for writers and readers….
—Have you a cheese sandwich?
Like a few olives too if they had them. Italian I prefer. Good glass of burgundy take away that. Lubricate. A nice salad, cool as a cucumber, Tom Kernan can dress. Puts gusto into it. Pure olive oil. Milly served me that cutlet with a sprig of parsley. Take one Spanish onion. God made food, the devil the cooks. Devilled crab.
—Quite well, thanks… A cheese sandwich, then. Gorgonzola, have you?
Nosey Flynn sipped his grog.
—Doing any singing those times?
Look at his mouth. Could whistle in his own ear. Flap ears to match. Music. Knows as much about it as my coachman. Still better tell him. Does no harm. Free ad.
—She’s engaged for a big tour end of this month. You may have heard perhaps.
—No. O, that’s the style. Who’s getting it up?
The curate served.
—How much is that?
—Seven d., sir… Thank you, sir.
Mr Bloom cut his sandwich into slender strips. Mr MacTrigger. Easier than the dreamy creamy stuff. His five hundred wives. Had the time of their lives.
He studded under each lifted strip yellow blobs. Their lives. I have it. It grew bigger and bigger and bigger.
—Getting it up? he said. Well, it’s like a company idea, you see. Part shares and part profits.
—Ay, now I remember, Nosey Flynn said, putting his hand in his pocket to scratch his groin. Who is this was telling me? Isn’t Blazes Boylan mixed up in it?
A warm shock of air heat of mustard hanched on Mr Bloom’s heart. He raised his eyes and met the stare of a bilious clock. Two. Pub clock five minutes fast. Time going on. Hands moving. Two. Not yet.
His midriff yearned then upward, sank within him, yearned more longly, longingly.
He smellsipped the cordial juice and, bidding his throat strongly to speed it, set his wineglass delicately down.
—Yes, he said. He’s the organiser in point of fact.
No fear: no brains.
Nosey Flynn snuffled and scratched. Flea having a good square meal.
—He had a good slice of luck, Jack Mooney was telling me, over that boxingmatch Myler Keogh won again that soldier in the Portobello barracks. By God, he had the little kipper down in the county Carlow he was telling me…
Hope that dewdrop doesn’t come down into his glass. No, snuffled it up.
—For near a month, man, before it came off. Sucking duck eggs by God till further orders. Keep him off the boose, see? O, by God, Blazes is a hairy chap.
Davy Byrne came forward from the hindbar in tuckstitched shirtsleeves, cleaning his lips with two wipes of his napkin. Herring’s blush. Whose smile upon each feature plays with such and such replete. Too much fat on the parsnips.
—And here’s himself and pepper on him, Nosey Flynn said. Can you give us a good one for the Gold cup?
—I’m off that, Mr Flynn, Davy Byrne answered. I never put anything on a horse.
—You’re right there, Nosey Flynn said.
Mr Bloom ate his strips of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate. Not logwood that. Tastes fuller this weather with the chill off.
Nice quiet bar. Nice piece of wood in that counter. Nicely planed. Like the way it curves there.
—I wouldn’t do anything at all in that line, Davy Byrne said. It ruined many a man, the same horses.
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Once, as a joke in grad school, a friend of mine and I discussed at a party the passing of the golden key from Bloom to Dedalus in the alley and everyone with us nodded in affirmation. By the end of the semester one of the professors dropped the reference in a lecture. Having read Ulysses twice, I suspect it’s a book more often talked about than read. Is it truly worth the effort? I have yet to decide and I would have to return one last time, but I’m not sure I have the energy. I never doubted Joyce’s ingenuity but he never connected with me authentically the way Pynchon did in Gravity’s Rainbow, or Fuentes did in Terra Nostra, two other gargantuan and difficult novels.
Nonetheless, Joyce undeniably changed the landscape of Anglican-American literature.
More often talked about than read…? I’m convinced you’re right and I have to admit I come to it in the same way as I deal with anchovies, in small amounts when the bland everyday becomes tiresome…He smellsipped the cordial juice…