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Hero c Chapter Seventeen

Hero c Chapter Seventeen

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Published by shaunthepostman

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Published by: shaunthepostman on May 30, 2010
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Stephen's home-life had by this time grown sufficientlyunpleasant: the direction of his development was against the stream oftendency of his family. The evening walks with Maurice had beenprohibited for it had become evident that Stephen was corrupting hisbrother to idle habits. Stephen was harassed very much by enquiries asto his progress at the College and Mr Daedalus, meditating upon theevasive answers, had begun to express a fear that his son was fallinginto bad company. The youth was given to understand that if he did notsucceed brilliantly at the coming examination his career at theUniversity would come to a close. He was not greatly troubled by thiswarning for he knew that his fate was, in this respect, with hisgodfather and not with his father. He felt that the moments of hisyouth were too precious to be wasted in a dull mechanical endeavourand he determined, whatever came of it, to prosecute his intentions tothe end. His family expected that he would at once follow the path ofremunerative respectability and save the situation but he could notsatisfy his family. He thanked their intention: it had first fulfilledhim with egoism; and he rejoiced that his life had been soself-centred. He felt [also] however that there were activities whichit /would be a peril\ to postpone.Maurice accepted this prohibition with a bad grace and had to berestrained by his brother from overt disobedience. Stephen himselfbore it lightly because he could ease himself greatly in solitude andfor human channels, at the worst, he could resort to a few of hiscollege-companions. He was now busily preparing his paper for theLiterary and Historical Society and he took every precaution to ensurein it a maximum of explosive force. It seemed to him that the studentsmight need only the word to enkindle them towards liberty or that, atleast, his trumpet-call might bring to his side a certain minority ofthe elect. McCann was the Auditor of the Society and as he was anxiousto know the trend of Stephen's paper the two used often to leave theLibrary at ten o'clock and walk towards the Auditor's lodgings,discussing. McCann enjoyed the reputation of a fearless, free-spokenyoung man but Stephen found it difficult to bring him to any fixedterms on matters which were held to be dangerous ground. McCann wouldtalk freely on feminism and on rational life: he believed that thesexes should be educated together in order to accustom them early toeach other's influences and he believed that women should be affordedthe same opportunities as were afforded to the so-called superior sexand he believed that women had the right to compete with men in everybranch of social and intellectual activity. He also held the opinionthat a man should live without using any kind of stimulant, that hehad a moral obligation to transmit to posterity sound minds in soundbodies, and that he should not allow himself to be dictated to on thesubject of dress by any conventions. Stephen delighted to riddle thesetheories with agile bullets.-You would have no sphere of life closed to them?-Certainly not.-Would you have the soldiery, the police and the fire-brigaderecruited also from them?-There are certain social duties for which women are physicallyunfitted.-I believe you.-At the same time they should be allowed to follow any civilprofession for which they have an aptitude.-Doctors and lawyers?-Certainly.
-And what about the third learned profession?-How do you mean?-Do you think they would make good confessors?-You are flippant. The Church does not allow women to enter thepriesthood.-O, the Church!Whenever the conversation reached this point McCann refused tofollow it further. The discussion usually ended in [an impasse] adeadlock:-But you go mountain-climbing in search of fresh air?-Yes.-And bathing in the summertime?-Yes.-And surely the mountain air and the salt water act as stimulants!-Natural stimulants, yes.-What do you call an unnatural stimulant?-Intoxicating drinks.-But they are produced from natural vegetable substances, aren'tthey?-Perhaps, but by an unnatural process.-Then you regard a brewer as a high thaumaturgist?-Intoxicating drinks are manufactured to satisfy artificiallyinduced appetites. Man, in the normal condition, has no need for suchprops to life.-Give me an example of man in what you call 'the normalcondition'.-A man who lives a healthy, natural life.-Yourself?-Yes.-Do you then represent normal humanity?-I do.-Then is normal humanity short-sighted and tone-deaf?-Tone-deaf?-Yes: I think you are tone-deaf.-I like to hear music.-What music?-All music.-But you cannot distinguish one air from another.-No: I can recognize some airs.-For instance?-I can recognize 'God save the Queen'.-Perhaps because all the people stand up and take off their hats.-Well, I admit that my ear is a little defective.-And your eyes?-They too.-Then how do you represent normal humanity?-In my manner of life.-Your wants and the manner in which you satisfy them, is it?-Exactly.-And what are your wants?-Air and food.-Have you any subsidiary ones?-The acquisition of knowledge.-And you need also religious comforts?-Maybe so .... at times.-And women .... at times?-Never!
The last word was uttered with a moral snap of the jaws and insuch a business-like tone of voice that Stephen burst out into a fitof loud laughter. As for the fact, though he was very suspicious inthis matter, Stephen was inclined to believe in McCann's chastity andmuch as he disliked it he chose to contemplate it rather than thecontrary phenomenon. He almost trembled to think of that unhorizoneddoggedness working its way backwards.McCann's insistence on a righteous life and his condemnation oflicence as a sin against the future both annoyed and stung Stephen.It annoyed him because it savoured so strongly of *paterfamilias* and itstung him because it seemed to judge him incapable of that part. InMcCann's mouth he considered it unjust and unnatural and he fell backon a sentence of Bacon's. The care of posterity, he quoted, isgreatest in them that have no posterity; and for the rest he saidthat he /could not understand what right the future had to hinder himfrom any passionate exertions in the present.\-That is not the teaching of Ibsen, said McCann.-Teaching! cried Stephen.-The moral of *Ghosts* is just the opposite of what you say.-Bah! You regard a play as a scientific document.-*Ghosts* teaches self-repression.-O Jesus! said Stephen in agony.-This is my lodging, said McCann, halting at the gate. I must goin.-You have connected Ibsen and Eno's fruit salt forever in my mind,said Stephen.-Daedalus, said the Auditor crisply, you are a good fellow but youhave yet to learn the /dignity of altruism and the responsibility ofthe human individual.\Stephen had decided to address himself to Madden to [find out]ascertain where Miss Clery was to be found. He set about this taskcarefully. Madden and he were often together but their conversationswere rarely serious and though the rustic mind of one was veryforcibly impressed by the metropolitanism of the other both young menwere on relations of affectionate familiarity. Madden who hadpreviously tried in vain to infect Stephen with nationalistic feverwas surprised to hear these overtures of his friend. He was delightedat the prospect of making such a convert and he began to appealeloquently to the sense of justice. Stephen allowed his criticalfaculty a rest. The so-desired community for the realizing of whichMadden sought to engage his personal force seemed to him anything butideal and the liberation which would have satisfied Madden would by nomeans have satisfied him. The Roman, not the Sassenach, was for himthe tyrant of the islanders: and so deeply had the tyranny eaten intoall souls that the intelligence, first overborne so arrogantly, wasnow eager to prove that arrogance its friend. The watchery was Faithand Fatherland, a sacred word in that world of cleverly inflammableenthusiasms. With literal obedience and with annual doles the Irishbid eagerly for the honour which was studiously withheld from them tobe given to nations which in the [present] past, as in the [past]present, had never bent the knee but in defiance. While the multitudeof preachers assured them that high honours were on the way andencouraged them ever to hope. The last should be first, according tothe Christian sentiment, and whosoever humbled himself, exalted and inreward for several centuries of obscure fidelity the /Pope's Holiness\had presented a tardy cardinal to an island which was for him,perhaps, only the /afterthought of Europe.\

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