefect of studies.
—The cinderpath, sir.
—Hoho! The cinderpath! cried the prefect of studies. I know that trick.
Stephen lifted his eyes in wonder and saw for a moment Father Dolan’swhitegrey not young face, his baldy whitegrey head with fluff at thesides of it, the steel rims of his spectacles and his no-coloured eyeslooking through the glasses. Why did he say he knew that trick?
—Lazy idle little loafer! cried the prefect of studies. Broke myglasses! An old schoolboy trick! Out with your hand this moment!
Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand withthe palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a momentat the fingers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of thesoutane as the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning stingingtingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his tremblinghand crumple together like a leaf in the fire: and at the sound and thepain scalding tears were driven into his eyes. His whole body was shakingwith fright, his arm was shaking and his crumpled burning livid hand shooklike a loose leaf in the air. A cry sprang to his lips, a prayer to be letoff. But though the tears scalded his eyes and his limbs quivered withpain and fright he held back the hot tears and the cry that scalded histhroat.
—Other hand! shouted the prefect of studies.
Stephen drew back his maimed and quivering right arm and held out hisleft hand. The soutane sleeve swished again as the pandybat was liftedand a loud crashing sound and a fierce maddening tingling burning painmade his hand shrink together with the palms and fingers in a lividquivering mass. The scalding water burst forth from his eyes and,burning with shame and agony and fear, he drew back his shaking arm interror and burst out into a whine of pain. His body shook with a palsyof fright and in shame and rage he felt the scalding cry come from histhroat and the scalding tears falling out of his eyes and down hisflaming cheeks.
—Kneel down, cried the prefect of studies.
Stephen knelt down quickly pressing his beaten hands to his sides. Tothink of them beaten and swollen with pain all in a moment made himfeel so sorry for them as if they were not his own but someone else’sthat he felt sorry for. And as he knelt, calming the last sobs in histhroat and feeling the burning tingling pain pressed into his sides, hethought of the hands which he had held out in the air with the palms upand of the firm touch of the prefect of studies when he had steadiedthe shaking fingers and of the beaten swollen reddened mass of palm andfingers that shook helplessly in the air.
—Get at your work, all of you, cried the prefect of studies from thedoor. Father Dolan will be in every day to see if any boy, any lazyidle little loafer wants flogging. Every day. Every day.
The door closed behind him.
The hushed class continued to copy out the themes. Father Arnall rosefrom his seat and went among them, helping the boys with gentle wordsand telling them the mistakes they had made. His voice was very gentleand soft. Then he returned to his seat and said to Fleming and Stephen:
—You may return to your places, you two.
Fleming and Stephen rose and, walking to their seats, sat down.Stephen, scarlet with shame, opened a book quickly with one weak handand bent down upon it, his face close to the page.
It was unfair and cruel because the doctor had told him not to readwithout glasses and he had written home to his father that morning tosend him a new pair. And Father Arnall had said that he need not studytill the new glasses came. Then to be called a schemer before the classand to be pandied when he always got the card for first or second andwas the leader of the Yorkists! How could the prefect of studies knowthat it was a trick? He felt the touch of the prefect’s fingers as theyhad steadied his hand and at first he had thought he was going to shakehands with him because the fingers were soft and firm: but then in aninstant he had heard the swish of the soutane sleeve and the crash. Itwas cruel and unfair to make him kneel in the middle of the class then:and Father Arnall had told them both that they might return to theirplaces without making any difference between them. He listened toFather Arnall’s low and gentle voice as he corrected the themes.Perhaps he was sorry now and wanted to be decent. But it was unfair andcruel. The prefect of studies was a priest but that was cruel andunfair. And his whitegrey face and the no-coloured eyes behind thesteel rimmed spectacles were cruel looking because he had steadied thehand first with his firm soft fingers and that was to hit it better andlouder.
—It’s a stinking mean thing, that’s what it is, said Fleming in thecorridor as the classes were passing out in file to the refectory, topandy a fellow for what is not his fault.
—You really broke your glasses by accident, didn’t you? Nasty Rocheasked.
Stephen felt his heart filled by Fleming’s words and did not answer.
—Of course he did! said Fleming. I wouldn’t stand it. I’d go up andtell the rector on him.
—Yes, said Cecil Thunder eagerly, and I saw him lift the pandybatover his shoulder and he’s not allowed to do that.
—Did they hurt you much? Nasty Roche asked.
—Very much, Stephen said.
—I wouldn’t stand it, Fleming repeated, from Baldyhead or any otherBaldyhead. It’s a stinking mean low trick, that’s what it is. I’d gostraight up to the rector and tell him about it after dinner.
—Yes, do. Yes, do, said Cecil Thunder.
—Yes, do. Yes, go up and tell the rector on him, Dedalus, said NastyRoche, because he said that he’d come in tomorrow again and pandy you.
—Yes, yes. Tell the rector, all said.
And there were some fellows out of second of grammar listening and oneof them said:
—The senate and the Roman people declared that Dedalus had beenwrongly punished.
It was wrong; it was unfair and cruel; and, as he sat in the refectory,he suffered time after time in memory the same humiliation until hebegan to wonder whether it might not really be that there was somethingin his face which made him look like a schemer and he wished he had alittle mirror to see. But there could not be; and it was unjust andcruel and unfair.
He could not eat the blackish fish fritters they got on Wednesdays inLent and one of his potatoes had the mark of the spade in it. Yes, hewould do what the fellows had told him. He would go up and tell therector that he had been wrongly punished. A thing like that had beendone before by somebody in history, by some great person whose head wasin the books of history. And the rector would declare that he had beenwrongly punished because the senate and the Roman people alwaysdeclared that the men who did that had been wrongly punished. Thosewere the great men whose names were in Richmal Magnall’s Questions.History was all about those men and what they did and that was whatPeter Parley’s Tales about Greece and Rome were all about. Peter Parleyhimself was on the first page in a picture. There was a road over aheath with grass at the side and little bushes: and Peter Parley had abroad hat like a protestant minister and a big stick and he was walkingfast along the road to Greece and Rome.
It was easy what he had to do. All he had to do was when the dinner wasover and he came out in his turn to go on walking but not out to thecorridor but up the staircase on the right that led to the castle. Hehad nothing to do but that; to turn to the right and walk fast up thestaircase and in half a minute he would be in the low dark narrowcorridor that led through the castle to the rector’s room. And everyfellow had said that it was unfair, even the fellow out of second ofgrammar who had said that about the senate and the Roman people.
What would happen? He heard the fellows of the higher line stand up at thetop of the refectory and heard their steps as they came down the matting:Paddy Rath and Jimmy Magee and the Spaniard and the Portuguese and thefifth was big Corrigan who was going to be flogged by Mr Gleeson. That waswhy the prefect of studies had called him a schemer and pandied him fornothing: and, straining his weak eyes, tired with the tears, he watchedbig Corrigan’s broad shoulders and big hanging black head passing in thefile. But he had done something and besides Mr Gleeson would not flog himhard: and he remembered how big Corrigan looked in the bath. He had skinthe same colour as the turfcoloured bogwater in the shallow end of thebath and when he walked along the side his feet slapped loudly on the wettiles and at every step his thighs shook a little because he was fat.
The refectory was half empty and the fellows were still passing out infile. He could go up the staircase because there was never a priest ora prefect outside the refectory door. But he could not go. The rectorwould side with the prefect of studies and think it was a schoolboytrick and then the prefect of studies would come in every day the same,only it would be worse because he would be dreadfully waxy at anyfellow going up to the rector about him. The fellows had told him to gobut they would not go themselves. They had forgotten all about it. No,it was best to forget all about it and perhaps the prefect of studieshad only said he would come in. No, it was best to hide out of the waybecause when you were small and young you could often escape that way.
The fellows at his table stood up. He stood up and passed out amongthem in the file. He had to decide. He was coming near the door. If hewent on with the fellows he could never go up to the rector because hecould not leave the playground for that. And if he went and was pandiedall the same all the fellows would make fun and talk about youngDedalus going up to the rector to tell on the prefect of studies.
He was walking down along the matting and he saw the door before him.It was impossible: he could not. He thought of the baldy head of theprefect of studies with the cruel no-coloured eyes looking at him andhe heard the voice of the prefect of studies asking him twice what hisname was. Why could he not remember the name when he was told the firsttime? Was he not listening the first time or was it to make fun out ofthe name? The great men in the history had names like that and nobodymade fun of them. It was his own name that he should have made fun ofif he wanted to make fun. Dolan: it was like the name of a woman whowashed clothes.
He had reached the door and, turning quickly up to the right, walked upthe stairs; and, before he could make up his mind to come back, he hadentered the low dark narrow corridor that led to the castle. And as hecrossed the threshold of the door of the corridor he saw, withoutturning his head to look, that all the fellows were looking after himas they went filing by.
He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors thatwere the doors of the rooms of the community. He peered in front of himand right and left through the gloom and thought that those must beportraits. It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired withtears so that he could not see. But he thought they were the portraitsof the saints and great men of the order who were looking down on himsilently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding an open book andpointing to the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam in it, saint FrancisXavier pointing to his chest, Lorenzo Ricci with his berretta on hishead like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of holyyouth, saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzago and BlessedJohn Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they wereyoung, and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a bigcloak.
He came out on the landing above the entrance hall and looked abouthim. That was where Hamilton Rowan had passed and the marks of thesoldiers’ slugs were there. And it was there that the old servants hadseen the ghost in the white cloak of a marshal.
An old servant was sweeping at the end of the landing. He asked himwhere was the rector’s room and the old servant pointed to the door atthe far end and looked after him as he went on to it and knocked.
There was no answer. He knocked again more loudly and his heart jumpedwhen he heard a muffled voice say:
He turned the handle and opened the door and fumbled for the handle ofthe green baize door inside. He found it and pushed it open and went in.
He saw the rector sitting at a desk writing. There was a skull on thedesk and a strange solemn smell in the room like the old leather ofchairs.
His heart was beating fast on account of the solemn place he was in andthe silence of the room: and he looked at the skull and at the rector’skind-looking face.
—Well, my little man, said the rector, what is it?
Stephen swallowed down the thing in his throat and said:
—I broke my glasses, sir.
The rector opened his mouth and said:
Then he smiled and said:
—Well, if we broke our glasses we must write home for a new pair.
—I wrote home, sir, said Stephen, and Father Arnall said I am not tostudy till they come.
—Quite right! said the rector.
Stephen swallowed down the thing again and tried to keep his legs andhis voice from shaking.
—Father Dolan came in today and pandied me because I was not writingmy theme.
The rector looked at him in silence and he could feel the blood risingto his face and the tears about to rise to his eyes.
The rector said:
—Your name is Dedalus, isn’t it?
—And where did you break your glasses?
—On the cinderpath, sir. A fellow was coming out of the bicyclehouse and I fell and they got broken. I don’t know the fellow’s name.
The rector looked at him again in silence. Then he smiled and said:
—O, well, it was a mistake, I am sure Father Dolan did not know.
—But I told him I broke them, sir, and he pandied me.
—Did you tell him that you had written home for a new pair? therector asked.
—O well then, said the rector, Father Dolan did not understand. You cansay that I excuse you from your lessons for a few days.
Stephen said quickly for fear his trembling would prevent him:
—Yes, sir, but Father Dolan said he will come in tomorrow to pandy meagain for it.
—Very well, the rector said, it is a mistake and I shall speak toFather Dolan myself. Will that do now?
Stephen felt the tears wetting his eyes and murmured:
—O yes sir, thanks.
The rector held his hand across the side of the desk where the skullwas and Stephen, placing his hand in it for a moment, felt a cool moistpalm.
—Good day now, said the rector, withdrawing his hand and bowing.
—Good day, sir, said Stephen.
He bowed and walked quietly out of the room, closing the doorscarefully and slowly.
But when he had passed the old servant on the landing and was again inthe low narrow dark corridor he began to walk faster and faster. Fasterand faster he hurried on through the gloom excitedly. He bumped hiselbow against the door at the end and, hurrying down the staircase,walked quickly through the two corridors and out into the air.
He could hear the cries of the fellows on the playgrounds. He brokeinto a run and, running quicker and quicker, ran across the cinderpathand reached the third line playground, panting.
The fellows had seen him running. They closed round him in a ring,pushing one against another to hear.
—Tell us! Tell us!
—What did he say?
—Did you go in?
—What did he say?
—Tell us! Tell us!
He told them what he had said and what the rector had said and, when hehad told them, all the fellows flung their caps spinning up into theair and cried:
They caught their caps and sent them up again spinning skyhigh andcried again:
They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among themand carried him along till he struggled to get free. And when he hadescaped from them they broke away in all directions, flinging theircaps again into the air and whistling as they went spinning up andcrying:
And they gave three groans for Baldyhead Dolan and three cheers forConmee and they said he was the decentest rector that was ever inClongowes.
The cheers died away in the soft grey air. He was alone. He was happyand free: but he would not be anyway proud with Father Dolan. He wouldbe very quiet and obedient: and he wished that he could do somethingkind for him to show him that he was not proud.
The air was soft and grey and mild and evening was coming. There wasthe smell of evening in the air, the smell of the fields in the countrywhere they digged up turnips to peel them and eat them when they wentout for a walk to Major Barton’s, the smell there was in the littlewood beyond the pavilion where the gallnuts were.
The fellows were practising long shies and bowling lobs and slowtwisters. In the soft grey silence he could hear the bump of the balls:and from here and from there through the quiet air the sound of thecricket bats: pick, pack, pock, puck: like drops of water in a fountainfalling softly in the brimming bowl.
Uncle Charles smoked such black twist that at last his nephew suggestedto him to enjoy his morning smoke in a little outhouse at the end ofthe garden.
—Very good, Simon. All serene, Simon, said the old man tranquilly.Anywhere you like. The outhouse will do me nicely: it will be moresalubrious.
—Damn me, said Mr Dedalus frankly, if I know how you can smoke suchvillainous awful tobacco. It’s like gunpowder, by God.
—It’s very nice, Simon, replied the old man. Very cool andmollifying.
Every morning, therefore, uncle Charles repaired to his outhouse butnot before he had greased and brushed scrupulously his back hair andbrushed and put on his tall hat. While he smoked the brim of his tallhat and the bowl of his pipe were just visible beyond the jambs of theouthouse door. His arbour, as he called the reeking outhouse which heshared with the cat and the garden tools, served him also as asoundingbox: and every morning he hummed contentedly one of hisfavourite songs: O, twine me a bower or Blue eyes and goldenhair or The Groves of Blarney while the grey and blue coilsof smoke rose slowly from his pipe and vanished in the pure air.
During the first part of the summer in Blackrock uncle Charles wasStephen’s constant companion. Uncle Charles was a hale old man with awell tanned skin, rugged features and white side whiskers. On week dayshe did messages between the house in Carysfort Avenue and those shopsin the main street of the town with which the family dealt. Stephen wasglad to go with him on these errands for uncle Charles helped him veryliberally to handfuls of whatever was exposed in open boxes and barrelsoutside the counter. He would seize a handful of grapes and sawdust orthree or four American apples and thrust them generously into hisgrandnephew’s hand while the shopman smiled uneasily; and, on Stephen’sfeigning reluctance to take them, he would frown and say:
—Take them, sir. Do you hear me, sir? They’re good for your bowels.
When the order list had been booked the two would go on to the parkwhere an old friend of Stephen’s father, Mike Flynn, would be foundseated on a bench, waiting for them. Then would begin Stephen’s runround the park. Mike Flynn would stand at the gate near the railwaystation, watch in hand, while Stephen ran round the track in the styleMike Flynn favoured, his head high lifted, his knees well lifted andhis hands held straight down by his sides. When the morning practicewas over the trainer would make his comments and sometimes illustratethem by shuffling along for a yard or so comically in an old pair ofblue canvas shoes. A small ring of wonderstruck children and nursemaidswould gather to watch him and linger even when he and uncle Charles hadsat down again and were talking athletics and politics. Though he hadheard his father say that Mike Flynn had put some of the best runnersof modern times through his hands Stephen often glanced at histrainer’s flabby stubble-covered face, as it bent over the long stainedfingers through which he rolled his cigarette, and with pity at themild lustreless blue eyes which would look up suddenly from the taskand gaze vaguely into the blue distance while the long swollen fingersceased their rolling and grains and fibres of tobacco fell back intothe pouch.
On the way home uncle Charles would often pay a visit to the chapeland, as the font was above Stephen’s reach, the old man would dip hishand and then sprinkle the water briskly about Stephen’s clothes andon the floor of the porch. While he prayed he knelt on his red handkerchiefand read above his breath from a thumb blackened prayerbook whereincatchwords were printed at the foot of every page. Stephen knelt athis side respecting, though he did not share, his piety. He oftenwondered what his granduncle prayed for so seriously. Perhaps he prayedfor the souls in purgatory or for the grace of a happy death or perhaps heprayed that God might send him back a part of the big fortune he hadsquandered in Cork.
On Sundays Stephen with his father and his granduncle took theirconstitutional. The old man was a nimble walker in spite of his cornsand often ten or twelve miles of the road were covered. The littlevillage of Stillorgan was the parting of the ways. Either they went tothe left towards the Dublin mountains or along the Goatstown road andthence into Dundrum, coming home by Sandyford. Trudging along the roador standing in some grimy wayside public house his elders spokeconstantly of the subjects nearer their hearts, of Irish politics, ofMunster and of the legends of their own family, to all of which Stephenlent an avid ear. Words which he did not understand he said over andover to himself till he had learnt them by heart: and through them hehad glimpses of the real world about them. The hour when he too wouldtake part in the life of that world seemed drawing near and in secrethe began to make ready for the great part which he felt awaited him thenature of which he only dimly apprehended.
His evenings were his own; and he pored over a ragged translation ofThe Count of Monte Cristo. The figure of that dark avenger stood forthin his mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of thestrange and terrible. At night he built up on the parlour table animage of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowersand coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper inwhich chocolate is wrapped. When he had broken up this scenery, wearyof its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture ofMarseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes.
Outside Blackrock, on the road that led to the mountains, stood a smallwhitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rosebushes: and inthis house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived. Both on theoutward and on the homeward journey he measured distance by thislandmark: and in his imagination he lived through a long train ofadventures, marvellous as those in the book itself, towards the closeof which there appeared an image of himself, grown older and sadder,standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years beforeslighted his love, and with a sadly proud gesture of refusal, saying:
—Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes.
He became the ally of a boy named Aubrey Mills and founded with him agang of adventurers in the avenue. Aubrey carried a whistle danglingfrom his buttonhole and a bicycle lamp attached to his belt while theothers had short sticks thrust daggerwise through theirs. Stephen, whohad read of Napoleon’s plain style of dress, chose to remain unadornedand thereby heightened for himself the pleasure of taking counsel withhis lieutenant before giving orders. The gang made forays into thegardens of old maids or went down to the castle and fought a battle onthe shaggy weedgrown rocks, coming home after it weary stragglers withthe stale odours of the foreshore in their nostrils and the rank oilsof the seawrack upon their hands and in their hair.
Aubrey and Stephen had a common milkman and often they drove out in themilkcar to Carrickmines where the cows were at grass. While the menwere milking the boys would take turns in riding the tractable mareround the field. But when autumn came the cows were driven home fromthe grass: and the first sight of the filthy cowyard at Stradbrook withits foul green puddles and clots of liquid dung and steaming brantroughs, sickened Stephen’s heart. The cattle which had seemed sobeautiful in the country on sunny days revolted him and he could noteven look at the milk they yielded.
The coming of September did not trouble him this year for he was not tobe sent back to Clongowes. The practice in the park came to an end whenMike Flynn went into hospital. Aubrey was at school and had only anhour or two free in the evening. The gang fell asunder and there wereno more nightly forays or battles on the rocks. Stephen sometimes wentround with the car which delivered the evening milk: and these chillydrives blew away his memory of the filth of the cowyard and he felt norepugnance at seeing the cow hairs and hayseeds on the milkman’s coat.Whenever the car drew up before a house he waited to catch a glimpse ofa well scrubbed kitchen or of a softly lighted hall and to see how theservant would hold the jug and how she would close the door. He thoughtit should be a pleasant life enough, driving along the roads everyevening to deliver milk, if he had warm gloves and a fat bag ofgingernuts in his pocket to eat from. But the same foreknowledge whichhad sickened his heart and made his legs sag suddenly as he raced roundthe park, the same intuition which had made him glance with mistrust athis trainer’s flabby stubblecovered face as it bent heavily over his longstained fingers, dissipated any vision of the future. In a vague way heunderstood that his father was in trouble and that this was the reasonwhy he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes. For some time hehad felt the slight change in his house; and those changes in what hehad deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyishconception of the world. The ambition which he felt astir at times inthe darkness of his soul sought no outlet. A dusk like that of theouter world obscured his mind as he heard the mare’s hoofs clatteringalong the tramtrack on the Rock Road and the great can swaying andrattling behind him.
He returned to Mercedes and, as he brooded upon her image, a strangeunrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever gathered within him andled him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue. The peaceof the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tenderinfluence into his restless heart. The noise of children at playannoyed him and their silly voices made him feel, even more keenly thanhe had felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others. He did notwant to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantialimage which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where toseek it or how but a premonition which led him on told him that thisimage would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They wouldmeet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst,perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would bealone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment ofsupreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into somethingimpalpable under her eyes and then in a moment, he would be transfigured.Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magicmoment.
Two great yellow caravans had halted one morning before the door andmen had come tramping into the house to dismantle it. The furniture hadbeen hustled out through the front garden which was strewn with wispsof straw and rope ends and into the huge vans at the gate. When all hadbeen safely stowed the vans had set off noisily down the avenue: andfrom the window of the railway carriage, in which he had sat with hisredeyed mother, Stephen had seen them lumbering along the MerrionRoad.
The parlour fire would not draw that evening and Mr Dedalus rested thepoker against the bars of the grate to attract the flame. Uncle Charlesdozed in a corner of the half furnished uncarpeted room and near himthe family portraits leaned against the wall. The lamp on the tableshed a weak light over the boarded floor, muddied by the feet of thevanmen. Stephen sat on a footstool beside his father listening to along and incoherent monologue. He understood little or nothing of it atfirst but he became slowly aware that his father had enemies and thatsome fight was going to take place. He felt, too, that he was beingenlisted for the fight, that some duty was being laid upon hisshoulders. The sudden flight from the comfort and reverie of Blackrock,the passage through the gloomy foggy city, the thought of the barecheerless house in which they were now to live made his heart heavy:and again an intuition, a foreknowledge of the future came to him. Heunderstood also why the servants had often whispered together in thehall and why his father had often stood on the hearthrug, with his backto the fire, talking loudly to uncle Charles who urged him to sit downand eat his dinner.
—There’s a crack of the whip left in me yet, Stephen, old chap, saidMr Dedalus, poking at the dull fire with fierce energy. We’re not deadyet, sonny. No, by the Lord Jesus (God forgive me) nor half dead.
Dublin was a new and complex sensation. Uncle Charles had grown sowitless that he could no longer be sent out on errands and the disorderin settling in the new house left Stephen freer than he had been inBlackrock. In the beginning he contented himself with circling timidlyround the neighbouring square or, at most, going half way down one ofthe side streets but when he had made a skeleton map of the city in hismind he followed boldly one of its central lines until he reached theCustom House. He passed unchallenged among the docks and along the quayswondering at the multitude of corks that lay bobbing on the surface ofthe water in a thick yellow scum, at the crowds of quay porters and therumbling carts and the illdressed bearded policeman. The vastness andstrangeness of the life suggested to him by the bales of merchandisestocked along the walls or swung aloft out of the holds of steamerswakened again in him the unrest which had sent him wandering in theevening from garden to garden in search of Mercedes. And amid this newbustling life he might have fancied himself in another Marseilles but thathe missed the bright sky and the sun-warmed trellises of the wineshops.A vague dissatisfaction grew up within him as he looked on the quays andon the river and on the lowering skies and yet he continued to wander upand down day after day as if he really sought someone that eluded him.
He went once or twice with his mother to visit their relatives: andthough they passed a jovial array of shops lit up and adorned forChristmas his mood of embittered silence did not leave him. The causesof his embitterment were many, remote and near. He was angry withhimself for being young and the prey of restless foolish impulses,angry also with the change of fortune which was reshaping the worldabout him into a vision of squalor and insincerity. Yet his anger lentnothing to the vision. He chronicled with patience what he saw,detaching himself from it and tasting its mortifying flavour in secret.
He was sitting on the backless chair in his aunt’s kitchen. A lamp witha reflector hung on the japanned wall of the fireplace and by its lighthis aunt was reading the evening paper that lay on her knees. Shelooked a long time at a smiling picture that was set in it and saidmusingly:
—The beautiful Mabel Hunter!
A ringletted girl stood on tiptoe to peer at the picture and said softly:
—What is she in, mud?
—In a pantomime, love.
The child leaned her ringletted head against her mother’s sleeve,gazing on the picture and murmured as if fascinated:
—The beautiful Mabel Hunter!
As if fascinated, her eyes rested long upon those demurely tauntingeyes and she murmured devotedly:
—Isn’t she an exquisite creature?
And the boy who came in from the street, stamping crookedly under hisstone of coal, heard her words. He dropped his load promptly on thefloor and hurried to her side to see. He mauled the edges of the paperwith his reddened and blackened hands, shouldering her aside andcomplaining that he could not see.
He was sitting in the narrow breakfast room high up in the olddarkwindowed house. The firelight flickered on the wall and beyond thewindow a spectral dusk was gathering upon the river. Before the fire anold woman was busy making tea and, as she bustled at the task, she toldin a low voice of what the priest and the doctor had said. She told tooof certain changes they had seen in her of late and of her odd ways andsayings. He sat listening to the words and following the ways ofadventure that lay open in the coals, arches and vaults and windinggalleries and jagged caverns.
Suddenly he became aware of something in the doorway. A skull appearedsuspended in the gloom of the doorway. A feeble creature like a monkeywas there, drawn thither by the sound of voices at the fire. A whiningvoice came from the door asking:
—Is that Josephine?
The old bustling woman answered cheerily from the fireplace:
—No, Ellen, it’s Stephen.
—O... O, good evening, Stephen.
He answered the greeting and saw a silly smile break over the face inthe doorway.
—Do you want anything, Ellen? asked the old woman at the fire.
But she did not answer the question and said:
—I thought it was Josephine. I thought you were Josephine, Stephen.
And, repeating this several times, she fell to laughing feebly.
He was sitting in the midst of a children’s party at Harold’s Cross.His silent watchful manner had grown upon him and he took little partin the games. The children, wearing the spoils of their crackers,danced and romped noisily and, though he tried to share theirmerriment, he felt himself a gloomy figure amid the gay cocked hats andsunbonnets.
But when he had sung his song and withdrawn into a snug corner of theroom he began to taste the joy of his loneliness. The mirth, which inthe beginning of the evening had seemed to him false and trivial, waslike a soothing air to him, passing gaily by his senses, hiding fromother eyes the feverish agitation of his blood while through thecircling of the dancers and amid the music and laughter her glancetravelled to his corner, flattering, taunting, searching, exciting hisheart.
In the hall the children who had stayed latest were putting on theirthings: the party was over. She had thrown a shawl about her and, asthey went together towards the tram, sprays of her fresh warm breathflew gaily above her cowled head and her shoes tapped blithely on theglassy road.
It was the last tram. The lank brown horses knew it and shook theirbells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with thedriver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. On the emptyseats of the tram were scattered a few coloured tickets. No sound offootsteps came up or down the road. No sound broke the peace of thenight save when the lank brown horses rubbed their noses together andshook their bells.
They seemed to listen, he on the upper step and she on the lower. Shecame up to his step many times and went down to hers again betweentheir phrases and once or twice stood close beside him for some momentson the upper step, forgetting to go down, and then went down. His heartdanced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what hereyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dimpast, whether in life or reverie, he had heard their tale before. He sawher urge her vanities, her fine dress and sash and long blackstockings, and knew that he had yielded to them a thousand times. Yet avoice within him spoke above the noise of his dancing heart, asking himwould he take her gift to which he had only to stretch out his hand.And he remembered the day when he and Eileen had stood looking into thehotel grounds, watching the waiters running up a trail of bunting onthe flagstaff and the fox terrier scampering to and fro on the sunnylawn, and how, all of a sudden, she had broken out into a peal oflaughter and had run down the sloping curve of the path. Now, as then,he stood listlessly in his place, seemingly a tranquil watcher of thescene before him.
—She too wants me to catch hold of her, he thought. That’s why shecame with me to the tram. I could easily catch hold of her when shecomes up to my step: nobody is looking. I could hold her and kiss her.
But he did neither: and, when he was sitting alone in the desertedtram, he tore his ticket into shreds and stared gloomily at thecorrugated footboard.
The next day he sat at his table in the bare upper room for many hours.Before him lay a new pen, a new bottle of ink and a new emeraldexercise. From force of habit he had written at the top of thefirst page the initial letters of the jesuit motto: A.M.D.G. On thefirst line of the page appeared the title of the verses he was trying towrite: To E—— C——. He knew it was right to begin sofor he had seen similar titles in the collected poems of Lord Byron. When hehad written this title and drawn an ornamental line underneath he fell intoa daydream and began to draw diagrams on the cover of the book. He sawhimself sitting at his table in Bray the morning after the discussionat the Christmas dinner table, trying to write a poem about Parnell onthe back of one of his father’s second moiety notices. But his brainhad then refused to grapple with the theme and, desisting, he hadcovered the page with the names and addresses of certain of hisclassmates:
Now it seemed as if he would fail again but, by dint of brooding on theincident, he thought himself into confidence. During this process allthose elements which he deemed common and insignificant fell out of thescene. There remained no trace of the tram itself nor of the trammennor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly. The verses toldonly of the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden lustre of themoon. Some undefined sorrow was hidden in the hearts of theprotagonists as they stood in silence beneath the leafless trees andwhen the moment of farewell had come the kiss, which had been withheldby one, was given by both. After this the letters L. D. S. were writtenat the foot of the page, and, having hidden the book, he went into hismother’s bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror ofher dressingtable.
But his long spell of leisure and liberty was drawing to its end. Oneevening his father came home full of news which kept his tongue busyall through dinner. Stephen had been awaiting his father’s return forthere had been mutton hash that day and he knew that his father wouldmake him dip his bread in the gravy. But he did not relish the hash forthe mention of Clongowes had coated his palate with a scum of disgust.
—I walked bang into him, said Mr Dedalus for the fourth time, just atthe corner of the square.
—Then I suppose, said Mrs Dedalus, he will be able to arrange it. Imean about Belvedere.
—Of course he will, said Mr Dedalus. Don’t I tell you he’s provincialof the order now?
—I never liked the idea of sending him to the christian brothersmyself, said Mrs Dedalus.
—Christian brothers be damned! said Mr Dedalus. Is it with PaddyStink and Micky Mud? No, let him stick to the jesuits in God’s namesince he began with them. They’ll be of service to him in after years.Those are the fellows that can get you a position.
—And they’re a very rich order, aren’t they, Simon?
—Rather. They live well, I tell you. You saw their table atClongowes. Fed up, by God, like gamecocks.
Mr Dedalus pushed his plate over to Stephen and bade him finish whatwas on it.
—Now then, Stephen, he said, you must put your shoulder to the wheel,old chap. You’ve had a fine long holiday.
—O, I’m sure he’ll work very hard now, said Mrs Dedalus, especiallywhen he has Maurice with him.
—O, Holy Paul, I forgot about Maurice, said Mr Dedalus. Here,Maurice! Come here, you thick-headed ruffian! Do you know I’m going tosend you to a college where they’ll teach you to spell c.a.t. cat. AndI’ll buy you a nice little penny handkerchief to keep your nose dry.Won’t that be grand fun?
Maurice grinned at his father and then at his brother.
Mr Dedalus screwed his glass into his eye and stared hard at both hissons. Stephen mumbled his bread without answering his father’s gaze.
—By the bye, said Mr Dedalus at length, the rector, or provincialrather, was telling me that story about you and Father Dolan. You’re animpudent thief, he said.
—O, he didn’t, Simon!
—Not he! said Mr Dedalus. But he gave me a great account of the wholeaffair. We were chatting, you know, and one word borrowed another. And,by the way, who do you think he told me will get that job in thecorporation? But I’ll tell you that after. Well, as I was saying, wewere chatting away quite friendly and he asked me did our friend herewear glasses still, and then he told me the whole story.
—And was he annoyed, Simon?
—Annoyed? Not he! Manly little chap! he said.
Mr Dedalus imitated the mincing nasal tone of the provincial.
Father Dolan and I, when I told them all at dinner about it, FatherDolan and I had a great laugh over it. You better mind yourself, FatherDolan, said I, or young Dedalus will send you up for twice nine.We had a famous laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Mr Dedalus turned to his wife and interjected in his natural voice:
—Shows you the spirit in which they take the boys there. O, a jesuitfor your life, for diplomacy!
He reassumed the provincial’s voice and repeated:
—I told them all at dinner about it and Father Dolan and I and all ofus we had a hearty laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
The night of the Whitsuntide play had come and Stephen from the windowof the dressingroom looked out on the small grassplot across whichlines of Chinese lanterns were stretched. He watched the visitors comedown the steps from the house and pass into the theatre. Stewards inevening dress, old Belvedereans, loitered in groups about the entranceto the theatre and ushered in the visitors with ceremony. Under thesudden glow of a lantern he could recognise the smiling face of apriest.
The Blessed Sacrament had been removed from the tabernacle and thefirst benches had been driven back so as to leave the dais of the altarand the space before it free. Against the walls stood companies ofbarbells and Indian clubs; the dumbbells were piled in one corner: andin the midst of countless hillocks of gymnasium shoes and sweaters andsinglets in untidy brown parcels there stood the stout leatherjacketedvaulting horse waiting its turn to be carried up on the stageand set in the middle of the winning team at the end of the gymnasticdisplay.
Stephen, though in deference to his reputation for essay writing he hadbeen elected secretary to the gymnasium, had had no part in the firstsection of the programme but in the play which formed the secondsection he had the chief part, that of a farcical pedagogue. He hadbeen cast for it on account of his stature and grave manners for he wasnow at the end of his second year at Belvedere and in number two.
A score of the younger boys in white knickers and singlets camepattering down from the stage, through the vestry and into the chapel.The vestry and chapel were peopled with eager masters and boys. Theplump bald sergeant major was testing with his foot the springboard ofthe vaulting horse. The lean young man in a long overcoat, who was togive a special display of intricate club swinging, stood near watchingwith interest, his silver-coated clubs peeping out of his deepsidepockets. The hollow rattle of the wooden dumbbells was heard asanother team made ready to go up on the stage: and in another moment theexcited prefect was hustling the boys through the vestry like a flock ofgeese, flapping the wings of his soutane nervously and crying to thelaggards to make haste. A little troop of Neapolitan peasants werepractising their steps at the end of the chapel, some circling their armsabove their heads, some swaying their baskets of paper violets andcurtseying. In a dark corner of the chapel at the gospel side of the altara stout old lady knelt amid her copious black skirts. When she stood up apinkdressed figure, wearing a curly golden wig and an oldfashioned strawsunbonnet, with black pencilled eyebrows and cheeks delicately rouged andpowdered, was discovered. A low murmur of curiosity ran round the chapelat the discovery of this girlish figure. One of the prefects, smiling andnodding his head, approached the dark corner and, having bowed to thestout old lady, said pleasantly:
—Is this a beautiful young lady or a doll that you have here, MrsTallon?
Then, bending down to peer at the smiling painted face under the leafof the bonnet, he exclaimed:
—No! Upon my word I believe it’s little Bertie Tallon after all!
Stephen at his post by the window heard the old lady and the priestlaugh together and heard the boys’ murmurs of admiration behind him asthey passed forward to see the little boy who had to dance thesunbonnet dance by himself. A movement of impatience escaped him. Helet the edge of the blind fall and, stepping down from the bench onwhich he had been standing, walked out of the chapel.
He passed out of the schoolhouse and halted under the shed that flankedthe garden. From the theatre opposite came the muffled noise of theaudience and sudden brazen clashes of the soldiers’ band. The lightspread upwards from the glass roof making the theatre seem a festiveark, anchored among the hulks of houses, her frail cables of lanternslooping her to her moorings. A side door of the theatre opened suddenlyand a shaft of light flew across the grassplots. A sudden burst ofmusic issued from the ark, the prelude of a waltz: and when the sidedoor closed again the listener could hear the faint rhythm of themusic. The sentiment of the opening bars, their languor and supplemovement, evoked the incommunicable emotion which had been the cause ofall his day’s unrest and of his impatient movement of a moment before.His unrest issued from him like a wave of sound: and on the tide offlowing music the ark was journeying, trailing her cables of lanternsin her wake. Then a noise like dwarf artillery broke the movement. Itwas the clapping that greeted the entry of the dumbbell team on thestage.
At the far end of the shed near the street a speck of pink light showedin the darkness and as he walked towards it he became aware of a faintaromatic odour. Two boys were standing in the shelter of a doorway,smoking, and before he reached them he had recognised Heron by hisvoice.
—Here comes the noble Dedalus! cried a high throaty voice. Welcome toour trusty friend!
This welcome ended in a soft peal of mirthless laughter as Heronsalaamed and then began to poke the ground with his cane.
—Here I am, said Stephen, halting and glancing from Heron to hisfriend.
The latter was a stranger to him but in the darkness, by the aid of theglowing cigarette tips, he could make out a pale dandyish face overwhich a smile was travelling slowly, a tall overcoated figure and ahard hat. Heron did not trouble himself about an introduction but saidinstead:
—I was just telling my friend Wallis what a lark it would be tonightif you took off the rector in the part of the schoolmaster. It would bea ripping good joke.
Heron made a poor attempt to imitate for his friend Wallis the rector’spedantic bass and then, laughing at his failure, asked Stephen to doit.
—Go on, Dedalus, he urged, you can take him off rippingly. He that willnot hear the churcha let him be to theea as the heathena and thepublicana.
The imitation was prevented by a mild expression of anger from Wallisin whose mouthpiece the cigarette had become too tightly wedged.
—Damn this blankety blank holder, he said, taking it from his mouthand smiling and frowning upon it tolerantly. It’s always getting stucklike that. Do you use a holder?
—I don’t smoke, answered Stephen.
—No, said Heron, Dedalus is a model youth. He doesn’t smoke and hedoesn’t go to bazaars and he doesn’t flirt and he doesn’t damn anythingor damn all.
Stephen shook his head and smiled in his rival’s flushed and mobileface, beaked like a bird’s. He had often thought it strange thatVincent Heron had a bird’s face as well as a bird’s name. A shock ofpale hair lay on the forehead like a ruffled crest: the forehead wasnarrow and bony and a thin hooked nose stood out between the closesetprominent eyes which were light and inexpressive. The rivals wereschool friends. They sat together in class, knelt together in thechapel, talked together after beads over their lunches. As the fellowsin number one were undistinguished dullards, Stephen and Heron had beenduring the year the virtual heads of the school. It was they who wentup to the rector together to ask for a free day or to get a fellow off.
—O by the way, said Heron suddenly, I saw your governor going in.
The smile waned on Stephen’s face. Any allusion made to his father by afellow or by a master put his calm to rout in a moment. He waited intimorous silence to hear what Heron might say next. Heron, however,nudged him expressively with his elbow and said:
—You’re a sly dog.
—Why so? said Stephen.
—You’d think butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, said Heron.But I’m afraid you’re a sly dog.
—Might I ask you what you are talking about? said Stephen urbanely.
—Indeed you might, answered Heron. We saw her, Wallis, didn’t we? Anddeucedly pretty she is too. And inquisitive! And what part does Stephentake, Mr Dedalus? And will Stephen not sing, Mr Dedalus? Your governorwas staring at her through that eyeglass of his for all he was worth sothat I think the old man has found you out too. I wouldn’t care a bit,by Jove. She’s ripping, isn’t she, Wallis?
—Not half bad, answered Wallis quietly as he placed his holder oncemore in a corner of his mouth.
A shaft of momentary anger flew through Stephen’s mind at theseindelicate allusions in the hearing of a stranger. For him there wasnothing amusing in a girl’s interest and regard. All day he had thoughtof nothing but their leavetaking on the steps of the tram at Harold’sCross, the stream of moody emotions it had made to course through himand the poem he had written about it. All day he had imagined a newmeeting with her for he knew that she was to come to the play. The oldrestless moodiness had again filled his breast as it had done on thenight of the party, but had not found an outlet in verse. The growthand knowledge of two years of boyhood stood between then and now,forbidding such an outlet: and all day the stream of gloomy tendernesswithin him had started forth and returned upon itself in dark coursesand eddies, wearying him in the end until the pleasantry of the prefectand the painted little boy had drawn from him a movement of impatience.
—So you may as well admit, Heron went on, that we’ve fairly found youout this time. You can’t play the saint on me any more, that’s one surefive.
A soft peal of mirthless laughter escaped from his lips and, bendingdown as before, he struck Stephen lightly across the calf of the legwith his cane, as if in jesting reproof.
Stephen’s moment of anger had already passed. He was neither flatterednor confused but simply wished the banter to end. He scarcely resentedwhat had seemed to him a silly indelicateness for he knew that theadventure in his mind stood in no danger from these words: and his facemirrored his rival’s false smile.
—Admit! repeated Heron, striking him again with his cane across thecalf of the leg.
The stroke was playful but not so lightly given as the first one hadbeen. Stephen felt the skin tingle and glow slightly and almostpainlessly; and, bowing submissively, as if to meet his companion’sjesting mood, began to recite the Confiteor. The episode ended well,for both Heron and Wallis laughed indulgently at the irreverence.
The confession came only from Stephen’s lips and, while they spoke thewords, a sudden memory had carried him to another scene called up, asif by magic, at the moment when he had noted the faint cruel dimples atthe corners of Heron’s smiling lips and had felt the familiar stroke ofthe cane against his calf and had heard the familiar word ofadmonition:
It was towards the close of his first term in the college when he wasin number six. His sensitive nature was still smarting under the lashesof an undivined and squalid way of life. His soul was still disquietedand cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin. He had emerged from atwo years’ spell of reverie to find himself in the midst of a new scene,every event and figure of which affected him intimately, disheartenedhim or allured and, whether alluring or disheartening, filled himalways with unrest and bitter thoughts. All the leisure which hisschool life left him was passed in the company of subversive writerswhose gibes and violence of speech set up a ferment in his brain beforethey passed out of it into his crude writings.
The essay was for him the chief labour of his week and every Tuesday,as he marched from home to the school, he read his fate in theincidents of the way, pitting himself against some figure ahead of himand quickening his pace to outstrip it before a certain goal wasreached or planting his steps scrupulously in the spaces of thepatchwork of the pathway and telling himself that he would be first andnot first in the weekly essay.
On a certain Tuesday the course of his triumphs was rudely broken. MrTate, the English master, pointed his finger at him and said bluntly:
—This fellow has heresy in his essay.
A hush fell on the class. Mr Tate did not break it but dug with hishand between his thighs while his heavily starched linen creaked abouthis neck and wrists. Stephen did not look up. It was a raw springmorning and his eyes were still smarting and weak. He was conscious offailure and of detection, of the squalor of his own mind and home, andfelt against his neck the raw edge of his turned and jagged collar.
A short loud laugh from Mr Tate set the class more at ease.
—Perhaps you didn’t know that, he said.
—Where? asked Stephen.
Mr Tate withdrew his delving hand and spread out the essay.
—Here. It’s about the Creator and the soul. Rrm... rrm... rrm... Ah!without a possibility of ever approaching nearer. That’s heresy.
—I meant without a possibility of ever reaching.
It was a submission and Mr Tate, appeased, folded up the essay andpassed it across to him, saying:
—O... Ah! ever reaching. That’s another story.
But the class was not so soon appeased. Though nobody spoke to him ofthe affair after class he could feel about him a vague generalmalignant joy.
A few nights after this public chiding he was walking with a letteralong the Drumcondra Road when he heard a voice cry:
He turned and saw three boys of his own class coming towards him in thedusk. It was Heron who had called out and, as he marched forwardbetween his two attendants, he cleft the air before him with a thincane, in time to their steps. Boland, his friend, marched beside him, alarge grin on his face, while Nash came on a few steps behind, blowingfrom the pace and wagging his great red head.
As soon as the boys had turned into Clonliffe Road together they beganto speak about books and writers, saying what books they were readingand how many books there were in their fathers’ bookcases at home.Stephen listened to them in some wonderment for Boland was the dunceand Nash the idler of the class. In fact after some talk about theirfavourite writers Nash declared for Captain Marryat who, he said, wasthe greatest writer.
—Fudge! said Heron. Ask Dedalus. Who is the greatest writer, Dedalus?
Stephen noted the mockery in the question and said:
—Of prose do you mean?
—Newman, I think.
—Is it Cardinal Newman? asked Boland.
—Yes, answered Stephen.
The grin broadened on Nash’s freckled face as he turned to Stephen andsaid:
—And do you like Cardinal Newman, Dedalus?
—O, many say that Newman has the best prose style, Heron said to theother two in explanation, of course he’s not a poet.
—And who is the best poet, Heron? asked Boland.
—Lord Tennyson, of course, answered Heron.
—O, yes, Lord Tennyson, said Nash. We have all his poetry at home in abook.
At this Stephen forgot the silent vows he had been making and burst out:
—Tennyson a poet! Why, he’s only a rhymester!
—O, get out! said Heron. Everyone knows that Tennyson is the greatestpoet.
—And who do you think is the greatest poet? asked Boland, nudging hisneighbour.
—Byron, of course, answered Stephen.
Heron gave the lead and all three joined in a scornful laugh.
—What are you laughing at? asked Stephen.
—You, said Heron. Byron the greatest poet! He’s only a poet foruneducated people.
—He must be a fine poet! said Boland.
—You may keep your mouth shut, said Stephen, turning on him boldly.All you know about poetry is what you wrote up on the slates in theyard and were going to be sent to the loft for.
Boland, in fact, was said to have written on the slates in the yard acouplet about a classmate of his who often rode home from the collegeon a pony:
As Tyson was riding into Jerusalem
He fell and hurt his Alec Kafoozelum.
This thrust put the two lieutenants to silence but Heron went on:
—In any case Byron was a heretic and immoral too.
—I don’t care what he was, cried Stephen hotly.
—You don’t care whether he was a heretic or not? said Nash.
—What do you know about it? shouted Stephen. You never read a line ofanything in your life except a trans or Boland either.
—I know that Byron was a bad man, said Boland.
—Here, catch hold of this heretic, Heron called out.
In a moment Stephen was a prisoner.
—Tate made you buck up the other day, Heron went on, about the heresyin your essay.
—I’ll tell him tomorrow, said Boland.
—Will you? said Stephen. You’d be afraid to open your lips.
—Ay. Afraid of your life.
—Behave yourself! cried Heron, cutting at Stephen’s legs with hiscane.
It was the signal for their onset. Nash pinioned his arms behind whileBoland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter.Struggling and kicking under the cuts of the cane and the blows of theknotty stump Stephen was borne back against a barbed wire fence.
—Admit that Byron was no good.
At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. Histormentors set off towards Jones’s Road, laughing and jeering at him,while he, half blinded with tears, stumbled on, clenching his fistsmadly and sobbing.
While he was still repeating the Confiteor amid the indulgent laughterof his hearers and while the scenes of that malignant episode werestill passing sharply and swiftly before his mind he wondered why hebore no malice now to those who had tormented him. He had not forgottena whit of their cowardice and cruelty but the memory of it called forthno anger from him. All the descriptions of fierce love and hatred whichhe had met in books had seemed to him therefore unreal. Even that nightas he stumbled homewards along Jones’s Road he had felt that some powerwas divesting him of that suddenwoven anger as easily as a fruit isdivested of its soft ripe peel.
He remained standing with his two companions at the end of the shedlistening idly to their talk or to the bursts of applause in thetheatre. She was sitting there among the others perhaps waiting for himto appear. He tried to recall her appearance but could not. He couldremember only that she had worn a shawl about her head like a cowl andthat her dark eyes had invited and unnerved him. He wondered had hebeen in her thoughts as she had been in his. Then in the dark andunseen by the other two he rested the tips of the fingers of one handupon the palm of the other hand, scarcely touching it lightly. But thepressure of her fingers had been lighter and steadier: and suddenly thememory of their touch traversed his brain and body like an invisiblewave.
A boy came towards them, running along under the shed. He was excitedand breathless.
—O, Dedalus, he cried, Doyle is in a great bake about you. You’re togo in at once and get dressed for the play. Hurry up, you better.
—He’s coming now, said Heron to the messenger with a haughty drawl,when he wants to.
The boy turned to Heron and repeated:
—But Doyle is in an awful bake.
—Will you tell Doyle with my best compliments that I damned his eyes?answered Heron.
—Well, I must go now, said Stephen, who cared little for such pointsof honour.
—I wouldn’t, said Heron, damn me if I would. That’s no way to sendfor one of the senior boys. In a bake, indeed! I think it’s quiteenough that you’re taking a part in his bally old play.
This spirit of quarrelsome comradeship which he had observed lately inhis rival had not seduced Stephen from his habits of quiet obedience.He mistrusted the turbulence and doubted the sincerity of suchcomradeship which seemed to him a sorry anticipation of manhood. Thequestion of honour here raised was, like all such questions, trivial tohim. While his mind had been pursuing its intangible phantoms andturning in irresolution from such pursuit he had heard about him theconstant voices of his father and of his masters, urging him to be agentleman above all things and urging him to be a good catholic above allthings. These voices had now come to be hollowsounding in his ears. Whenthe gymnasium had been opened he had heard another voice urging him to bestrong and manly and healthy and when the movement towards nationalrevival had begun to be felt in the college yet another voice had biddenhim be true to his country and help to raise up her language andtradition. In the profane world, as he foresaw, a worldly voice would bidhim raise up his father’s fallen state by his labours and, meanwhile, thevoice of his school comrades urged him to be a decent fellow, to shieldothers from blame or to beg them off and to do his best to get free daysfor the school. And it was the din of all these hollowsounding voicesthat made him halt irresolutely in the pursuit of phantoms. He gave themear only for a time but he was happy only when he was far from them,beyond their call, alone or in the company of phantasmal comrades.
In the vestry a plump freshfaced jesuit and an elderly man, in shabbyblue clothes, were dabbling in a case of paints and chalks. The boyswho had been painted walked about or stood still awkwardly, touchingtheir faces in a gingerly fashion with their furtive fingertips. In themiddle of the vestry a young jesuit, who was then on a visit to thecollege, stood rocking himself rhythmically from the tips of his toesto his heels and back again, his hands thrust well forward into hissidepockets. His small head set off with glossy red curls and hisnewly shaven face agreed well with the spotless decency of his soutaneand with his spotless shoes.
As he watched this swaying form and tried to read for himself thelegend of the priest’s mocking smile there came into Stephen’s memory asaying which he had heard from his father before he had been sent toClongowes, that you could always tell a jesuit by the style of hisclothes. At the same moment he thought he saw a likeness between hisfather’s mind and that of this smiling welldressed priest: and he wasaware of some desecration of the priest’s office or of the vestryitself whose silence was now routed by loud talk and joking and its airpungent with the smells of the gasjets and the grease.
While his forehead was being wrinkled and his jaws painted black andblue by the elderly man he listened distractedly to the voice of theplump young jesuit which bade him speak up and make his points clearly.He could hear the band playing The Lily of Killarney and knew thatin a few moments the curtain would go up. He felt no stage fright but thethought of the part he had to play humiliated him. A remembrance ofsome of his lines made a sudden flush rise to his painted cheeks. Hesaw her serious alluring eyes watching him from among the audience andtheir image at once swept away his scruples, leaving his will compact.Another nature seemed to have been lent him: the infection of theexcitement and youth about him entered into and transformed his moodymistrustfulness. For one rare moment he seemed to be clothed in thereal apparel of boyhood: and, as he stood in the wings among the otherplayers, he shared the common mirth amid which the drop scene washauled upwards by two ablebodied priests with violent jerks and all awry.
A few moments after he found himself on the stage amid the garish gasand the dim scenery, acting before the innumerable faces of the void.It surprised him to see that the play which he had known at rehearsalsfor a disjointed lifeless thing had suddenly assumed a life of its own.It seemed now to play itself, he and his fellow actors aiding it withtheir parts. When the curtain fell on the last scene he heard the voidfilled with applause and, through a rift in a side scene, saw thesimple body before which he had acted magically deformed, the void offaces breaking at all points and falling asunder into busy groups.
He left the stage quickly and rid himself of his mummery and passed outthrough the chapel into the college garden. Now that the play was overhis nerves cried for some further adventure. He hurried onwards as ifto overtake it. The doors of the theatre were all open and the audiencehad emptied out. On the lines which he had fancied the moorings of anark a few lanterns swung in the night breeze, flickering cheerlessly.He mounted the steps from the garden in haste, eager that some preyshould not elude him, and forced his way through the crowd in the halland past the two jesuits who stood watching the exodus and bowing andshaking hands with the visitors. He pushed onward nervously, feigning astill greater haste and faintly conscious of the smiles and stares andnudges which his powdered head left in its wake.
When he came out on the steps he saw his family waiting for him at thefirst lamp. In a glance he noted that every figure of the group wasfamiliar and ran down the steps angrily.
—I have to leave a message down in George’s Street, he said to hisfather quickly. I’ll be home after you.
Without waiting for his father’s questions he ran across the road andbegan to walk at breakneck speed down the hill. He hardly knew where hewas walking. Pride and hope and desire like crushed herbs in his heartsent up vapours of maddening incense before the eyes of his mind. Hestrode down the hill amid the tumult of suddenrisen vapours of woundedpride and fallen hope and baffled desire. They streamed upwards beforehis anguished eyes in dense and maddening fumes and passed away abovehim till at last the air was clear and cold again.
A film still veiled his eyes but they burned no longer. A power, akinto that which had often made anger or resentment fall from him, broughthis steps to rest. He stood still and gazed up at the sombre porch ofthe morgue and from that to the dark cobbled laneway at its side. Hesaw the word Lotts on the wall of the lane and breathed slowly therank heavy air.
That is horse piss and rotted straw, he thought. It is a good odour tobreathe. It will calm my heart. My heart is quite calm now. I will goback.
Stephen was once again seated beside his father in the corner of arailway carriage at Kingsbridge. He was travelling with his father bythe night mail to Cork. As the train steamed out of the station herecalled his childish wonder of years before and every event of hisfirst day at Clongowes. But he felt no wonder now. He saw the darkeninglands slipping away past him, the silent telegraphpoles passing hiswindow swiftly every four seconds, the little glimmering stations,manned by a few silent sentries, flung by the mail behind her andtwinkling for a moment in the darkness like fiery grains flungbackwards by a runner.
He listened without sympathy to his father’s evocation of Cork and ofscenes of his youth, a tale broken by sighs or draughts from his pocketflask whenever the image of some dead friend appeared in it or wheneverthe evoker remembered suddenly the purpose of his actual visit. Stephenheard but could feel no pity. The images of the dead were all strangersto him save that of uncle Charles, an image which had lately beenfading out of memory. He knew, however, that his father’s property wasgoing to be sold by auction, and in the manner of his own dispossessionhe felt the world give the lie rudely to his phantasy.
At Maryborough he fell asleep. When he awoke the train had passed outof Mallow and his father was stretched asleep on the other seat. Thecold light of the dawn lay over the country, over the unpeopled fieldsand the closed cottages. The terror of sleep fascinated his mind as hewatched the silent country or heard from time to time his father’s deepbreath or sudden sleepy movement. The neighbourhood of unseen sleepersfilled him with strange dread, as though they could harm him, and heprayed that the day might come quickly. His prayer, addressed neitherto God nor saint, began with a shiver, as the chilly morning breezecrept through the chink of the carriage door to his feet, and ended ina trail of foolish words which he made to fit the insistent rhythm ofthe train; and silently, at intervals of four seconds, thetelegraphpoles held the galloping notes of the music between punctualbars. This furious music allayed his dread and, leaning against thewindowledge, he let his eyelids close again.
They drove in a jingle across Cork while it was still early morning andStephen finished his sleep in a bedroom of the Victoria Hotel. Thebright warm sunlight was streaming through the window and he could hearthe din of traffic. His father was standing before the dressingtable,examining his hair and face and moustache with great care, craning hisneck across the waterjug and drawing it back sideways to see the better.While he did so he sang softly to himself with quaint accent and phrasing:
’Tis youth and folly
Makes young men marry,
So here, my love, I’ll
No longer stay.
What can’t be cured, sure,
Must be injured, sure,
So I’ll go to
My love she’s handsome,
My love she’s bony:
She’s like good whisky
When it is new;
But when ’tis old
And growing cold
It fades and dies like
The mountain dew.
The consciousness of the warm sunny city outside his window and thetender tremors with which his father’s voice festooned the strange sadhappy air, drove off all the mists of the night’s ill humour fromStephen’s brain. He got up quickly to dress and, when the song hadended, said:
—That’s much prettier than any of your other come-all-yous.
—Do you think so? asked Mr Dedalus.
—I like it, said Stephen.
—It’s a pretty old air, said Mr Dedalus, twirling the points of hismoustache. Ah, but you should have heard Mick Lacy sing it! Poor MickLacy! He had little turns for it, grace notes that he used to put inthat I haven’t got. That was the boy who could sing a come-all-you,if you like.
Mr Dedalus had ordered drisheens for breakfast and during the meal hecross-examined the waiter for local news. For the most part they spokeat cross purposes when a name was mentioned, the waiter having in mindthe present holder and Mr Dedalus his father or perhaps hisgrandfather.
—Well, I hope they haven’t moved the Queen’s College anyhow, said MrDedalus, for I want to show it to this youngster of mine.
Along the Mardyke the trees were in bloom. They entered the grounds ofthe college and were led by the garrulous porter across the quadrangle.But their progress across the gravel was brought to a halt after everydozen or so paces by some reply of the porter’s.
—Ah, do you tell me so? And is poor Pottlebelly dead?
—Yes, sir. Dead, sir.
During these halts Stephen stood awkwardly behind the two men, weary ofthe subject and waiting restlessly for the slow march to begin again.By the time they had crossed the quadrangle his restlessness had risento fever. He wondered how his father, whom he knew for a shrewdsuspicious man, could be duped by the servile manners of the porter;and the lively southern speech which had entertained him all themorning now irritated his ears.
They passed into the anatomy theatre where Mr Dedalus, the porteraiding him, searched the desks for his initials. Stephen remained inthe background, depressed more than ever by the darkness and silence ofthe theatre and by the air it wore of jaded and formal study. On thedesk he read the word Fœtus cut several times in the dark stainedwood. The sudden legend startled his blood: he seemed to feel theabsent students of the college about him and to shrink from theircompany. A vision of their life, which his father’s words had beenpowerless to evoke, sprang up before him out of the word cut in thedesk. A broadshouldered student with a moustache was cutting in theletters with a jackknife, seriously. Other students stood or sat nearhim laughing at his handiwork. One jogged his elbow. The big studentturned on him, frowning. He was dressed in loose grey clothes and hadtan boots.
Stephen’s name was called. He hurried down the steps of the theatre soas to be as far away from the vision as he could be and, peeringclosely at his father’s initials, hid his flushed face.
But the word and the vision capered before his eyes as he walked backacross the quadrangle and towards the college gate. It shocked him tofind in the outer world a trace of what he had deemed till then abrutish and individual malady of his own mind. His monstrous reveriescame thronging into his memory. They too had sprung up before him,suddenly and furiously, out of mere words. He had soon given in to themand allowed them to sweep across and abase his intellect, wonderingalways where they came from, from what den of monstrous images, andalways weak and humble towards others, restless and sickened of himselfwhen they had swept over him.
—Ay, bedad! And there’s the Groceries sure enough! cried Mr Dedalus.You often heard me speak of the Groceries, didn’t you, Stephen. Many’sthe time we went down there when our names had been marked, a crowd ofus, Harry Peard and little Jack Mountain and Bob Dyas and MauriceMoriarty, the Frenchman, and Tom O’Grady and Mick Lacy that I told youof this morning and Joey Corbet and poor little goodhearted JohnnyKeevers of the Tantiles.
The leaves of the trees along the Mardyke were astir and whispering inthe sunlight. A team of cricketers passed, agile young men in flannelsand blazers, one of them carrying the long green wicketbag. In a quietbystreet a German band of five players in faded uniforms and withbattered brass instruments was playing to an audience of street arabsand leisurely messenger boys. A maid in a white cap and apron waswatering a box of plants on a sill which shone like a slab of limestonein the warm glare. From another window open to the air came the soundof a piano, scale after scale rising into the treble.
Stephen walked on at his father’s side, listening to stories he hadheard before, hearing again the names of the scattered and deadrevellers who had been the companions of his father’s youth. And afaint sickness sighed in his heart. He recalled his own equivocal positionin Belvedere, a free boy, a leader afraid of his own authority, proud andsensitive and suspicious, battling against the squalor of his life andagainst the riot of his mind. The letters cut in the stained wood of thedesk stared upon him, mocking his bodily weakness and futile enthusiasmsand making him loathe himself for his own mad and filthy orgies. Thespittle in his throat grew bitter and foul to swallow and the faintsickness climbed to his brain so that for a moment he closed his eyesand walked on in darkness.
He could still hear his father’s voice—
—When you kick out for yourself, Stephen—as I daresay you will oneof these days—remember, whatever you do, to mix with gentlemen. WhenI was a young fellow I tell you I enjoyed myself. I mixed with finedecent fellows. Everyone of us could do something. One fellow had agood voice, another fellow was a good actor, another could sing a goodcomic song, another was a good oarsman or a good racket player, anothercould tell a good story and so on. We kept the ball rolling anyhow andenjoyed ourselves and saw a bit of life and we were none the worse ofit either. But we were all gentlemen, Stephen—at least I hope we were—andbloody good honest Irishmen too. That’s the kind of fellows I wantyou to associate with, fellows of the right kidney. I’m talking toyou as a friend, Stephen. I don’t believe a son should be afraid of hisfather. No, I treat you as your grandfather treated me when I was ayoung chap. We were more like brothers than father and son. I’ll neverforget the first day he caught me smoking. I was standing at the end ofthe South Terrace one day with some maneens like myself and sure wethought we were grand fellows because we had pipes stuck in the cornersof our mouths. Suddenly the governor passed. He didn’t say a word, orstop even. But the next day, Sunday, we were out for a walk togetherand when we were coming home he took out his cigar case and said:—Bythe by, Simon, I didn’t know you smoked, or something like that.—Ofcourse I tried to carry it off as best I could.—If you want a goodsmoke, he said, try one of these cigars. An American captain made me apresent of them last night in Queenstown.
Stephen heard his father’s voice break into a laugh which was almost asob.
—He was the handsomest man in Cork at that time, by God he was! Thewomen used to stand to look after him in the street.
He heard the sob passing loudly down his father’s throat and opened hiseyes with a nervous impulse. The sunlight breaking suddenly on hissight turned the sky and clouds into a fantastic world of sombre masseswith lakelike spaces of dark rosy light. His very brain was sick andpowerless. He could scarcely interpret the letters of the signboards ofthe shops. By his monstrous way of life he seemed to have put himselfbeyond the limits of reality. Nothing moved him or spoke to him fromthe real world unless he heard in it an echo of the infuriated crieswithin him. He could respond to no earthly or human appeal, dumb andinsensible to the call of summer and gladness and companionship,wearied and dejected by his father’s voice. He could scarcely recogniseas his own thoughts, and repeated slowly to himself:
—I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking beside my father whose name isSimon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland. Cork is a city. Our room isin the Victoria Hotel. Victoria and Stephen and Simon. Simon andStephen and Victoria. Names.
The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. He tried to call forthsome of its vivid moments but could not. He recalled only names. Dante,Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geography by anold woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe. Then he had been sentaway from home to a college, he had made his first communion and eatenslim jim out of his cricketcap and watched the firelight leaping anddancing on the wall of a little bedroom in the infirmary and dreamed ofbeing dead, of mass being said for him by the rector in a black andgold cope, of being buried then in the little graveyard of thecommunity off the main avenue of limes. But he had not died then.Parnell had died. There had been no mass for the dead in the chapel andno procession. He had not died but he had faded out like a film in thesun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence for he no longerexisted. How strange to think of him passing out of existence in such away, not by death but by fading out in the sun or by being lost andforgotten somewhere in the universe! It was strange to see his smallbody appear again for a moment: a little boy in a grey belted suit. Hishands were in his sidepockets and his trousers were tucked in at theknees by elastic bands.
On the evening of the day on which the property was sold Stephenfollowed his father meekly about the city from bar to bar. To thesellers in the market, to the barmen and barmaids, to the beggars whoimportuned him for a lob Mr Dedalus told the same tale, that he was anold Corkonian, that he had been trying for thirty years to get rid ofhis Cork accent up in Dublin and that Peter Pickackafax beside him washis eldest son but that he was only a Dublin jackeen.
They had set out early in the morning from Newcombe’s coffeehouse,where Mr Dedalus’ cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, andStephen had tried to cover that shameful sign of his father’sdrinking bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing. Onehumiliation had succeeded another—the false smiles of the marketsellers, the curvetings and oglings of the barmaids with whom hisfather flirted, the compliments and encouraging words of his father’sfriends. They had told him that he had a great look of his grandfatherand Mr Dedalus had agreed that he was an ugly likeness. They hadunearthed traces of a Cork accent in his speech and made him admit thatthe Lee was a much finer river than the Liffey. One of them, in orderto put his Latin to the proof, had made him translate short passagesfrom Dilectus and asked him whether it was correct to say: Temporamutantur nos et mutamur in illis or Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur inillis. Another, a brisk old man, whom Mr Dedalus called Johnny Cashman,had covered him with confusion by asking him to say which wereprettier, the Dublin girls or the Cork girls.
—He’s not that way built, said Mr Dedalus. Leave him alone. He’s alevelheaded thinking boy who doesn’t bother his head about that kindof nonsense.
—Then he’s not his father’s son, said the little old man.
—I don’t know, I’m sure, said Mr Dedalus, smiling complacently.
—Your father, said the little old man to Stephen, was the boldest flirtin the city of Cork in his day. Do you know that?
Stephen looked down and studied the tiled floor of the bar into whichthey had drifted.
—Now don’t be putting ideas into his head, said Mr Dedalus. Leave himto his Maker.
—Yerra, sure I wouldn’t put any ideas into his head. I’m old enoughto be his grandfather. And I am a grandfather, said the little old manto Stephen. Do you know that?
—Are you? asked Stephen.
—Bedad I am, said the little old man. I have two bouncinggrandchildren out at Sunday’s Well. Now, then! What age do you think Iam? And I remember seeing your grandfather in his red coat riding outto hounds. That was before you were born.
—Ay, or thought of, said Mr Dedalus.
—Bedad I did, repeated the little old man. And, more than that, I canremember even your greatgrandfather, old John Stephen Dedalus, and afierce old fire-eater he was. Now, then! There’s a memory for you!
—That’s three generations—four generations, said another of thecompany. Why, Johnny Cashman, you must be nearing the century.
—Well, I’ll tell you the truth, said the little old man. I’m justtwentyseven years of age.
—We’re as old as we feel, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus. And just finishwhat you have there and we’ll have another. Here, Tim or Tom orwhatever your name is, give us the same again here. By God, I don’tfeel more than eighteen myself. There’s that son of mine there not halfmy age and I’m a better man than he is any day of the week.
—Draw it mild now, Dedalus. I think it’s time for you to take a backseat, said the gentleman who had spoken before.
—No, by God! asserted Mr Dedalus. I’ll sing a tenor song against himor I’ll vault a five-barred gate against him or I’ll run with him afterthe hounds across the country as I did thirty years ago along with theKerry Boy and the best man for it.
—But he’ll beat you here, said the little old man, tapping hisforehead and raising his glass to drain it.
—Well, I hope he’ll be as good a man as his father. That’s all I cansay, said Mr Dedalus.
—If he is, he’ll do, said the little old man.
—And thanks be to God, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus, that we lived so longand did so little harm.
—But did so much good, Simon, said the little old man gravely. Thanksbe to God we lived so long and did so much good.
Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as hisfather and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past. An abyssof fortune or of temperament sundered him from them. His mind seemedolder than theirs: it shone coldly on their strifes and happiness andregrets like a moon upon a younger earth. No life or youth stirred inhim as it had stirred in them. He had known neither the pleasure ofcompanionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor filialpiety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel andloveless lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soulcapable of simple joys and he was drifting amid life like the barrenshell of the moon.
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
He repeated to himself the lines of Shelley’s fragment. Its alternationof sad human ineffectiveness with vast inhuman cycles of activitychilled him and he forgot his own human and ineffectual grieving.
Stephen’s mother and his brother and one of his cousins waited at thecorner of quiet Foster Place while he and his father went up the stepsand along the colonnade where the Highland sentry was parading. Whenthey had passed into the great hall and stood at the counter Stephendrew forth his orders on the governor of the bank of Ireland for thirtyand three pounds; and these sums, the moneys of his exhibition andessay prize, were paid over to him rapidly by the teller in notes andin coin respectively. He bestowed them in his pockets with feignedcomposure and suffered the friendly teller, to whom his father chatted,to take his hand across the broad counter and wish him a brilliantcareer in after life. He was impatient of their voices and could notkeep his feet at rest. But the teller still deferred the serving ofothers to say he was living in changed times and that there was nothinglike giving a boy the best education that money could buy. Mr Dedaluslingered in the hall gazing about him and up at the roof and tellingStephen, who urged him to come out, that they were standing in thehouse of commons of the old Irish parliament.
—God help us! he said piously, to think of the men of those times,Stephen, Hely Hutchinson and Flood and Henry Grattan and Charles KendalBushe, and the noblemen we have now, leaders of the Irish people athome and abroad. Why, by God, they wouldn’t be seen dead in a ten-acrefield with them. No, Stephen, old chap, I’m sorry to say that they areonly as I roved out one fine May morning in the merry month of sweetJuly.
A keen October wind was blowing round the bank. The three figuresstanding at the edge of the muddy path had pinched cheeks and wateryeyes. Stephen looked at his thinly clad mother and remembered that afew days before he had seen a mantle priced at twenty guineas in thewindows of Barnardo’s.
—Well that’s done, said Mr Dedalus.
—We had better go to dinner, said Stephen. Where?
—Dinner? said Mr Dedalus. Well, I suppose we had better, what?
—Some place that’s not too dear, said Mrs Dedalus.
—Yes. Some quiet place.
—Come along, said Stephen quickly. It doesn’t matter about thedearness.
He walked on before them with short nervous steps, smiling. They triedto keep up with him, smiling also at his eagerness.
—Take it easy like a good young fellow, said his father. We’re notout for the half mile, are we?
For a swift season of merrymaking the money of his prizes ran throughStephen’s fingers. Great parcels of groceries and delicacies and driedfruits arrived from the city. Every day he drew up a bill of fare forthe family and every night led a party of three or four to the theatreto see Ingomar or The Lady of Lyons. In his coat pockets he carriedsquares of Vienna chocolate for his guests while his trousers’ pocketbulged with masses of silver and copper coins. He bought presents foreveryone, overhauled his room, wrote out resolutions, marshalled hisbooks up and down their shelves, pored upon all kinds of price lists,drew up a form of commonwealth for the household by which every memberof it held some office, opened a loan bank for his family and pressedloans on willing borrowers so that he might have the pleasure of makingout receipts and reckoning the interests on the sums lent. When hecould do no more he drove up and down the city in trams. Then theseason of pleasure came to an end. The pot of pink enamel paint gave outand the wainscot of his bedroom remained with its unfinished andillplastered coat.
His household returned to its usual way of life. His mother had nofurther occasion to upbraid him for squandering his money. He, too,returned to his old life at school and all his novel enterprises fellto pieces. The commonwealth fell, the loan bank closed its coffers andits books on a sensible loss, the rules of life which he had drawnabout himself fell into desuetude.
How foolish his aim had been! He had tried to build a breakwater oforder and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and todam up, by rules of conduct and active interest and new filialrelations, the powerful recurrence of the tides within him. Useless.From without as from within the water had flowed over his barriers:their tides began once more to jostle fiercely above the crumbled mole.
He saw clearly, too, his own futile isolation. He had not gone one stepnearer the lives he had sought to approach nor bridged the restlessshame and rancour that had divided him from mother and brother andsister. He felt that he was hardly of the one blood with them but stoodto them rather in the mystical kinship of fosterage, fosterchild andfosterbrother.
He turned to appease the fierce longings of his heart before whicheverything else was idle and alien. He cared little that he was inmortal sin, that his life had grown to be a tissue of subterfuge andfalsehood. Beside the savage desire within him to realise theenormities which he brooded on nothing was sacred. He bore cynicallywith the shameful details of his secret riots in which he exulted todefile with patience whatever image had attracted his eyes. By day andby night he moved among distorted images of the outer world. A figurethat had seemed to him by day demure and innocent came towards him bynight through the winding darkness of sleep, her face transfigured by alecherous cunning, her eyes bright with brutish joy. Only the morningpained him with its dim memory of dark orgiastic riot, its keen andhumiliating sense of transgression.
He returned to his wanderings. The veiled autumnal evenings led himfrom street to street as they had led him years before along the quietavenues of Blackrock. But no vision of trim front gardens or of kindlylights in the windows poured a tender influence upon him now. Only attimes, in the pauses of his desire, when the luxury that was wastinghim gave room to a softer languor, the image of Mercedes traversed thebackground of his memory. He saw again the small white house and thegarden of rosebushes on the road that led to the mountains and heremembered the sadly proud gesture of refusal which he was to makethere, standing with her in the moonlit garden after years ofestrangement and adventure. At those moments the soft speeches ofClaude Melnotte rose to his lips and eased his unrest. A tenderpremonition touched him of the tryst he had then looked forward to and,in spite of the horrible reality which lay between his hope of then andnow, of the holy encounter he had then imagined at which weakness andtimidity and inexperience were to fall from him.
Such moments passed and the wasting fires of lust sprang up again. Theverses passed from his lips and the inarticulate cries and the unspokenbrutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage. His bloodwas in revolt. He wandered up and down the dark slimy streets peeringinto the gloom of lanes and doorways, listening eagerly for any sound.He moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast. He wanted to sinwith another of his kind, to force another being to sin with him and toexult with her in sin. He felt some dark presence moving irresistiblyupon him from the darkness, a presence subtle and murmurous as a floodfilling him wholly with itself. Its murmur besieged his ears like themurmur of some multitude in sleep; its subtle streams penetrated hisbeing. His hands clenched convulsively and his teeth set together as hesuffered the agony of its penetration. He stretched out his arms in thestreet to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded him and incitedhim: and the cry that he had strangled for so long in his throat issuedfrom his lips. It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell ofsufferers and died in a wail of furious entreaty, a cry for aniniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscenescrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal.
He had wandered into a maze of narrow and dirty streets. From the foullaneways he heard bursts of hoarse riot and wrangling and the drawlingof drunken singers. He walked onward, undismayed, wondering whether hehad strayed into the quarter of the jews. Women and girls dressed inlong vivid gowns traversed the street from house to house. They wereleisurely and perfumed. A trembling seized him and his eyes grew dim.The yellow gasflames arose before his troubled vision against thevapoury sky, burning as if before an altar. Before the doors and in thelighted halls groups were gathered arrayed as for some rite. He was inanother world: he had awakened from a slumber of centuries.
He stood still in the middle of the roadway, his heart clamouringagainst his bosom in a tumult. A young woman dressed in a long pinkgown laid her hand on his arm to detain him and gazed into his face.She said gaily:
—Good night, Willie dear!
Her room was warm and lightsome. A huge doll sat with her legs apart inthe copious easychair beside the bed. He tried to bid his tongue speakthat he might seem at ease, watching her as she undid her gown, notingthe proud conscious movements of her perfumed head.
As he stood silent in the middle of the room she came over to him andembraced him gaily and gravely. Her round arms held him firmly to herand he, seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling thewarm calm rise and fall of her breast, all but burst into hystericalweeping. Tears of joy and relief shone in his delighted eyes and hislips parted though they would not speak.
She passed her tinkling hand through his hair, calling him a littlerascal.
—Give me a kiss, she said.
His lips would not bend to kiss her. He wanted to be held firmly in herarms, to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt thathe had suddenly become strong and fearless and sure of himself. But hislips would not bend to kiss her.
With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to hisand he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. Itwas too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her,body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressureof her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon hislips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and betweenthem he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon ofsin, softer than sound or odour.
The swift December dusk had come tumbling clownishly after its dull dayand as he stared through the dull square of the window of theschoolroom he felt his belly crave for its food. He hoped there wouldbe stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and bruised potatoes and fatmutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered flour-fattened sauce.Stuff it into you, his belly counselled him.
It would be a gloomy secret night. After early nightfall the yellowlamps would light up, here and there, the squalid quarter of thebrothels. He would follow a devious course up and down the streets,circling always nearer and nearer in a tremor of fear and joy, untilhis feet led him suddenly round a dark corner. The whores would be justcoming out of their houses making ready for the night, yawning lazilyafter their sleep and settling the hairpins in their clusters of hair.He would pass by them calmly waiting for a sudden movement of his ownwill or a sudden call to his sin-loving soul from their soft perfumedflesh. Yet as he prowled in quest of that call, his senses, stultifiedonly by his desire, would note keenly all that wounded or shamed them;his eyes, a ring of porter froth on a clothless table or a photographof two soldiers standing to attention or a gaudy playbill; his ears,the drawling jargon of greeting:
—Hello, Bertie, any good in your mind?
—Is that you, pigeon?
—Number ten. Fresh Nelly is waiting on you.
—Good night, husband! Coming in to have a short time?
The equation on the page of his scribbler began to spread out awidening tail, eyed and starred like a peacock’s; and, when the eyesand stars of its indices had been eliminated, began slowly to folditself together again. The indices appearing and disappearing were eyesopening and closing; the eyes opening and closing were stars being bornand being quenched. The vast cycle of starry life bore his weary mindoutward to its verge and inward to its centre, a distant musicaccompanying him outward and inward. What music? The music came nearerand he recalled the words, the words of Shelley’s fragment upon themoon wandering companionless, pale for weariness. The stars began tocrumble and a cloud of fine stardust fell through space.
The dull light fell more faintly upon the page whereon another equationbegan to unfold itself slowly and to spread abroad its widening tail.It was his own soul going forth to experience, unfolding itself sin bysin, spreading abroad the balefire of its burning stars and foldingback upon itself, fading slowly, quenching its own lights and fires.They were quenched: and the cold darkness filled chaos.
A cold lucid indifference reigned in his soul. At his first violent sinhe had felt a wave of vitality pass out of him and had feared to findhis body or his soul maimed by the excess. Instead the vital wave hadcarried him on its bosom out of himself and back again when it receded:and no part of body or soul had been maimed but a dark peace had beenestablished between them. The chaos in which his ardour extinguisheditself was a cold indifferent knowledge of himself. He had sinnedmortally not once but many times and he knew that, while he stood indanger of eternal damnation for the first sin alone, by everysucceeding sin he multiplied his guilt and his punishment. His days andworks and thoughts could make no atonement for him, the fountains ofsanctifying grace having ceased to refresh his soul. At most, by analms given to a beggar whose blessing he fled from, he might hopewearily to win for himself some measure of actual grace. Devotion hadgone by the board. What did it avail to pray when he knew that his soullusted after its own destruction? A certain pride, a certain awe,withheld him from offering to God even one prayer at night though heknew it was in God’s power to take away his life while he slept andhurl his soul hellward ere he could beg for mercy. His pride in his ownsin, his loveless awe of God, told him that his offence was toogrievous to be atoned for in whole or in part by a false homage to theAllseeing and Allknowing.
—Well now, Ennis, I declare you have a head and so has my stick! Doyou mean to say that you are not able to tell me what a surd is?
The blundering answer stirred the embers of his contempt of hisfellows. Towards others he felt neither shame nor fear. On Sundaymornings as he passed the church door he glanced coldly at theworshippers who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church,morally present at the mass which they could neither see nor hear.Their dull piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hairoil with whichthey had anointed their heads repelled him from the altar they prayedat. He stooped to the evil of hypocrisy with others, sceptical of theirinnocence which he could cajole so easily.
On the wall of his bedroom hung an illuminated scroll, the certificateof his prefecture in the college of the sodality of the Blessed VirginMary. On Saturday mornings when the sodality met in the chapel torecite the little office his place was a cushioned kneeling-desk at theright of the altar from which he led his wing of boys through theresponses. The falsehood of his position did not pain him. If atmoments he felt an impulse to rise from his post of honour and,confessing before them all his unworthiness, to leave the chapel, aglance at their faces restrained him. The imagery of the psalms ofprophecy soothed his barren pride. The glories of Mary held his soulcaptive: spikenard and myrrh and frankincense, symbolising her royallineage, her emblems, the late-flowering plant and late-blossomingtree, symbolising the agelong gradual growth of her cultus among men.When it fell to him to read the lesson towards the close of the officehe read it in a veiled voice, lulling his conscience to its music.
Quasi cedrus exaltata sum in Libanon et quasi cupressus in monte Sion.Quasi palma exaltata sum in Gades et quasi plantatio rosae in Jericho.Quasi uliva speciosa in campis et quasi platanus exaltata sum juxtaaquam in plateis. Sicut cinnamomum et balsamum aromatizans odorem dediet quasi myrrha electa dedi suavitatem odoris.
His sin, which had covered him from the sight of God, had led himnearer to the refuge of sinners. Her eyes seemed to regard him withmild pity; her holiness, a strange light glowing faintly upon her frailflesh, did not humiliate the sinner who approached her. If ever he wasimpelled to cast sin from him and to repent the impulse that moved himwas the wish to be her knight. If ever his soul, re-entering herdwelling shyly after the frenzy of his body’s lust had spent itself,was turned towards her whose emblem is the morning star, “bright andmusical, telling of heaven and infusing peace,” it was when her nameswere murmured softly by lips whereon there still lingered foul andshameful words, the savour itself of a lewd kiss.
That was strange. He tried to think how it could be but the dusk,deepening in the schoolroom, covered over his thoughts. The bell rang.The master marked the sums and cuts to be done for the next lesson andwent out. Heron, beside Stephen, began to hum tunelessly.
My excellent friend Bombados.
Ennis, who had gone to the yard, came back, saying:
—The boy from the house is coming up for the rector.
A tall boy behind Stephen rubbed his hands and said:
—That’s game ball. We can scut the whole hour. He won’t be in tillafter half two. Then you can ask him questions on the catechism,Dedalus.
Stephen, leaning back and drawing idly on his scribbler, listened tothe talk about him which Heron checked from time to time by saying:
—Shut up, will you. Don’t make such a bally racket!
It was strange too that he found an arid pleasure in following up tothe end the rigid lines of the doctrines of the church and penetratinginto obscure silences only to hear and feel the more deeply his owncondemnation. The sentence of saint James which says that he whooffends against one commandment becomes guilty of all had seemed to himfirst a swollen phrase until he had begun to grope in the darknessof his own state. From the evil seed of lust all other deadlysins had sprung forth: pride in himself and contempt of others,covetousness in using money for the purchase of unlawful pleasures,envy of those whose vices he could not reach to and calumniousmurmuring against the pious, gluttonous enjoyment of food,the dull glowering anger amid which he brooded upon his longing, theswamp of spiritual and bodily sloth in which his whole being had sunk.
As he sat in his bench gazing calmly at the rector’s shrewd harsh facehis mind wound itself in and out of the curious questions proposed toit. If a man had stolen a pound in his youth and had used that pound toamass a huge fortune how much was he obliged to give back, the pound hehad stolen only or the pound together with the compound interestaccruing upon it or all his huge fortune? If a layman in giving baptismpour the water before saying the words is the child baptised? Isbaptism with a mineral water valid? How comes it that while the firstbeatitude promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor of heart, thesecond beatitude promises also to the meek that they shall possess theland? Why was the sacrament of the eucharist instituted under the twospecies of bread and wine if Jesus Christ be present body and blood,soul and divinity, in the bread alone and in the wine alone? Does atiny particle of the consecrated bread contain all the body and bloodof Jesus Christ or a part only of the body and blood? If the winechange into vinegar and the host crumble into corruption after theyhave been consecrated, is Jesus Christ still present under theirspecies as God and as man?
—Here he is! Here he is!
A boy from his post at the window had seen the rector come from thehouse. All the catechisms were opened and all heads bent upon themsilently. The rector entered and took his seat on the dais. A gentlekick from the tall boy in the bench behind urged Stephen to ask adifficult question.
The rector did not ask for a catechism to hear the lesson from. Heclasped his hands on the desk and said:
—The retreat will begin on Wednesday afternoon in honour of saintFrancis Xavier whose feast day is Saturday. The retreat will go on fromWednesday to Friday. On Friday confession will be heard all theafternoon after beads. If any boys have special confessors perhaps itwill be better for them not to change. Mass will be on Saturday morningat nine o’clock and general communion for the whole college. Saturdaywill be a free day. But Saturday and Sunday being free days some boysmight be inclined to think that Monday is a free day also. Beware ofmaking that mistake. I think you, Lawless, are likely to make thatmistake.
—I sir? Why, sir?
A little wave of quiet mirth broke forth over the class of boys fromthe rector’s grim smile. Stephen’s heart began slowly to fold and fadewith fear like a withering flower.
The rector went on gravely:
—You are all familiar with the story of the life of saint FrancisXavier, I suppose, the patron of your college. He came of an old andillustrious Spanish family and you remember that he was one of thefirst followers of saint Ignatius. They met in Paris where FrancisXavier was professor of philosophy at the university. This young andbrilliant nobleman and man of letters entered heart and soul into theideas of our glorious founder and you know that he, at his own desire,was sent by saint Ignatius to preach to the Indians. He is called, asyou know, the apostle of the Indies. He went from country to country inthe east, from Africa to India, from India to Japan, baptising thepeople. He is said to have baptised as many as ten thousand idolatersin one month. It is said that his right arm had grown powerless fromhaving been raised so often over the heads of those whom he baptised.He wished then to go to China to win still more souls for God but hedied of fever on the island of Sancian. A great saint, saint FrancisXavier! A great soldier of God!
The rector paused and then, shaking his clasped hands before him, wenton:
—He had the faith in him that moves mountains. Ten thousand souls wonfor God in a single month! That is a true conqueror, true to the mottoof our order: ad majorem Dei gloriam! A saint who has great power inheaven, remember: power to intercede for us in our grief; power toobtain whatever we pray for if it be for the good of our souls; powerabove all to obtain for us the grace to repent if we be in sin. A greatsaint, saint Francis Xavier! A great fisher of souls!
He ceased to shake his clasped hands and, resting them against hisforehead, looked right and left of them keenly at his listeners out ofhis dark stern eyes.
In the silence their dark fire kindled the dusk into a tawny glow.Stephen’s heart had withered up like a flower of the desert that feelsthe simoom coming from afar.
—Remember only thy last things and thou shalt not sin forever—words taken, my dear little brothers in Christ, from thebook of Ecclesiastes, seventh chapter, fortieth verse. In the name ofthe Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Stephen sat in the front bench of the chapel. Father Arnall sat at atable to the left of the altar. He wore about his shoulders a heavycloak; his pale face was drawn and his voice broken with rheum. Thefigure of his old master, so strangely rearisen, brought back toStephen’s mind his life at Clongowes: the wide playgrounds, swarmingwith boys, the square ditch, the little cemetery off the main avenue oflimes where he had dreamed of being buried, the firelight on the wallof the infirmary where he lay sick, the sorrowful face of BrotherMichael. His soul, as these memories came back to him, became again achild’s soul.
—We are assembled here today, my dear little brothers in Christ, forone brief moment far away from the busy bustle of the outer world tocelebrate and to honour one of the greatest of saints, the apostle ofthe Indies, the patron saint also of your college, saint FrancisXavier. Year after year for much longer than any of you, my dearlittle boys, can remember or than I can remember the boys of thiscollege have met in this very chapel to make their annual retreatbefore the feast day of their patron saint. Time has gone on andbrought with it its changes. Even in the last few years what changescan most of you not remember? Many of the boys who sat in those frontbenches a few years ago are perhaps now in distant lands, in theburning tropics or immersed in professional duties or in seminariesor voyaging over the vast expanse of the deep or, it may be, alreadycalled by the great God to another life and to the rendering up oftheir stewardship. And still as the years roll by, bringing with themchanges for good and bad, the memory of the great saint is honoured bythe boys of this college who make every year their annual retreat onthe days preceding the feast day set apart by our Holy Mother theChurch to transmit to all the ages the name and fame of one of thegreatest sons of catholic Spain.
—Now what is the meaning of this word retreat and why is itallowed on all hands to be a most salutary practice for all who desire tolead before God and in the eyes of men a truly christian life? A retreat,my dear boys, signifies a withdrawal for a while from the cares of ourlife, the cares of this workaday world, in order to examine the stateof our conscience, to reflect on the mysteries of holy religion and tounderstand better why we are here in this world. During these few daysI intend to put before you some thoughts concerning the four lastthings. They are, as you know from your catechism, death, judgement,hell and heaven. We shall try to understand them fully during thesefew days so that we may derive from the understanding of them a lastingbenefit to our souls. And remember, my dear boys, that we have beensent into this world for one thing and for one thing alone: to do God’sholy will and to save our immortal souls. All else is worthless. Onething alone is needful, the salvation of one’s soul. What doth itprofit a man to gain the whole world if he suffer the loss of hisimmortal soul? Ah, my dear boys, believe me there is nothing in thiswretched world that can make up for such a loss.
—I will ask you, therefore, my dear boys, to put away from your mindsduring these few days all worldly thoughts, whether of study orpleasure or ambition, and to give all your attention to the state ofyour souls. I need hardly remind you that during the days of theretreat all boys are expected to preserve a quiet and pious demeanourand to shun all loud unseemly pleasure. The elder boys, of course, willsee that this custom is not infringed and I look especially to theprefects and officers of the sodality of Our Blessed Lady and of thesodality of the holy angels to set a good example to theirfellow-students.
—Let us try, therefore, to make this retreat in honour of saintFrancis with our whole heart and our whole mind. God’s blessing willthen be upon all your year’s studies. But, above and beyond all, letthis retreat be one to which you can look back in after years when,maybe, you are far from this college and among very differentsurroundings, to which you can look back with joy and thankfulness andgive thanks to God for having granted you this occasion of laying thefirst foundation of a pious honourable zealous christian life. And if,as may so happen, there be at this moment in these benches any poorsoul who has had the unutterable misfortune to lose God’s holy graceand to fall into grievous sin, I fervently trust and pray that thisretreat may be the turning point in the life of that soul. I pray toGod through the merits of His zealous servant Francis Xavier, that sucha soul may be led to sincere repentance and that the holy communion onsaint Francis’s day of this year may be a lasting covenant between Godand that soul. For just and unjust, for saint and sinner alike, maythis retreat be a memorable one.
—Help me, my dear little brothers in Christ. Help me by your piousattention, by your own devotion, by your outward demeanour. Banish fromyour minds all worldly thoughts and think only of the last things,death, judgement, hell and heaven. He who remembers these things, saysEcclesiastes, shall not sin for ever. He who remembers the last thingswill act and think with them always before his eyes. He will live agood life and die a good death, believing and knowing that, if he hassacrificed much in this earthly life, it will be given to him ahundredfold and a thousandfold more in the life to come, in the kingdomwithout end—a blessing, my dear boys, which I wish you from my heart,one and all, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the HolyGhost. Amen!
As he walked home with silent companions a thick fog seemed to compasshis mind. He waited in stupor of mind till it should lift and revealwhat it had hidden. He ate his dinner with surly appetite and when themeal was over and the grease-strewn plates lay abandoned on the table,he rose and went to the window, clearing the thick scum from his mouthwith his tongue and licking it from his lips. So he had sunk to thestate of a beast that licks his chaps after meat. This was the end; anda faint glimmer of fear began to pierce the fog of his mind. He pressedhis face against the pane of the window and gazed out into thedarkening street. Forms passed this way and that through the dulllight. And that was life. The letters of the name of Dublin lay heavilyupon his mind, pushing one another surlily hither and thither with slowboorish insistence. His soul was fattening and congealing into a grossgrease, plunging ever deeper in its dull fear into a sombre threateningdusk, while the body that was his stood, listless and dishonoured,gazing out of darkened eyes, helpless, perturbed and human for abovine god to stare upon.
The next day brought death and judgement, stirring his soul slowly fromits listless despair. The faint glimmer of fear became a terror ofspirit as the hoarse voice of the preacher blew death into his soul. Hesuffered its agony. He felt the deathchill touch the extremities andcreep onward towards the heart, the film of death veiling the eyes, thebright centres of the brain extinguished one by one like lamps, thelast sweat oozing upon the skin, the powerlessness of the dying limbs,the speech thickening and wandering and failing, the heart throbbingfaintly and more faintly, all but vanquished, the breath, the poorbreath, the poor helpless human spirit, sobbing and sighing, gurglingand rattling in the throat. No help! No help! He—he himself—hisbody to which he had yielded was dying. Into the grave with it. Nail itdown into a wooden box, the corpse. Carry it out of the house on theshoulders of hirelings. Thrust it out of men’s sight into a long holein the ground, into the grave, to rot, to feed the mass of its creepingworms and to be devoured by scuttling plump-bellied rats.
And while the friends were still standing in tears by the bedside thesoul of the sinner was judged. At the last moment of consciousness thewhole earthly life passed before the vision of the soul and, ere it hadtime to reflect, the body had died and the soul stood terrified beforethe judgement seat. God, who had long been merciful, would then bejust. He had long been patient, pleading with the sinful soul,giving it time to repent, sparing it yet awhile. But that time hadgone. Time was to sin and to enjoy, time was to scoff at God and at thewarnings of His holy church, time was to defy His majesty, to disobeyHis commands, to hoodwink one’s fellow men, to commit sin after sin andto hide one’s corruption from the sight of men. But that time was over.Now it was God’s turn: and He was not to be hoodwinked or deceived.Every sin would then come forth from its lurking-place, the mostrebellious against the divine will and the most degrading to our poorcorrupt nature, the tiniest imperfection and the most heinous atrocity.What did it avail then to have been a great emperor, a great general, amarvellous inventor, the most learned of the learned? All were as onebefore the judgement seat of God. He would reward the good and punishthe wicked. One single instant was enough for the trial of a man’ssoul. One single instant after the body’s death, the soul had beenweighed in the balance. The particular judgement was over and the soulhad passed to the abode of bliss or to the prison of purgatory or hadbeen hurled howling into hell.
Nor was that all. God’s justice had still to be vindicated before men:after the particular there still remained the general judgement. Thelast day had come. Doomsday was at hand. The stars of heaven werefalling upon the earth like the figs cast by the figtree which thewind has shaken. The sun, the great luminary of the universe, hadbecome as sackcloth of hair. The moon was bloodred. The firmament wasas a scroll rolled away. The archangel Michael, the prince of theheavenly host, appeared glorious and terrible against the sky. With onefoot on the sea and one foot on the land he blew from the archangelicaltrumpet the brazen death of time. The three blasts of theangel filled all the universe. Time is, time was, but time shall be nomore. At the last blast the souls of universal humanity throng towardsthe valley of Jehosaphat, rich and poor, gentle and simple, wise andfoolish, good and wicked. The soul of every human being that has everexisted, the souls of all those who shall yet be born, all the sons anddaughters of Adam, all are assembled on that supreme day. And lo, thesupreme judge is coming! No longer the lowly Lamb of God, no longer themeek Jesus of Nazareth, no longer the Man of Sorrows, no longer theGood Shepherd, He is seen now coming upon the clouds, in great powerand majesty, attended by nine choirs of angels, angels and archangels,principalities, powers and virtues, thrones and dominations, cherubimand seraphim, God Omnipotent, God Everlasting. He speaks: and His voiceis heard even at the farthest limits of space, even in the bottomlessabyss. Supreme Judge, from His sentence there will be and can be noappeal. He calls the just to His side, bidding them enter into thekingdom, the eternity of bliss prepared for them. The unjust He castsfrom Him, crying in His offended majesty: Depart from me, ye cursed,into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.O, what agony then for the miserable sinners! Friend is torn apart fromfriend, children are torn from their parents, husbands from theirwives. The poor sinner holds out his arms to those who were dear to himin this earthly world, to those whose simple piety perhaps he made amock of, to those who counselled him and tried to lead him on the rightpath, to a kind brother, to a loving sister, to the mother and fatherwho loved him so dearly. But it is too late: the just turn away fromthe wretched damned souls which now appear before the eyes of all intheir hideous and evil character. O you hypocrites, O you whitedsepulchres, O you who present a smooth smiling face to the world whileyour soul within is a foul swamp of sin, how will it fare with you inthat terrible day?
And this day will come, shall come, must come; the day of death and theday of judgement. It is appointed unto man to die and after death thejudgement. Death is certain. The time and manner are uncertain, whetherfrom long disease or from some unexpected accident: the Son of Godcometh at an hour when you little expect Him. Be therefore ready everymoment, seeing that you may die at any moment. Death is the end of usall. Death and judgement, brought into the world by the sin of ourfirst parents, are the dark portals that close our earthly existence,the portals that open into the unknown and the unseen, portals throughwhich every soul must pass, alone, unaided save by its good works,without friend or brother or parent or master to help it, alone andtrembling. Let that thought be ever before our minds and then we cannotsin. Death, a cause of terror to the sinner, is a blessed moment forhim who has walked in the right path, fulfilling the duties of hisstation in life, attending to his morning and evening prayers,approaching the holy sacrament frequently and performing good andmerciful works. For the pious and believing catholic, for the just man,death is no cause of terror. Was it not Addison, the great Englishwriter, who, when on his deathbed, sent for the wicked young earl ofWarwick to let him see how a christian can meet his end? He it is and healone, the pious and believing christian, who can say in his heart:
O grave, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?
Every word of it was for him. Against his sin, foul and secret, thewhole wrath of God was aimed. The preacher’s knife had probed deeplyinto his disclosed conscience and he felt now that his soul wasfestering in sin. Yes, the preacher was right. God’s turn had come.Like a beast in its lair his soul had lain down in its own filth butthe blasts of the angel’s trumpet had driven him forth from thedarkness of sin into the light. The words of doom cried by the angelshattered in an instant his presumptuous peace. The wind of the lastday blew through his mind; his sins, the jeweleyed harlots of hisimagination, fled before the hurricane, squeaking like mice in theirterror and huddled under a mane of hair.
As he crossed the square, walking homeward, the light laughter of agirl reached his burning ear. The frail gay sound smote his heart morestrongly than a trumpet-blast, and, not daring to lift his eyes, heturned aside and gazed, as he walked, into the shadow of the tangledshrubs. Shame rose from his smitten heart and flooded his whole being.The image of Emma appeared before him, and under her eyes the flood ofshame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mindhad subjected her or how his brutelike lust had torn and trampled uponher innocence! Was that boyish love? Was that chivalry? Was thatpoetry? The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils.The sootcoated packet of pictures which he had hidden in the flue ofthe fireplace and in the presence of whose shameless or bashfulwantonness he lay for hours sinning in thought and deed; his monstrousdreams, peopled by apelike creatures and by harlots with gleamingjewel eyes; the foul long letters he had written in the joy of guiltyconfession and carried secretly for days and days only to throw themunder cover of night among the grass in the corner of a field orbeneath some hingeless door in some niche in the hedges where a girlmight come upon them as she walked by and read them secretly. Mad! Mad!Was it possible he had done these things? A cold sweat broke out uponhis forehead as the foul memories condensed within his brain.
When the agony of shame had passed from him he tried to raise his soulfrom its abject powerlessness. God and the Blessed Virgin were too farfrom him: God was too great and stern and the Blessed Virgin too pureand holy. But he imagined that he stood near Emma in a wide land and,humbly and in tears, bent and kissed the elbow of her sleeve.
In the wide land under a tender lucid evening sky, a cloud driftingwestward amid a pale green sea of heaven, they stood together, childrenthat had erred. Their error had offended deeply God’s majesty though itwas the error of two children; but it had not offended her whose beauty“is not like earthly beauty, dangerous to look upon, but like themorning star which is its emblem, bright and musical.” The eyes werenot offended which she turned upon him nor reproachful. She placedtheir hands together, hand in hand, and said, speaking to their hearts:
—Take hands, Stephen and Emma. It is a beautiful evening now inheaven. You have erred but you are always my children. It is one heartthat loves another heart. Take hands together, my dear children, andyou will be happy together and your hearts will love each other.
The chapel was flooded by the dull scarlet light that filtered throughthe lowered blinds; and through the fissure between the last blind andthe sash a shaft of wan light entered like a spear and touched theembossed brasses of the candlesticks upon the altar that gleamed likethe battle-worn mail armour of angels.
Rain was falling on the chapel, on the garden, on the college. It wouldrain for ever, noiselessly. The water would rise inch by inch, coveringthe grass and shrubs, covering the trees and houses, covering themonuments and the mountain tops. All life would be choked off,noiselessly: birds, men, elephants, pigs, children: noiselesslyfloating corpses amid the litter of the wreckage of the world. Fortydays and forty nights the rain would fall till the waters covered theface of the earth.
It might be. Why not?
—Hell has enlarged its soul and opened its mouth without anylimits—words taken, my dear little brothers in Christ Jesus, from thebook of Isaias, fifth chapter, fourteenth verse. In the name of theFather and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher took a chainless watch from a pocket within his soutaneand, having considered its dial for a moment in silence, placed itsilently before him on the table.
He began to speak in a quiet tone.
—Adam and Eve, my dear boys, were, as you know, our first parents,and you will remember that they were created by God in order that theseats in heaven left vacant by the fall of Lucifer and his rebelliousangels might be filled again. Lucifer, we are told, was a son of themorning, a radiant and mighty angel; yet he fell: he fell and therefell with him a third part of the host of heaven: he fell and washurled with his rebellious angels into hell. What his sin was we cannotsay. Theologians consider that it was the sin of pride, the sinfulthought conceived in an instant: non serviam: I will not serve.That instant was his ruin.
He offended the majesty of God by the sinful thought of one instant andGod cast him out of heaven into hell for ever.
—Adam and Eve were then created by God and placed in Eden, in theplain of Damascus, that lovely garden resplendent with sunlight andcolour, teeming with luxuriant vegetation. The fruitful earth gave themher bounty: beasts and birds were their willing servants: they knew notthe ills our flesh is heir to, disease and poverty and death: all thata great and generous God could do for them was done. But there was onecondition imposed on them by God: obedience to His word. They were notto eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
—Alas, my dear little boys, they too fell. The devil, once a shiningangel, a son of the morning, now a foul fiend came in the shape of aserpent, the subtlest of all the beasts of the field. He envied them.He, the fallen great one, could not bear to think that man, a being ofclay, should possess the inheritance which he by his sin had forfeitedfor ever. He came to the woman, the weaker vessel, and poured thepoison of his eloquence into her ear, promising her—O, the blasphemyof that promise!—that if she and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit theywould become as gods, nay as God Himself. Eve yielded to the wiles ofthe arch tempter. She ate the apple and gave it also to Adam who had notthe moral courage to resist her. The poison tongue of Satan had doneits work. They fell.
—And then the voice of God was heard in that garden, calling Hiscreature man to account: and Michael, prince of the heavenly host, witha sword of flame in his hand, appeared before the guilty pair and drovethem forth from Eden into the world, the world of sickness andstriving, of cruelty and disappointment, of labour and hardship, toearn their bread in the sweat of their brow. But even then how mercifulwas God! He took pity on our poor degraded parents and promised that inthe fullness of time He would send down from heaven One who wouldredeem them, make them once more children of God and heirs to thekingdom of heaven: and that One, that Redeemer of fallen man, was to beGod’s only begotten Son, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity,the Eternal Word.
—He came. He was born of a virgin pure, Mary the virgin mother. Hewas born in a poor cowhouse in Judea and lived as a humble carpenterfor thirty years until the hour of His mission had come. And then,filled with love for men, He went forth and called to men to hear thenew gospel.
—Did they listen? Yes, they listened but would not hear. He wasseized and bound like a common criminal, mocked at as a fool, set asideto give place to a public robber, scourged with five thousand lashes,crowned with a crown of thorns, hustled through the streets by thejewish rabble and the Roman soldiery, stripped of his garments andhanged upon a gibbet and His side was pierced with a lance and from thewounded body of our Lord water and blood issued continually.
—Yet even then, in that hour of supreme agony, Our Merciful Redeemerhad pity for mankind. Yet even there, on the hill of Calvary, He foundedthe holy catholic church against which, it is promised, the gates ofhell shall not prevail. He founded it upon the rock of ages andendowed it with His grace, with sacraments and sacrifice, and promisedthat if men would obey the word of His church they would still enterinto eternal life; but if, after all that had been done for them, theystill persisted in their wickedness, there remained for them aneternity of torment: hell.
The preacher’s voice sank. He paused, joined his palms for an instant,parted them. Then he resumed:
—Now let us try for a moment to realise, as far as we can, the natureof that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God hascalled into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is astrait and dark and foulsmelling prison, an abode of demons and lostsouls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison houseis expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound byHis laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some libertyof movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in thegloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of thegreat number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in theirawful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand milesthick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as ablessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, theyare not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.
—They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell givesforth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonianfurnace lost its heat but not its light so, at the command of God, thefire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burnseternally in darkness. It is a neverending storm of darkness, darkflames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies areheaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all theplagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plaguealone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall wegive to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alonebut for all eternity?
—The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awfulstench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of theworld, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when theterrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. Thebrimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills allhell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damnedthemselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventuresays, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. Thevery air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul andunbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must bethe foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpsethat has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jellylike massof liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devouredby the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes ofnauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickeningstench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from themillions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in thereeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this,and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.
—But this stench is not, horrible though it is, the greatest physicaltorment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fire is thegreatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellowcreatures. Place your finger for a moment in the flame of a candle andyou will feel the pain of fire. But our earthly fire was created by Godfor the benefit of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and tohelp him in the useful arts whereas the fire of hell is of anotherquality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentantsinner. Our earthly fire also consumes more or less rapidly accordingas the object which it attacks is more or less combustible so thathuman ingenuity has even succeeded in inventing chemical preparationsto check or frustrate its action. But the sulphurous brimstone whichburns in hell is a substance which is specially designed to burn forever and for ever with unspeakable fury. Moreover, our earthly firedestroys at the same time as it burns so that the more intense it isthe shorter is its duration; but the fire of hell has this propertythat it preserves that which it burns and though it rages withincredible intensity it rages for ever.
—Our earthly fire again, no matter how fierce or widespread it may be,is always of a limited extent: but the lake of fire in hell isboundless, shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devilhimself, when asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged toconfess that if a whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean ofhell it would be burned up in an instant like a piece of wax. And thisterrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only fromwithout, but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundlessfire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of thosewretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brainsare boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting,the bowels a redhot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming likemolten balls.
—And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality andboundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to itsintensity, an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen bydivine design for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a firewhich proceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its ownactivity but as an instrument of divine vengeance. As the waters ofbaptism cleanse the soul with the body, so do the fires of punishmenttorture the spirit with the flesh. Every sense of the flesh is torturedand every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrableutter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells andhowls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption,nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes,with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of thesenses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amidthe leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by theoffended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting andever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the Godhead.
—Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison isincreased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company onearth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw fromthe company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell alllaws are overturned—there is no thought of family or country, ofties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another,their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings torturedand raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. Theyells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vastabyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God andof hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those soulswhich were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the customto punish the parricide, the man who had raised his murderous handagainst his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sackin which were placed a cock, a monkey, and a serpent. The intention ofthose law-givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times,was to punish the criminal by the company of hurtful and hatefulbeasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with thefury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and achingthroats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions inmisery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowedthe first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, thosewhose immodest suggestions led them on to sin, those whose eyes temptedand allured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon thoseaccomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless andhopeless: it is too late now for repentance.
—Last of all consider the frightful torment to those damned souls,tempters and tempted alike, of the company of the devils. These devilswill afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by theirreproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. SaintCatherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, ratherthan look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, shewould prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of redcoals. These devils, who were once beautiful angels, have become ashideous and ugly as they once were beautiful. They mock and jeer at thelost souls whom they dragged down to ruin. It is they, the foul demons,who are made in hell the voices of conscience. Why did you sin? Why didyou lend an ear to the temptings of friends? Why did you turn asidefrom your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun theoccasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why didyou not give up that lewd habit, that impure habit? Why did you notlisten to the counsels of your confessor? Why did you not, even afteryou had fallen the first or the second or the third or the fourth orthe hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who onlywaited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the timefor repentance has gone by. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more!Time was to sin in secrecy, to indulge in that sloth and pride, tocovet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, tolive like the beasts of the field, nay worse than the beasts of thefield, for they, at least, are but brutes and have no reason to guidethem: time was, but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so manyvoices, but you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride andanger in your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, youwould not obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to yourreligious duties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, youwould not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language ofthose fiendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatredand of disgust. Of disgust, yes! For even they, the very devils, whenthey sinned, sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with suchangelical natures, a rebellion of the intellect: and they, even they,the foul devils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from thecontemplation of those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outragesand defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, defiles and pollutes himself.
—O, my dear little brothers in Christ, may it never be our lot tohear that language! May it never be our lot, I say! In the last day ofterrible reckoning I pray fervently to God that not a single soul ofthose who are in this chapel today may be found among those miserablebeings whom the Great Judge shall command to depart for ever from Hissight, that not one of us may ever hear ringing in his ears the awfulsentence of rejection: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlastingfire which was prepared for the devil and his angels!
He came down the aisle of the chapel, his legs shaking and the scalp ofhis head trembling as though it had been touched by ghostly fingers. Hepassed up the staircase and into the corridor along the walls of whichthe overcoats and waterproofs hung like gibbeted malefactors, headlessand dripping and shapeless. And at every step he feared that he hadalready died, that his soul had been wrenched forth of the sheath ofhis body, that he was plunging headlong through space.
He could not grip the floor with his feet and sat heavily at his desk,opening one of his books at random and poring over it. Every word forhim. It was true. God was almighty. God could call him now, call him ashe sat at his desk, before he had time to be conscious of the summons.God had called him. Yes? What? Yes? His flesh shrank together as itfelt the approach of the ravenous tongues of flames, dried up as itfelt about it the swirl of stifling air. He had died. Yes. He wasjudged. A wave of fire swept through his body: the first. Again a wave.His brain began to glow. Another. His brain was simmering and bubblingwithin the cracking tenement of the skull. Flames burst forth from hisskull like a corolla, shrieking like voices:
—Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell!
Voices spoke near him:
—I suppose he rubbed it into you well.
—You bet he did. He put us all into a blue funk.
—That’s what you fellows want: and plenty of it to make you work.
He leaned back weakly in his desk. He had not died. God had spared himstill. He was still in the familiar world of the school. Mr Tate andVincent Heron stood at the window, talking, jesting, gazing out at thebleak rain, moving their heads.
—I wish it would clear up. I had arranged to go for a spin on thebike with some fellows out by Malahide. But the roads must bekneedeep.
—It might clear up, sir.
The voices that he knew so well, the common words, the quiet of theclassroom when the voices paused and the silence was filled by thesound of softly browsing cattle as the other boys munched their lunchestranquilly, lulled his aching soul.
There was still time. O Mary, refuge of sinners, intercede for him! OVirgin Undefiled, save him from the gulf of death!
The English lesson began with the hearing of the history. Royalpersons, favourites, intriguers, bishops, passed like mute phantomsbehind their veil of names. All had died: all had been judged. What didit profit a man to gain the whole world if he lost his soul? At last hehad understood: and human life lay around him, a plain of peace whereonantlike men laboured in brotherhood, their dead sleeping under quietmounds. The elbow of his companion touched him and his heart wastouched: and when he spoke to answer a question of his master he heardhis own voice full of the quietude of humility and contrition.
His soul sank back deeper into depths of contrite peace, no longer ableto suffer the pain of dread, and sending forth, as he sank, a faintprayer. Ah yes, he would still be spared; he would repent in his heartand be forgiven; and then those above, those in heaven, would see whathe would do to make up for the past: a whole life, every hour of life.Only wait.
—All, God! All, all!
A messenger came to the door to say that confessions were being heardin the chapel. Four boys left the room; and he heard others passingdown the corridor. A tremulous chill blew round his heart, no strongerthan a little wind, and yet, listening and suffering silently, heseemed to have laid an ear against the muscle of his own heart, feelingit close and quail, listening to the flutter of its ventricles.
No escape. He had to confess, to speak out in words what he had doneand thought, sin after sin. How? How?
The thought slid like a cold shining rapier into his tender flesh:confession. But not there in the chapel of the college. He wouldconfess all, every sin of deed and thought, sincerely; but not thereamong his school companions. Far away from there in some dark place hewould murmur out his own shame; and he besought God humbly not to beoffended with him if he did not dare to confess in the college chapeland in utter abjection of spirit he craved forgiveness mutely of theboyish hearts about him.
He sat again in the front bench of the chapel. The daylight without wasalready failing and, as it fell slowly through the dull red blinds, itseemed that the sun of the last day was going down and that all soulswere being gathered for the judgement.
—I am cast away from the sight of Thine eyes: words taken,my dear little brothers in Christ, from the Book of Psalms, thirtiethchapter, twentythird verse. In the name of the Father and of the Son andof the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher began to speak in a quiet friendly tone. His face was kindand he joined gently the fingers of each hand, forming a frail cage bythe union of their tips.
—This morning we endeavoured, in our reflection upon hell, to makewhat our holy founder calls in his book of spiritual exercises, thecomposition of place. We endeavoured, that is, to imagine with thesenses of the mind, in our imagination, the material character of thatawful place and of the physical torments which all who are in hell endure.This evening we shall consider for a few moments the nature of thespiritual torments of hell.
—Sin, remember, is a twofold enormity. It is a base consent to thepromptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that whichis gross and beastlike; and it is also a turning away from the counselof our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Holy GodHimself. For this reason mortal sin is punished in hell by twodifferent forms of punishment, physical and spiritual.
Now of all these spiritual pains by far the greatest is the pain ofloss, so great, in fact, that in itself it is a torment greater thanall the others. Saint Thomas, the greatest doctor of the church, theangelic doctor, as he is called, says that the worst damnation consistsin this that the understanding of man is totally deprived of divinelight and his affection obstinately turned away from the goodness ofGod. God, remember, is a being infinitely good, and therefore the lossof such a being must be a loss infinitely painful. In this life we havenot a very clear idea of what such a loss must be, but the damned inhell, for their greater torment, have a full understanding of thatwhich they have lost, and understand that they have lost it throughtheir own sins and have lost it for ever. At the very instant of deaththe bonds of the flesh are broken asunder and the soul at once fliestowards God as towards the centre of her existence. Remember, my dearlittle boys, our souls long to be with God. We come from God, we liveby God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably His. God loves with adivine love every human soul and every human soul lives in that love.How could it be otherwise? Every breath that we draw, every thought ofour brain, every instant of life proceeds from God’s inexhaustiblegoodness. And if it be pain for a mother to be parted from her child,for a man to be exiled from hearth and home, for friend to be sunderedfrom friend, O think what pain, what anguish it must be for the poorsoul to be spurned from the presence of the supremely good and lovingCreator Who has called that soul into existence from nothingness andsustained it in life and loved it with an immeasurable love. This,then, to be separated for ever from its greatest good, from God, and tofeel the anguish of that separation, knowing full well that it isunchangeable: this is the greatest torment which the created soul iscapable of bearing, pœna damni, the pain of loss.
The second pain which will afflict the souls of the damned in hell isthe pain of conscience. Just as in dead bodies worms are engendered byputrefaction, so in the souls of the lost there arises a perpetualremorse from the putrefaction of sin, the sting of conscience, theworm, as Pope Innocent the Third calls it, of the triple sting. Thefirst sting inflicted by this cruel worm will be the memory of pastpleasures. O what a dreadful memory will that be! In the lake ofalldevouring flame the proud king will remember the pomps of hiscourt, the wise but wicked man his libraries and instruments ofresearch, the lover of artistic pleasures his marbles and pictures andother art treasures, he who delighted in the pleasures of the table hisgorgeous feasts, his dishes prepared with such delicacy, his choicewines; the miser will remember his hoard of gold, the robber hisillgotten wealth, the angry and revengeful and merciless murdererstheir deeds of blood and violence in which they revelled, the impureand adulterous the unspeakable and filthy pleasures in which theydelighted. They will remember all this and loathe themselves and theirsins. For how miserable will all those pleasures seem to the soulcondemned to suffer in hellfire for ages and ages. How they will rageand fume to think that they have lost the bliss of heaven for the drossof earth, for a few pieces of metal, for vain honours, for bodilycomforts, for a tingling of the nerves. They will repent indeed: andthis is the second sting of the worm of conscience, a late andfruitless sorrow for sins committed. Divine justice insists that theunderstanding of those miserable wretches be fixed continually on thesins of which they were guilty, and moreover, as saint Augustine pointsout, God will impart to them His own knowledge of sin, so that sin willappear to them in all its hideous malice as it appears to the eyes ofGod Himself. They will behold their sins in all their foulness andrepent but it will be too late and then they will bewail the goodoccasions which they neglected. This is the last and deepest and mostcruel sting of the worm of conscience. The conscience will say: You hadtime and opportunity to repent and would not. You were brought upreligiously by your parents. You had the sacraments and grace andindulgences of the church to aid you. You had the minister of God topreach to you, to call you back when you had strayed, to forgive youyour sins, no matter how many, how abominable, if only you hadconfessed and repented. No. You would not. You flouted the ministersof holy religion, you turned your back on the confessional, youwallowed deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. God appealed to you,threatened you, entreated you to return to Him. O, what shame, whatmisery! The Ruler of the universe entreated you, a creature of clay, tolove Him Who made you and to keep His law. No. You would not. And now,though you were to flood all hell with your tears if you could stillweep, all that sea of repentance would not gain for you what a singletear of true repentance shed during your mortal life would have gainedfor you. You implore now a moment of earthly life wherein to repent: invain. That time is gone: gone for ever.
—Such is the threefold sting of conscience, the viper which gnaws thevery heart’s core of the wretches in hell, so that filled with hellishfury they curse themselves for their folly and curse the evilcompanions who have brought them to such ruin and curse the devils whotempted them in life and now mock them in eternity and even revile andcurse the Supreme Being Whose goodness and patience they scorned andslighted but Whose justice and power they cannot evade.
—The next spiritual pain to which the damned are subjected is thepain of extension. Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable ofmany evils, is not capable of them all at once, inasmuch as one evilcorrects and counteracts another just as one poison frequently correctsanother. In hell, on the contrary, one torment, instead ofcounteracting another, lends it still greater force: and, moreover, asthe internal faculties are more perfect than the external senses, soare they more capable of suffering. Just as every sense is afflictedwith a fitting torment, so is every spiritual faculty; the fancy withhorrible images, the sensitive faculty with alternate longing and rage,the mind and understanding with an interior darkness more terrible eventhan the exterior darkness which reigns in that dreadful prison. Themalice, impotent though it be, which possesses these demon souls is anevil of boundless extension, of limitless duration, a frightful stateof wickedness which we can scarcely realise unless we bear in mind theenormity of sin and the hatred God bears to it.
—Opposed to this pain of extension and yet coexistent with it we havethe pain of intensity. Hell is the centre of evils and, as you know,things are more intense at their centres than at their remotest points.There are no contraries or admixtures of any kind to temper or softenin the least the pains of hell. Nay, things which are good inthemselves become evil in hell. Company, elsewhere a source of comfortto the afflicted, will be there a continual torment: knowledge, so muchlonged for as the chief good of the intellect, will there be hatedworse than ignorance: light, so much coveted by all creatures from thelord of creation down to the humblest plant in the forest, will beloathed intensely. In this life our sorrows are either not very long ornot very great because nature either overcomes them by habits or putsan end to them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the tormentscannot be overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensitythey are at the same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak,taking fire from another and re-endowing that which has enkindled itwith a still fiercer flame. Nor can nature escape from these intenseand various tortures by succumbing to them for the soul is sustainedand maintained in evil so that its suffering may be the greater.Boundless extension of torment, incredible intensity of suffering,unceasing variety of torture—this is what the divine majesty, sooutraged by sinners, demands; this is what the holiness of heaven,slighted and set aside for the lustful and low pleasures of the corruptflesh, requires; this is what the blood of the innocent Lamb of God,shed for the redemption of sinners, trampled upon by the vilest of thevile, insists upon.
—Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place isthe eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! Whatmind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain.Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yetthey would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. Butwhile they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know,intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of aninsect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be,then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For alleternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine theawful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore.How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grainsgo to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Nowimagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching fromthe earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad,extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness;and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sandmultiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of waterin the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs onanimals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at theend of every million years a little bird came to that mountain andcarried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millionsupon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried awayeven a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of agesbefore it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretchof time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended.At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity wouldhave scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had beenall carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all awayagain grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as thereare stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea,leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs uponanimals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings ofthat immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternitycould be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period,after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brainreel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.
—A holy saint (one of our own fathers I believe it was) was oncevouchsafed a vision of hell. It seemed to him that he stood in themidst of a great hall, dark and silent save for the ticking of a greatclock. The ticking went on unceasingly; and it seemed to this saintthat the sound of the ticking was the ceaseless repetition of thewords: ever, never; ever, never. Ever to be in hell, never to be in heaven;ever to be shut off from the presence of God, never to enjoy thebeatific vision; ever to be eaten with flames, gnawed by vermin, goadedwith burning spikes, never to be free from those pains; ever to havethe conscience upbraid one, the memory enrage, the mind filled withdarkness and despair, never to escape; ever to curse and revile thefoul demons who gloat fiendishly over the misery of their dupes, neverto behold the shining raiment of the blessed spirits; ever to cry outof the abyss of fire to God for an instant, a single instant, ofrespite from such awful agony, never to receive, even for an instant,God’s pardon; ever to suffer, never to enjoy; ever to be damned, neverto be saved; ever, never; ever, never. O, what a dreadful punishment!An eternity of endless agony, of endless bodily and spiritual torment,without one ray of hope, without one moment of cessation, of agonylimitless in intensity, of torment infinitely varied, of torture thatsustains eternally that which it eternally devours, of anguish thateverlastingly preys upon the spirit while it racks the flesh, aneternity, every instant of which is itself an eternity of woe. Such isthe terrible punishment decreed for those who die in mortal sin by analmighty and a just God.
—Yes, a just God! Men, reasoning always as men, are astonished thatGod should mete out an everlasting and infinite punishment in the firesof hell for a single grievous sin. They reason thus because, blinded bythe gross illusion of the flesh and the darkness of humanunderstanding, they are unable to comprehend the hideous malice ofmortal sin. They reason thus because they are unable to comprehend thateven venial sin is of such a foul and hideous nature that even if theomnipotent Creator could end all the evil and misery in the world, thewars, the diseases, the robberies, the crimes, the deaths, the murders,on condition that he allowed a single venial sin to pass unpunished, asingle venial sin, a lie, an angry look, a moment of wilful sloth, He,the great omnipotent God could not do so because sin, be it in thoughtor deed, is a transgression of His law and God would not be God if Hedid not punish the transgressor.
—A sin, an instant of rebellious pride of the intellect, made Luciferand a third part of the cohort of angels fall from their glory. A sin,an instant of folly and weakness, drove Adam and Eve out of Eden andbrought death and suffering into the world. To retrieve theconsequences of that sin the Only Begotten Son of God came down toearth, lived and suffered and died a most painful death, hanging forthree hours on the cross.
—O, my dear little brethren in Christ Jesus, will we then offend thatgood Redeemer and provoke His anger? Will we trample again upon thattorn and mangled corpse? Will we spit upon that face so full of sorrowand love? Will we too, like the cruel jews and the brutal soldiers,mock that gentle and compassionate Saviour Who trod alone for our sakethe awful winepress of sorrow? Every word of sin is a wound in Histender side. Every sinful act is a thorn piercing His head. Everyimpure thought, deliberately yielded to, is a keen lance transfixing thatsacred and loving heart. No, no. It is impossible for any human being todo that which offends so deeply the divine Majesty, that which is punishedby an eternity of agony, that which crucifies again the Son of God andmakes a mockery of Him.
—I pray to God that my poor words may have availed today to confirmin holiness those who are in a state of grace, to strengthen thewavering, to lead back to the state of grace the poor soul that hasstrayed if any such be among you. I pray to God, and do you pray withme, that we may repent of our sins. I will ask you now, all of you, torepeat after me the act of contrition, kneeling here in this humblechapel in the presence of God. He is there in the tabernacle burningwith love for mankind, ready to comfort the afflicted. Be not afraid.No matter how many or how foul the sins if you only repent of them theywill be forgiven you. Let no worldly shame hold you back. God is stillthe merciful Lord who wishes not the eternal death of the sinner butrather that he be converted and live.
—He calls you to Him. You are His. He made you out of nothing. Heloved you as only a God can love. His arms are open to receive you eventhough you have sinned against Him. Come to Him, poor sinner, poor vainand erring sinner. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the hour.
The priest rose and, turning towards the altar, knelt upon the stepbefore the tabernacle in the fallen gloom. He waited till all in thechapel had knelt and every least noise was still. Then, raising hishead, he repeated the act of contrition, phrase by phrase, withfervour. The boys answered him phrase by phrase. Stephen, his tonguecleaving to his palate, bowed his head, praying with his heart.
—O my God!—
—O my God!—
—I am heartily sorry—
—I am heartily sorry—
—for having offended Thee—
—for having offended Thee—
—and I detest my sins—
—and I detest my sins—
—above every other evil—
—above every other evil—
—because they displease Thee, my God—
—because they displease Thee, my God—
—Who art so deserving—
—Who art so deserving—
—of all my love—
—of all my love—
—and I firmly purpose—
—and I firmly purpose—
—by Thy holy grace—
—by Thy holy grace—
—never more to offend Thee—
—never more to offend Thee—
—and to amend my life—
—and to amend my life—
He went up to his room after dinner in order to be alone with his soul,and at every step his soul seemed to sigh; at every step his soulmounted with his feet, sighing in the ascent, through a region ofviscid gloom.
He halted on the landing before the door and then, grasping theporcelain knob, opened the door quickly. He waited in fear, his soulpining within him, praying silently that death might not touch his browas he passed over the threshold, that the fiends that inhabit darknessmight not be given power over him. He waited still at the threshold asat the entrance to some dark cave. Faces were there; eyes: they waitedand watched.
—We knew perfectly well of course that though it was bound to come tothe light he would find considerable difficulty in endeavouring to tryto induce himself to try to endeavour to ascertain the spiritualplenipotentiary and so we knew of course perfectly well—
Murmuring faces waited and watched; murmurous voices filled the darkshell of the cave. He feared intensely in spirit and in flesh but,raising his head bravely, he strode into the room firmly. A doorway, aroom, the same room, same window. He told himself calmly that thosewords had absolutely no sense which had seemed to rise murmurously fromthe dark. He told himself that it was simply his room with the dooropen.
He closed the door and, walking swiftly to the bed, knelt beside it andcovered his face with his hands. His hands were cold and damp and hislimbs ached with chill. Bodily unrest and chill and weariness besethim, routing his thoughts. Why was he kneeling there like a childsaying his evening prayers? To be alone with his soul, to examine hisconscience, to meet his sins face to face, to recall their times andmanners and circumstances, to weep over them. He could not weep. Hecould not summon them to his memory. He felt only an ache of soul andbody, his whole being, memory, will, understanding, flesh, benumbedand weary.
That was the work of devils, to scatter his thoughts and overcloud hisconscience, assailing him at the gates of the cowardly andsincorrupted flesh: and, praying God timidly to forgive him hisweakness, he crawled up on to the bed and, wrapping the blanketsclosely about him, covered his face again with his hands. He hadsinned. He had sinned so deeply against heaven and before God that hewas not worthy to be called God’s child.
Could it be that he, Stephen Dedalus, had done those things? Hisconscience sighed in answer. Yes, he had done them, secretly, filthily,time after time, and, hardened in sinful impenitence, he had dared towear the mask of holiness before the tabernacle itself while his soulwithin was a living mass of corruption. How came it that God had notstruck him dead? The leprous company of his sins closed about him,breathing upon him, bending over him from all sides. He strove toforget them in an act of prayer, huddling his limbs closer together andbinding down his eyelids: but the senses of his soul would not be boundand, though his eyes were shut fast, he saw the places where he hadsinned and, though his ears were tightly covered, he heard. He desiredwith all his will not to hear or see. He desired till his frame shookunder the strain of his desire and until the senses of his soul closed.They closed for an instant and then opened. He saw.
A field of stiff weeds and thistles and tufted nettle-bunches. Thickamong the tufts of rank stiff growth lay battered canisters and clotsand coils of solid excrement. A faint marshlight struggling upwardsfrom all the ordure through the bristling greygreen weeds. An evilsmell, faint and foul as the light, curled upwards sluggishly out ofthe canisters and from the stale crusted dung.
Creatures were in the field; one, three, six: creatures were moving inthe field, hither and thither. Goatish creatures with human faces,hornybrowed, lightly bearded and grey as indiarubber. The malice ofevil glittered in their hard eyes, as they moved hither and thither,trailing their long tails behind them. A rictus of cruel malignity litup greyly their old bony faces. One was clasping about his ribs a tornflannel waistcoat, another complained monotonously as his beard stuckin the tufted weeds. Soft language issued from their spittleless lipsas they swished in slow circles round and round the field, windinghither and thither through the weeds, dragging their long tails amidthe rattling canisters. They moved in slow circles, circling closer andcloser to enclose, to enclose, soft language issuing from their lips,their long swishing tails besmeared with stale shite, thrusting upwardstheir terrific faces...
He flung the blankets from him madly to free his face and neck. Thatwas his hell. God had allowed him to see the hell reserved for hissins: stinking, bestial, malignant, a hell of lecherous goatish fiends.For him! For him!
He sprang from the bed, the reeking odour pouring down his throat,clogging and revolting his entrails. Air! The air of heaven! Hestumbled towards the window, groaning and almost fainting withsickness. At the washstand a convulsion seized him within; and,clasping his cold forehead wildly, he vomited profusely in agony.
When the fit had spent itself he walked weakly to the window and,lifting the sash, sat in a corner of the embrasure and leaned his elbowupon the sill. The rain had drawn off; and amid the moving vapours frompoint to point of light the city was spinning about herself a softcocoon of yellowish haze. Heaven was still and faintly luminous and theair sweet to breathe, as in a thicket drenched with showers; and amidpeace and shimmering lights and quiet fragrance he made a covenant withhis heart.
—He once had meant to come on earth in heavenly glory but we sinned: andthen He could not safely visit us but with a shrouded majesty and abedimmed radiance for He was God. So He came Himself in weakness not inpower and He sent thee, a creature in His stead, with a creature’scomeliness and lustre suited to our state. And now thy very face andform, dear mother, speak to us of the Eternal; not like earthly beauty,dangerous to look upon, but like the morning star which is thy emblem,bright and musical, breathing purity, telling of heaven and infusingpeace. O harbringer of day! O light of the pilgrim! Lead us still asthou hast led. In the dark night, across the bleak wilderness guide uson to our Lord Jesus, guide us home.
His eyes were dimmed with tears and, looking humbly up to heaven, hewept for the innocence he had lost.
When evening had fallen he left the house, and the first touch of thedamp dark air and the noise of the door as it closed behind him madeache again his conscience, lulled by prayer and tears. Confess!Confess! It was not enough to lull the conscience with a tear and aprayer. He had to kneel before the minister of the Holy Ghost and tellover his hidden sins truly and repentantly. Before he heard again thefootboard of the housedoor trail over the threshold as it opened to lethim in, before he saw again the table in the kitchen set for supper hewould have knelt and confessed. It was quite simple.
The ache of conscience ceased and he walked onward swiftly through thedark streets. There were so many flagstones on the footpath of thatstreet and so many streets in that city and so many cities in theworld. Yet eternity had no end. He was in mortal sin. Even once was amortal sin. It could happen in an instant. But how so quickly? Byseeing or by thinking of seeing. The eyes see the thing, without havingwished first to see. Then in an instant it happens. But does that partof the body understand or what? The serpent, the most subtle beast ofthe field. It must understand when it desires in one instant and thenprolongs its own desire instant after instant, sinfully. It feels andunderstands and desires. What a horrible thing! Who made it to be likethat, a bestial part of the body able to understand bestially anddesire bestially? Was that then he or an inhuman thing moved by a lowersoul? His soul sickened at the thought of a torpid snaky life feedingitself out of the tender marrow of his life and fattening upon theslime of lust. O why was that so? O why?
He cowered in the shadow of the thought, abasing himself in the awe ofGod Who had made all things and all men. Madness. Who could think sucha thought? And, cowering in darkness and abject, he prayed mutely tohis guardian angel to drive away with his sword the demon that waswhispering to his brain.
The whisper ceased and he knew then clearly that his own soul hadsinned in thought and word and deed wilfully through his own body.Confess! He had to confess every sin. How could he utter in words tothe priest what he had done? Must, must. Or how could he explainwithout dying of shame? Or how could he have done such things withoutshame? A madman! Confess! O he would indeed to be free and sinlessagain! Perhaps the priest would know. O dear God!
He walked on and on through ill-lit streets, fearing to stand still fora moment lest it might seem that he held back from what awaited him,fearing to arrive at that towards which he still turned with longing.How beautiful must be a soul in the state of grace when God looked uponit with love!
Frowsy girls sat along the curbstones before their baskets. Their dankhair hung trailed over their brows. They were not beautiful to see asthey crouched in the mire. But their souls were seen by God; and iftheir souls were in a state of grace they were radiant to see: and Godloved them, seeing them.
A wasting breath of humiliation blew bleakly over his soul to think ofhow he had fallen, to feel that those souls were dearer to God thanhis. The wind blew over him and passed on to the myriads and myriads ofother souls on whom God’s favour shone now more and now less, starsnow brighter and now dimmer, sustained and failing. And the glimmeringsouls passed away, sustained and failing, merged in a moving breath.One soul was lost; a tiny soul: his. It flickered once and went out,forgotten, lost. The end: black, cold, void waste.
Consciousness of place came ebbing back to him slowly over a vast tractof time unlit, unfelt, unlived. The squalid scene composed itselfaround him; the common accents, the burning gasjets in the shops,odours of fish and spirits and wet sawdust, moving men and women. Anold woman was about to cross the street, an oilcan in her hand. He bentdown and asked her was there a chapel near.
—A chapel, sir? Yes, sir. Church Street chapel.
She shifted the can to her other hand and directed him; and, as sheheld out her reeking withered right hand under its fringe of shawl, hebent lower towards her, saddened and soothed by her voice.
—You are quite welcome, sir.
The candles on the high altar had been extinguished but the fragranceof incense still floated down the dim nave. Bearded workmen with piousfaces were guiding a canopy out through a side door, the sacristanaiding them with quiet gestures and words. A few of the faithful stilllingered praying before one of the sidealtars or kneeling in thebenches near the confessionals. He approached timidly and knelt at thelast bench in the body, thankful for the peace and silence and fragrantshadow of the church. The board on which he knelt was narrow and wornand those who knelt near him were humble followers of Jesus. Jesus toohad been born in poverty and had worked in the shop of a carpenter,cutting boards and planing them, and had first spoken of the kingdom ofGod to poor fishermen, teaching all men to be meek and humble of heart.
He bowed his head upon his hands, bidding his heart be meek and humblethat he might be like those who knelt beside him and his prayer asacceptable as theirs. He prayed beside them but it was hard. His soulwas foul with sin and he dared not ask forgiveness with the simpletrust of those whom Jesus, in the mysterious ways of God, had calledfirst to His side, the carpenters, the fishermen, poor and simplepeople following a lowly trade, handling and shaping the wood of trees,mending their nets with patience.
A tall figure came down the aisle and the penitents stirred; and at thelast moment, glancing up swiftly, he saw a long grey beard and thebrown habit of a capuchin. The priest entered the box and was hidden.Two penitents rose and entered the confessional at either side. Thewooden slide was drawn back and the faint murmur of a voice troubledthe silence.
His blood began to murmur in his veins, murmuring like a sinful citysummoned from its sleep to hear its doom. Little flakes of fire felland powdery ashes fell softly, alighting on the houses of men. Theystirred, waking from sleep, troubled by the heated air.
The slide was shot back. The penitent emerged from the side of the box.The farther side was drawn. A woman entered quietly and deftly wherethe first penitent had knelt. The faint murmur began again.
He could still leave the chapel. He could stand up, put one foot beforethe other and walk out softly and then run, run, run swiftly throughthe dark streets. He could still escape from the shame. Had it been anyterrible crime but that one sin! Had it been murder! Little fieryflakes fell and touched him at all points, shameful thoughts, shamefulwords, shameful acts. Shame covered him wholly like fine glowing ashesfalling continually. To say it in words! His soul, stifling andhelpless, would cease to be.
The slide was shot back. A penitent emerged from the farther side ofthe box. The near slide was drawn. A penitent entered where the otherpenitent had come out. A soft whispering noise floated in vaporouscloudlets out of the box. It was the woman: soft whispering cloudlets,soft whispering vapour, whispering and vanishing.
He beat his breast with his fist humbly, secretly under cover of thewooden armrest. He would be at one with others and with God. He wouldlove his neighbour. He would love God who had made and loved him. Hewould kneel and pray with others and be happy. God would look down onhim and on them and would love them all.
It was easy to be good. God’s yoke was sweet and light. It was betternever to have sinned, to have remained always a child, for God lovedlittle children and suffered them to come to Him. It was a terrible anda sad thing to sin. But God was merciful to poor sinners who were trulysorry. How true that was! That was indeed goodness.
The slide was shot to suddenly. The penitent came out. He was next. Hestood up in terror and walked blindly into the box.
At last it had come. He knelt in the silent gloom and raised his eyesto the white crucifix suspended above him. God could see that he wassorry. He would tell all his sins. His confession would be long, long.Everybody in the chapel would know then what a sinner he had been. Letthem know. It was true. But God had promised to forgive him if he wassorry. He was sorry. He clasped his hands and raised them towards thewhite form, praying with his darkened eyes, praying with all histrembling body, swaying his head to and fro like a lost creature,praying with whimpering lips.
—Sorry! Sorry! O sorry!
The slide clicked back and his heart bounded in his breast. The face ofan old priest was at the grating, averted from him, leaning upon ahand. He made the sign of the cross and prayed of the priest to blesshim for he had sinned. Then, bowing his head, he repeated the Confiteorin fright. At the words my most grievous fault he ceased, breathless.
—How long is it since your last confession, my child?
—A long time, father.
—A month, my child?
—Three months, my child?
—Eight months, father.
He had begun. The priest asked:
—And what do you remember since that time?
He began to confess his sins: masses missed, prayers not said, lies.
—Anything else, my child?
Sins of anger, envy of others, gluttony, vanity, disobedience.
—Anything else, my child?
There was no help. He murmured:
—I... committed sins of impurity, father.
The priest did not turn his head.
—With yourself, my child?
—And... with others.
—With women, my child?
—Were they married women, my child?
He did not know. His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickledin shameful drops from his soul, festering and oozing like a sore, asqualid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy.There was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome.
The priest was silent. Then he asked:
—How old are you, my child?
The priest passed his hand several times over his face. Then, restinghis forehead against his hand, he leaned towards the grating and, witheyes still averted, spoke slowly. His voice was weary and old.
—You are very young, my child, he said, and let me implore of you togive up that sin. It is a terrible sin. It kills the body and it killsthe soul. It is the cause of many crimes and misfortunes. Give it up,my child, for God’s sake. It is dishonourable and unmanly. You cannotknow where that wretched habit will lead you or where it will comeagainst you. As long as you commit that sin, my poor child, you willnever be worth one farthing to God. Pray to our mother Mary to helpyou. She will help you, my child. Pray to Our Blessed Lady when thatsin comes into your mind. I am sure you will do that, will you not? Yourepent of all those sins. I am sure you do. And you will promise Godnow that by His holy grace you will never offend Him any more by thatwicked sin. You will make that solemn promise to God, will you not?
The old and weary voice fell like sweet rain upon his quaking parchingheart. How sweet and sad!
—Do so, my poor child. The devil has led you astray. Drive him back tohell when he tempts you to dishonour your body in that way—the foulspirit who hates Our Lord. Promise God now that you will give up thatsin, that wretched wretched sin.
Blinded by his tears and by the light of God’s mercifulness he bent hishead and heard the grave words of absolution spoken and saw thepriest’s hand raised above him in token of forgiveness.
—God bless you, my child. Pray for me.
He knelt to say his penance, praying in a corner of the dark nave; andhis prayers ascended to heaven from his purified heart like perfumestreaming upwards from a heart of white rose.
The muddy streets were gay. He strode homeward, conscious of aninvisible grace pervading and making light his limbs. In spite of allhe had done it. He had confessed and God had pardoned him. His soul wasmade fair and holy once more, holy and happy.
It would be beautiful to die if God so willed. It was beautiful to livein grace a life of peace and virtue and forbearance with others.
He sat by the fire in the kitchen, not daring to speak for happiness.Till that moment he had not known how beautiful and peaceful life couldbe. The green square of paper pinned round the lamp cast down a tendershade. On the dresser was a plate of sausages and white pudding and onthe shelf there were eggs. They would be for the breakfast in themorning after the communion in the college chapel. White pudding andeggs and sausages and cups of tea. How simple and beautiful was lifeafter all! And life lay all before him.
In a dream he fell asleep. In a dream he rose and saw that it wasmorning. In a waking dream he went through the quiet morning towardsthe college.
The boys were all there, kneeling in their places. He knelt among them,happy and shy. The altar was heaped with fragrant masses of whiteflowers; and in the morning light the pale flames of the candles amongthe white flowers were clear and silent as his own soul.
He knelt before the altar with his classmates, holding the altar clothwith them over a living rail of hands. His hands were trembling and hissoul trembled as he heard the priest pass with the ciborium fromcommunicant to communicant.
—Corpus Domini nostri.
Could it be? He knelt there sinless and timid; and he would hold uponhis tongue the host and God would enter his purified body.
—In vitam eternam. Amen.
Another life! A life of grace and virtue and happiness! It was true. Itwas not a dream from which he would wake. The past was past.
—Corpus Domini nostri.
The ciborium had come to him.
Sunday was dedicated to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Monday to theHoly Ghost, Tuesday to the Guardian Angels, Wednesday to Saint Joseph,Thursday to the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, Friday to theSuffering Jesus, Saturday to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Every morning he hallowed himself anew in the presence of some holyimage or mystery. His day began with an heroic offering of its everymoment of thought or action for the intentions of the sovereign pontiffand with an early mass. The raw morning air whetted his resolute piety;and often as he knelt among the few worshippers at the sidealtar,following with his interleaved prayerbook the murmur of the priest, heglanced up for an instant towards the vested figure standing in thegloom between the two candles, which were the old and the newtestaments, and imagined that he was kneeling at mass in the catacombs.
His daily life was laid out in devotional areas. By means ofejaculations and prayers he stored up ungrudgingly for the souls inpurgatory centuries of days and quarantines and years; yet thespiritual triumph which he felt in achieving with ease so many fabulousages of canonical penances did not wholly reward his zeal of prayer,since he could never know how much temporal punishment he had remittedby way of suffrage for the agonising souls; and fearful lest in themidst of the purgatorial fire, which differed from the infernal only inthat it was not everlasting, his penance might avail no more than adrop of moisture, he drove his soul daily through an increasing circleof works of supererogation.
Every part of his day, divided by what he regarded now as the duties ofhis station in life, circled about its own centre of spiritual energy.His life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, wordand deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to revibrateradiantly in heaven; and at times his sense of such immediaterepercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotionpressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register and to seethe amount of his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as anumber but as a frail column of incense or as a slender flower.
The rosaries, too, which he said constantly—for he carried his beadsloose in his trousers’ pockets that he might tell them as he walked thestreets—transformed themselves into coronals of flowers of such vagueunearthly texture that they seemed to him as hueless and odourless asthey were nameless. He offered up each of his three daily chaplets thathis soul might grow strong in each of the three theological virtues, infaith in the Father Who had created him, in hope in the Son Who hadredeemed him and in love of the Holy Ghost Who had sanctified him; andthis thrice triple prayer he offered to the Three Persons through Maryin the name of her joyful and sorrowful and glorious mysteries.
On each of the seven days of the week he further prayed that one of theseven gifts of the Holy Ghost might descend upon his soul and drive outof it day by day the seven deadly sins which had defiled it in thepast; and he prayed for each gift on its appointed day, confident thatit would descend upon him, though it seemed strange to him at timesthat wisdom and understanding and knowledge were so distinct in theirnature that each should be prayed for apart from the others. Yet hebelieved that at some future stage of his spiritual progress thisdifficulty would be removed when his sinful soul had been raised upfrom its weakness and enlightened by the Third Person of the MostBlessed Trinity. He believed this all the more, and with trepidation,because of the divine gloom and silence wherein dwelt the unseenParaclete, Whose symbols were a dove and a mighty wind, to sin againstWhom was a sin beyond forgiveness, the eternal mysterious secret Beingto Whom, as God, the priests offered up mass once a year, robed in thescarlet of the tongues of fire.
The imagery through which the nature and kinship of the Three Personsof the Trinity were darkly shadowed forth in the books of devotionwhich he read—the Father contemplating from all eternity as in amirror His Divine Perfections and thereby begetting eternally theEternal Son and the Holy Spirit proceeding out of Father and Son fromall eternity—were easier of acceptance by his mind by reason of theiraugust incomprehensibility than was the simple fact that God had lovedhis soul from all eternity, for ages before he had been born into theworld, for ages before the world itself had existed.
He had heard the names of the passions of love and hate pronouncedsolemnly on the stage and in the pulpit, had found them set forthsolemnly in books and had wondered why his soul was unable to harbourthem for any time or to force his lips to utter their names withconviction. A brief anger had often invested him but he had never beenable to make it an abiding passion and had always felt himself passingout of it as if his very body were being divested with ease of someouter skin or peel. He had felt a subtle, dark, and murmurous presencepenetrate his being and fire him with a brief iniquitous lust: it, too,had slipped beyond his grasp leaving his mind lucid and indifferent.This, it seemed, was the only love and that the only hate his soulwould harbour.
But he could no longer disbelieve in the reality of love, since Godhimself had loved his individual soul with divine love from alleternity. Gradually, as his soul was enriched with spiritual knowledge,he saw the whole world forming one vast symmetrical expression of God’spower and love. Life became a divine gift for every moment andsensation of which, were it even the sight of a single leaf hanging onthe twig of a tree, his soul should praise and thank the Giver. Theworld for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed forhis soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality.So entire and unquestionable was this sense of the divine meaning inall nature granted to his soul that he could scarcely understand why itwas in any way necessary that he should continue to live. Yet that waspart of the divine purpose and he dared not question its use, he aboveall others who had sinned so deeply and so foully against the divinepurpose. Meek and abased by this consciousness of the one eternalomnipresent perfect reality his soul took up again her burden ofpieties, masses and prayers and sacraments and mortifications, and onlythen for the first time since he had brooded on the great mystery oflove did he feel within him a warm movement like that of some newlyborn life or virtue of the soul itself. The attitude of rapture insacred art, the raised and parted hands, the parted lips and eyes as ofone about to swoon, became for him an image of the soul in prayer,humiliated and faint before her Creator.
But he had been forewarned of the dangers of spiritual exaltation anddid not allow himself to desist from even the least or lowliestdevotion, striving also by constant mortification to undo the sinfulpast rather than to achieve a saintliness fraught with peril. Each ofhis senses was brought under a rigorous discipline. In order to mortifythe sense of sight he made it his rule to walk in the street withdowncast eyes, glancing neither to right nor left and never behind him.His eyes shunned every encounter with the eyes of women. From time totime also he balked them by a sudden effort of the will, as by liftingthem suddenly in the middle of an unfinished sentence and closing thebook. To mortify his hearing he exerted no control over his voice whichwas then breaking, neither sang nor whistled, and made no attempt toflee from noises which caused him painful nervous irritation such asthe sharpening of knives on the knifeboard, the gathering of cinderson the fireshovel and the twigging of the carpet. To mortify his smellwas more difficult as he found in himself no instinctive repugnance tobad odours whether they were the odours of the outdoor world, such asthose of dung or tar, or the odours of his own person among which hehad made many curious comparisons and experiments. He found in the endthat the only odour against which his sense of smell revolted was acertain stale fishy stink like that of longstanding urine; andwhenever it was possible he subjected himself to this unpleasant odour.To mortify the taste he practised strict habits at table, observed tothe letter all the fasts of the church and sought by distraction todivert his mind from the savours of different foods. But it was to themortification of touch he brought the most assiduous ingenuity ofinventiveness. He never consciously changed his position in bed, sat inthe most uncomfortable positions, suffered patiently every itch andpain, kept away from the fire, remained on his knees all through themass except at the gospels, left part of his neck and face undried sothat air might sting them and, whenever he was not saying his beads,carried his arms stiffly at his sides like a runner and never in hispockets or clasped behind him.
He had no temptations to sin mortally. It surprised him however to findthat at the end of his course of intricate piety and selfrestraint hewas so easily at the mercy of childish and unworthy imperfections. Hisprayers and fasts availed him little for the suppression of anger athearing his mother sneeze or at being disturbed in his devotions. Itneeded an immense effort of his will to master the impulse which urgedhim to give outlet to such irritation. Images of the outbursts oftrivial anger which he had often noted among his masters, theirtwitching mouths, closeshut lips and flushed cheeks, recurred to hismemory, discouraging him, for all his practice of humility, by thecomparison. To merge his life in the common tide of other lives washarder for him than any fasting or prayer and it was his constantfailure to do this to his own satisfaction which caused in his soul atlast a sensation of spiritual dryness together with a growth of doubtsand scruples. His soul traversed a period of desolation in which thesacraments themselves seemed to have turned into dried up sources. Hisconfession became a channel for the escape of scrupulous and unrepentedimperfections. His actual reception of the eucharist did not bring himthe same dissolving moments of virginal self-surrender as did thosespiritual communions made by him sometimes at the close of some visitto the Blessed Sacrament. The book which he used for these visits wasan old neglected book written by saint Alphonsus Liguori, with fadingcharacters and sere foxpapered leaves. A faded world of fervent loveand virginal responses seemed to be evoked for his soul by the readingof its pages in which the imagery of the canticles was interwoven withthe communicant’s prayers. An inaudible voice seemed to caress thesoul, telling her names and glories, bidding her arise as for espousaland come away, bidding her look forth, a spouse, from Amana and fromthe mountains of the leopards; and the soul seemed to answer with thesame inaudible voice, surrendering herself: Inter ubera meacommorabitur.
This idea of surrender had a perilous attraction for his mind now thathe felt his soul beset once again by the insistent voices of the fleshwhich began to murmur to him again during his prayers and meditations.It gave him an intense sense of power to know that he could, by asingle act of consent, in a moment of thought, undo all that he haddone. He seemed to feel a flood slowly advancing towards his naked feetand to be waiting for the first faint timid noiseless wavelet to touchhis fevered skin. Then, almost at the instant of that touch, almost atthe verge of sinful consent, he found himself standing far away fromthe flood upon a dry shore, saved by a sudden act of the will or asudden ejaculation; and, seeing the silver line of the flood far awayand beginning again its slow advance towards his feet, a new thrill ofpower and satisfaction shook his soul to know that he had not yieldednor undone all.
When he had eluded the flood of temptation many times in this way hegrew troubled and wondered whether the grace which he had refused tolose was not being filched from him little by little. The clearcertitude of his own immunity grew dim and to it succeeded a vague fearthat his soul had really fallen unawares. It was with difficulty thathe won back his old consciousness of his state of grace by tellinghimself that he had prayed to God at every temptation and that thegrace which he had prayed for must have been given to him inasmuch asGod was obliged to give it. The very frequency and violence oftemptations showed him at last the truth of what he had heard about thetrials of the saints. Frequent and violent temptations were a proofthat the citadel of the soul had not fallen and that the devil raged tomake it fall.
Often when he had confessed his doubts and scruples, some momentaryinattention at prayer, a movement of trivial anger in his soul, or asubtle wilfulness in speech or act, he was bidden by his confessor toname some sin of his past life before absolution was given him. Henamed it with humility and shame and repented of it once more. Ithumiliated and shamed him to think that he would never be freed from itwholly, however holily he might live or whatever virtues or perfectionshe might attain. A restless feeling of guilt would always be presentwith him: he would confess and repent and be absolved, confess andrepent again and be absolved again, fruitlessly. Perhaps that firsthasty confession wrung from him by the fear of hell had not been good?Perhaps, concerned only for his imminent doom, he had not had sinceresorrow for his sin? But the surest sign that his confession had beengood and that he had had sincere sorrow for his sin was, he knew, theamendment of his life.
—I have amended my life, have I not? he asked himself.
The director stood in the embrasure of the window, his back to thelight, leaning an elbow on the brown crossblind, and, as he spoke andsmiled, slowly dangling and looping the cord of the other blind,Stephen stood before him, following for a moment with his eyes thewaning of the long summer daylight above the roofs or the slow deftmovements of the priestly fingers. The priest’s face was in totalshadow, but the waning daylight from behind him touched the deeplygrooved temples and the curves of the skull. Stephen followed also withhis ears the accents and intervals of the priest’s voice as he spokegravely and cordially of indifferent themes, the vacation which had justended, the colleges of the order abroad, the transference of masters.The grave and cordial voice went on easily with its tale and in the pausesStephen felt bound to set it on again with respectful questions. He knewthat the tale was a prelude and his mind waited for the sequel. Eversince the message of summons had come for him from the director his mindhad struggled to find the meaning of the message; and, during the longrestless time he had sat in the college parlour waiting for the directorto come in, his eyes had wandered from one sober picture to another aroundthe walls and his mind wandered from one guess to another until the meaningof the summons had almost become clear. Then, just as he was wishing thatsome unforeseen cause might prevent the director from coming, he had heardthe handle of the door turning and the swish of a soutane.
The director had begun to speak of the Dominican and Franciscan ordersand of the friendship between saint Thomas and saint Bonaventure. TheCapuchin dress, he thought, was rather too....
Stephen’s face gave back the priest’s indulgent smile and, not beinganxious to give an opinion, he made a slight dubitative movement withhis lips.
—I believe, continued the director, that there is some talk now amongthe Capuchins themselves of doing away with it and following theexample of the other Franciscans.
—I suppose they would retain it in the cloisters? said Stephen.
—O certainly, said the director. For the cloister it is all right butfor the street I really think it would be better to do away with it,don’t you?
—It must be troublesome, I imagine.
—Of course it is, of course. Just imagine when I was in Belgium Iused to see them out cycling in all kinds of weather with this thing upabout their knees! It was really ridiculous. Les jupes, they call themin Belgium.
The vowel was so modified as to be indistinct.
—What do they call them?
Stephen smiled again in answer to the smile which he could not see onthe priest’s shadowed face, its image or spectre only passing rapidlyacross his mind as the low discreet accent fell upon his ear. He gazedcalmly before him at the waning sky, glad of the cool of the eveningand of the faint yellow glow which hid the tiny flame kindling upon hischeek.
The names of articles of dress worn by women or of certain soft anddelicate stuffs used in their making brought always to his mind adelicate and sinful perfume. As a boy he had imagined the reins bywhich horses are driven as slender silken bands and it shocked him tofeel at Stradbrooke the greasy leather of harness. It had shocked him,too, when he had felt for the first time beneath his tremulous fingersthe brittle texture of a woman’s stocking for, retaining nothing of allhe read save that which seemed to him an echo or a prophecy of his ownstate, it was only amid softworded phrases or within rosesoft stuffsthat he dared to conceive of the soul or body of a woman moving withtender life.
But the phrase on the priest’s lips was disingenuous for he knew that apriest should not speak lightly on that theme. The phrase had beenspoken lightly with design and he felt that his face was being searchedby the eyes in the shadow. Whatever he had heard or read of the craftof jesuits he had put aside frankly as not borne out by his ownexperience. His masters, even when they had not attracted him,had seemed to him always intelligent and serious priests,athletic and high-spirited prefects. He thought of them as menwho washed their bodies briskly with cold water and wore clean coldlinen. During all the years he had lived among them in Clongowes and inBelvedere he had received only two pandies and, though these had beendealt him in the wrong, he knew that he had often escaped punishment.During all those years he had never heard from any of his masters aflippant word: it was they who had taught him christian doctrine andurged him to live a good life and, when he had fallen into grievoussin, it was they who had led him back to grace. Their presence had madehim diffident of himself when he was a muff in Clongowes and it had madehim diffident of himself also while he had held his equivocal positionin Belvedere. A constant sense of this had remained with him up to thelast year of his school life. He had never once disobeyed or allowedturbulent companions to seduce him from his habit of quiet obedience;and, even when he doubted some statement of a master, he had neverpresumed to doubt openly. Lately some of their judgements had sounded alittle childish in his ears and had made him feel a regret and pity asthough he were slowly passing out of an accustomed world and werehearing its language for the last time. One day when some boys hadgathered round a priest under the shed near the chapel, he had heardthe priest say:
—I believe that Lord Macaulay was a man who probably never committeda mortal sin in his life, that is to say, a deliberate mortal sin.
Some of the boys had then asked the priest if Victor Hugo were not thegreatest French writer. The priest had answered that Victor Hugo hadnever written half so well when he had turned against the church as hehad written when he was a catholic.
—But there are many eminent French critics, said the priest, whoconsider that even Victor Hugo, great as he certainly was, had not sopure a French style as Louis Veuillot.
The tiny flame which the priest’s allusion had kindled upon Stephen’scheek had sunk down again and his eyes were still fixed calmly on thecolourless sky. But an unresting doubt flew hither and thither beforehis mind. Masked memories passed quickly before him: he recognisedscenes and persons yet he was conscious that he had failed to perceivesome vital circumstance in them. He saw himself walking about thegrounds watching the sports in Clongowes and eating slim jim out of hiscricketcap. Some jesuits were walking round the cycle-track in thecompany of ladies. The echoes of certain expressions used in Clongowessounded in remote caves of his mind.
His ears were listening to these distant echoes amid the silence of theparlour when he became aware that the priest was addressing him in adifferent voice.
—I sent for you today, Stephen, because I wished to speak to you on avery important subject.
—Have you ever felt that you had a vocation?
Stephen parted his lips to answer yes and then withheld the wordsuddenly. The priest waited for the answer and added:
—I mean, have you ever felt within yourself, in your soul, a desireto join the order? Think.
—I have sometimes thought of it, said Stephen.
The priest let the blindcord fall to one side and, uniting his hands,leaned his chin gravely upon them, communing with himself.
—In a college like this, he said at length, there is one boy or perhapstwo or three boys whom God calls to the religious life. Such a boy ismarked off from his companions by his piety, by the good example heshows to others. He is looked up to by them; he is chosen perhaps asprefect by his fellow sodalists. And you, Stephen, have been such a boyin this college, prefect of Our Blessed Lady’s sodality. Perhaps youare the boy in this college whom God designs to call to Himself.
A strong note of pride reinforcing the gravity of the priest’s voicemade Stephen’s heart quicken in response.
To receive that call, Stephen, said the priest, is the greatest honourthat the Almighty God can bestow upon a man. No king or emperor on thisearth has the power of the priest of God. No angel or archangel inheaven, no saint, not even the Blessed Virgin herself, has the power ofa priest of God: the power of the keys, the power to bind and to loosefrom sin, the power of exorcism, the power to cast out from thecreatures of God the evil spirits that have power over them; the power,the authority, to make the great God of Heaven come down upon the altarand take the form of bread and wine. What an awful power, Stephen!
A flame began to flutter again on Stephen’s cheek as he heard in thisproud address an echo of his own proud musings. How often had he seenhimself as a priest wielding calmly and humbly the awful powerof which angels and saints stood in reverence! His soul had lovedto muse in secret on this desire. He had seen himself, a youngand silentmannered priest, entering a confessional swiftly,ascending the altarsteps, incensing, genuflecting, accomplishingthe vague acts of the priesthood which pleased him by reason oftheir semblance of reality and of their distance from it. In thatdim life which he had lived through in his musings he hadassumed the voices and gestures which he had noted with variouspriests. He had bent his knee sideways like such a one, he hadshaken the thurible only slightly like such a one, his chasuble hadswung open like that of such another as he turned to the altar againafter having blessed the people. And above all it had pleased him tofill the second place in those dim scenes of his imagining. He shrankfrom the dignity of celebrant because it displeased him to imagine thatall the vague pomp should end in his own person or that the ritualshould assign to him so clear and final an office. He longed for theminor sacred offices, to be vested with the tunicle of subdeacon athigh mass, to stand aloof from the altar, forgotten by the people, hisshoulders covered with a humeral veil, holding the paten within itsfolds or, when the sacrifice had been accomplished, to stand as deaconin a dalmatic of cloth of gold on the step below the celebrant, hishands joined and his face towards the people, and sing the chant, Itemissa est. If ever he had seen himself celebrant it was as in thepictures of the mass in his child’s massbook, in a church withoutworshippers, save for the angel of the sacrifice, at a bare altar, andserved by an acolyte scarcely more boyish than himself. In vaguesacrificial or sacramental acts alone his will seemed drawn to go forthto encounter reality; and it was partly the absence of an appointedrite which had always constrained him to inaction whether he hadallowed silence to cover his anger or pride or had suffered only anembrace he longed to give.
He listened in reverent silence now to the priest’s appeal and throughthe words he heard even more distinctly a voice bidding him approach,offering him secret knowledge and secret power. He would know then whatwas the sin of Simon Magus and what the sin against the Holy Ghost forwhich there was no forgiveness. He would know obscure things, hiddenfrom others, from those who were conceived and born children of wrath.He would know the sins, the sinful longings and sinful thoughts andsinful acts, of others, hearing them murmured into his ears in theconfessional under the shame of a darkened chapel by the lips of womenand of girls; but rendered immune mysteriously at his ordination by theimposition of hands, his soul would pass again uncontaminated to thewhite peace of the altar. No touch of sin would linger upon the handswith which he would elevate and break the host; no touch of sin wouldlinger on his lips in prayer to make him eat and drink damnation tohimself not discerning the body of the Lord. He would hold his secretknowledge and secret power, being as sinless as the innocent, and hewould be a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec.
—I will offer up my mass tomorrow morning, said the director, thatAlmighty God may reveal to you His holy will. And let you, Stephen,make a novena to your holy patron saint, the first martyr, who is verypowerful with God, that God may enlighten your mind. But you must bequite sure, Stephen, that you have a vocation because it would beterrible if you found afterwards that you had none. Once a priestalways a priest, remember. Your catechism tells you that the sacramentof Holy Orders is one of those which can be received only once becauseit imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark which can never beeffaced. It is before you must weigh well, not after. It is a solemnquestion, Stephen, because on it may depend the salvation of youreternal soul. But we will pray to God together.
He held open the heavy hall door and gave his hand as if already to acompanion in the spiritual life. Stephen passed out on to the wideplatform above the steps and was conscious of the caress of mildevening air. Towards Findlater’s church a quartet of young men werestriding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping tothe agile melody of their leader’s concertina. The music passed in aninstant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over thefantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly andnoiselessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sandbuilt turrets ofchildren. Smiling at the trivial air he raised his eyes to the priest’sface and, seeing in it a mirthless reflection of the sunken day,detached his hand slowly which had acquiesced faintly in thatcompanionship.
As he descended the steps the impression which effaced his troubledselfcommunion was that of a mirthless mask reflecting a sunken dayfrom the threshold of the college. The shadow, then, of the life of thecollege passed gravely over his consciousness. It was a grave andordered and passionless life that awaited him, a life without materialcares. He wondered how he would pass the first night in the novitiateand with what dismay he would wake the first morning in the dormitory.The troubling odour of the long corridors of Clongowes came back to himand he heard the discreet murmur of the burning gasflames. At once fromevery part of his being unrest began to irradiate. A feverishquickening of his pulses followed, and a din of meaningless words drovehis reasoned thoughts hither and thither confusedly. His lungs dilatedand sank as if he were inhaling a warm moist unsustaining air and hesmelt again the moist warm air which hung in the bath in Clongowesabove the sluggish turfcoloured water.
Some instinct, waking at these memories, stronger than education orpiety, quickened within him at every near approach to that life, aninstinct subtle and hostile, and armed him against acquiescence. Thechill and order of the life repelled him. He saw himself rising in thecold of the morning and filing down with the others to early mass andtrying vainly to struggle with his prayers against the faintingsickness of his stomach. He saw himself sitting at dinner with thecommunity of a college. What, then, had become of that deeprootedshyness of his which had made him loth to eat or drink under a strangeroof? What had come of the pride of his spirit which had always madehim conceive himself as a being apart in every order?
The Reverend Stephen Dedalus, S. J.
His name in that new life leaped into characters before his eyes and toit there followed a mental sensation of an undefined face or colour ofa face. The colour faded and became strong like a changing glow ofpallid brick red. Was it the raw reddish glow he had so often seen onwintry mornings on the shaven gills of the priests? The face waseyeless and sourfavoured and devout, shot with pink tinges ofsuffocated anger. Was it not a mental spectre of the face of one of thejesuits whom some of the boys called Lantern Jaws and others FoxyCampbell?
He was passing at that moment before the jesuit house in GardinerStreet, and wondered vaguely which window would be his if he ever joinedthe order. Then he wondered at the vagueness of his wonder, at theremoteness of his own soul from what he had hitherto imagined hersanctuary, at the frail hold which so many years of order and obediencehad of him when once a definite and irrevocable act of his threatenedto end for ever, in time and in eternity, his freedom. The voice of thedirector urging upon him the proud claims of the church and the mysteryand power of the priestly office repeated itself idly in his memory.His soul was not there to hear and greet it and he knew now that theexhortation he had listened to had already fallen into an idle formaltale. He would never swing the thurible before the tabernacle as priest.His destiny was to be elusive of social or religious orders. The wisdom ofthe priest’s appeal did not touch him to the quick. He was destined tolearn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of othershimself wandering among the snares of the world.
The snares of the world were its ways of sin. He would fall. He had notyet fallen but he would fall silently, in an instant. Not to fall wastoo hard, too hard; and he felt the silent lapse of his soul, as itwould be at some instant to come, falling, falling, but not yet fallen,still unfallen, but about to fall.
He crossed the bridge over the stream of the Tolka and turned his eyescoldly for an instant towards the faded blue shrine of the BlessedVirgin which stood fowl-wise on a pole in the middle of a hamshapedencampment of poor cottages. Then, bending to the left, he followed thelane which led up to his house. The faint sour stink of rotted cabbagescame towards him from the kitchen gardens on the rising ground abovethe river. He smiled to think that it was this disorder, the misruleand confusion of his father’s house and the stagnation of vegetablelife, which was to win the day in his soul. Then a short laugh brokefrom his lips as he thought of that solitary farmhand in the kitchengardens behind their house whom they had nicknamed the man with thehat. A second laugh, taking rise from the first after a pause, brokefrom him involuntarily as he thought of how the man with the hatworked, considering in turn the four points of the sky and thenregretfully plunging his spade in the earth.
He pushed open the latchless door of the porch and passed through thenaked hallway into the kitchen. A group of his brothers and sisters wassitting round the table. Tea was nearly over and only the last of thesecond watered tea remained in the bottoms of the small glass jars andjampots which did service for teacups. Discarded crusts and lumps ofsugared bread, turned brown by the tea which had been poured over them,lay scattered on the table. Little wells of tea lay here and there onthe board, and a knife with a broken ivory handle was stuck through thepith of a ravaged turnover.
The sad quiet greyblue glow of the dying day came through the windowand the open door, covering over and allaying quietly a sudden instinctof remorse in Stephen’s heart. All that had been denied them had beenfreely given to him, the eldest; but the quiet glow of evening showedhim in their faces no sign of rancour.
He sat near them at the table and asked where his father and motherwere. One answered:
—Goneboro toboro lookboro atboro aboro houseboro.
Still another removal! A boy named Fallon, in Belvedere, had often askedhim with a silly laugh why they moved so often. A frown of scorndarkened quickly his forehead as he heard again the silly laugh of thequestioner.
—Why are we on the move again if it’s a fair question?
—Becauseboro theboro landboro lordboro willboro putboro usboro outboro.
The voice of his youngest brother from the farther side of thefireplace began to sing the air Oft in the Stilly Night. One byone the others took up the air until a full choir of voices was singing.They would sing so for hours, melody after melody, glee after glee, tillthe last pale light died down on the horizon, till the first darknightclouds came forth and night fell.
He waited for some moments, listening, before he too took up the airwith them. He was listening with pain of spirit to the overtone ofweariness behind their frail fresh innocent voices. Even before theyset out on life’s journey they seemed weary already of the way.
He heard the choir of voices in the kitchen echoed and multipliedthrough an endless reverberation of the choirs of endless generationsof children and heard in all the echoes an echo also of the recurringnote of weariness and pain. All seemed weary of life even beforeentering upon it. And he remembered that Newman had heard this notealso in the broken lines of Virgil, “giving utterance, like the voice ofNature herself, to that pain and weariness yet hope of better thingswhich has been the experience of her children in every time.”
He could wait no longer.
From the door of Byron’s public-house to the gate of Clontarf Chapel,from the gate of Clontarf Chapel to the door of Byron’s public-houseand then back again to the chapel and then back again to the public-househe had paced slowly at first, planting his steps scrupulously inthe spaces of the patchwork of the footpath, then timing their fall tothe fall of verses. A full hour had passed since his father had gone inwith Dan Crosby, the tutor, to find out for him something about theuniversity. For a full hour he had paced up and down, waiting: but hecould wait no longer.
He set off abruptly for the Bull, walking rapidly lest his father’sshrill whistle might call him back; and in a few moments he had roundedthe curve at the police barrack and was safe.
Yes, his mother was hostile to the idea, as he had read from herlistless silence. Yet her mistrust pricked him more keenly than hisfather’s pride and he thought coldly how he had watched the faith whichwas fading down in his soul ageing and strengthening in her eyes. A dimantagonism gathered force within him and darkened his mind as a cloudagainst her disloyalty and when it passed, cloudlike, leaving his mindserene and dutiful towards her again, he was made aware dimly andwithout regret of a first noiseless sundering of their lives.
The university! So he had passed beyond the challenge of the sentrieswho had stood as guardians of his boyhood and had sought to keep himamong them that he might be subject to them and serve their ends. Prideafter satisfaction uplifted him like long slow waves. The end he hadbeen born to serve yet did not see had led him to escape by an unseenpath and now it beckoned to him once more and a new adventure was aboutto be opened to him. It seemed to him that he heard notes of fitfulmusic leaping upwards a tone and downwards a diminished fourth, upwardsa tone and downwards a major third, like triple-branching flamesleaping fitfully, flame after flame, out of a midnight wood. It was anelfin prelude, endless and formless; and, as it grew wilder and faster,the flames leaping out of time, he seemed to hear from under the boughsand grasses wild creatures racing, their feet pattering like rain uponthe leaves. Their feet passed in pattering tumult over his mind, thefeet of hares and rabbits, the feet of harts and hinds and antelopes,until he heard them no more and remembered only a proud cadence fromNewman:
—Whose feet are as the feet of harts and underneath the everlasting arms.
The pride of that dim image brought back to his mind the dignity of theoffice he had refused. All through his boyhood he had mused upon thatwhich he had so often thought to be his destiny and when the moment hadcome for him to obey the call he had turned aside, obeying a waywardinstinct. Now time lay between: the oils of ordination would neveranoint his body. He had refused. Why?
He turned seaward from the road at Dollymount and as he passed on tothe thin wooden bridge he felt the planks shaking with the tramp ofheavily shod feet. A squad of Christian Brothers was on its way backfrom the Bull and had begun to pass, two by two, across the bridge.Soon the whole bridge was trembling and resounding. The uncouth facespassed him two by two, stained yellow or red or livid by the sea, and,as he strove to look at them with ease and indifference, a faint stainof personal shame and commiseration rose to his own face. Angry withhimself he tried to hide his face from their eyes by gazing downsideways into the shallow swirling water under the bridge but he stillsaw a reflection therein of their topheavy silk hats and humbletapelike collars and loosely hanging clerical clothes.
Their piety would be like their names, like their faces, like theirclothes, and it was idle for him to tell himself that their humble andcontrite hearts, it might be, paid a far richer tribute of devotionthan his had ever been, a gift tenfold more acceptable than hiselaborate adoration. It was idle for him to move himself to be generoustowards them, to tell himself that if he ever came to their gates,stripped of his pride, beaten and in beggar’s weeds, that they would begenerous towards him, loving him as themselves. Idle and embittering,finally, to argue, against his own dispassionate certitude, that thecommandment of love bade us not to love our neighbour as ourselves withthe same amount and intensity of love but to love him as ourselves withthe same kind of love.
He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly tohimself:
—A day of dappled seaborne clouds.
The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Wasit their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue:sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves,the greyfringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it wasthe poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love therhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations oflegend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shyof mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowingsensible world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richlystoried than from the contemplation of an inner world of individualemotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?
He passed from the trembling bridge on to firm land again. At thatinstant, as it seemed to him, the air was chilled and, looking askancetowards the water, he saw a flying squall darkening and crispingsuddenly the tide. A faint click at his heart, a faint throb in histhroat told him once more of how his flesh dreaded the cold infrahumanodour of the sea; yet he did not strike across the downs on his leftbut held straight on along the spine of rocks that pointed against theriver’s mouth.
A veiled sunlight lit up faintly the grey sheet of water where theriver was embayed. In the distance along the course of the slowflowingLiffey slender masts flecked the sky and, more distant still, the dimfabric of the city lay prone in haze. Like a scene on some vague arras,old as man’s weariness, the image of the seventh city of christendomwas visible to him across the timeless air, no older nor more weary norless patient of subjection than in the days of the thingmote.
Disheartened, he raised his eyes towards the slowdrifting clouds,dappled and seaborne. They were voyaging across the deserts of the sky,a host of nomads on the march, voyaging high over Ireland, westwardbound. The Europe they had come from lay out there beyond the IrishSea, Europe of strange tongues and valleyed and woodbegirt andcitadelled and of entrenched and marshalled races. He heard a confusedmusic within him as of memories and names which he was almost consciousof but could not capture even for an instant; then the music seemed torecede, to recede, to recede, and from each receding trail of nebulousmusic there fell always one longdrawn calling note, piercing like astar the dusk of silence. Again! Again! Again! A voice from beyond theworld was calling.
—Here comes The Dedalus!
—Ao!... Eh, give it over, Dwyer, I’m telling you, or I’llgive you a stuff in the kisser for yourself.... Ao!
—Good man, Towser! Duck him!
—Come along, Dedalus! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephaneforos!
—Duck him! Guzzle him now, Towser!
—Help! Help!... Ao!
He recognised their speech collectively before he distinguished theirfaces. The mere sight of that medley of wet nakedness chilled him tothe bone. Their bodies, corpsewhite or suffused with a pallid goldenlight or rawly tanned by the sun, gleamed with the wet of the sea.Their divingstone, poised on its rude supports and rocking under theirplunges, and the rough-hewn stones of the sloping breakwater over whichthey scrambled in their horseplay gleamed with cold wet lustre. Thetowels with which they smacked their bodies were heavy with coldseawater; and drenched with cold brine was their matted hair.
He stood still in deference to their calls and parried their banterwith easy words. How characterless they looked: Shuley without his deepunbuttoned collar, Ennis without his scarlet belt with the snaky clasp,and Connolly without his Norfolk coat with the flapless sidepockets!It was a pain to see them, and a swordlike pain to see the signs ofadolescence that made repellent their pitiable nakedness. Perhaps theyhad taken refuge in number and noise from the secret dread in theirsouls. But he, apart from them and in silence, remembered in what dreadhe stood of the mystery of his own body.
—Stephanos Dedalos! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephaneforos!
Their banter was not new to him and now it flattered his mild proudsovereignty. Now, as never before, his strange name seemed to him aprophecy. So timeless seemed the grey warm air, so fluid and impersonalhis own mood, that all ages were as one to him. A moment before theghost of the ancient kingdom of the Danes had looked forth through thevesture of the hazewrapped city. Now, at the name of the fabulousartificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a wingedform flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did itmean? Was it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book ofprophecies and symbols, a hawklike man flying sunward above the sea, aprophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been followingthrough the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artistforging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth anew soaring impalpable imperishable being?
His heart trembled; his breath came faster and a wild spirit passedover his limbs as though he was soaring sunward. His heart trembled inan ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight. His soul was soaring inan air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified in a breathand delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with theelement of the spirit. An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes andwild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs.
—One! Two!... Look out!
—O, Cripes, I’m drownded!
—One! Two! Three and away!
—The next! The next!
His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagleon high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This wasthe call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world ofduties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to thepale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered himand the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain.
What were they now but cerements shaken from the body of death—thefear he had walked in night and day, the incertitude that had ringedhim round, the shame that had abased him within and without—cerements,the linens of the grave?
His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning hergraveclothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of thefreedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name hebore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable,imperishable.
He started up nervously from the stoneblock for he could no longerquench the flame in his blood. He felt his cheeks aflame and his throatthrobbing with song. There was a lust of wandering in his feet thatburned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart seemedto cry. Evening would deepen above the sea, night fall upon the plains,dawn glimmer before the wanderer and show him strange fields and hillsand faces. Where?
He looked northward towards Howth. The sea had fallen below the line ofseawrack on the shallow side of the breakwater and already the tide wasrunning out fast along the foreshore. Already one long oval bank ofsand lay warm and dry amid the wavelets. Here and there warm isles ofsand gleamed above the shallow tide and about the isles and around thelong bank and amid the shallow currents of the beach were lightcladfigures, wading and delving.
In a few moments he was barefoot, his stockings folded in his pocketsand his canvas shoes dangling by their knotted laces over his shouldersand, picking a pointed salteaten stick out of the jetsam among therocks, he clambered down the slope of the breakwater.
There was a long rivulet in the strand and, as he waded slowly up itscourse, he wondered at the endless drift of seaweed. Emerald and blackand russet and olive, it moved beneath the current, swaying andturning. The water of the rivulet was dark with endless drift andmirrored the highdrifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above himsilently and silently the seatangle was drifting below him and the greywarm air was still and a new wild life was singing in his veins.
Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung back fromher destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds and in herhouse of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cerements and inwreaths that withered at the touch? Or where was he?
He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart oflife. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid awaste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells andtangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures ofchildren and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.
A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out tosea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of astrange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicateas a crane’s and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed hadfashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller andsofthued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the whitefringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Herslateblue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailedbehind her. Her bosom was as a bird’s, soft and slight, slight and softas the breast of some darkplumaged dove. But her long fair hair wasgirlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, herface.
She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt hispresence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quietsufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long shesuffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bentthem towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hitherand thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke thesilence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep;hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled onher cheek.
—Heavenly God! cried Stephen’s soul, in an outburst of profane joy.
He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. Hischeeks were aflame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. Onand on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildlyto the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him.
Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken theholy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul hadleaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreatelife out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortalyouth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw openbefore him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of errorand glory. On and on and on and on!
He halted suddenly and heard his heart in the silence. How far had hewalked? What hour was it?
There was no human figure near him nor any sound borne to him over theair. But the tide was near the turn and already the day was on thewane. He turned landward and ran towards the shore and, running up thesloping beach, reckless of the sharp shingle, found a sandy nook amid aring of tufted sandknolls and lay down there that the peace and silenceof the evening might still the riot of his blood.
He felt above him the vast indifferent dome and the calm processes ofthe heavenly bodies; and the earth beneath him, the earth that hadborne him, had taken him to her breast.
He closed his eyes in the languor of sleep. His eyelids trembled as ifthey felt the vast cyclic movement of the earth and her watchers,trembled as if they felt the strange light of some new world. His soulwas swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as undersea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings. A world, a glimmer or aflower? Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breakinglight, an opening flower, it spread in endless succession to itself,breaking in full crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leafby leaf and wave of light by wave of light, flooding all the heavenswith its soft flushes, every flush deeper than the other.
Evening had fallen when he woke and the sand and arid grasses of hisbed glowed no longer. He rose slowly and, recalling the rapture of hissleep, sighed at its joy.
He climbed to the crest of the sandhill and gazed about him. Eveninghad fallen. A rim of the young moon cleft the pale waste of skyline,the rim of a silver hoop embedded in grey sand; and the tide wasflowing in fast to the land with a low whisper of her waves, islandinga few last figures in distant pools.
He drained his third cup of watery tea to the dregs and set to chewingthe crusts of fried bread that were scattered near him, staring intothe dark pool of the jar. The yellow dripping had been scooped out likea boghole and the pool under it brought back to his memory the darkturfcoloured water of the bath in Clongowes. The box of pawn ticketsat his elbow had just been rifled and he took up idly one after anotherin his greasy fingers the blue and white dockets, scrawled and sandedand creased and bearing the name of the pledger as Daly or MacEvoy.
1 Pair Buskins.
1 D. Coat.
3 Articles and White.
1 Man’s Pants.
Then he put them aside and gazed thoughtfully at the lid of the box,speckled with louse marks, and asked vaguely:
—How much is the clock fast now?
His mother straightened the battered alarm clock that was lying on itsside in the middle of the mantelpiece until its dial showed a quarterto twelve and then laid it once more on its side.
—An hour and twenty-five minutes, she said. The right time now istwenty past ten. The dear knows you might try to be in time for yourlectures.
—Fill out the place for me to wash, said Stephen.
—Katey, fill out the place for Stephen to wash.
—Boody, fill out the place for Stephen to wash.
—I can’t, I’m going for blue. Fill it out, you, Maggy.
When the enamelled basin had been fitted into the well of the sink andthe old washing glove flung on the side of it he allowed his mother toscrub his neck and root into the folds of his ears and into theinterstices at the wings of his nose.
—Well, it’s a poor case, she said, when a university student is sodirty that his mother has to wash him.
—But it gives you pleasure, said Stephen calmly.
An ear-splitting whistle was heard from upstairs and his mother thrusta damp overall into his hands, saying:
—Dry yourself and hurry out for the love of goodness.
A second shrill whistle, prolonged angrily, brought one of the girls tothe foot of the staircase.
—Is your lazy bitch of a brother gone out yet?
The girl came back, making signs to him to be quick and go out quietlyby the back. Stephen laughed and said:
—He has a curious idea of genders if he thinks a bitch is masculine.
—Ah, it’s a scandalous shame for you, Stephen, said his mother, andyou’ll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know howit has changed you.
—Good morning, everybody, said Stephen, smiling and kissing the tipsof his fingers in adieu.
The lane behind the terrace was waterlogged and as he went down itslowly, choosing his steps amid heaps of wet rubbish, he heard a madnun screeching in the nuns’ madhouse beyond the wall.
—Jesus! O Jesus! Jesus!
He shook the sound out of his ears by an angry toss of his head andhurried on, stumbling through the mouldering offal, his heart alreadybitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness. His father’s whistle, hismother’s mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now somany voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his youth.He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration; but, ashe walked down the avenue and felt the grey morning light falling abouthim through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild smell of thewet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries.
The rainladen trees of the avenue evoked in him, as always, memoriesof the girls and women in the plays of Gerhart Hauptmann; and thememory of their pale sorrows and the fragrance falling from the wetbranches mingled in a mood of quiet joy. His morning walk across thecity had begun, and he foreknew that as he passed the sloblands ofFairview he would think of the cloistral silverveined prose of Newman;that as he walked along the North Strand Road, glancing idly at thewindows of the provision shops, he would recall the dark humour ofGuido Cavalcanti and smile; that as he went by Baird’s stonecuttingworks in Talbot Place the spirit of Ibsen would blow through him like akeen wind, a spirit of wayward boyish beauty; and that passing a grimymarine dealer’s shop beyond the Liffey he would repeat the song by BenJonson which begins:
I was not wearier where I lay.
His mind when wearied of its search for the essence of beauty amid thespectral words of Aristotle or Aquinas turned often for its pleasure tothe dainty songs of the Elizabethans. His mind, in the vesture of adoubting monk, stood often in shadow under the windows of that age, tohear the grave and mocking music of the lutenists or the frank laughterof waistcoateers until a laugh too low, a phrase, tarnished by time,of chambering and false honour stung his monkish pride and drove him onfrom his lurking-place.
The lore which he was believed to pass his days brooding upon so thatit had rapt him from the companionship of youth was only a garner ofslender sentences from Aristotle’s poetics and psychology and aSynopsis Philosophiæ Scholasticæ ad mentem divi Thomæ. His thinkingwas a dusk of doubt and selfmistrust, lit up at moments by thelightnings of intuition, but lightnings of so clear a splendour that inthose moments the world perished about his feet as if it had beenfireconsumed; and thereafter his tongue grew heavy and he met the eyesof others with unanswering eyes, for he felt that the spirit of beautyhad folded him round like a mantle and that in reverie at least he hadbeen acquainted with nobility. But when this brief pride ofsilence upheld him no longer he was glad to find himselfstill in the midst of common lives, passing on his way amid the squalorand noise and sloth of the city fearlessly and with a light heart.
Near the hoardings on the canal he met the consumptive man with thedoll’s face and the brimless hat coming towards him down the slope ofthe bridge with little steps, tightly buttoned into his chocolateovercoat, and holding his furled umbrella a span or two from him like adivining rod. It must be eleven, he thought, and peered into a dairy tosee the time. The clock in the dairy told him that it was five minutesto five but, as he turned away, he heard a clock somewhere near him,but unseen, beating eleven strokes in swift precision. He laughed as heheard it for it made him think of MacCann; and he saw him a squat figurein a shooting jacket and breeches and with a fair goatee, standing inthe wind at Hopkins’ corner, and heard him say:
—Dedalus, you’re an antisocial being, wrapped up in yourself. I’mnot. I’m a democrat and I’ll work and act for social liberty andequality among all classes and sexes in the United States of the Europeof the future.
Eleven! Then he was late for that lecture too. What day of the week wasit? He stopped at a newsagent’s to read the headline of a placard.Thursday. Ten to eleven, English; eleven to twelve, French; twelve toone, physics. He fancied to himself the English lecture and felt, evenat that distance, restless and helpless. He saw the heads of hisclassmates meekly bent as they wrote in their notebooks the points theywere bidden to note, nominal definitions, essential definitions andexamples or dates of birth or death, chief works, a favourable and anunfavourable criticism side by side. His own head was unbent for histhoughts wandered abroad and whether he looked around the little classof students or out of the window across the desolate gardens of thegreen an odour assailed him of cheerless cellardamp and decay. Anotherhead than his, right before him in the first benches, was poisedsquarely above its bending fellows like the head of a priest appealingwithout humility to the tabernacle for the humble worshippers abouthim. Why was it that when he thought of Cranly he could never raisebefore his mind the entire image of his body but only the image of thehead and face? Even now against the grey curtain of the morning he sawit before him like the phantom of a dream, the face of a severed heador death mask, crowned on the brows by its stiff black upright hair asby an iron crown. It was a priestlike face, priestlike in its pallor,in the wide winged nose, in the shadowings below the eyes and along thejaws, priestlike in the lips that were long and bloodless and faintlysmiling; and Stephen, remembering swiftly how he had told Cranly of allthe tumults and unrest and longings in his soul, day after day andnight by night, only to be answered by his friend’s listening silence,would have told himself that it was the face of a guilty priest whoheard confessions of those whom he had not power to absolve but that hefelt again in memory the gaze of its dark womanish eyes.
Through this image he had a glimpse of a strange dark cavern ofspeculation but at once turned away from it, feeling that it was notyet the hour to enter it. But the nightshade of his friend’slistlessness seemed to be diffusing in the air around him a tenuous anddeadly exhalation and he found himself glancing from one casual word toanother on his right or left in stolid wonder that they had been sosilently emptied of instantaneous sense until every mean shop legendbound his mind like the words of a spell and his soul shrivelled upsighing with age as he walked on in a lane among heaps of deadlanguage. His own consciousness of language was ebbing from his brainand trickling into the very words themselves which set to band anddisband themselves in wayward rhythms:
The ivy whines upon the wall,
And whines and twines upon the wall,
The yellow ivy upon the wall,
Ivy, ivy up the wall.
Did anyone ever hear such drivel? Lord Almighty! Who ever heard of ivywhining on a wall? Yellow ivy; that was all right. Yellow ivory also.And what about ivory ivy?
The word now shone in his brain, clearer and brighter than any ivorysawn from the mottled tusks of elephants. Ivory, ivoire, avorio, ebur.One of the first examples that he had learnt in Latin had run:India mittit ebur; and he recalled the shrewd northern face of therector who had taught him to construe the Metamorphoses of Ovid in acourtly English, made whimsical by the mention of porkers and potsherdsand chines of bacon. He had learnt what little he knew of the laws ofLatin verse from a ragged book written by a Portuguese priest.
Contrahit orator, variant in carmine vates.
The crises and victories and secessions in Roman history were handed onto him in the trite words in tanto discrimine and he had tried to peerinto the social life of the city of cities through the words implereollam denariorum which the rector had rendered sonorously as thefilling of a pot with denaries. The pages of his timeworn Horace neverfelt cold to the touch even when his own fingers were cold; they werehuman pages and fifty years before they had been turned by the humanfingers of John Duncan Inverarity and by his brother, William MalcolmInverarity. Yes, those were noble names on the dusky flyleaf and, evenfor so poor a Latinist as he, the dusky verses were as fragrant asthough they had lain all those years in myrtle and lavender andvervain; but yet it wounded him to think that he would never be but ashy guest at the feast of the world’s culture and that the monkishlearning, in terms of which he was striving to forge out an estheticphilosophy, was held no higher by the age he lived in than the subtleand curious jargons of heraldry and falconry.
The grey block of Trinity on his left, set heavily in the city’signorance like a dull stone set in a cumbrous ring, pulled his minddownward and while he was striving this way and that to free his feetfrom the fetters of the reformed conscience he came upon the drollstatue of the national poet of Ireland.
He looked at it without anger; for, though sloth of the body and of thesoul crept over it like unseen vermin, over the shuffling feet and upthe folds of the cloak and around the servile head, it seemed humblyconscious of its indignity. It was a Firbolg in the borrowed cloak of aMilesian; and he thought of his friend Davin, the peasant student. Itwas a jesting name between them, but the young peasant bore with itlightly:
—Go on, Stevie, I have a hard head, you tell me. Call me what youwill.
The homely version of his christian name on the lips of his friend hadtouched Stephen pleasantly when first heard for he was as formal inspeech with others as they were with him. Often, as he sat in Davin’srooms in Grantham Street, wondering at his friend’s well-made bootsthat flanked the wall pair by pair and repeating for his friend’ssimple ear the verses and cadences of others which were the veils ofhis own longing and dejection, the rude Firbolg mind of his listenerhad drawn his mind towards it and flung it back again, drawing it by aquiet inbred courtesy of attention or by a quaint turn of old Englishspeech or by the force of its delight in rude bodily skill—for Davinhad sat at the feet of Michael Cusack, the Gael—repelling swiftly andsuddenly by a grossness of intelligence or by a bluntness of feeling orby a dull stare of terror in the eyes, the terror of soul of a starvingIrish village in which the curfew was still a nightly fear.
Side by side with his memory of the deeds of prowess of his uncle MatDavin, the athlete, the young peasant worshipped the sorrowful legendof Ireland. The gossip of his fellow-students which strove to renderthe flat life of the college significant at any cost loved to think ofhim as a young fenian. His nurse had taught him Irish and shaped hisrude imagination by the broken lights of Irish myth. He stood towardsthe myth upon which no individual mind had ever drawn out a line ofbeauty and to its unwieldy tales that divided themselves as they moveddown the cycles in the same attitude as towards the Roman catholicreligion, the attitude of a dullwitted loyal serf. Whatsoever of thoughtor of feeling came to him from England or by way of English culture hismind stood armed against in obedience to a password; and of the worldthat lay beyond England he knew only the foreign legion of France inwhich he spoke of serving.
Coupling this ambition with the young man’s humour Stephen had oftencalled him one of the tame geese and there was even a point ofirritation in the name pointed against that very reluctance of speechand deed in his friend which seemed so often to stand between Stephen’smind, eager of speculation, and the hidden ways of Irish life.
One night the young peasant, his spirit stung by the violent orluxurious language in which Stephen escaped from the cold silence ofintellectual revolt, had called up before Stephen’s mind a strangevision. The two were walking slowly towards Davin’s rooms through thedark narrow streets of the poorer jews.
—A thing happened to myself, Stevie, last autumn, coming on winter,and I never told it to a living soul and you are the first person now Iever told it to. I disremember if it was October or November. It wasOctober because it was before I came up here to join the matriculationclass.
Stephen had turned his smiling eyes towards his friend’s face,flattered by his confidence and won over to sympathy by the speaker’ssimple accent.
—I was away all that day from my own place over in Buttevant—I don’tknow if you know where that is—at a hurling match between the Croke’sOwn Boys and the Fearless Thurles and by God, Stevie, that was the hardfight. My first cousin, Fonsy Davin, was stripped to his buff that dayminding cool for the Limericks but he was up with the forwards half thetime and shouting like mad. I never will forget that day. One of the Crokesmade a woeful wipe at him one time with his caman and I declare to God hewas within an aim’s ace of getting it at the side of his temple.Oh, honest to God, if the crook of it caught him that time he was done for.
—I am glad he escaped, Stephen had said with a laugh, but surelythat’s not the strange thing that happened you?
—Well, I suppose that doesn’t interest you, but leastways there wassuch noise after the match that I missed the train home and I couldn’tget any kind of a yoke to give me a lift for, as luck would have it,there was a mass meeting that same day over in Castletownroche andall the cars in the country were there. So there was nothing for itonly to stay the night or to foot it out. Well, I started to walkand on I went and it was coming on night when I got into the Ballyhourahills, that’s better than ten miles from Kilmallock and there’s along lonely road after that. You wouldn’t see the sign of a christianhouse along the road or hear a sound. It was pitch dark almost. Onceor twice I stopped by the way under a bush to redden my pipe and onlyfor the dew was thick I’d have stretched out there and slept. At last,after a bend of the road, I spied a little cottage with a light in thewindow. I went up and knocked at the door. A voice asked who wasthere and I answered I was over at the match in Buttevant and waswalking back and that I’d be thankful for a glass of water. Aftera while a young woman opened the door and brought me out a big mugof milk. She was half undressed as if she was going to bed when Iknocked and she had her hair hanging and I thought by her figure andby something in the look of her eyes that she must be carrying achild. She kept me in talk a long while at the door and I thoughtit strange because her breast and her shoulders were bare. Sheasked me was I tired and would I like to stop the night there.She said she was all alone in the house and that her husband hadgone that morning to Queenstown with his sister to see her off. And allthe time she was talking, Stevie, she had her eyes fixed on my face andshe stood so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed herback the mug at last she took my hand to draw me in over the thresholdand said: ‘Come in and stay the night here. You’ve no callto be frightened. There’s no one in it but ourselves....’I didn’t go in, Stevie. I thanked her and went on my way again,all in a fever. At the first bend of the road I looked back and she wasstanding at the door.
The last words of Davin’s story sang in his memory and the figure ofthe woman in the story stood forth reflected in other figures of thepeasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane as thecollege cars drove by, as a type of her race and of his own, a batlikesoul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy andloneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a womanwithout guile, calling the stranger to her bed.
A hand was laid on his arm and a young voice cried:
—Ah, gentleman, your own girl, sir! The first handsel today, gentleman.Buy that lovely bunch. Will you, gentleman?
The blue flowers which she lifted towards him and her young blue eyesseemed to him at that instant images of guilelessness, and he haltedtill the image had vanished and he saw only her ragged dress and dampcoarse hair and hoydenish face.
—Do, gentleman! Don’t forget your own girl, sir!
—I have no money, said Stephen.
—Buy them lovely ones, will you, sir? Only a penny.
—Did you hear what I said? asked Stephen, bending towards her. I told youI had no money. I tell you again now.
—Well, sure, you will some day, sir, please God, the girl answeredafter an instant.
—Possibly, said Stephen, but I don’t think it likely.
He left her quickly, fearing that her intimacy might turn to gibingand wishing to be out of the way before she offered her ware toanother, a tourist from England or a student of Trinity. GraftonStreet, along which he walked, prolonged that moment of discouragedpoverty. In the roadway at the head of the street a slab was set to thememory of Wolfe Tone and he remembered having been present with hisfather at its laying. He remembered with bitterness that scene oftawdry tribute. There were four French delegates in a brake and one, aplump smiling young man, held, wedged on a stick, a card on which wereprinted the words: Vive l’Irlande!
But the trees in Stephen’s Green were fragrant of rain and therainsodden earth gave forth its mortal odour, a faint incense risingupward through the mould from many hearts. The soul of the gallantvenal city which his elders had told him of had shrunk with time to afaint mortal odour rising from the earth and he knew that in a momentwhen he entered the sombre college he would be conscious of acorruption other than that of Buck Egan and Burnchapel Whaley.
It was too late to go upstairs to the French class. He crossed the halland took the corridor to the left which led to the physics theatre. Thecorridor was dark and silent but not unwatchful. Why did he feel thatit was not unwatchful? Was it because he had heard that in BuckWhaley’s time there was a secret staircase there? Or was the jesuithouse extra-territorial and was he walking among aliens? The Ireland ofTone and of Parnell seemed to have receded in space.
He opened the door of the theatre and halted in the chilly grey lightthat struggled through the dusty windows. A figure was crouching beforethe large grate and by its leanness and greyness he knew that it wasthe dean of studies lighting the fire. Stephen closed the door quietlyand approached the fireplace.
—Good morning, sir! Can I help you?
The priest looked up quickly and said:
—One moment now, Mr Dedalus, and you will see. There is an art inlighting a fire. We have the liberal arts and we have the useful arts.This is one of the useful arts.
—I will try to learn it, said Stephen.
—Not too much coal, said the dean, working briskly at his task, thatis one of the secrets.
He produced four candle-butts from the sidepockets of his soutane andplaced them deftly among the coals and twisted papers. Stephen watchedhim in silence. Kneeling thus on the flagstone to kindle the fire andbusied with the disposition of his wisps of paper and candle-butts heseemed more than ever a humble server making ready the place ofsacrifice in an empty temple, a levite of the Lord. Like a levite’srobe of plain linen the faded worn soutane draped the kneeling figureof one whom the canonicals or the bellbordered ephod would irk andtrouble. His very body had waxed old in lowly service of the Lord—intending the fire upon the altar, in bearing tidings secretly, inwaiting upon worldlings, in striking swiftly when bidden—and yet hadremained ungraced by aught of saintly or of prelatic beauty. Nay, hisvery soul had waxed old in that service without growing towards lightand beauty or spreading abroad a sweet odour of her sanctity—amortified will no more responsive to the thrill of its obedience thanwas to the thrill of love or combat his ageing body, spare and sinewy,greyed with a silver-pointed down.
The dean rested back on his hunkers and watched the sticks catch.Stephen, to fill the silence, said:
—I am sure I could not light a fire.
—You are an artist, are you not, Mr Dedalus? said the dean, glancingup and blinking his pale eyes. The object of the artist is the creationof the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.
He rubbed his hands slowly and drily over the difficulty.
—Can you solve that question now? he asked.
—Aquinas, answered Stephen, says pulcra sunt quæ visa placent.
—This fire before us, said the dean, will be pleasing to the eye.Will it therefore be beautiful?
—In so far as it is apprehended by the sight, which I suppose meanshere esthetic intellection, it will be beautiful. But Aquinas also saysBonum est in quod tendit appetitus. In so far as it satisfies theanimal craving for warmth fire is a good. In hell, however, it is anevil.
—Quite so, said the dean, you have certainly hit the nail on the head.
He rose nimbly and went towards the door, set it ajar and said:
—A draught is said to be a help in these matters.
As he came back to the hearth, limping slightly but with a brisk step,Stephen saw the silent soul of a jesuit look out at him from the paleloveless eyes. Like Ignatius he was lame but in his eyes burned nospark of Ignatius’ enthusiasm. Even the legendary craft of thecompany, a craft subtler and more secret than its fabled books ofsecret subtle wisdom, had not fired his soul with the energy ofapostleship. It seemed as if he used the shifts and lore and cunning ofthe world, as bidden to do, for the greater glory of God, without joyin their handling or hatred of that in them which was evil but turningthem, with a firm gesture of obedience back upon themselves and for allthis silent service it seemed as if he loved not at all the master andlittle, if at all, the ends he served. Similiter atque senis baculus,he was, as the founder would have had him, like a staff in an old man’shand, to be leaned on in the road at nightfall or in stress of weather,to lie with a lady’s nosegay on a garden seat, to be raised in menace.
The dean returned to the hearth and began to stroke his chin.
—When may we expect to have something from you on the estheticquestion? he asked.
—From me! said Stephen in astonishment. I stumble on an idea once afortnight if I am lucky.
—These questions are very profound, Mr Dedalus, said the dean. It islike looking down from the cliffs of Moher into the depths. Many godown into the depths and never come up. Only the trained diver can godown into those depths and explore them and come to the surface again.
—If you mean speculation, sir, said Stephen, I also am sure thatthere is no such thing as free thinking inasmuch as all thinking mustbe bound by its own laws.
—For my purpose I can work on at present by the light of one or twoideas of Aristotle and Aquinas.
—I see. I quite see your point.
—I need them only for my own use and guidance until I have donesomething for myself by their light. If the lamp smokes or smells Ishall try to trim it. If it does not give light enough I shall sell itand buy another.
—Epictetus also had a lamp, said the dean, which was sold for a fancyprice after his death. It was the lamp he wrote his philosophicaldissertations by. You know Epictetus?
—An old gentleman, said Stephen coarsely, who said that the soul isvery like a bucketful of water.
—He tells us in his homely way, the dean went on, that he put an ironlamp before a statue of one of the gods and that a thief stole thelamp. What did the philosopher do? He reflected that it was in thecharacter of a thief to steal and determined to buy an earthen lampnext day instead of the iron lamp.
A smell of molten tallow came up from the dean’s candle butts and fuseditself in Stephen’s consciousness with the jingle of the words, bucketand lamp and lamp and bucket. The priest’s voice, too, had a hardjingling tone. Stephen’s mind halted by instinct, checked by thestrange tone and the imagery and by the priest’s face which seemed likean unlit lamp or a reflector hung in a false focus. What lay behind itor within it? A dull torpor of the soul or the dullness of thethundercloud, charged with intellection and capable of the gloom ofGod?
—I meant a different kind of lamp, sir, said Stephen.
—Undoubtedly, said the dean.
—One difficulty, said Stephen, in esthetic discussion is to knowwhether words are being used according to the literary tradition oraccording to the tradition of the marketplace. I remember a sentence ofNewman’s in which he says of the Blessed Virgin that she was detainedin the full company of the saints. The use of the word in themarketplace is quite different. I hope I am not detaining you.
—Not in the least, said the dean politely.
—No, no, said Stephen, smiling, I mean...—
—Yes, yes; I see, said the dean quickly, I quite catch the point:detain.
He thrust forward his under jaw and uttered a dry short cough.
—To return to the lamp, he said, the feeding of it is also a niceproblem. You must choose the pure oil and you must be careful when youpour it in not to overflow it, not to pour in more than the funnel canhold.
—What funnel? asked Stephen.
—The funnel through which you pour the oil into your lamp.
—That? said Stephen. Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish?
—What is a tundish?
—That. The... the funnel.
—Is that called a tundish in Ireland? asked the dean. I never heardthe word in my life.
—It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra, said Stephen, laughing,where they speak the best English.
—A tundish, said the dean reflectively. That is a most interestingword. I must look that word up. Upon my word I must.
His courtesy of manner rang a little false and Stephen looked at theEnglish convert with the same eyes as the elder brother in the parablemay have turned on the prodigal. A humble follower in the wake ofclamorous conversions, a poor Englishman in Ireland, he seemed to haveentered on the stage of jesuit history when that strange play ofintrigue and suffering and envy and struggle and indignity had been allbut given through—a latecomer, a tardy spirit. From what had he setout? Perhaps he had been born and bred among serious dissenters, seeingsalvation in Jesus only and abhorring the vain pomps of theestablishment. Had he felt the need of an implicit faith amid thewelter of sectarianism and the jargon of its turbulent schisms, sixprinciple men, peculiar people, seed and snake baptists, supralapsariandogmatists? Had he found the true church all of a sudden in winding upto the end like a reel of cotton some finespun line of reasoning uponinsufflation on the imposition of hands or the procession of the HolyGhost? Or had Lord Christ touched him and bidden him follow, like thatdisciple who had sat at the receipt of custom, as he sat by the door ofsome zincroofed chapel, yawning and telling over his church pence?
The dean repeated the word yet again.
—Tundish! Well now, that is interesting!
—The question you asked me a moment ago seems to me more interesting.What is that beauty which the artist struggles to express from lumps ofearth, said Stephen coldly.
The little word seemed to have turned a rapier point of hissensitiveness against this courteous and vigilant foe. He felt with asmart of dejection that the man to whom he was speaking was acountryman of Ben Jonson. He thought:
—The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. Howdifferent are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips andon mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. Hislanguage, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquiredspeech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them atbay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
—And to distinguish between the beautiful and the sublime, the deanadded, to distinguish between moral beauty and material beauty. And toinquire what kind of beauty is proper to each of the various arts.These are some interesting points we might take up.
Stephen, disheartened suddenly by the dean’s firm, dry tone, wassilent; and through the silence a distant noise of many boots andconfused voices came up the staircase.
—In pursuing these speculations, said the dean conclusively, thereis, however, the danger of perishing of inanition. First you must takeyour degree. Set that before you as your first aim. Then, little bylittle, you will see your way. I mean in every sense, your way in lifeand in thinking. It may be uphill pedalling at first. Take Mr Moonan.He was a long time before he got to the top. But he got there.
—I may not have his talent, said Stephen quietly.
—You never know, said the dean brightly. We never can say what is inus. I most certainly should not be despondent. Per aspera ad astra.
He left the hearth quickly and went towards the landing to oversee thearrival of the first arts’ class.
Leaning against the fireplace Stephen heard him greet briskly andimpartially every student of the class and could almost see the franksmiles of the coarser students. A desolating pity began to fall likedew upon his easily embittered heart for this faithful servingman ofthe knightly Loyola, for this halfbrother of the clergy, more venalthan they in speech, more steadfast of soul than they, one whom hewould never call his ghostly father; and he thought how this man andhis companions had earned the name of worldlings at the hands not ofthe unworldly only but of the worldly also for having pleaded, duringall their history, at the bar of God’s justice for the souls of the laxand the lukewarm and the prudent.
The entry of the professor was signalled by a few rounds of Kentishfire from the heavy boots of those students who sat on the highest tierof the gloomy theatre under the grey cobwebbed windows. The calling ofthe roll began and the responses to the names were given out in alltones until the name of Peter Byrne was reached.
A deep bass note in response came from the upper tier, followed bycoughs of protest along the other benches.
The professor paused in his reading and called the next name:
A smile flew across Stephen’s face as he thought of his friend’sstudies.
—Try Leopardstown! said a voice from the bench behind.
Stephen glanced up quickly but Moynihan’s snoutish face, outlined on thegrey light, was impassive. A formula was given out. Amid the rustling ofthe notebooks Stephen turned back again and said:
—Give me some paper for God’s sake.
—Are you as bad as that? asked Moynihan with a broad grin.
He tore a sheet from his scribbler and passed it down, whispering:
—In case of necessity any layman or woman can do it.
The formula which he wrote obediently on the sheet of paper, thecoiling and uncoiling calculations of the professor, the spectrelikesymbols of force and velocity fascinated and jaded Stephen’s mind. Hehad heard some say that the old professor was an atheist freemason. Othe grey dull day! It seemed a limbo of painless patient consciousnessthrough which souls of mathematicians might wander, projecting longslender fabrics from plane to plane of ever rarer and paler twilight,radiating swift eddies to the last verges of a universe ever vaster,farther and more impalpable.
—So we must distinguish between elliptical and ellipsoidal. Perhaps someof you gentlemen may be familiar with the works of Mr W. S. Gilbert. Inone of his songs he speaks of the billiard sharp who is condemned toplay:
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And elliptical billiard balls.
—He means a ball having the form of the ellipsoid of the principalaxes of which I spoke a moment ago.
Moynihan leaned down towards Stephen’s ear and murmured:
—What price ellipsoidal balls! chase me, ladies, I’m in the cavalry!
His fellow student’s rude humour ran like a gust through the cloisterof Stephen’s mind, shaking into gay life limp priestly vestments thathung upon the walls, setting them to sway and caper in a sabbath ofmisrule. The forms of the community emerged from the gust-blownvestments, the dean of studies, the portly florid bursar with his capof grey hair, the president, the little priest with feathery hair whowrote devout verses, the squat peasant form of the professor ofeconomics, the tall form of the young professor of mental sciencediscussing on the landing a case of conscience with his class like agiraffe cropping high leafage among a herd of antelopes, the gravetroubled prefect of the sodality, the plump roundheaded professor ofItalian with his rogue’s eyes. They came ambling and stumbling,tumbling and capering, kilting their gowns for leap frog, holding oneanother back, shaken with deep false laughter, smacking one anotherbehind and laughing at their rude malice, calling to one another byfamiliar nicknames, protesting with sudden dignity at some rough usage,whispering two and two behind their hands.
The professor had gone to the glass cases on the sidewall, from ashelf of which he took down a set of coils, blew away the dust frommany points and, bearing it carefully to the table, held a finger on itwhile he proceeded with his lecture. He explained that the wires inmodern coils were of a compound called platinoid lately discovered byF. W. Martino.
He spoke clearly the initials and surname of the discoverer. Moynihanwhispered from behind:
—Good old Fresh Water Martin!
—Ask him, Stephen whispered back with weary humour, if he wants asubject for electrocution. He can have me.
Moynihan, seeing the professor bend over the coils, rose in his benchand, clacking noiselessly the fingers of his right hand, began to callwith the voice of a slobbering urchin:
—Please teacher! This boy is after saying a bad word, teacher.
—Platinoid, the professor said solemnly, is preferred to Germansilver because it has a lower coefficient of resistance by changes oftemperature. The platinoid wire is insulated and the covering of silkthat insulates it is wound on the ebonite bobbins just where my fingeris. If it were wound single an extra current would be induced in thecoils. The bobbins are saturated in hot paraffin wax...
A sharp Ulster voice said from the bench below Stephen:
—Are we likely to be asked questions on applied science?
The professor began to juggle gravely with the terms pure science andapplied science. A heavybuilt student, wearing gold spectacles, staredwith some wonder at the questioner. Moynihan murmured from behind inhis natural voice:
—Isn’t MacAlister a devil for his pound of flesh?
Stephen looked coldly on the oblong skull beneath him overgrown withtangled twinecoloured hair. The voice, the accent, the mind of thequestioner offended him and he allowed the offence to carry him towardswilful unkindness, bidding his mind think that the student’s fatherwould have done better had he sent his son to Belfast to study and havesaved something on the train fare by so doing.
The oblong skull beneath did not turn to meet this shaft of thought andyet the shaft came back to its bowstring; for he saw in a moment thestudent’s whey-pale face.
—That thought is not mine, he said to himself quickly. It came fromthe comic Irishman in the bench behind. Patience. Can you say withcertitude by whom the soul of your race was bartered and its electbetrayed—by the questioner or by the mocker? Patience. RememberEpictetus. It is probably in his character to ask such a question atsuch a moment in such a tone and to pronounce the word scienceas a monosyllable.
The droning voice of the professor continued to wind itself slowlyround and round the coils it spoke of, doubling, trebling, quadruplingits somnolent energy as the coil multiplied its ohms of resistance.
Moynihan’s voice called from behind in echo to a distant bell:
—Closing time, gents!
The entrance hall was crowded and loud with talk. On a table near thedoor were two photographs in frames and between them a long roll ofpaper bearing an irregular tail of signatures. MacCann went briskly toand fro among the students, talking rapidly, answering rebuffs andleading one after another to the table. In the inner hall the dean ofstudies stood talking to a young professor, stroking his chin gravelyand nodding his head.
Stephen, checked by the crowd at the door, halted irresolutely. Fromunder the wide falling leaf of a soft hat Cranly’s dark eyes werewatching him.
—Have you signed? Stephen asked.
Cranly closed his long thinlipped mouth, communed with himself aninstant and answered:
—What is it for?
—What is it for?
Cranly turned his pale face to Stephen and said blandly and bitterly:
—Per pax universalis.
Stephen pointed to the Tsar’s photograph and said:
—He has the face of a besotted Christ.
The scorn and anger in his voice brought Cranly’s eyes back from a calmsurvey of the walls of the hall.
—Are you annoyed? he asked.
—No, answered Stephen.
—Are you in bad humour?
—Credo ut vos sanguinarius mendax estis, said Cranly,quia facies vostra monstrat ut vos in damno malo humore estis.
Moynihan, on his way to the table, said in Stephen’s ear:
—MacCann is in tiptop form. Ready to shed the last drop. Brand newworld. No stimulants and votes for the bitches.
Stephen smiled at the manner of this confidence and, when Moynihan hadpassed, turned again to meet Cranly’s eyes.
—Perhaps you can tell me, he said, why he pours his soul so freelyinto my ear. Can you?
A dull scowl appeared on Cranly’s forehead. He stared at the tablewhere Moynihan had bent to write his name on the roll, and then saidflatly:
—Quis est in malo humore, said Stephen, ego aut vos?
Cranly did not take up the taunt. He brooded sourly on his judgementand repeated with the same flat force:
—A flaming bloody sugar, that’s what he is!
It was his epitaph for all dead friendships and Stephen wonderedwhether it would ever be spoken in the same tone over his memory. Theheavy lumpish phrase sank slowly out of hearing like a stone through aquagmire. Stephen saw it sink as he had seen many another, feeling itsheaviness depress his heart. Cranly’s speech, unlike that of Davin, hadneither rare phrases of Elizabethan English nor quaintly turnedversions of Irish idioms. Its drawl was an echo of the quays of Dublingiven back by a bleak decaying seaport, its energy an echo of thesacred eloquence of Dublin given back flatly by a Wicklow pulpit.
The heavy scowl faded from Cranly’s face as MacCann marched brisklytowards them from the other side of the hall.
—Here you are! said MacCann cheerily.
—Here I am! said Stephen.
—Late as usual. Can you not combine the progressive tendency with arespect for punctuality?
—That question is out of order, said Stephen. Next business.
His smiling eyes were fixed on a silver-wrapped tablet of milk chocolatewhich peeped out of the propagandist’s breast-pocket. A little ring oflisteners closed round to hear the war of wits. A lean student witholive skin and lank black hair thrust his face between the two, glancingfrom one to the other at each phrase and seeming to try to catch eachflying phrase in his open moist mouth. Cranly took a small grey handballfrom his pocket and began to examine it closely, turning it over and over.
—Next business? said MacCann. Hom!
He gave a loud cough of laughter, smiled broadly and tugged twice atthe strawcoloured goatee which hung from his blunt chin.
—The next business is to sign the testimonial.
—Will you pay me anything if I sign? asked Stephen.
—I thought you were an idealist, said MacCann.
The gipsylike student looked about him and addressed the onlookers inan indistinct bleating voice.
—By hell, that’s a queer notion. I consider that notion to be amercenary notion.
His voice faded into silence. No heed was paid to his words. He turnedhis olive face, equine in expression, towards Stephen, inviting him tospeak again.
MacCann began to speak with fluent energy of the Tsar’s rescript, ofStead, of general disarmament, arbitration in cases of internationaldisputes, of the signs of the times, of the new humanity and the newgospel of life which would make it the business of the community tosecure as cheaply as possible the greatest possible happiness of thegreatest possible number.
The gipsy student responded to the close of the period by crying:
—Three cheers for universal brotherhood!
—Go on, Temple, said a stout ruddy student near him. I’ll stand you apint after.
—I’m a believer in universal brotherhood, said Temple, glancing abouthim out of his dark oval eyes. Marx is only a bloody cod.
Cranly gripped his arm tightly to check his tongue, smiling uneasily,and repeated:
—Easy, easy, easy!
Temple struggled to free his arm but continued, his mouth flecked by athin foam:
—Socialism was founded by an Irishman and the first man in Europe whopreached the freedom of thought was Collins. Two hundred years ago. Hedenounced priestcraft, the philosopher of Middlesex. Three cheers forJohn Anthony Collins!
A thin voice from the verge of the ring replied:
Moynihan murmured beside Stephen’s ear:
—And what about John Anthony’s poor little sister:
Lottie Collins lost her drawers;
Won’t you kindly lend her yours?
Stephen laughed and Moynihan, pleased with the result, murmured again:
—We’ll have five bob each way on John Anthony Collins.
—I am waiting for your answer, said MacCann briefly.
—The affair doesn’t interest me in the least, said Stephen wearily.You know that well. Why do you make a scene about it?
—Good! said MacCann, smacking his lips. You are a reactionary, then?
—Do you think you impress me, Stephen asked, when you flourish yourwooden sword?
—Metaphors! said MacCann bluntly. Come to facts.
Stephen blushed and turned aside. MacCann stood his ground and said withhostile humour:
—Minor poets, I suppose, are above such trivial questions as thequestion of universal peace.
Cranly raised his head and held the handball between the two studentsby way of a peaceoffering, saying:
—Pax super totum sanguinarium globum.
Stephen, moving away the bystanders, jerked his shoulder angrily in thedirection of the Tsar’s image, saying:
—Keep your icon. If we must have a Jesus let us have a legitimateJesus.
—By hell, that’s a good one! said the gipsy student to those abouthim, that’s a fine expression. I like that expression immensely.
He gulped down the spittle in his throat as if he were gulping down thephrase and, fumbling at the peak of his tweed cap, turned to Stephen,saying:
—Excuse me, sir, what do you mean by that expression you uttered justnow?
Feeling himself jostled by the students near him, he said to them:
—I am curious to know now what he meant by that expression.
He turned again to Stephen and said in a whisper:
—Do you believe in Jesus? I believe in man. Of course, I don’t knowif you believe in man. I admire you, sir. I admire the mind of manindependent of all religions. Is that your opinion about the mind ofJesus?
—Go on, Temple, said the stout ruddy student, returning, as was hiswont, to his first idea, that pint is waiting for you.
—He thinks I’m an imbecile, Temple explained to Stephen, because I’m abeliever in the power of mind.
Cranly linked his arms into those of Stephen and his admirer and said:
—Nos ad manum ballum jocabimus.
Stephen, in the act of being led away, caught sight of MacCann’sflushed bluntfeatured face.
—My signature is of no account, he said politely. You are right to goyour way. Leave me to go mine.
—Dedalus, said MacCann crisply, I believe you’re a good fellow butyou have yet to learn the dignity of altruism and the responsibility ofthe human individual.
A voice said:
—Intellectual crankery is better out of this movement than in it.
Stephen, recognising the harsh tone of MacAlister’s voice, didnot turn in the direction of the voice. Cranly pushed solemnly throughthe throng of students, linking Stephen and Temple like a celebrantattended by his ministers on his way to the altar.
Temple bent eagerly across Cranly’s breast and said:
—Did you hear MacAlister what he said? That youth is jealous of you.Did you see that? I bet Cranly didn’t see that. By hell, I saw that atonce.
As they crossed the inner hall, the dean of studies was in the act ofescaping from the student with whom he had been conversing. He stood atthe foot of the staircase, a foot on the lowest step, his threadbaresoutane gathered about him for the ascent with womanish care, noddinghis head often and repeating:
—Not a doubt of it, Mr Hackett! Very fine! Not a doubt of it!
In the middle of the hall the prefect of the college sodality wasspeaking earnestly, in a soft querulous voice, with a boarder. As hespoke he wrinkled a little his freckled brow and bit, between hisphrases, at a tiny bone pencil.
—I hope the matric men will all come. The first arts men are prettysure. Second arts, too. We must make sure of the newcomers.
Temple bent again across Cranly, as they were passing through thedoorway, and said in a swift whisper:
—Do you know that he is a married man? He was a married man beforethey converted him. He has a wife and children somewhere. By hell, Ithink that’s the queerest notion I ever heard! Eh?
His whisper trailed off into sly cackling laughter. The moment theywere through the doorway Cranly seized him rudely by the neck and shookhim, saying:
—You flaming floundering fool! I’ll take my dying bible there isn’t abigger bloody ape, do you know, than you in the whole flaming bloodyworld!
Temple wriggled in his grip, laughing still with sly content, whileCranly repeated flatly at every rude shake:
—A flaming flaring bloody idiot!
They crossed the weedy garden together. The president, wrapped in aheavy loose cloak, was coming towards them along one of the walks,reading his office. At the end of the walk he halted before turning andraised his eyes. The students saluted, Temple fumbling as before at thepeak of his cap. They walked forward in silence. As they neared thealley Stephen could hear the thuds of the players’ hands and the wetsmacks of the ball and Davin’s voice crying out excitedly at eachstroke.
The three students halted round the box on which Davin sat to followthe game. Temple, after a few moments, sidled across to Stephen andsaid:
—Excuse me, I wanted to ask you, do you believe that Jean JacquesRousseau was a sincere man?
Stephen laughed outright. Cranly, picking up the broken stave of a caskfrom the grass at his feet, turned swiftly and said sternly:
—Temple, I declare to the living God if you say another word, do youknow, to anybody on any subject, I’ll kill you super spottum.
—He was like you, I fancy, said Stephen, an emotional man.
—Blast him, curse him! said Cranly broadly. Don’t talk to him at all.Sure, you might as well be talking, do you know, to a flamingchamberpot as talking to Temple. Go home, Temple. For God’s sake, gohome.
—I don’t care a damn about you, Cranly, answered Temple, moving out ofreach of the uplifted stave and pointing at Stephen. He’s the only manI see in this institution that has an individual mind.
—Institution! Individual! cried Cranly. Go home, blast you, foryou’re a hopeless bloody man.
—I’m an emotional man, said Temple. That’s quite rightly expressed.And I’m proud that I’m an emotionalist.
He sidled out of the alley, smiling slily. Cranly watched him with ablank expressionless face.
—Look at him! he said. Did you ever see such a go-by-the-wall?
His phrase was greeted by a strange laugh from a student who loungedagainst the wall, his peaked cap down on his eyes. The laugh, pitchedin a high key and coming from a so muscular frame, seemed like thewhinny of an elephant. The student’s body shook all over and, to easehis mirth, he rubbed both his hands delightedly over his groins.
—Lynch is awake, said Cranly.
Lynch, for answer, straightened himself and thrust forward his chest.
—Lynch puts out his chest, said Stephen, as a criticism of life.
Lynch smote himself sonorously on the chest and said:
—Who has anything to say about my girth?
Cranly took him at the word and the two began to tussle. When theirfaces had flushed with the struggle they drew apart, panting. Stephenbent down towards Davin who, intent on the game, had paid no heed tothe talk of the others.
—And how is my little tame goose? he asked. Did he sign, too?
Davin nodded and said:
—And you, Stevie?
Stephen shook his head.
—You’re a terrible man, Stevie, said Davin, taking the short pipefrom his mouth, always alone.
—Now that you have signed the petition for universal peace, saidStephen, I suppose you will burn that little copybook I saw in yourroom.
As Davin did not answer, Stephen began to quote:
—Long pace, fianna! Right incline, fianna! Fianna, by numbers,salute, one, two!
—That’s a different question, said Davin. I’m an Irish nationalist,first and foremost. But that’s you all out. You’re a born sneerer,Stevie.
—When you make the next rebellion with hurleysticks, said Stephen,and want the indispensable informer, tell me. I can find you a few inthis college.
—I can’t understand you, said Davin. One time I hear you talk againstEnglish literature. Now you talk against the Irish informers. What withyour name and your ideas . . . Are you Irish at all?
—Come with me now to the office of arms and I will show you the treeof my family, said Stephen.
—Then be one of us, said Davin. Why don’t you learn Irish? Why did youdrop out of the league class after the first lesson?
—You know one reason why, answered Stephen.
Davin tossed his head and laughed.
—Oh, come now, he said. Is it on account of that certain young ladyand Father Moran? But that’s all in your own mind, Stevie. They wereonly talking and laughing.
Stephen paused and laid a friendly hand upon Davin’s shoulder.
—Do you remember, he said, when we knew each other first? The firstmorning we met you asked me to show you the way to the matriculationclass, putting a very strong stress on the first syllable. Youremember? Then you used to address the jesuits as father, you remember?I ask myself about you: Is he as innocent as his speech?
—I’m a simple person, said Davin. You know that. When you told methat night in Harcourt Street those things about your private life,honest to God, Stevie, I was not able to eat my dinner. I was quitebad. I was awake a long time that night. Why did you tell me thosethings?
—Thanks, said Stephen. You mean I am a monster.
—No, said Davin. But I wish you had not told me.
A tide began to surge beneath the calm surface of Stephen’sfriendliness.
—This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. Ishall express myself as I am.
—Try to be one of us, repeated Davin. In heart you are an Irishmanbut your pride is too powerful.
—My ancestors threw off their language and took another, Stephen said.They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you fancy I amgoing to pay in my own life and person debts they made? What for?
—For our freedom, said Davin.
—No honourable and sincere man, said Stephen, has given up to you hislife and his youth and his affections from the days of Tone to those ofParnell, but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or reviledhim and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of you. I’dsee you damned first.
—They died for their ideals, Stevie, said Davin. Our day will comeyet, believe me.
Stephen, following his own thought, was silent for an instant.
—The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told youof. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of thebody. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are netsflung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality,language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
Davin knocked the ashes from his pipe.
—Too deep for me, Stevie, he said. But a man’s country comes first.Ireland first, Stevie. You can be a poet or a mystic after.
—Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence.Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
Davin rose from his box and went towards the players, shaking his headsadly. But in a moment his sadness left him and he was hotly disputingwith Cranly and the two players who had finished their game. A match offour was arranged, Cranly insisting, however, that his ball should beused. He let it rebound twice or thrice to his hand and struck it stronglyand swiftly towards the base of the alley, exclaiming in answer to itsthud:
Stephen stood with Lynch till the score began to rise. Then he pluckedhim by the sleeve to come away. Lynch obeyed, saying:
—Let us eke go, as Cranly has it.
Stephen smiled at this sidethrust.
They passed back through the garden and out through the hall where thedoddering porter was pinning up a hall notice in the frame. At the footof the steps they halted and Stephen took a packet of cigarettes fromhis pocket and offered it to his companion.
—I know you are poor, he said.
—Damn your yellow insolence, answered Lynch.
This second proof of Lynch’s culture made Stephen smile again.
—It was a great day for European culture, he said, when you made upyour mind to swear in yellow.
They lit their cigarettes and turned to the right. After a pauseStephen began:
—Aristotle has not defined pity and terror. I have. I say...
Lynch halted and said bluntly:
—Stop! I won’t listen! I am sick. I was out last night on a yellowdrunk with Horan and Goggins.
Stephen went on:
—Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence ofwhatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it withthe human sufferer. Terror is the feeling which arrests the mind in thepresence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings andunites it with the secret cause.
—Repeat, said Lynch.
Stephen repeated the definitions slowly.
—A girl got into a hansom a few days ago, he went on, in London. Shewas on her way to meet her mother whom she had not seen for many years.At the corner of a street the shaft of a lorry shivered the window ofthe hansom in the shape of a star. A long fine needle of the shiveredglass pierced her heart. She died on the instant. The reporter calledit a tragic death. It is not. It is remote from terror and pityaccording to the terms of my definitions.
—The tragic emotion, in fact, is a face looking two ways, towardsterror and towards pity, both of which are phases of it. You see I usethe word arrest. I mean that the tragic emotion is static. Or ratherthe dramatic emotion is. The feelings excited by improper art arekinetic, desire or loathing. Desire urges us to possess, to go tosomething; loathing urges us to abandon, to go from something. The artswhich excite them, pornographical or didactic, are therefore improperarts. The esthetic emotion (I used the general term) is thereforestatic. The mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing.
—You say that art must not excite desire, said Lynch. I told you thatone day I wrote my name in pencil on the backside of the Venus ofPraxiteles in the Museum. Was that not desire?
—I speak of normal natures, said Stephen. You also told me that whenyou were a boy in that charming carmelite school you ate pieces ofdried cowdung.
Lynch broke again into a whinny of laughter and again rubbed both hishands over his groins but without taking them from his pockets.
—O, I did! I did! he cried.
Stephen turned towards his companion and looked at him for a momentboldly in the eyes. Lynch, recovering from his laughter, answered hislook from his humbled eyes. The long slender flattened skull beneaththe long pointed cap brought before Stephen’s mind the image of ahooded reptile. The eyes, too, were reptile-like in glint and gaze. Yetat that instant, humbled and alert in their look, they were lit by onetiny human point, the window of a shrivelled soul, poignant andselfembittered.
—As for that, Stephen said in polite parenthesis, we are all animals.I also am an animal.
—You are, said Lynch.
—But we are just now in a mental world, Stephen continued. The desireand loathing excited by improper esthetic means are really not estheticemotions not only because they are kinetic in character but alsobecause they are not more than physical. Our flesh shrinks from what itdreads and responds to the stimulus of what it desires by a purelyreflex action of the nervous system. Our eyelid closes before we areaware that the fly is about to enter our eye.
—Not always, said Lynch critically.
—In the same way, said Stephen, your flesh responded to the stimulusof a naked statue, but it was, I say, simply a reflex action of thenerves. Beauty expressed by the artist cannot awaken in us an emotionwhich is kinetic or a sensation which is purely physical. It awakens,or ought to awaken, or induces, or ought to induce, an esthetic stasis,an ideal pity or an ideal terror, a stasis called forth, prolonged, andat last dissolved by what I call the rhythm of beauty.
—What is that exactly? asked Lynch.
—Rhythm, said Stephen, is the first formal esthetic relation of partto part in any esthetic whole or of an esthetic whole to its part orparts or of any part to the esthetic whole of which it is a part.
—If that is rhythm, said Lynch, let me hear what you call beauty;and, please remember, though I did eat a cake of cowdung once, that Iadmire only beauty.
Stephen raised his cap as if in greeting. Then, blushing slightly, helaid his hand on Lynch’s thick tweed sleeve.
—We are right, he said, and the others are wrong. To speak of thesethings and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it,to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again,from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape andcolour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beautywe have come to understand—that is art.
They had reached the canal bridge and, turning from their course, wenton by the trees. A crude grey light, mirrored in the sluggish water anda smell of wet branches over their heads seemed to war against thecourse of Stephen’s thought.
—But you have not answered my question, said Lynch. What is art? Whatis the beauty it expresses?
—That was the first definition I gave you, you sleepyheaded wretch,said Stephen, when I began to try to think out the matter for myself.Do you remember the night? Cranly lost his temper and began to talkabout Wicklow bacon.
—I remember, said Lynch. He told us about them flaming fat devils ofpigs.
—Art, said Stephen, is the human disposition of sensible orintelligible matter for an esthetic end. You remember the pigs andforget that. You are a distressing pair, you and Cranly.
Lynch made a grimace at the raw grey sky and said:
—If I am to listen to your esthetic philosophy give me at leastanother cigarette. I don’t care about it. I don’t even care aboutwomen. Damn you and damn everything. I want a job of five hundred ayear. You can’t get me one.
Stephen handed him the packet of cigarettes. Lynch took the last onethat remained, saying simply:
—Aquinas, said Stephen, says that is beautiful the apprehension ofwhich pleases.
—I remember that, he said, Pulcra sunt quæ visa placent.
—He uses the word visa, said Stephen, to cover estheticapprehensions of all kinds, whether through sight or hearing or throughany other avenue of apprehension. This word, though it is vague, is clearenough to keep away good and evil which excite desire and loathing. Itmeans certainly a stasis and not a kinesis. How about the true? Itproduces also a stasis of the mind. You would not write your name inpencil across the hypothenuse of a rightangled triangle.
—No, said Lynch, give me the hypothenuse of the Venus of Praxiteles.
—Static therefore, said Stephen. Plato, I believe, said that beautyis the splendour of truth. I don’t think that it has a meaning, but thetrue and the beautiful are akin. Truth is beheld by the intellect whichis appeased by the most satisfying relations of the intelligible;beauty is beheld by the imagination which is appeased by the mostsatisfying relations of the sensible. The first step in the directionof truth is to understand the frame and scope of the intellect itself,to comprehend the act itself of intellection. Aristotle’s entire systemof philosophy rests upon his book of psychology and that, I think,rests on his statement that the same attribute cannot at the same timeand in the same connexion belong to and not belong to the same subject.The first step in the direction of beauty is to understand the frameand scope of the imagination, to comprehend the act itself of estheticapprehension. Is that clear?
—But what is beauty? asked Lynch impatiently. Out with anotherdefinition. Something we see and like! Is that the best you and Aquinascan do?
—Let us take woman, said Stephen.
—Let us take her! said Lynch fervently.
—The Greek, the Turk, the Chinese, the Copt, the Hottentot, saidStephen, all admire a different type of female beauty. That seems tobe a maze out of which we cannot escape. I see, however, two ways out.One is this hypothesis: that every physical quality admired by men inwomen is in direct connexion with the manifold functions of women forthe propagation of the species. It may be so. The world, it seems, isdrearier than even you, Lynch, imagined. For my part I dislike that wayout. It leads to eugenics rather than to esthetic. It leads you out ofthe maze into a new gaudy lectureroom where MacCann, with one hand onThe Origin of Species and the other hand on the new testament,tells you that you admired the great flanks of Venus because you feltthat she would bear you burly offspring and admired her great breastsbecause you felt that she would give good milk to her children and yours.
—Then MacCann is a sulphuryellow liar, said Lynch energetically.
—There remains another way out, said Stephen, laughing.
—To wit? said Lynch.
—This hypothesis, Stephen began.
A long dray laden with old iron came round the corner of Sir PatrickDun’s hospital covering the end of Stephen’s speech with the harsh roarof jangled and rattling metal. Lynch closed his ears and gave out oathafter oath till the dray had passed. Then he turned on his heel rudely.Stephen turned also and waited for a few moments till his companion’sill-humour had had its vent.
—This hypothesis, Stephen repeated, is the other way out: that,though the same object may not seem beautiful to all people, all peoplewho admire a beautiful object find in it certain relations whichsatisfy and coincide with the stages themselves of all estheticapprehension. These relations of the sensible, visible to you throughone form and to me through another, must be therefore the necessaryqualities of beauty. Now, we can return to our old friend saint Thomasfor another pennyworth of wisdom.
—It amuses me vastly, he said, to hear you quoting him time aftertime like a jolly round friar. Are you laughing in your sleeve?
—MacAlister, answered Stephen, would call my esthetic theory appliedAquinas. So far as this side of esthetic philosophy extends, Aquinaswill carry me all along the line. When we come to the phenomena ofartistic conception, artistic gestation, and artistic reproduction Irequire a new terminology and a new personal experience.
—Of course, said Lynch. After all Aquinas, in spite of his intellect,was exactly a good round friar. But you will tell me about the newpersonal experience and new terminology some other day. Hurry up andfinish the first part.
—Who knows? said Stephen, smiling. Perhaps Aquinas would understandme better than you. He was a poet himself. He wrote a hymn for MaundyThursday. It begins with the words Pange lingua gloriosi. They say itis the highest glory of the hymnal. It is an intricate and soothinghymn. I like it; but there is no hymn that can be put beside thatmournful and majestic processional song, the Vexilla Regis of VenantiusFortunatus.
Lynch began to sing softly and solemnly in a deep bass voice:
Inpleta sunt quæ concinit
David fideli carmine
Regnavit a ligno Deus.
—That’s great! he said, well pleased. Great music!
They turned into Lower Mount Street. A few steps from the corner a fatyoung man, wearing a silk neckcloth, saluted them and stopped.
—Did you hear the results of the exams? he asked. Griffin wasplucked. Halpin and O’Flynn are through the home civil. Moonan gotfifth place in the Indian. O’Shaughnessy got fourteenth. The Irishfellows in Clark’s gave them a feed last night. They all ate curry.
His pallid bloated face expressed benevolent malice and, as he hadadvanced through his tidings of success, his small fat-encircled eyesvanished out of sight and his weak wheezing voice out of hearing.
In reply to a question of Stephen’s his eyes and his voice came forthagain from their lurkingplaces.
—Yes, MacCullagh and I, he said. He’s taking pure mathematics and I’mtaking constitutional history. There are twenty subjects. I’m takingbotany too. You know I’m a member of the field club.
He drew back from the other two in a stately fashion and placed a plumpwoollen-gloved hand on his breast from which muttered wheezing laughterat once broke forth.
—Bring us a few turnips and onions the next time you go out, saidStephen drily, to make a stew.
The fat student laughed indulgently and said:
—We are all highly respectable people in the field club. LastSaturday we went out to Glenmalure, seven of us.
—With women, Donovan? said Lynch.
Donovan again laid his hand on his chest and said:
—Our end is the acquisition of knowledge.
Then he said quickly:
—I hear you are writing some essays about esthetics.
Stephen made a vague gesture of denial.
—Goethe and Lessing, said Donovan, have written a lot on thatsubject, the classical school and the romantic school and all that. TheLaocoon interested me very much when I read it. Of course it isidealistic, German, ultra-profound.
Neither of the others spoke. Donovan took leave of them urbanely.
—I must go, he said softly and benevolently, I have a strongsuspicion, amounting almost to a conviction, that my sister intended tomake pancakes today for the dinner of the Donovan family.
—Goodbye, Stephen said in his wake. Don’t forget the turnips for meand my mate.
Lynch gazed after him, his lip curling in slow scorn till his faceresembled a devil’s mask:
—To think that that yellow pancake-eating excrement can get a goodjob, he said at length, and I have to smoke cheap cigarettes!
They turned their faces towards Merrion Square and went for a little insilence.
—To finish what I was saying about beauty, said Stephen, the mostsatisfying relations of the sensible must therefore correspond to thenecessary phases of artistic apprehension. Find these and you find thequalities of universal beauty. Aquinas says: Ad pulcritudinem triarequiruntur integritas, consonantia, claritas. I translate it so: Threethings are needed for beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance. Dothese correspond to the phases of apprehension? Are you following?
—Of course, I am, said Lynch. If you think I have an excrementitiousintelligence run after Donovan and ask him to listen to you.
Stephen pointed to a basket which a butcher’s boy had slung inverted onhis head.
—Look at that basket, he said.
—I see it, said Lynch.
—In order to see that basket, said Stephen, your mind first of allseparates the basket from the rest of the visible universe which is notthe basket. The first phase of apprehension is a bounding line drawnabout the object to be apprehended. An esthetic image is presented tous either in space or in time. What is audible is presented in time, whatis visible is presented in space. But temporal or spatial, the estheticimage is first luminously apprehended as selfbounded and selfcontainedupon the immeasurable background of space or time which is not it. Youapprehended it as one thing. You see it as one whole. You apprehendits wholeness. That is integritas.
—Bull’s eye! said Lynch, laughing. Go on.
—Then, said Stephen, you pass from point to point, led by its formallines; you apprehend it as balanced part against part within itslimits; you feel the rhythm of its structure. In other words, thesynthesis of immediate perception is followed by the analysis ofapprehension. Having first felt that it is one thing you feel now thatit is a thing. You apprehend it as complex, multiple, divisible,separable, made up of its parts, the result of its parts and their sum,harmonious. That is consonantia.
—Bull’s eye again! said Lynch wittily. Tell me now what isclaritas and you win the cigar.
—The connotation of the word, Stephen said, is rather vague. Aquinasuses a term which seems to be inexact. It baffled me for a long time.It would lead you to believe that he had in mind symbolism or idealism,the supreme quality of beauty being a light from some other world, theidea of which the matter is but the shadow, the reality of which it isbut the symbol. I thought he might mean that claritas is the artisticdiscovery and representation of the divine purpose in anything or aforce of generalization which would make the esthetic image auniversal one, make it outshine its proper conditions. But that isliterary talk. I understand it so. When you have apprehended thatbasket as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form andapprehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which islogically and esthetically permissible. You see that it is that thingwhich it is and no other thing. The radiance of which he speaks in thescholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing. This supremequality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceivedin his imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likenedbeautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme qualityof beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehendedluminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness andfascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of estheticpleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition whichthe Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost asbeautiful as Shelley’s, called the enchantment of the heart.
Stephen paused and, though his companion did not speak, felt that hiswords had called up around them a thought-enchanted silence.
—What I have said, he began again, refers to beauty in the widersense of the word, in the sense which the word has in the literarytradition. In the marketplace it has another sense. When we speak ofbeauty in the second sense of the term our judgement is influenced inthe first place by the art itself and by the form of that art. Theimage, it is clear, must be set between the mind or senses of theartist himself and the mind or senses of others. If you bear this inmemory you will see that art necessarily divides itself into threeforms progressing from one to the next. These forms are: the lyricalform, the form wherein the artist presents his image in immediaterelation to himself; the epical form, the form wherein he presents hisimage in mediate relation to himself and to others; the dramatic form,the form wherein he presents his image in immediate relation to others.
—That you told me a few nights ago, said Lynch, and we began thefamous discussion.
—I have a book at home, said Stephen, in which I have written downquestions which are more amusing than yours were. In finding theanswers to them I found the theory of esthetic which I am trying toexplain. Here are some questions I set myself: Is a chair finely madetragic or comic? Is the portrait of Mona Lisa good if I desire to see it?Is the bust of Sir Philip Crampton lyrical, epical or dramatic. If not,why not?
—Why not, indeed? said Lynch, laughing.
—If a man hacking in fury at a block of wood, Stephen continued,make there an image of a cow, is that image a work of art? If not, why not?
—That’s a lovely one, said Lynch, laughing again. That has the truescholastic stink.
—Lessing, said Stephen, should not have taken a group of statues towrite of. The art, being inferior, does not present the forms I spokeof distinguished clearly one from another. Even in literature, thehighest and most spiritual art, the forms are often confused. Thelyrical form is in fact the simplest verbal vesture of an instant ofemotion, a rhythmical cry such as ages ago cheered on the man who pulledat the oar or dragged stones up a slope. He who utters it is moreconscious of the instant of emotion than of himself as feeling emotion.The simplest epical form is seen emerging out of lyrical literaturewhen the artist prolongs and broods upon himself as the centre of anepical event and this form progresses till the centre of emotionalgravity is equidistant from the artist himself and from others. Thenarrative is no longer purely personal. The personality of the artistpasses into the narration itself, flowing round and round the personsand the action like a vital sea. This progress you will see easily inthat old English ballad Turpin Hero, which begins in the firstperson and ends in the third person. The dramatic form is reached whenthe vitality which has flowed and eddied round each person fills everyperson with such vital force that he or she assumes a proper andintangible esthetic life. The personality of the artist, at first a cryor a cadence or a mood and then a fluid and lambent narrative, finallyrefines itself out of existence, impersonalizes itself, so to speak.The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in andreprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of esthetic, likethat of material creation, is accomplished. The artist, like the God ofcreation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork,invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring hisfingernails.
—Trying to refine them also out of existence, said Lynch.
A fine rain began to fall from the high veiled sky and they turned intothe duke’s lawn to reach the national library before the shower came.
—What do you mean, Lynch asked surlily, by prating about beauty andthe imagination in this miserable Godforsaken island? No wonder theartist retired within or behind his handiwork after having perpetratedthis country.
The rain fell faster. When they passed through the passage besideKildare house they found many students sheltering under the arcade ofthe library. Cranly, leaning against a pillar, was picking his teethwith a sharpened match, listening to some companions. Some girls stoodnear the entrance door. Lynch whispered to Stephen:
—Your beloved is here.
Stephen took his place silently on the step below the group ofstudents, heedless of the rain which fell fast, turning his eyestowards her from time to time. She too stood silently among hercompanions. She has no priest to flirt with, he thought with consciousbitterness, remembering how he had seen her last. Lynch was right. Hismind emptied of theory and courage, lapsed back into a listless peace.
He heard the students talking among themselves. They spoke of twofriends who had passed the final medical examination, of the chances ofgetting places on ocean liners, of poor and rich practices.
—That’s all a bubble. An Irish country practice is better.
—Hynes was two years in Liverpool and he says the same. A frightfulhole he said it was. Nothing but midwifery cases.
—Do you mean to say it is better to have a job here in the countrythan in a rich city like that? I know a fellow...
—Hynes has no brains. He got through by stewing, pure stewing.
—Don’t mind him. There’s plenty of money to be made in a big commercialcity.
—Depends on the practice.
—Ego credo ut vita pauperum est simpliciter atrox, simplicitersanguinarius atrox, in Liverpoolio.
Their voices reached his ears as if from a distance in interruptedpulsation. She was preparing to go away with her companions.
The quick light shower had drawn off, tarrying in clusters of diamondsamong the shrubs of the quadrangle where an exhalation was breathedforth by the blackened earth. Their trim boots prattled as they stoodon the steps of the colonnade, talking quietly and gaily, glancing atthe clouds, holding their umbrellas at cunning angles against the fewlast raindrops, closing them again, holding their skirts demurely.
And if he had judged her harshly? If her life were a simple rosary ofhours, her life simple and strange as a bird’s life, gay in themorning, restless all day, tired at sundown? Her heart simple andwilful as a bird’s heart?
Towards dawn he awoke. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet.Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He laystill, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweetmusic. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, amorning inspiration. A spirit filled him, pure as the purest water,sweet as dew, moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed, howpassionlessly, as if the seraphim themselves were breathing upon him!His soul was waking slowly, fearing to awake wholly. It was thatwindless hour of dawn when madness wakes and strange plants open to thelight and the moth flies forth silently.
An enchantment of the heart! The night had been enchanted. In a dreamor vision he had known the ecstasy of seraphic life. Was it an instantof enchantment only or long hours and years and ages?
The instant of inspiration seemed now to be reflected from all sides atonce from a multitude of cloudy circumstances of what had happened orof what might have happened. The instant flashed forth like a point oflight and now from cloud on cloud of vague circumstance confused formwas veiling softly its afterglow. O! In the virgin womb of theimagination the word was made flesh. Gabriel the seraph had come to thevirgin’s chamber. An afterglow deepened within his spirit, whence thewhite flame had passed, deepening to a rose and ardent light. That roseand ardent light was her strange wilful heart, strange that no man hadknown or would know, wilful from before the beginning of the world; andlured by that ardent roselike glow the choirs of the seraphim werefalling from heaven.
Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
The verses passed from his mind to his lips and, murmuring them over,he felt the rhythmic movement of a villanelle pass through them. Theroselike glow sent forth its rays of rhyme; ways, days, blaze, praise,raise. Its rays burned up the world, consumed the hearts of men andangels: the rays from the rose that was her wilful heart.
Your eyes have set man’s heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
And then? The rhythm died away, ceased, began again to move and beat.And then? Smoke, incense ascending from the altar of the world.
Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Smoke went up from the whole earth, from the vapoury oceans, smoke ofher praise. The earth was like a swinging swaying censer, a ball ofincense, an ellipsoidal ball. The rhythm died out at once; the cry ofhis heart was broken. His lips began to murmur the first verses overand over; then went on stumbling through half verses, stammering andbaffled; then stopped. The heart’s cry was broken.
The veiled windless hour had passed and behind the panes of the nakedwindow the morning light was gathering. A bell beat faintly very faraway. A bird twittered; two birds, three. The bell and the bird ceased;and the dull white light spread itself east and west, covering theworld, covering the roselight in his heart.
Fearing to lose all, he raised himself suddenly on his elbow to lookfor paper and pencil. There was neither on the table; only the soupplate he had eaten the rice from for supper and the candlestick withits tendrils of tallow and its paper socket, singed by the last flame.He stretched his arm wearily towards the foot of the bed, groping withhis hand in the pockets of the coat that hung there. His fingers founda pencil and then a cigarette packet. He lay back and, tearing open thepacket, placed the last cigarette on the window ledge and began towrite out the stanzas of the villanelle in small neat letters on therough cardboard surface.
Having written them out he lay back on the lumpy pillow, murmuring themagain. The lumps of knotted flock under his head reminded him of thelumps of knotted horsehair in the sofa of her parlour on which he usedto sit, smiling or serious, asking himself why he had come, displeasedwith her and with himself, confounded by the print of the Sacred Heartabove the untenanted sideboard. He saw her approach him in a lull ofthe talk and beg him to sing one of his curious songs. Then he sawhimself sitting at the old piano, striking chords softly from itsspeckled keys and singing, amid the talk which had risen again in theroom, to her who leaned beside the mantelpiece a dainty song of theElizabethans, a sad and sweet loth to depart, the victory chant ofAgincourt, the happy air of Greensleeves. While he sang and shelistened, or feigned to listen, his heart was at rest but when thequaint old songs had ended and he heard again the voices in the room heremembered his own sarcasm: the house where young men are called bytheir christian names a little too soon.
At certain instants her eyes seemed about to trust him but he hadwaited in vain. She passed now dancing lightly across his memory as shehad been that night at the carnival ball, her white dress a littlelifted, a white spray nodding in her hair. She danced lightly in theround. She was dancing towards him and, as she came, her eyes were alittle averted and a faint glow was on her cheek. At the pause in thechain of hands her hand had lain in his an instant, a soft merchandise.
—You are a great stranger now.
—Yes. I was born to be a monk.
—I am afraid you are a heretic.
—Are you much afraid?
For answer she had danced away from him along the chain of hands,dancing lightly and discreetly, giving herself to none. The white spraynodded to her dancing and when she was in shadow the glow was deeper onher cheek.
A monk! His own image started forth a profaner of the cloister, aheretic Franciscan, willing and willing not to serve, spinning likeGherardino da Borgo San Donnino, a lithe web of sophistry andwhispering in her ear.
No, it was not his image. It was like the image of the young priest inwhose company he had seen her last, looking at him out of dove’s eyes,toying with the pages of her Irish phrasebook.
—Yes, yes, the ladies are coming round to us. I can see it every day.The ladies are with us. The best helpers the language has.
—And the church, Father Moran?
—The church too. Coming round too. The work is going ahead there too.Don’t fret about the church.
Bah! he had done well to leave the room in disdain. He had done wellnot to salute her on the steps of the library. He had done well toleave her to flirt with her priest, to toy with a church which was thescullery-maid of christendom.
Rude brutal anger routed the last lingering instant of ecstasy from hissoul. It broke up violently her fair image and flung the fragments onall sides. On all sides distorted reflections of her image started fromhis memory: the flower girl in the ragged dress with damp coarse hairand a hoyden’s face who had called herself his own girl and begged hishandsel, the kitchen-girl in the next house who sang over the clatterof her plates, with the drawl of a country singer, the first bars of ByKillarney’s Lakes and Fells, a girl who had laughed gaily to see himstumble when the iron grating in the footpath near Cork Hill had caughtthe broken sole of his shoe, a girl he had glanced at, attracted by hersmall ripe mouth, as she passed out of Jacob’s biscuit factory, who hadcried to him over her shoulder:
—Do you like what you seen of me, straight hair and curly eyebrows?
And yet he felt that, however he might revile and mock her image, hisanger was also a form of homage. He had left the classroom in disdainthat was not wholly sincere, feeling that perhaps the secret of herrace lay behind those dark eyes upon which her long lashes flung aquick shadow. He had told himself bitterly as he walked through thestreets that she was a figure of the womanhood of her country, a batlikesoul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy andloneliness, tarrying awhile, loveless and sinless, with her mild lover andleaving him to whisper of innocent transgressions in the latticed ear of apriest. His anger against her found vent in coarse railing at herparamour, whose name and voice and features offended his baffled pride: apriested peasant, with a brother a policeman in Dublin and a brother apotboy in Moycullen. To him she would unveil her soul’s shy nakedness, toone who was but schooled in the discharging of a formal rite rather thanto him, a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the daily breadof experience into the radiant body of everliving life.
The radiant image of the eucharist united again in an instant hisbitter and despairing thoughts, their cries arising unbroken in a hymnof thanksgiving.
Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim
Tell no more of enchanted days.
He spoke the verses aloud from the first lines till the music andrhythm suffused his mind, turning it to quiet indulgence; then copiedthem painfully to feel them the better by seeing them; then lay back onhis bolster.
The full morning light had come. No sound was to be heard; but he knewthat all around him life was about to awaken in common noises, hoarsevoices, sleepy prayers. Shrinking from that life he turned towards thewall, making a cowl of the blanket and staring at the great overblownscarlet flowers of the tattered wallpaper. He tried to warm hisperishing joy in their scarlet glow, imagining a roseway from where helay upwards to heaven all strewn with scarlet flowers. Weary! Weary! Hetoo was weary of ardent ways.
A gradual warmth, a languorous weariness passed over him descendingalong his spine from his closely cowled head. He felt it descend and,seeing himself as he lay, smiled. Soon he would sleep.
He had written verses for her again after ten years. Ten years beforeshe had worn her shawl cowlwise about her head, sending sprays of herwarm breath into the night air, tapping her foot upon the glassy road.It was the last tram; the lank brown horses knew it and shook theirbells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with thedriver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. They stoodon the steps of the tram, he on the upper, she on the lower. She cameup to his step many times between their phrases and went down again andonce or twice remained beside him forgetting to go down and then wentdown. Let be! Let be!
Ten years from that wisdom of children to his folly. If he sent her theverses? They would be read out at breakfast amid the tapping ofeggshells. Folly indeed! Her brothers would laugh and try to wrest thepage from each other with their strong hard fingers. The suave priest,her uncle, seated in his armchair, would hold the page at arm’slength, read it smiling and approve of the literary form.
No, no; that was folly. Even if he sent her the verses she would notshow them to others. No, no; she could not.
He began to feel that he had wronged her. A sense of her innocencemoved him almost to pity her, an innocence he had never understood tillhe had come to the knowledge of it through sin, an innocence which shetoo had not understood while she was innocent or before the strangehumiliation of her nature had first come upon her. Then first her soulhad begun to live as his soul had when he had first sinned, and atender compassion filled his heart as he remembered her frail pallorand her eyes, humbled and saddened by the dark shame of womanhood.
While his soul had passed from ecstasy to languor where had she been?Might it be, in the mysterious ways of spiritual life, that her soul atthose same moments had been conscious of his homage? It might be.
A glow of desire kindled again his soul and fired and fulfilled all hisbody. Conscious of his desire she was waking from odorous sleep, thetemptress of his villanelle. Her eyes, dark and with a look of languor,were opening to his eyes. Her nakedness yielded to him, radiant, warm,odorous and lavish-limbed, enfolded him like a shining cloud, enfoldedhim like water with a liquid life; and like a cloud of vapour or likewaters circumfluent in space the liquid letters of speech, symbols ofthe element of mystery, flowed forth over his brain.
Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Your eyes have set man’s heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.
And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
What birds were they? He stood on the steps of the library to look atthem, leaning wearily on his ashplant. They flew round and round thejutting shoulder of a house in Molesworth Street. The air of the lateMarch evening made clear their flight, their dark darting quiveringbodies flying clearly against the sky as against a limp-hung cloth ofsmoky tenuous blue.
He watched their flight; bird after bird: a dark flash, a swerve, aflutter of wings. He tried to count them before all their dartingquivering bodies passed: six, ten, eleven: and wondered were they oddor even in number. Twelve, thirteen: for two came wheeling down from theupper sky. They were flying high and low but ever round and round instraight and curving lines and ever flying from left to right, circlingabout a temple of air.
He listened to the cries: like the squeak of mice behind the wainscot:a shrill twofold note. But the notes were long and shrill and whirring,unlike the cry of vermin, falling a third or a fourth and trilled asthe flying beaks clove the air. Their cry was shrill and clear and fineand falling like threads of silken light unwound from whirring spools.
The inhuman clamour soothed his ears in which his mother’s sobs andreproaches murmured insistently and the dark frail quivering bodieswheeling and fluttering and swerving round an airy temple of thetenuous sky soothed his eyes which still saw the image of his mother’sface.
Why was he gazing upwards from the steps of the porch, hearing theirshrill twofold cry, watching their flight? For an augury of good orevil? A phrase of Cornelius Agrippa flew through his mind and thenthere flew hither and thither shapeless thoughts from Swedenborg on thecorrespondence of birds to things of the intellect and of how thecreatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times andseasons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life andhave not perverted that order by reason.
And for ages men had gazed upward as he was gazing at birds in flight.The colonnade above him made him think vaguely of an ancient temple andthe ashplant on which he leaned wearily of the curved stick of anaugur. A sense of fear of the unknown moved in the heart of hisweariness, a fear of symbols and portents, of the hawklike man whosename he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier-woven wings, ofThoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet andbearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon.
He smiled as he thought of the god’s image for it made him think of abottle-nosed judge in a wig, putting commas into a document which heheld at arm’s length, and he knew that he would not have remembered thegod’s name but that it was like an Irish oath. It was folly. But was itfor this folly that he was about to leave for ever the house of prayerand prudence into which he had been born and the order of life out ofwhich he had come?
They came back with shrill cries over the jutting shoulder of thehouse, flying darkly against the fading air. What birds were they? Hethought that they must be swallows who had come back from the south.Then he was to go away for they were birds ever going and coming,building ever an unlasting home under the eaves of men’s houses andever leaving the homes they had built to wander.
Bend down your faces, Oona and Aleel.
I gaze upon them as the swallow gazes
Upon the nest under the eave before
He wander the loud waters.
A soft liquid joy like the noise of many waters flowed over his memoryand he felt in his heart the soft peace of silent spaces of fadingtenuous sky above the waters, of oceanic silence, of swallows flyingthrough the seadusk over the flowing waters.
A soft liquid joy flowed through the words where the soft long vowelshurtled noiselessly and fell away, lapping and flowing back and evershaking the white bells of their waves in mute chime and mute peal, andsoft low swooning cry; and he felt that the augury he had sought in thewheeling darting birds and in the pale space of sky above him had comeforth from his heart like a bird from a turret, quietly and swiftly.
Symbol of departure or of loneliness? The verses crooned in the ear ofhis memory composed slowly before his remembering eyes the scene of thehall on the night of the opening of the national theatre. He was aloneat the side of the balcony, looking out of jaded eyes at the culture ofDublin in the stalls and at the tawdry scenecloths and human dollsframed by the garish lamps of the stage. A burly policeman sweated behindhim and seemed at every moment about to act. The catcalls and hisses andmocking cries ran in rude gusts round the hall from his scattered fellowstudents.
—A libel on Ireland!
—Made in Germany.
—We never sold our faith!
—No Irish woman ever did it!
—We want no amateur atheists.
—We want no budding buddhists.
A sudden swift hiss fell from the windows above him and he knew thatthe electric lamps had been switched on in the reader’s room. He turnedinto the pillared hall, now calmly lit, went up the staircase andpassed in through the clicking turnstile.
Cranly was sitting over near the dictionaries. A thick book, opened atthe frontispiece, lay before him on the wooden rest. He leaned back inhis chair, inclining his ear like that of a confessor to the face ofthe medical student who was reading to him a problem from the chesspage of a journal. Stephen sat down at his right and the priest at theother side of the table closed his copy of The Tablet with an angrysnap and stood up.
Cranly gazed after him blandly and vaguely. The medical student went onin a softer voice:
—Pawn to king’s fourth.
—We had better go, Dixon, said Stephen in warning. He has gone tocomplain.
Dixon folded the journal and rose with dignity, saying:
—Our men retired in good order.
—With guns and cattle, added Stephen, pointing to the titlepage ofCranly’s book on which was printed Diseases of the Ox.
As they passed through a lane of the tables Stephen said:
—Cranly, I want to speak to you.
Cranly did not answer or turn. He laid his book on the counter andpassed out, his well-shod feet sounding flatly on the floor. On thestaircase he paused and gazing absently at Dixon repeated:
—Pawn to king’s bloody fourth.
—Put it that way if you like, Dixon said.
He had a quiet toneless voice and urbane manners and on a finger of hisplump clean hand he displayed at moments a signet ring.
As they crossed the hall a man of dwarfish stature came towards them.Under the dome of his tiny hat his unshaven face began to smile withpleasure and he was heard to murmur. The eyes were melancholy as thoseof a monkey.
—Good evening, gentlemen, said the stubble-grown monkeyish face.
—Warm weather for March, said Cranly. They have the windows openupstairs.
Dixon smiled and turned his ring. The blackish, monkey-puckered facepursed its human mouth with gentle pleasure and its voice purred:
—Delightful weather for March. Simply delightful.
—There are two nice young ladies upstairs, captain, tired of waiting,Dixon said.
Cranly smiled and said kindly:
—The captain has only one love: sir Walter Scott. Isn’t that so,captain?
—What are you reading now, captain? Dixon asked. The Bride ofLammermoor?
—I love old Scott, the flexible lips said, I think he writes somethinglovely. There is no writer can touch sir Walter Scott.
He moved a thin shrunken brown hand gently in the air in time to hispraise and his thin quick eyelids beat often over his sad eyes.
Sadder to Stephen’s ear was his speech: a genteel accent, low andmoist, marred by errors, and, listening to it, he wondered was thestory true and was the thin blood that flowed in his shrunken framenoble and come of an incestuous love?
The park trees were heavy with rain; and rain fell still and ever inthe lake, lying grey like a shield. A game of swans flew there and thewater and the shore beneath were fouled with their greenwhite slime.They embraced softly, impelled by the grey rainy light, the wetsilent trees, the shieldlike witnessing lake, the swans. They embracedwithout joy or passion, his arm about his sister’s neck. A grey woollencloak was wrapped athwart her from her shoulder to her waist and herfair head was bent in willing shame. He had loose redbrown hair andtender shapely strong freckled hands. Face? There was no face seen. Thebrother’s face was bent upon her fair rain-fragrant hair. The handfreckled and strong and shapely and caressing was Davin’s hand.
He frowned angrily upon his thought and on the shrivelled mannikin whohad called it forth. His father’s gibes at the Bantry gang leaped outof his memory. He held them at a distance and brooded uneasily on hisown thought again. Why were they not Cranly’s hands? Had Davin’ssimplicity and innocence stung him more secretly?
He walked on across the hall with Dixon, leaving Cranly to take leaveelaborately of the dwarf.
Under the colonnade Temple was standing in the midst of a little groupof students. One of them cried:
—Dixon, come over till you hear. Temple is in grand form.
Temple turned on him his dark gipsy eyes.
—You’re a hypocrite, O’Keeffe, he said. And Dixon is a smiler. Byhell, I think that’s a good literary expression.
He laughed slily, looking in Stephen’s face, repeating:
—By hell, I’m delighted with that name. A smiler.
A stout student who stood below them on the steps said:
—Come back to the mistress, Temple. We want to hear about that.
—He had, faith, Temple said. And he was a married man too. And all thepriests used to be dining there. By hell, I think they all had a touch.
—We shall call it riding a hack to spare the hunter, said Dixon.
—Tell us, Temple, O’Keeffe said, how many quarts of porter have youin you?
—All your intellectual soul is in that phrase, O’Keeffe, said Templewith open scorn.
He moved with a shambling gait round the group and spoke to Stephen.
—Did you know that the Forsters are the kings of Belgium? he asked.
Cranly came out through the door of the entrance hall, his hat thrustback on the nape of his neck and picking his teeth with care.
—And here’s the wiseacre, said Temple. Do you know that about theForsters?
He paused for an answer. Cranly dislodged a figseed from his teeth onthe point of his rude toothpick and gazed at it intently.
—The Forster family, Temple said, is descended from Baldwin theFirst, king of Flanders. He was called the Forester. Forester andForster are the same name. A descendant of Baldwin the First, captainFrancis Forster, settled in Ireland and married the daughter of thelast chieftain of Clanbrassil. Then there are the Blake Forsters.That’s a different branch.
—From Baldhead, king of Flanders, Cranly repeated, rooting againdeliberately at his gleaming uncovered teeth.
—Where did you pick up all that history? O’Keeffe asked.
—I know all the history of your family, too, Temple said, turning toStephen. Do you know what Giraldus Cambrensis says about your family?
—Is he descended from Baldwin too? asked a tall consumptive studentwith dark eyes.
—Baldhead, Cranly repeated, sucking at a crevice in his teeth.
—Pernobilis et pervetusta familia, Temple said to Stephen.
The stout student who stood below them on the steps farted briefly. Dixonturned towards him, saying in a soft voice:
—Did an angel speak?
Cranly turned also and said vehemently but without anger:
—Goggins, you’re the flamingest dirty devil I ever met, do you know.
—I had it on my mind to say that, Goggins answered firmly. It did noone any harm, did it?
—We hope, Dixon said suavely, that it was not of the kind known toscience as a paulo post futurum.
—Didn’t I tell you he was a smiler? said Temple, turning right andleft. Didn’t I give him that name?
—You did. We’re not deaf, said the tall consumptive.
Cranly still frowned at the stout student below him. Then, with a snortof disgust, he shoved him violently down the steps.
—Go away from here, he said rudely. Go away, you stinkpot. And you are astinkpot.
Goggins skipped down on to the gravel and at once returned to his placewith good humour. Temple turned back to Stephen and asked:
—Do you believe in the law of heredity?
—Are you drunk or what are you or what are you trying to say? askedCranly, facing round on him with an expression of wonder.
—The most profound sentence ever written, Temple said withenthusiasm, is the sentence at the end of the zoology. Reproduction isthe beginning of death.
He touched Stephen timidly at the elbow and said eagerly:
—Do you feel how profound that is because you are a poet?
Cranly pointed his long forefinger.
—Look at him! he said with scorn to the others. Look at Ireland’s hope!
They laughed at his words and gesture. Temple turned on him bravely,saying:
—Cranly, you’re always sneering at me. I can see that. But I am asgood as you any day. Do you know what I think about you now as comparedwith myself?
—My dear man, said Cranly urbanely, you are incapable, do you know,absolutely incapable of thinking.
—But do you know, Temple went on, what I think of you and of myselfcompared together?
—Out with it, Temple! the stout student cried from the steps. Get itout in bits!
Temple turned right and left, making sudden feeble gestures as he spoke.
—I’m a ballocks, he said, shaking his head in despair. I am and Iknow I am. And I admit it that I am.
Dixon patted him lightly on the shoulder and said mildly:
—And it does you every credit, Temple.
—But he, Temple said, pointing to Cranly, he is a ballocks, too, likeme. Only he doesn’t know it. And that’s the only difference I see.
A burst of laughter covered his words. But he turned again to Stephenand said with a sudden eagerness:
—That word is a most interesting word. That’s the only English dualnumber. Did you know?
—Is it? Stephen said vaguely.
He was watching Cranly’s firm-featured suffering face, lit up now by asmile of false patience. The gross name had passed over it like foulwater poured over an old stone image, patient of injuries; and, as hewatched him, he saw him raise his hat in salute and uncover the blackhair that stood stiffly from his forehead like an iron crown.
She passed out from the porch of the library and bowed across Stephenin reply to Cranly’s greeting. He also? Was there not a slight flush onCranly’s cheek? Or had it come forth at Temple’s words? The light hadwaned. He could not see.
Did that explain his friend’s listless silence, his harsh comments, thesudden intrusions of rude speech with which he had shattered so oftenStephen’s ardent wayward confessions? Stephen had forgiven freely forhe had found this rudeness also in himself. And he remembered anevening when he had dismounted from a borrowed creaking bicycle to prayto God in a wood near Malahide. He had lifted up his arms and spoken inecstasy to the sombre nave of the trees, knowing that he stood on holyground and in a holy hour. And when two constabulary men had come intosight round a bend in the gloomy road he had broken off his prayer towhistle loudly an air from the last pantomime.
He began to beat the frayed end of his ashplant against the base of apillar. Had Cranly not heard him? Yet he could wait. The talk about himceased for a moment and a soft hiss fell again from a window above. Butno other sound was in the air and the swallows whose flight he hadfollowed with idle eyes were sleeping.
She had passed through the dusk. And therefore the air was silent savefor one soft hiss that fell. And therefore the tongues about him hadceased their babble. Darkness was falling.
Darkness falls from the air.
A trembling joy, lambent as a faint light, played like a fairy hostaround him. But why? Her passage through the darkening air or the versewith its black vowels and its opening sound, rich and lutelike?
He walked away slowly towards the deeper shadows at the end of thecolonnade, beating the stone softly with his stick to hide his reveriefrom the students whom he had left: and allowed his mind to summon backto itself the age of Dowland and Byrd and Nash.
Eyes, opening from the darkness of desire, eyes that dimmed thebreaking east. What was their languid grace but the softness ofchambering? And what was their shimmer but the shimmer of the scum thatmantled the cesspool of the court of a slobbering Stuart. And he tastedin the language of memory ambered wines, dying fallings of sweet airs,the proud pavan, and saw with the eyes of memory kind gentlewomen inCovent Garden wooing from their balconies with sucking mouths and thepoxfouled wenches of the taverns and young wives that, gaily yieldingto their ravishers, clipped and clipped again.
The images he had summoned gave him no pleasure. They were secret andinflaming but her image was not entangled by them. That was not the wayto think of her. It was not even the way in which he thought of her.Could his mind then not trust itself? Old phrases, sweet only with adisinterred sweetness like the figseeds Cranly rooted out of hisgleaming teeth.
It was not thought nor vision though he knew vaguely that her figurewas passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then moresharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood.Yes, it was her body he smelt, a wild and languid smell, the tepidlimbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret softlinen upon which her flesh distilled odour and a dew.
A louse crawled over the nape of his neck and, putting his thumb andforefinger deftly beneath his loose collar, he caught it. He rolled itsbody, tender yet brittle as a grain of rice, between thumb and fingerfor an instant before he let it fall from him and wondered would itlive or die. There came to his mind a curious phrase from Cornelius aLapide which said that the lice born of human sweat were not created byGod with the other animals on the sixth day. But the tickling of theskin of his neck made his mind raw and red. The life of his body, illclad, ill fed, louse eaten, made him close his eyelids in a suddenspasm of despair and in the darkness he saw the brittle bright bodiesof lice falling from the air and turning often as they fell. Yes, andit was not darkness that fell from the air. It was brightness.
Brightness falls from the air.
He had not even remembered rightly Nash’s line. All the images it hadawakened were false. His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice bornof the sweat of sloth.
He came back quickly along the colonnade towards the group of students.Well then, let her go and be damned to her! She could love some cleanathlete who washed himself every morning to the waist and had blackhair on his chest. Let her.
Cranly had taken another dried fig from the supply in his pocket andwas eating it slowly and noisily. Temple sat on the pediment of apillar, leaning back, his cap pulled down on his sleepy eyes. A squatyoung man came out of the porch, a leather portfolio tucked under hisarmpit. He marched towards the group, striking the flags with the heelsof his boots and with the ferrule of his heavy umbrella. Then, raisingthe umbrella in salute, he said to all:
—Good evening, sirs.
He struck the flags again and tittered while his head trembled with aslight nervous movement. The tall consumptive student and Dixon andO’Keeffe were speaking in Irish and did not answer him. Then, turningto Cranly, he said:
—Good evening, particularly to you.
He moved the umbrella in indication and tittered again. Cranly, who wasstill chewing the fig, answered with loud movements of his jaws.
—Good? Yes. It is a good evening.
The squat student looked at him seriously and shook his umbrella gentlyand reprovingly.
—I can see, he said, that you are about to make obvious remarks.
—Um, Cranly answered, holding out what remained of the half chewedfig and jerking it towards the squat student’s mouth in sign that heshould eat.
The squat student did not eat it but, indulging his special humour,said gravely, still tittering and prodding his phrase with hisumbrella:
—Do you intend that...
He broke off, pointed bluntly to the munched pulp of the fig, and saidloudly:
—I allude to that.
—Um, Cranly said as before.
—Do you intend that now, the squat student said, as ipso factoor, let us say, as so to speak?
Dixon turned aside from his group, saying:
—Goggins was waiting for you, Glynn. He has gone round to the Adelphito look for you and Moynihan. What have you there? he asked, tappingthe portfolio under Glynn’s arm.
—Examination papers, Glynn answered. I give them monthly examinationsto see that they are profiting by my tuition.
He also tapped the portfolio and coughed gently and smiled.
—Tuition! said Cranly rudely. I suppose you mean the barefootedchildren that are taught by a bloody ape like you. God help them!
He bit off the rest of the fig and flung away the butt.
—I suffer little children to come unto me, Glynn said amiably.
—A bloody ape, Cranly repeated with emphasis, and a blasphemousbloody ape!
Temple stood up and, pushing past Cranly, addressed Glynn:
—That phrase you said now, he said, is from the new testament aboutsuffer the children to come to me.
—Go to sleep again, Temple, said O’Keeffe.
—Very well, then, Temple continued, still addressing Glynn, and ifJesus suffered the children to come why does the church send them allto hell if they die unbaptised? Why is that?
—Were you baptised yourself, Temple? the consumptive student asked.
—But why are they sent to hell if Jesus said they were all to come?Temple said, his eyes searching Glynn’s eyes.
Glynn coughed and said gently, holding back with difficulty the nervoustitter in his voice and moving his umbrella at every word:
—And, as you remark, if it is thus, I ask emphatically whence comesthis thusness.
—Because the church is cruel like all old sinners, Temple said.
—Are you quite orthodox on that point, Temple? Dixon said suavely.
—Saint Augustine says that about unbaptised children going to hell,Temple answered, because he was a cruel old sinner too.
—I bow to you, Dixon said, but I had the impression that limboexisted for such cases.
—Don’t argue with him, Dixon, Cranly said brutally. Don’t talk to himor look at him. Lead him home with a sugan the way you’d lead ableating goat.
—Limbo! Temple cried. That’s a fine invention too. Like hell.
—But with the unpleasantness left out, Dixon said.
He turned smiling to the others and said:
—I think I am voicing the opinions of all present in saying so much.
—You are, Glynn said in a firm tone. On that point Ireland is united.
He struck the ferrule of his umbrella on the stone floor of thecolonnade.
—Hell, Temple said. I can respect that invention of the grey spouseof Satan. Hell is Roman, like the walls of the Romans, strong and ugly.But what is limbo?
—Put him back into the perambulator, Cranly, O’Keeffe called out.
Cranly made a swift step towards Temple, halted, stamping his foot,crying as if to a fowl:
Temple moved away nimbly.
—Do you know what limbo is? he cried. Do you know what we call anotion like that in Roscommon?
—Hoosh! Blast you! Cranly cried, clapping his hands.
—Neither my arse nor my elbow! Temple cried out scornfully. Andthat’s what I call limbo.
—Give us that stick here, Cranly said.
He snatched the ashplant roughly from Stephen’s hand and sprang downthe steps: but Temple, hearing him move in pursuit, fled through thedusk like a wild creature, nimble and fleet-footed. Cranly’s heavyboots were heard loudly charging across the quadrangle and thenreturning heavily, foiled and spurning the gravel at each step.
His step was angry and with an angry abrupt gesture he thrust the stickback into Stephen’s hand. Stephen felt that his anger had another causebut, feigning patience, touched his arm slightly and said quietly:
—Cranly, I told you I wanted to speak to you. Come away.
Cranly looked at him for a few moments and asked:
—Yes, now, Stephen said. We can’t speak here. Come away.
They crossed the quadrangle together without speaking. The bird callfrom Siegfried whistled softly followed them from the steps ofthe porch. Cranly turned, and Dixon, who had whistled, called out:
—Where are you fellows off to? What about that game, Cranly?
They parleyed in shouts across the still air about a game of billiardsto be played in the Adelphi hotel. Stephen walked on alone and out intothe quiet of Kildare Street opposite Maple’s hotel he stood to wait,patient again. The name of the hotel, a colourless polished wood, andits colourless front stung him like a glance of polite disdain. Hestared angrily back at the softly lit drawingroom of the hotel inwhich he imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland housedin calm. They thought of army commissions and land agents: peasantsgreeted them along the roads in the country; they knew the names ofcertain French dishes and gave orders to jarvies in highpitchedprovincial voices which pierced through their skintight accents.
How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over theimaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them,that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under thedeepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which hebelonged flitting like bats across the dark country lanes, under treesby the edges of streams and near the pool-mottled bogs. A woman hadwaited in the doorway as Davin had passed by at night and, offering hima cup of milk, had all but wooed him to her bed; for Davin had the mildeyes of one who could be secret. But him no woman’s eyes had wooed.
His arm was taken in a strong grip and Cranly’s voice said:
—Let us eke go.
They walked southward in silence. Then Cranly said:
—That blithering idiot, Temple! I swear to Moses, do you know, thatI’ll be the death of that fellow one time.
But his voice was no longer angry and Stephen wondered was he thinkingof her greeting to him under the porch.
They turned to the left and walked on as before. When they had gone onso for some time Stephen said:
—Cranly, I had an unpleasant quarrel this evening.
—With your people? Cranly asked.
—With my mother.
—Yes, Stephen answered.
After a pause Cranly asked:
—What age is your mother?
—Not old, Stephen said. She wishes me to make my easter duty.
—And will you?
—I will not, Stephen said.
—Why not? Cranly said.
—I will not serve, answered Stephen.
—That remark was made before, Cranly said calmly.
—It is made behind now, said Stephen hotly.
Cranly pressed Stephen’s arm, saying:
—Go easy, my dear man. You’re an excitable bloody man, do you know.
He laughed nervously as he spoke and, looking up into Stephen’s facewith moved and friendly eyes, said:
—Do you know that you are an excitable man?
—I daresay I am, said Stephen, laughing also.
Their minds, lately estranged, seemed suddenly to have been drawncloser, one to the other.
—Do you believe in the eucharist? Cranly asked.
—I do not, Stephen said.
—Do you disbelieve then?
—I neither believe in it nor disbelieve in it, Stephen answered.
—Many persons have doubts, even religious persons, yet they overcomethem or put them aside, Cranly said. Are your doubts on that point toostrong?
—I do not wish to overcome them, Stephen answered.
Cranly, embarrassed for a moment, took another fig from his pocket andwas about to eat it when Stephen said:
—Don’t, please. You cannot discuss this question with your mouth fullof chewed fig.
Cranly examined the fig by the light of a lamp under which he halted.Then he smelt it with both nostrils, bit a tiny piece, spat it out andthrew the fig rudely into the gutter. Addressing it as it lay, he said:
—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!
Taking Stephen’s arm, he went on again and said:
—Do you not fear that those words may be spoken to you on the day ofjudgement?
—What is offered me on the other hand? Stephen asked. An eternity ofbliss in the company of the dean of studies?
—Remember, Cranly said, that he would be glorified.
—Ay, Stephen said somewhat bitterly, bright, agile, impassible and,above all, subtle.
—It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, howyour mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say youdisbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet youdid.
—I did, Stephen answered.
—And were you happier then? Cranly asked softly, happier than you arenow, for instance?
—Often happy, Stephen said, and often unhappy. I was someone elsethen.
—How someone else? What do you mean by that statement?
—I mean, said Stephen, that I was not myself as I am now, as I had tobecome.
—Not as you are now, not as you had to become, Cranly repeated. Letme ask you a question. Do you love your mother?
Stephen shook his head slowly.
—I don’t know what your words mean, he said simply.
—Have you never loved anyone? Cranly asked.
—Do you mean women?
—I am not speaking of that, Cranly said in a colder tone. I ask youif you ever felt love towards anyone or anything?
Stephen walked on beside his friend, staring gloomily at the footpath.
—I tried to love God, he said at length. It seems now I failed. It isvery difficult. I tried to unite my will with the will of God instantby instant. In that I did not always fail. I could perhaps do thatstill...
Cranly cut him short by asking:
—Has your mother had a happy life?
—How do I know? Stephen said.
—How many children had she?
—Nine or ten, Stephen answered. Some died.
—Was your father.... Cranly interrupted himself for an instant, andthen said: I don’t want to pry into your family affairs. But was yourfather what is called well-to-do? I mean, when you were growing up?
—Yes, Stephen said.
—What was he? Cranly asked after a pause.
Stephen began to enumerate glibly his father’s attributes.
—A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shoutingpolitician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a goodfellow, a storyteller, somebody’s secretary, something in adistillery, a taxgatherer, a bankrupt and at present a praiser of hisown past.
Cranly laughed, tightening his grip on Stephen’s arm, and said:
—The distillery is damn good.
—Is there anything else you want to know? Stephen asked.
—Are you in good circumstances at present?
—Do I look it? Stephen asked bluntly.
—So then, Cranly went on musingly, you were born in the lap of luxury.
He used the phrase broadly and loudly as he often used technicalexpressions as if he wished his hearer to understand that they wereused by him without conviction.
—Your mother must have gone through a good deal of suffering, he saidthen. Would you not try to save her from suffering more even if... or wouldyou?
—If I could, Stephen said, that would cost me very little.
—Then do so, Cranly said. Do as she wishes you to do. What is it foryou? You disbelieve in it. It is a form: nothing else. And you will sether mind at rest.
He ceased and, as Stephen did not reply, remained silent. Then, as ifgiving utterance to the process of his own thought, he said:
—Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world amother’s love is not. Your mother brings you into the world, carriesyou first in her body. What do we know about what she feels? Butwhatever she feels, it, at least, must be real. It must be. What areour ideas or ambitions? Play. Ideas! Why, that bloody bleating goatTemple has ideas. MacCann has ideas too. Every jackass going the roadsthinks he has ideas.
Stephen, who had been listening to the unspoken speech behind thewords, said with assumed carelessness:
—Pascal, if I remember rightly, would not suffer his mother to kisshim as he feared the contact of her sex.
—Pascal was a pig, said Cranly.
—Aloysius Gonzaga, I think, was of the same mind, Stephen said.
—And he was another pig then, said Cranly.
—The church calls him a saint, Stephen objected.
—I don’t care a flaming damn what anyone calls him, Cranly said rudelyand flatly. I call him a pig.
Stephen, preparing the words neatly in his mind, continued:
—Jesus, too, seems to have treated his mother with scant courtesy inpublic but Suarez, a jesuit theologian and Spanish gentleman, hasapologised for him.
—Did the idea ever occur to you, Cranly asked, that Jesus was notwhat he pretended to be?
—The first person to whom that idea occurred, Stephen answered, wasJesus himself.
—I mean, Cranly said, hardening in his speech, did the idea everoccur to you that he was himself a conscious hypocrite, what he calledthe jews of his time, a whited sepulchre? Or, to put it more plainly,that he was a blackguard?
—That idea never occurred to me, Stephen answered. But I am curiousto know are you trying to make a convert of me or a pervert ofyourself?
He turned towards his friend’s face and saw there a raw smile whichsome force of will strove to make finely significant.
Cranly asked suddenly in a plain sensible tone:
—Tell me the truth. Were you at all shocked by what I said?
—Somewhat, Stephen said.
—And why were you shocked, Cranly pressed on in the same tone, if youfeel sure that our religion is false and that Jesus was not the son ofGod?
—I am not at all sure of it, Stephen said. He is more like a son ofGod than a son of Mary.
—And is that why you will not communicate, Cranly asked, because youare not sure of that too, because you feel that the host, too, may bethe body and blood of the son of God and not a wafer of bread? Andbecause you fear that it may be?
—Yes, Stephen said quietly, I feel that and I also fear it.
—I see, Cranly said.
Stephen, struck by his tone of closure, reopened the discussion at onceby saying:
—I fear many things: dogs, horses, firearms, the sea,thunderstorms, machinery, the country roads at night.
—But why do you fear a bit of bread?
—I imagine, Stephen said, that there is a malevolent reality behindthose things I say I fear.
—Do you fear then, Cranly asked, that the God of the Roman catholicswould strike you dead and damn you if you made a sacrilegiouscommunion?
—The God of the Roman catholics could do that now, Stephen said. I fearmore than that the chemical action which would be set up in my soul bya false homage to a symbol behind which are massed twenty centuries ofauthority and veneration.
—Would you, Cranly asked, in extreme danger, commit that particularsacrilege? For instance, if you lived in the penal days?
—I cannot answer for the past, Stephen replied. Possibly not.
—Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant?
—I said that I had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that Ihad lost selfrespect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsakean absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which isillogical and incoherent?
They had walked on towards the township of Pembroke and now, as theywent on slowly along the avenues, the trees and the scattered lights inthe villas soothed their minds. The air of wealth and repose diffusedabout them seemed to comfort their neediness. Behind a hedge of laurela light glimmered in the window of a kitchen and the voice of a servantwas heard singing as she sharpened knives. She sang, in short brokenbars:
Cranly stopped to listen, saying:
The soft beauty of the Latin word touched with an enchanting touch thedark of the evening, with a touch fainter and more persuading than thetouch of music or of a woman’s hand. The strife of their minds wasquelled. The figure of a woman as she appears in the liturgy of thechurch passed silently through the darkness: a white-robed figure,small and slender as a boy, and with a falling girdle. Her voice, frailand high as a boy’s, was heard intoning from a distant choir the firstwords of a woman which pierce the gloom and clamour of the firstchanting of the passion:
—Et tu cum Jesu Galilæo eras.
And all hearts were touched and turned to her voice, shining like ayoung star, shining clearer as the voice intoned the proparoxyton andmore faintly as the cadence died.
The singing ceased. They went on together, Cranly repeating in stronglystressed rhythm the end of the refrain:
And when we are married,
O, how happy we’ll be
For I love sweet Rosie O’Grady
And Rosie O’Grady loves me.
—There’s real poetry for you, he said. There’s real love.
He glanced sideways at Stephen with a strange smile and said:
—Do you consider that poetry? Or do you know what the words mean?
—I want to see Rosie first, said Stephen.
—She’s easy to find, Cranly said.
His hat had come down on his forehead. He shoved it back and in theshadow of the trees Stephen saw his pale face, framed by the dark, andhis large dark eyes. Yes. His face was handsome and his body was strongand hard. He had spoken of a mother’s love. He felt then the sufferingsof women, the weaknesses of their bodies and souls: and would shieldthem with a strong and resolute arm and bow his mind to them.
Away then: it is time to go. A voice spoke softly to Stephen’s lonelyheart, bidding him go and telling him that his friendship was coming toan end. Yes; he would go. He could not strive against another. He knewhis part.
—Probably I shall go away, he said.
—Where? Cranly asked.
—Where I can, Stephen said.
—Yes, Cranly said. It might be difficult for you to live here now.But is it that makes you go?
—I have to go, Stephen answered.
—Because, Cranly continued, you need not look upon yourself as drivenaway if you do not wish to go or as a heretic or an outlaw. There aremany good believers who think as you do. Would that surprise you? Thechurch is not the stone building nor even the clergy and their dogmas.It is the whole mass of those born into it. I don’t know what you wishto do in life. Is it what you told me the night we were standingoutside Harcourt Street station?
—Yes, Stephen said, smiling in spite of himself at Cranly’s way ofremembering thoughts in connexion with places. The night you spent halfan hour wrangling with Doherty about the shortest way from Sallygap toLarras.
—Pothead! Cranly said with calm contempt. What does he know about theway from Sallygap to Larras? Or what does he know about anything forthat matter? And the big slobbering washingpot head of him!
He broke into a loud long laugh.
—Well? Stephen said. Do you remember the rest?
—What you said, is it? Cranly asked. Yes, I remember it. To discover themode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself inunfettered freedom.
Stephen raised his hat in acknowledgement.
—Freedom! Cranly repeated. But you are not free enough yet to commita sacrilege. Tell me would you rob?
—I would beg first, Stephen said.
—And if you got nothing, would you rob?
—You wish me to say, Stephen answered, that the rights of propertyare provisional, and that in certain circumstances it is not unlawfulto rob. Everyone would act in that belief. So I will not make you thatanswer. Apply to the jesuit theologian Juan Mariana de Talavera whowill also explain to you in what circumstances you may lawfully killyour king and whether you had better hand him his poison in a goblet orsmear it for him upon his robe or his saddlebow. Ask me rather would Isuffer others to rob me or, if they did, would I call down upon themwhat I believe is called the chastisement of the secular arm?
—And would you?
—I think, Stephen said, it would pain me as much to do so as to berobbed.
—I see, Cranly said.
He produced his match and began to clean the crevice between two teeth.Then he said carelessly:
—Tell me, for example, would you deflower a virgin?
—Excuse me, Stephen said politely, is that not the ambition of mostyoung gentlemen?
—What then is your point of view? Cranly asked.
His last phrase, sour smelling as the smoke of charcoal anddisheartening, excited Stephen’s brain, over which its fumes seemed tobrood.
—Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do andwhat I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will notdo. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it callitself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to expressmyself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly asI can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use—silence,exile and cunning.
Cranly seized his arm and steered him round so as to lead him backtowards Leeson Park. He laughed almost slily and pressed Stephen’s armwith an elder’s affection.
—Cunning indeed! he said. Is it you? You poor poet, you!
—And you made me confess to you, Stephen said, thrilled by his touch,as I have confessed to you so many other things, have I not?
—Yes, my child, Cranly said, still gaily.
—You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you alsowhat I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned foranother or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid tomake a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhapsas long as eternity too.
Cranly, now grave again, slowed his pace and said:
—Alone, quite alone. You have no fear of that. And you know what thatword means? Not only to be separate from all others but to have noteven one friend.
—I will take the risk, said Stephen.
—And not to have any one person, Cranly said, who would be more thana friend, more even than the noblest and truest friend a man ever had.
His words seemed to have struck some deep chord in his own nature. Hadhe spoken of himself, of himself as he was or wished to be? Stephenwatched his face for some moments in silence. A cold sadness was there.He had spoken of himself, of his own loneliness which he feared.
—Of whom are you speaking? Stephen asked at length.
Cranly did not answer.
March 20. Long talk with Cranly on the subject of my revolt.
He had his grand manner on. I supple and suave. Attacked me on thescore of love for one’s mother. Tried to imagine his mother: cannot.Told me once, in a moment of thoughtlessness, his father was sixtyonewhen he was born. Can see him. Strong farmer type. Pepper and saltsuit. Square feet. Unkempt, grizzled beard. Probably attends coursingmatches. Pays his dues regularly but not plentifully to Father Dwyer ofLarras. Sometimes talks to girls after nightfall. But his mother? Veryyoung or very old? Hardly the first. If so, Cranly would not havespoken as he did. Old then. Probably, and neglected. Hence Cranly’sdespair of soul: the child of exhausted loins.
March 21, morning. Thought this in bed last night but was toolazy and free to add to it. Free, yes. The exhausted loins are those ofElizabeth and Zacchary. Then he is the precursor. Item: he eats chieflybelly bacon and dried figs. Read locusts and wild honey. Also, whenthinking of him, saw always a stern severed head or death mask as ifoutlined on a grey curtain or veronica. Decollation they call it in thefold. Puzzled for the moment by saint John at the Latin gate. What do Isee? A decollated precursor trying to pick the lock.
March 21, night. Free. Soul free and fancy free. Let the deadbury the dead. Ay. And let the dead marry the dead.
March 22. In company with Lynch followed a sizeable hospital nurse.Lynch’s idea. Dislike it. Two lean hungry greyhounds walking after aheifer.
March 23. Have not seen her since that night. Unwell? Sits at the fireperhaps with mamma’s shawl on her shoulders. But not peevish. A nicebowl of gruel? Won’t you now?
March 24. Began with a discussion with my mother. Subject: B.V.M.Handicapped by my sex and youth. To escape held up relations betweenJesus and Papa against those between Mary and her son. Said religionwas not a lying-in hospital. Mother indulgent. Said I have a queer mindand have read too much. Not true. Have read little and understood less.Then she said I would come back to faith because I had a restless mind.This means to leave church by backdoor of sin and re-enter through theskylight of repentance. Cannot repent. Told her so and asked forsixpence. Got threepence.
Then went to college. Other wrangle with little round head rogue’s eyeGhezzi. This time about Bruno the Nolan. Began in Italian and ended inpidgin English. He said Bruno was a terrible heretic. I said he wasterribly burned. He agreed to this with some sorrow. Then gave merecipe for what he calls risotto alla bergamasca. When he pronouncesa soft o he protrudes his full carnal lips as if he kissed the vowel.Has he? And could he repent? Yes, he could: and cry two round rogue’stears, one from each eye.
Crossing Stephen’s, that is, my Green, remembered that his countrymenand not mine had invented what Cranly the other night called ourreligion. A quartet of them, soldiers of the ninetyseventh infantryregiment, sat at the foot of the cross and tossed up dice for theovercoat of the crucified.
Went to library. Tried to read three reviews. Useless. She is not outyet. Am I alarmed? About what? That she will never be out again.
I wonder if William Bond will die
For assuredly he is very ill.
Alas, poor William!
I was once at a diorama in Rotunda. At the end were pictures of bignobs. Among them William Ewart Gladstone, just then dead. Orchestraplayed O, Willie, we have missed you.
A race of clodhoppers!
March 25, morning. A troubled night of dreams. Want to getthem off my chest.
A long curving gallery. From the floor ascend pillars of dark vapours.It is peopled by the images of fabulous kings, set in stone. Theirhands are folded upon their knees in token of weariness and their eyesare darkened for the errors of men go up before them for ever as darkvapours.
Strange figures advance as from a cave. They are not as tall as men.One does not seem to stand quite apart from another. Their faces arephosphorescent, with darker streaks. They peer at me and their eyesseem to ask me something. They do not speak.
March 30. This evening Cranly was in the porch of the library,proposing a problem to Dixon and her brother. A mother let her childfall into the Nile. Still harping on the mother. A crocodile seized thechild. Mother asked it back. Crocodile said all right if she told himwhat he was going to do with the child, eat it or not eat it.
This mentality, Lepidus would say, is indeed bred out of your mud bythe operation of your sun.
And mine? Is it not too? Then into Nile mud with it!
April 1. Disapprove of this last phrase.
April 2. Saw her drinking tea and eating cakes in Johnston’s, Mooneyand O’Brien’s. Rather, lynx-eyed Lynch saw her as we passed. He tellsme Cranly was invited there by brother. Did he bring his crocodile? Ishe the shining light now? Well, I discovered him. I protest I did.Shining quietly behind a bushel of Wicklow bran.
April 3. Met Davin at the cigar shop opposite Findlater’s church. Hewas in a black sweater and had a hurley stick. Asked me was it true Iwas going away and why. Told him the shortest way to Tara was viaHolyhead. Just then my father came up. Introduction. Father polite andobservant. Asked Davin if he might offer him some refreshment. Davincould not, was going to a meeting. When we came away father told me hehad a good honest eye. Asked me why I did not join a rowing club. Ipretended to think it over. Told me then how he broke Pennyfeather’sheart. Wants me to read law. Says I was cut out for that. More mud,more crocodiles.
April 5. Wild spring. Scudding clouds. O life! Dark stream of swirlingbogwater on which appletrees have cast down their delicate flowers.Eyes of girls among the leaves. Girls demure and romping. All fair orauburn: no dark ones. They blush better. Houp-la!
April 6. Certainly she remembers the past. Lynch says all women do.Then she remembers the time of her childhood—and mine if I was evera child. The past is consumed in the present and the present is livingonly because it brings forth the future. Statues of women, if Lynch beright, should always be fully draped, one hand of the woman feelingregretfully her own hinder parts.
April 6, later. Michael Robartes remembers forgotten beautyand, when his arms wrap her round, he presses in his arms the lovelinesswhich has long faded from the world. Not this. Not at all. I desire topress in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.
April 10. Faintly, under the heavy night, through the silence of thecity which has turned from dreams to dreamless sleep as a weary loverwhom no caresses move, the sound of hoofs upon the road. Not so faintlynow as they come near the bridge; and in a moment, as they pass thedarkened windows, the silence is cloven by alarm as by an arrow. Theyare heard now far away, hoofs that shine amid the heavy night as gems,hurrying beyond the sleeping fields to what journey’s end—whatheart?—bearing what tidings?
April 11. Read what I wrote last night. Vague words for a vagueemotion. Would she like it? I think so. Then I should have to like italso.
April 13. That tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I looked itup and find it English and good old blunt English too. Damn the dean ofstudies and his funnel! What did he come here for to teach us his ownlanguage or to learn it from us. Damn him one way or the other!
April 14. John Alphonsus Mulrennan has just returned from the west ofIreland. European and Asiatic papers please copy. He told us he met anold man there in a mountain cabin. Old man had red eyes and short pipe.Old man spoke Irish. Mulrennan spoke Irish. Then old man and Mulrennanspoke English. Mulrennan spoke to him about universe and stars. Old mansat, listened, smoked, spat. Then said:
—Ah, there must be terrible queer creatures at the latter end of theworld.
I fear him. I fear his redrimmed horny eyes. It is with him I muststruggle all through this night till day come, till he or I lie dead,gripping him by the sinewy throat till... Till what? Till he yield to me?No. I mean no harm.
April 15. Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowdbrought us together. We both stopped. She asked me why I never came,said she had heard all sorts of stories about me. This was only to gaintime. Asked me was I writing poems? About whom? I asked her. Thisconfused her more and I felt sorry and mean. Turned off that valve atonce and opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, inventedand patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri. Talked rapidly ofmyself and my plans. In the midst of it unluckily I made a suddengesture of a revolutionary nature. I must have looked like a fellowthrowing a handful of peas into the air. People began to look at us.She shook hands a moment after and, in going away, said she hoped Iwould do what I said.
Now I call that friendly, don’t you?
Yes, I liked her today. A little or much? Don’t know. I liked her andit seems a new feeling to me. Then, in that case, all the rest, allthat I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the restbefore now, in fact... O, give it up, old chap! Sleep it off!
April 16. Away! Away!
The spell of arms and voices: the white arms of roads, their promise ofclose embraces and the black arms of tall ships that stand against themoon, their tale of distant nations. They are held out to say: We arealone—come. And the voices say with them: We are your kinsmen. Andthe air is thick with their company as they call to me, their kinsman,making ready to go, shaking the wings of their exultant and terribleyouth.
April 26. Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. Sheprays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from homeand friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it.Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the realityof experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreatedconscience of my race.
April 27. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in goodstead.
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man explores what it means to become an artist. Stephen's decision at the end of the novel—to leave his family and friends behind and go into exile in order to become an artist—suggests that Joyce sees the artist as a necessarily isolated figure.Should I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? ›
The Final Verdict
Oh god, you should absolutely 100% read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or at the very least give the first chapter a try. There are only five chapters, but the first two are possibly my favorite consecutive chapters ever written.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel by the Irish modernist writer James Joyce. It follows the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of a young Catholic Irishman, Stephen Dedalus, and his struggle against the restrictions his culture imposes.How is stream of consciousness used in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? ›
In “A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” James Joyce extensively uses the stream of consciousness technique, a stylistic form in which written prose seeks to represent the characters' stream of inner thoughts and perceptions rather than render these characters from an objective, external perspective.Who is the main character of the artist? ›
The main character of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
“Baby Tuckoo” is the “nicens little boy” in the story Stephen's father tells him when he is very young. It is a figure for Stephen himself.What stylistic technique does Joyce frequently used when character experience a change in perspective? ›
Joyce reveals these tumultuous adolescent feelings through a narrative technique called stream-of-consciousness. He takes the reader into both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind, showing him the subjective and the objective realities of a situation.What literary device is used throughout the book to help reflect Stephens changing views and perspectives? ›
Answer. Answer: stream of consciousness is the literary device used throughout the novel a portrait of an artist as a young man to help reflect Stephen's changing views and perspectives.Why was Portrait of a artist important? ›
Portrait was the precursor to Ulysses, in terms of both style and character, and thus gave birth to a massive, unspeakably important novel that's probably influenced every major writer to come after it.Why is Stephen embarrassed of his father? ›
Stephen grows increasingly alienated from his father, largely because of Mr. Dedalus's inability to connect with reality. Stephen is bored by his father's tales of the old days as he rides with him in the train to Cork. He sees how much his father has lost touch with the world: Mr.
Regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century, he championed a new style of writing based upon the stream of consciousness technique: when the written form attempts to mimic a character's immediate flow of thoughts and feelings, adding a heightened sense of realism to the plot.What do you mean by stream of consciousness technique in English literature discuss few psychological novels? ›
stream of consciousness, narrative technique in nondramatic fiction intended to render the flow of myriad impressions—visual, auditory, physical, associative, and subliminal—that impinge on the consciousness of an individual and form part of his awareness along with the trend of his rational thoughts.What is stream of consciousness technique? ›
Stream of consciousness is a narrative style that tries to capture a character's thought process in a realistic way. It's an interior monologue, but it's also more than that.What is the plot of the artist? › How does the artist end? ›
The film closes on a George Valentin renascent, tap-dancing into the talkies with his beloved on his arm. The director asks, One more take? “With pleasure,” Valentin says, with all the relief of a star reborn.What is your own definition of an artist? ›
Definition of artist
1a : a person who creates art (such as painting, sculpture, music, or writing) using conscious skill and creative imagination the great artists of the Renaissance an artist specializing in watercolors.
What accident befalls Miss Havisham before her death? She is thrown from a horse.What according to Stephen are the three conditions of beauty? ›
After defining art, Stephen mentions Aquinas' conditions for beauty – “Integratus, consonantia, claritus,” translated as 'Wholeness', 'Harmony' and 'Radiance', and proceeds to define them.What is Stephen's reaction to Father Arnall sermon? ›
Stephen feels particularly agonized by Father Arnall's description of a lost soul because Stephen believes that he is already a lost soul. He believes that the sermon is delivered specifically to him — that he is being specifically warned about his sins: "Every word for him!"What is an example of perspective in a story? ›
Stories can include a single perspective or several. For example, in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, the story is filtered through the perspective of its eponymous heroine. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, however, the third-person narrator adopts the perspective of several characters.
Perspective in Writing
Perspective is how the characters view and process what's happening within the story. Here's how it compares with point of view: Point of view focuses on the type of narrator used to tell the story. Perspective focuses on how this narrator perceives what's happening within the story.
The perspective of a narrator focuses on the character's attitudes towards the world around them. Perspective helps determine the approach the character will take in their interactions with other characters, and how the reader will view the work.
Answer: Alliteration is a literary device that uses the same letters or sounds at the beginning of words in a sentence or title.How do these literary devices and techniques improve one's creative writing skills? ›
It encourages writers to write vividly and paint a picture in the minds of readers which is way more powerful than a thousand words. Using literary devices can help you achieve that because you let readers visualize what you're trying to say, leaving a greater impact in their minds.How do literary techniques contribute to the theme of the story? ›
By employing literary tools the author embeds the theme or meaning into separate elements that make up the totality of the literary piece. Some of the more common tools of the author's craft are: character development, setting, mood, plot, point of view, figurative language, allegory, symbolism, and irony.Which novel does Stephen fall in love? ›
Answer: Stephan falls in love in the count of monte cristo so c.How would you describe Stephen's relationship with his father? ›
Stephen seems to have an uncomfortable relationship with his father. Stephen has developed a psychological distance from his father: An abyss of fortune or of temperament sundered him [Stephen] from them [his father and his father's companions].Why does Stephen reject the offer to become a priest? ›
Why does Stephen turn down the offer to become a Jesuit? Religion is Stephen's life up until the point when he is offered the possibility of entering the Jesuit order. After confessing his sins, he has tried to purify himself, and his superiors notice this remarkable devotion.What is Stephen Dedalus aesthetic theory? ›
Once beauty is defined, Stephen categorizes it into three forms: “the lyrical form, the form wherein the artist presents his image in immediate relation to himself; the epical form, the form wherein he presents his image in mediate relation to himself and to others; the dramatic form, the form wherein he presents his ...What literary device is used throughout the book to help reflect Stephen's changing views and perspectives? ›
Answer. Answer: stream of consciousness is the literary device used throughout the novel a portrait of an artist as a young man to help reflect Stephen's changing views and perspectives.
4 Theories for Judging Art
There are 4 main theories for judging whether a piece of art successful: Imitationalism, Formalism, Instrumentalism, and Emotionalism.
His paternal issues begin immediately, but are most fully developed in the scenes with Simon Dedalus in Cork. Stephen is frustrated with his father because of his formative influence, and is struggling against his father to be the writer of his own story.Which Which novel does Stephen fall in love? ›
Answer: Stephan falls in love in the count of monte cristo so c.What is it called when the author talks to the reader? ›
Breaking the fourth wall. An author or character addresses the audience directly (also known as direct address). This may acknowledge to the reader or audience that what is being presented is fiction, or may seek to extend the world of the story to provide the illusion that they are included in it.How does James Joyce use stream of consciousness? ›
Regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century, he championed a new style of writing based upon the stream of consciousness technique: when the written form attempts to mimic a character's immediate flow of thoughts and feelings, adding a heightened sense of realism to the plot.What are literary techniques? ›
Literary techniques are specific, deliberate constructions of language which an author uses to convey meaning. An author's use of a literary technique usually occurs with a single word or phrase, or a particular group of words or phrases, at one single point in a text.