Episode 16

Bloom brushes off Stephen’s clothes and hands him his hat and ashplant. He calls for some beverage and Bloom thinks the Cabman’s shelter might be the best option at such an ungodly hour. Stephen yawns and even though they are both exhausted there is no transport and so they walk along Beaver lane heading towards Amien Street railway terminus. Bloom waves his arms and tries in vain to whistle down a ‘fourwheeler’ near the North Star Hotel. Bloom having lost a back button off his trousers is slightly hampered but the night is lovely and fresh after the downpour a few hours ago. They pass the station and the morgue, which is a little morbid at that time of night and head towards the warehouses of Beresford Place. Baird’s the stone cutter makes Stephen think of master builders and Ibsen. Bloom smells James Rourke’s bakery. Bloom tries to caution Stephen against the dangers of night town and drinking becoming a regular habit. Corney Kelleher had saved him from the accident ward or worse, a night at the Bridewell and a morning in court. Policemen were unscrupulous in the execution of their duty but well capable of swearing a truth stranger than fiction.

Bloom advises it is easy to squander time and money on fast women and drinking with the wrong crowd but he believes in imbibing red wine in moderation. Bloom condemns Stephen’s so called brotherhood for betraying him earlier in the night. Stephen finds a point of contact with that argument and makes the comparison with Judas. Near the Loop Line bridge a corporate watchman is sitting near a brazier in a sentry box. Stephen recognizes him in the darkness as a friend of his father’s. Bloom a little wary at that time of night is inclined to pass by, but Stephen in line with family loyalties stops to talk to the man known as Lord John Corley. He is in need of some money for lodgings for the night and is looking for a job. Stephen tells him of the upcoming vacancy for a schoolteacher in Mr Deasey’s establishment in Dalkey but Corly has no aptitude for learning. Stephen explains he is in a quandary himself in terms of a bed for the night and knowing he is being spun a yarn still puts his hand in his pocket but his money is gone and he cannot remember how that happened. In another pocket he finds what he thinks are pennies but are in fact half crowns and gives one to his companion. Corley recognizes Bloom from seeing him at Boylan’s where he would like to get a job carrying a sandwich board. He tells some gossip about Bags Comisky who was arrested and fined for being drunk and disorderly. Bloom hangs about waiting and watches the corporation watchman sleeping in his sentry box. Stephen’s companion is poorly attired and Bloom thinks him impertinent to stop someone at such an hour. He notices that he has managed to inveigle some money out of Stephen who, when he returns to Bloom, asks if he can use his influence with Boylan to get Corley a job. Bloom stares into space for a moment and changing the subject asks Stephen how much money he gave him if he didn’t mind him being inquisitive. He tries to ascertain where Stephen will sleep being a long way from Sandycove. Bloom wonders if Stephen should go back to his father’s house and he expresses his admiration for Simon Dedalus as a raconteur. At Westland Row a few hours ago Bloom had observed Mulligan and Haines giving Stephen the slip. Stephen thinks of ‘home’ with nothing but weak cocoa and oatmeal water. Mulligan is not to be trusted according to Bloom and would be well capable of putting a narcotic or some such thing into Stephen’s drink. Mulligan would no doubt develop a flourishing practice as a doctor and was well regarded for having saved a man’s life from drowning. Bloom surmises that he is only hanging around Stephen in order to pick his brains. Stephen for all his educational abilities found it difficult to get by above the poverty line.

A few men are talking excitedly in Italian as they enter the cabman’s shelter run by the notorious Skin-the-Goat. They enter and sit in a discreet corner and Bloom orders coffee and a bun. Bloom tries to translate the Italian he has just heard full of admiration for such a beautiful language. Stephen is fagged out and tells Bloom they were just haggling about money. Bloom pushes the coffee in Stephen’s direction. A red bearded sailor who had been staring at Stephen now wants to know his name and before Bloom can divert the situation Stephen has answered Dedalus. The sailor wants to know if he knows Simon Dedalus. His name is Murphy and he is from Queenstown Harbour in County Cork. Bloom imagines this mariner returning from across the world to his wife only to find a new man by his fireside eating steak and onions. W.B. Murphy the broken hearted husband. The sailor asks for some tobacco to chew and announces that he has just been discharged and then proceeds to tell them about his years of adventure on the high seas and he passes around postcards of naked native women. Bloom examines the postcard and is suspicious of the owner’s bona fides but it reminds Bloom of his own plans for adventure and that he would love to visit London. Martin Cunningham has tried to work a pass for him and, considering it was only five and six to get to Mullingar, perhaps he could manage to put together the few guineas and see the great metropolis. He might organize a concert tour while he was there with his dear wife as leading lady. When more travel routes like the one touted between Fishgaurd and Rosslare were operating it would enable the ordinary man in the street to travel and see the world. They deserved a holiday after working for eleven months, even if only in their own country, a visit to Wicklow or Donegal would provide a new lease of life so long as the weather was good. Certainly Howth Head only forty five minutes by tram from the centre of Dublin was very popular. Bloom passed the card onto Stephen. Murphy tells tales from China and Trieste and shows a knife involved in one of the murderous escapades. Murphy oblivious of Skin-the-Goat’s background blurts out about cold steel being used to murder the invincibles in the Phoenix Park. Bloom and Stephen exchange meaningful glances. Bloom asks Murphy if he has seen the Rock of Gibraltar and when pressed on the year dismisses the subject with a comment about being tired of rocks and boats and ships of the sea. Bloom thinks of the vastness of the oceans that cover three fourths of the surface of the earth. He regards the lifeboat service as a noble institution. Murphy tired of roaming about thinks he might now like a less strenuous job such as a valet to a gentleman. His wife had organized a position for his son in a draper’s shop only to have him run away to sea. The Corkman opens his shirt to scratch lice and displays an anchor tattooed on his chest and a figure that smiles when he pinches together a fold of skin. Even Skin-the-Goat is impressed and leans forward to have a look. Antonio, the man on his chest had been eaten alive. An old streetwalker sticks her head around the door. Bloom recognizes her as the same whore as on Ormond Quay earlier in the day. He hides himself behind a newspaper petrified that she would relay back any goings on to Molly. She once offered to wash his clothes, something Bloom himself has done with Molly’s undergarments at Holles Street. It seems to be part of the course for women to love dirty shirts as part of the whole romantic package. The keeper clears her off and it is apparent from her false smile that she was not the full quid. Bloom confides his horror that a poor unfortunate creature most probably reeking with all manner of disease can be allowed to solicit at all.

Stephen thinks selling the body is a hopeless proposition in comparison to those skilled in trading the soul and doing a roaring trade. An elder man calls for medical inspections by the proper authorities. Bloom corners Stephen into a discussion about body and soul. He declares his belief in human intelligence and scientific breakthroughs like the X rays. Stephen declares that as a simple substance it is incorruptible and loses Bloom in the finesse of the argument although he agrees with the general flow of thought.
Bloom is impressed by natural phenomena such as electricity but the existence of a supernatural God is a bit far fetched. Stephen declares that His existence has been proved conclusively except for ‘circumstantial evidence’.

Bloom thinks all the texts are ‘genuine forgeries’ and that we do not even know who exactly wrote them. He stirs the sugar from the bottom of the coffee mug. He thinks that such shelters provide a worthwhile service and how Molly had played the piano for a fund raising concert some time ago. Stephen lifts the squelching mug off the table and takes a sip of the so-called coffee. Bloom extols the virtues of good regular meals to be able to undertake any real work either physical or mental. Stephen wants the knife that reminds him of Roman history removed from the table. Bloom surmises on whether the sailor’s tall tales could be true or if indeed he has spent a few years locked away for maybe killing a man. Perhaps he was just taking advantage of the gullible audience and most likely there are even worse stories told about him. Truth is stranger than fiction. Bloom himself had seen some Aztecs sitting bowlegged being adored as gods and they could no longer straighten out their legs. Murphy reminds Bloom of Ludwig on stage at the Gaiety. The Italianos were of course well capable of stabbing someone in the back but most were decent working men, although they had a reputation for cooking the local cats in garlic by way of enjoying a good meal. The Spanish of course have a passionate temperament as was apparent in the behavior of his very own wife. Bloom wonders if Stephen writes his poetry in Italian to help capture some of the temperament. Stephen thinking of the Italians on the street dismisses such passion and says they were haggling over money. Stephen then more or less to himself thinks of an Aristotelico sensibility in the work of Dante, Leonardo da Vinci and san Tommaso Mastino. Bloom describes the statues he has seen in the Museum today and the ample proportion of the female form that is a far cry from the modern women with little taste in dress. Interest has started to wane as Murphy talks about the monsoon winds and being protected by a holy medal. Henry Campbell remembers the wreck of the Norwegian barge, Palme, off Booterstown. Murphy wanders outside and takes a slug from one of the two flasks in his pockets. Bloom watches to see if he takes up with the whore who had wandered in earlier. He is directed to the male urinal but opts to relieve himself close by so that a sound like bilge water wakes a horse on the cab rank. Gumley the watcher for the corporation stirs slightly but is soon wrapped again in the arms of Morpheus. Pat Toibin had got him this job as, due to the demon drink, he had witted away the allowance from a respectable family. The gathering laments the demise of Irish Shipping. Plans for developing Galway Harbor were shelved after Captain John Lever managed to run his ship into the only rock in Galway Bay. A well-oiled palm, by the British Government, being no doubt responsible for the accident. Murphy growls a sea shanty of some sort and must have held his tobacco in his fist while he slugged away at the rum. He comes back inside singing a bawdy line about beef as salty as Lot’s wife’s backside and sinks slowly back down into his seat. Skin-the-Goat holds forth on the great resources of Ireland being plundered by the British and warns that their day of reckoning will come with the help of the Germans and the Japanese. Ireland would be Britain’s Achilles he declares and shows them the tendon referred to in Greek mythology. Parnell was right when he said that all Irishmen should stay in Ireland and work for Ireland. This peeves Murphy and mention is made of the army and the Irish peasant being the backbone of the empire. Bloom thinks the British are too smart to flaunt their strength and that we would be advised to make the best of both countries. He would steer wide of any idiot capable of committing a felon. In spite of having no propensity for criminal activity Bloom does hold a certain admiration for the man who could wield a knife on the basis of his political convictions. Crimes of passion in southern Europe where husbands plunged a knife into their adored wife because of a post-nuptial affair were apparently frequent. Bloom himself would never be party to such a thing. Skin-the-Goat had got off on a legal technicality that as the driver of the car he had not participated in the actual ambush itself. He really had however outlived his time in relation to the whole affair. Bloom suspected that some of Captain John Lever’s money got offloaded in the Old Ireland tavern proving that Ireland was its own worst enemy. Bloom relays to Stephen the debacle with the Citizen at Barney Kiernan’s pub and how when he resorted to calling him a Jew he told him that Christ, his God, was a Jew like him. In reality Bloom not being technically Jewish anyhow got great pleasure from shutting him up. He turns to Stephen entreating his support with a glance and their eyes engage for a moment. Bloom then continues about there being two sides to every question and the absurdity of people hating each other because they speak a different language or live around the corner. Heroics, says Stephen, dismissing all such activity as parochial skirmishes between Skinner’s alley and Ormond market. All these battles fought on a call to honour the flag when it was all about money and greed and nothing else. Bloom lowers his voice to make a point about Jews far from being the downfall of a country are in fact the opposite and he cites the demise of Spain economically after the Inquisition and how the scoundrel Cromwell bringing the Jews to England allowed the country to prosper. The priest on the other hand eschews the virtues of poverty. Every person from every creed and class should be ensured of a decent living for better harmony between human beings. A country should provide a good standard of living if you work. Stephen, having let this talk waft over his head like drifting colours becomes alert on the word ‘work’and asks that he be counted out of any notion of work. Bloom assures him that literary work is just as valid a way of making a living as physical work and that both are important for Ireland. Stephen amuses himself with the thought that he may be important because he belongs to Ireland and confounds Bloom when he retorts that Ireland is important because it belongs to him. Stephen repeats himself and shoves the coffee aside suggesting abruptly that as they could not change the country they could perhaps change the subject.
Bloom looks down in a predicament because he does not understand the rebuke and is out of his depth to try and place it in any kind of meaningful context. Bloom is a little fearful for Stephen and looks at eyes that remind him of his father and sister and remembers cultured young men who just never get it together. Codes of dress and other factors have to be taken into account but sometimes the natural genius breaks through in spite of all.

Bloom wonders why he is bothering to be there but knows that to cultivate the friendship of someone with an uncommon intellect will be very satisfying for his own mind. Bloom might write a piece from an unusual perspective about the Cabman’s shelter. He glances through the Telegraph as he tries to make sense of Stephen’s comment about Ireland belonging to him. He reads about Paddy Dignam’s funeral and sees that his name is spelt ‘boom’ but is pleased that both McCoy and Stephen Dedalas B.A. who were not there are mentioned. He shows the yawning Stephen, who notices that Myles Crawford has printed Deasy’s letter on the foot and mouth disease, and is overjoyed. Bloom reads about the Gold Cup and thinks that Lenehan has no idea about the business and it is all guesswork anyway.

The others surmise whether Parnell is lying low in Africa. Maybe the coffin from England was full of stones. Bloom however is skeptical of all such stories and believes he died from pneumonia probably because he forgot to change out of damp boots. Their idol had feet of clay and they could not deal with such a reality. Bloom had once handed Parnell his silk hat and received a most polite thank you. There were instances of people coming back from the dead such as Roger Charles Tichborne who was thought to be lost at sea.

Skin-the–Goat blasphemes Kitty O’ Shea for the downfall of Parnell. She was a married English woman with whom he had an affair. Henry Campbell thinks she was a fine looking woman. The press got hold of letters between them and it blew into a public scandal. New stories about climbing out of bedrooms and the whole wave of folly made a fortune for the media proprietors. The tenants that he had worked so diligently for in saving their holdings turned against him in droves led by the clergy of Holy Ireland. Bloom notes that Kitty was also of Spanish blood and therefore no doubt of a passionate nature. Bloom takes a faded photo of Molly from his pocket ostensibly for Stephen’s benefit but absorbs himself in admiring her fleshy charms. He considers for a brief moment that she might have left by the time he gets home. Bloom feels privileged to be in Stephen’s company and appreciates that he said the picture was handsome. Parnell and Kitty were fated to meet and they were open and above board about their relationship. It was not until the husband sued for divorce that a scandal that would bring about his downfall began. The Irish had put Parnell on a pedestal and could not accept that their idol had feet of clay. Bloom thinks about how gracious Parnell was when he returned his hat, not like John Henry Menton at Dignam’s funeral. Bloom was incensed with the jokes being enjoyed as though they understood everything about the situation. Many women got bored with married life and chose a bit of sexual excitement often with younger men. Bloom is concerned that Stephen risks disease with visits to night town and he must encourage him to talk about ‘Miss Ferguson’ which he assumed was a romantic attachment when he was mumbling on the street. He certainly needed to eat something substantial-even an egg flip would sustain him for the moment. Bloom had been a committed sympathiser of the evicted tenants and actively worked with Michael Davitt which is why he was so irate with the Citizen at Barney Kiernan’s and wishes even though he is not a violent man that he had punched him in the gizzard. It is almost one o’ clock and Bloom is slightly wary of the sort of humour in which they might find Molly. It is too late to go to Sandycove so he decides to ask him home for a cup of cocoa. He imagines that Murphy will find some doss house for a few days of drinking and whoring. Bloom is still rather chuffed by the memory of Barney Kiernan’s when he hit back on the Citizen’s most vulnerable point that God was not only Jewish but was not from Carrick-on-Shannon or County Sligo. He puts Molly’s photo back in his pocket. He admires Stephen’s intelligence and singing voice and makes plans for a great career as he will have inherited the talent of his father Simon.

The newspaper gets passed to Murphy who puts on a pair of green goggles saying he got them when he could no longer read The Arabian Nights in the dark. He is absorbed in the cricket results as Bloom pays the bill. Stephen stops at the door to wonder why chairs get put on top of tables at night. Bloom says in order to sweep the floor and confidently steadies him on his feet knowing the fresh air will do him good. He tells Stephen to lean on him and he does so, a little uncertainly, aware of strange flesh. Mr Gumley is according to a tired Bloom still in the arms of ‘Murphy’.

They walk on arm in arm talking about music. Bloom likes Mercadente’s Huguenots, Meyerbeer’s Seven Last Words on the Cross and Mozart’s Twelfth Mass. Rossini’s Stabat Mater simply abounds in ‘immortal numbers’ and Madam Marion Tweedy sings it wonderfully. Bloom enjoys light Opera, and Don Giovanni and Martha were particular favorites, and he appreciated so much hearing Simon Dedalus sing M’appari at the Ormond Hotel. Stephen praised Shakespeare’s songs especially the lutenist Dowland and William Bryd who played the virginals. Stephen had contemplated purchasing a lute that he had priced at sixty five guineas. He also liked Tomkins and John Bull. They have to move out of the way of a horse pulling a steamroller. Bloom is sorry he does not have a lump of sugar for the poor brute. Animals of course can be trained to do virtually anything with the exception of bees. Bloom tells Stephen that his wife who loves music will be delighted to meet him. He notes again how he looks the image of his mother and if he has his father’s gift he has a great future as a singer. Stephen starts to sing an old German song by Johannes Jeep about the sea and the voices of sirens. Bloom listens to the beautiful tenor voice and makes great plans for his future and a career in music. He would still have time to work on his literature without it clashing with his vocal career. Stephen has the world at his feet and that is why Mulligan likes having him around to enhance his own image. At an appropriate moment Bloom would strongly suggest that he cut ties with Mulligan who seems intent on deprecating him given the least opportunity.

They wait for the horse to unload three large steamy turds and then head towards Gardiner Street lower. The driver does not say a word but watches the two figures absorbed in deep conversation go towards the railway bridge.

Ulysses comprises 18 EPISODES June 16th 1904 Dublin