On the 21st of April, we covered an entire page (on the Gabler scale). Among matters unearthed and discussed:
Mr O’Madden Burke continues with the cod Elizabethan (does Lenehan bring this out in him?) and our thoughts turned naturally to Blackadder. We noted the unusual use of ‘grateful’, the awkward use of ‘metaphorically speaking’, as well as the Joycean play on ‘Ye’ with its capital ‘Y’ (which really ought to be a þ).
Lenehan switches the play on to the language of the debating society. Does anyone actually say ‘ay’ or ‘no’ in response here? The ‘boosingshed’ (Ezra Pound’s spelling also) Lenehan casts his vote for is Mooney’s; Stephen would not want him to name The Ship at this point, where Mulligan and Haines await him in vain, though it is only a little further from the Freeman’s offices than Mooney’s.
Lenehan is giving an uncharacteristic display of physical boldness in leading the way here. The “strong waters” – aqua fortis – presumably means whiskey: this is the language of licensing law (‘Spirituous Liquors or Strong Waters’). The double negatives are neat in conveying that Lenehan and the rest will not not be partaking, though there is verbiage too: “By no manner of means.”
O’Madden Burke here makes use of the kind of common knowledge of Shakespeare that contrasts with Stephen’s earlier meditations, though “ally” strikes an odd note (Macbeth was hardly an ally of Macduff’s) – the quotation is clearly out of context.
A “chip of the old block” may look odd now, but was the form this saying originally took. The OED suggests the one form succeeded the other some time during the first few decades of the twentieth century – might Joyce be using the form that had fallen out of fashion at the time of writing? In heading off for a drink, Stephen is indeed following in his father’s footsteps at this point. The “clapping” was “slapping” in The Little Review and in the 1922 Ulysses. For all Lenehan is leading, Crawford’s “Let us go” has him take up the role of Moses at this point (though go he doesn’t, immediately).
The keys are a little reminder of Bloom, as well as being the keys to Crawford’s desk drawer, locked at line 460 and placed in a sidepocket at line 585. The typesheets are Mr Deasy’s letter, about which Myles Crawford, having forgotten all about it and for all his reassurances here, could hardly care less, as the subsequent headline flags up.
“LET US HOPE”: O’Molloy is sceptical that the letter will ever be published, which led us to wondering why Deasy would want it published in the Evening Telegraph in the first place. Given the author, the Irish Times would make more sense; given the subject matter, the Irish Homestead more sense still – this is Stephen’s errand, of course, but why does Stephen care? The decision is made clear in ‘Eumaeus’, but at what point during the day does Stephen decide he’s not going to be returning to work for Deasy?
O’Molloy speaks to Stephen as an equal here, but is pursuing his own purposes also (seeking work, presumably), as is noted by MacHugh in ushering Stephen away. The professor is still eager to have Stephen’s response to John F Taylor’s speech – “That is fine, isn’t it?” – but he won’t get it, now or subsequently, in any direct form.
The “prophetic vision” MacHugh rehearses is of the passing away of the “Kingdoms of this world”, Troy in the past tense (“Fuit Ilium!“) and so on. “The masters of the Mediterranean” who are “fellaheen today” may be Trojans, Egyptians, Greeks, even Phoenicians, but the inheritors of that title in 1904 – and for some time prior to that, courtesy of Nelson and others – were the British, as MacHugh no doubt intends for Stephen to understand.
In its resemblance to dramatis personae or the credits for a film, “first newsboy” had us wondering: is this MacHugh’s “urchin” from before (lines 394-95), or simply the first barefoot (“pattering”) newsboy out of the building with the racing special? Newsboys are being released here like the winds from Aeolus’s bag.
“Dublin”: in The Little Review, this word stood on its own, “I have much, much to learn” being added subsequently. With this little moment of self-reflection, we come to the opening of Stephen’s own “vision”, the narrating of which will occupy the remainder of the episode. Is this a narrative he is coming up with on the spot, or has he rehearsed it previously (like the Shakespeare theory of ‘Scylla’)? The professor, “skipping” to catch up, will hear it in its entirety, Crawford only part of it.
“DEAR DIRTY DUBLIN” – what Stephen has to learn – is followed immediately by “Dubliners” – the title of a book arising out of such knowledge (we did note that a narrative beginning “Two Dublin vestals . . . elderly and pious” would fit the title of ‘The Sisters’ rather better than the actual start of that story).
That the two ladies have “lived” in Fumbally’s lane all these years does not mean that they were born there. That MacHugh does not know where Fumbally’s lane is marks a significant distinction between what he knows and what Stephen knows: the latter is going to be leading from this point onwards.
We will resume at line 927 – “Damp night reeking of hungry dough” – on the 12th of May.