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It pained him that he did not know well what politics meant and that
he did not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak.
When would he be like the fellows in Poetry and Rhetoric? They had
big voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very
far away. (page 13)
His eyes were dimmed with tears and, looking humbly up to heaven, he
wept for the innocence he had lost. (page 121)
To merge his life i n the common tide of other lives was harder for him
than any fasting or prayer, and it was his constant failure to do this to
his own satisfaction which caused in his soul at last a sensation of spir
itual dryness together with a growth of doubts and scruples .
(page 132)
He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was
alone and young and wilfl and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild
air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and
veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad fgures of children and girls
and voices childish and girlish in the air. (page 150)
-The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or
beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refned out of existence, in
different, paring his fngernails. (page 191)
I will not serve that i n which I no longer believe, whether i t call itself
my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself
in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can,
using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile
and cunning. (page 219)
I kept her brown fgure always in my eye and, when we came near the
point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her.
This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, ex
cept for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to
all my foolish blood. (from "Araby," page 250)
The car steered out slowly for Grafton Street while the two young men
pushed their way through the knot of gazers. They walked northward
with a curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise, while the city
hung its pale globes of light above them in a haze of summer evening.
(from ''After the Race, " page 262)
For the frst time in his life he felt superior to the people he passed. For
the frst time his soul revolted against the dull inelegance of Capel
Street. There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had
to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin.
(from ''A Little Cloud, " page 287)
A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had
begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the fakes, silver a

d dark,
falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to
set out on his j ourney westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow
was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark cen
tral plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and,
farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves.
It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill
where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked
crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren
thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly
through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last
end, upon all the living and the dead. (from "The Dead, " page 412)
With an Introduction and Notes
by Kevin] H. Dettmar
Published by Barnes & Noble Books
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Dubliners was first published in 1914. A Portrit i the Artist as a Young Man was
published in The Egoist between 1914 and 1915, and in volume form in 1916.
Published in 2004 by Barnes & Noble Classics with new Introduction,
Notes, Biography, Note on the Texts, Note on Currency and Coinage,
Inspired By, Comments & estions, and For Further Reading.
Introduction, Note on the Texts, Note on Currency and Coinage,
Notes, and For Further Reading
Copyright 2004 by Kevin J. H. Dettmar.
Note on James Joyce; The World ofJames Joyce; Inspired by
A Portrit i the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners;
and Comments & estions
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Irish novelist James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Dublin.
The eldest of ten children, James spent his early years in a solvent, mid
dle-class Catholic household. At age six, he enrolled in prestigious
Clongowes Wood College, but three years later his father's spending
habits and failed investments had depleted the family's modest fortune.
James was taken out of the costly Jesuit school, and the family was
forced into more affordable housing, ultimately moving to a poor
neighborhood on Dublin's south side. Following a brief enrollment in
a Christian Brothers school for the Irish poor, James was admitted,
without fees, to another Jesuit school, Belevedere College. In the fall of
1898, he entered University College Dublin, where he studied lan
guages, read widely, and was infuenced by Yeats, Thomas Aquinas,
and, especially, the plays of Henrik Ibsen. A devout Catholic in his
youth, Joyce would break with the Church during his years at Univer
sity College. In 1900 he published his frst essay, a review of Ibsen's
When W Dead Awaken, in the London journal the Fortnightl Review.
Mter graduation in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for Paris , supposedly to
study medicine. Instead, he worked as a teacher and j ournalist and
spent much of his time in the library. He returned to Ireland in April
1903 to visit his dying mother. The following year, he fell in love with
an uneducated girl from Galway, Nora Barnacle, who would become
his lifelong companion and the inspiration for the character Molly
Bloom in his great novel Ulsses ( 1922). (Joyce would later immortal
ize the day they met, June 16, as Bloomsday-the day on which Ulsses
takes place. ) During this time he began work on an early version of A
Portrait i the Artist as a Young Man, entitled Stephen Hero. He also
began writing, under the nom de plume Stephen Dedalus, the stories
that would later appear as Dubliners. Joyce persuaded Nora to move to
the Continent, and after some misadventures and displacement, in
1905 the couple settled in Trieste, where they would remain for ffteen
years. Scarcity of money did not affect Joyce's productivity: He pub
lished a book of poetry, Chamber Music ( 1907), and completed Dublin
er ( 1914), A Portrit o the Artist as a Young Man (1916), the play Exiles
( 1918), and large passages of Ulsses. The American poet Ezra Pound
sponsored publication of his work and introduced him to the literary
salons of Paris, while bookstore owner Sylvia Beach and publisher Har
riet Shaw Weaver assisted Joyce with publication and patronage.
Joyce had at frst conceived Ulsses as a short story, but he expanded
it into a novel that he published in installments starting in 1918 and
until it was banned for obscenity in 1920. Joyce and his family weath
ered World War I in Zurich and, after a brief return to Trieste, reset
tled in Paris in 1920. The full text of Ulsses was published in Paris in
1922, but the book continued to be banned in England and America.
Joyce spent the next seventeen years writing Finnegans Wake, which
would be published in 1939. The author's growing literary success dur
ing this period eased the family's fnancial burdens, but tragedy loomed
in the background. Joyce's vision troubles were acute, and his daughter,
Lucia, diagnosed with schizophrenia, suffered a mental breakdown. In
1 934 Ulsses was published in the United States, accompanied by a
landmark obscenity decision; in 1936 it was published in England.
Once again war struck, and Joyce returned to Zurich, where he died on
January 13, 1941 . James Joyce is widely regarded as among the most
important writers of the twentieth century.
The World ofJames Joyce i
Introduction by Kevin J. H. Dettmar XUI
Note on Currency and Coinage XI
Note on the Texts XIU
List of Maps xx
Endnotes 413
Inspired by A Portrit o the Artist as a
Young Man and Dubliners 417
Comments & Qestions 421
For Further Reading 427
1882 James Augustine Aoysius Joyce is born on February 2 in the
Dublin suburb of Rathgar to Mary Jane Murray Joyce and John
Stanislaus Joyce. Virginia Woolf is born.
1884 Nora Barnacle is born in Galway on March 2 1 . Stanislaus
Joyce, James's brother, is born on December 17.
1887 The Joyce family moves to the seaside town of Bray.
1888 James enters Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit school kown
as the Eton of Ireland.
1891 James withdraws from Clongowes because hi s father can no
longer afford the tuition; for the next to years he is informally
educated at home. Irish political leader Charles Stewart Parnell
dies. James writes the poem "Et Tu, Healy" about Parnell's be
1893 James enrolls in a Christian Brothers school. Soon after, he and
Stanislaus are admitted, without fees, to Belvedere College, a
Jesuit grammar school in Dublin.
1898 Joyce enters University College Dublin, where he studies mod
ern languages. He is infuenced by Yeats and Ibsen, and studies
Dano-Norwegian in order to read Ibsen's original work.
1899 Ibsen's symbolic drama When W Dead Awaken is published.
1900 The Fortnightl Review, in London, publishes "Ibsen's New
Drama, " Joyce's review of When W Dead Awaken.
1901 At hi s own expense, Joyce publishes "The Day of the Rabble
ment, " an essay critical of the parochialism of the Irish Literary
Theatre (later to become the Abbey Theatre) .
1902 Joyce graduates from University College and leaves Dublin for
Paris with the intention of studying medicine.
1903 In April, Joyce returns to Dublin when his mother is diagnosed
with cancer; she dies in the summer. Joyce resides for a short
time in the Martello Tower at Sandycove.
1904 He has his frst date with Nora Barnacle on June 16, a date he
went on to memorialize as the setting for his novel Ulsses
( 1922); with the publication of Ulsses, June 16 will come to be
known as Bloomsday. He has begun the autobiographical novel
x The Word o James Joyce
Stephen Hero, which later will become A Portrit o the Arist as a
Young Man. He takes time away from working on Stephen Hero
to write the frst stories in the collection that will become
Dubliners. In October, James and Nora leave Dublin and settle
in Pola, Austria-Hungary.
1905 Foreigners are expelled from Pola, and the Joyces move to Tri
este, Italy, where Joyce works at a Berlitz school. He submits an
early version of Dubliners for publication. He meets and tutors
then unknown novelist Italo Svevo, whose work he helps to
publish. The Joyces' son, Giorgio, is born on July 27. The Sinn
Fein Party is organized in Dublin. George Bernard Shaw's Mrs.
Warren' Prossion opens in New York but is closed by the po
lice censor after one performance.
1906 Joyce moves his family to Rome, where he works in a bank. Al
though their fnancial situation improves, Joyce is unhappy, and
the family returns to Trieste after eight months. Henrik Ibsen
1 907 The couple's daughter, Lucia, is born on July 26. Joyce com
pletes "The Dead" and begins revising Stephen Hero as A Por
trit o the Artist as a Young Man. His frst collection of poems,
Chamber Music, is published.
1909 Joyce returns to Dublin and opens the city's frst movie theater,
the Volta; the venture fails. J. M. Synge writes Deirdre o the Sor
rows; he dies later this year.
1910 Joyce returns t o Trieste.
1912 He makes his fnal visit t o Ireland t o deal with problems in the
publishing of Dubliners.
1913 D. H. Lawrence publishes Sons and Lovers. Shaw's Pygmalion i s
frst performed i n Vienna.
1914 The Egoist begins serialization of A Portrit o the Artist as a
Young Man. Dubliners is published in London. World War I be
1915 Italy enters World War I . The Joyces move from Trieste to
Zurich. D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow is published.
1916 Patrick Pearse (Joyce's former Irish teacher) and the Irish Re
publicans declare independence with the Easter Rsing on April
24. Five hundred people are killed during the failed rebellion,
and Pearse and fourteen other leaders are executed; Yeats writes
"Easter 1916" to commemorate the event. C. G. Jung's Psychol
ogy o the Unconscious, published in German in 1912, is pub-
The Worl i James Joyce x
lished in English translation. A Portrit i the Artist as a Young
Man is published in the United States.
1917 Joyce undergoes the frst of twenty-fve operations for eye dis
eases, including glaucoma and cataracts. The feminist and ac
tivist editor of the Egoist, Harriet Shaw Weaver, begins her
patronage of Joyce. T S. Eliot publishes Prufock and Other Ob
1918 Chapters of Ulsses begin t o be published i n the American j our
nal the Little Review.
1919 The U. S. Post Offce seizes and burns copies of the January and
June issues of the Little Review. Joyce's play Exiles is published
in England and the United States. Following the war, the Joyces
return to Trieste.
1920 The U. S. Post Offce seizes and burns copies of the January
issue of the Litte Review, and the Litte Review's publication of
Ulsses is halted by court order with half the book published.
The Joyce family relocates to Paris. Edith Wharton's The Age i
Innocence is published.
1922 The Irish Free State achieves independence. Northern Ireland
remains under British rule. American expatriate Sylvia Beach,
owner of the bookshop Shakespeare and Company in Paris,
publishes Ulsses on February 2. The U. S. Post Offce burns a
shipment of 500 copies. T S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land
and founds the literary journal the Criterion. Joyce begins work
on Finnegans Wake; his fnal novel, it will take seventeen years
to complete.
1 923 !talo Svevo publishes La coscienza di Zeno (Confssions iZeno).
Yeats is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1924 The frst piece of Finnegans Wake is published in Paris in the
Trnsatlantic Review.
1925 In London, the Criterion publi shes a second piece from
Finnegans Wake.
1927 A second volume of poems by Joyce, Pomes Penyeach, is pub
lished. Publication of the seven volumes of Marcel Proust's A la
recherche du temps perdu (Remembrnce i Things Past), begun in
1 913, is completed. Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is pub
1 928 D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley' Lover, Virginia Woolf's Or
lando, and Yeats's The Tower are published.
xu The Worl o James Joyce
1930 W. H. Auden's Poems and T S. Eliot's Ash Wdnesday are pub-
lished. D. H. Lawrence dies.
1931 James and Nora marry for legal reasons. Joyce's father dies.
1932 Lucia Joyce is hospitalized and diagnosed as schizophrenic.
1 933 United States District Judge John Woolsey lifts the ban on
Ulsses and, in his decision, writes a legal defnition of obscen
1934 The frst authorized edition of Uysses is published in the
United States.
1936 Ulsses is published in the United Kingdom.
1 939 Finnegans Wake is published. World War II begins. W. B. Yeats
1 940 As France is invaded, the Joyces obtain visas for Switzerland
and return to Zurich in December.
1941 Joyce dies of a perforated ulcer on January 13.
Now that the dust of the previous century has settled, there seems lit
tle doubt that James Joyce was the most signifcant, the most infuen
tial English-language prose writer of the twentieth century. His one
short- story collecti on, three novels , one play, and two volumes of
poems have won him the devoted attention of students, scholars, and
general readers alike; in scholarly terms alone, Joyce is now the second
most densely explicated of English-language authors, after only Shake
speare. He has become, in both the public and scholarly imagination,
the bespectacled (or sometimes eye-patched) public face of modern lit
erature, i n all its diffculty and hard-won pleasures.
Such a fate was far from evident in the early reaction to his writing:
Both his collection of ffteen short stories, Dubliner (1914), and his au
tobiographically based frst novel, A Portrit o the Artist as a Young Man
(1916), very nearly never saw the light of day. The eventual publisher
of Dubliners, London-based Grant Richards, frst issued Joyce a con
tract for the book in February 1906; the collection itself wasn't pub
lished until more than eight years later, however, and after a running
battle with a series of publishers and printers that Joyce described in an
open letter, "A Curious History," which he later proposed Richards
publish as a preface to the book. At issue, frst and foremost, were ques
tions of obscenity and libel-epiphenomena of the reali sm of Joyce's
stories-for which publishers believed they would be prosecuted.
Joyce's indiscretions are, by contemporary standards, quite tame: A man
conducting an adulterous affair is described as having "two establish
ments to keep up"; King Edward VI is called by one character "a bit of
a rake"; and the obscene colloquialism "bloody" pops up with uncom
fortable frequency in the second half of the collection. At the s ame
time, as Joyce peevishly pointed out in a 1906 letter to Richards, the
much grosser obscenity of stories like "An Encounter" and "The Board
ing House" had been completely overlooked. Rchards replied, by re
turn mail, that "On consideration, I should like to leave out altogether
'The [sic] Encounter. ' " Censors very rarely have a sense of humor.
In '' Curious History," Joyce throws in the towel:
I wrote this book seven years ago and, as I cannot see in any quarter a
chance that my rights w be protected, I hereby give Messrs Maunsel
publicly permission to publish this story ["Ivy Day in the Committee
Room"] with what changes or deletions they may please to make and
shall hope that what they may publish may resemble that to the writ
ing of which I gave thought and time . . . . I, as a writer, protest against
the systems (legal, social and ceremonious) which have brought me to
this pass (James Joyce, Letters, edited by Stuart Gilbert and Rchard
Ellmann, New York: Viking Press, 1957-1966; vol. 2, p. 293).
The pre-publication diffculties of Dubliners mark a minor episode
in the larger struggle over censorship that was waged by early twenti
eth-century writers like D. H. Lawrence and Radclyffe Hall, and was
fought most memorably over Joyce's own 1922 masterpiece Ulsses. As
it turns out, Joyce's ' ' Curious History" was curiously proleptic, how
ever: It was written in August 1911, when the book's strange odyssey
was barely half done. A Dublin edition of the stories, having been set
in type by Maunsel & Co. , was summarily destroyed by a scrupulous
printer in September 1912. On the back of the annulled contract Joyce
wrote a broadside poem, "Gas from a Burner"; it opens with these lines,
spoken by a fgure compounded of Maunsel's manager, George
Roberts, and the scandalized printer, John Falconer:
Ladies and gents, you are here assembled
To hear why earth and heaven trembled
Because of the black and sinister arts
Of an Irish writer in foreign parts.
He sent me a book ten years ago.
I read it a hundred times or so,
Backards and forwards, down and up,
Through both ends of a telescope.
I printed it all to the very last word
But by the mercy of the Lord
The darkness of my mind was rent
And I saw the writer's foul intent (Joyce, Critical Writings,
pp. 242-243; see "For Further Reading").
As Joyce's poem closes, the heretical work goes up in fames , as all
heretics must: "I' ll burn the book, so help me devil. / I' ll sing a psalm
as I watch it burn" (p. 245). While Joyce's martyr imagination believed
his book to have been burned, in fact the print run was probably just
cut and pulped; having come this close to fruition, however, the book's
publication was thus delayed by another twenty-one months, until
Grant Richards stepped back into the fray and brought the book out in
June 1914.
Even while Dubfiners was ftflly slouching toward London to be
born, Joyce was at work on his frst novel, A Portrit 0 the Artist as a
Young Man (as well as his frst volume of poems, Chamber Music, pub
lished in 1907). Conceptually, Portrit is the earlier book: Its germ is to
be found i n a 2,500-word essay that Joyce wrote on January 7, 1904, "A
Portrait of the Artist, " whereas the earliest of the Dubliners stori es,
"The Sisters, " was not begun until si months later. Like Dubliners,
Portrit nearly went up in fames before it found its readership: In a fa
mous story, the unfnished manuscript was snatched from the freplace
by Joyce's sister Eileen in 1911, after Joyce had thrown it on the fames
in a ft of despair.
This rescued manuscript had already gone through an intermediate
stage, in which the short essay "A Portrait" was expanded into an un
fnished novel of twenty-six chapters; the remaining portions of that
earlier versi on were published after Joyce's death as Stephen Hero,
though the manuscript is said to have been rejected by twenty different
publishers before Joyce began its wholesale revision as Portrait. Even
with the novel in its fnal form, however, and with both Chamber Music
and Dubliners already in print, Joyce had a great deal of diffculty fnd
ing a home for Portrait. In what is surely a characteristic opinion, the
reader's report prepared for the publisher Duckorth & Co. in June
1916 found both Joyce's social realism and his narrative experimenta
tion a bit too much to contend with:
James Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" wants going
through careflly from start to fnish. There are many "longueurs"
[boring passages). Passages which, though the publisher's reader may
fnd them entertaining, will be tedious to the ordinary man among
the reading public . . . . It is too discursive, formless, unrestrained,
and ugly things, ugly words, are too prominent; indeed at times they
seem to be shoved in one's face, on purpose, unnecessarily . . . .
The author shows us he has art, strength and originality, but this
MS. wants time and trouble spent on it, to make it a more fnished
piece of work, to shape it more careflly as the product of the crafts
manship, mind and imagination of the artist (James Joyce,A Portrait
o the Artist as a Young Man: Text, Criticism, and Notes, edited by
Chester G. Anderson, New York: Vikng Press, 1968, p. 320).
Having worked on the novel by turns for more than twelve years, Joyce
cannot have been pleased to read that the manuscript was in need of
"time and trouble spent on it. " Athough the author of the report ac
knowledged that some of "the old conventions" concerning fction were
then falling away, he could not yet discern the larger outlines of Joyce's
narrative experiment, in which great "time and trouble" were spent pre
cisely in honing the novel's continually evolving prose-blurring his
protagonist's ultimate fate and the novel's plot traj ectory, as Joseph
Conrad had done in Heart o Darkness, in a healthy dose of narrative
While Joyce struggled agai nst what, in "A Curious History, " he
called "legal, social and ceremonious" systems in order to get Dubliners
published, his vision for the stories seems not to have changed signif
cantly from his earliest conception: It was from the beginning to be a
collection written "to betray the soul of that hemiplegia [partial paral
ysis] or paralysis which many consider a city," written "for the most part
in a style of scrupulous meanness. " In writing Portrit, on the other
hand-his troubles with publishers notwithstanding-Joyce's main
hurdles were personal and artistic, not public. In the 1904 essay, he
writes with dissatisfaction about the conventions of autobiography, in
which the "features of infancy" are presented only in their "iron, me
morial aspect": Youth is narrated only from the hindsight of maturity,
and with a false confdence that betrays the real uncertainty of those
early years. Joyce states as a goal-though one he is unable satisfacto
rily to accomplish in the early essay-an autobiographical style that
would present the past as "a fuid succession of presents, the develop
ment of an entity of which our actual present is a phase only. " The
essay's opening, manifesto-like paragraph concludes with the statement
that for those exceptional individuals for whom an autobiography is a
worthwhile undertakng, "a portrait is not an identifcative paper but
rather the curve of an emotion. "
Joyce thus sought to forge (a word that plays an interesting role in
Portrait, as we' ll see) a style of shifting emphases and perspectives,
drawing i ts imagery and vocabulary from different sources during dif
ferent periods of his protagonist's life-a technique we might today, in
light of the nearly simultaneous work in narrative technique being car
ried out in England by writers like Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, call
"impressionism. " Joyce's "Portrait" essay is certainly impressionistic
nearly to the point of incomprehensibility; his impressionism in pre
sentation is combined with a preciosity of style, rendering the resultant
text narrowly self-involved. Over the years of its genesis, however-and
because of, not merely in spite of, its trials and persecutions-this frst
"Portrait" became A Portrait o the Artist as a Young Man, achieving a
nearly perfect accommodation of style to mood and thought-"the
curve of an emotion," precisely. In the much-discussed 1997 Random
House poll that named Joyce's Ulsses the number-one novel of the
twentieth century, Portrait came in a close third, behi nd F Scott
Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby; this novel that nearly arrived stillborn
has now been confrmed as a tentieth-century classic and has been in
stalled as a mainstay of high-school and college curricula in English
speaking countries around the world.
Though written very nearly in tandem, Dubliners and A Portrit o the
Artist as a Young Man have very different agendas, and represent very
different reading experiences, as well. We might, for purposes of illus
tration, think of Joyce's frst two works of fction as representing cri
tiques of two rather different literary genres: Dubliners, a critique of the
short story as Joyce had inherited it, in which complicated psychologi
cal struggles are simplifed and resolved in the course of three thousand
words; and Portrait, a critique of the deeply romantic legacy of the Bil
dungsroman (novel of education and maturation) and its close relative
the Kunstlerroman (which focuses on the development of the artist) ,
forms that perpetuated a notion of heroism wholly unsuited to the re
alities of life and art in the twentieth century.
If early readers and critics of Dubliners were taken aback by Joyce's
unfinching reportage of the sordid details of modern urban life, con
temporary readers are more often struck by the stories' very abrupt end
ings: Time and again they seem merely to stop, dead in their tracks,
rather than properly ending. The frst three stories, in this regard, are
representative. "The Sisters" ends while one of the eponymous sisters is
in mid-conversation, mid-sentence: "So then, of course, when they saw
that, that made them think that there was something gone wrong with
him . . . . " The ellipsis that closes the story is just one of twenty sets in
this very elliptical three-thousand-word story, in which meaning seems
to lie just behind the words, in between the words, peeking out at us
but ultimately eluding us. At the close of the second story, "An En
counter, " our narrator calls for help to his friend Mahoney, but this
Xll Introduction
message is relayed along with confession of a sin we cannot understand,
or even guess at: "And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always de
spised him a little. " Hence, rather than the sort of closure a short story
is supposed to provide, "An Encounter" opens up, vertiginously, on a
host of other issues just when it should be shutting down new possibil
ities. The beautiflly lyrical ending of "Araby" has been much analyzed,
and to read the criticism, one would think that there's nothing at all out
of the way about the narrator's sudden outburst in his closing sentence:
"Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and de
rided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. " What-?
Revelation, it seems, arrives from out of the blue (or black) , but we
readers can neither see it coming nor fgure out with any certainty
whither it will lead our protagonist.
These three stories-and many others in the collection besides, in
cluding "Eveline, " "Two Gallants, " "The Boarding House, " "Clay," "A
Painful Case, " "Ivy Day in the Committee Room, " and "The Dead"
focus on the moment of sudden revelation that Joyce called, after the
traditions of the Catholic Church, an "epiphany." A full description of
the epiphany is one of the elements that Joyce stripped out of
Hero in making Portrait; if we turn back to that earlier text, however,
we discover the following explanation of the place of the epiphany in
Stephen Dedalus's evolving aesthetic philosophy:
This triviality [of a banal conversation he has overheard] made him
think of collecting many such moments together in a book of
epiphanies. By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifesta
tion, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memo
rable phase of the mind itself He believed that it was for the man of
letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they
themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments ( James
Joyce, Stephen Hero, edited by John]. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon,
second edition, New York: New Directions, 1963, p. 211).
This insistence on the importance of the trivial plays throughout both
Dubliners and Portrait; and a great deal of scholarly attention has been
paid over the years to the concept of the epiphany. Without rehearsing
in detail that voluminous scholarship, we might pause here to note that
the terse description given in Stephen Hero describes a locus for the
epiphany (in "everyday life") and an agent of the epiphany (the writer) ;
if much of public life consists of playing some knd of role, wearing a
Introduction X
mask, an epiphany is one of those rare moments when the mask slips,
and we see past convention, past language, and glimpse some funda
mental truth about human nature. But the question of for whom the
timeless human truth of the situation is suddenly made manifest, apart
from the writer who records it, is left somewhat ambiguous.
In the frst three stories, our narrator is also the story's protagonist;
hence if the narrator experiences a "sudden spiritual manifestation, " we
know that perforce our protagonist has, too. Things get much messier
in the remaining telve stories, though, in which characters are not left
to tell their own tales; what confdence do we have that Mr. James
Duff in "A Painful Case," for instance, has in fact come to terms with
the revealed human bankruptcy of his life? The proper understanding
of these epiphanies, and their proper role in an overall understanding of
the Dubliners stories, is still a matter of some debate; it might help to
suggest the richness of these stories, though, if we note only that truth
can certainly be made manifest-to an author, his narrator, even his
readers-without that truth ever quite penetrating the thick psycho
logical defenses of his characters. One interesting index of this possible
refsal of their epiphanies by various of the Dubliners characters is the
image of the mirror: Think of Bob Doran, Mrs. Mooney, and her
daughter Polly, as each comports him- or herself at the mirror in "The
Boarding House"; think of Mr. Duff, as he is confronted with the
image of himself in the laborious, droning train "winding out of Kings
bridge Station"; think, perhaps, of Gabriel Conroy in "The Dead, " es
chewing light and avoiding mirrors in the Gresham Hotel as his story
builds to its tragic climax. Joyce borrowed his term for these dramati
cally revealing moments from the apparition of the Christ child to the
Magi, from the account in the Gospel of Matthew; part of what Joyce
so disturbingly suggests, time and again in Dubliners, is that contem
porary magi would sooner deny the reality of what they had seen,
would, like Mr. Duff, sooner "doubt the realit of what memory" tells
them, than come to terms with the difcult changes their revelations
would seem to demand of them.
Thi s skepticism about human beings' willingnes s , or ability, to
change is of a piece with Joyce's stylistic regimen, what he called "a style
of scrupulous meanness": a style, in other words, that places an absolute
moral value on truth-telling. Given the aesthetic detachment from eth
ical and political concerns evidenced by much twentieth-century liter
ature, Joyce's early remarks about Dubliners sound almost naive: He
writes to Grant Rchards, for instance, that "my intention was to write
x Introduction
a chapter of the moral history of my country" (Letter, vol. 2, p. 134),
and later that "I believe that in composing my chapter of moral history
in exactly the way that I have composed it I have taken the frst step to
wards the spiritual liberation of my country" (Letters, vol. 1, pp. 62-63) .
A month later, Joyce frther opines that should Rchards decide not to
publish the book, "I seriously believe that you will retard the course of
civilisation in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one
good look at themselves in my nicely polished looking-glass" (Letters,
vol. 1, p. 64) . Surely comments like these, even as they confrm some of
the worst stereotypes of artistic egotism, stand as a healthy corrective to
the common depiction of the modernist writers as disaffected aes
thetes, unconcerned about the moral or political dimension of their
Concerned as he is with the moral paralysis of the people of
Dublin-a diagnosis which, Joyce knew well enough, applied equally to
the denizens of any modern city-the stories of Dubliners at the same
time explore the special responsibilities of the man of letters in general,
and the artist in particular. The volume's last and greatest story, "The
Dead," stands as a case in point; in it, Joyce explores the death-in-life
of a handful of Dubliners, but most poignantly, perhaps, that of the
story's protagonist, Gabriel Conroy: a fgure of what Joyce feared he
might have become, had he not left Dublin permanently for the conti
nent in 1904. Gabriel is intelligent, well-educated, a man of the world;
he vacations in Belgium, not the west of Ireland, teaches and reviews
books, makes learned allusions to Greek mythology and the poetry of
Robert Browning in his after-dinner remarks-he even wears galoshes!
Yet he is, for all that, another paralytic soul: His nose is put out of j oint
three different times before dinner is even served, as minor resistance
from other guests at his aunts' party (Lily, his wife Gretta, and Molly
Ivors) put in peril his oversize yet fragile male ego. He proceeds to use
his speech to take revenge on a college friend no longer at the party, and
parades his own learning at the expense of his aunts' pleasure; and in
the climactic scene at the Gresham Hotel, which includes one of the
best known and most beautiful passages in all of modern literature,
Gabriel's petulant anger (fueled by a frustrated "pang of lust") ruins an
opportunity to know his wife yet more intimately and honestly than
hitherto he ever has.
In Dubliners, a handfl of writers and would-be writers make up a
supporting cast: The protagonist-narrators in the frst three stories
clearly have literary pretensions, as do Little Chandler ("A Little
Cloud"), Mr. Duff ("A Painful Case") , Joe Hynes ("Ivy Day in the
Committee Room"), and Gabriel Conroy. In A Portrait o the Artist as a
Young Man, of course, a wouldbe artist is at the absolute center of the
novel's action and narration: a presence so central that, in ways that
were being feshed out in physics and astrophysics at the very time
Joyce was writing Portrit, all other objects are more or less deformed
in his feld. In the novel, the competing claims of religion and art are
laid out, and in chapters 3 and 4, especially, we see them at war: One
thing not often remarked upon in the criticism of Portrit, however, is
that within the novel's pages, it is far from clear that art comes out on
top. In the sermons of chapter 3, a poetic and rhetorical inventiveness
i s brought to bear that dwarfs anything our young arti st hi mself
musters; the mystic, scholar, and writer Thomas Merton, for instance,
converted to Catholicism as a result of reading them. By comparison,
the writing that Stephen himself produces during the course of the
novel is pale and bloodless; we read about a poem rehearsing romantic
platitudes on "the maiden lustre of the moon," for instance, and his
artistic production for the period covered in the novel culminates in his
" Villanelle of the Temptress, " which represents an advance only in that
Stephen is parroting fndesiecle rather than earliercentury cliches.
The scene describing the writing of Stephen's frst poem, in the sec
ond "scene" of chapter 2, is instructive. In a passage recalling the dis
cussion of epiphany in Stephen Hero, Joyce describes Stephen Dedalus's
habits of attention: "He chronicled with patience what he saw, detach
ing himself from it and testing its mortifing favour in secret" (p. 58) . "
What follows, though not labeled as such in the text, are precisely three
epiphanies: Two of them, in fact, are based on incidents recorded in
Joyce's own epiphany notebook. Like the Dubliners stories, these vi
gnettes are spare, closely observed, and slightly mysterious; and the
third, describing the tram ride back from Harold's Cross in which
Stephen's intialsonly love interest E-C-seems eminently embrace
able but remains unembraced, is the provocation for the poem Stephen
then attempts to write. These three brief prose sketches-based on
what we see in Dubliners, for instance, as well as the mature prose sec
tions of Portritrepresent something like what Joyce thought twenti
ethcentury literature ought to be accomplishing, that "style of
scrupulous meanness" he saw as a knd of moral ideal.
In explicit contrast, Stephen's poem is . . . well, strictly speakng, it's
just not there at all. We watch Stephen write; but we're shown no writ
ing. Just when it seems that his attempts to write the poem will fail,
even by Stephen's standards, he pushes forward by "brooding" on the
tram incident, and in the process of writing the poem,
all those elements which he deemed common and insignifcant fell
out of the scene. There remained no trace of the tram itself nor of
the trammen nor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly.
The verses told only of the night and the balmy breeze and the
maiden lustre of the moon. Some undefned sorrow was hidden in
the hearts of the protagonists as they stood in silence beneath the
leafess trees and when the moment of farewell had come the kss,
which had been withheld by one, was given by both (p. 6).
Whereas Joyce's own practice insists on focusing on the actual details
of a scene until they come starkly into view-chronicling with patience
what one sees-his artist "as a young man" instead "broods" (never a
good sign, in Joyce) until everything real falls away, and all that's left is
a sodden lump of romantic cliches. A sharply observant prose like that
of the Dubliners stories is written about Stephen's experience, but he
himself can write only a vaporous and derivative poetry. (Joyce empha
sizes the schoolboy quality of the poem by having Stephen write it in a
school exercise book, with the motto Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam ["to the
greater glory of God"] at the head and Laus Deo Semper ["praise to God
always"] at its close, the obligatory topoi of his classroom writing exer
cises under the Jesuits. ) As if the point were not yet clear, the paragraph
concludes: "Having hidden the book, he went into his mother's bed
room and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of her dress
ing table. " A very Narcissus in Dublin.
In the course of this scene, and others beside (compare, for instance,
the prose describing the "bird girl" in chapter 5 with the j ejune vil
lanelle he makes out of the same episode), Joyce seems to be suggest
ing that if poetry had been the leading edge of literary innovation in the
nineteenth century, it would be prose that would lead the way in the
twentieth. (On the far side of the twentieth century now, we can't help
but be impressed by Joyce's prescience. ) As long as Stephen fetishizes
writers like George Gordon, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and
Algernon Charles Swinburne, the authentic literary voice of the twen
tieth century, the modern world, will remain gagged. As a young writer
Joyce frst thought of himself as a poet, though had his reputation de
pended on his poems, his name would now be forgotten: A perusal of
Joyce's own frst volume of poems, Chamber Music, quickly confrms
Introduction X1l
that his prose was as avant-garde as his poetry was derriere-garde. Thus
the move from poet to prose writer was one that Joyce knew something
about, for it was a move he himself had already made by the time he
wrote Portrit. As the example of Stephen's frst poem makes clear, Por
trait supports a very complicated narrative structure: It is an autobio
graphical novel about a former self-a self about whom the author now
has some misgivings, even feels some embarrassment. But in strict ac
cordance with what critic Maud Ellmann has called modernism's "po
etics of impersonality" (her book bears this title) , Joyce forbids himself
anything like explicit, third-person commentary on Stephen's beliefs ,
positions, and actions: The novel contains only dramatic "showing," no
authorial "telling, " and the aesthetically calculated juxtaposition (the
prose and poetic versions of Stephen's tram ride, for instance) is the most
explicit commentary Joyce will allow himself This stealthy mode of crit
icizing his protagonist, providing a kind of ironic counterpoint, differ
entiates Portrait from the abortive draft Stephen Hero, in which Joyce did
indulge, in small doses at least, in commentary on the calowness of his
protagonist. In Stephen Hero, when Stephen fies a bit too high, for in
stance, the narrative calls him a "fantastic idealist"; in Portrit, this kind
of criticism must remain always unspoken, merely implied, so that, for
example, Stephen believes the most sublime and transcendent moment
of The Count i Monte Cristo to be Dantes's utterance of his "sadly proud
gesture of refusal": "-Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes. "
Hence the overarching structural irony of Portrit, which has made
the tone of the book so very hard for so very many readers over the
years to discern: It's a novel about a devotee of an anachronistic literary
cult, written by a writer who has himself outgrown his infatuation with
that same cult but who writes with a conviction that the only legitimate
form of critique is precisely the patient and detached description found
in Stephen's epiphanies. Joyce's reluctance to "weigh in" has made for an
interesting reception history; as in Dubfiners, in Portrit Joyce seeks to
hold up his fnely polished looking-glass to us for our inspection. But
since we readers tend to identif with, rather than criticize, the aspira
tions and idealism of Stephen Dedalus-because his foibles are so
nearly our own-we have tended not to see Joyce's understated criti
cism. This, fnally, is what makes Joyce's writing in Dubfiner and Por
trit so powerful for so many readers: We're never allowed simply to sit
in judgment of their characters, but must instead recognize that their
follies are our own. We are drawn, propulsively, into an imaginative
identifcation with these characters and their plights. The reader whose
X Introduction
heart doesn't respond to Stephen Dedalus's high-fown aspirations ("I
go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience" [po
225]) , or who doesn't fervently hope that Eveline Hill will get on that
ship with Frank, hasn't truly engaged these texts in the spirit with
which they were written. Regarding his most famous protagonist, the
nineteenth-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert wrote, "Madame
Bovary, c'est moi": Flaubert held himself neither superior to, nor dif
ferent in kind from, his deeply fawed character. And like Flaubert, the
reader of Dubliner and Portrait must be able to say, when she has come
to the end: "Gabriel Conroy, c'est moi, " and "Stephen Dedalus, c' est
moi . " For in the letter quoted above, Joyce promises not (as Shake
speare does, in Hamlet) to "hold . . . the mirror up to nature"-but in
stead, much more menaci ngly, he holds the mirror up before his
readers, that they might " [have] one good look at themselves in [his]
nicely polished looking-glass. "
Portrit, in other words, moves the Bildungsroman and the Kunstler
roman into the twentieth century, although in the process it drags along
with it a resolutely nineteenth-century protagonist. In one of his last
di ary entries Stephen attempts to outdo his fellow countryman and
poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats, who had referred to himself as one of
Ireland's "last romantics, " expresses the desire through his character
Michael Robartes to "press / My heart upon the loveliness / That has
long faded from the world" (W. B. Yeats, "He Remembers Forgotten
Beauty," The Wind Among the Reeds, New York: J. Lane, The Bodley
Head, 1899) ; with even more romantic hunger than Robartes's nostal
gic longing betrays, Stephen expresses his desire "to press in my arms
the loveliness which has not yet come into the world" (p. 224) . While
Joyce does not allow the narrative of Portrit to level any explicit criti
cism at Stephen, other characters are free to do so, and seeing the great
gulf opened up between Joyce's prose and Stephen's poetry, we might
sympathize with Lynch's closing comment on Stephen's discourse on
aesthetic philosophy: "-What do you mean, Lynch asked surlily, by
prating about beauty and the imagination in this miserable God for
saken island?" (p. 191) . What, indeed?
One point upon which these two books agree is the absolutely funda
mental role that language plays in our being-in-the-world; in both
Dubliners and Portrait, Joyce forces us to pay careful attention to the
language in which we cast our dreams, and to which we perforce bend
our realities. Here again Joyce anticipates new discoveries made in the
Introduction x
sciences, in this case the human science of linguistics. The idea, called
in one of its early formulations the "Whorfan hypothesis, " is that we
never use language without language at the same time using us: Lan
guage is not merely descriptive of, but in fact constitutive of, what we
know as "reality." Words, loycc realized early on, always drag along with
them the history of their prior associations and usages; words, in one
sense, are never purely aesthetic obj ects, "certain good" in Yeats's
phrase, but are always already political objects. Stephen recognizes this,
if inchoately, when he muses on the English-born dean of studies' con
descending attention to Stephen's use of the word "tundish":
-The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine.
How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and
on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit.
His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an ac
quired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds
them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language (p. 167).
While Stephen may desire to press in his arms "the loveliness which has
not yet come into the world, " there is an awareness at the textual level,
if not perhaps at a conscious level, for Stephen, that he has not "made
or accepted" the words of any human tongue, but must instead accept
them at second hand. And this hand-me-down language, Stephen can't
help but notice from the very earliest pages of the novel, is always
somewhat shopworn. Stephen's vision of pure artistic creation from
nothing (ex nihilo), something completely fresh and new, requires a
pristine and univocal language: And yet everywhere, language equivo
cates. In the same conversation with the dean of studies, Stephen calls
attention to this problem, using as his example the various connotations
of the word "detain"; and confrming his worst fears, the dean misun
derstands Stephen's point initially because his own usage is loose and
sloppy In Alice in Wonderand (a text that enthralled Joyce, as Finnegans
Wake clearly evidences), Humpty Dumpty insists to Alice that "When
I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean"; like Humpty
Dumpty, Stephen would like to exert complete mastery over language
and meaning, but his experience consistently brings home the fact that
none of us has such power. He may complain, in Ulsses, that "history
is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake, " but he realizes that
he must do so in a language conditioned by that very history.
The inherently equivocal structure of language (and to be clear, this
XI Introduction
is the structure of all human languages, not j ust English)-language's
consistent difference from itself-has both this historical dimension
and another, ahistorical component. The words upon which Stephen
muses while talkng with the dean of studies, "home," "Christ," "ale, "
and "master," all resonate differently for Stephen owing to the history
of colonial subjection of Ireland by Great Britain; for the ambiguity of
these words, to quote the Englishman Haines in Ulsses, "it seems his
tory is to blame. " But even if this history could be factored out, lan
guage is always at odds with itself. The French philosopher Jacques
Derrida has termed this frustrating and elusive structure of language
dierence; it means that the momentum of writing is always centrifgal,
always toward what Derrida calls the "dissemi nation" of meaning,
rather than its consolidation, as the idealized will of its author, in a text.
In his best-known example, Derrida examines the way that the word
"supplement" (which he comes across in a passage from Jean-Jacques
Rousseau) means both "surplus" and "remedy for a defcit": The sup
plement is the surplus that (inadvertently) betrays a lack. Such, accord
ing to Derrida, is the fundamental structure of all human language.
Though no linguist, Joyce seems intuitively to have had a sense of
this dynamic; this principle is observable on both the level of the indi
vidual word, and on the larger level of phrases, sentences, and narrative
units, in all of Joyce's writing. (In an early example, Joyce punningly ti
tled his frst volume of poems Chamber Music, betrayi ng both the
poems' delicate beauty and invokng the sound of urine in a chamber
pot.) The truth of language's inherent slipperiness is frst made mani
fest to Stephen Dedalus just a couple of pages into Portrait. Stephen,
cold while playing football in the fall air,
kept his hands in the side pockets of his belted grey suit. That was a
belt round his pocket. And belt was also to give a fellow a belt. One
day a fellow had said to Cantwell:
-I'd give you such a belt in a second (p. 6).
Belt as security, belt as violence: "belt," it would seem, is an especially
paradoxical word, something like its own antonym. In truth, however,
as Stephen soon discovers, language is fll of similarly slippery terms:
In quick succession he is given to contemplating the mystery of words
like "suck," "queer," and most famously of all, "smugging. " Indeed at the
very close of the novel, which the diary-entry form suggests that
Stephen himself has written, the fnal formulation of his artistic credo
Introduction XII
is undermined by just such a slippage: "Welcome, 0 life! I go to en
counter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in
the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race" (p. 225) .
"Forge, " like the good old English word "cleave, " is its own antonym.
Using the metaphor of a blacksmith working metal, Stephen promises
to "forge . . . the uncreated conscience of his race, " by heating and ham
mering the red-hot metal of the English language, bending it to his
will. But to forge is also, of course, to counterfeit: Forgery, whether in
one's smithy or in one's basement, is an act of criminal deception, an at
tempt to pass off the ersatz as the genuine article. Is Stephen aware of
the equivocation in his declaration, the dierence between intention and
utterance, the dissemination of his meaning every which way? We can
not know the answer to this question; the next sentence is the text's last,
as Stephen invokes the protection and aid of his mythic forebear, the
Dxdalus of the novel's epigraph. But there may be, too, a meaningfl
difference between Stephen's own awareness of his writing's betrayal, or
lack thereof, and our understanding as readers. Perhaps, even if Stephen
has not, we are able to enjoy a kind of hard-won epiphany; and while
our "artist as a young man" wrestles to make an intractable language
conform to his meaning, his author instead focuses our attention on the
stubborn materiality and historicity of language. A wiser writer-like
Joyce, perhaps-would learn to work in accord with language's stub
born resistances, rather than trying in vain to master them.
As suggested earlier, it's not simply individual words that slip-as if
that weren't bad enough. But phrases, too, sometimes carry with them
untoward baggage, refusing to mean simply what they appear to say.
On an early page of the novel, for instance, the afuence of one of
Stephen's classmates at Clongowes Wood School is invoked: " Rody
Kckham had greaves in his number and a hamper in the refectory." A
hamper in the refectory means simply that Rody Kickham has a private
supply of food available to him in the dining hall-a luxury that
Stephen's family certainly cannot afford for him. The phrase "greaves in
his number," however, is a bit more layered. The standard annotations
will tell us that it means "shin-guards in his locker, " suggesting the pos
sibility that shin-guards are not issued to all the boys at Clongowes as
standard equipment: Again, the Kickham family's wealth buys young
Rody a degree of luxury that Stephen cannot afford, and when playing
football Rody gets kicked in the greaves, while Stephen takes it in the
shins . However, a look into the historical Oxfrd English Dictionary
suggests a frther dimension: The word "greaves" is quite rare, out of
Xll Introduction
use since the late nineteenth century, and the OED gives as its literary
exemplars passages from an obscure poem of Lord Byron, "The Bride
of Abydos, " as well as a passage from a far more familiar poem of Al
fred, Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shallot": "The sun came dazzling
thro' the leaves, / And famed upon the brazen greaves / Of bold Sir
Lancelot. " Hence "greaves" isn't just any old word for shin-guards, but
a particularly literary one (the OED also tells us that the word "shin
guards" was in use back in the 1880s); further, it's not just literary lan
guage, but language retaining the favor of its earlier usage in Tennyson:
an identifably Tennysonian affectation on Stephen's part (if, as is com
mon in the criticism, we assume Stephen's consciousness to be shaping,
if not exactly writing, the prose of this section) . With this Tennyson
connection unearthed, it's easy to look back to a sentence earlier in the
paragraph and fnd Tennyson's fngerprints there, too: "The evening air
was pale and chilly and after every charge and thud of the foot-ballers
the greasy leather orb few like a heavy bird through the grey light"
sounds a lot more like something from Idylls o the King or "The Charge
of the Light Brigade" or even "The Lady of Shallot" once we're alerted
to Tennyson's lurkng presence in the passage. Further, the early firta
tion with Tennyson that lingers around these images and archaisms
sheds an interesting light on a later episode in the novel, when Stephen
is beaten up by his classmate Heron and his goons for suggesting that
Byron is a better poet than the "rhymster" Tennyson. Stephen's Ten
nysonianism suggests he had not always thought so.
Moving up one level, we witness Stephen's growing attraction to the
story of the "dark avenger" of The Count o Monte Cristo throughout
the frst two chapters of the novel. Stephen's grasp on the specifcs of
the plot seem somewhat shak, but one thing he knows for certain:
He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image [of the
love interest in Monte Cristo, Mercedes] which his soul so constantly
beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how but a premonition
which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act
of his, encounter him. They would meet 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 be alone, surrounded by darkness
and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be
transfgured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes
and then in a moment, he would be transfgured. Weakness and timid
ity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment (p. 56) .
Introduction X
While Stephen seems to be imagining some sort of amorous tryst, his
imagination has not yet been fd any of the stark details of actual, phys
ical sex: Like his poem about riding the tram home with E- C-just
a few pages later, his inexperience leads him here to the brink of a scene
that he is unable to imagine. The Count o Monte Cristo, too, is evasive
on these questions; and precisely because the story he wishes to act out
has skrted the issue, Stephen's imagination runs into a kind of wall
when the actual moment of his "fall" is to take place.
Stephen's fall from sexual innocence into experience takes place in
the closing pages of chapter 2; and when he wanders into the red-light
Nighttown district of Dublin, and ends up in the bed of a prostitute,
every feature of his earlier fantasy centering on Mercedes is ironically
flflled. Not knowing where to look for Mercedes, his feet seemingly
of their own accord take him "into a maze of narrow and dirty streets. "
He knows that hi s role in hi s encounter with hi s Mercedes will be en
tirely passive, and in his transaction with the prostitute, Stephen
"would not bend to kiss her," and later "swoons" or perhaps, less poeti
cally, passes out. He does indeed "fade into something impalpable
under her eyes"; but this is Monte Cristo with an ironic difference. With
the veil of a romantic. fantasy interposing itself between Stephen and
the prostitute, it's almost as if he's not present at his own defowering.
The narrative, in this case, both trumps and dictates the real.
One lesson, then, that we might take away from these two exqui
sitely well written books is that narrative in particular, and language in
general, is in a sense the "prison-house" that German philosopher
Friedrich Nietzsche, another near-contemporary of Joyce' s, claimed
that it was: Reality, or "the reality of experience, " is unavailable to
human vessels excepting through the somewhat distorting vehicle of
human language. Some, like young Stephen Dedalus, might expend
their energies wishing for, workng for, a language that would escape all
such limitations: a sort of pre- Babel super-language, infnitely adapt
able to the infnitely shifting shapes of the real. Another response sug
gests itself, however-one that Joyce was to work out in greater detail,
and with greater care, in his next novel, Ulsses: that if stories are the
only means we have to "encounter reality," it matters very much which
stories we carry around in our heads. Dubliners and A Portrait o the
Artist as a Young Man, both stories that, on one level, counsel caution
about the stories with which we furnish our imaginations, make a very
good start.
xx Introduction
Kevn J. H. Detmar is Professor of modern British and Irish literary
and cultural studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He
has published a study of James Joyce and the stylistics of postmod
ernism and has edited or coedited three volumes of essays: on mod
ernism's relationship to commodity culture, on the intersections of
literary modernism and postmodernism, and on theoretical approaches
to contemporary popular music. He also serves as coeditor of the twen
tieth-century materials for the Longman Anthology o British Literature,
and as a chapter coordinator for the James Joyce' "Ulsses" in Hyperme
dia proj ect. He is past president and member of the Executive Board
for the international Modernist Studies Association.
Dettmar is currently researching and writing two studies that refect
the range of his scholarly interests: one, a book on the cultural history
of the notion that "rock is dead," and the other, a study of James Joyce's
relationship to the Great Books tradition.
During the early years of the twentieth century during which the events
of the Dubliners stories and A Portrit o the Artist as a Young Man take
place, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom and used British money
Until Great Britain switched to a decimal system for its money in
1971, with 100 pence to the pound, British money followed a some
what idiosyncratic system. The chart below gives the primary denomi
nations of pre- 1971 British money, along with any slang terms , and the
approximate buying power these denominations would have repre
sented in 1910, given in current (2004) U. S. dollars.
Coin or note Abbrev. Equivalency Slang Current
U. S. dollar
Farthing 1/4d. 1/4 pence copper $0. 10
Half penny 1/2d. 1/2 pence ha'penny; copper $0. 20
Pence or penny Id. 1 penny copper $0. 39
Twopence 2d. 2 pence copper $0. 78
Threepence 3d. 3 pence thruppenny bit $ 1 . 1 7
Sixpence 6d. 6 pence sipenny bit; tanner $2. 34
Shilling Is. 12d. bob $4. 68
1 shilling
Florin 2s. 2 shillings $9. 36
Half crown 2s. 6d. 2 shillings, $ 1 1 . 70
6 pence
Double forin 4s. 4 shillings $ 1 8. 72
Crown 5s. 5 shillings $23.40
Half pound lOs. 10 shillings $46. 80
Pound 1 240d. 20s. quid $93. 60
1 pound
Sovereign (coin) 1 1 pound $93. 60
Guinea 1 Is. 1 pound, $98. 28
1 shilling
The copy text for our edition of Dubliners is the 1914 frst edition (frst
printing), published in London by Grant Richards; that for A Portrit
o the Artist as a Young Man, the 1916 frst edition (ffth printing, 1922)
published in New York by W. B. Huebsch. Many factors have con
tributed to the appearance of errors in these early editions; Joyce com
plained to Richards, for instance, that he read the page proofs of
Dubliners very quickly because he expected to be sent a second set of
proofs, which never materialized. For this edition obvious errors have
been silently emended.
The punctuation of direct speech in Joyce's fction is an area that has
attracted a good deal of scholarly attention over the years. In standard
British usage-and though an Irishman, Joyce wrote as a (somewhat
reluctant) British subj ect until Irish independence was granted in
1922-direct speech is ordinarily indicated by enclosure between sin
gle quotation marks, or inverted commas:
'e was too scrupulous always, ' she said
Joyce thought this convention unsightly; he referred j okingly to the
punctuation as "perverted commas, " and pleaded with the London
publisher of Dubliners to use dashes instead to indicate direct speech.
As it was frst typeset, Dubliners did in fact indicate direct speech by
enclosing it between em-dashes:
-He was too scrupulous always, -she said
But this edition, printed for Maunsel & Co. in Dublin, was destroyed
before being distributed, and this typography never saw the light of day
(Maunsel feared being sued for obscenity and/or libel). When the book
was re-set for the Rchards publication, the dashes were changed back
to the conventional inverted commas.
With A Portrit, however, Joyce got something closer to his wishes.
The Huebsch edition indicates direct speech with an introductory
XX V Note on the Texts
-0, Stephen will apologise.
But the convention in this edition is employed inconsistently; indeed,
the very next quotation on the same page uses not just a single intro
ductory dash, but a closing dash as well:
-0, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes. -
For the most part, the frst half of the novel punctuates direct speech
with a single, introductory dash; but halfay through the novel, the
convention switches to both introductory and closing dashes, with no
apparent textual logic to support the switch.
Finally, British publishing conventions dictate that for a quotation
embedded within direct speech, double quotation marks be enclosed
within single quotation marks:
'nnoyed! Not he! "Manly little chap! " he said. '
In the early printings of Portrit, however, in which dashes are used to
introduce direct speech, italics are (irregularly) used to indicate a quo
tation within direct speech, and that convention has been adopted in
this edition:
-Annoyed! Not he! Manl litte chap, he said.
Given this hodgepodge of editorial decisions-and with little sense
of which of these conventions Joyce fnally preferred-we have chosen
to punctuate direct speech uniformly with the single introductory dash,
a technique that we know Joyce favored by the time Ulsses was pub
lished in 1922. In that novel, it is clear that Joyce valued the ambiguity
a single introductory dash lent to a paragraph that might begin with di
rect speech but then wander off into interior monologue or even third
person narration, with these different registers of discourse remaining
unmarked. While the clues to Joyce's preferred style early in his career
are somewhat contradictory, by the time he was in a position to have
his texts set in the way he wanted, he chose to indicate where a quota
tion began, but not where it ended. This willfl ambiguity is altogether
characteristic of the slippery stylistics of the greatest English prose
writer of the twentieth century.
A Portrait o the Artist as a Young Man
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
"An Encounter"
"Two Gallants"
"A Little Cloud"
"A Painful Case "
"The Dead"
1 81
31 6
Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII, 188 '
And he applies his mind to obscure arts (Latin); said of Dadalus, who, in a Greek
myth, made wings for himself and his son, Icarus, to escape the labyrinth of the
ONCE UPON A TIME and a very good time it was there was a moocow
coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the
road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo . . . .
His father told him that story: his father looked at him through a
glass: * he had a hairy face.
He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty
Byrne lived: she sold lemon platt. t
0, the wild rose blossoms
On the little green place. *
He sang that song. That was his song.
0, the green wothe botheth.
When you wet the bed, frst it is warm then it gets cold. His mother
put on the oilsheet. That had the queer I I smell.
His mother had a nicer smell than his father. She played on the
piano the sailor's hornpipe# for him to dance. He danced:
Tralala lala,
Tralala trlaladdy,
Trlala lala,
Trlala lala.
:From the song "Lily Dale"; in this bowdlerized version, the word "grave" in the
second line is replaced with "place. "
Waterproof sheet used in cases of bed wetting.
I I Strange.
#Dance tune.
Uncle Charles and Dante* clapped. They were older than his father
and mother but Uncle Charles was older than Dante.
Dante had to brushes in her press. t The brush with the maroon
velvet back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet
back was for Parnel1 . 1 Dante gave him a cachou* every time he brought
her a piece of tissue paper.
The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father and
mother. They were Eileen's father and mother. When they were grown
up he was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother
-0, Stephen will apologise.
Dante said:
-0, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.
Pul out his eyes,
Pul out his eyes.
Pul out his eyes,
Pul out his eyes,
* * * *
The wide playgrounds were swarming with boys. Awere shouting
and the prefects urged them on with strong cries. The evening air was
pale and chilly and after every charge and thud of the foot-ballers the
greasy leather orb few like a heavy bird through the grey light. He kept
on the fringe of his line, I I out of sight of his prefect, out of the reach of
the rude feet, feigning to run now and then. He felt his body small and
weak amid the throng of players and his eyes were weak and watery.
Rody Kickham was not like that: he would be captain of the third line
all the fellows said.
'Stephen's childish pronunciation of "auntie. "
tCupboard or cabinet.
His age- and grade-level cohort in the school.
6 A Portrait o the Artist
Rody Kickham was a decent fellow but Nasty Roche was a stink.
Rody Kickham had greaves in his number* and a hamper in the refec
tory. Nasty Roche 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
-What is your father?
Stephen had answered:
-A gentleman.
Then Nasty Roche had asked:
-Is he a magistrate?
He crept about from point to point on the fringe of his line, making
little runs now and then. But his hands were bluish with cold. He kept
his hands in the side pockets of his belted grey suit. That was a belt
round his pocket. And belt was also to give a fellow a belt. One day a
fellow had said to Cantwell:
-I'd give you such a belt in a second.
Cantwell had answered:
-Go and fght your match. Give Cecil Thunder a belt. I' d like to
see you. He'd give you a toe in the rump for yourself
That was not a nice expression. His mother had told him not to
speak with the rough boys in the college.t Nice mother! The frst day in
the hall of the castle* when she had said goodbye she had put up her veil
double to her nose to kiss him: and her nose and eyes were red. But he
had pretended not to see that she was going to cry. She was a nice
mother but she was not so nice when she cried. And his father had given
him two fve-shiling pieces for pocket money. And his father had told
him 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 rectorl l
'Football shin-guards in his locker.
t Here, not a
ost-secondary institution but a
rivate boys'
aratory school.
:Clongowes Wood College, which still operates today, is housed in buildings orig
inally constructed as a castle.
To inform; to "fnk" or "rat" on someone.
Chief administrator of the college.
as a Young Man
had shaken hands with his father and mother, his soutane* futtering in
the breeze, and the car had driven off with his father and mother on it.
They had cried to him from the car, waving their hands:
-Good-bye, Stephen, goodbye!
-Good-bye, Stephen, goodbye!
He was caught in the whirl of a scrimmage and, fearfl of the fash
ing eyes and muddy boots, bent down to look through the legs. The fel
lows were struggling and groaning and their legs were rubbing and
kickng and stamping. Then Jack Lawton's yelow boots dodged out the
ball and all the other boots and legs ran after. He ran after them a little
way and then stopped. It was useless to run on. Soon they would be going
home for the holidays. Mter supper in the study hall he would change
the number pasted up inside his desk from seventyseven to seventysi.
It would be better to be in the study hall than out there in the cold.
The sk was pale and cold but there were lights in the castle. He won
dered from which window Hamilton Rowan t had thrown his hat on
the haha* and had there been fowerbeds at that time under the win
dows. One day when he had been called to the castle the butler had
shown him the marks of the soldiers' slugs in the wood of the door and
had given him a piece of shortbread that the community ate. It was
nice and warm to see the lights in the castle. It was like something in a
book. Perhaps Leicester Abbeyl l was like that. And there were nice sen
tences in Doctor Cornwell's Spelling Book. They were like poetry but
they were only sentences to learn the spelling from.
Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
Where the abbots buried him.
Canker is a disease o plants,
Cancer one o animals.
It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fre, leaning his
head upon his hands, and think on those sentences. He shivered as if
'Long, black gown worn by the Jesuits.
tIrish patriot and friend of Irish republican Wolfe Tone (see footnote on p. 1 62)
who sought shelter in the castle in 1 794 when wanted by the British authorities.
:Barrier, such as a fence, set within a ditch.
Religious group-in this case, the Jesuits.
I I Abbey 1 00 miles northwest of London; Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ( 1475-1530)
died there.
8 A Portrait o the Artist
he had cold slimy water next his skin. That was mean of Wells to shoul
der him into the square ditch* because he would not swop his little
snuffox for Wells's seasoned hacking chestnut, t the conqueror of forty.
How cold and slimy the water had been! A fellow had once seen a big
rat j ump into the scum. Mother was sitting at the fre with Dante wait
ing for Brigid to bring in the tea. She had her feet on the fender* and
her j ewelly slippers were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell!
Dante knew a lot of things. She had taught him where the Mozam
bique Channel was and what was the longest river in America and what
was the name of the highest mountain in the moon. Father Arnall
knew more than Dante because he was a priest but both his father and
Uncle Charles said that Dante was a clever woman and a wellread
woman. And when Dante made that noise after dinner and then put up
her hand to her mouth: that was heartburn.
A voice cried far out on the playground:
-A in!
Then other voices cried from the lower and third lines:
-Ai n! A in!
The players closed around, fushed and muddy, and he went among
them, glad to go in. Rody Kickam held the ball by its greasy lace. A
fellow asked him to give it one last: but he walked on without even an
swering the fellow. Simon Moonan told him not to because the prefect
was looking. 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
because Simon Moonan used to tie the prefect's false sleeves behind his
back and 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 l l
and his father pulled the stopper up by the chain after and the dirty
water went down through the hole in the basin. And when it had all
gone down slowly the hole in the basin had made a sound like that:
suck. Only louder.
To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel
Open cesspool on the school grounds.
tChestnut used in a children's game, in which one chestnut was swung by an at
tached string against another until one was destroyed.
:Protective metal guard in front of a freplace.
Obsequious favorite; we would say "teacher's pet. "
Hotel in downtown Dublin.
as a Young Man
cold and 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 the names printed on the cocks. That was a very queer thing.
And the air in the corridor chilled him too. It was queer and wet
tish. But soon the gas would be lit and in burning it made a light noise
like a little song. Always the same: and when the fellows stopped talk
ing in the playroom you could hear it.
It was the hour for sums. Father Arnall wrote a hard sum on the
board and 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 con
fused. The little silk badge with the white rose on it that was pinned on
the breast of his jacket began to futter. He was no good at sums but he
tried his best so that York might not lose. Father Arnall's face looked
very black but he was not in a wax: t he was laughing. Then Jack Law
ton cracked his fngers and Father Arnall looked at his copybook and
-Right. Bravo Lancaster! The red rose wins. Come on now, York!
Forge ahead!
Jack Lawton looked over from his side. The little silk badge with the
red 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 who
would get frst place in Elements, * Jack Lawton or he. Some weeks Jack
Lawton got the card for frst and some weeks he got the card for frst.
His white silk badge futtered and futtered as he worked at the next
sum and heard Father Arnall's voice. Then all his eagerness passed away
and he felt his face quite cool. He thought his face must be white be
cause it felt so cool. He could get out the answer for the sum but it did
not matter. White roses and red roses: those were beautifl colours to
think of And the cards for frst place and third place were beautifl
colours too: pink and cream and lavender. Lavender and cream and
pink roses were beautifl to think of Perhaps a wild rose might be like
those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blos
soms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But
perhaps somewhere in the world you could.
*he houses (families) York and Lancaster were the opponents in the Wars of the
Roses ( 1455-1485).
tFit of anger.
:Early schooling in spelling, arithmetic, geography, history, Latin, and writing.
IO A Portrit o the Artist
The bell rang and then the classes began to fle out of the rooms and
along the corridors towards the refectory. He sat looking at the two
prints of butter on his plate but could not eat the damp bread. The
tablecloth was damp and limp. But he drank off the hot weak tea which
the clumsy scullion, girt with a white apron, poured into his cup. He
wondered whether the scullion's apron was damp too or whether all
white things were cold and damp. Nasty Roche and Saurin drank cocoa
that their people sent them in tins. They said they could not drink the
tea; that it was hogash. Their fathers were magistrates, the fellows
All the boys seemed to him very strange. They had all fathers and
mothers and different clothes and voices. He longed to be at home and
lay his head on his mother's lap. But he could not: and so he longed for
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 bread basket, Fleming said, because your face looks
white. It will go away.
-0 yes, Stephen said.
But he was not sick there. He thought that he was sick in his heart
if you could be sick in that place. Fleming was very decent to ask him.
He wanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and
opened the faps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory
every time he opened the faps of his ears. It made a roar like a train at
night. And when he closed the faps the roar was shut off like a train
going into a tunnel. That night at Dalkey* the train had roared like that
and then, when it went into the tunnel, the roar stopped. He closed his
eyes and the train went on, roaring and then stopping; roaring again,
stopping. It was nice to hear it roar and stop and then roar out of the
tunnel again and then stop.
Then the higher line2 fellows began to come down along the mat
ting in the middle of the refectory, Paddy Rath and Jimmy Magee and
the Spaniard who was allowed to smoke cigars and the little Portuguese
who wore the woolly cap. And then the lower line tables and the tables
of the third line. And every si ngle fellow had a different way of
* Afuent suburb on the coast south of Dublin, in County Wicklow.
as a Young Man
He sat in a corner of the playroom pretending to watch a game of
dominos and once or twice he was able to hear for an instant the little
song of the gas. The prefect was at the door with some boys and Simon
Moonan was knotting his false sleeves. He was telling them something
about Tullabeg.*
Then he went away from the door and Wells came over to Stephen
and said:
-Tell us, Dedalus, do you kiss your mother before you go to bed?
Stephen answered:
-I do.
Wells turned to the other fellows and said:
-0, I say, here's a fellow says he kisses his mother every night be
fore he goes to bed.
The other fellows stopped their game and turned round, laughing.
Stephen blushed under their eyes and said:
-I do not.
Wells said:
-0, I say, here's a fellow says he doesn't kiss his mother before he
goes to bed.
They al laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh with them. He felt
his whole body hot and confsed in a moment. What was the right an
swer to the question? He had given two and still Wells laughed. But
Wells must know the right answer for he was in third of grammar. He
tried to think of Wels's mother but he did not dare to raise his eyes to
Wells's face. He did not like Wells's face. It was Wells who had shoul
dered him into the square ditch the day before because he would not
swop his little snuffox for Wells's seasoned hackng chestnut, the con
queror of forty. It was a mean thing to do; al the fellows said it was.
And how cold and slimy the water had been! And a fellow had once
seen a big rat jump plop into the scum.
The cold slime of the ditch covered his whole body; and, when the
bel rang for study and the lines fled out of the playrooms, he felt the
cold air of the corridor and staircase inside his clothes. He still tried to
think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his mother or
wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean, to kiss? You put your
face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face
down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek; her lips
'County Offaly location of the Jesuit novitiate.
A Portrait o the Artist
were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny little 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
the number pasted up inside from seventyseven to seventysi. But the
Christmas vacation was very far away: but one time it would come be
cause the earth moved round always.
There was a picture of the earth on the frst page of his geography:
a big ball in the middle of clouds. Fleming had a box of crayons and
one night during free study he had coloured the earth green and the
clouds maroon. That was like the to brushes in Dante's press, the
brush with the green velvet back for Parnell and the brush with the ma
roon velvet back for Michael Davitt. But he had not told Fleming to
colour them those colours. Fleming had done it himself
He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn
the names of places in America. Still they were all different places that
had different names. They were all in different countries and the coun
tries were in continents and the continents were in the world and the
world was in the universe.
He turned to the fyleaf of the geography and read what he had writ
ten there: himself his name and where he was.
Stephen Dedalus
Class o Elements
Clongowes Wood Colege
County Kildare
The World
The Universe
That was in his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had writ
ten on the opposite page:
Stephen Dedalus is my name,
Ireland is my nation.
Clongowes is my dwellinglace
And heaven my expectation.
as a Youn
He read the verses backards but then they were not poetry. Then
he read the fyleaf from the bottom to the top till he came to his own
name. That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after
the universe? Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to
show where it stopped before the nothing place began? It could not be
a wall but there could be a thin thin line there all round everything. It
was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God
could do that. He tried to think what a big thought that must be but
he could think only of God. God was God's name just as his name was
Stephen. Dieu was the French for God and that was God's name too;
and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu then God knew at once
that it was a French person that was praying. But though there were
different names for God in all the different languages in the world and
God understood what all the people who prayed said in their different
languages still God remained always the same God and God's real
name was God.
It made him very tired to think that way. It made him feel his head
very big. He turned over the fyleaf and looked wearily at the green
round earth in the middle of the maroon clouds. He wondered which
was right, to be for the green or for the maroon, because Dante had
ripped the green velvet back off the brush that was for Parnell one day
with her scissors and had told him that Parnell was a bad man. He
wondered if they were arguing at home about that. That was called pol
itics. There were two sides in it: Dante was on one side and his father
and Mr. Casey were on the other side but his mother and Uncle
Charles were on no 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 he did not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak.
When would he be like the fellows in Poetry and Retoric? They had
big voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very
far away. First came the vacation and then the next term and then va
cation again and then again another term and then again the vacation.
It was like a train going in and out of tunnels and that was like the noise
of the boys eating in the refectory when you opened and closed the
faps of the ears. Term, vacation; tunnel, out; noise, stop. How far away
it was! It was better to go to bed to sleep. Only prayers in the chapel
and then bed. He shivered and yawned. It would be lovely in bed after
the sheets got a bit hot. First they were so cold to get into. He shivered
to think how cold they were frst. But then they got hot and then he
A Portrait o the Artist
could sleep. It was lovely to be tired. He yawned again. Night prayers
and then bed: he shivered and wanted to yawn. It would be lovely in a
few minutes. He felt a warm glow creeping up from the cold shivering
sheets, warmer and warmer till he felt warm all over, ever so warm and
yet he shivered a little and still wanted to yawn.
The bell rang for night prayers and he fled out of the study hall
after the others and down the staircase and along the corridors to the
chapel. The corridors were darkly lit and the chapel was darkly lit. Soon
al would be dark and sleeping. There was cold night air in the chapel
and the marbles were the colour the sea was at night. The sea was cold
day and night: but it was colder at night. It was cold and dark under the
seawall beside his father's house. But the kettle would be on the hob*
to make punch. t
The prefect of the chapel prayed above his head and his memory
knew the responses:
o Lord open our lis
And our mouths shal announce Thy praise.
Incline unto our aid, 0 God!
o Lord make haste to hel us!*
There was a cold night smell in the chapel. But it was a holy smell.
It was not like the smell of the old peasants who knelt at the back of
the chapel at Sunday mass. That was a smell of air and rain and turf
and corduroy. But they were very holy peasants. They breathed behind
him on his neck and sighed as they prayed. They lived in elane, 1 1 a fel
low said: there were little cottages there and he had seen a woman
standing at the half door of a cottage with a child in her arms, as the
cars# had come past from Sallins. It would be lovely to sleep for one
night in that cottage before the fre of smoking turf, in the warm dark,
breathing the smell of the peasants, air and rain and turf and corduroy.
But, 0, the road there between the trees was dark! You would be lost in
the dark. It made him afraid to think of how it was.
'Shelf within a freplace.
tHot whiskey punch, or "toddy."
:he opening lines of matins, early-morning prayers.
Peat, dried and burned as fel.
I I Village near Clongowes.
#Horse-drawn hackney coaches, or "hacks. "
as a Youn
He heard the voice of the prefect of the chapel saying the last prayer.
He prayed it too against the dark outside under the trees.
Visit, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord. this habitation and drive away fom it all
the snares o the enemy. May Thy hol angels dwel herein to preserve us
in peace and may Thy blessing be always upon us through Christ our Lord
Amen. *
His fngers trembled as he undressed himself in the dormitory. He
told his fngers to hurry up. He had to undress and then kneel and say
his own prayers and be in bed before the gas was lowered so that he
might not go to hell when he died. He rolled his stockngs off and put
on his nightshirt quickly and knelt trembling at his bedside and re
peated his prayers quicky, fearing that the gas would go down. He felt
his shoulders shakng 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, tuckng the
end of the nightshirt under his feet, curled himself together under the
cold white sheets, shaking and trembling. But he would not go to hell
when he died; and the shaking would stop. A voice bade the boys in the
dormitory goodnight. He peered out for an instant over the coverlet
and saw the yellow curtains round and before his bed that shut him off
on all sides. The light was lowered quietly.
The prefect's shoes went away. Where? Down the staircase and
along the corridors or to his room at the end? He saw the dark. Was it
true about the black dog that walked there at night with eyes as big as
carriagelamps? They said it was the ghost of a murderer. A long shiver
of fear fowed over his body. He saw the dark entrance hall of the cas
tle. Old servants in old dress were in the ironing room above the stair
case. It was long ago. The old servants were quiet. There was a fre there
but the hall was still dark. A fgure came up the staircase from the hall.
He wore the white cloak of a marshal; his face was pale and strange; he
held his hand pressed to his side. He looked out of strange eyes at the
'Prayer near the close of compline, the last prayer session of the day.
A Portrit o the Artist
old servants. They looked at him and saw their master's face and cloak
and knew that he had received his death wound. But only the dark was
where they looked: only dark silent air. Their master had received his
death wound on the battlefeld of Prague far away over the sea. He was
standing on the feld; his hand was pressed to his side; his face was pale
and strange and he wore the white cloak of a marshal.
o how cold and strange it was to think of that! All the dark was cold
and strange. There were pale strange faces there, great eyes like car
riagelamps. They were the ghosts of murderers, the fgures of marshals
who had received their death wound on battlefelds far away over the
sea. What did they wish to say that their faces were so strange?
Visit, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord this habitation and drive away fom it
all . . .
Going home for the holidays! That would be lovely: the fellows had
told him. Getting up on the cars in the early wintry morning outside
the door of the castle. The cars were rolling on the gravel. Cheers for
the rector!
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
The cars drove past the chapel and all caps were raised. They drove
merrily along the country roads. The drivers pointed with their whips
to Bodenstown. * The fellows cheered. They passed the farmhouse of
the Jolly Farmer. Cheer after cheer after cheer. Through Clane they
drove, cheering and cheered. The peasant women stood at the half
doors, the men stood here and there. The lovely smell there was in the
wintry air: the smell of Clane: rain and wintry air and turf smouldering
and corduroy.
The train was full of fellows: a long long chocolate train with cream
facings. The guards went to and fro opening, closing, lockng, unlock
ing the doors. They were men in dark blue and silver; they had silvery
whistles and their keys made a quick music: click, click: click, click.
And the train raced on over the fat lands and past the Hill of Allen. t
The telegraph poles were passing, passing. The train went on and on.
It knew. There were lanterns in the hall of his father's house and ropes
'Parish, including Sallins, in which Irish republican Wolfe Tone (see footnote on p.
162) is buried.
tHill near the Sallins railway station.
as a Youn
of green branches. There were holly and ivy round the pierglass and
holly and ivy, green and red, twined round the chandeliers. There were
red holly and green ivy round the old portraits on the walls. Holly and
iv for him and for Christmas.
Lovely . . .
A the people. Welcome home, Stephen! Noises of welcome. His
mother kissed him. Was that right? His father was a marshal now:
higher than a magistrate. Welcome home, Stephen!
Noises . . .
There was a noise of curtainrings running back along the rods, of
water being splashed in the basins. There was a noise of rising and
dressing and washing in the dormitory: a noise of clapping of hands as
the prefect went up and down telling the fellows to look sharp. A pale
sunlight showed the yellow curtains drawn back, the tossed beds. His
bed 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
pull on his stockng. It had a horrid rough feel. The sunlight was queer
and cold.
Fleming said:
-Are you not well?
He did not know; and Fleming said:
-Get back into bed. I' ll tel McGlade you're not well.
-He's sick.
-Who is?
-Tell McGlade.
-Get back into bed.
-Is he sick?
A fellow held his arms while he loosened the stocking clinging to his
foot and climbed back into the hot bed.
He crouched down between the sheets, glad of their tepid glow. He
heard the 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,
they were 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 fel
low. He shook his head and answered no and felt glad.
Wels said:
18 A Portrit o the Artist
-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.
Afraid that it was some disease. Canker was a disease of plants and can
cer one of animals: or another different. That was a long time ago then
out on the playgrounds in the evening light, creeping from point to
point on the fringe of his line, a heavy bird fying low through the grey
light. Leicester Abbey lit up. Wolsey died there. The abbots buried him
It was not Wells's face, it was the prefect's. He was not foxing. t No,
no: he was sick really. He was not foxing. And he felt the prefect's hand
on his forehead; and he felt his forehead warm and damp against the
prefect's cold damp hand. That was the way a rat felt, slimy and damp
and cold. Every rat had two eyes to look out of Sleek slimy coats, lit
tle little feet tucked up to jump, black slimy eyes to look out of They
could understand how to jump. But the minds of rats could not under
stand trigonometry. When they were dead they lay on their sides. Their
coats dried then. They were only dead things.
The prefect was there again and it was his voice that was saying that
he was to get up, that Father Minister* had said he was to get up and
dress and go to the infrmary. And while he was dressing himself as
quickly as he could the prefect said:
-We must pack off to Brother Michael because we have the colly
He was very decent to say that. That was all to make him laugh. But
he could not laugh because his cheeks and lips were all shivery: and
then the prefect had to laugh by himself
The prefect cried:
-Qick march! Hayfoot! Strawfoot!
They went together down the staircase and along the corridor and
past the bath. As he passed the door he remembered with a vague fear
the warm turf-coloured 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 infrmary and from
the door of the dark cabinet on his right came a smell like medicine.
That came from the bottles on the shelves. The prefect spoke to
* A practical joke.
t Malingering.
:he vice-rector of Clongowes.
as a Youn
Brother Michael and Brother Michael answered and called the prefect
sir. He had reddish hair mixed with grey and a queer look. It was queer
that he would always be a brother. It was queer too that you could not
call him sir because he was a brother* and had a different kind of look.
Was he not 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:
and when they went in he called out:
-Hello! It's young Dedalus! What's up?
-The sk is up, Brother Michael said.
He was a fellow out of the third of grammar and, while Stephen was
undressing, he asked Brother Michael to bring him a round of buttered
-Ah, do! he said.
-Butter you up! said Brother Michael. You'll get your walking pa-
pers in 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 fre. He had a long back like the long back
of a tramhorse. He shook the poker gravely and nodded his head at the
fellow out of third of grammar.
Then Brother Michael went away and after a while the fellow out of
third of grammar turned in towards the wall and fell asleep.
That was the infrmary. He was sick then. Had they written home
to tell his mother and father? But it would be quicker for one of the
priests to go himself to tell them. Or he would write a letter for the
priest to bring.
Dear Mother,
I am sick. I want to go home. Please come and take me home.
I am in the infrmary.
Your fond son,
How far away they were! There was cold sunlight outside the win
dow. He wondered 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
'Member of the Jesuit order who has not taken priestly orders.
20 A Portrait o the Artist
a dead mass in the chapel like the way the fellows had told him it was
when Little had died. Al the fellows would be at the mass, dressed in
black, all with sad 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 would be tall yellow candles on the altar and round the
catafalque. t And they would carry the coffn out of the chapel slowly
and he would be buried in 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 would toll slowly.
He could hear the tolling. He said over to himself the song that
Brigid had taught him.
Dindong! The castle bell!
Farewel, my mother!
Bury me in the old churchyard
Beside my eldest brother.
My con 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 they said Bury me in the old churchyard! A tremor passed over his
body. How sad and how beautifl! He wanted to cry quietly but not for
himself: for the words, so beautifl and sad, like music. The bell! The
bell! Farewell! 0 farewell!
The cold sunlight was weaker and Brother Michael was standing at
his bedside with a bowl of beeftea. He was glad for his mouth was hot
and dry. He could hear them playing in the playgrounds. And the day
was going on in the college just as if he were there.
Then Brother Michael was going away and the fellow out of third
of grammar told him to be sure and come back and tell him all the news
in the paper. He told Stephen that his name was Athy and that his fa
ther kept a lot of racehorses that were spiffng jumpers and that his fa-
'Long cloak made from a semicircle of cloth.
t Raised platform upon which the body of the deceased is laid.
:Anonymous nursery rhyme.
Beef bouillon.
as a Youn
ther would give a good tip to Brother Michael any time he wanted it
because Brother Michael was very decent and always told him the news
out of the paper they got every day up in the castle. There was every
kind of news in the paper: accidents, shipwrecks, sports and politics.
-Now it is all about politics in the papers, he said. Do your people
talk 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?
Stephen answered:
-Not very good.
Then he said:
-Can you answer me this one? Why is the county of Kildare like
the leg 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? Athy
is the town in the county Kildare, and a thigh is the other thigh.
-0, I see, Stephen said.
-That's an old riddle, he said.
Mter a moment he said:
-I say!
-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
back on 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
a magistrate too like Saurin's father and Nasty Roche's father. He
Athy, in County Kildare, is about 26 miles from Clongowes.
A Portrait o the Artist
thought of his own father, of how he sang songs while his mother
played and of how he always gave him a shilling when he asked for six
pence and he 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? But
his father had told him that he would be no stranger there because his
granduncle had presented an address to the Liberator* there ffty years
before. You could know the people of that time by their old dress. It
seemed to him a solemn time: and he wondered if that was the time
when the fellows in Clongowes wore blue coats with brass buttons and
yellow waistcoats and caps of rabbit-skin and drank beer like grownup
people and 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 no noise on the playgrounds. The class must be doing the themes t
or perhaps Father Arnall was reading out of the book.
It was queer that they had not given him any medicine. Perhaps
Brother Michael would bring it back when he came. They said you got
stinking stuff to drink when you were in the infrmary. But he felt bet
ter now than before. It would be nice getting better slowly. You could
get a book then. There was a book in the library about Holland. There
were lovely foreign names in it and pictures of strange-looking cities
and ships. It made you feel so happy.
How pale the light was at the window! But that was nice. The fre
rose and fell on the wall. It was like waves. Someone had put coal on
and he heard voices. They were talking. It was the noise of the waves.
Or the waves were talking among themselves as they rose and fell.
He saw the sea of waves, long dark waves rising and falling, dark
under the moonless night. A tiny light twinkled at the pierhead where
the ship was entering: and he saw a multitude of people gathered by the
waters' edge to see the ship that was entering their harbour. A tall man
stood on the deck, looking out towards the fat dark land: and by the
light at the pierhead he saw his face, the sorrowful face of Brother
He saw him lift his hand towards the people and heard him say in a
loud voice of sorrow over the waters:
'Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), chief architect of Catholic Emancipation (the re
turn of civil rights to Catholics) in 1829.
tEssays written to set topics.
as a Youn
Man 2
-He is dead. We saw him lying upon the catafalque. A wail of sor-
row went up from the people.
-Parnell! Parnell! He is dead!'
They fell upon their kees, moaning in sorrow.
And he saw Dante in a maroon velvet dress and with a green velvet
mantle hanging from her shoulders walking proudly and silently past
the people who knelt by the waters' edge.
A great fre, banked high and red, famed in the grate and under the
ivy twined branches of the chandelier the Christmas table was spread.
They had come home a little late and still dinner was not ready: but it
would be ready in a jiff, his mother had said. They were waiting for the
door to open and for the servants to come in, holding the big dishes
covered with their heavy metal covers.
Al were waiting: Uncle Charles, who sat far away in the shadow of
the window, Dante and Mr Casey, who sat in the easy chairs at either
side of the hearth, Stephen, seated on a chair between them, his feet
resting on the toasted boss. t Mr Dedalus looked at himself in the pier
glass* above the mantelpiece, waxed out his moustache ends and then,
parting his coat tails, stood with his back to the glowing fre: and still
from time to time he withdrew a hand from his coat tail to wax out one
of his moustache ends. Mr Casey leaned his head to one side and, smil
ing, tapped the gland of his neck with his fngers. And Stephen smiled
too for he knew now that it was not true that Mr Casey had a purse of
silver in his throat. He smiled to think how the silvery noise which Mr
Casey used to make had deceived him. And
when he had tried to open
Mr Casey's hand to see if the purse of silver was hidden there he had
seen that the fngers could not be straightened out: and Mr Casey had
told him that he had got those three cramped fngers making a birth
day present for Qeen Victoria.3
Mr Casey tapped the gland of his neck and smiled at Stephen with
sleepy eyes: and Mr Dedalus said to him:
-Yes. Well now, that's all right. 0, we had a good walk, hadn't we,
John? Yes . . . I wonder if there's any likelihood of dinner this evening.
'Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell (see endnote 1) died on October 6,
:Long, narrow mirror.
A Portrait o the Artist
Yes . . . . 0, 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 Rordan?
Dante frowned and said shortly:
Mr Dedalus dropped his coat tails and went over to the sideboard.
He brought forth a great stone jar of whisk from the locker and flled
the decanter slowly, bending now and then to see how much he had
poured in. Then replacing the jar in the locker he poured a little of the
whisk into two glasses, added a little water and came back with them
to the freplace.
-A thimblefl, John, he said, just to whet your appetite.
Mr Casey took the glass, drank, and placed it near him on the man
telpiece. Then he said:
-Well, I can't help thinkng of our friend Christopher manufactur-
mg . . .
He broke into a ft of laughter and coughing and added:
- . . . manufacturing that champagnet for those fellows.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly.
-Is it Christy? he said. There's more cunning in one of those warts
on 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
you know. He's very moist and watery about the dewlaps,* God bless
Mr Casey was still struggling through his ft of coughing and laugh
ter. Stephen, seeing and hearing the hotel keeper through his father's
face and voice, laughed.
Mr Dedalus put up his eyeglass and, staring down at him, said qui
etly and kindly:
-What are you laughing at, you little puppy, you?
The servants entered and placed the dishes on the table. Mrs
Dedalus followed and the places were arranged.
-Sit over, she said.
'Bray Head, geographic landmark at the southern end of Dublin Bay.
tMr. Casey may be referring to the manufacture of explosives for terrorist violence.
*Folds of loose skin under the throat.
as a Young Man
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
then said quickly, withdrawing it:
-Now, Stephen.
Stephen stood up in his place to say the grace before meals:
Bless us, a Lord and these Thy gis which through Thy bounty we are
about to receive through Christ our Lord Amen!
Alblessed themselves and Mr Dedalus with a sigh of pleasure lifted
from the dish the heav cover pearled around the edge with glistening
Stephen looked at the plump turkey which had lain, trussed and
skewered, on the kitchen table. He knew that his father had paid a
guinea for it in Dunn's of D' Olier Street and that the man had prod
ded it often at the breastbone to show how good it was: and he re
membered the 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 pandybatt a turkey? But
Clongowes was far away: and the warm heavy smell of turkey and ham
and celery rose from the plates and dishes and the great fre was
banked high and red in the grate and the green ivy and red holly made
you feel so happy and when dinner was ended the big plum pudding
would be carried in, studded with peeled almonds and sprigs of holly,
with bluish fre running around it and a little green fag fying from the
It was his frst Christmas dinner and he thought of his little broth
ers and 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
him feel queer and oldish: and that morning when his mother had
brought him down to the parlour, dressed for mass, his father had cried.
'Common Catholic grace said before meals.
tSmall club, similar to the "blackjack," made of a hard core of whalebone covered in
:Waist-length black jacket with wide lapels; worn by the boys at Eton College
preparatory school in England.
A Portrait o the Artist
That was because he was thinking of his own father. And Uncle
Charles had said so too.
Mr Dedalus covered the dish and began to eat hungrily. Then he
-Poor old Christy, he's nearly lopsided now with roguery.
-Simon, said Mrs Dedalus, you haven't given Mrs Riordan any
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:
-No, thanks.
Mr Dedalus turned to Uncle Charles.
-How are you off sir?
-Right as the mail, Simon.
-You, ]ohn?
-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
on the table. Then he asked Uncle Charles was it tender. Uncle Charles
could not speak because his mouth was fl but he nodded that it was.
-That was a good answer our friend made to the canon. * What?
said Mr Dedalus.
-I didn't think he had that much in him, said Mr Casey.
-Il pay your dues,father when you cease turning the house o God into
a polling-booth.
-A nice answer, said Dante, for any man calling himself a catholic
to give to his priest.
-They have only themselves to blame, said Mr Dedalus suavely. If
they took a fool's advice they would confne their attention to religion.
-It is religion, Dante said. They are doing their duty in warning the
-We go to the house of God, Mr Casey said, in all humility to pray
to our Maker and not to hear election addresses.
-It is religion, Dante said again. They are right. They must direct
their focks.
-And preach politics from the altar, is it? asked Mr Dedalus.
-Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priest
*Member of a religious order.
as a Youn
would not be a priest if he did not tell his fock what is right and what
1S wrong.
Mrs Dedalus laid down her knife and fork, saying:
-For pity sake and for pity sake let us have no political discussion
on this day of all days in the year.
-Qite right, ma'am, said Uncle Charles. Now Simon, that's quite
enough 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 Rordan, I appeal to you, said Mrs Dedalus, to let the matter
drop now.
Dante turned on her and said:
-And am I to sit here and listen to the pastors of my church being
-Nobody is saying a word against them, said Mr Dedalus, so long
as they don't meddle in politics.
-The bishops and priests of Ireland have spoken, said Dante, and
they must be obeyed.
-Let them leave politics alone, said Mr Casey; or the people may
leave 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 the English people?
-He was no longer worthy to lead, said Dante. He was a public sin
-We are all sinners and black sinners, said Mr Casey coldly.
-Woe be to the man by whom the scandal cometh! said Mrs Rior-
dan. It would be better fr him that a millstone were tied about his neck and
that he were cast into the depths i the sea rther than that he should scan
dalise one i these, my least little ones. * That is the language of the Holy
-And very bad language if you ask me, said Mr Dedalus coolly.
'Reference to the Bible, Luke 17:12.
28 A Portrit o the Artist
-Simon! Simon! said Uncle Charles. The boy.
-Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus. I meant about the . . . I was thinking
about the bad language of that 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
and Mr Casey to large pieces of turkey and splashes of sauce. Mrs
Dedalus was eating little and Dante sat with her hands in her lap. She
was red in the face. Mr Dedalus rooted with the carvers at the end of
the dish and said:
-There's a tasty bit here we call the pope's nose.* If any lady or
gentleman . . .
He held a piece of fowl up on the prong of the carvingfork. Nobody
spoke. He put it on his own plate, saying:
-Well, you can't say but you were asked. I think I had better eat it
myself because I'm not well in my health lately.
He winked at Stephen and, replacing the dish-cover, began to eat
There was a silence while he ate. Then he said:
-Well now, the day kept up fne after all. There were plenty of
strangers 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
their plates and, receiving no reply, waited for a moment and said
-Well, my Christmas dinner has been spoiled anyhow.
-There could be neither luck nor grace, Dante said, in a house
where there 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 of guts
up in Armagh?t Respect!
-Princes of the church, said Mr Casey with slow scorn.
-Lord Leitrim's coachman,* yes, said Mr Dedalus.
'Fatty fap of skin over the rump of a roasted fowl.
tStephen's father is referring to William ]. Walsh, archbishop of Dublin, and
Michael Logue, archbishop of Armagh, in the province of Ulster, northern Ireland.
:A conservative politician and landlord, Leitrim was murdered in 1877 in County
Donegal by a vengefl tenant farmer; his coachman attempted to defend him from
the attack. The reference is to one who aids his oppressor.
as a Young Man
-They are the Lord's anointed, Dante said. They are an honour to
their country.
-Tub of guts, said Mr Dedalus coarsely. He has a handsome face,
mind you, in repose. You should see that fellow lapping up his bacon
and cabbage of a cold winter's day. 0 Johnny!
He twisted his features into a grimace of heavy bestiality and made
a lapping noise with his lips.
-Really, Simon, you should not speak that way before Stephen. It's
not right.
- 0, he' ll remember all this when he grows up, said Dante hotly
the language he heard against God and religion and priests in his own
-Let him remember too, cried Mr Casey to her from across the
table, the language with which the priests and the priests' pawns broke
Parnell's heart and hounded him into his grave. Let him remember that
too when he grows up.
-Sons of bitches! cried Mr Dedalus. When he was down they
turned on him 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 and
their priests. Honour to them!
-Well, it is perfectly dreadfl to say that not even for one day in the
year, said Mrs Dedalus, can we be free from these dreadfl disputes!
Uncle Charles raised his hands mildly and said:
-Come now, come now, come now! Can we not have our opinions
whatever they are without this bad temper and this bad language? It is
too bad surely.
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
when it 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 hap-
pened not long ago in the county Wicklow where we are now.
He broke off and, turning towards Dante, said with quiet indigna
-And I may tell you, ma'am, that I, if you mean me, am no rene
gade catholic. I am a catholic as my father was and his father before
0 A Portrait o the Artist
him and his father before him again when we gave up our lives rather
than sell 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 story
-Catholic indeed! repeated Dante ironically. The blackest protes
tant in the land would not speak the language 1 have heard this
Mr Dedalus began to sway his head to and fro, crooning like a coun
try singer.
-I am no protestant, 1 tell you again, said Mr Casey fushing.
Mr Dedalus, still crooning and swaying his head, began to sing in a
grunting nasal tone:
0, come al you Roman catholics
That never went to mass.
He took up his knife and fork again in good humour and set to eat
ing, 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
across the table over his joined hands. He liked to sit near him at the
fre, looking up at his dark ferce face. But his dark eyes were never
ferce and his slow voice was good to listen to. But why was he then
against the priests? Because Dante must be right then. But he had
heard his father say that she was a spoiled nun and that she had come
out of the convent in the Alleghanies* when her brother had got the
money from the savages for the trinkets and the chainies.t Perhaps that
made her severe against Parnell. And she did not like him to play with
Eileen because Eileen was a protestant and when she was young she
knew children that used to play with protestants and the protestants
used to make fn of the litany of the Blessed Virgin. Tower o Ivory,
they used to say, House oGol! How could a woman be a tower of ivory
or a house of gold? Who was right then? And he remembered the
'Part of the Appalachian mountain range in the eastern United States.
t Another word for trinkets.
:The litany often forms part of evening prayers; "tower of ivory," "house of gold,"
and "morning star" are among the phrases used to describe the Blessed Virgin's glo
as a Young Man
evening in the infrmary in Clongowes, the dark waters, the light at the
pierhead and the moan of sorrow from the people when they had heard.
-Eileen had long white hands. One evening when playing tig* she
had put her 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
i Ivory.
-The story is very short and sweet, Mr Casey said. It was one day
down in Arklow,t a cold bitter day, not long before the chieft died. May
God have mercy on him!
He closed his eyes wearily and paused. Mr Dedalus took a bone
from his plate 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:
-He was down in Arkow one day. We were down there at a meet
ing and after the meeting was over we had to make our way to the rail
way station through the crowd. Such booing and baaing, man, you
never heard. They called us all the names in the world. Well there was
one old lady, and a drunken old harridan she was surely, that paid all
her attention to me. She kept dancing along beside me in the mud
bawling and screaming into my face: Priest hunter! The Paris Funds! Mr
Fox! Kitty o 'Shea! 4
-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
up my heart I had (saving your presence, ma'am) a quid of Tullamore
in my mouth and sure I couldn't say a word in any case because my
mouth was full of tobacco juice.
-Well, John?
-Well. I let her bawl away, to her heart's content, Kitty O'Shea and
the rest of it till at last she called that lady a name 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 she
t25 miles south of Bray on the eastern coast of Ireland.
:Charles Stewart Parnell (see endnote 1).
II Chewing tobacco.
#Table; hospitality.
A Portrit o the Artist
said it and I had my mouth fll of tobacco juice. I bent down to her and
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 a hand to his eye and gave a hoarse scream of pain.
-0 Jesus, Mary and Joseph! says she. I'm blinded! I'm blinded and
He stopped in a ft of coughing and laughter, repeating:
-I'm blinded entirel.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly and lay back in his chair while Uncle
Charles swayed 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
Casey would not repeat? He thought of Mr Casey walking through the
crowds of people and makng speeches from a wagonette. That was
what he had been in prison for and he remembered that one night
Sergeant O'Neill had come to the house and had stood in the hall, talk
ing in a low voice with his father and chewing nervously at the chin
strap of his cap. And that night Mr Casey had not gone to Dublin by
train but a car had come to the door and he had heard his father say
something about the Cabinteely* road.
He was for Ireland and Parnell and so was his father: and so was
Dante too for one night at the band on the esplanade she had hit a gen
tleman on the head with her umbrella because he had taken off his hat
when the band played God save the Queen t at the end.
Mr Dedalus gave a snort of contempt.
-Ah, John, he said. It is true for them. We are an unfortunate
priestridden race and always were and always will be till the end of the
Uncle Charles shook his head, saying:
-A bad business! A bad business!
Mr Dedalus repeated:
-A priestridden Godforsaken race!
Village near Killiney Hill, in County Wicklow.
tIreland was still part of the United Kingdom and Qieen Victoria her queen. Mrs.
Riordan ("Dante") showed her Irish nationalist streak by attacking this show ofloy
alty to the crown.
as a Youn
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 good
Irishman when there was no money in the job. He was condemned to
death as a whiteboy.* But he had a saying about our clerical friends, that
he would never let one of them put his two feet under his mahogany. t
Dante broke in angrily:
-If we are a priestridden race we ought to be proud of it! They are
the apple of God's eye. Touch them not, says Christ,jr they are the apple
o My eye. *
-And can we not love our country then? asked Mr Casey. Are we
not to follow 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 true
friends of Ireland.
-Were they, faith? said Mr Casey.
He threw his fst on the table and, frowning angrily, protruded one
fnger after another.
-Didn't the bishops of Ireland betray us in the time of the union
when Bishop Lanigan presented an address of loyalty to the Marquess
Cornwallis? Didn't the bishops and priests sell the aspirations of their
country in 1829 in return for catholic emancipation? Didn't they de
nounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confession
box? And didn't they dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew Mac
His face was glowing with anger and Stephen felt the glow rise to
his own cheek as the spoken words thrilled him. Mr Dedalus uttered a
guffaw of coarse scorn.
-0, by God, he cried, I forgot little old Paul Cullen! Another
apple of God's eye!
Dante bent across the table and cried to Mr Casey:
-Right! Right! They were always right! God and morality and re
ligion come frst.
Mrs Dedalus, seeing her excitement, said to her:
*The Whiteboys were an eighteenth-century group of oppressed tenants organized
against the abuses of British absentee landlords.
tDining table.
*Mrs. Riordan misattributes this Old Testament passage (Zacharias 2:8) to Christ.
(1803-1878); frst Irishman named to the College of Cardinals; an ardent anti
A Portrit o the Artist
-Mrs Rordan, don't excite yourself answering them.
-God and religion before everything! Dante cried. God and reli-
gion before the world!
Mr Casey raised his clenched fst and brought it down on the table
with a crash.
-Very well, then, he shouted hoarsely, if it comes to that, no God
for Ireland!
-John! John! cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coat sleeve.
Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey strug
gled up from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scraping
the air from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing
aside a cobweb.
-No God for Ireland! he cried. We have had too much God in Ire
land. Away with God!
-Blasphemer! Devil! screamed Dante, starting to her feet and al
most spitting in his face.
Uncle Charles and Mr Dedalus pulled Mr Casey back into his chair
again, talkng to him from both sides reasonably. He stared before him
out of his dark faming eyes, repeating:
--Away with God, I say!
Dante shoved her chair violently aside and left the table, upsetting
her napkinring which rolled slowly along the carpet and came to rest
against the foot of an easychair. Mrs Dedalus rose quickly and followed
her towards the door. At the door Dante turned round violently and
shouted down the room, her cheeks fushed 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 on his hands with a sob of pain.
-Poor Parnell! he cried loudly. My dead kng!
He sobbed loudly and bitterly.
Stephen, raising his terrorstricken face, saw that his father's eyes
were fll of tears.
* * * *
The fellows talked together in little groups.
One fellow said:
-They were caught near the Hill of Lions.
*3 miles from Cellbridge, in Count Wickow.
as a Youn
-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.
Fleming asked:
-But why did they run away, tell us?
-I know why, Cecil Thunder said. Because they had fecked* cash
out of the 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 kow about it, Thunder! Wells said. I know why they
-Tell us why.
-I was told not to, Wells said.
-0, 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 if
anyone 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 kow.
And the fellow who had spoken frst said:
-Yes, that's what I heard too from the fellow in the higher line.
The fellows were all silent. Stephen stood among them, afraid to
speak, listening. A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How
could they have done that? He thought of the dark silent sacristy. There
were dark wooden presses there where the crimped surplices lay qui
etly folded. It was not the chapel but still you had to speak under your
breath. It was a holy place. He remembered the summer evening he had
been there to be dressed as boat-bearer, II the evening of the procession
to the little altar in the wood. A strange and holy place. The boy that
held the censer had swung it gently to and fro near the door with the
tRan away.
tIn a church, the storage area for sacred vessels and vestments.
White vestments with loose sleeves, worn by those presiding over church services.
II Server at a Mass who carries the receptacle containing the incense to be burned in
the censer.
A Portrait o the Artist
silvery cap lifted by the middle chain to keep the coals lighting. That
was called charcoal: and it had burned quietly as the fellow had swng
it gently and had given off a weak sour smell. And then when all were
vested he had stood holding out the boat to the rector and the rector
had put a spoonfl of incense in and it had hissed on the red coals.
The fellows were talkng together in little groups here and there on
the playground. The fellows seemed to him to have grown smaller: that
was because a sprinter had knocked him down the day before, a fellow
out of second of grammar. He had been thrown by the fellow's machine
lightly on the cinderpath and his spectacles had been broken in three
pieces 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 the goalposts so thin and far and the soft grey sk so high up. But
there was no play on the football grounds for cricket was coming: and
some said that Barnes would be the prof and some said it would be
Flowers. And all over the playgrounds they were playing rounders and
bowling twisters and lobs.* And from here and from there came the
sounds of the cricket bats through the soft grey air. They said: pick,
pack, pock, puck: little drops of water in a fountain slowly falling in the
brimming 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
walkng by himself kicking a stone before him.
-Ask him, he said.
The fellows looked there and then said:
-Why him?
-Is he in it?
Athy lowered his voice and said:
-Do you know why those fellows scut? I will tell you but you must
not let on you know.
-Tell us, Athy. Go on. You might if you know.
*erms for various types of cricket bowls.
as a Young Man
He paused for a moment and then said mysteriously:
-They were caught with Simon Moonan and Tusker Boyle in the
square" one night.
The fellows looked at him and asked:
-What doing?
Athy said:
All the fellows were silent: and Athy said:
-And that's why.
Stephen looked at the faces of the fellows but they were all looking
across the playground. He wanted to ask somebody about it. What did
that mean about the smugging in the square? Why did the fve fellows
out 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 of creamy sweets that the fellows of the football ffteen had rolled
down to him along the carpet in the middle of the refectory when he
was at the door. It was the night of the match against the Bective
Rangers and the ball was made just like a red and green apple only it
opened and it was fll of the creamy sweets. And one day Boyle had
said that an elephant had two tuskers instead of two tusks and that was
why he was called Tusker Boyle but some fellows called him Lady
Boyle because he was always at his nails, paring them.
Eileen had long thin cool white hands too because she was a girl.
They were like ivory; only soft. That was the meaning of Tower o Ivory
but protestants could not understand it and made fn of it. One day he
had stood beside her looking into the hotel grounds. A waiter was run
ning up a trail of bunting on the fagstaff and a fox terrier was scam
pering to and fro on the sunny lawn. She had put her hand into his
pocket where his hand was and he had felt how cool and thin and soft
her hand was. She had said that pockets were funny things to have: and
then all of a sudden she had broken away and had run laughing down
the sloping curve of the path. Her fair hair had streamed out behind her
like gold in the sun. Tower o Ivory. House o Gold By thinking of things
you could understand them.
'Open latrines.
tSaid to be slang for a frm of homosexual petting; what seems more signifcant
here is the way it both names and refses to name some form of forbidden activity,
so that Stephen's imagination is left to its own devices.
A Portrait o the Artist
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 tiny pinholes and there was a queer smell of stale water there. And
behind the door of one of the closets* there was a drawing in red pen
cil of a bearded man in a Roman dress with a brick in each hand and
underneath was the name of the drawing:
Balbust was building a wall
Some fellows had drawn it there for a cod. It had a fnny face but it
was very like a man with a beard. And on the wall of another closet
there was written in backhand in beautifl writing:
Julius Csar wrote The Calico Bell.
Perhaps that was why they were there because it was a place where
some fellows wrote things for cod. But all the same it was queer what
Athy said and the way he said it. It was not a cod because they had run
away. He looked with the others across the playground and began to
feel afraid.
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' si-
lence in 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
note so that you can't open it and fold it again to see how many ferulx
you are to get. I won't come back too.
-Yes, said Cecil Thunder, and the prefect of studies II was in second
of grammar 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
hear the cricket bats but more slowly than before: pick, pock.
Wells asked:
-What is going to be done to them?
-Simon Moonan and Tusker are going to be fogged, Athy said,
and the fellows in the higher line got their choice of fogging or being
'Water closets; toilets.
t Figure in Caesar's text on the Gallic wars, De Bello Galico.
:A beating on the palms of the hands: six strokes on each, followed by eight on
IIAssistant to the rector, responsible for academic oversight of the school.
as a Youn
-And which are they taking? asked the fellow who had spoken
-All are taking expulsion except Corrigan, Athy answered. He's
going to be fogged by Mr Gleeson.
-I know why, Cecil Thunder said. He is right and the other fellows
are wrong because a fogging wears off after a bit but a fellow that has
been expelled from college is known all his life on account of it. Besides
Gleeson won't fog him hard.
-It's best of his play* not to, Fleming said.
-1 wouldn't like to be Simon Moonan and Tusker, Cecil Thunder
said. But I don't believe they will be fogged. Perhaps they will be sent
up for twice nine.t
-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 am
Athy grinned and turned up the sleeves of his jacket, saying:
It can't be heled;
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 the
silence of the soft grey air he heard the cricket bats from here and from
there: pock. That was a sound to hear but if you were hit then you
would feel a pain. The pandybat made a sound too but not like that.
The fellows said it was made of whalebone and leather with lead inside:
and he wondered what was the pain like. There were different kinds of
sounds. A long thin cane would have a high whistling sound and he
wondered what was that pain like. It made him shivery to think of it
and 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 shiver
when you let down your trousers. It was the same in the bath when you
undressed yourself He wondered who had to let them down, the mas
ter or the boy himself 0 how could they laugh about it that way?
He looked at Athy's rolled-up sleeves and knucky ink hands. He
*In his best interest.
tNine strokes on each hand-the maximum alowed.
A Portrit o the Artist
had rolled 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 fattish white hands and the nails of them were long and pointed.
Perhaps he pared them too like Lady Boyle. But they were terribly long
and pointed nails. So long and cruel they were though the white fattish
hands were not cruel but gentle. And though he trembled with cold and
fright to think of the cruel long nails and of the high whistling sound
of the cane and of the chill you felt at the end of your shirt when you
undressed yourself yet he felt a feeling of queer quiet pleasure inside
him to think of the white fattish hands, clean and strong and gentle.
And he thought of what Cecil Thunder had said; that Mr Gleeson
would not fog Corrigan hard. And Fleming had said he would not be
cause it was best of his play not to. But that was not why.
A voice from far out on the playground cried:
And other voices cried:
-Al in! Al in!
During the writing lesson he sat with his arms folded, listening to the
slow scraping of the pens. Mr Harford went to and fro making little signs
in red pencil and sometimes sitting beside the boy to show him how to
hold his pen. He had tried to spell out the headline for himself though he
knew already what it was for it was the last of the book. Zeal without pru
dence is like a shi adri. But the lines of the letters were like fne invisible
threads and it was only by closing his right eye tight tight and staring out
of the left eye that he could make out the flcurves of the capital.
But Mr Harford was very decent and never got into a wax. Al the
other masters got into dreadfl waxes. But why were they to suffer for
what fellows in the higher line did? Wells had said that they had drunk
some of the altar wine out of the press in the sacristy and that it had
been found out who had done it by the smell. Perhaps they had stolen
a monstrance* to run away with it and sell it somewhere. That must
have been a terrible sin, to go in there quietly at night, to open the dark
press and steal the fashing gold thing into which God was put on the
altar in the middle of fowers and candles at benediction t while the in
cense went up in clouds at both sides as the fellow swng the censer
'Gold or silver vessel in which the host is displayed during the part of the Mass
known as the Eucharist (Communion).
tThe part of the Catholic Mass in which the priest shows the eucharistic host to
those in attendance and blesses them with it.
as a Young Man
and Dominic Kelly sang the frst part by himself in the choir. But God
was not in it of course when they stole it. But still it was a strange and
a great sin even to touch it. He thought of it with deep awe; a terrible
and strange sin: it thrilled him to think of it in the silence when the
pens scraped lightly. But to drink the altar wine out of the press and be
found out by the smell was a sin too: but it was not terrible and strange.
It only made you feel a little sicksh on account of the smell of the wine.
Because on the day when he had made his frst holy communion in the
chapel he had shut his eyes and opened his mouth and put out his
tongue a little: and when the rector had stooped down to give him the
holy communion he had smelt a faint winy smell off the rector's breath
after the wine of the mass. The word was beautifl: wine. It made you
think of dark purple because the grapes were dark purple that grew in
Greece outside houses like white temples. But the faint smell off the
rector's breath had made him feel a sick feeling on the morning of his
frst communion. The day of your frst communion was the happiest
day of your life. And once a lot of generals had asked Napoleon what
was the happiest day of his life. They thought he would say 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
made my frst holy communion. *
Father Arnall came in and the Latin lesson began and he remained
still leaning on the desk with his arms folded. Father Arnall gave out
the theme-books and he said that they were scandalous and that they
were all to be written out again with the corrections at once. But the
worst of all was Fleming's theme because the pages were stuck together
by a blot: and Father Arnall held it up by a corner and said it was an in
sult to any master to send him up such a theme. Then he asked Jack
Lawton to decline the noun mare t and Jack Lawton stopped at the ab
lative 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 tried to answer it and could not. But his face was black looking and
his eyes were staring though his voice was so quiet. Then he asked
*This bit of school lore is almost certainly false, since Napoleon had renounced the
tThe sea (Latin).
2 A Portrait o the Artist
Fleming and Fleming said that that word had no plural. Father Arnall
suddenly shut the book and shouted at him:
-Kneel out there in the middle of the class. You are one of the
idlest 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 last
benches. The other boys bent over their theme-books and began to write.
A silence flled the classroom and Stephen, glancing timidly at Father
Arnal's dark face, saw that it was a little red from the wa he was in.
Was that a sin for Father Arnall to be in a wax or was he allowed to
get into a wax when the boys were idle because that made them study
better or was he only letting on to be in a wax? It was because he was
allowed because a priest would know what a sin was and would not do
it. But if he did it one time by mistake what would he do to go to con
fession? Perhaps he would go to confession to the minister. And if the
minister did it he would go to the rector: and the rector to the provin
cial: and the provincial to the general' of the jesuits. That was called the
order: and he had heard his father say that they were all clever men.
They could all have become high-up people in the world if they had
not become jesuits. And he wondered what Father Arnall and Paddy
Barrett would have become and what Mr McGlade and Mr Gleeson
would have become if they had not become jesuits.t It was hard to
think what because you would have to think of them in a different way
with different coloured coats and trousers and with beards and mous
taches and different kinds of hats.
The door opened quietly and closed. A quick whisper ran through
the class: the prefect of studies. There was an instant of dead silence
and then the loud crack of a pandybat on the last desk. Stephen's heart
leapt up in fear.
-Any boys want fogging here, Father Arnall? cried the prefect of
studies. Any lazy idle loafers that want fogging 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 kees? What
is your name, boy?
-Fleming, sir.
-Hoho, Fleming! An idler of course. I can see it in your eye. Why
is he on his knees, Father Arnall?
*The text describes the chain of command within the Jesuit order.
tThe Society of Jesus, an order within the Catholic Church founded by Ignatius
Loyola (1491-1556); its members are known especially for their learning.
as a Youn
-He wrote a bad Latin theme, Father Arnall said, and he missed
all the questions in grammar.
-Of course he did! cried the prefect of studies, of course he did! A
born 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
loud smacking sound: one, two, three, four, fve, si.
-Other hand!
The pandybat came down again in si loud quick smacks.
-Kneel down! cried the prefect of studies.
Fleming knelt down squeezing his hands under his armpits, his face
contorted with pain, but Stephen knew how hard his hands were be
cause Fleming was always rubbing rosin into them. But perhaps he was
in great pain for the noise of the pandybat was terrible. Stephen's heart
was beating and futtering.
-At your work, al of you! shouted the prefect of studies. We want
no lazy idle loafers here, lazy idle little schemers. At your work, I tell
you. Father Dolan will be in to see you every day. Father Dolan will be
in tomorrow.
He poked one of the boys in the side with the pandybat, saying:
-You, boy! When will Father Dolan be in again?
-Tomorrow, sir, said Tom Furlong's voice.
-Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,t said the prefect of stud-
ies. Make up your minds for that. Every day Father Dolan. Write away.
You, boy, who are you?
Stephen's heart jumped suddenly.
-Dedalus, sir.
-Why are you not writing like the others?
-I . . . my . . .
He could not speak with fright.
-Why is he not writing, Father Arnall?
-He broke his glasses, said Father Arnall, and I exempted him
from work.
*hat is, hold out your hands for disciplining; the Latin word for this phrase, pande,
gives the pandybat and pan dying their names.
tQotation from Wiliam Shakespeare's Macbeth (act 5, scene 5).
A Portrait o the Artist
-Broke? What is this I hear? What is this? Your name is? said the
prefect of studies.
-Dedalus, sir.
-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
-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
Stephen lifted his eyes in wonder and saw for a moment Father
Dolan's whitegrey not young face, his baldy whitegrey head with fuff
at the sides of it, the steel rims of his spectacles and his no-coloured
eyes looking through the glasses. Why did he say he knew that trick?
-Lazy idle little loafer! cried the prefect of studies. Broke my
glasses! An old schoolboy trick! Out with your hand this moment!
Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand
with the palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a mo
ment at the fngers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of
the soutane as the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning sting
ing tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his trem
bling hand crumple together like a leaf in the fre: and at the sound and
the pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes. His whole body was
shaking with fright, his arm was shaking and his crumpled burning
livid hand shook like a loose leaf in the air. A cry sprang to his lips, a
prayer to be let off But though the tears scalded his eyes and his limbs
quivered with pain and fright he held back the hot tears and the cry
that scalded his throat.
-Other hand! shouted the prefect of studies.
Stephen drew back his maimed and quivering right arm and held out
his left hand. The soutane sleeve swished again as the pandybat was lifted
and a loud crashing sound and a ferce maddening tingling burning pain
made his hand shrink together with the palms and fngers in a livid quiv
ering mass. The scalding water burst forth from his eyes and, burning
with shame and agony and fear, he drew back his shaking arm in terror
and burst out into a whine of pain. His body shook with a palsy of fright
and in shame and rage he felt the scalding cry come from his throat and
the scalding tears faling out of his eyes and down his faming cheeks.
-Kneel down! cried the prefect of studies.
as a Youn
Stephen knelt down quickly pressing his beaten hands to his sides.
To think of them beaten and swollen with pain all in a moment made
him feel so sorry for them as if they were not his own but someone
else's that he felt sorry for. And as he knelt, calming the last sobs in his
throat and feeling the burning tingling pain pressed into his sides, he
thought of the hands which he had held out in the air with the palms
up and of the frm touch of the prefect of studies when he had stead
ied the shaking fngers and of the beaten swollen reddened mass of
palm and fngers that shook helplessly in the air.
-Get at your work, all of you, cried the prefect of studies from the
door. Father Dolan will be in every day to see if any boy, any lazy idle
little loafer wants fogging. Every day. Every day.
The door closed behind him.
The hushed class continued to copy out the themes. Father Arnall rose
from his seat and went among them, helping the boys with gentle words
and telling them the mistakes they had made. His voice was very gentle
and 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
hand and bent down upon it, his face close to the page.
It was unfair and cruel because the doctor had told him not to read
without glasses and he had written home to his father that morning to
send him a new pair. And Father Arnall had said that he need not study
till the new glasses came. Then to be called a schemer before the class
and to be pandied when he always got the card for frst or second and
was the leader of the Yorkists! How could the prefect of studies know
that it was a trick? He felt the touch of the prefect's fngers as they had
steadied his hand and at frst he had thought he was going to shake
hands with him because the fngers were soft and frm: but then in an
instant he had heard the swish of the soutane sleeve and the crash. It
was 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 their
places without making any difference between them. He listened to Fa
ther 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 and cruel.
The prefect of studies was a priest but that was cruel and unfair. And
his whitegrey face and the no-coloured eyes behind the steel rimmed
spectacles were cruel looking because he had steadied the hand frst
with his frm soft fngers and that was to hit it better and louder.
A Portrait o the Artist
-It's a stinking mean thing, that's what it is, said Fleming in the
corridor as the classes were passing out in fle to the refectory, to pandy
a fellow for what is not his fault.
-You really broke your glasses by accident, didn't you? Nasty Roche
Stephen felt his heart flled by Fleming's words and did not answer.
-Of course he did! said Fleming. 1 wouldn't stand it. I'd go up and
tell the rector on him.
-Yes, said Cecil Thunder eagerly, and 1 saw him lift the pandybat
over his shoulder and he's not allowed to do that.
-Did they hurt much? Nasty Roche asked.
-Very much, Stephen said.
-I wouldn't stand it, Fleming repeated, from Baldyhead or any
other Baldyhead. It's a stinking mean low trick, that's what it is. I'd go
straight 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 Nasty
Roche, 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 one of them said:
-The senate and the Roman people declared that Dedalus had
been wrongly 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 he
began to wonder whether it might not really be that there was some
thing in his face which made him look like a schemer and he wished he
had a little mirror to see. But there could not be; and it was unjust and
cruel and unfair.
He could not eat the blackish fsh fritters they got on Wednesdays
in Lent* and one of his potatoes had the mark of the spade in it. Yes,
he would do what the fellows had told him. He would go up and tell
the rector that he had been wrongly punished. A thing like that had
been done before by somebody in history, by some great person whose
head was in the books of history. And the rector would declare that he
had been wrongly punished because the senate and the Roman people
always declared that the men who did that had been wrongly punished.
'Period of preparation for Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday and comprising
the forty weekdays before Easter.
as a Youn
Those were the great men whose names were in Rchmal Magnall's
Qestions. History was all about those men and what they did and that
was what Peter Parley's Tales about Greece and Rome were all about.
Peter Parley himself was on the frst page in a picture. There was a road
over a heath with grass at the side and little bushes: and Peter Parley
had a broad hat like a protestant minister and a big stick and he was
walking fast along the road to Greece and Rome.
It was easy what he had to do. A he had to do was when the din
ner was over and he came out in his turn to go on walking but not out
to the corridor but up the staircase on the right that led to the castle.
He had nothing to do but that; to turn to the right and walk fast up the
staircase and in half a minute he would be in the low dark narrow cor
ridor that led through the castle to the rector's room. And every fellow
had said that it was unfair, even the fellow out of second of grammar
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 the top 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 the ffth was big Corrigan who was going to be fogged
by Mr Gleeson. That was why the prefect of studies had called him a
schemer and pandied him for nothing: and, straining his weak eyes,
tired with the tears, he watched big Corrigan's broad shoulders and big
hanging black head passing in the fle. But he had done something and
besides Mr Gleeson would not fog him hard: and he remembered how
big Corrigan looked in the bath. He had skin the same colour as the
turf-coloured bogwater in the shallow end of the bath and when he
walked along the side his feet slapped loudly on the wet tiles 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
in fle. He could go up the staircase because there was never a priest or
a prefect outside the refectory door. But he could not go. The rector
would side with the prefect of studies and think it was a schoolboy trick
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 any fellow
going up to the rector about him. The fellows had told him to go but
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 studies had
only said he would come in. No, it was best to hide out of the way be
cause 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 among
A Portrit o the Artist
them in the fle. He had to decide. He was coming near the door. If he
went on with the fellows he could never go up to the rector because he
could not leave the playground for that. And if he went and was
pandied all the same all the fellows would make fun and talk about
young Dedalus 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
the prefect of studies with the cruel no-coloured eyes lookng at him
and he heard the voice of the prefect of studies asking him twice what
his name was. Why could he not remember the name when he was told
the frst time? Was he not listening the frst time or was it to make fun
out of the name? The great men in the history had names like that and
nobody made fn of them. It was his own name that he should have
made fn of if he wanted to make fun. Dolan: it was like the name of
a woman who washed clothes.
He had reached the door and, turning quickly up to the right,
walked up the stairs; and, before he could make up his mind to come
back, he had entered the low dark narrow corridor that led to the cas
tle. And as he crossed the threshold of the door of the corridor he saw,
without turning his head to look, that all the fellows were lookng after
him as they went fling by.
He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors that
were the doors of the rooms of the community. He peered in front of
him and right and left through the gloom and thought that those must
be portraits. It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired
with tears so that he could not see. But he thought they were the por
traits of the saints and great men of the order who were looking down
on him silently as he passed: Saint Iganatius Loyola holding an open
book and pointing to the words Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam in it, saint
Francis Xavier* pointing to his chest, Lorenzo Riccit with his berretta
on his head like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of
holy youth, saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzaga and
Blessed John Berchmans,* all with young faces because they died when
'One of the frst to join Ignatius Loyola in the Society of Jesus.
tEighteenth-century general of the Jesuits.
:Kostka, Gonzaga, and Berchmans, all Jesuits, were patrons of the sodality of the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
as a Youn
they were young, and Father Peter Kenny
sitting in a chair wrapped in
a big cloak.
He came out on the landing above the entrance hall and looked
about him. That was where Hamilton Rowan had passed and the marks
of the soldiers' slugs were there. And it was there that the old servants
had seen the ghost in the white cloak of a marshal.
An old servant was sweeping at the end of the landing. He asked
him where was the rector's room and the old servant pointed to the
door at the far end and looked after him as he went on to it and
There was no answer. He knocked again more loudly and his heart
jumped when he heard a mufed voice say:
-Come in!
He turned the handle and opened the door and fmbled for the
handle of the green baizet 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 the
desk and a strange solemn smell in the room like the old leather of
His heart was beating fast on account of the solemn place he was i n
and the silence of the room: and he looked at the skull and at the rec
tor's kind-lookng 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 1 am not
to stud
till the
-Cite right! said the rector.
Stephen swallowed down the thing again and tried to keep his legs
and his voice from shakng.
-But, sir . . .
'He purchased Clongowes for the Jesuits in 1 813.
tFelt-like fabric.
A Portrit o the Artist
-Father Dolan came in today and pandied me because I was not
writing my theme.
The rector looked at him in silence and he could feel the blood ris-
ing to his face and the tears about to rise to his eyes.
The rector said:
-Your name is Deda1us, isn't it?
-Yes, sir.
-And where did you break your glasses?
-On the cinderpath, sir. A fellow was coming out of the bicycle
house and I fell and they got broken. I don't know the fellow's name.
The rector looked at hir again in silence. Then he smiled and said:
-0, well, it was a mistake, I am sure Father Dolan did not kow.
-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? the
rector asked.
-No, sir.
-0 well then, said the rector, Father Dolan did not understand.
You can say that I excuse you from your lessons for a few days.
Stephen said quicky for fear his trembling would prevent him:
-Yes, sir, but Father Dolan said he will come in tomorrow to pandy
me again for it.
-Very well, the rector said, it is a mistake and I shall speak to Fa-
ther Dolan myself Will that do now?
Stephen felt the tears wetting his eyes and murmured:
-0 yes sir, thanks.
The rector held hi s hand across the side of the desk where the skull
was and Stephen, placing his hand in it for a moment, felt a cool moist
-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 doors
careflly and slowly.
But when he had passed the old servant on the landing and was
again in the low narrow dark corridor he began to walk faster and faster.
Faster and faster he hurried on through the gloom excitedly. He
bumped his elbow 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 broke
into a run and, running quicker and quicker, ran across the cinderpath
and reached the third line playground, panting.
as a Youn
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 he had told them, all the fellows fung their caps spinning up into
the air and cried:
They caught their caps and sent them up again spinning skhigh
and cried again:
-Hurroo! Hurroo!
They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among
them and carried him along til he struggled to get free. And when he had
escaped from them they broke away in a directions, finging their caps
again into the air and whistlng as they went spinning up and crying:
And they gave three groans for Baldyhead Dolan and three cheers
for Conmee and they said he was the decentest rector that was ever in
The cheers died away in the soft grey air. He was alone. He was
happy and free: but he would not be anyway proud with Father Dolan.
He would be very quiet and obedient: and he wished that he could do
something kind for him to show him that he was not proud.
The air was soft and grey and mild and evening was coming. There
was the smell of evening in the air, the smell of the felds in the coun
try where they digged up turnips to peel them and eat them when they
went out for a walk to Major Barton's, the smell there was in the little
wood beyond the pavilion where the gallnuts* were.
The fellows were practising long shiest and bowling lobs and slow
twisters. 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 the
cricket bats: pick, pack, pock, puck: like drops of water i n a fountain
flng softly in the brimming bowl.
'Hard kots produced in tree branches by boring insects.
tIn cricket, long throws to return batted balls.
UNCLE CHARLES SMOKED SUCH black tist* that at last his nephew
suggested to him to enjoy his morning smoke in a little outhouse at the
end of the garden.
-Very good, Si mon. Aserene, Simon, said the old man tranquilly.
Anywhere you like. The outhouse will do me nicely: it will be more
-Damn me, said Mr Dedalus franky, if! know how you can smoke
such villainous awfl tobacco. It's like gunpowder, by God.
-It's very nice, Simon, replied the old man. Very cool and mollif
Every morning, therefore, uncle Charles repaired to his outhouse
but not before he had creased and brushed scrupulously his back hair
and brushed and put on his tall hat. While he smoked the brim of his
tall hat and the bowl of his pipe were just visible beyond the j ambs of
the outhouse door. His arbour, as he called the reeking outhouse which
he shared with the cat and the garden tools, served him also as a sound
ingbox: and every morning he hummed contentedly one of his
favourite songs: 0, twine me a bower or Blue eyes and golden hair or The
Groves o Blarne/ while the grey and blue coils of smoke rose slowly
from his pipe and vanished in the pure air.
During the frst part of the summer in Blackrock* uncle Charles was
Stephen's constant companion. Uncle Charles was a hale old man with
a well tanned skin, rugged features and white side whiskers. On week
days he did messages beteen the house in Carysfort Avenue and those
shops i n the main street of the town with which the family dealt.
Stephen was glad to go with him on these errands for uncle Charles
helped him very liberally to handfls of whatever was exposed in open
boxes and barrels outside the counter. He would seize a handful of
'Smoking tobacco.
tThree popuhr late-eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century Irish songs.
*Seaside community south of Dublin, between the city and Dun Laoghaire.
grapes and sawdust or three or four American apples and thrust them
generously into his grandnephew's hand while the shopman smiled un
easily; and, on Stephen's feigning reluctance to take them, he would
frown and say:
-Take them, sir. Do you hear me, sir? They're good for your bow
When the order list had been booked the two would go on to the
park where an old friend of Stephen's father, Mike Flynn, would be
found seated on a bench, waiting for them. Then would begin Stephen's
run round the park. Mike Flynn would stand at the gate near the rail
way station, watch in hand, while Stephen ran round the track in the
style Mike Flynn favoured, his head high lifted, his knees well lifted and
his hands held straight down by his sides. When the morning practice
was over the trainer would make his comments and sometimes illustrate
them by shufing along for a yard or so comically in an old pair of blue
canvas shoes. A small ring of wonderstruck children and nursemaids
would gather to watch him and linger even when he and uncle Charles
had sat down again and were talking athletics and politics. Though he
had heard his father say that Mike Flynn had put some of the best run
ners of modern times through his hands Stephen often glanced at his
trainer's fabby stubble-covered face, as it bent over the long stained fn
gers through which he rolled his cigarette, and with pity at the mild lus
treless blue eyes which would look up suddenly from the task and gaze
vaguely into the blue distance while the long swollen fngers ceased their
rolling and grains and fbres of tobacco fell back into the pouch.
On the way home uncle Charles would often pay a visit to the
chapel and, as the font was above Stephen's reach, the old man would
dip his hand and then sprinkle the water briskly about Stephen's clothes
and on the foor of the porch. While he prayed he knelt on his red
handkerchief and read above his breath from a thumb blackened
prayer-book wherein catchwords* were printed at the foot of every
page. Stephen knelt at his side respecting, though he did not share, his
piety. He often wondered what his granduncle prayed for so seriously.
Perhaps he prayed for the souls in purgatory or for the grace of a happy
death or perhaps he prayed that God might send him back a part of the
big fortune he had squandered in Cork. t
On Sundays Stephen with his father and his granduncle took their
'Guide words indicating the frst or last word in the text of a page.
tLarge port city in County Munster.
A Portrait o the Artist
constitutional. The old man was a nimble walker in spite of his corns
and often ten or twelve miles of the road were covered. The little vil
lage of Stillorgan was the parting of the ways. Either they went to the
left towards the Dublin mountains or along the Goatstown road and
thence into Dundrum, coming home by Sandyford.
Trudging along
the road or standing i n some grimy wayside public house his elders
spoke constantly of the subjects nearer their hearts, of Irish politics, of
Munster and of the legends of their own family, to all of which Stephen
lent an avid ear. Words which he did not understand he said over and
over to himself till he had learnt them by heart: and through them he
had glimpses of the real world about him. The hour when he too would
take part in the life of that world seemed drawing near and in secret he
began to make ready for the great part which he felt awaited him the
nature of which he only dimly apprehended.
His evenings were his own; and he pored over a ragged translation
of The Count o Monte Cristo.6 The fgure of that dark avenger stood
forth in his mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of
the strange and terrible. At night he built up on the parlour table an
image of the wonderfl island cave out of transfers and paper fowers
and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in
which chocolate is wrapped. When he had broken up this scenery,
weary of its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture of
Marseilles, of sunny trellises and of Mercedes.
Outside Blackrock, on the road that led to the mountains, stood a
small whitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rose
bushes : and in this house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived.
Both on the outward and on the homeward j ourney he measured dis
tance by this landmark: and in his imagination he lived through a long
train of adventures, marvellous as those in the book itself towards the
close of which there appeared an image of himself, grown older and
sadder, standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many
years before slighted his love, and with a sadly proud gesture of refusal,
-Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes.
He became the ally of a boy named Aubrey Mills and founded with
him a gang of adventurers in the avenue. Aubrey carried a whistle dan
gling from his buttonhole and a bicycle lamp attached to his belt while
'Stillorgan, Goatstown, Dundrum, and Sandyford are villages in and along the
Dublin mountains, south of the city center.
as a Youn
the others had short sticks thrust daggerwise through theirs. Stephen,
who had read of Napoleon's plain style of dress, chose to remain un
adorned and thereby heightened for himself the pleasure of taking
counsel with his lieutenant before giving orders. The gang made forays
into the gardens of old maids or went down to the castle and fought a
battle on the shaggy weedgrown rocks, coming home after it weary
stragglers with the stale odours of the foreshore in their nostrils and the
rank oils of the seawrack upon their hands and in their hair.
Aubrey and Stephen had a common milkman and often they drove
out in the milk car to Carrickmines
where the cows were at grass.
While the men were milkng the boys would take turns in riding the
tractable mare round the feld. But when autumn came the cows were
driven home from the grass: and the frst sight of the flthy cowyard at
Stradbrook with its foul green puddles and clots of liquid dung and
steaming bran troughs sickened Stephen's heart. The cattle which had
seemed so beautiful in the country on sunny days revolted him and he
could not even look at the milk they yielded.
The coming of September did not trouble him this year for he was
not to be sent back to Clongowes. The practice in the park came to an
end when Mike Flynn went into hospital. Aubrey was at school and
had only an hour or two free in the evening. The gang fell asunder and
there were no more nightly forays or battles on the rocks. Stephen
sometimes went round with the car which delivered the evening milk:
and these chilly drives blew away his memory of the flth of the cow
yard and he felt no repugnance 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 of a well scrubbed ktchen or of a softly lighted hall
and to see how the servant would hold the jug and how she would close
the door. He thought it should be a pleasant life enough, driving along
the roads every evening to deliver milk, if he had warm gloves and a fat
bag of gingernuts in his pocket to eat from. But the same foreknowl
edge which had sickened his heart and made his legs sag suddenly as
he raced round the park, the same intuition which had made him
glance with mistrust at his trainer's fabby stubblecovered face as it bent
heavily over his long stained fngers, dissipated any vision of the future.
In a vague way he understood that his father was in trouble and that
this was the reason why he himself had not been sent back to Clon-
'Communit 3 miles south of Blackrock.
A Portrit of the Artist
gowes. For some time he had felt the slight change in his house; and
those changes i n what he had deemed unchangeable were so many
slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world. The ambition
which he felt astir at times in the darkness of his soul sought no outlet.
A dusk like that of the outer world obscured his mind as he heard the
mare's hoofs clattering along the tram track on the Rock Road and the
great can swaying and rattling behind him.
He returned to Mercedes and, as he brooded upon her image, a
strange unrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever gathered within
him and led him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue.
The peace of the gardens and the kndly lights in the windows poured
a tender infuence into his restless heart. The noise of children at play
annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel, even more keenly
than he had felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others . He
did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsub
stantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know
where to seek it or how but a premonition which led him on told him
that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him.
They would meet 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 be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in
that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfgured. He
would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a
moment, he would be transfgured. Weakness and timidity and inexpe
rience would fall from him in that magic moment.
* * * *
Two great yellow caravans had halted one morning before the door
and men had come tramping into the house to dismantle it. The furni
ture had been hustled out through the front garden which was strewn
with wisps of straw and rope ends and into the huge vans at the gate.
When all had been safely stowed the vans had set off noisily down the
avenue: and from the window of the railway carriage, in which he had
sat with his red eyed mother, Stephen had seen them lumbering along
the Merrion Road.
The parlour fre would not draw that evening and Mr Dedalus rested
the poker against the bars of the grate to attract the fame. Uncle Charles
dozed in a corner of the half frnished uncarpeted room and near him
the family portraits leaned against the wall. The lamp on the table shed
a weak light over the boarded foor, muddied by the feet of the vanmen.
as a Youn
Stephen sat on a footstool beside his father listening to a long and inco
herent monologue. He understood little or nothing of it at frst but he
became slowly aware that his father had enemies and that some fght was
going to take place. He felt, too, that he was being enlisted for the fght,
that some duty was being laid upon his shoulders. The sudden fight from
the comfort and revery of Blackrock, the passage through the gloomy
foggy city, the thought of the bare cheerless house in which they were
now to live made his heart heavy: and again an intuition, a foreknowl
edge of the fture came to him. He understood also why the servants had
often whispered together in the hal and why his father had often stood
on the hearthrug, with his back to the fre, talking loudly to uncle
Charles who urged him to sit down and eat his dinner.
-There's a crack of the whip left in me yet, Stephen, old chap, said
Mr Dedalus, poking at the dull fre with ferce energy. We're not dead
yet, sonny. No, by the Lord Jesus (God forgive me) nor half dead.
Dublin was a new and complex sensation. Uncle Charles had grown
so witless that he could no longer be sent out on errands and the dis
order in settling in the new house left Stephen freer than he had been
i n Blackrock. I n the beginning he contented himself with circling
timidly round the neighbouring square or, at most, going half way
down one of the side streets but when he had made a skeleton map of
the city in his mind he followed boldly one of its central lines until he
reached the Custom House.
He passed unchallenged among the docks
and along the quays t wondering at the multitude of corks that lay bob
bing on the surface of the water in a thick yellow scum, at the crowds
of quay porters and the rumbling carts and the ill-dressed bearded po
liceman. The vastness and strangeness of the life suggested to him by
the bales of merchandise stocked along the walls or swung aloft out of
the holds of steamers wakened again in him the unrest which had sent
him wandering in the evening from garden to garden in search of Mer
cedes. And amid this new bustling life he might have fancied himself
in another Marseilles but that he missed the bright sk and the sun
warmed trellises of the wineshops. A vague dissatisfaction grew up
within him as he looked on the quays and on the river and on the low
ering skies and yet he continued to wander up and down day after day
as if he really sought someone that eluded him.
'Beautifl civic building on the north side of the Liffey, the river running west to
east through downtown Dublin, dividing it into south and north.
tCommercial stretches of road alongside the river.
A Portrait o the Artist
He went once or twice with his mother to visit their relatives: and
though they passed a j ovial array of shops lit up and adorned for Christ
mas his mood of embittered silence did not leave him. The causes of his
embitterment were many, remote and near. He was angry with himself
for being young and the prey of restless foolish impulses, angry also
with the change of fortune which was reshaping the world about him
into a vision of squalor and insincerity. Yet his anger lent nothing to the
vision. He chronicled with patience what he saw, detaching himself
from it and testing its mortifing favour in secret.
He was sitting on the backless chair in his aunt's ktchen. A lamp
with a refector hung on the j apanned
wall of the freplace and by its
light his aunt was reading the evening paper that lay on her kees. She
looked a long time at a smiling picture that was set in it and said mus
-The beautiful Mabel Hunter!
A ringletted girl stood on tiptoe to peer at the picture and said
-What is she in, mud?t
-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 beautifl Mabel Hunter!
As if fascinated, her eyes rested long upon those demurely taunting
eyes and she murmured devotedly:
-Isn't she an exquisite creature?
And the boy who came in from the street, stamping crookedly under
his stone of coal,* heard her words. He dropped his load promptly on
the foor and hurried to her side to see. He mauled the edges of the
paper with his reddened and blackened hands, shouldering her aside
and complaining that he could not see.
He was sitting in the narrow breakfast room high up in the old dark
windowed house. The frelight fickered on the wall and beyond the
window a spectral dusk was gathering upon the river. Before the fre an
old woman was busy makng tea and, as she bustled at the task, she told
in a low voice of what the priest and the doctor had said. She told too
'Coated in thick varnish, in the Japanese manner.
tTerm of endearment.
:A 14-pound bag of coal; in the British system of measurement, a stone is 1 4
as a Youn
of certain changes they had seen in her of late and of her odd ways and
sayings. He sat listening to the words and following the ways of adven
ture that lay open in the coals, arches and vaults and winding galleries
and j agged caverns.
Suddenly he became aware of something in the doorway. A skull ap
peared suspended in the gloom of the doorway. A feeble creature like a
monkey was there, drawn there by the sound of voices at the fre. A
whining voice came from the door askng:
-Is that Josephine?
The old bustling woman answered cheerily from the freplace:
-No, Ellen, it's Stephen.
-0 ... 0, good evening, Stephen.
He answered the greeting and saw a silly smile break over the face
in the doorway.
-Do you want anything, Ellen? asked the old woman at the fre.
But she did not answer the question and said:
-I thought it was Josephine. I thought you were Josephine,
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 watchfl manner had grown upon him and he took little part
i n the games. The children, wearing the spoils of their crackers, t
danced and romped noisily and, though he tried to share their merri
ment, he felt himself a gloomy fgure amid the gay cocked hats and
But when he had sung his song* and withdrawn into a snug corner
of the room he began to taste the j oy of his loneliness. The mirth,
which in the beginning of the evening had seemed to him false and
trivial, was like a soothing air to him, passing gaily by his senses, hid
ing from other eyes the feverish agitation of his blood while through
the circling of the dancers and amid the music and laughter her glance
travelled to his corner, fattering, taunting, searching, exciting his heart.
In the hall the children who had stayed latest were putting on their
things: the party was over. She had thrown a shawl about her and, as
they went together towards the tram, sprays of her fresh warm breath
'Neighborhood at the southern edge of Dublin.
tPaper-wrapped party favors.
tIn this Irish tradition, men and women have one song for which they are kown
and which they are prepared to perform at gatherings.
A Portrait o the Artist
few gaily above her cowled head and her shoes tapped blithely on the
glassy road.
It was the last tram. The lank brown horses knew it and shook their
bells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with the
driver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. On the empty
seats of the tram were scattered a few coloured tickets. No sound of
footsteps came up or down the road. No sound broke the peace of the
night save when the lank brown horses rubbed their noses together and
shook their bells.
They seemed to listen, he on the upper step and she on the lower. She
came up to his step many times and went down to hers again between
their phrases and once or twice stood close beside him for some moments
on the upper step, forgetting to go down, and then went down. His heart
danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her
eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim
past, whether in life or revery, he had heard their tale before. He saw her
urge her vanities, her fne dress and sash and long black stockngs, and
knew that he had yielded to them a thousand times. Yet a voice within
him spoke above the noise of his dancing heart, askng him would he take
her gift to which he had only to stretch out his hand. And he remem
bered the day when he and Eileen had stood looking into the Hotel
Grounds, watching the waiters running up a trail of bunting on the
fagstaff and the fox terrier scampering to and fro on the sunny lawn, and
how, all of a sudden, she had broken out into a peal of laughter and had
run down the sloping curve of the path. Now, as then, he stood listlessly
in his place, seemingly a tranquil watcher of the scene before him.
-She too wants me to catch hold of her, he thought. That's why she
came with me to the tram. I could easily catch hold of her when she
comes up to my step: nobody is lookng. I could hold her and kiss her.
But he did neither: and, when he was sitting alone in the deserted
tram he tore his ticket into shreds and stared gloomily at the corrugated
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 emer
ald exercise.
From force of habit he had written at the top of the frst
page the initial letters of the jesuit motto: A. M. D. G. t On the frst line
'Bound composition notebook.
tAd Majorem Dei Gloriam, Latin for "for the greater glory of God"; the Jesuit motto.
as a Young Man
of the page appeared the title of the verses he was trying to write: To
He knew it was right to begin so for he had seen sim
ilar titles i n the collected poems of Lord Byron. t When he had written
this title and drawn an ornamental line underneath he fell into a day
dream and began to draw diagrams on the cover of the book. He saw
himself sitting at his table in Bray the morning after the discussion at
the Christmas dinner table, trying to write a poem about Parnell on the
back of one of his father's second moiety notices. * But his brain had
then refsed to grapple with the theme and, desisting, he had covered
the page with the names and addresses of certain of his classmates:
Roderick Kickam
John Lawton
Anthony MacSwiney
Simon Moonan
Now it seemed as if he would fail again but, by dint of brooding on
the incident, he thought himself into confdence. During this process
al those elements which he deemed common and insignifcant fell out
of the scene. There remained no trace of the tram itself nor of the tram
men nor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly. The verses
told only of the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden lustre of
the moon. Some undefned sorrow was hidden in the hearts of the pro
tagonists as they stood in silence beneath the leafess trees and when
the moment of farewell had come the kiss, which had been withheld by
one, was given by both. After this the letters L. D. S. were written at
the foot of the page and, having hidden the book, he went into his
mother's bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of
her dressing table.
But his long spell of leisure and liberty was drawing to its end. One
evening his father came home fll of news which kept his tongue busy
all through dinner. Stephen had been awaiting his father's return for
there had been mutton hash that day and he knew that his father would
'In the draft version of the novel, published as Stephen Hero after Joyce's death,
Stephen's love interest is named Emma Clery.
tGeorge Gordon ( 1 788-1 824), leading poet and charismatic fgure in British Ro
mantic poetry.
:Notices of debts owed.
Laus Deo Semper, Latin for "praise to God always. "
A Portrait o the Artist
make him dip his bread in the gravy. But he did not relish the hash for
the mention ofClongowes had coated his palate with a scum of disgust.
-I walked bang into him, said Mr Dedalus for the fourth time, just
at the corner of the square.
-Then I suppose, said Mrs Dedalus, he will be able to arrange it. I
mean about Belvedere.
-Of course, he will, said Mr Dedalus. Don't I tell you he's provin
cial of the order now?
-I never liked the idea of sending him to the christian brothers*
myself said Mrs Dedalus.
-Christian brothers be damned! said Mr Dedalus. Is it with Paddy
Stink and Mickey Mud? No, let him stick to the jesuits in God's name
since 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 at Clon-
gowes. Fed up, by God, like gamecocks.
Mr DedaIus pushed his plate over to Stephen and bade him fnish
what was on it.
-Now then, Stephen, he said, you must put your shoulder to the
wheel, old chap. You've had a fne long holiday.
-0, I' m sure he' ll work very hard now, said Mrs Dedalus, especially
when he has Maurice with him.
-0, Holy Paul, I forgot about Maurice, said Mr Dedalus. Here,
Maurice! Come here, you thick-headed ruffan! Do you know I' m
going to send you to a college where they' ll teach you to spell c. a. t. cat.
And I' ll buy you a nice little penny handkerchief to keep your nose dry
Won't that be grand fn?
Maurice grinned at his father and then at his brother. Mr Dedalus
screwed his glass into his eye and stared hard at both of his sons.
Stephen mumbled hi s bread without answering hi s father's gaze.
-By the bye, said Mr Dedalus at length, the rector or provincial
rather, was telling me that story about you and Father Dolan. You're an
impudent thief, he said.
-0, he didn't, Simon!
-Not he! said Mr Dedalus. But he gave me a great account of the
'Brotherhood of Catholic laymen, founded in Waterford, in County Munster, i n
1 802 by Edmund Ignatius Rice; the Christian Brothers ran inexpensive day schools
that emphasized practical learning.
as a Youn
whole affair. We were chatting, you know, and one word borrowed an
other. And, by the way, who do you think he told me will get that job
in the corporation?
But I' ll tell you that after. Well, as I was saying, we
were chatting away quite friendly and he asked me did our friend here
wear glasses still and then he told me the whole story.
-And was he annoyed, Simon?
-Annoyed! Not he! Manl 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, Fa-
ther Dolan and I had a great laugh over it. You better mind yoursel Fa
ther Dolan, said I, or young Dedalus will send you up fr twice nine. We
had a famous laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Mr Dedalus turned to his wife and interj ected in his natural voice:
-Shows you the spirit in which they take the boys there. 0, a jesuit
for 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
of us we all had a hearty laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
The night of the Whitsuntide t play had come and Stephen from the
window of the dressing room looked out on the small grassplot across
which lines of Chinese lanterns were stretched. He watched the visitors
come down the steps from the house and to the theatre. Stewards in
evening dress, old Belvedereans, loitered in groups about the entrance
to the theatre and ushered in the visitors with ceremony. Under the
sudden glow of a lantern he could recognise the smiling face of a priest.
The Blessed Sacrament had been removed from the tabernacle* and
the frst benches had been driven back so as to leave the daIs of the altar
and the space before it free. Against the walls stood companies of bar
bells and Indian clubs; the dumb bells were piled in one corner: and in
the midst of countless hillocks of gymnasium shoes and sweaters and
singlets in untidy brown parcels there stood the stout leatherj acketed
vaulting horse waiting its turn to be carried up on the stage and set in
the middle of the winning team at the end of the gymnastic display.
Stephen, though in deference to his reputation for essay writing he
had been elected secretary to the gymnasium, had had no part in the
flt section of the programme, but in the play which formed the sec-
*The Dublin Corporation, the city's governing body.
tThe week beginning on Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter.
:Vesse! containing the eucharistic host.
A Portrit o the Artist
ond section he had the chief part, that of a farcical pedagogue. He had
been cast for it on account of his stature and grave manners for he was
now at the end of his second year at Belvedere and in number to.
A score of the younger boys in white knickers and singlets came pat
tering down from the stage, through the vestry and into the chapel. The
vestry and chapel were peopled with eager masters and boys . The
plump bald sergeant major was testing with his foot the spring board
of the vaulting horse. The lean young man in a long overcoat, who was
to give a special display of intricate club swinging, stood near watching
with interest, his silver coated clubs peeping out of his deep sidepock
ets. The hollow rattle of the wooden dumb bells was heard as another
team made ready to go up on the stage: and in another moment the ex
cited prefect was hustling the boys through the vestry like a fock of
geese, fapping the wings of his soutane nervously and crying to the
laggards to make haste. A little troop of Neapolitan peasants were prac
tising their steps at the end of the chapel, some circling their arms
above their heads, some swaying their baskets of paper violets and curt
seying. In a dark corner of the chapel at the gospel side of the altar a
stout old lady knelt amid her copious black skrts. When she stood up
a pink dressed fgure, wearing a curly golden wig and an old fashioned
straw sunbonnet, with black pencilled eyebrows and cheeks delicately
rouged and powdered, was discovered. A low murmur of curiosity ran
round the chapel at the discovery of this girlish fgure. One of the pre
fects, smiling and nodding his head, approached the dark corner and,
having bowed to the stout old lady, said pleasantly:
-Is this a beautifl young lady or a doll that you have here, Mrs
Then, bending down to peer at the smiling painted face under the
leaf of 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 priest
laugh together and heard the boys' murmurs of admiration behind him
as they passed forward to see the little boy who had to dance the sun
bonnet dance by himself. A movement of impatience escaped him. He
let the edge of the blind fall and, stepping down from the bench on
which he had been standing, walked out of the chapel.
He passed out of the schoolhouse and halted under the shed that
*he penultimate year of studies.
as a Youn
fanked the garden. From the theatre opposite came the mufed noise
of the audience and sudden brazen clashes of the soldiers' band. The
light spread upwards from the glass roof making the theatre seem a fes
tive ark, anchored among the hulks of houses, her frail cables of
lanterns looping her to her moorings. A side door of the theatre opened
suddenly and a shaft of light few across the grassplots. A sudden burst
of music issued from the ark, the prelude of a waltz: and when the side
door closed again the listener could hear the faint rhythm of the music.
The sentiment of the opening bars, their languor and supple move
ment, evoked the incommunicable emotion which had been the cause
of al his day's unrest and of his impatient movement of a moment be
fore. His unrest issued from him like a wave of sound: and on the tide
of fowing music the ark was journeying, trailing her cables of lanterns
in her wake. Then a noise like dwarf artillery broke the movement. It
was the clapping that greeted the entry of the dumb bell team on the
At the far end of the shed near the street a speck of pink light
showed in the darkness and as he walked towards it he became aware
of a faint aromatic odour. Two boys were standing in the shelter of a
doorway, smoking, and before he reached them he had recognised
Heron by his voice.
-Here comes the noble Dedalus! cried a high throaty voice. Wel
come to our trusty friend!
This welcome ended in a soft peal of mirthless laughter as Heron
and then began to poke the ground with his cane.
-Here I am, said Stephen, halting and glancing from Heron to his
The latter was a stranger to him but in the darkness, by the aid of
the glowing cigarette tips, he could make out a pale dandyish face, over
which a smile was travelling slowly, a tall overcoated fgure and a hard
hat. Heron did not trouble himself about an introduction but said in
-I was just telling my friend Wallis what a lark it would be tonight
if you took off the rector in the part of the schoolmaster. It would be a
ripping good j oke.
Heron made a poor attempt to imitate for his friend Wa is the rector's
pedantic bass and then, laughing at his failure, asked Stephen to do it.
'Performed an Islamic form of low bow.
A Portrait of the Artist
-Go on, Dedalus, he urged, you can take him off rippingly. He that
will not hear the churcha let him be to theea as the heathen a and the publicana.
The imitation was prevented by a mild expression of anger from Wl
lis in whose mouthpiece the cigarette had become too tightly wedged.
-Damn this blankety blank holder, he said, taking it from his
mouth and smiling and frowning upon it tolerantly. It's always getting
stuck like 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
he doesn't go to bazaars and he doesn't firt and he doesn't damn any
thing or damn all.
Stephen shook his head and smiled in his rival's fushed and mobile
face, beaked like a bird's. He had often thought it strange that Vincent
Heron had a bird's face as well as a bird's name. A shock of pale hair
lay on the forehead like a rufed crest: the forehead was narrow and
bony and a thin hooked nose stood out beteen the closeset prominent
eyes which were light and inexpressive. The rivals were school friends.
They sat together in class, knelt together in the chapel, talked together
after beads
over their lunches . As the fellows in number one were
undistinguished dullards Stephen and Heron had been during the year
the virtual heads of the school. It was they who went up to the rector
together to ask for a free day or to get a fellow off
-0 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 a fellow or by a master put his calm to rout in a moment. He waited
in timorous silence to hear what Heron might say next. Heron, how
ever, 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 talkng about? said Stephen ur
-Indeed you might, answered Heron. We saw her, Walli s, didn' t
we? And deucedly pretty she is too. And inquisitive! And what part does
Stephen take, Mr Dedalus? And will Stephen not sing, Mr Dedalus? Your
governor was staring at her through that eyeglass of his for all he was
'Slang for a session of praying the rosary, a devotion whose progress is marked on a
string of beads.
as a Youn
worth so that 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 once
more in a corner of his mouth.
A shaft of momentary anger few through Stephen's mind at these
indelicate allusions in the hearing of a stranger. For him there was noth
ing amusing in a girl's interest and regard. Al day he had thought of
nothing but their leavetakng on the steps of the tram at Harold's Cross,
the stream of moody emotions it had made to course through him, and
the poem he had written about it. Alday he had imagined a new meet
ing with her for he knew that she was to come to the play. The old rest
less moodiness had again flled his breast as it had done on the night of
the party but had not found an outlet in verse. The growth and knowl
edge of two years of boyhood stood between then and now, forbidding
such an outlet: and all day the stream of gloomy tenderness within him
had started forth and returned upon itself in dark courses and eddies,
wearying him i n the end until the pleasantry of the prefect and 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
you out this time. You can't play the saint on me any more, that's one
sure fve.
A soft peal of mirthless laughter escaped from his lips and, bending
down as before, he struck Stephen lightly across the calf of the leg with
his cane, as if in j esting reproof
Stephen's movement of anger had already passed. He was neither
fattered nor confsed but simply wished the banter to end. He scarcely
resented what had seemed to him a silly indelicateness for he knew that
the adventure in his mind stood in no danger from these words: and his
face mirrored his rival's false smile.
-Admit! repeated Heron, striking him again with his cane across
the calf of the leg.
The stroke was playfl but not so lightly given as the frst one had
been. Stephen felt the skn tingle and glow slightly and almost pain
lessly; and, bowing submissively, as if to meet his companion's j esting
mood, began to recite the Confteor.
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
*A prayer, part of the traditional Catholic Mass, in which one confesses having
sinned (the word is Latin for "I confess") and asks God's forgiveness.
A Portrait of the Artist
the words, a sudden memory had carried him to another scene called
up, as if by magic, at the moment when he had noted the faint cruel
dimples at the corners of Heron's smiling lips and had felt the familiar
stroke of the cane against his calf and had heard the familiar word of
It was towards the close of his frst term in the college when he was
in number si. His sensitive nature was still smarting under the lashes
of an undivined and squalid way of life. His soul was still disquieted and
cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin. He had emerged from a
two years' spell of reverie to fnd himself in the midst of a new scene,
every event and fgure of which affected him intimately, disheartened
him or allured and, whether alluring or disheartening, flled him always
with unrest and bitter thoughts. Athe leisure which his school life left
him was passed in the company of subversive writers whose gibes and
violence of speech set up a ferment in his brain before they passed out
of it into his crude writings.
The essay was for him the chief labour of his week and every T ues
day, as he marched from home to the school, he read his fate in the in
cidents of the way, pitting himself against some fgure ahead of him and
quickening his pace to outstrip it before a certain goal was reached or
planting his steps scrupulously in the spaces of the patchwork of the
pathway and telling himself that he would be frst and not frst in the
weekly essay.
On a certain Tuesday the course of his triumphs was rudely broken.
Mr Tate the English master, pointed hi s fnger at hi m and sai d bluntly:
-This fellow has heresy in his essay.
A hush fell on the class. Mr Tate did not break it but dug with his
hand between his thighs while his heavily starched linen creaked about
his neck and wrists. Stephen did not look up. It was a raw spring morn
ing and his eyes were still smarting and weak. He was conscious of fail
ure and of detection, of the squalor of his own mind and home, and felt
against his neck the raw edge of his turned and j agged 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 . . .
as a Youn
rrm . . . Ah! without a possibility of ever approaching nearer. That's
Stephen murmured:
-I meant without a possibility o ever reaching. 7
It was a submission and Mr Tate, appeased, folded up the essay and
passed it across to him, saying:
-0 . . . Ah! ever reaching. That's another story.
But the class was not so soon appeased. Though nobody spoke to
him of the affair after class he could feel about him a vague general ma
lignant j oy.
A few nights after this public chiding he was walking with a letter
along the Drumcondra Road when he heard a voice cry:
He turned and saw three boys of his own class coming towards him
in the dusk. It was Heron who had called out and, as he marched for
ward between his two attendants, he cleft the air before him with a thin
cane, in time to their steps. Boland, his friend, marched beside him, a
large grin on his face, while Nash came on a few steps behind, blowing
from the pace and wagging his great red head.
As soon as the boys had turned into Clonliffe Road together they
began to speak about books and writers, saying what books they were
reading and how many books there were in their fathers' bookcases at
home. Stephen listened to them in some wonderment for Boland was
the dunce and Nash the idler of the class. In fact after some talk about
their favourite writers Nash declared for Captain Marryat
who, he
said, was the greatest writer.
-Fudge! said Heron. Ask Dedalus. Who is the greatest writer,
Dedalus ?
Stephen noted the mockery i n the question and said:
-Of prose do you mean?
-Newman, I think.
-Is it Cardinal Newman?8 asked Boland.
-Yes, answered Stephen.
The grin broadened on Nash's freckled face as he turned to Stephen
and said:
-And do you like Cardinal Newman, Dedalus?
'Frederick Marryat ( 1 792-1848), an author whose best-known works includeJaphet
in Search o a Father ( 1 836) and The Children o the New Forest ( 1 847).
A Portrit o the Artist
-0, many say that Newman has the best prose style, Heron said to
the other 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.
-0, yes, Lord Tennyson, said Nash. We have all his poetry at home
in a book.
At this Stephen forgot the silent vows he had been making and burst
-Tennyson a poet! Why, he's only a rhymester!
-0, get out! said Heron. Everyone knows that Tennyson is the
greatest poet.
-And who do you think is the greatest poet? asked Boland, nudg-
ing his neighbour.
-Byron, of course, answered Stephen.
Heron gave the lead and all three j oined in a scornfl laugh.
-What are you laughing at? asked Stephen.
-You, said Heron. Byron the greatest poet! He's only a poet for un-
educated people.
-He must be a fne 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
the yard and were going to be sent to the 10ft for.
Boland, in fact, was said to have written on the slates in the yard a
couplet about a classmate of his who often rode home from the college
on a pony:
As Tyson was riding into Jerusalem
He fl and hurt his Alec KaJozelum.
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 kow about it? shouted Stephen. You never read a
line of anything in your life except a transt or Boland either.
-I know that Byron was a bad man, said Boland.
'Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( 1 809-1 892), poet laureate ( 1 850-1 892) ; author of In
Memoriam ( 1 850) and Idylls o the King ( 1 859).
t"Crib," or study aid.
as a Youn
-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
heresy in 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 his
I t was the signal for their onset. Nash pinioned his arms behind
while Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gut
ter. Struggling and kickng under the cuts of the cane and the blows of
the knotty stump Stephen was borne back against a barbed wire fence.
-Admit that Byron was no good.
-No. No.
At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. His tor
mentors set off towards Jones's Road, laughing and j eering at him,
while he, half blinded with tears, stumbled on, clenching his fsts madly
and sobbing.
While he was still repeating the Confteor amid the i ndulgent laugh
ter of his hearers and while the scenes of that malignant episode were
still passing sharply and swiftly before his mind he wondered why he
bore no malice now to those who had tormented him. He had not for
gotten a whit of their cowardice and cruelty but the memory of it called
forth no anger from him. All the description of ferce love and hatred
which he had met in books had seemed to him therefore unreal. Even
that night as he stumbled homewards along Jones' s Road he had felt
that some power was divesting him of that sudden woven anger as eas
ily as a fruit is divested of its soft ripe peel.
He remained standing with his two companions at the end of the
shed listening idly to their talk or to the bursts of applause in the the
atre. She was sitting there among the others perhaps waiting for him to
appear. He tried to recall her appearance but could not. He could re
member only that she had worn a shawl about her head like a cowl and
that her dark eyes had invited and unnerved him. He wondered had he
A Portrait o the Artist
been in her thoughts or she had been in his. Then in the dark and un
seen by the other two he rested the tips of the fngers of one hand upon
the palm of the other hand, scarcely touching it lightly. But the pressure
of her fngers had been lighter and steadier: and suddenly the memory
of their touch traversed his brain and body like an invisible wave.
A boy came towards them, running along under the shed. He was
excited and breathless.
-0, Dedalus, he cried, Doyle is in a great bake
about you. You're
to go 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 awl 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 points
of honour.
-I wouldn't, said Heron, damn me in would. That's no way to send
for one of the senior boys. In a bake, indeed! I think it's quite enough
that you're taking a part in his bally old play.
This spirit of quarrelsome comradeship which he had observed
lately in his rival had not seduced Stephen from his habits of quiet obe
dience. He mistrusted the turbulence and doubted the sincerity of such
comradeship which seemed to him a sorry anticipation of manhood.
The question of honour here raised was, like all such questions, trivial
to him. While his mind had been pursuing its intangible phantoms and
turning in irresolution from such pursuit he had heard about him the
constant voices of his father and of his masters, urging him to be a gen
tleman above all things and urging him to be a good catholic above al
things. These voices had now come to be hollow sounding in his ears.
When the gymnasium had been opened he had heard another voice
urging him to be strong and manly and healthy and when the move
ment towards national revival had begun to be felt in the college yet an
other voice had bidden him be true to his country and help to raise up
her language and tradition. t In the profane world, as he foresaw, a
worldly voice would bid him raise up his father's fallen state by his
Fi t of anger.
tAllusion to the work of the Gaelic League (established in 1 893) , which sought to
revive the Irish language, literature in Irish, and traditional Irish culture.
as a Youn
labours and, meanwhile, the voice of his school-comrades urged him to
be a decent fellow, to shield others from blame or to beg them off and
to do his best to get free days for the school. And it was the din of all
these hollowsounding voices that made him halt irresolutely in the pur
suit of phantoms. He gave them ear only for a time but he was happy
only when he was far from them, beyond their call, alone or in the com
pany of phantasmal comrades.
In the vestry a plump freshfaced jesuit and an elderly man, in shabby
blue clothes, were dabbling in a case of paints and chalks. The boys who
had been painted walked about or stood still awkardly, touching their
faces in a gingerly fashion with their frtive fngertips . In the middle of
the vestry a young jesuit, who was then on a visit to the college, stood
rocking himself rhythmically from the tips of his toes to his heels and
back again, his hands thrust well forward into his side pockets. His
small head set off with glossy red curls and his newly shaven face agreed
well with the spotless decency of his soutane and with his spotless
As he watched this swaying form and tried to read for himself the
legend of the priest's mockng smile there came into Stephen's memory
a saying which he had heard from his father before he had been sent to
Clongowes, that you could always tell a j esuit by the style of his clothes.
At the same moment he thought he saw a likeness between his father's
mind and that of this smiling welldressed priest: and he was aware of
some desecration of the priest's offce or of the vestry itself whose si
lence was now routed by loud talk and j oking and its air pungent with
the smells of the gasjets and the grease.
While his forehead was being wrinkled and his j aws painted black
and blue by the elderly man he listened distractedly to the voice of the
plump young j esuit which bade him speak up and make his points
clearly. He could hear the band playing The Lil o Killarney
and knew
that in a few moments the curtain would go up. He felt no stage fright
but the thought of the part he had to play humiliated him. A remem
brance of some of his lines made a sudden fush rise to his painted
cheeks. He saw her serious alluring eyes watching him from among the
audience and their image at once swept away his scruples , leaving his
will compact. Another nature seemed to have been lent him: the infec
tion of the excitement and youth about him entered into and trans-
'From the opera based on Dian Boucicault's The Coleen Bawn ( 1 860).
Chapter II
formed his moody mistrustfulness. For one rare moment he seemed to
be clothed in the real apparel of boyhood: and, as he stood in the wings
among the other players, he shared the common mirth amid which the
drop scene was hauled upwards by two ablebodied priests with violent
jerks and all awry.
A few moments after he found himself on the stage amid the garish
gas and the dim scenery, acting before the innumerable faces of the
void. It surprised him to see that the play which he had known at re
hearsals for 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 with
their parts. When the curtain fell on the last scene he heard the void
flled with applause and, through a rift in a side scene, saw the simple
body before which he had acted magically deformed, the void of faces
breaking at all points and falling asunder into busy groups.
He left the stage quickly and ri d himself of his mummery* and
passed out through the chapel into the college garden. Now that the
play was over his nerves cried for some further adventure. He hurried
onwards as if to overtake it. The doors of the theatre were all open and
the audience had emptied out. On the lines which he had fancied the
moorings of an ark a few lanterns swung in the night breeze, ficker
ing cheerlessly. He mounted the steps from the garden in haste, eager
that some prey should not elude him, and forced his way through the
crowd in the hall and past the two jesuits who stood watching the ex
odus and bowing and shaking hands with the visitors. He pushed on
ward nervously, feigning a still greater haste and faintly conscious of
the smiles and stares and nudges which his powdered head left in its
When he came out on the steps he saw his family waiting for him
at the frst lamp. In a glance he noted that every fgure of the group was
familiar and ran down the steps angrily.
-1 have to leave a message down in George's Street, he said to his
father quickly. I' ll be home after you.
Without waiting for his father's questions he ran across the road and
began to walk at breakneck speed down the hill. He hardly knew where
he was walking. Pride and hope and desire like crushed herbs in his
heart sent up vapours of maddening incense before the eyes of his
mind. He strode down the hill amid the tumult of suddenrisen vapours
'Pantomime performance.
A Portrit o the Artist
of wounded pride and fallen hope and bafed desire. They streamed
upwards before his anguished eyes in dense and maddening fumes and
passed away above him till at last the air was clear and cold again.
A flm still veiled his eyes but they burned no longer. A power, akin
to that which had often made anger or resentment fall from him,
brought his steps to rest. He stood still and gazed up at the sombre
porch of the morgue and from that to the dark cobbled laneway at its
side. He saw the word Lots * on the wall of the lane and breathed
slowly the rank heav air.
-That is horse piss and rotted straw, he thought. It is a good odour
to breathe. It will calm my heart. My heart is quite calm now. I will go
* * * *
Stephen was once again seated beside his father in the corner of a
railway carriage at Kingsbridge. t He was travelling with his father by
the night mail to Cork. As the train steamed out of the station he re
called his childish wonder of years before and every event of his frst
day at Clongowes. But he felt no wonder now. He saw the darkening
lands slipping away past him, the silent telegraphpoles passing his
window swiftly every four seconds, the little gli mmering stati ons,
manned by a few silent sentries , fung by the mail behind her and
twinkling for a moment in the darkness like fery grains fung back
wards by a runner.
He listened without sympathy to his father's evocation of Cork and
of scenes of his youth-a tale broken by sighs or draughts from his
pocket fask whenever the image of some dead friend appeared in it, or
whenever the evoker remembered suddenly the purpose of his actual
visit. Stephen heard, but could feel no pity. The images of the dead
were all strangers to him save that of Uncle Charles, an image which
had lately been fading out of memory. He knew, however, that his fa
ther's property was going to be sold by auction and in the manner of his
own dispossession he felt the world give the lie rudely to his phantasy.
At Maryborough* he fell asleep. When he awoke the train had
passed out of Mallow and his father was stretched asleep on the other
*Short laneway on the northern quays of the Liffey.
tTerminal for trains departing to the south.
:50 miles from Dublin on the route to Cork.
145 miles from Dublin; 19 miles outside Cork.
as a Youn
seat. The cold light of the dawn lay over the country, over the unpeo
pled felds and the closed cottages. The terror of sleep fascinated his
mind as he watched the silent country or heard from time to time his
father's deep breath or sudden sleepy movement. The neighbourhood
of unseen sleepers flled him with strange dread, as though they could
harm him, and he prayed that the day might come quickly. His prayer,
addressed neither to God nor saint, began with a shiver, as the chilly
morning breeze crept through the chink of the carriage door to his feet,
and ended in a trail of foolish words which he made to ft the insistent
rhythm of the train; and silently, at intervals of four seconds, the
telegraph poles held the galloping notes of the music between punctual
bars. This frious music allayed his dread and, leaning against the win
dow ledge, he let hi s eyelids close again.
They drove in a jingle across Cork while it was still early morning
and Stephen fnished his sleep in a bedroom of the Victoria Hotel. The
bright warm sunlight was streaming through the window and he could
hear the din of traffc. His father was standing before the dressingtable,
examining his hair and face and moustache with great care, craning his
neck across the water jug and drawing it back sideways to see the bet
ter. While he did so he sang softly to himself with quaint accent and
'Tis youth and fll
Makes young men marry,
So here, my love, I'l
No longer stay.
What can't be cured, sure,
Must be injured sure,
So I'l go to Amerikay.
My love she' handsome,
My love she' bonny:
She' like good whisky
When it is new;
But when 'tis old
And growing cold
It fades and dies like
The mountain dew.
A Portrait o the Artist
The consciousness of the warm sunny city outside his window and
the tender tremors with which his father's voice festooned the strange
sad happy air, drove off all the mists of the night's ill humour from
Stephen's brain. He got up quickly to dress and, when the song had
ended, 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,t said Mr Dedalus, twirling the points of his
moustache. Ah, but you should have heard Mick Lacy sing it! Poor
Mick Lacy! He had little turns for it, grace notes he used to put in that
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 he cross-examined the waiter for local news. For the most part
they spoke at cross purposes when a name was mentioned, the waiter
having in mind the present holder and Mr Dedalus his father or per
haps his grandfather.
Well, I hope they haven't moved the Qeen's College anyhow, said
Mr Dedalus, for I want to show it to this youngster of mine.
Along the Mardyke I I the trees were in bloom. They entered the
grounds of the college and were led by the garrulous porter across the
quadrangle. But their progress across the gravel was brought to a halt
after every dozen or so paces by some reply of the porter's-
-Ah, do you tell me so? And is poor Pottle belly dead?
-Yes, sir. Dead, sir.
During these halts Stephen stood awkardly behind the two men,
weary of the subject and waiting restlessly for the slow march to begin
again. By the time they had crossed the quadrangle his restlessness had
risen to fever. He wondered how his father, whom he knew for a
shrewd suspicious man, could be duped by the servile manners of the
porter; and the lively southern speech which had entertained him all
the morning now irritated his ears.
'Popular ballads that often begin with the phrase "Come all you [for example, Irish
men) , " etc. Mr. Dedalus begins a satiric "come-all-you" during the Christmas din
ner scene (p. 30): "0, come all you Roman catholics I That never went to mass. "
tTune or melody.
:Type of blood sausage.
Opened in 1 849.
A promenade.
as a Youn
They passed into the anatomy theatre
where Mr Dedalus , the
porter aiding him, searched the desks for his initials. Stephen remained
in the background, depressed more than ever by the darkness and si
lence of the theatre and by the air it wore of j aded and formal study. On
the desk he read the word Fetus cut several times in the dark stained
wood. The sudden legend startled his blood: he seemed to feel the ab
sent students of the college about him and to shrink from their com
pany. A vision of their life, which his father's words had been powerless
to evoke, sprang up before him out of the word cut in the desk. A broad
shouldered student with a moustache was cutting in the letters with a
j ack knife, seriously. Other students stood or sat near him laughing at
his handiwork. One jogged his elbow. The big student turned on him,
frowning. He was dressed in loose grey clothes and had tan boots.
Stephen's name was called. He hurried down the steps of the theatre
so as to be as far away from the vision as he could be and, peering
closely at his father's initials, hid his fushed face.
But the word and the vision capered before his eyes as he walked
back across the quadrangle and towards the college gate. It shocked
him to fnd in the outer world a trace of what he had deemed till then
a brutish and individual malady of his own mind. His monstrous rever
ies came thronging into his memory. They too had sprung up before
him, suddenly and friously, out of mere words. He had soon given in
to them, and allowed them to sweep across and abase his intellect, won
dering always where they came from, from what den of monstrous im
ages, and always weak and humble towards others, restless and sickened
of himself when they had swept over him.
-Ay, bedad! And there's the Groceries sure enough! cried Mr
Dedalus . You often heard me speak of the Groceri es, didn't you,
Stephen. Many's the time we went down there when our names had
been marked, a crowd of us, Harry Peard and little Jack Mountain and
Bob Dyas and Maurice Moriart, the Frenchman, and Tom O' Grady
and Mick Lacy that I told you of this morning and Joey Corbet and
poor little good hearted Johnny Keevers of the Tantiles.
The leaves of the trees along the Mardyke were astir and whispering
in the sunlight. A team of cricketers passed, agile young men in fan
nels and blazers, one of them carrying the long green wicket bag. In a
quiet by street a German band of fve players in faded uniforms and
A Portrit o the Artist
with battered brass instruments was playing to an audience of street
and leisurely messenger boys. A maid in a white cap and apron
was watering a box of plants on a sill which shone like a slab of lime
stone in the warm glare. From another window open to the air came
the sound of a piano, scale after scale rising into the treble.
Stephen walked on at his father's side, listening to stories he had
heard before, hearing again the names of the scattered and dead rev
ellers who had been the companions of his father's youth. And a faint
sickness sighed in his heart. He recalled his own equivocal position i n
Belvedere, a free boy, a leader afraid of hi s own authority, proud and
sensitive and suspicious, battling against the squalor of his life and
against the riot of his mind. The letters cut in the stained wood of the
desk stared upon him, mocking his bodily weakness and futile enthusi
asms and makng him loathe himself for his own mad and flthy orgies.
The spittle in his throat grew bitter and foul to swallow and the faint
sickness climbed to his brain so that for a moment he closed his eyes
and walked on in darkess.
He could still hear his father's voice.
-When you kick out for yourself, Stephen-as I daresay you will
one of those days-remember, whatever you do, to mix with gentle
men. When I was a young fellow I tell you I enjoyed myself I mixed
with fne decent fellows. Everyone of us could do something. One fel
low had a good voice, another fellow was a good actor, another could
sing a good comic song, another was a good oarsman or a good racket
player, another could tell a good story and so on. We kept the ball
rolling anyhow and enjoyed ourselves and saw a bit of life and we were
none the worse of it either. But we were all gentlemen, Stephen-at
least I hope we were-and bloody good honest Irishmen too. That's the
knd of fellows I want you to associate with, fellows of the right kid
ney.t I'm talking to you as a friend, Stephen. I don't believe a son should
be afraid of his father. No, I treat you as your grandfather treated me
when I was a young chap. We were more like brothers than father and
son. I' ll never forget the frst day he caught me smokng. I was stand
ing at the end of the South Terrace one day with some maneens* like
myself and sure we thought we were grand fellows because we had
pipes stuck i n the corners of our mouths . Suddenly the governor
'Street urchins or beggars.
tTemperament, disposition.
:Little men (Anglo-Irish) .
as a Youn
passed. He didn't say a word, or stop even. But the next day, Sunday, we
were out for a walk together and when we were coming home he took
out his cigar case and said: By the by, Simon, I didn't know you smoked, or
something like that. Of course I tried to carry it off as best I could. I
you want a good smoke, he said try one o these cigars. An American captain
made me a present o them last night in Queenstown. *
Stephen heard his father's voice break into a laugh which was almost
a sob.
-He was the handsomest man in Cork at that time, by God he was!
The women used to stand to look after him in the street.
He heard the sob passing loudly down his father's throat and opened
his eyes with a nervous impulse. The sunlight breaking suddenly on his
sight turned the sk and clouds into a fantastic world of sombre masses
with lakelike spaces of dark rosy light. His very brain was sick and pow
erless. He could scarcely interpret the letters of the signboards of the
shops. By his monstrous way of life he seemed to have put himself be
yond the limits of reality. Nothing moved him or spoke to him from the
real world unless he heard in it an echo of the infriated cries within
him. He could respond to no earthly or human appeal, dumb and in
sensible to the call of summer and gladness and companionship, wea
ried and dejected by his father's voice. He could scarcely recognise as
his his own thoughts, and repeated slowly to himself:
-I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walkng beside my father whose
name is Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland. Cork is a city. Our
room is in the Victoria Hotel. Victoria and Stephen and Simon. Si mon
and Stephen and Victoria. Names.
The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. He tried to call
forth some of its vivid moments but could not. He recalled only names.
Dante, Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geog
raphy by an old woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe. Then
he had been sent away from home to a college, he had made his frst
communion and eaten slim jim t out of his cricket cap and watched the
frelight leaping and dancing on the wall of a little bedroom in the in
frmary and dreamed of being dead, of mass being said for him by the
rector in a black and gold cope, of being buried then i n the little grave
yard of the community off the main avenue of lines. But he had not
died then. Parnell had died. There had been no mass for the dead in the
'Cork's primary seaport, now called again by its Irish name, Cobh.
tCandy confection.
82 A Portrait o the Artist
chapel, and no procession. He had not died but he had faded out like a
flm in the sun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence for
he no longer existed. How strange to think of him passing out of exis
tence in such a way, not by death, but by fading out in the sun or by
being lost and forgotten somewhere in the universe! It was strange to
see his small body appear again for a moment: a little boy in a grey
belted suit. His hands were in his side pockets and his trousers were
tucked in at the knees by elastic bands.
On the evening of the day on which the property was sold Stephen
followed his father meekly about the city from bar to bar. To the sellers
in the market, to the barmen and barmaids, to the beggars who impor
tuned him for a lob
Mr Dedalus told the same tale, that he was an old
Corkonian, that he had been trying for thirty years to get rid of his
Cork accent up in Dublin and that Peter Pickackafax beside him was
his eldest son but that he was only a Dublin j ackeen. t
They had set out early in the morning from Newcombe's coffee
house, where Mr Dedalus' cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, and
Stephen had tried to cover that shamefl sign of his father's drinking
bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing. One hu
miliation had succeeded another-the false smiles of the market sellers,
the curvetings* and oglings of the barmaids with whom his father
firted, the compliments and encouraging words of his father's friends.
They had told him that he had a great look of his grandfather and Mr
Dedalus had agreed that he was an ugly likeness. They had unearthed
traces of a Cork accent in his speech and made him admit that the Lee
was a much fner river than the Liffey. One of them, in order to put his
Latin to the proof, had made him translate short passages from Dilec
tus, I I and asked him whether it was correct to say: Tempor mutantur nos
et mutamur in illis, or Tempor mutantur et nos mutamur in ilis. # An
other, a brisk old man, whom Mr Dedalus called Johnny Cashman, had
covered him with confusion by asking him to say which were prettier,
the Dublin girls or the Cork girls.
-He's not that way built, said Mr Dedalus. Leave him alone. He's
tYoung boy (Anglo-Irish).
River that fows through Cork.
I I Popular Latin phrase book.
#Times change and we change with them (Latin) ; both Latin versions are correct.
as a Youn
a levelheaded thinking boy who doesn't bother his head about that kind
of nonsense.
-Then he's not his father's son, said the little old man.
-1 don't know, I'm sure, said Mr Dedalus, smiling complacently.
-Your father, said the little old man to Stephen, was the boldest
firt in the city of Cork in his day Do you know that?
Stephen looked down and studied the tiled foor of the bar i nto
which they had drifted.
-Now don't be putting ideas into his head, said Mr Dedalus. Leave
him to his Maker.
-Yerra, sure 1 wouldn't put any ideas into his head. I'm old enough
to be his grandfather. And 1 am a grandfather, said the little old man to
Stephen. Do you know that?
-Are you? asked Stephen.
-Bedad 1 am, said the little old man. 1 have two bouncing grand-
children out at Sunday's Well.
Now, then! What age do you think 1
am! And 1 remember seeing your grandfather in his red coat riding out
to hounds. That was before you were born.
-Ay, or thought of, said Mr Dedalus.
-Bedad 1 did, repeated the little old man. And, more than that, 1
can remember even your great grandfather, old John Stephen Dedalus,
and a ferce old fre-eater he was. Now, then! There's a memory for
-That's three generations-four generations, said another of the
company. Why, Johnny Cashman, you must be nearing the century.
-Well, I' ll tell you the truth, said the little old man. I' m just twen
tyseven years of age.
-We're as old as we feel, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus.
-And just fnish what you have there, and we' ll have another. Here,
Tim or Tom or whatever your name is, give us the same again here. By
God, I don't feel more than eighteen m
self There's that son of mine
there not half my age and I'm a better man than he is any day of the
-Draw it mild now, Dedalus. 1 think it's time for you to take a back
seat, said the gentleman who had spoken before.
-No, by God! asserted Mr Dedalus. I' ll sing a tenor song against
him or I' ll vault a fre-barred gate against him or I' ll run with him after
Suburb of Cork.
A Portrait o the Artist
the hounds across the country as I did thirty years ago along with the
Kerry Boy and the best man for it.
-But he' ll beat you here, said the little old man, tapping his fore
head and raising his glass to drain it.
-Well, I hope he' ll be as good a man as his father. That's all I can
say, 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
long and did so little harm.
-But did so much good, Simon, said the little old man gravely.
Thanks be to God we lived so long and did so much good.
Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as
his father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past. An
abyss of fortune or of temperament sundered him from them. His mind
seemed older than theirs: it shone coldly on their strifes and happiness
and regrets like a moon upon a younger earth. No life or youth stirred
in him as it had stirred in them. He had known neither the pleasure of
companionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor flial
piety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel and loveless
lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soul capable of sim
ple j oys and he was drifting amid life like the barren shell of the moon.
Art thou pale fr weariness
Ofclimbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless ? . . . *
He repeated to himself the lines of Shelley's fragment. Its alterna
tion of sad human ineffectualness with vast inhuman cycles of activity
chilled him, and he forgot his own human and ineffectual grieving.
* * * *
Stephen's mother and his brother and one of his cousins waited at
the corner of quiet Foster Place while he and his father went up the
steps and along the colonnade where the Highland sentry was parad
ing. When they had passed into the great hall and stood at the counter
Stephen drew forth his orders on the governor of the bank of Ireland
for thirty and three pounds; and these sums, the moneys of his exhibi-
*From "To the Moon, " by Percy Bysshe Shelley ( 1 792 1 822).
as a Youn
and essay prize, were paid over to him rapidly by the teller in notes
and in coin respectively. He bestowed them in his pockets with feigned
composure and suffered the friendly teller, to whom his father chatted,
to take his hand across the broad counter and wish him a brilliant ca
reer in after life. He was impatient of their voices and could not keep
his feet at rest. But the teller still deferred the serving of others to say
he was living in changed times and that there was nothing like giving
a boy the best education that money could buy. Mr Dedalus lingered in
the hall gazing about him and up at the roof and telling Stephen, who
urged him to come out, that they were standing in the house of com
mons of the old Irish parliament. t
-God help us! he said piously, to think of the men of those times ,
Stephen, Hely Hutchinson and Flood and Henry Grattan and Charles
Kendal Bushe, * and the noblemen we have now, leaders of the Irish
people at home and abroad. Why, by God, they wouldn't be seen dead
in a ten acre feld with them. No, Stephen, old chap, I'm sorry to say
that they are only as I roved out one fne May morning in the merry
month of sweet July.
A keen October wind was blowing round the bank. The three fg
ures standing at the edge of the muddy path had pinched cheeks and
watery eyes. Stephen looked at his thinly clad mother and remembered
that a few days before he had seen a mantle priced at twenty guineas in
the windows 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 the
He walked on before them with short nervous steps, smiling. They
tried to keep up with him, smiling also at his eagerness.
'Writing contest.
tThe Parliament House was made obsolete by the Act of Union in 1 800; the build
ing now houses the Bank of Ireland.
:The men Mr. Dedalus mentions are eighteenth-centry members of the Irish Par
liament known for their oratorical skills.
A frrier in Grafton Street.
86 A Portrait o the Artist
-Take it easy like a good young fellow, said his father. We're not out
for the half mile, are we?
For a swift season of merrymaking the money of his prizes ran
through Stephen's fngers. Great parcels of groceries and delicacies and
dried fruits arrived from the city. Every day he drew up a bill of fare for
the family and every night led a party of three or four to the theatre to
see Ingomar
or The Lady o Lyons. t In his coat pockets he carried
squares of Vienna chocolate for his guests while his trousers' pockets
bulged with masses of silver and copper coins. He bought presents for
everyone, overhauled his room, wrote out resolutions, marshalled his
books up and down their shelves, pored upon all kinds of price lists,
drew up a form of commonwealth for the household by which every
member of it held some offce, opened a loan bank for his family and
pressed loans on willing borrowers so that he might have the pleasure
of makng out receipts and reckoning the interests on the sums lent.
When he could do no more he drove up and down the city in trams.
Then the season of pleasure came to an end. The pot of pink enamel
paint gave out and the wainscot of his bedroom remained with its un
fnished and ill plastered coat.
His household returned to its usual way of life. His mother had no
frther occasion to upbraid him for squandering his money. He, too, re
turned to his old life at school and all his novel enterprises fell to pieces.
The commonwealth fell, the loan bank closed i ts coffers and i ts books
on a sensible loss, the rules of life which he had drawn about himself
fell into desuetude.
How foolish his aim had been! He had tried to build a breakater
of order and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and to
dam up, by rules of conduct and active interests and new flial relations,
the powerful recurrence of the tide within him. Useless. From without
as from within the water had fowed over his barriers: their tides began
once more to j ostle fercely above the crumbled mole.
He saw clearly, too, his own futile isolation. He had not gone one
step nearer the lives he had sought to approach nor bridged the restless
shame and rancour that had divided him from mother and brother and
'Probably a work, originally by German dramatist E. F J. von Munch-Belling
hausen, that was translated into English by Maria Lovell and performed as Ingomar
the Barbarian in 185l.
tDrama ( 1 838) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, employing characters and situations
very similar to those in The Count o Monte Cristo.
as a Youn
sister. He felt that he was hardly of the one blood with them but stood
to them rather in the mystical kinship of fosterage, foster child and fos
ter brother.
He burned to appease the ferce longings of his heart before which
everything else was idle and alien. He cared little that he was in mor
tal sin,
that his life had grown to be a tissue of subterfuge and false
hood. Beside the savage desire within him to realise the enormities
which he brooded on nothing was sacred. He bore cynically with the
shamefl details of his secret riots in which he exulted to defle with pa
tience whatever image had attracted his eyes. By day and by night he
moved among distorted images of the outer world. A fgure that had
seemed to him by day demure and innocent came towards him by night
through the winding darkness of sleep, her face transfgured by a lech
erous cunning, her eyes bright with brutish j oy. Only the morning
pained him with its dim memory of dark orgiastic riot, its keen and hu
miliating sense of transgression.
He returned to his wanderings. The veiled autumnal evenings led
him from street to street as they had led him years before along the
quiet avenues of Blackock. But no vision of trim front gardens or of
kindly lights in the windows poured a tender infuence upon him now.
Only at times , in the pauses of his desire, when the luxury that was
wasting him gave room to a softer languor, the image of Mercedes tra
versed the background of his memory. He saw again the small white
house and the garden of rosebushes on the road that led to the moun
tains and he remembered the sadly proud gesture of refsal which he
was to make there, standing with her in the moonlit garden after years
of estrangement and adventure. At those moments the soft speeches of
Claude Melnottet rose to his lips and eased his unrest. A tender pre
monition touched him of the tryst he had then looked forward to and,
in spite of the horrible reality which lay beteen his hope of then and
now, of the holy encounter he had then imagined at which weakness
and timidity and inexperience were to fall from him.
Such moments passed and the wasting fres of lust sprang up again.
The verses passed from hi s lips and the inarticulate cries and the un
spoken brutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage. His
blood was in revolt. He wandered up and down the dark slimy streets
serious, deliberately committed sin that deprives the sinner of sanctifing grace.
tCharacter in The Lady o Lyons who is roughly equivalent to Dumas's Dantes i n
The Count o Monte Cristo.
A Portrit o the Artist
peering into the gloom of lanes and doorways, listening eagerly for any
sound. He moaned to himself like some bafed prowling beast. He
wanted to sin with another of his kind, to force another being to sin
with him and to exult with her in sin. He felt some dark presence mov
ing irresistibly upon him from the darkness, a presence subtle and mur
murous as a food flling him wholly with itself Its murmur besieged
his ears like the murmur of some multitude in sleep; its subtle streams
penetrated his being. His hands clenched convulsively and his teeth set
together as he suffered the agony of its penetration. He stretched out
his arms in the street to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded
him and incited him: and the cry that he had strangled for so long in
his throat issued from his lips. It broke from him like a wail of despair
from a hell of sufferers and died in a wail of frious entreaty, a cry for
an iniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscene
scrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal.
He had wandered into a maze of narrow and dirty streets. From the
foul laneways he heard bursts of hoarse riot and wrangling and the
drawling of drunken singers. He walked onward, undismayed, wonder
ing whether he had strayed into the quarter of the Jews.
Women and
girls dressed in long vivid gowns traversed the street from house to
house. They were leisurely and perfmed. A trembling seized him and
his eyes grew dim. The yellow gasfames arose before his troubled vi
sion against the vapoury sk, burning as if before an altar. Before the
doors and in the lighted halls groups were gathered arrayed as for some
rite. He was in another world: he had awakened from a slumber of cen
He stood still in the middle of the roadway, his heart clamouring
against his bosom in a tumult. A young woman dressed in a long pink
gown 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 in the copious easychair beside the bed. He tried to bid his tongue
speak that he might seem at ease, watching her as she undid her gown,
noting the proud conscious movements of her perfmed head.
As he stood silent in the middle of the room she came over to him
and embraced him gaily and gravely. Her round arms held him frmly
'Dublin's notorious "Nighttown," now redeveloped.
as a Youn
to her and he, seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling
the warm calm rise and fall of her breast, all but burst into hysterical
weeping. Tears of j oy and relief shone in his delighted eyes and his lips
parted though they would not speak.
She passed her tinkling hand through his hair, calling him a little
-Give me a kiss, she said.
His lips would not bend to kiss her. He wanted to be held frmly in
her arms, to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt that
he had suddenly become strong and fearless and sure of himself But his
lips would not bend to kiss her.
With a sudden movement she bowed his head and j oined her lips to
his and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted
eyes. It was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself
to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark
pressure of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon
his lips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and between
them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of
sin, softer than sound or odour.
THE SWFT DECEMBER DUSK had come tumbling clownishly after its
dull day and as he stared through the dull square of the window of the
schoolroom he felt his belly crave for its food. He hoped there would
be stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and bruised potatoes and fat
mutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered four-fattened sauce.
Stuff it into you, his belly counselled him.
It would be a gloomy secret night. After early nightfall the yellow
lamps would light up, here and there, the squalid quarter of the broth
els. He would follow a devious course up and down the streets, circling
always nearer and nearer in a tremor of fear and j oy, until his feet led
him suddenly round a dark corner. The whores would be just coming
out of their houses making ready for the night, yawning lazily after
their sleep and settling the hairpins in their clusters of hair. He would
pass by them calmly waiting for a sudden movement of his own will or
a sudden call to his sin-loving soul from their soft perfmed fesh. Yet
as he prowled in quest of that call, his senses, stultifed only by his de
sire, would note keenly all that wounded or shamed them; his eyes, a
ring of porter froth on a clothless table or a photograph of two soldiers
standing to attention on a gaudy playbill; his ears, the drawling j argon
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 a
widening tail, eyed and starred like a peacock's; and, when the eyes and
. stars of its indices had been eliminated, began slowly to fold itself to
gether again. The indices appearing and disappearing were eyes open
ing and closing; the eyes opening and closing were stars being born and
being quenched. The vast cycle of starry life bore his weary mind out
ward to its verge and inward to its centre, a distant music accompany
ing him outward and inward. What music? The music came nearer and
he recalled the words, the words of Shelley's fragment upon the moon
wandering companionless, pale for weariness. The stars began to crum
ble and a cloud of fne star-dust fell through space.
The dull light fell more faintly upon the page whereon another
equation began to unfold itself slowly and to spread abroad its widen
ing tail. It was his own soul going forth to experience, unfolding itself
sin by sin, spreading abroad the balefre
of its burning stars and fold
ing back upon itself, fading slowly, quenching its own lights and fres.
They were quenched: and the cold darkness flled chaos .
A cold lucid indifference reigned in his soul. At his frst violent sin
he had felt a wave of vitality pass out of him and had feared to fnd his
body or his soul maimed by the excess. Instead the vital wave had car
ried 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
been established between them. The chaos in which his ardour extin
guished itself was a cold indifferent knowledge of himself. He had
sinned mortally not once but many times and he kew that, while he
stood in danger of eternal damnation for the frst sin alone, by every
succeeding sin he multiplied his guilt and his punishment. His days and
works and thoughts could make no atonement for him, the fountains
of sanctifing grace having ceased to refresh his soul. At most, by an
alms given to a beggar whose blessing he fed from, he might hope
wearily to win for himself some measure of actual grace. 9 Devotion had
gone by the board. What did it avail to pray when he knew that his soul
lusted after its own destruction? A certain pride, a certain awe, with
held him from offering to God even one prayer at night though he
knew it was in God's power to take away his life while he slept and hurl
his soul hellward ere he could beg for mercy. His great pride in his own
sin, his loveless awe of God, told him that his offence was too grievous
to be atoned for in whole or in part by a false homage to the Allseeing
and Allknowing.
-Well now, Ennis, I declare
ou have a head and so has my stick!
Do you mean to say that you are not able to tell me what a surdt is?
The blundering answer stirred the embers of his contempt of his fel
lows. Towards others he felt neither shame nor fear. On Sunday morn
ings as he passed the church door he glanced coldly at the worshippers
who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church, morally present
*Funeral pyre or signal fre.
tAn irrational number.
A Portrait o the Artist
at the mass which they could neither see nor hear. Their dull piet and
the sickly smell of the cheap hair oil with which they had anointed their
heads repelled him from the altar they prayed at. He stooped to the evil
of hypocrisy with others, sceptical of their innocence which he could
caj ole so easily.
On the wall of his bedroom hung an illuminated scroll, the certif
cate of his prefecture in the college of the sodality of the Blessed Vir
gin Mary. On Saturday mornings when the sodalit met in the chapel
to recite the little offce
his place was a cushioned kneeling-desk at the
right of the altar from which he led his wing of boys through the re
sponses. The falsehood of his position did not pain him. If at moments
he felt an impulse to rise from his post of honour and, confessing be
fore them all his unworthiness, to leave the chapel, a glance at their
faces restrained him. The imagery of the psalms of prophecy soothed
his barren ride. The glories of Mary held his soul captive: spikenard
and myrrh and frankincense symbolising her royal lineage, her em
blems, the late-fowering plant and late-blossoming tree, symbolising
the agelong gradual growth of her cultus among men. When it fell to
him to read the lesson towards the close of the offce he 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 Cades et quasi plantatio rosae in Jericho.
Quasi uliva speciosa in campis et quasi plantanus exaltata sum juxta
aquam in plateis. Sicut cinnamomum et balsamum aromatizans odorem
dedi et quasi myrrha electa dedi suavitatem odoris. 1O
His sin, which had covered him from the sight of God, had led him
nearer to the refge of sinners. Her eyes seemed to regard him with
mild pity; her holiness, a strange light glowing faintly upon her frail
fesh, did not humiliate the sinner who approached her. If ever he was
impelled to cast sin from him and to repent, the impulse that moved
him was the wish to be her knight. If ever his soul, re-entering her
'An offce is a form of religious observance performed at specifed hours through
out the day; the reference here is to an eighth-century collection of prayers in honor
of the Virgin Mary.
tBoth the title of a devotional book by Saint Alphonsus Liguouri ( 1 696-1787) and
a sermon ("The Glories of Mary for the Sake of Her Son") ofJohn Henry Cardi
nal Newman (see endnote 8), which Stephen recalls below (pp. 102, 121) .
as a Youn
dwelling shyly after the frenzy of his body's lust had spent itself, was
turned towards her whose emblem is the morning star, bright and mu
sical telling o heaven and infusing peace,
it was when her names were
murmured softly by lips whereon there still lingered foul and shamefl
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 cutst to be done for the next lesson
and went out. Heron, beside Stephen, began to hum tunelessly.
My excellent fiend 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 til
after half two. Then you can ask him questions on the catechism, Dedalus.
Stephen, leaning back and drawing idly on his scribbler, listened to
the 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 to
the end the rigid lines of the doctrines of the church and penetrating
into obscure silences only to hear and feel the more deeply his own con
demnation. The sentence of Saint James* which says that he who of
fends against one commandment becomes guilty of all had seemed to
him frst a swollen phrase until he had begun to grope in the darkness
of his own state. From the evil seed of lust all other deadly sins had
sprung forth: pride in himself and contempt of others, covetousness in
using money for the purchase of unlawful pleasures, env of those
whose vices he could not reach to and calumnious murmuring against
the pious, gluttonous enjoyment of food, the dull glowering anger amid
which he brooded upon his longing, the swamp of spiritual and bodily
sloth in which his whole being had sunk.
'From Newman's "The Glories of Mary," quoted more flly at p. 12l.
tMath problems.
tAn allusion to James 2: 10. "And whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in
one point, is become guilty of all" (Douay version).
The seven deadly sins, all mortal sins, are lust, gluttony, greed, envy, pride, sloth,
and anger.
A Portrait o the Artist
As he sat in his bench gazing calmly at the rector's shrewd harsh face
his mind wound itself in and out of the curious questions proposed to
it. If a man had stolen a pound in his youth and had used that pound
to amass a huge fortune how much was he obliged to give back, the
pound he had stolen only or the pound together with the compound in
terest accruing upon it or all his huge fortune? If a layman in giving
baptism pour the water before saying the words is the child baptised?
Is baptism with a mineral water valid? How comes it that while the frst
beatitude promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor of heart, the sec
ond beatitudel l promises also to the meek that they shall possess the
land? Why was the sacrament of the eucharist instituted under the to
species 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 a tiny
particle of the consecrated bread contain all the body and blood ofJesus
Christ or a part only of the body and blood? If the wine change into
vinegar and the host crumble into corruption after they have been con
secrated, is Jesus Christ still present under their species as God and as
-Here he is! Here he is!
A boy from his post at the window had seen the rector come from
the house. All the catechisms were opened and all heads bent upon
them silently The rector entered and took his seat on the dais. A gen
tle kck from the tall boy in the bench behind urged Stephen to ask a
diffcult question.
The rector di d not ask for a catechism to hear the lesson from. He
clasped his hands on the desk and said:
-The retreat will begin on Wednesday afternoon i n honour of
Saint Francis Xavier whose feast day is Saturday. The retreat will go on
from Wednesday to Friday. On Friday confession will be heard all the
afternoon after beads. If any boys have special confessors perhaps it will
be better for them not to change. Mass will be on Saturday morning at
nine o'clock and general communion for the whole college. Saturday
will be a free day. But Saturday and Sunday being free days some boys
might be inclined to think that Monday is a free day also. Beware of
making that mistake. I think you, Lawless, are likely to make that mis
-I, sir? Why, sir?
A little wave of quiet mirth broke forth over the class of boys from
the rector's grim smile. Stephen's heart began slowly to fold and fade
with fear like a withering fower.
as a Youn
The rector went on gravely:
-You are all familiar with the story of the life of Saint Francis
Xavier, I suppose, the patron of your college. He came of an old and il
lustrious Spanish family and you remember that he was one of the frst
followers of Saint Ignatius. They met in Paris where Francis Xavier was
professor of philosophy at the university. This young and brilliant no
bleman and man of letters entered heart and soul into the ideas 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, as you kow, the
apostle of the Indies. He went from country to country in the east, from
Africa to India, from India to Japan, baptising the people. He is said to
have baptised as many as ten thousand idolators in one month. It is said
that his right arm had grown powerless from having 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 he died of fever on the is
land of Sancian.
A great Saint, Saint Francis Xavier! A great soldier of
The rector paused and then, shaking his clasped hands before him,
went on:
-He had the faith in him that moves mountains. Ten thousand
souls won for God in a single month! That is a true conqueror, true to
the motto of our order: ad majorem Dei gloriam! A saint who has great
power in heaven, remember: power to intercede for us in our grief,
power to obtain whatever we pray for if it be for the good of our souls,
power above all to obtain for us the grace to repent if we be in sin. A
great saint, Saint Francis Xavier! A great fsher of souls!
He ceased to shake his clasped hands and, resting them against his
forehead, looked right and left of them keenly at his listeners out of his
dark stern eyes.
In the silence their dark fre kindled the dusk into a tawny glow.
Stephen's heart had withered up like a fower of the desert that feels the
simoom t coming from afar.
* * * *
-Remember onl thy last things and thou shalt not sin for ever words
taken, my dear little brothers in Christ, from the book of Ecclesiastes,
'Island off the coast of China.
tHat desert wind.
A Portrait o the Artist
seventh chapter, fortieth verse. 1 2 In the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Stephen sat in the front bench of the chapel. Father Arnall sat at a
table to the left of the altar. He wore about his shoulders a heavy cloak;
his pale face was drawn and his voice broken with rheum. The fgure of
his old master, so strangely rearisen, brought back to Stephen's mind his
life at Clongowes : the wide playgrounds , swarming with boys, the
square ditch, the little cemetery off the main avenue of limes where he
had dreamed of being buried, the frelight on the wall of the infrmary
where he lay sick, the sorrowfl face of Brother Michael. His soul, as
these memories came back to him, became again a child's soul.
-We are assembled here today, my dear little brothers in Christ, for
one brief moment far away from the busy bustle of the outer world to
celebrate and to honour one of the greatest of saints, the apostle of the
Indies, the patron saint also of your college, Saint Francis Xavier. Year
after year for much longer than any of you, my dear little boys, can re
member or than I can remember the boys of this college have met in
this very chapel to make their annual retreat before the feast day of
their patron saint. Time has gone on and brought with it its changes.
Even in the last few years what changes can most of you not remem
ber? Many of the boys who sat in those front benches a few years ago
are perhaps now in distant lands, in the burning tropics or immersed in
professional duties or in seminaries or voyaging over the vast expanse of
the deep or, it may be, already called by the great God to another life
and to the rendering up of their stewardship. And still as the years roll
by, bringing with them changes for good and bad, the memory of the
great saint is honoured by the boys of his college who make every year
their annual retreat on the days preceding the feast day set apart by our
Holy Mother the Church to transmit to all the ages the name and fame
of one of the greatest sons of catholic Spain.
-Now what is the meaning of this word retreat and why is it al
lowed on all hands to be a most salutory practice for all who desire to
lead before God and in the eyes of men a truly Christian life? A retreat,
my dear boys, signifes a withdrawal for a while from the cares of our
life, the cares of this workaday world, in order to examine the state of
our conscience, to refect on the mysteries of holy religion and to un
derstand better why we are here in this world. During these few days I
intend to put before you some thoughts concerning the four last things.
They are, as you know from your catechism, death, judgment, hell and
heaven. We shall try to understand them fully during these few days so
as a Youn
that we may derive from the understanding of them a lasting beneft to
our souls. And remember, my dear boys, that we have been sent into
this world for one thing and for one thing alone: to do God's holy will
and to save our immortal souls. A else is worthless. One thing alone
is needfl, the salvation of one's soul. What doth it proft a man to gain
the whole world if he suffer the loss of his immortal soul? A, my dear
boys, believe me there is nothing in this wretched world that can make
up for such a loss.
-I will ask you therefore, my dear boys, to put away from your
minds during these few days all worldly thoughts, whether of study or
pleasure or ambition, and to give all your attention to the state of your
souls. I need hardly remind you that during the days of the retreat all
boys are expected to preserve a quiet and pious demeanour and to shun
all loud unseemly pleasure. The elder boys, of course, will see that this
custom is not infringed and I look especially to the prefects and offcers
of the sodality of Our Blessed Lady and of the sodality of the Holy An
gels to set a good example to their fellow-students.
-Let us try, therefore, to make this retreat in honour of St. Francis
with our whole heart and our whole mind. God's blessing will then be
upon all your year's studies. But, above and beyond all, let this retreat
be one to which you can look back in after years when, may be, you are
far from this college and among very different surroundings, to which
you can look back with joy and thanklness and give thanks to God
for having granted you this occasion of laying the frst foundation of a
pious honourable zealous Christian life. And if as may so happen, there
be at this moment in these benches any poor soul who has had the un
utterable misfortune to lose God's holy grace and to fall into grievous
sin, I fervently trust and pray that this retreat may be the turning-point
in the life of that soul. I pray to God through the merits of His zealous
servant Francis Xavier that such a soul may be led to sincere repentance
and that the holy communion on St. Francis' day of this year may be a
lasting covenant between God and that soul. For just and unjust, for
saint and sinner alike, may this retreat be a memorable one.
-Help me, my dear little brothers in Christ. Help me by your pious
attention, by your own devotion, by your outward demeanour. Banish
from your minds all worldly thoughts, and think only of the last things,
death, j udgment, hell and heaven. He who remembers these things,
says Ecclesiastes, shall not sin for ever. He who remembers the last
things will act and think with them always before his eyes. He will live
a good life and die a good death, believing and knowing that, if he has
A Portrait o the Artist
sacrifced much in this earthly life, it will be given to him a hundred
fold and a thousandfold more in the life to come, in the kingdom with
out 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 Holy
Ghost. Amen!
As he walked home with silent companions a thick fog seemed to
compass his mind. He waited in stupor of mind till it should lift and re
veal what it had hidden. He ate his dinner with surly appetite and when
the meal was over and the grease-strewn plates lay abandoned on the
table, he rose and went to the window, dearing the thick scum from his
mouth with his tongue and licking it from his lips. So he had sunk to the
state of a beast that licks his chaps after meat. This was the end; and a
faint glimmer of fear began to pierce the fog of his mind. He pressed his
face against the pane of the window and gazed out into the darkening
street. Forms passed this way and that through the dull light. And that
was life. The letters of the name of Dublin lay heavily upon his mind,
pushing one another surily hither and thither with slow boorish insis
tence. His soul was fattening and congealing into a gross grease, plung
ing ever deeper in its dul fear into a sombre threatening dusk, while the
body that was his stood, listless and dishonoured, gazing out of darkened
eyes, helpless, perturbed and human for a bovine god to stare upon.
The next day brought death and judgment, stirring his soul slowly
from its listless despair. The faint glimmer of fear became a terror of
spirit as the hoarse voice of the preacher blew death into his soul. He
suffered its agony. He felt the death-chill touch the extremities and
creep onward towards the heart, the flm of death veiling the eyes, the
bright centres of the brain extinguished one by one like lamps, the last
sweat oozing upon the skn, the powerlessness of the dying limbs, the
speech thickening and wandering and failing, the heart throbbing
faintly and more faintly, all but vanquished, the breath, the poor breath,
the poor helpless human spirit, sobbing and sighing, gurgling and rat
tling in the throat. No help! No help! He-he himself-his body to
which he had yielded was dying. Into the grave with it. Nail it down
into a wooden box, the corpse. Carry it out of the house on the shoul
ders of hirelings. Thrust it out of men's sight into a long hole in the
ground, into the grave, to rot, to feed the mass of its creeping worms
and to be devoured by scuttling plump-bellied rats.
And while the friends were still standing in tears by the bedside the
soul of the sinner was judged. At the last moment of consciousness the
whole earthly life passed before the vision of the soul and, ere it had time
as a Young Man
to refect, the body had died and the soul stood terrifed before the judg
ment seat. God, who had long been mercifl, would then be just. He had
long been patient, pleading with the sinfl soul, giving it time to repent,
sparing it yet awhile. But that time had gone. Time was to sin and to
enjoy, time was to scoff at God and at the warnings of His holy church,
time was to def His majesty, to disobey His commands, to hoodwink
one's felow men, to commit sin after sin and to 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 most rebellious against the divine
will and the most degrading to our poor corrupt nature, the tiniest im
perfection and the most heinous atrocity. What did it avail then to have
been a great emperor, a great general, a marvellous inventor, the most
learned of the learned? Alwere as one before the judgment seat of God.
He would reward the good and punish the wicked. One single instant
was enough for the trial of a man's soul. One single instant after the
body's death, the soul had been weighed in the balance. The particular
judgment was over and the soul had passed to the abode of bliss or to the
prison of purgatory or had been 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 judgment. * The last
day had come. The doomsday was at hand. The stars of heaven were
falling upon the earth like the fgs cast by the fgtree which the wind
has shaken. t The sun, the great luminary of the universe, had become
as sackcloth of hair. The moon was blood red. The frmament was as a
scroll rolled away. The archangel Michael, the prince of the heavenly
host, appeared glorious and terrible against the sk. With one foot on
the sea and one foot on the land he blew from the archangelical trum
pet the brazen death of time. The three blasts of the angel flled all the
universe. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more. At the last blast
the souls of universal humanity throng towards the valley of Jehos
aphat,* rich and poor, gentle and simple, wise and foolish, good and
wicked. The soul of every human being that has ever existed, the souls
of all those who shall yet be born, all the sons and daughters of Adam,
*The particular and the general judgments are, respectively, God's judgment of the
individual soul at death and God's judgment of the entire world at the apocalypse.
tAn allusion to the fnal book of the New Testament, called Apocalypse or Revela
tion, chapter 6, verse 13.
:Place where, in the Bible (Joel 3), it is prophesied that God will judge all nations.
100 A Portrit of the Artist
all are assembled on that supreme day. And 10, the supreme judge is
coming! No longer the lowly Lamb of God, no longer the meek Jesus
of Nazareth, no longer the Man of Sorrows, no longer the Good Shep
herd, * He is seen now coming upon the clouds , in great power and
majesty, attended by nine choirs of angels, angels and archangels, prin
cipalities, powers and virtues, thrones and dominations, cherubim and
seraphim, God Omnipotent, God everlasting. He speaks: and His
voice is heard even at the farthest limits of space, even in the bottom
less abyss. Supreme Judge, from His sentence there will be and can be
no appeal. He calls the just to His side, bidding them enter into the
Kngdom, the eternity of bliss, prepared for them. The unjust He casts
from Him, crying in His offended majesty: Depart fom me, ye cursed,
into everlasting ]re which was prepared for the devil and his angels. t
0, what agony then for the miserable sinners! Friend is torn apart from
friend, children are torn from their parents, husbands from their wives .
The poor sinner holds out his arms t o those who were dear t o hi m in
this earthly world, to those whose simple piety perhaps he made a
mock of, to those who counselled him and tried to lead him on the
right path, to a kind brother, to a loving sister, to the mother and father
who loved him so dearly. But it is too late: the just turn away from the
wretched damned souls which now appear before the eyes of all in their
hideous and evil character. 0 you hypocrites, 0 you whited sepulchres,
o you who present a smooth, smiling face to the world while your soul
within is a foul swamp of sin, how will it fare with you in that terrible
And this day will come, shall come, must come; the day of death and
the day of judgment. It is appointed unto man to die, and after death
the judgment. Death is certain. The time and manner are uncertain,
whether from long disease or from some unexpected accident; the Son
of God cometh at an hour when you little expect Him. Be therefore
ready every moment, seeing that you may die at any moment. Death is
the end of us all. Death and judgment, brought into the world by the
sin of our frst parents, are the dark portals that close our earthly exis
tence, the portals that open into the unknown and the unseen, portals
through which every soul must pass, alone, unaided save by its good
works, without friend or brother or parent or master to help it, alone
'Four among the epithets and titles of Jesus Christ.
tQotation from Matthew 25:41 (Douay version).
as a Young Man IOI
and trembling. Let that thought be ever before our minds and then we
cannot sin. Death, a cause of terror to the sinner, is a blessed moment
for him who has walked in the right path, fulflling the duties of his sta
tion in life, attending to his morning and evening prayers, approaching
the holy sacrament frequently and performing good and merciful
works. For the pious and believing catholic, for the just man, death is
no cause of terror. Was it not Addison, * the great English writer, who,
when on his deathbed, sent for the wicked young earl of Warwick to let
him see how a christian can meet his end. He it is and he alone, the
pious and believing christian, who can say in his heart:
o grve, where is thy victory?
o death, where is thy sting?t
Every word of it was for him. Against his sin, foul and secret, the
whole wrath of God was aimed. The preacher's knife had probed deeply
into his disclosed conscience and he felt now that his soul was fester
ing 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 flth but the blasts of
the angel's trumpet had driven him forth from the darkness of sin into
the light. The words of doom cried by the angel shattered in an instant
his presumptuous peace. The wind of the last day blew through his
mind; his sins, the jewel-eyed harlots of his imagination, fed before the
hurricane, squeaking like mice in their terror and huddled under a
mane of hair.
As he crossed the square, walking homeward, the light laughter of a
girl reached his burning ear. The frail, gay sound smote his heart more
strongly than a trumpetblast, and, not daring to lift his eyes, he turned
aside and gazed, as he walked, into the shadow of the tangled shrubs.
Shame rose from hi s smitten heart and fooded hi s whole being. The
image of Emma appeared before him and under her eyes the food of
shame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mind
had subj ected her or how his brute-like lust had torn and trampled
upon her innocence! Was that boyish love? Was that chivalry? Was that
poetry? The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils.
The sootcoated packet of pictures which he had hidden in the fue of
Critic and essayist Joseph Addison (1672-1719).
tThe text is from I Corinthians 15:55, though the priest here quotes it in the ver
sion of Alexander Pope (1688-1744), in "The Dying Christian to His Soul. "
A Portrit o the Artist
the freplace and in the presence of whose shameless or bashful wan
tonness he lay for hours sinning in thought and deed; his monstrous
dreams, peopled by apelike creatures and by harlots with gleaming
j ewel eyes; the foul long letters he had written in the j oy of guilty con
fession and carried secretly for days and days only to throw them under
cover of night among the grass in the corner of a feld or beneath some
hingeless door or in some niche in the hedges where a girl might 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 upon his
forehead as the foul memories condensed within his brain.
When the agony of shame had passed from him he tried to raise his
soul from its abj ect powerlessness. God and the Blessed Virgin were
too far from him: God was too great and stern and the Blessed Virgin
too pure and holy. But he imagined that he stood near Emma in a wide
land and, humbly and in tears, bent and kssed the elbow of her sleeve.
In the wide land under a tender lucid evening sk, a cloud drifting
westward amid a pale green sea of heaven, they stood together, children
that had erred. Their error had offended deeply God's majesty though
it was the error of two children; but it had not offended her whose
beauty is not like earthl beauty, dangerous to look upon, but like the morn
ing star which is its emblem, bright and musical* The eyes were not of
fended which she turned upon him nor reproachful. She placed their
hands together, hand in hand, and said, speaking to their hearts:
-Take hands, Stephen and Emma. It is a beautifl evening now in
heaven. You have erred but you are always my children. It is one heart
that loves another heart. Take hands together, my dear children, and
you will be happy together and your hearts will love each other.
The chapel was fooded by the dull scarlet light that fltered through
the lowered blinds; and through the fssure between the last blind and
the sash a shaft of wan light entered like a spear and touched the em
bossed brasses of the candlesticks upon the altar that gleamed like the
battle-worn mail armour of angels.
Rain was falling on the chapel, on the garden, on the college. It
would rain for ever, noiselessly. The water would rise i nch by inch, cov
ering the grass and shrubs, covering the trees and houses, covering the
monuments and the mountain tops. All life would be choked off, noise
lessly: birds, men, elephants, pigs, children: noiselessly foating corpses
*From Newman's "The Glories of Mary."
as a Young Man
amid the litter of the wreckage of the world. Forty days and forty nights
the rain would fall till the waters covered the face of the earth. *
It might be. Why not?
-Hel has enlarged its soul and opened its mouth without any limits
words taken, my dear little brothers in Christ Jesus, from the book of
Isaias, ffth chapter, fourteenth verse. In the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher took a chainless watch from a pocket within his
soutane and, having considered its dial for a moment in silence, placed
it silently before him on the table.
He began to speak in a quiet tone.
-Adam and Eve, my dear boys, were, as you know, our frst parents,
and you will remember that they were created by God in order that the
seats in heaven left vacant by the fall of Lucifert and his rebellious an
gels might be flled again. Lucifer, we are told, was a son of the morn
ing, a radiant and mighty angel; yet he fell; he fell and there fell with
him a third part of the host of heaven: he fell and was hurled with his
rebellious angels into hell. What his sin was we cannot say. Theologians
consider that it was the sin of pride, the sinfl thought conceived in an
instant: non serviam: I will not serve. That instant was his ruin. He of
fended the majesty of God by the sinful thought of one instant and
God cast him out of heaven into hell for ever.
-Adam and Eve were then created by God and placed in Eden, in
the plain of Damascus, that lovely garden resplendent with sunlight
and colour, teeming with luxuriant vegetation. The fruitful earth gave
them her bounty: beasts and birds were their willing servants : they
knew not the ills our fesh is heir to, disease and poverty and death: all
that a great and generous God could do for them was done. But there
was one condition imposed on them by God: obedience to His word.
They were not to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
-Aas, my dear little boys, they too fell. The devil, once a shining
angel, a son of the morning, now a foul fend came in the shape of a
serpent, the subtlest of all the beasts of the feld. He envied them. He,
the fallen great one, could not bear to think that man, a being of clay,
should possess the inheritance which he by his sin had forfeited for
ever. He came to the woman, the weaker vessel, and poured the poison
'Allusion to the biblical food described in Genesis 7-8.
tSee Isaiah 14:12. The most extensive account of Lucifer's pride and fall, and the
basis for much of this sermon, is in John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667).
A Portrait o the Artist
of his eloquence into her ear, promising her-O, the blasphemy of that
promise!-that if she and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit they would
become as gods, nay as God Himself Eve yielded to the wiles of the
arch tempter. She ate the apple and gave it also to Adam who had not
the moral courage to resist her. The poison tongue of Satan had done
its work. They fell.
-And then the voice of God was heard in that garden, calling His
creature man to account: and Michael, prince of the heavenly host, with
a sword of fame in his hand, appeared before the guilty pair and drove
them forth from Eden into the world, the world of sickness and striv
ing, of cruelty and disappointment, of labour and hardship, to earn
their bread in the sweat of their brow. But even then how mercifl was
God! He took pity on our poor degraded parents and promised that in
the flness of time He would send down from heaven One who would
redeem them, make them once more children of God and heirs to the
kingdom of heaven: and that One, that Redeemer of fallen man, was to
be God'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.
He was born in a poor cowhouse in Judea and lived as a humble car
penter for thirty years until the hour of his mission had come. And
then, flled with love for men, He went forth and called to men to hear
the new gospel.
-Did they listen? Yes, they listened but would not hear. He was
seized and bound like a common criminal, mocked at as a fool, set aside
to give place to a public robber, scourged with fve thousand lashes ,
crowned with a crown of thorns, hustled through the streets by the Jew
ish rabble and the Roman soldiery, stripped of his garments and hanged
upon a gibbet* and His side was pierced with a lance and from the
wounded body of our Lord water and blood issued continually.
-Yet even then, in that hour of supreme agony, Our Merciful Re
deemer had pity for mankind. Yet even there, on the hill of Calvary, He
founded the Holy Catholic Church against which, it is promised, the
gates of hell shall not prevail. He founded it upon the rock of ages and
endowed it with His grace, with sacraments and sacrifce, and promised
that if men would obey the word of His Church they would still enter
into eternal life, but if after all that had been done for them, they still
'Ga ows.
as a Young Man 10
persisted in their wickedness there remained for them an eternity of
torment: hell.
The preacher's voice sank. He paused, j oined his palms for an in
stant, parted them. Then he resumed:
-Now let us try for a moment to realise, as far as we can, the na
ture of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God
has called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is
a strait* and dark and foul smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost
souls, flled with fre and smoke. The straitness of this prison house is
expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by
His laws . In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty of
movement, were it only within the four walls of hi s cell or i n the
gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the great
number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their awl
prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles thick: and
the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a blessed saint,
Saint Anselm, t writes in his book on Similitudes, they are not even able
to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.
-They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fre of hell gives
forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fre of the Babylonian
frnace* lost its heat but not its light so, at the command of God, the
fre of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns eternally in
darkness. It is a neverending storm of darkness, dark fames and dark
smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are heaped one
upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the plagues with
which the land of the Pharaohs was smitten one plague alone, that of
darkness , was called horrible. What name, then, shall we give to the
darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone but for all eter
-The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awfl
stench. All the flth of the world, all the offal and scum of the world,
we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the terrible
confagration of the last day has purged the world. The brimstone, too,
which burns there in such prodigious quantity flls all hell with its in
tolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned themselves exhale such
t(1034-1109); Italian churchman.
:An allusion to Daniel 3.
Burning sulphur.
ro6 A Portrait o the Artist
a pestilential odour that as Saint Bonaventure' says, one of them alone
would sufce to infect the whole world. The very air of this world, that
pure element, becomes foul and unbreathable when it has been long en
closed. Consider then what must be the foulness of the air of hell.
Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decom
posing in the grave, a jellylike mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such
a corpse a prey to fames, devoured by the fre of burning brimstone and
giving off dense chokng fmes of nauseous loathsome decomposition.
And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a
millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses
massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human
fngus. 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 physical
torment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fre is the
greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subj ected his fellow crea
tures. Place your fnger for a moment in the fame of a candle and you
will feel the pain of fre. But our earthly fre was created by God for the
beneft of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and to help him in
the useful arts whereas the fre of hell is of another quality and was cre
ated by God to torture and punish the unrepentant sinner. Our earthly
fre also consumes more or less rapidly according as the obj ect which it
attacks is more or less combustible so that human ingenuity has even
succeeded in inventing chemical preparations to check or frustrate its
action. But the sulphurous brimstone which burns in hell is a substance
which is specially designed to burn for ever and for ever with unspeak
able fry Moreover our earthly fre destroys at the same time as it burns
so that the more intense it is the shorter is its duration: but the fre of
hell has this propert that it preserves that which it burns and though
it rages with incredible intensity it rages for ever.
-Our earthly fre again, no matter how ferce or widespread it may
be, is always of a limited extent: but the lake of fre in hell is boundless,
shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devil himself, when
asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged to confess that if a
whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean of hell it would
be burned up in an instant like a piece of wax. And this terrible fre will
not afict the bodies of the damned only from without but each lost
*(1221-1274); professor of theology, general of the Franciscans, and cardinal.
as a Young Man
soul will be a hell unto itself the boundless fre raging in its very vitals.
0, how terrible is the lot of those wretched beings! The blood seethes
and boils in the veins, the brains are boiling in the skull, the heart in
the breast glowing and bursting, the bowels a redhot mass of burning
pulp, the tender eyes faming like molten balls.
-And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and
boundlessness of this fre is as nothing when compared to its intensity,
an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by divine de
sign for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fre which pro
ceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its own activity but
as an instrument of divine vengeance. As the waters of baptism cleanse
the soul with the body so do the fres of punishment torture the spirit
with the fesh. Every sense of the fesh is tortured and every faculty of
the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkess, the nose
with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the
taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating flth,
the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of fame.
And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is
tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of
glowing fres kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Om
nipotent God and fanned into everlasting and ever increasing fury by
the breath of the anger of the Godhead.
-Consider fnally that the torment of this infernal prison is in
creased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on
earth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from the
company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtfl to them. In hell all laws are
overturned-there is no thought of family or country, of ties , of rela
tionships. The damned howl and scream at one another, their torture
and rage intensifed by the presence of beings tortured and raging like
themselves. A sense of humanity is forgotten. The yells of the suffer
ing sinners fll the remotest corners of the vast abyss. The mouths of the
damned are full of blasphemies against God and of hatred for their fel
low sufferers and of curses against those souls which were their accom
plices in sin. In olden times it was the custom to punish the parricide,
the man who had raised his murderous hand against his father, by cast
ing him into the depths of the sea in a sack in which were placed a cock,
a monkey and a serpent. The intention of those law-givers who framed
such a law, which seems cruel in our times, was to punish the criminal
by the company of hurtfl and hatefl beasts. But what is the fry of
those dumb beasts compared with the fry of execration which bursts
A Portrait of the Artist
from the parched lips and aching throats of the damned in hell when
they behold in their companions in misery those who aided and abet
ted them in sin, those whose words sowed the frst seeds of evil think
ing and evil living in their minds, those whose immodest suggestions
led them on to sin, those whose eyes tempted and allured them from
the path of virtue. They turn upon those accomplices and upbraid them
and curse them. But they are helpless and hopeless: 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 devils
will afict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their re
proaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint
Catherine of Siena* once saw a devil, and she has written that, rather
than look again for one single instant on such a frightfl monster, she
would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals.
These devils, who were once beautifl angels, have become as hideous
and ugly as they once were beautiful. They mock and j eer at the lost
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 did
you lend an ear to the temptings of friends? Why did you turn aside
from your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun the
occasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why did
you not give up that lewd habit, that impure habit? Why did you not
listen to the counsels of your confessor? Why did you not, even after
you had fallen the frst or the second or the third or the fourth or the
hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who only
waited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the time
for 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, to
covet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, to
live like the beasts of the feld, nay worse than the beasts of the feld for
they, at least, are but brutes and have not reason to guide them: time
was but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so many voices but
you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride and anger in
your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, you would not
obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to your religious du
ties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, you would
*(1347-1380); Italian mystic.
as a Young Man
not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language of those
fendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatred and
of disgust. Of disgust, Yes! For even they, the very devils, when they
sinned, sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with such angeli
cal natures , a rebellion of the intellect: and they, even they, the foul dev
ils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from the contemplation of
those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outrages and defles the
temple of the Holy Ghost, ' defles and pollutes himself
-0, my dear little brothers in Christ, may it never be our lot to hear
that language! May it never be our lot, I say! In the last day of terrible
reckoning I pray fervently to God that not a single soul of those who
are in this chapel today may be found among those miserable beings
whom the Great Judge shall command to depart for ever from His
sight, that not one of us may ever hear ringing in his ears the awl sen
tence of rej ection: Depart fom me, ye cursed into everlasting fire which
was prepared fr the devil and his angels!
He came down the aisle of the chapel, his legs shaking and the scalp
of his head trembling as though it had been touched by ghostly fngers.
He passed up the staircase and into the corridor along the walls of
which the overcoats and waterproofs hung like gibbeted malefactors,
headless and dripping and shapeless. And at every step he feared that
he had already died, that his soul had been wrenched forth of the
sheath of his body, that he was plunging headlong through space.
He could not grip the foor with his feet and sat heavily at his desk,
opening one of his books at random and poring over it. Every word for
him! It was true. God was almighty. God could call him now, call him
as he sat at his desk, before he had time to be conscious of the sum
mons. God had called him. Yes? What? Yes? His fesh shrank together
as it felt the approach of the ravenous tongues of fames, dried up as it
felt about it the swirl of stifing air. He had died. Yes. He was judged.
A wave of fre swept through hi s body: the frst. Again a wave. His
brain began to glow. Another. His brain was simmering and bubbling
within the cracking tenement of the skull. Flames burst forth from his
skull like a corolla, shrieking like voices:
-Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell!
Voices spoke near him:
-On hell.
'Reference to I Corinthians 6: 19.
A Portrit o the Artist
-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 him still. He was still in the familiar world of the school. Mr
Tate and Vincent Heron stood at the window, talkng, jesting, gazing
out at the bleak rain, moving their heads.
-I wish it would clear up. 1 had arranged to go for a spin on the
bike with some fellows out by Malahide. * But the roads must be
-It might clear up, sir.
The voices that he knew so well; the common words, the quiet of the
classroom when the voices paused and the silence was flled by the
sound of softly browsing cattle as the other boys munched their lunches
tranquilly lulled his aching soul.
There was still time. 0 Mary, refge of sinners, intercede for him!
o Virgin Undefled, save him from the gulf of death!
The English lesson began with the hearing of the history. Royal per
sons, favourites, intriguers, bishops, passed like mute phantoms behind
their veil of names. Ahad died: all had been judged. What did it proft
a man to gain the whole world if he lost his soul? At last he had un
derstood: and human life lay around him, a plain of peace whereon
antlike men laboured in brotherhood, their dead sleeping under quiet
mounds. The elbow of his companion touched him and his heart was
touched: and when he spoke to answer a question of his master he
heard his own voice full of the quietude of humility and contrition.
His soul sank back deeper into depths of contrite peace, no longer
able to suffer the pain of dread, and sending forth, as she sank, a faint
prayer. Ah yes, he would still be spared; he would repent in his heart
and be forgiven; and then those above, those in heaven, would see what
he would do to make up for the past: a whole life, every hour of life.
Only wait.
-A, God! A, all!
A messenger came to the door to say that confessions were being
heard in the chapel. Four boys left the room; and he heard others pass
ing down the corridor. A tremulous chill blew round his heart, no
stronger than a little wind, and yet, listening and suffering silently, he
'Coastal village 9 miles north of Dublin.
as a Young Man III
seemed to have laid an ear against the muscle of his own heart, feeling
it close and quail, listening to the futter of its ventricles .
No escape. He had t o confess, t o speak out in words what he had
done and thought, sin after sin. How? How?
-Father, I . . .
The thought slid like a cold shining rapier into his tender fesh: con
fession. But not there in the chapel of the college. He would confess all,
every sin of deed and thought, sincerely: but not there among his
school companions. Far away from there in some dark place he would
murmur out his own shame: and he besought God humbly not to be
offended with him if he did not dare to confess in the college chapel:
and in utter abjection of spirit he craved forgiveness mutely of the boy
ish hearts about him.
Time passed.
He sat again in the front bench of the chapel. The daylight without
was already failing and, as it fell slowly through the dull red blinds, it
seemed that the sun of the last day was going down and that al souls
were being gathered for the judgment.
-1 am cast away fom the sight o Thine eyes:* words taken, my dear
little brothers in Christ, from the Book of Psalms, thirtieth chapter,
twenty-third verse. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher began to speak in a quiet friendly tone. His face was
kind and he j oined gently the fngers of each hand, forming a frail cage
by the union of their tips.
-This morning we endeavoured, in our refection upon hell, to
make what our holy founder calls in his book of spiritual exercises, t the
composition of place. We endeavoured, that is, to imagine with the
senses of the mind, in our imagination, the material character of that
awfl place and of the physical torments which alwho are in hell en
dure. This evening we shall consider for a few moments the nature of
the spiritual torments of hell.
-Sin, remember, is a tofold enormity. It is a base consent to the
promptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that which
is gross and beastlike; and it is also a turning away from the counsel of
'Reference to Psalm 30:23 (Douay version) or the equivalent Psalm 31:22 (King
James version).
tThe devotional book The Spiritual Exercises (1548) was written by Saint Ignatius
Loyola (see note on p. 42).
A Portrait o the Artist
our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Holy God
Himself For this reason mortal sin is punished in hell by two different
forms of punishment, physical and spiritual.
-Now of althese spiritual pains by far the greatest is the pain ofloss,
so great, in fact, that in itself it is a torment greater than all the others.
Saint Thomas,* the greatest doctor of the Church, the angelic doctor, as
he is called, says that the worst damnation consists in this that the un
derstanding of man is totaly deprived of Divine light and his affection
obstinately turned away from the goodness of God. God, remember, is
a being infnitely good and therefore the loss of such a being must be a
loss infnitely painfl. In this life we have not a very clear idea of what
such a loss must be but the damned in hell, for their greater torment,
have a fl understanding of that which they have lost and understand
that they have lost it through their own sins and have lost it for ever. At
the very instant of death the bonds of the fesh are broken asunder and
the soul at once fies towards God as towards the centre of her existence.
Remember, my dear little boys, our souls long to be with God. We come
from God, we live by God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably
His. God loves with a divine love every human soul and every human
soul lives in that love. How could it be otherwise? Every breath that we
draw, every thought of our brain, every instant of life proceed from
God's inexhaustible goodness. 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 sundered from friend, 0 think what pain, what anguish, it
must be for the poor soul to be spurned from the presence of the
supremely good and loving Creator Who has called that soul into exis
tence from nothingness and sustained it in life and loved it with an im
measurable love. This, then, to be separated for ever from its greatest
good, from God, and to feel the anguish of that separation, knowing fll
wel that it is unchangeable, this is the greatest torment which the cre
ated soul is capable of bearing, prna damni, the pain of loss.
-The second pain which will afict the souls of the damned in hell is
the pain of conscience. Just as in dead bodies worms are engendered by
putrefaction so in the souls of the lost there arises a perpetual remorse
from the putrefaction of sin, the stirs of conscience, the worm, as Pope
Innocent the Thirdt calls it, of the triple sting. The frst sting inficted
*homas Aquinas (1225 1274), eminent medieval Christian theologian.
tPope from 1198 to 1216.
as a Young Man 113
by this cruel worm will be the memory of past pleasures. what a
dreadfl memory will that be! In the lake of alldevouring fame the
proud king will remember the pomps of his court, the wise but wicked
man his libraries and instruments of research, the lover of artistic plea
sures his marbles and pictures and other art treasures, he who delighted
in the pleasures of the table his gorgeous feasts, his dishes prepared
with such delicacy, his choice wines, the miser will remember his hoard
of gold, the robber his illgotten wealth, the angry and revengefl and
merciless murderers their deeds of blood and violence in which they
revelled, the impure and adulterous the unspeakable and flthy plea
sures in which they delighted. They will remember all this and loathe
themselves and their sins. For how miserable will all those pleasures
seem to the soul condemned to suffer in hell-fre for ages and ages.
How they will rage and fume to think that they have lost the bliss of
heaven for the dross of earth, for a few pieces of metal, for vain hon
ours, for bodily comforts, for a tingling of the nerves. They will repent
indeed: and this is the second sting of the worm of conscience, a late
and fruitless sorrow for sins committed. Divine justice insists that the
understanding of those miserable wretches be fed continually on the
sins of which they were guilty and moreover, as Saint Augustine* points
out, God will impart to them His own knowledge of sin so that sin will
appear to them in all its hideous malice as it appears to the eyes of God
Himself They will behold their sins in all their foulness and repent but
it will be too late and then they will bewail the good occasions which
they neglected. This is the last and deepest and most cruel sting of the
worm of conscience. The conscience will say: You had time and oppor
tunity to repent and would not. You were brought up religiously by your
parents. You had the sacraments and graces and indulgences of the
church to aid you. You had the minister of God to preach to you to call
you back when you had strayed, to forgive you your sins, no matter how
many, how abominable, if only you had confessed and repented. No.
You would not. You fouted the ministers of holy religion, you turned
your back on the confessional, you wallowed deeper and deeper in the
mire of sin. God appealed to you, threatened you, entreated you to re
turn to Him. 0, what shame, what misery! The Ruler of the universe
entreated you, a creature of clay, to love Him Who made you and to
'Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430), the most important of the early Church fa
thers, wrote The City o God.
A Portrait o the Artist
keep His law. No. You would not. And now, though you were to food
all hell with your tears if you could still weep, all that sea of repentance
would not gain for you what a single tear of true repentance shed dur
ing our mortal life would have gained for you. You implore now a mo
ment of earthly life wherein to repent: in vain. That time is gone: gone
for ever.
-Such is the threefold sting of conscience, the viper which gnaws
the very heart's core of the wretches in hell so that flled with hellish
fry they curse themselves for their folly and curse the evil companions
who have brought them to such ruin and curse the devils who tempted
them in life and now mock them in eternity and even revile and curse
the Supreme Being Whose goodness and patience they scorned and
slighted but Whose justice and power they cannot evade.
-The next spiritual pain to which the damned are subjected is the
pain of extension. Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable of
many evils, is not capable of them all at once inasmuch as one evil cor
rects and counteracts another, just as one poison frequently corrects an
other. In hell, on the contrary, one torment, instead of counteracting
another, lends it still greater force: and, moreover, as the internal facul
ties are more perfect than the external senses, so are they more capable
of suffering. Just as every sense is aficted with a ftting torment so is
every spiritual faculty; the fancy with horrible images, the sensitive fac
ulty with alternate longing and rage, the mind and understanding with
an interior darkness more terrible even than the exterior darkness
which reigns in that dreadfl prison. The malice, impotent though i t
be, which possesses these demon souls is an evil of boundless extension,
of limitless duration, a frightful state of wickedness which we can
scarcely realise unless we bear in mind the enormity of sin and the ha
tred God bears to it.
-Opposed to this pain of extension and yet co-existent with it we
have the 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 knd to temper or soften
in the least the pains of hell. Nay, things which are good in themselves
become evil in hell. Company, elsewhere a source of comfort to the af
ficted, will be there a continual torment: kowledge, so much longed
for as the chief good of the intellect, will there be hated worse than ig
norance: light, so much coveted by all creatures from the lord of cre
ation down to the humblest plant in the forest, will be loathed
intensely. In this life our sorrows are either not very long or not very
as a Young Man
great because nature either overcomes them by habits or puts an end to
them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the torments cannot be
overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensity they are at the
same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak, taking fre from
another and re-endowing that which has enkindled it with a still fercer
fame. Nor can nature escape from these intense and various tortures by
succumbing to them for the soul is sustained and 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, so outraged by sinners, demands, this is what
the holiness of heaven, slighted and set aside for the lustfl and low
pleasures of the corrupt fesh, requires, this is what the blood of the in
nocent Lamb of God, shed for the redemption of sinners, trampled
upon by the vilest of the vile, insists upon.
-Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awfl place is
the eternity of hell. Eternity! 0, dread and dire word. Eternity! What
mind 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 yet
they would become infnite as they are destined to last for ever. But
while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know, in
tolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an in
sect for all eternity would be a dreadfl torment. What must it be, then,
to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity!
Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awfl mean
ing of thi s. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fne are
its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up
the s mall handful which a child grasps in its play. Now i magine a
mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the 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 sand multiplied as often as there are leaves
in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds,
scales on fsh, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and
imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that
mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How
many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird
had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons
upon eons of ages before it had carried away al. Yet at the end of that
immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said
to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eter-
116 A Portrait of the Artist
nity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after
it had been all carried away and if the bird came again and carried it all
away again grain by grain: and if it so rose and sank as many times as
there are stars in the sk, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea,
leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fsh, hairs upon an
imals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkngs of that
immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could 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 brain reel dizzily,
eternity would have scarcely begun.
-A holy saint (one of our own fathers I believe it was) was once
vouchsafed a vision of hell. It seemed to him that he stood in the midst
of a great hall, dark and silent save for the ticking of a great clock. The
ticking went on unceasingly; and it seemed to this saint that the sound
of the tickng was the ceaseless repetition of the words: 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 the beatifc vision; ever to be eaten
with fames, gnawed by vermin, goaded with burning spikes, never to
be free from those pains; ever to have the conscience upbraid one, the
memory enrage, the mind flled with darkness and despair, never to es
cape; ever to curse and revile the foul demons who gloat fendishly over
the misery of their dupes, never to behold the shining raiment of the
blessed spirits; ever to cry out of the abyss of fre to God for an instant,
a single instant, of respite from such awful agony, never to receive, even
for an instant, God's pardon; ever to suffer, never to enjoy; ever to be
damned, never to be saved; ever, never; ever, never. 0, what a dreadful
punishment! An eternity of endless agony, of endless bodily and spiri
tual torment, without one ray of hope, without one moment of cessa
tion, of agony limitless in intensity, of torment infnitely varied, of
torture that sustains eternally that which it eternally devours, of an
guish that everlastingly preys upon the spirit while it racks the fesh, an
eternity, every instant of which is itself an eternity of woe. Such is the
terrible punishment decreed for those who die in mortal sin by an
almighty and a just God.
-Yes, a just God! Men, reasoning always as men, are astonished
that God should mete out an everlasting and infnite punishment in the
fres of hell for a single grievous sin. They reason thus because, blinded
by the gross illusion of the fesh and the darkness of human under
standing they are unable to comprehend the hideous malice of mortal
sin. They reason thus because they are unable to comprehend that even
as a Young Man II7
venial sin is of such a foul and hideous nature that even if the omnipo
tent Creator could end all the evil and misery in the world the wars, the
diseases, the robberies, the crime, the deaths, the murders, on condition
that he allowed a single venial sin to pass unpunished, a single venial
sin, a lie, an angry look, a moment of wilfl sloth, He, the great om
nipotent God could not do so because sin, be it in thought or deed, is
a transgression of His law and God would not be God if He did not
punish the transgressor.
-A sin, an instant of rebellious pride of the intellect, made Lucifer
and a third part of the cohorts of angels fall from their glory. A sin, an
instant of folly and weakess, drove Adam and Eve out of Eden and
brought death and suffering into the world. To retrieve the conse
quences of that si n the Only Begotten Son of God came down to earth,
lived and suffered and died a most painful death, hanging for three
hours on the cross.
-0, my dear little brethren in Christ Jesus, will we then offend that
good Redeemer and provoke His anger? Will we trample again upon
that torn and mangled corpse? Will we spit upon that face so fll of
sorrow and love? Will we too, like the cruel Jews and the brutal soldiers,
mock that gentle and compassionate Saviour Who trod alone for our
sake the awfl winepress of sorrow? Every word of sin is a wound in
His tender side. Every sinful act is a thorn piercing His head. Every
impure thought, deliberately yielded to, is a keen lance transfing that
sacred and loving heart. No, no. It is impossible for any human being
to do that which offends so deeply the divine Majesty, that which is
punished by an eternity of agony, that which crucifes again the Son of
God and makes a mockery of Him.
-} pray to God that my poor words may have availed today to con
frm in holiness those who are in a state of grace, to strengthen the wa
vering, to lead back to the state of grace the poor soul that has strayed
if any such be among you. I pray to God, and do you pray with me, that
we may repent of our sins . I will ask you now, all of you, to repeat after
me the act of contrition, * kneeling here in this humble chapel in the
presence of God. He is there in the tabernacle burning with love for
mankind, ready to comfort the aficted. Be not afraid. No matter how
many or how foul the sins if only you repent of them they will be for
given you. Let no worldly shame hold you back. God is still the merci-
'Prayer beginning: "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee . . . . "
A Portrait o the Artist
fl Lord who wishes not the eternal death of the sinner but rather that
he be converted and live.
-He calls you to Him. You are His. He made you out of nothing.
He loved you as only a God can love. His arms are open to receive you
even though you have sinned against Him. Come to Him, poor sinner,
poor vain and erring sinner. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the
The priest rose and turning towards the altar knelt upon the step be
fore the tabernacle in the fallen gloom. He waited till all in the chapel
had knelt and every least noise was still. Then, raising his head, he re
peated the act of contrition, phrase by phrase, with fervour. The boys
answered him phrase by phrase. Stephen, his tongue cleaving to his
palate, bowed his head, praying with his heart.
-amy God!-
-amy God!-
-1 am heartil sorry-
- am heartil sorry-
-r having ofnded Thee-
-r having ofnded Thee-
-and 1 detest my sins-
-and 1 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-
-o al my love-
-o al my love-
-and 1 frml purpose-
-and 1 frml purpose-
-by Thy Hol grce-
-by Thy Hol grace-
-never more to ofnd Thee-
-never more to oend Thee-
-and to amend my li-
-and to amend my li-
* * * *
as a Young Man
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 soul
mounted with his feet, sighing in the ascent, through a region of vi scid
He halted on the landing before the door and then, grasping the
porcelain knob, opened the door quickly. He waited in fear, his soul
pining within him, praying silently that death might not touch his brow
as he passed over the threshold, that the fends that inhabit darkness
might not be given power over him. He waited still at the threshold as
at the entrance to some dark cave. Faces were there; eyes: they waited
and watched.
-We knew perfectly well of course that although it was bound to
come to the light he would fnd considerable diffculty in endeavouring
to try to induce himself to try to endeavour to ascertain the spiritual
plenipotentiary and so we knew of course perfectly well-
Murmuring faces waited and watched; murmurous voices flled the
dark shell of the cave. He feared intensely in spirit and in fesh but, rais
ing his head bravely, he strode into the room frmly. A doorway, a room,
the same room, same window. He told himself calmly that those words
had absolutely no sense which had seemed to rise murmurously from
the dark. He told himself that it was simply his room with the door
He closed the door and, walkng swiftly to the bed, kelt beside it
and covered his face with his hands. His hands were cold and damp and
his limbs ached with chill. Bodily unrest and chill and weariness beset
him, routing his thoughts. Why was he kneeling there like a child say
ing his evening prayers? To be alone with his soul, to examine his con
science, to meet his sins face to face, to recall their times and manners
and circumstances, to weep over them. He could not weep. He could
not summon them to his memory. He felt only an ache of soul and
body, his whole being, memory, will, understanding, fesh, benumbed
and weary.
That was the work of devils, to scatter his thoughts and overcloud
his conscience, assailing him at the gates of the cowardly and sin cor
rupted fesh: and, praying God timidly to forgive him his weakness, he
crawled up on to the bed and, wrapping the blankets closely about him,
covered his face again with his hands. He had sinned. He had sinned
so deeply against heaven and before God that he was not worthy to be
called God's child.
Could it be that he, Stephen Dedalus, had done those things? His
120 A Portrit o the Artist
conscience sighed in answer. Yes, he had done them, secretly, flthily,
time after time and, hardened in sinfl impenitence, he had dared to
wear the mask of holiness before the tabernacle itself while his soul
within was a living mass of corruption. How came it that God had not
struck him dead? The leprous company of his sins closed about him,
breathing upon him, bending over him from all sides. He strove to for
get them in an act of prayer, huddling his limbs closer together and
binding down his eyelids: but the senses of his soul would not be bound
and, though his eyes were shut fast, he saw the places where he had
sinned and, though his ears were tightly covered, he heard. He desired
with all his will not to hear nor see. He desired till his frame shook
under the strain of his desire and until the senses of his soul closed.
They closed for an instant and then opened. He saw.
A feld of stiff weeds and thistles and tufted nettle bunches. Thick
among the tufts of rank stiff growth lay battered canisters and clots and
coils of solid excrement. A faint marsh light struggling upwards from
al the ordure through the bristling grey green weeds. An evil smell,
faint and foul as the light, curled upwards sluggishly out of the canis
ters and from the stale crusted dung.
Creatures were in the feld; one, three, six: creatures were moving in
the feld, hither and thither. Goatish creatures with human faces, horny
browed, lightly bearded and grey as indiarubber. The malice of evil glit
tered in their hard eyes, as they moved hither and thither, trailing their
long tails behind them. A rictus of cruel malignity lit up greyly their old
bony faces. One was clasping about his ribs a torn fannel waistcoat, an
other complained monotonously as his beard stuck in the tufted weeds.
Soft language issued from their spittleless lips as they swished in slow
circles round and round the feld, winding hither and thither through
the weeds, dragging their long tails amid the rattling canisters. They
moved in slow circles, circling closer and closer to enclose, to enclose,
soft language issuing from their lips, their long swishing tails be
smeared with stale shite, thrusting upwards their terrifc faces . . .
He fung the blankets from him madly to free his face and neck.
That was his hell. God had allowed him to see the hell reserved for his
sins: stinking, bestial, malignant, a hell of lecherous goatish fends. 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! He stumbled
towards the window, groaning and almost fainting with sickness. At the
as a Young Man
washstand a convulsion seized him within; and, clasping his cold fore
head wildly, he vomited profsely in agony.
When the ft had spent itself he walked weakly to the window and
lifting the sash, sat in a corner of the embrasure and leaned his elbow
upon the sill. The rain had drawn off; and amid the moving vapours
from point to point of light the city was spinning about herself a soft
cocoon of yellowish haze. Heaven was still and faintly luminous and
the air sweet to breathe, as in a thicket drenched with showers: and
amid peace and shimmering lights and quiet fragrance he made a
covenant with his heart.
He prayed:
-He once had meant to come on earth in heavenl glory but we sinned:
and then He could not safl visit us but with a shrouded majesty and a be
dimmed rdiance fr He was God So He came Himsel in weakness not in
power and He sent thee, a creature in His stead with a creature' comeliness
and lustre suited to our state. And now thy very fce and frm, dear mother
speak to us othe Eternal; not like earthl beauty, dangerous to look upon, but
like the morning star which is thy emblem, bright and musical, breathing pu
rity, telling 0 heaven and infusing peace. 0 harbinger 0 day! 0 light 0 the
pilgrim! Lead us still as thou hast led In the dark night, across the bleak
wilderness guide us on to our Lord Jesus, guide us home. *
His eyes were dimmed with tears and, lookng humbly up to heaven,
he wept for the innocence he had lost.
When evening had fallen he left the house and the frst touch of the
damp dark air and the noise of the door as it closed behind him made
ache again his conscience, lulled by prayer and tears. Confess! Confess!
It was not enough to lull the conscience with a tear and a prayer. He
had to kneel before the minister of the Holy Ghost and tell over his
hidden sins truly and repentantly. Before he heard again the footboard
of the housedoor trail over the threshold as it opened to let him in, be
fore he saw again the table in the ktchen set for supper he would have
knelt and confessed. It was quite simple.
The ache of conscience ceased and he walked onward swiftly
through the dark streets. There were so many fagstones on the foot
path of that street and so many streets in that city and so many cities in
'From Newman's "The Glories of Mary."
A Portrit o the Artist
the world. Yet eternity had no end. He was in mortal sin. Even once
was a mortal sin. It could happen in an instant. But how so quicky? By
seeing or by thinkng of seeing. The eyes see the thing, without having
wished frst to see. Then in an instant it happens. But does that part of
the body understand or what? The serpent, the most subtle beast of the
feld. It must understand when i t desires in one instant and then pro
longs its own desire instant after instant, sinfully. It feels and under
stands and desires. What a horrible thing! Who made it to be like that,
a bestial part of the body able to understand bestially and desire bes
tially? Was that then he or an i nhuman thing moved by a lower soul?
His soul sickened at the thought of a torpid snak life feeding itself out
of the tender marrow of his life and fattening upon the slime of lust. 0
why was that so? 0 why?
He cowered in the shadow of the thought abasing himself in the awe
of God Who had made all things and al men. Madness. Who could
think such a thought? And, cowering in darkness and abj ect, he prayed
mutely to his angel guardian to drive away with his sword the demon
that was whispering to his brain.
The whisper ceased and he knew then clearly that his own soul had
sinned in thought and word and deed wilflly through his own body.
Confess! He had to confess every sin. How could he utter in words to
the priest what he had done? Must, must. Or how could he explain
without dying of shame? Or how could he have done such things with
out shame? A madman! Confess! 0 he would indeed to be free and sin
less again! Perhaps the priest would know. 0 dear God!
He walked on and on through ill-lit streets, fearing to stand still for
a 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 beautifl must be a soul in the state of grace when God looked
upon it with love!
Frowsy* girls sat along the curbstones before their baskets. Their
dank hair hung trailed over their brows. They were not beautifl to see
as they crouched in the mire. But their souls were seen by God; and if
their souls were in a state of grace they were radiant to see: and God
loved them, seeing them.
A wasting breath of humiliation blew bleakly over his soul to think
of how he had fallen, to feel that those souls were dearer to God than
as a Young Man
his. The wind blew over him and passed on to the myriads and myri
ads of other souls, on whom God's favour shone now more and now
less, stars now brighter and now dimmer, sustained and failing. And the
glimmering souls passed away, sustained and failing, merged in a mov
ing breath. One soul was lost; a tiny soul: his. It fickered once and went
out, forgotten, lost. The end: black cold void waste.
Consciousness of place came ebbing back to him slowly over a vast
tract of time unlit, unfelt, unlived. The squalid scene composed itself
around him; the common accents, the burning gasjets in the shops,
odours of fsh and spirits and wet sawdust, moving men and women.
An old woman was about to cross the street, an oilcan in her hand. He
bent down 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 she
held out her reeking withered right hand under its fringe of shawl, he
bent lower towards her, saddened and soothed by her voice.
-Thank you.
-You are quite welcome sir.
The candles on the high altar had been extinguished but the fragrance
of incense still foated down the dim nave. Bearded workmen with pious
faces were guiding a canopy out through a side door, the sacristan aiding
them with quiet gestures and words. A few of the faithfl still lingered
praying before one of the side-altars or kneeling in the benches near
the confessionals. 13 He approached timidly and knelt at the last bench in
the body, thankfl for the peace and silence and fragrant shadow of the
church. The board on which he knelt was narrow and worn and those
who knelt near him were humble folowers of Jesus. Jesus too had been
born in poverty and had worked in the shop of a carpenter, cutting boards
and planing them, and had frst spoken of the kingdom of God to poor
fshermen, teaching all men to be meek and humble of heart.
He bowed his head upon his hands, bidding his heart be meek and
humble that he might be like those who knelt beside him and his prayer
as acceptable as theirs. He prayed beside them but it was hard. His soul
was foul with sin and he dared not ask forgiveness with the simple trust
of those whom Jesus, in the mysterious ways of God, had called frst to
His side, the carpenters, the fshermen, poor and simple people follow
ing a lowly trade, handling and shaping the wood of trees, mending
their nets with patience.
A tal fgure came down the aisle and the penitents stirred: and, at the
A Portrait o the Artist
last moment glancing up swiftly, he saw a long grey beard and the brown
habit of a capuchin! The priest entered the box and was hidden. Two
penitentst rose and entered the confessional at either side. The wooden
slide was drawn back and the faint murmur of a voice troubled the silence.
His blood began to murmur in his veins, murmuring like a sinful
city summoned from its sleep to bear its doom. Little fakes of fre fell
and powdery ashes fell softly, alighting on the houses of men. They
stirred, 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
where the frst penitent had knelt. The faint murmur began again.
He could still leave the chapel. He could stand up, put one foot be
fore the other and walk out softly and then run, run, run swiftly
through the dark streets. He could still escape from the shame. Had it
been any terrible crime but that one sin! Had it been murder! Little
fery fakes fell and touched him at all points, shameful thoughts,
shameful words, shameful acts. Shame covered hi m wholly like fne
glowing ashes falling continually. To say it in words! His soul, stifing
and helpless, would cease to be.
The slide was shot back. A penitent emerged from the farther side
of the box. The near slide was drawn. A penitent entered where the
other penitent had come out. A soft whispering noise foated in va
porous cloudlets out of the box. It was the woman: soft whispering
cloudlets, soft whispering vapour, whispering and vanishing.
He beat his breast with his fst humbly, secretly under cover of the
wooden armrest. He would be at one with others and with God. He
would love his neighbour. He would love God Who had made and
loved him. He would kneel and pray with others and be happy. God
would look down on him and on them and would love them all.
It was easy to be good. God's yoke was sweet and light. * It was bet
ter never to have sinned, to have remained always a child, for God loved
little children and suffered them to come to Him. It was a terrible and
a sad thing to sin. But God was merciful to poor sinners who were truly
sorry. How true that was! That was indeed goodness.
'Church Street chapel is run by members of the Capuchin order, who wear a brown
robe with a cowl.
t Believers who have come to repent of their sins.
:An allusion to Matthew 11:29-30: "And you shall fnd rest to your souls. For my
yoke is sweet and my burden light" (Douay version).
as a Young Man
The slide was shot to suddenly. The penitent came out. He was next.
He stood up in terror and walked blindly into the box.
At last it had come. He knelt in the silent gloom and raised his eyes
to the white crucifx suspended above him. God could see that he was
sorry. 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.
Let them know. It was true. But God had promised to forgive him if
he was sorry. He was sorry. He clasped his hands and raised them to
wards the white form, praying with his darkened eyes, praying with all
his trembling body, swaying his head to and fro like a lost creature,
praying with whimpering lips.
-Sorry! Sorry! 0 sorry!
The slide clicked back and his heart bounded in his breast. The face
of an old priest was at the grating, averted from him, leaning upon a
hand. He made the sign of the cross and prayed of the priest to bless
him for he had sinned. * Then, bowing his head, he repeated the Con
tear in 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?
-Longer, father.
-Three months, my child?
-Longer, father.
-Si months?
-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:
-1 . . . committed sins of impurity, father.
The priest did not turn his head.
-With yourself, my child?
-And . . . with others.
-With women, my child?
'Confesion typically begins with these words: "Forgive me, Father, for I have
I26 A Portrait o the Artist
-Yes, father.
-Were they married women, my child?
He did not know. His sins tricked from his lips, one by one, trick
led in shamefl drops from his soul festering and oozing like a sore, a
squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, flthy. There
was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome.
The priest was silent. Then he asked:
-How old are you, my child?
-Sixteen, father.
The priest passed his hand several times over his face. Then, resting
his forehead against his hand, he leaned towards the grating and, with
eyes still averted, spoke slowly. His voice was weary and old.
-You are very young, my child, he said, and let me implore of you
to give up that sin. It is a terrible sin. It kills the body and it kills the
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 cannot
know where that wretched habit will lead you or where it will come
against you. As long as you commit that sin, my poor child, you will
never be worth one farthing to God. Pray to our mother Mary to help
you. She will help you, my child. Pray to Our Blessed Lady when that
sin comes into your mind. I am sure you will do that, will you not? You
repent of all those sins. I am sure you do. And you will promise God
now that by His holy grace you will never offend Him any more by that
wicked sin. You will make that solemn promise to God, will you not?
-Yes, father.
The old and weary voice fell like sweet rain upon his quaking parch
ing heart. How sweet and sad!
-Do so, my poor child. The devil has led you astray. Drive him
back to hell when he tempts you to dishonour your body in that way
the foul spirit who hates Our Lord. Promise God now that you will
give up that sin, that wretched wretched sin.
Blinded by his tears and by the light of God's mercifulness he bent
his head and heard the grave words of absolution* spoken and saw the
priest'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:
and his prayers ascended to heaven from his purifed heart like perfme
streaming upwards from a heart of white rose.
'Formal forgiveness of sins.
as a Young Man
The muddy streets were gay. He strode homeward, conscious of an
invisible grace pervading and making light his limbs. In spite of all he
had done it. He had confessed and God had pardoned him. His soul
was made fair and holy once more, holy and happy.
It would be beautiful to die if God so willed. It was beautiful to live
in grace a life of peace and virtue and forbearance with others.
He sat by the fre in the kitchen, not daring to speak for happiness.
Till that moment he had not known how beautiful and peacefl life
could be. The green square of paper pinned round the lamp cast down
a tender shade. On the dresser was a plate of sausages and white pud
ding and on the shelf there were eggs. They would be for the breakfst
in the morning after the communion in the college chapel. White pud
ding and eggs and sausages and cups of tea. How simple and beautifl
was life after all! And life lay all before him.
In a dream he fell asleep. In a dream he rose and saw that it was
morning. In a waking dream he went through the quiet morning to
wards the 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
white fowers: and in the morning light the pale fames of the candles
among the white fowers were clear and silent as his own soul.
He knelt before the altar with his classmates, holding the altar cloth
with them over a living rail of hands. His hands were trembling and his
soul trembled as he heard the priest pass with the ciborium* from com
municantt to communicant.
-Corpus Domini nostri. *
Could it be? He knelt there sinless and timid: and he would hold
upon his tongue the host and God would enter his purifed body.
-In vitam eternam. 1 1 Amen.
Another life! A life of grace and virtue and happiness! It was true. It
was not a dream from which he would wake. The past was past.
-Corpus Domini nostri.
The ciborium had come to him.
*Cup or chalice containing the host, the body of Christ, in the Eucharist.
tParticipant in the rite of Holy Communion.
:The body of our Lord (Latin).
The bread (or watr) representing the body of Christ in the Eucharist.
In everlasting life (Latin).
SUNDAY WAS DEDICATED TO the mystery of the Holy Trinity, * Monday
to the Holy Ghost, Tuesday to the Guardian Angels, Wednesday to
Saint Joseph, Thursday to the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar,
Friday to the Suffering Jesus, Saturday to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Every morning he hallowed himself anew in the presence of some
holy image or mystery. His day began with an heroic offering of its
every moment of thought or action for the intentions of the sovereign
pontiff and with an early mass. The raw morning air whetted his res
olute piety; and often as he knelt among the few worshippers at the side
altar, following with his interleaved prayer book the murmur of the
priest, he glanced up for an instant towards the vested fgure standing
in the gloom between the two candles, which were the old and the new
testaments, and imagined that he was kneeling at mass in the cata
combs. t
His daily life was laid out in devotional areas. By means of ej acula
tions and prayers he stored up ungrudgingly for the souls in purgatory
centuries of days and quarantines and years; yet the spiritual triumph
which he felt in achieving with ease so many fabulous ages of canoni
cal penances did not wholly reward his zeal of prayer since he could
never know how much temporal punishment he had remitted by way
of suffrage for the agonising souls: and, fearfl lest in the midst of the
purgatorial fre, which differed from the infernal only in that it was not
everlasting, his penance might avail no more than a drop of moisture
he drove his soul daily through an increasing circle of works of
supererogation. *
Every part of his day, divided by what he regarded now as the duties
of his station in life, circled about its own centre of spiritual energy. His
'In Christian theology, the three persons of the godhead: the Father, the Son (Jesus
Christ), and the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).
tUnderground tombs connected by tunnels.
tAn abundance, or surplus, of good works.
life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, word and
deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to revibrate radi
antly in heaven: and at times his sense of such immediate repercussion
was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion pressing like
fngers the keyboard of a great cash register and to see the amount of
his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as a number but as
a frail column of incense or as a slender fower.
The rosaries, too, which he said constantly-for he carried his beads
loose in his trousers' pockets that he might tell them as he walked the
streets-transformed themselves into coronals of fowers of such vague
unearthly texture that they seemed to him as hueless and odourless as
they were nameless. He offered up each of his three daily chaplets * that
his soul might grow strong in each of the three theological virtues, in
faith in the Father Who had created him, in hope in the Son Who had
redeemed him, and in love of the Holy Ghost Who had sanctifed him;
and this thrice triple prayer he offered to the Three Persons through
Mary in the name of her j oyfl and sorrowfl and glorious mysteries.
On each of the seven days of the week he frther prayed that one of
the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost t might descend upon his soul and
drive out of it day by day the seven deadly sins which had defled it in
the past; and he prayed for each gift on its appointed day, confdent that
it would descend upon him, though it seemed strange to him at times
that wisdom and understanding and knowledge were so distinct in their
nature that each should be prayed for apart from the others. Yet he be
lieved that at some fture stage of his spiritual progress this diffculty
would be removed when his sinfl soul had been raised up from its
weakness and enlightened by the Third Person of the Most Blessed
Trinity. He believed this all the more, and with trepidation, because of
the divine gloom and silence wherein dwelt the unseen Paraclete, *
Whose symbols were a dove and a mighty wind, to sin against Whom
was a sin beyond forgiveness, the eternal, mysterious secret Being to
Whom, as God, the priests offered up mass once a year, orbed in the
scarlet of the tongues of fre.
The imagery through which the nature and knship of the Three
* A chaplet is one-third of a fll rosary of ffteen decades (a decade is ten Hail
tDerived from Isaias 11:2-3, the gifts are wisdom, understanding, counsel, forti
tude, knowledge, piety (godliness), and fear of the Lord.
=The Holy Spirit.
130 A Portrait o the Artist
Persons of the Trinity were darkly shadowed forth in the books of de
votion which he read-the Father contemplating from all eternity as in
a mirror His Divine Perfections and thereby begetting eternally the
Eternal Son and the Holy Spirit proceeding out of Father and Son
from all eternity-were easier of acceptance by his mind by reason of
their august incomprehensibility than was the simple fact that God had
loved hi s soul from all eternity, for ages before he had been born into
the world, for ages before the world itself had existed.
He had heard the names of the passions of love and hate pro
nounced solemnly on the stage and in the pulpit, had found them set
forth solemnly in books, and had wondered why his soul was unable to
harbour them for any time or to force his lips to utter their names with
conviction. A brief anger had often invested him, but he had never been
able to make it an abiding passion and had always felt himself passing
out of it as if his very body were being divested with ease of some outer
skn or peel. He had felt a subtle, dark and murmurous presence pene
trate his being and fre 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 soul would har
But he could no longer disbelieve in the reality of love since God
himself had loved his individual soul with divine love from all eternity.
Gradually, as his soul was enriched with spiritual knowledge, he saw the
whole world forming one vast symmetrical expression of God's power
and love. Life became a divine gift for every moment and sensation of
which, were it even the sight of a single leaf hanging on the twig of a
tree, his soul should praise and thank the giver. The world for all its
solid substance and complexity no longer existed for his soul save as a
theorem of divine power and love and universality. So entire and un
questionable was this sense of the divine meaning in all nature granted
to his soul that he could scarcely understand why it was in any way nec
essary that he should continue to live. Yet that was part of the divine
purpose and he dared not question its use, he above all others who had
sinned so deeply and so foully against the divine purpose. Meek and
abased by this consciousness of the one eternal omnipresent perfect re
ality his soul took up again her burden of pieties, masses and prayers
and sacraments and mortifcations, and only then for the frst time
since he had brooded on the great mystery of love did he feel within
him a warm movement like that of some newly born life or virtue of the
soul itself. The attitude of rapture in sacred art, the raised and parted
as a Young Man 131
hands, the parted lips and eyes as of one about to swoon, became for
him an image of the soul in prayer, humiliated and faint before her Cre
But he had been forewarned of the dangers of spiritual exaltation and
did not allow himself to desist from even the least or lowliest devotion,
striving also by constant mortifcation to undo the sinfl past rather
than to achieve a saintliness fraught with peril. Each of his senses was
brought under a rigorous discipline. In order to mortif the sense of
sight he made it his rule to walk in the street with downcast eyes, glanc
ing neither to right nor left and never behind him. His eyes shunned
every encounter with the eyes of women. From time to time also he
balked them by a sudden effort of the will, as by lifting them suddenly
in the middle of an unfnished sentence and closing the book. To mor
tif his hearing he exerted no control over his voice which was then
breaking, neither sang nor whistled and made no attempt to fee from
noise which caused him painfl nervous irritation such as the sharpen
ing of knives on the knifeboard, the gathering of cinders on the
freshovel and the twigging* of the carpet. To mortif his smell was more
difcult as he found in himself no instinctive repugnance to bad odours,
whether they were the odours of the outdoor world such as those of
dung or tar or the odours of his own person among which he had made
many curious comparisons and experiments. He found in the end that
the only odour against which his sense of smell revolted was a certain
stale fshy stink like that of longstanding urine: and whenever it was
possible he subjected himself to this unpleasant odour. To mortif the
taste he practised strict habits at table, observed to the letter all the fasts
of the church and sought by distraction to divert his mind from the
savours of different foods. But it was to the mortifcation of touch that
he brought the most assiduous ingenuity of inventiveness. He never
consciously changed his position in bed, sat in the most uncomfortable
positions, suffered patiently every itch and pain, kept away from the fre,
remained on his kees all through the mass except at the gospels, left
parts of his neck and face undried so that air might sting them and,
whenever he was not saying his beads, carried his arms stify at his sides
like a runner and never in his pockets or clasped behind him.
He had no temptations to sin mortally. It surprised him, however, to
fnd that at the end of his course of intricate piety and selfrestraint he
'Brushing with a broom.
A Portrit of the Artist
was so easily at the mercy of childish and unworthy imperfections . His
prayers and fasts availed him little for the suppression of anger at hear
ing his mother sneeze or at being disturbed in his devotions . It needed
an immense effort of his will to master the impulse which urged him
to give outlet to such irritation. Images of the outbursts of trivial anger
which he had often noted among his masters, their titching mouths,
closeshut lips and fushed cheeks, recurred to his memory, discouraging
him, for all his practice of humility, by the comparison. To merge his
life in the common tide of other lives was harder for him than any fast
ing or prayer, and it was his constant failure to do this to his own sat
isfaction which caused in his soul at last a sensation of spiritual dryness
together with a growth of doubts and scruples. His soul traversed a pe
riod of desolation in which the sacraments themselves seemed to have
turned into dried up sources. His confession became a channel for the
escape of scrupulous and unrepented imperfections. His actual recep
tion of the eucharist did not bring him the same dissolving moments of
virginal self-surrender as did those spiritual communions made by him
sometimes at the close of some visit to the Blessed Sacrament. The
book which he used for these visits was an old neglected book written
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori , * with fading characters and sere fox
papered leaves. A faded world of fervent love and virginal responses
seemed to be evoked for his soul by the reading of its pages in which
the imagery of the canticles t was interwoven with the communicant's
prayers. An inaudible voice seemed to caress the soul, telling her names
and glories, bidding her arise as for espousal and come away, bidding
her look forth, a spouse, from Amana t and from the mountains of the
leopards; and the soul seemed to answer with the same inaudible voice,
surrendering herself: Inter ubera mea commorbitur.
This idea of surrender had a perilous attraction for his mind now
that he felt his soul beset once again by the insistent voices of the fesh
which began to murmur to him again during his prayers and medita
tions. It gave him an intense sense of power to know that he could by
*(1696-1787); he founded a missionary movement, the Congregation of the Most
Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), and wrote several devotional books.
tThe collection of Old Testament love
oetry also known as the Song of Songs or
the Song of Solomon.
:Mountain, near Lebanon, referred to in the Canticles.
He shall lie betwixt my breasts (Latin); from Song of Solomon (Canticle of Can
ticles) 1:12 (Douay version) or 1: 13 (King James version).
as a Young Man 133
a single act of consent, in a moment of thought, undo all that he had
done. He seemed to feel a food slowly advancing towards his naked
feet and to be waiting for the frst faint timid noiseless wavelet to touch
his fevered skin. Then, almost at the instant of that touch, almost at the
verge of sinfl consent, he found himself standing far away from the
food upon a dry shore, saved by a sudden act of the will or a sudden
ej aculation: and, seeing the silver line of the foor far away and begin
ning again its slow advance towards his feet, a new thrill of power and
satisfaction shook his soul to know that he had not yielded nor undone
When he had eluded the food of temptation many times in this way
he grew troubled and wondered whether the grace which he had re
fsed to lose was not being flched from him little by little. The clear
certitude of his own immunity grew dim and to it succeeded a vague
fear that his soul had really fallen unawares. It was with diffculty that
he won back his old consciousness of his state of grace by telling him
self that he had prayed to God at every temptation and that the grace
which he had prayed for must have been given to him inasmuch as God
was obliged to give it. The very frequency and violence of temptations
showed him at last the truth of what he had heard about the trials of
the saints. Frequent and violent temptations were a proof that the
citadel of the soul had not fallen and that the devil raged to make it fall.
Often when he had confessed his doubts and scruples, some mo
mentary inattention at prayer, a movement of trivial anger in his soul or
a subtle wilfulness in speech or act, he was bidden by his confessor to
name some sin of his past life before absolution was given him. He
named it with humility and shame and repented of it once more. It
humiliated and shamed him to think that he would never be freed from
it wholly, however holily he might live or whatever virtues or perfec
tions he might attain. A restless feeling of guilt would always be pres
ent with him: he would confess and repent and be absolved, confess and
repent again and be absolved again, fruitlessly. Perhaps that frst hasty
confession wrung from him by the fear of hell had not been good? Per
haps, concerned only for his imminent doom, he had not had sincere
sorrow for his sin? But the surest sign that his confession had been
good and that he had had sincere sorrow for his sin was, he knew, the
amendment of his life.
-I have amended my life, have I not? he asked himsel
* * * *
A Portrait o the Artist
The director stood in the embrasure of the window, his back to the
light, leaning an elbow on the brown crossblind, and, as he spoke and
smiled, slowly dangling and looping the cord of the other blind,
Stephen stood before him, following for a moment with his eyes the
waning of the long summer daylight above the roofs or the slow deft
movements of the priestly fngers . The priest's face was in total shadow,
but the waning daylight from behind him touched the deeply grooved
temples and the curves of the skull. Stephen followed also with his ears
the accents and intervals of the priest's voice as he spoke gravely and
cordially of indifferent themes, the vacation which had just ended, the
colleges of the order abroad, the transference of masters. The grave and
cordial voice went on easily with its tale, and in the pauses Stephen felt
bound to set it on again with respectful questions. He knew that the
tale was a prelude and his mind waited for the sequel. Ever since the
message of summons had come for him from the director his mind had
struggled to fnd the meaning of the message; and during the long rest
less time he had sat in the college parlour waiting for the director to
come in his eyes had wandered from one sober picture to another
around the walls and his mind wandered from one guess to another
until the meaning of the summons had almost become clear. Then, just
as he was wishing that some unforeseen cause might prevent the direc
tor from coming, he had heard the handle of the door turning and the
swish of a soutane.
The director had begun to speak of the Dominican and Franciscan
orders14 and of the friendship between Saint Thomas and Saint
Bonaventure. The Capuchin dress, he thought, was rather too . . .
Stephen's face gave back the priest's indulgent smile and, not being
anxious to give an opinion, he made a slight dubitative movement with
his lips.
-I believe, continued the director, that there is some talk now
among the Capuchins themselves of doing away with it and following
the example of the other Franciscans.
-I suppose they would retain it in the cloisters ?* said Stephen.
-0, certainly, said the director. For the cloister it is all right, but for
the street I really think it would be better to do away with, don't you?
-It must be troublesome, I imagine?
-Of course it is, of course. Just imagine when I was in Belgium I
'Places, such as monasteries or convents, of religious seclusion.
as a Young Man
used to see them out cycling in all knds of weather with this thing up
about their knees! It was really ridiculous. Les jupes, * they call them in
The vowel was s o modifed as to be indistinct.
-What do they call them?
Stephen smiled again in answer to the smile which he could not see
on the priest's shadowed face, its image or spectre only passing rapidly
across his mind as the low discreet accent fell upon his ear. He gazed
calmly before him at the waning sk, glad of the cool of the evening and
the faint yellow glow which hid the tiny fame kindling upon his cheek.
The names of articles of dress worn by women or of certain soft and
delicate stffs used in their making brought always to his mind a delicate
and sinfl perfme. As a boy he had imagined the reins by which horses
are driven as slender silken bands and it shocked him to feel at Strad
brooke t the greasy leather of harness. It had shocked him, too, when he
had felt for the frst time beneath his tremulous fngers the brittle texture
of a woman's stockng for, retaining nothing of alhe read save that which
seemed to him an echo or a prophecy of his own state, it was only amid
softworded phrases or within rosesoft stuffs that he dared to conceive of
the soul or body of a woman moving with tender life.
But the phrase on the priest's lips was disingenuous for he knew that
a priest should not speak lightly on that theme. The phrase had been
spoken lightly with design and he felt that his face was being searched
by the eyes in the shadow. Whatever he had heard or read of the craft
of j esuits he had put aside frankly as not borne out by his own experi
ence. 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 men who washed their bodies briskly
with cold water and wore clean cold linen. During all the years he had
lived among them in Clongowes and in Belvedere he had received only
two pan dies and, though these had been dealt 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 a fippant word: it was they
who had taught him christian doctrine and urged him to live a good life
*he skrts (French).
tDublin suburb on the southern coast, 51/, miles from downtown.
136 A Portrait o the Artist
and, when he had fallen into grievous sin, it was they who had led him
back to grace. Their presence had made him diffdent of himself when
he was a muff* in Clongowes and it had made him diffdent of himself
also while he had held his equivocal position in Belvedere. A constant
sense of this had remained with him up to the last year of his school
life. He had never once disobeyed or allowed turbulent companions to
seduce him from his habit of quiet obedience: and, even when he
doubted some statement of a master, he had never presumed to doubt
openly. Lately some of their judgments had sounded a little childish in
his ears and had made him feel a regret and pit as though he were
slowly passing out of an accustomed world and were hearing its lan
guage for the last time. One day when some boys had gathered round
a priest under the shed near the chapel, he heard the priest say:
-1 believe that Lord Macaulayt was a man who probably never
committed a 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
the greatest French writer. The priest had answered that Victor Hugo
had never written half so well when he had turned against the church
as he had written when he was a catholic.
-But there are many eminent French critics, said the priest, who
consider that even Victor Hugo, great as he certainly was, had not so
pure a French style as Louis Veuillot. 1 1
The tiny fame which the pri est's allusi on had ki ndled upon
Stephen's cheek had sunk down again and hi s eyes were still fxed
calmly on the colourless sky. But an unresting doubt few hither and
thither before his mind. Masked memories passed quickly before
him: he recognised scenes and persons yet he was conscious that he
had failed to perceive some vital circumstance in them. He saw him
self walking about the grounds watching the sports in Clongowes
and eating chocolate out of his cricketcap. Some j esuits were walk
ing round the cycletrack in the company of ladi es. The echoes of cer
tain expressions used in Clongowes sounded in remote caves of his
tThomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), English historian and man of letters.
:A redundant statement; by defnition all mortal sins are deliberate.
(1802-1885); French romantic writer, author of Les Miserbles (1862).
(1813-1883); French journalist and political activist.
as a Young Man 137
His ears were listening to these distant echoes amid the silence of
the parlour when he became aware that the priest was addressing him
in a different voice.
-I sent for you today, Stephen, because I wished to speak to you on
a very important subject.
-Yes, sir.
-Have you ever felt that you had a vocation?*
Stephen parted his lips to answer yes and then withheld the word
suddenly. The priest waited for the answer and added:
-I mean have you ever felt within yourself in your soul, a desire to
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 perhaps
two or three boys whom God calls to the religious life. Such a boy is
marked off from his companions by his piety, by the good example he
shows to others. He is looked up to by them; he is chosen perhaps as
prefect by his fellow sodalists. And you, Stephen, have been such a boy
in this college, prefect of Our Blessed Lady's sodality. Perhaps you are
the boy in this college whom God designs to call to Himself
A strong note of pride reinforcing the gravity of the priest's voice
made Stephen's heart quicken in response.
-To receive that call, Stephen, said the priest, is the greatest hon
our that the Almighty God can bestow upon a man. No king or em
peror on this earth has the power of the priest of God. No angel or
archangel in heaven, no saint, not even the Blessed Virgin herself has
the power of a priest of God: the power of the keys, t the power to bind
and to loose from sin, the power of exorcism, the power to cast out from
the creatures 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 altar and take the form of bread and wine. What an awfl
power, Stephen!
A fame began to futter again on Stephen's cheek as he heard in this
proud address an echo of his own proud musings. How often had he
seen himself as a priest wielding calmly and humbly the awfl power of
* A calling to the priesthood.
tIn Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus gives to Peter, the frst priest of the church and frst
pope, "the keys to the kingdom of heaven. "
A Portrit o the Artist
which angels and saints stood in reverence! His soul had loved to muse
in secret on this desire. He had seen himself, a young and silentman
nered priest, entering a confessional swiftly, ascending the altarsteps,
incensing, genufecting, accomplishing the vague acts of the priesthood
which pleased him by reason of their semblance of reality and of their
distance from it. In that dim life which he had lived through in his
musings he had assumed the voices and gestures which he had noted
with various priests. He had bent his knee sideways like such a one, he
had shaken the thurible only slightly like such a one, his chasuble had
swung open like that of such another as he turned to the altar again
after having blessed the people. And above all it had pleased him to fll
the second place in those dim scenes of his imagining. He shrank from
the dignity of celebrant because it displeased him to imagine that all
the vague pomp should end in his own person or that the ritual should
assign to him so clear and fnal an offce. He longed for the minor sa
cred offces, to be vested with the tunicle of subdeacon at high mass, to
stand aloof from the altar, forgotten by the people, his shoulders cov
ered with a humeral veil, holding the paten within its folds or, when the
sacrifce had been accomplished, to stand as deacon in a dalmatic cloth
of gold on the step below the celebrant, his hands joined and his face
towards the people, and sing the chant, Ite missa est. * If ever he had seen
himself celebrant it was as in the pictures of the mass in his child's
massbook, in a church without worshippers, save for the angel of the
sacrifce, at a bare altar and served by an acolyte scarcely more boyish
than himself. In vague sacrifcial or sacramental acts alone his will
seemed drawn to go forth to encounter reality: and it was partly the ab
sence of an appointed rite which had always constrained him to inac
tion whether he had allowed silence to cover his anger or pride or had
suffered only an embrace he longed to give.
He listened in reverent silence now to the pri est's appeal and
through the words he heard even more distinctly a voice bidding him
approach, offering him secret knowledge and secret power. He would
know then what was the sin of Simon Magus t and what the sin against
the Holy Ghost for which there was no forgiveness. He would know
obscure things, hidden from others,* from those who were conceived
and born children of wrath. He would know the sins, the sinful long-
*Go, you are dismissed (Latin).
tHis sin, now called "simony" after him, involved the selling of spiritual blessings.
tCompare the novel's opening epigraph from Ovid.
as a Young Man
ings and sinful thoughts and sinfl acts, of others, hearing them mur
mured into his ears in the confessional under the shame of a darkened
chapel by the lips of women and of girls: but rendered immune myste
riously at his ordination by the imposition of hands his soul would pass
again uncontaminated to the white peace of the altar. No touch of sin
would linger upon the hands with which he would elevate and break
the host; no touch of sin would linger on his lips in prayer to make him
eat and drink damnation to himself not discerning the body of the
Lord. * He would hold his secret kowledge and secret power, being as
sinless as the innocent: and he would be a priest for ever according to
the order of Melchisedec. t
-I will offer up my mass tomorrow morning, said the director, that
Almighty God may reveal to you His holy will. And let you, Stephen,
make a novena: to your holy patron saint, the frst martyr who is very
powerful with God, that God may enlighten your mind. But you must
be quite sure, Stephen, that you have a vocation because it would be ter
rible if you found afterwards that you had none. Once a priest always a
priest, remember. Your catechism tells you that the sacrament of Holy
Orders is one of those which can be received only once because it im
prints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark which can never be ef
faced. It is before you must weigh well, not after. It is a solemn
question, Stephen, because on it may depend the salvation of your eter
nal soul. But we will pray to God together.
He held open the heavy hall door and gave his hand as if already to
a companion in the spiritual life. Stephen passed out on to the wide
platform above the steps and was conscious of the caress of mild
evening air. Towards Findlater's church a quartette of young men were
striding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping to
the agile melody of their leader's concertina. The music passed in an in
stant, as the frst bars of sudden music always did, over the fantastic
fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and noiselessly as a sud
den wave dissolves the sandbuilt turrets of children. Smiling at the triv
ial air he raised his eyes to the priest's face and, seeing in it a mirthless
refection of the sunken day, detached hi s hand slowly which had ac
quiesced faintly in that companionship.
As he descended the steps the impression which effaced his troubled
'An allusion to I Corinthians 11:29.
tReference to Hebrews 7: 17-2l.
:A nine-day devotion.
A Portrit o the Artist
selfcommunion was that of a mirthless mask refecting a sunken day
from the threshold of the college. The shadow, then, of the life of the
college passed gravely over his consciousness. It was a grave and or
dered and passionless life that awaited him, a life without material
cares. He wondered how he would pass the frst night in the novitiate*
and with what dismay he would wake the frst morning in the dormitory.
The troubling odour of the long corridors of C10ngowes came back to
him and he heard the discreet murmur of the burning gas fames. At
once from every part of his being unrest began to irradiate. A feverish
quickening of his pulses followed and a din of meaningless words drove
his reasoned thoughts hither and thither confusedly. His lungs dilated
and sank as if he were inhaling a warm moist unsustaining air, and he
smelt again the moist warm air which hung in the bath in C10ngowes
above the sluggish turf coloured water.
Some instinct, wakng at these memories, stronger than education
or piety quickened within him at every near approach to that life, an in
stinct subtle and hostile, and armed him against acquiescence. The chill
and order of the life repelled him. He saw himself rising in the cold of
the morning and fling down with the others to early mass and trying
vainly to struggle with his prayers against the fainting sickness of his
stomach. He saw himself sitting at dinner with the community of a co1
lege. What, then, had become of that deeprooted shyness of his which
had made him 10th to eat or drink under a strange roof What had
come of the pride of his spirit which had always made him conceive
himself as a being apart in every order?
The Reverend Stephen Deda1us, S. ;. t
His name in that new life leaped into characters before his eyes and
to it there followed a mental sensation of an undefned face or colour
of a face. The colour faded and became strong like a changing glow of
pallid brick red: Was it the raw reddish glow he had so often seen on
wintry mornings on the shaven gills of the priests? The face was eyeless
and sourfavoured and devout, shot with pink tinges of suffocated anger.
Was it not a mental spectre of the face of one of the j esuits whom some
of the boys called Lantern Jaws and others Foxy Campbell?
He was passing at that moment before the j esuit house in Gardiner
Street, and wondered vaguely which window would be his if he ever
j oined the order. Then he wondered at the vagueness of his wonder, at
'Living quarters of the novices of a religious order.
tSociety of Jesus (the Jesuits).
as a Young Man
the remoteness of his own soul from what he had hitherto imagined her
sanctuary, at the frail hold which so many years of order and obedience
had of him when once a defnite and irrevocable act of his threatened
to end forever, in time and in eternity, his freedom. The voice of the di
rector urging upon him the proud claims of the church and the mystery
and power of the priestly offce repeated itself idly in his memory. His
soul was not there to hear and greet it and he knew now that the ex
hortation he had listened to had already fallen into an idle formal tale.
He would never swing the thurible before the tabernacle as priest. His
destiny was to be elusive of social or religious orders. The wisdom of
the priest's appeal did not touch him to the quick. He was destined to
learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of oth
ers himself wandering among the snares of the world.
The snares of the world were its ways of sin. He would fall. l s He had
not yet fallen but he would fall silently, in an instant. Not to fall was too
hard, too hard: and he felt the silent lapse of his soul, as it would 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
eyes coldly for an instant towards the faded blue shrine of the Blessed
Virgin which stood fowlwise on a pole in the middle of a hamshaped
encampment of poor cottages. Then, bending to the left, he followed
the lane which led up to his house. The faint sour stink of rotted cab
bages came towards him from the ktchen gardens on the rising ground
above the river. He smiled to think that it was this disorder, the misrule
and confsion of his father's house and the stagnation of vegetable life,
which was to win the day in his soul. Then a short laugh broke from his
lips as he thought of that solitary farmhand in the kitchen gardens be
hind their house whom they had nicknamed The Man with the Hat. A
second laugh, taking rise from the frst after a pause, broke from him
involuntarily as he thought of how The Man with the Hat worked,
considering in turn the four points of the sky and then regretfully
plunging his spade in the earth.
He pushed open the latchless door of the porch and passed through
the naked hallway into the kitchen. A group of his brothers and sisters
was sitting round the table. Tea was nearly over and only the last of the
second watered tea remained in the bottoms of the small glass j ars and
'River on the north side of Dublin.
j ampots which did service for teacups. Discarded crusts and lumps of
sugared 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 on
the board and a kife with a broken ivory handle was stuck through the
pith of a ravaged turnover.
The sad quiet greyblue glow of the dying day came through the win
dow and the open door, covering over and allaying quietly a sudden in
stinct of remorse in Stephen's heart. Althat had been denied them had
been freely given to him, the eldest: but the quiet glow of evening
showed him in their faces no sign of rancour.
He sat near them at the table and asked where his father and mother
were. One answered:
-Goneboro toboro lookboro atboro aboro houseboro.
Still another removal! A boy named Fallon, in Belvedere, had often
asked him with a silly laugh why they moved so often. A frown of scorn
darkened quicky his forehead as he heard again the silly laugh of the
He asked:
-Why are we on the move again, if it's a fair question?
-Becauseboro theboro landboro lordboro willboro putboro usboro
The voice of his youngest brother from the farther side of the fre
place began to sing the air "Oft in the Stilly Night. "* One by one 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, till the last
pale light died down on the horizon, till the frst dark nightclouds came
forth and night fell.
He waited for some moments, listening, before he too took up the
air with them. He was listening with pain of spirit to the overtone of
weariness behind their frail fresh innocent voices. Even before they set
out on life's journey they seemed weary already of the way.
He heard the choir of voices in the ktchen echoed and multiplied
through an endless reverberation of the choirs of endless generations of
children: and heard in all the echoes an echo also of the recurring note
of weariness and pain. Al seemed weary of life even before entering
upon it. And he remembered that Newman had heard this note also in
the broken lines of Virgil giving utternce, like the voice o Nature hersel
'Poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852).
< /

Bathing Place _
North Bull Light

Poolg Light
Chapter IV
- --Stephen's Route
. '
Dublin Bay
A Portrait o the Artist
to that pain and weariness yet hope o better things which has been the ex
perience o her children in every time.
He could wait no longer.
* * * *
From the door of Byron's public-houset to the gate of Clontarfi
Chapel, from the gate of Clontarf Chapel to the door of Byron's public
house, and then back again to the chapel and then back again to the
public-house he had paced slowly at frst, planting his steps scrupu
lously in the spaces of the patchwork of the footpath, then timing their
fall to the fall of verses. A fll hour had passed since his father had gone
in with Dan Crosby, the tutor, to fnd out for him something about
the university. For a fll hour he had paced up and down, waiting: but
he could wait no longer.
He set off abruptly for the Bull, walking rapidly lest his father's
shrill whistle might call him back; and in a few moments he had
rounded the curve at the police barrack and was safe.
Yes, his mother was hostile to the idea, as he had read from her list
less silence. Yet her mistrust pricked him more keenly than his father's
pride and he thought coldly how he had watched the faith which was
fading down in his soul ageing and strengthening in her eyes. A dim
antagonism gathered force within him and darkened his mind as a
cloud against her disloyalty: and when it passed, cloudlike, leaving his
mind serene and dutifl towards her again, he was made aware dimly
and without regret of a frst noiseless sundering of their lives.
The university! I I So he had passed beyond the challenge of the sen
tries who had stood as guardians of his boyhood and had sought to
keep him among them that he might be subject to them and serve their
ends. Pride after satisfaction uplifted him like long slow waves. The end
he had been born to serve yet did not see had led him to escape by an
unseen path: and now it beckoned to him once more and a new adven
ture was about to be opened to him. It seemed to him that he heard
'FromAn Essay in Aid o a Grammar o Assent (1870), by John Henry Cardinal New
man (see endnote 8).
t A pub, licensed for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
:Community at the far northeastern reaches of Dublin.
Either North Bull Island, in the mouth of the River Liffey; or the seawall that en
closes it; or both.
[ [ University College Dublin, the city's frst Catholic university.
as a Young Man
notes of ftfl music leaping upwards a tone and downwards a dimin
ishing fourth, upwards a tone and downwards a major third, like triple
branching fames leaping ftflly, fame after fame, out of a midnight
wood. It was an elfn prelude, endless and formless; and, as it grew
wilder and faster, the fames leaping out of time, he seemed to hear
from under the boughs and grasses wild creatures racing, their feet pat
tering like rain upon the leaves. Their feet passed in pattering tumult
over his mind, the feet of hares and rabbits, the feet of harts and hinds
and antelopes, until he heard them no more and remembered only a
proud cadence from Newman:
-Whose feet are as the feet of harts and underneath the everlast-
mg arms.
The pride of that dim image brought back to his mind the dignity
of the offce he had refsed. All through his boyhood he had mused
upon that which he had so often thought to be his destiny and when
the moment had come for him to obey the call he had turned aside,
obeying a wayward instinct. Now time lay between: the oils of ordina
tion would never anoint his body. He had refsed. Why?
He turned seaward from the road at Dollymountt and as he passed
on to the thin wooden bridge he felt the planks shaking with the tramp
of heavily shod feet. A squad of Christian Brothers was on its way back
from the Bull and had begun to pass, two by two, across the bridge.
Soon the whole bridge was trembling and resounding. The uncouth
faces passed him two by to, stained yellow or red or livid by the sea,
and as he strove to look at them with ease and indifference, a faint stain
of personal shame and commiseration rose to his own face. Angry with
himself he tried to hide his face from their eyes by gazing down side
ways into the shallow swirling water under the bridge but he still saw a
refection therein of their topheavy silk hats, and humble tapelike col
lars and loosely hanging clerical clothes.
-Brother Hickey.
Brother Qaid.
Brother MacArdle.
Brother Keogh.
Their piety would be like their names, like their faces, like their
clothes; and it was idle for him to tell himself that their humble and
contrite hearts, it might be, paid a far richer tribute of devotion than his
'From Newman's The Iea o a University (1873).
tCommunity northeast of Clontarf.
A Portrait o the Artist
had ever been, a gift tenfold more acceptable than his elaborate adora
tion. It was idle for him to move himself to be generous towards them,
to tell himself that if he ever came to their gates, stripped of hi s pride,
beaten and in beggar's weeds, that they would be generous towards him,
loving him as themselves. Idle and embittering, fnaly, to argue, against
his own dispassionate certitude, that the commandment of love bade us
not to love our neighbours as ourselves with the same amount and in
tensity of love but to love him as ourselves with the same kind of love.
He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly to himself:
-A day of dappled seaborne clouds. '
The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord.
Words. Was it 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 feece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it
was the poise and balance of the period itself Did he then love the
rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend
and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of
mind, he drew less pleasure from the refection of the glowing sensible
world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richly storied
than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions
mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose.
He passed from the trembling bridge on to frm land again. At that
instant, as it seemed to him, the air was chilled; and lookng askance to
wards the water he saw a fying squall darkening and crisping suddenly
the tide. A faint click at his heart, a faint throb in his throat told him
once more of how his fesh dreaded the cold infrahuman odour of the
sea: yet he did not strike across the downs on his left but held straight
on along the spine of rocks that pointed against the river's mouth.
A veiled sunlight lit up faintly the grey sheet of water where the river
was embayed. In the distance along the course of the slowfowing Lif
fey slender masts fecked the sk and, more distant still, the dim fabric
of the city lay prone in haze. Like a scene on some vague arras, t old as
man's weariness, the image of the seventh city of christendom was
visible to him across the timeless air, no older nor more weary nor less
patient of subj ection than in the days of the thingmote. *
A near-quotation from Hugh Miller's The Testimony i the Rocks; or Geology in Its
Bearings on the Two Theologies, Naturl and Revealed (1857).
:Locale in Dublin that was the Scandinavian seat of law.
as a Young Man 1
Disheartened, he raised his eyes towards the slow-drifting clouds,
dappled and seaborne. They were voyaging across the deserts of the sk,
a host of nomads on the march, voyaging high over Ireland, westard
bound. The Europe they had come from lay out there beyond the Irish
Sea, Europe of strange tongues and valleyed and woodbegirt and
citadelled and of entrenched and marshalled races. He heard a confsed
music within him as of memories and names which he was almost con
scious of but could not capture even for an instant; then the music
seemed to recede, to recede, to recede: and from each receding trail of
nebulous music there fell always one long-drawn calling note, piercing
like a star the dusk of silence. Again! Again! Again! A voice from be
yond the world was calling.
-Hello, Stephanos!
-Here comes The Dedalus!
-Ao! . . . Eh, give it over, Dwyer, I'm telling you or I' ll give you a
stuff in the kisser for yourself . . . Ao!
-Good man, Towser! Duck him!
-Come along, Dedalus! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephane-
-Duck him! Guzzle him now, Towser!
-Help! Help! . . . Ao!
He recognised their speech collectively before he distinguished their
faces. The mere sight of that medley of wet nakedness chilled him to
the bone. Their bodies, corpsewhite or suffsed with a pallid golden
light or rawly tanned by the suns, gleamed with the wet of the sea.
Their divingstone, poised on its rude supports and rocking under their
plunges , and the rough-hewn stones of the sloping breakater over
which they scrambled in their horseplay, gleamed with cold wet lustre.
The towels with which they smacked their bodies were heavy with cold
seawater: and drenched with cold brine was their matted hair.
He stood still in deference to their calls and parried their banter with
easy words. How characterless they looked: Shuley without his deep
unbuttoned collar, Ennis without his scarlet belt with the snak clasp,
and Connolly without his Norfolk coat t with the fapless sidepockets!
It was a pain to see them and a swordlike pain to see the signs of ado
lescence that made repellent their pitiable nakedness. Perhaps they had
taken refge in number and noise from the secret dread in their souls.
'Crown or wreath (Greek).
tLoosely belted, single-breasted coat.
A Portrait o the Artist
But he, apart from them and in silence, remembered in what dread he
stood of the mystery of his own body.
-Stephanos Dedalos! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephaneforos!
Their banter was not new to him and now it fattered his mild proud
sovereignty. Now, as never before, his strange name seemed to him a
prophecy.16 So timeless seemed the grey warm air, so fuid and imper
sonal his own mood, that all ages were as one to him. A moment be
fore the ghost of the ancient kngdom of the Danes t had looked forth
through the vesture of the hazewrapped city. Now, at the name of the
fabulous artifcer, * he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see
a winged form fyi ng above the waves and slowly climbing the air.
What did it mean? Was it a quaint device opening a page of some me
dieval book of prophecies and symbols, a hawklike man fying sunward
above the sea, a prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had
been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol
of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of
the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being?
His heart trembled; his breath came faster and a wild spirit passed
over his limbs as though he were soaring sunward. His heart trembled
in an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in fight. His soul was soaring in
an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purifed in a breath
and delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with
the element of the spirit. An ecstasy of fight made radiant his eyes and
wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept
-One! Two! . . . Look out!
-0, Cripes, I'm drownded!
-One! Two! Three and away!
-The next! The next!
-One! . . . Uk!
His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or
eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was
the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties
and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the pale ser-
'Garland-bearing ox! Ox-souled! (Greek).
tMedieval Dublin was ruled by the Danes.
:Epithet for Stephen's legendary Greek "father," Dadalus.
Another epithet for Dadalus.
as a Young Man 1
vice of the altar. An instant of wild fight had delivered him and the cry
of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain.
What were they now but the cerements shaken from the body of
death-the fear he had walked in night and day, the incertitude that
had ringed him 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 her grave
clothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the freedom and
power of his soul, as the great artifcer whose name he bore, a living
thing, new and soaring and beautifl, impalpable, imperishable.
He started up nervously from the stoneblock for he could no longer
quench the fame in his blood. He felt his cheeks afame and his throat
throbbing with song. There was a lust of wandering i n his feet that
burned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart seemed
to cry. Evening would deepen above the sea, night fall upon the plains,
dawn glimmer before the wanderer and show him strange felds and
hills and faces. Where?
He looked northward towards Howth. t The sea had fallen below the
line of seawrack on the shallow side of the breakater and already the
tide was running out fast along the foreshore. Already one long oval
bank of sand lay warm and dry amid the wavelets. Here and there warm
isles of sand gleamed above the shallow tide: and about the isles and
around the long bank and amid the shallow currents of the beach were
lightclad fgures, wading and delving.
In a few moments he was barefoot, his stockings folded in his pock
ets, and his canvas shoes dangling by their knotted laces over his shoul
ders: and, picking a pointed Salteaten stick out of the jetsam among the
rocks, he clambered down the slope of the breakater.
There was a long rivulet in the strand: and, as he waded slowly up
its course, he wondered at the endless drift of seaweed. Emerald and
black and russet and olive, it moved beneath the current, swaying and
turning. The water of the rivulet was dark with endless drift and mir
rored the highdrifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above hi m
silently and silently the seatangle was drifting below hi m; and the grey
warm air was still: and a new wild life was singing in his vei ns.
tThe Hill of Howth, the geographical landmark framing the north side of Dublin

A Portrit o the Artist
Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung
back from her destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds
and in her house of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cere
ments and in wreaths 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 wilfl and wildhearted, alone amid
a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and
tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad fgures of children
and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.
A girl stood before him in midstream: alone and still, gazing out to
sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of
a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate
as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fash
ioned itself as a sign upon the fesh. Her thighs, fuller and softhued as
ivory, were bared almost to the hips where the white fringes of her
drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skrts
were kilted boldly about her wai st and dovetailed behind her. Her
bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of
some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girl
ish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.
She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his
presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet
sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she
suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent
them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither
and thither. The frst faint noise of gently moving water broke the si
lence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither
and thither, hither and thither: and a faint fame trembled on her cheek.
-Heavenly God! cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane j oy.
He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. His
cheeks were afame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. On
and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly
to 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 bro
ken the holy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul
had leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life
out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth
and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before
him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory.
On and on and on and on!
as a Young Man
He halted suddenly and heard his heart in the silence. How far had
he walked? What hour was it?
There was no human figure near him nor any sound borne to him
over the air. But the tide was near the turn and already the day was on
the wane. He turned landward and ran towards the shore and, running
up the sloping beach, reckless of the sharp shingle, found a sandy nook
amid a ring of tufted sand knolls and lay down there that the peace and
silence of the evening might still the riot of his blood.
He felt above him the vast indifferent dome and the calm processes
of the heavenly bodies: and the earth beneath him, the earth that had
borne him, had taken him to her breast.
He closed his eyes in the languor of sleep. His eyelids trembled as if
they felt the vast cyclic movement of the earth and her watchers, trem
bled as if they felt the strange light of some new world. His soul was
swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under sea,
traversed by cloudy shapes and beings. A world, a glimmer, or a fower?
Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breaking light,
an opening fower, it spread in endless succession to itself, breaking in
fll crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leaf by leaf and
wave of light by wave of light, fooding all the heavens with its soft
fushes, every fush deeper than the other.
Evening had fallen when he woke and the sand and arid grasses of
his bed glowed no longer. He rose slowly and, recalling the rapture of
his sleep, sighed at its j oy.
He climbed to the crest of the sandhill and gazed about hi m.
Evening had fallen. A ri m of the young moon cleft the pale waste of
sk line, the rim of a silver hoop embedded in grey sand: and the tide
was fowing in fast to the land with a low whisper of her waves, island
ing a few last fgures in distant pools.
HE DRINED HIS THIR cup of watery tea to the dregs and set to chew
ing the crusts of fried bread that were scattered near him, staring into
the dark pool of the j ar. The yellow dripping had been scooped out like
a boghole, and the pool under it brought back to his memory the dark
turfcoloured water of the bath in Clongowes. The bog of pawn tickets
at his elbow had just been rifed and he took up idly one after another
in his greasy fngers the blue and white dockets, scrawled and sanded
and creased and bearing the name of the pledger as Daly or MacEvoy.
1 Pair Buskns.
1 D. Coat.
3 Articles and White.
1 Man's Pants. *
Then he put them aside and gazed thoughtflly 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
its side in the middle of the mantelpiece until its dial showed a quarter
to twelve and then laid it once more on its side.
-An hour and twenty fve minutes, she said. The right time now is
twenty past ten. The deart knows you might try to be in time for your
-Fill out the place for me to wash, said Stephen.
-Katey, fll out the place for Stephen to wash.
-Booty, fll out the place for Stephen to wash.
-I can't, I'm going for blue. Fill it out, you, Maggi e.
When the enamelled basin had been ftted i nto the well of the sink
and the old washing glove fung on the side of it, he allowed his mother
* Articles that the Dedalus family has pawned: "buskins" are boots; "articles and
white" are undergarments.
tThat is, God; an example of the Irish strategy of "dodging the curse," substituting
an innocuous word for a profane or irreligious one.
to scrub his neck and root into the folds of his ears and into the inter
stices at the wings of his nose.
-Well, it's a poor case, she said, when a university student is so
dirty 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
thrust a 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
to the foot of the staircase.
-Yes, father?
-Is your lazy bitch of a brother gone out yet?
-Yes, father.
The girl care back, making signs t o hi m t o be quick and go out qui
etly by 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, and
you'll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know how it
has changed you.
-Good morning, everybody, said Stephen, smiling and kissing the
tips of his fngers in adieu.
The lane behind the terrace was waterlogged and as he went down
it slowly, choosing his steps amid heaps of wet rubbish, he heard a mad
nun screeching in the nun's madhouse beyond the wall.
-Jesus! 0 Jesus! Jesus!
He shook the sound out of hi s ears by an angry toss of hi s head and
hurried on, stumbling through the mouldering offal, his heart already
bitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness. His father's whistle, his
mother's mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now
so many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his
youth. He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration:
but, as he walked down the avenue and felt the grey morning light
falling about him through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild
smell of the wet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries.
The rain laden trees of the avenue evoked in him as always, memo
ries of the girls and women in the plays of Gerhart Hauptmann;
*(1862-1946); German dramatist, novelist, and poet.
Chapter V
-- -Stephen's Route
the memory of their pale sorrows and the fragrance falling from the wet
branches mingled in a mood of quiet j oy. His morning walk across the
city had begun; and he foreknew that as he passed the sloblands of
Fairview* he would think of the cloistral silverveined prose of New
man; that as he walked along the North Strand Road, glancing idly at
the windows of the provision shops, he would recall the dark humour
of Guido Cavalcantit and smile; that as he went by Baird's stone cut
ting works in Talbot Place the spirit ofIbsen* would blow through him
like a keen wind, a spirit of wayward and boyish beauty; and that pass
ing a grimy marine dealer's shop beyond the Liffey he would repeat the
song by Ben Jonson which begins:
I was not wearier where I lay.
His mind when wearied of its search for the essence of beauty amid
the spectral words of Aristotle or Aquinas turned often for its pleasure
to the dainty songs of the Elizabethans. His mind, in the venture of a
doubting monk, stood often in shadow under the windows of that age,
to hear the grave and mocking music of the lutenists or the frank
laughter of waistcoateers until a laugh too low, a phrase, tarnished by
time, of chambering and false honour, stung his monki sh pride and
drove him on from his lurking-place.
The lore which he was believed to pass his days brooding upon so
that it had rapt him from the companionship of youth was only a gar
ner of slender sentences from Aristotle's Poetics and Psychology I I and a
Synopsis Philosophic Scholasticc ad mentem divi Thomc. # His thinking
was a dusk of doubt and selfmistrust, lit up at moments by the light
nings of intuition, but lightnings of so clear a splendour that in those
moments the world perished about his feet as if it had been fre con
sumed: and thereafter his tongue grew heavy and he met the eyes of
others with unanswering eyes for he felt that the spirit of beauty had
folded him round like a mantle and that in reverie at least he had been
'Mudfats where the Tolka Rver empties into Dublin Bay.
t(c. 1255-1300); Italian poet and friend of Dante.
:Norwegian realist playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906); Joyce's frst published
work was a review in 1900 of Ibsen's play When W Dead Awaken.
From The Vision oDelight (1617), by English playwright Jonson (1572-1637).
ristotle's texts Poetics and De Anima.
#A Synopsis 0 the Scholastic Philosophy for the Undertanding 0 Saint Thomas (Latin).
A Portrait o the Artist
acquainted with nobility. But, when this brief pride of silence upheld
him no longer, he was glad to fnd himself still in the midst of common
lives, passing on his way amid the squalor and noise and sloth of the
city fearlessly and with a light heart.
Near the hoardings
on the canal he met the consumptive man with
the doll's face and the brimless hat coming towards him down the slope
of the bridge with little steps, tightly buttoned into his chocolate over
coat, and holding his furled umbrella a span or two from him like a di
vining rod. It must be eleven, he thought, and peered into a dairy to see
the time. The clock in the dairy told him that it was fve minutes to fve
but, as he turned away, he heard a clock somewhere near him, but un
seen, beating eleven strokes in swift precision. He laughed as he heard
it for it made him think of McCann; and he saw him a squat fgure in
a shooting j acket and breeches and with a fair goatee, standing in the
wind at Hopkns' corner,t and heard him say:
-Dedalus, you're an anti -social being, wrapped up in yourself I'm
not. I'm a democrat: and I' ll work and act for social liberty and equal
ity among all classes and sexes in the United States of the Europe of
the fture.
Eleven! Then he was late for that lecture too. What day of the week
was it? He stopped at a news agent's to read the headline of a placard.
Thursday. Ten to eleven, English; eleven to twelve, French; twelve to
one, Physics. He fancied to himself the English lecture and felt, even at
that distance, restless and helpless. He saw the heads of his classmates
meeky bent as they wrote in their notebooks the points they were bid
den to note, nominal defnitions, essential defnitions and examples or
dates of birth or death, chief works, a favourable and an unfavourable
criticism side by side. His own head was unbent for his thoughts wan
dered abroad and whether he looked around the little class of students
or out of the window across the desolate gardens of the Green* an
odour assailed him of cheerless cellar damp and decay. Another head
than his, right before him in the frst benches, was poised squarely
above its bending fellows like the head of a priest appealing without
humility to the tabernacle for the humble worshippers about him. Why
tThe jeweler Hopkns & Hopkins was located at the corner of Sackille Street
O'Connell Street) and Eden Qay.
:St. Stephen's Green, a public park bordered by the Grafton Street shopping area
on the north and University College Dublin on the south.
as a Young Man
was it that when he thought of Cranly he could never raise before his
mind the entire image of his body but only the image of the head and
face? Even now against the grey curtain of the morning he saw it be
fore hi m like the phantom of a dream, the face of a severed head or
death- mask, crowned on the brows by its stiff black upright hair as by
an iron crown. I t was a priestlike face, priestlike in its pallor, i n the wide
winged nose, in the shadowings below the eyes and along the j aws,
priestlike in the lips that were long and bloodless and faintly smiling:
and Stephen, remembering swiftly how he had told Cranly of all the
tumults and unrest and longings in his soul, day after day and night 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 who heard confessions
of those whom he had not power to absolve but that he felt again in
memory the gaze of its dark womanish eyes.
Through thi s image he had a glimpse of a strange dark cavern of
speculation but at once turned away from it, feeling that it was not yet
the hour to enter it. But the night shade of his friend's listlessness
seemed to be diffsing in the ai r around hi m a tenuous and deadly ex
halation; and he found himself glancing from one casual word to an
other on his right or left in stolid wonder that they had been so silently
emptied of instantaneous sense until every mean shop legend bound his
mind like the words of a spell and his soul shrivelled up sighing with
age as he walked on in a lane among heaps of dead language. His own
consciousness of language was ebbing from his brain and trickling into
the very words themselves which set to band and disband 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 any one ever hear such drivel? Lord Almighty! Who ever heard
of ivy whining on a wall? Yellow ivy: that was all right. Yellow ivory
also. And what about ivory iv?
The word now shone in his brain, clearer and brighter than any
ivory sawn from the mottled tusks of elephants. Ivory, ivoire, avorio,
ebur* One of the frst examples that he had learnt in Latin had run:
"Ivory" in French, Italian, and Latin.
A Portrait o the Artist
India mittit ebur;* and he recalled the shrewd northern face of the rec
tor who had taught him to construe the Metamorphoses of Ovid in a
courtly English, made whimsical by the mention of porkers and pot
sherdst and chines* of bacon. He had learnt what little he kew of the
laws of Latin verse from a ragged book written by a Portuguese priest.
Contrahit ortor variant in carmine vates.
The crises and victories and secessions in Roman hi story were
handed on to him in the trite words in tanto discriminel
and he had
tried to peer into the social life of the city of cities through the words
implere ollam denariorum which the rector had rendered sonorously as
the flling of a pot with denaries. The pages of his timeworn Horace#
never felt cold to the touch even when his own fngers were cold: they
were human pages: and ffty years before they had been turned by the
human fngers of John Duncan Inverarity and by his brother, William
Malcolm Inverarity. Yes, those were noble names on the dusk fyleaf
and, even for so poor a Latinist as he, the dusk verses were as fragrant
as though they had lain all those years in myrtle and lavender and ver
vain;** but yet it wounded him to think that he would never be but a
shy guest at the feast of the world's culture and that the monkish learn
ing, in terms of which he was striving to forge out an esthetic philoso
phy, was held no higher by the age he lived in than the subtle and
curious j argons of heraldry and falconry.
The grey block ofTrinitytt on his left, set heavily in the city's igno
rance like a dull stone set in a cumbrous ring, pulled his mind down
ward; and while he was striving this way and that to free his feet from
the fetters of the reformed conscience he came upon the droll statue of
the national poet ofIreland. **
*India sends ivory (Latin).
Pieces of broken pottery.
:Backbone of an animal, used in cookng.
The orator summarizes, the poet-prophets transform in their verses (Latin); from
Emmanuel Avarez's book of Latin grammar.
I I With such great discrimination (Latin).
#Qiintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 B.C.), important Roman poet and satirist.
**Plant related to verbena, with elongated stalks of fragrant fowers.
ttTrinity College, Dublin (also called the University of Dublin), the Protestant
university founded in 1592 by Qieen Elizabeth 1.
::Thomas Moore (1779-1852), author of the perennially popular Irish Melodies.
as a Young Man 1
He looked at it without anger: for, though sloth of the body and of
the soul crept over it like unseen vermin, over the shufing feet and up
the folds of the cloak and around the servile head, it seemed humbly
conscious of its indignity. It was a Firbolg
in the borrowed cloak of
Milesian;t and he thought of his friend Davin, the peasant student. It
was a jesting name beteen them, but the young peasant bore with it
-Go on, Stevie, I have a hard head, you tell me. Call me what you
The homely version of his christian name on the lips of his friend
had touched Stephen pleasantly when frst heard for he was as formal
in speech with others as they were with him. Often, as he sat in Davin's
rooms in Grantham Street, wondering at his friend's well made boots
that fanked the wall pair by pair and repeating for his friend's simple
ear the verses and cadences of others which were the veils of his own
longing and dej ection, the rude Firbolg mind of his listener had drawn
his mind towards it and fung it back again, drawing it by a quiet in
bred courtesy of attention or by a quaint, turn of old English speech or
by the force of its delight in rude bodily skill-for Davin had sat at the
feet of Michael Cusack, the Gael*-repelling swiftly and suddenly by a
grossness of intelligence or by a bluntness of feeling or by a dull stare
of terror in the eyes, the terror of soul of a starving Irish village in which
the curfew was still a nightly fear.
Side by side with his memory of the deeds of prowess of his uncle
Mat Davin, the athlete, the young peasant worshipped the sorrowfl
legend ofIreland. The gossip of his fellow students which strove to ren
der the fat life of the college signifcant at any cost loved to think of
him as a young fenian. I I His nurse had taught him Irish and shaped his
rude imagination by the broken lights ofIrish myth. He stood towards
the myth upon which no individual mind had ever drawn out a line of
*In Irish legend, the Firbolgs were early inhabitants of Ireland, from around the
fourth century B.C.
tSuccessors to the Firbolgs as rulers of Ireland.
tFounder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (1884), dedicated to the revival of tra
ditional Irish sport in Ireland.
Reference to the nightly curfews imposed in rural Ireland by the British during pe
riods of Irish nationalist unrest.
liThe Fenian Brotherhood, founded in 1858 by James Stephens; a revolutionary
group dedicated to winning Irish independence; forerunner of the Irish Republican
Army (I.R.A.).
A Portrit o the Artist
beauty and to its unwieldy tales that divided themselves as they moved
down the cycles in the same attitude as towards the Roman catholic re
ligion, the attitude of dull witted loyal serf Whatsoever of thought or
of feeling came to him from England or by way of English culture his
mind stood armed against in obedience to a password: and of the world
that lay beyond England he knew only the foreign legion of France in
which he spoke of serving.
Coupling this ambition with the young man's humour Stephen had
often called him one of the tame geese: * and there was even a point of
irritation in the name pointed against that very reluctance of speech
and deed in his fri end which seemed so often to stand between
Stephen's mind, eager of speculation, and the hidden ways of Irish life.
One night the young peasant, his spirit stung by the violent or lux
urious language in which Stephen escaped from the cold silence of in
tellectual revolt, had called up before Stephen's mind a strange vision.
The two were walking slowly towards Davin's rooms through the dark
narrow streets of the poorer jews.
-A thing happened to myself, Stevie, last autumn, coming on win
ter, and 1 never told it to a living soul and you are the frst person now 1
ever told it to. 1 disremember if it was October or November. It was Oc
tober because it was before 1 came up here to join the matriculation class.
Stephen had turned hi s smiling eyes towards his friend's face, fat
tered by his confdence and won over to sympathy by the speaker's sim
ple accent.
-I was away all that day from my own place over in Buttevant-I
don't kow if you know where that is-at a hurlingt match beteen the
Croke's Own Boys and the Fearless Thurles* and by God, Stevie, that
was the hard fght. My frst cousin, Fonsy Davin, was stripped to his
buff that day minding cool for the Limericks but he was up with the
forwards half the time and shouting like mad. I never will forget that
day. One of the Crokes made a woefl wipe at him one time with his
camanll and 1 declare to God he was 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.
A play on the Irish "wild geese," expatriate Irish political fgures.
t Irish game similar to feld hockey and lacrosse.
:Two local, semi-professional teams.
I I Or "hurley," the hurling equivalent of a hockey stick.
as a Young Man
-I am glad he escaped, Stephen had said with a laugh, but surely
that's not the strange thing that happened you?
-Well, I suppose that doesn't interest you but leastays there was
such noise after the match that I missed the train home and I couldn't
get 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 t and all the
cars in the country were there. So there was nothing for it only to stay
the night or to foot it out. Well, I started to walk and on I went and it
was coming on night when I got into the Ballyhoura Hills, that's bet
ter than ten miles from Kilmallock* and there's a long lonely road after
that. You wouldn't see the sign of a christian house along the road or
hear a sound. It was pitch dark almost. Once or tice I stopped by the
way under a bush to redden my pipe and only for 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 the window. I went up and knocked
at the door. A voice asked who was there and I answered I was over at
the match in Buttevant and was walking back and that I'd be thankfl
for a glass of water. After a while a young woman opened the door and
brought me out a big mug of milk. She was half undressed as if she was
going to bed when I knocked and she had her hair hanging; and I
thought by her fgure and by something in the look of her eyes that she
must be carrying a child. She kept me in talk a long while at the door
and I thought it strange because her breast and her shoulders were bare.
She asked 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 had gone that
morning to Qeenstown with his sister to see her off And all the time
she was talkng, Stevie, she had her eyes fed on my face and she stood
so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed her back the
mug at last she took my hand to draw me in over the threshold and
said: Come in and stay the night here. You've no call to be fightened. There'
no one in but ourselves .... I didn't go in, Stevie. I thanked her and went
on my way again, al in a fever. At the frst bend of the road I looked
back and she was standing at the door.
The last words of Davin's story sang in his memory and the fgure
of the woman in the story stood forth, refected in other fgures of the
peasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane
*hing (Anglo-Irish).
ts miles east-southeast from Buttevant.
:Davin describes a route leading north from Buttevant.
162 A Portrit of the Artist
as the college cars drove by, as a type of her race and of his own, a bat
like soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy
and loneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a woman
without 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 frst handsel today, gen
tleman. Buy that lovely bunch. Will you, gentleman?
The blue fowers which she lifted towards him and her young blue
eyes seemed to him at that instant images of guilelessness; and he
halted till the image had vanished and he saw only her ragged dress and
damp coarse hair and hoydenish t face.
-Do, gentleman! Don't forget your own girl, sir!
-1 have no money, said Stephen.
-Buy them lovely ones, will you, sir? Only a penny.
-Did you hear what 1 said? asked Stephen, bending towards her. 1
told you 1 had no money. I tell you again now.
-Well, sure, you will some day, sir, please God, the girl answered
after an instant.
-Possibly, said Stephen, but 1 don't think it likely.
He left her quickly, fearing that her intimacy might turn to gibing
and wishing to be out of the way before she offered her ware to another,
a tourist from England or a student of Trinity. Grafton Street, along
which he walked, prolonged that moment of discouraged poverty. In
the roadway at the head of the street a slab was set to the memory of
Wolfe Tone* and he remembered having been present with his father at
its laying. He remembered with bitterness that scene of tawdry tribute.
There were four French delegates in a brake and one, a plump smiling
young man, held, wedged on a stick, a card on which were printed the
words: Vive lrande!
But the trees in Stephen's Green were fragrant of rain and the rain
sodden earth gave forth its mortal odour, a faint incense rising upward
through the mould from many hearts. The soul of the gallant venal city
which his elders had told him of had shrunk with time to a faint mor-
'First sale of the day.
t Boisterous.
:(1763-1798); Irish revolutionary and a founder of the United Irishmen, an early
republican group; he was instrumental in the failed rising (insurrection) of 1798, for
which he was put to death.
Long Live Ireland (French).
as a Young Man
tal odour rising from the earth and he knew that in a moment when he
entered the sombre college he would be conscious of a corruption other
than that of Buck Egan and Burnchape1 Whaley. *
It was too late to go upstairs to the French class. He crossed the hall
and took the corridor to the left which led to the physics theatre. The
corridor was dark and silent but not unwatchful. Why did he feel that
it was not unwatchfl? Was it because he had heard that in Buck Wha
ley's time there was a secret staircase there? Or was the jesuit house
extra-territorial and was he walking among aliens? The Ireland of Tone
and of Parnell seemed to have receded in space.
He opened the door of the theatre and halted in the chilly grey light
that struggled through the dusty windows. A fgure was crouching be
fore the large grate and by its leanness and greyness he knew that it was
the dean of studies lighting the fre. Stephen closed the door quietly
and approached the freplace.
-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
in lighting a fre. We have the liberal arts and we have the usefl arts.
This is one of the usefl arts.
-I will try to learn it, said Stephen.
-Not too much coal, said the dean, workng brisky at his task, that
is one of the secrets.
He produced four candle butts from the side pockets of his soutane
and placed them deftly among the coals and twisted papers. Stephen
watched him in silence. Kneeling thus on the fagstone to kindle the
fre and busied with the disposition of his wisps of paper and candle
butts he seemed more than ever a humble server making ready the place
of sacrifce in an empty temple, a levite t of the Lord. Like a levite's robe
of plain linen the faded worn soutane draped the kneeling fgure of one
whom the canonicals* or the bellybordered ephod would irk and trou
ble. His very body had waxed old in lowly service of the Lord-in tend
ing the fre upon the altar, in bearing tidings secretly, in waiting upon
worldlings, in striking swiftly when bidden-and yet had remained un
graced by aught of saintly or of prelatic beauty. Nay, his very soul had
*Two late-eighteenth-century characters associated with University College.
tAssistant in the Temple.
:Clothing set by canon law for offciating at mass.
Ornamental priestly garment.
A Portrait of the Artist
waed old in that service without growing towards light and beauty or
spreading abroad a sweet odour of her sanctity-a mortifed will no
more responsive to the thrill of its obedience than was 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 fll the silence, said:
-I am sure I could not light a fre.
-You are an artist, are you not, Mr Dedalus? said the dean, glanc-
ing up and blinking his pale eyes. The obj ect of the artist is the creation
of the beautifl. What the beautifl is is another question.
He rubbed hi s hands slowly and drily over the diffculty.
-Can you solve that question now? he asked.
-Aquinas, answered Stephen, says pulra sunt quc visa placent.
-This fre before us, said the dean, will be pleasing to the eye. Will
it therefore be beautifl?
-In so far as it is apprehended by the sight, which I suppose means
here esthetic intellection, it will be beautiful. But Aquinas also says
Bonum est in quod tendit appetitus.t In so far as it satisfes the animal
craving for warmth fre is a good. In hell, however, it is an evil.
-Qite so, said the dean, you have certainly hit the nail on the head.
He rose nimbly and went towards the door, set it aj ar 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
pale loveless eyes. Like Ignatius he was lame but in his eyes burned no
spark ofIgnatius' enthusiasm. Even the legendary craft of the company,
a craft subtler and more secret than its fabled books of secret subtle wis
dom, had not fred his soul with the energy of apostleship. It seemed as
if he used the shifts and lore and cunning of the world, as bidden to do,
for the greater glory of God, without joy in their handling or hatred of
that in them which was evil but turning them, with a frm gesture of
obedience, back upon themselves: and for all this silent service it
seemed as if he loved not at all the master and little, 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's hand, to be leaned on in the
*The beautifl are those things that, being seen, please (Latin).
tThe good is that toward which the appetite tends (Latin).
:Like an old man's walking stick (Latin).
as a Young Man
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 esthetic
question? he asked.
-From me! said Stephen in astonishment. I stumble on an idea
once a fortnight* if I am luck.
-These questions are very profound, Mr Dedalus, said the dean. It
is like looking down from the cliffs of Mohert into the depths. Many
go down into the depths and never come up. Only the trained diver can
go down into those depths and explore them and come to the surface
-If you mean speculation, sir, said Stephen, I also am sure that
there is no such thing as free thinking inasmuch as athinking must be
bound by its own laws.
-For my purpose I can work on at present by the light of one or
two ideas of Aristotle and Aquinas.
-I see. I quite see your point.
-I need them only for my own use and guidance until I have done
something for myself by their light. If the lamp smokes or s mells I shall
try to trim it. If it does not give light enough I shall sell it and buy an
-Epictetus* also had a lamp, said the dean, which was sold for a
fancy price after his death. It was the lamp he wrote his philosophical
dissertations by. You know Epictetus?
-An old gentleman, said Stephen coarsely, who said that the soul
is very like a bucketful of water.
-He tells us in his homely way, the dean went on, that he put an
iron lamp before a statue of one of the gods and that a thief stole the
lamp. What did the philosopher do? He refected that it was in the
character of a thief to steal and determined to buy an earthen lamp next
day instead of the iron lamp.
A smell of molten tallow came up from the dean's candle butts and
fused itself in Stephen's consciousness with the ji ngle of the words,
*wo-week period.
tOn the western coast ofIreland, south of Galway.
:( c. A.D. 55-c.135); Greek stoic philosopher; in his Discourses, he likened the soul to
a bowl of water.
166 A Portrit o the Artist
bucket and lamp and lamp and bucket. The priest's voice, too, had a
hard jingling tone. Stephen's mind halted by instinct, checked by the
strange tone and the imagery and by the priest's face which seemed like
an unlit lamp or a refector hung in a false focus. What lay behind it or
within it? A dull torpor of the soul or the dullness of the thundercloud,
charged with intellection and capable of the gloom of God?
-I meant a different knd of lamp, sir, said Stephen.
-Undoubtedly, said the dean.
-One diffculty, said Stephen, in esthetic discussion is to know
whether words are being used according to the literary tradition or ac
cording to the tradition of the marketplace. I remember a sentence of
Newman's,* in which he says of the Blessed Virgin that she was de
tained in the fll company of the saints. The use of the word in the
marketplace 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: de-
He thrust forward his under j aw and uttered a dry short cough.
-To return to the lamp, he said, the feeding of it is also a nice prob
lem. You must choose the pure oil and you must be carefl when you
pour it in not to overfow it, not to pour in more than the fnnel can
-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 heard
the word in my life.
-It i s called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra, t s ai d Stephen,
laughing, where they speak the best English.
-A tundish, said the dean refectively. That is a most interesting
word. I must look that word up. Upon my word I must.
His courtesy of manner rang a little false, and Stephen looked at the
English convert with the same eyes as the elder brother in the parable
may have turned on the prodigalY A humble follower in the wake of
'From Newman's "The Glories of Mary."
tWorking-class neighborhood 2 miles from Dublin's city center.
as a Young Man
clamorous conversions, a poor Englishman in Ireland, he seemed to
have entered on the stage of jesuit history when that strange play of in
trigue and suffering and envy and struggle and indignity had been all
but given through-a late comer, a tardy spirit. From what had he set
out? Perhaps he had been born and bred among serious dissenters, see
ing salvation in Jesus only and abhoring the vain pomps of the estab
lishment. Had he felt the need of an implicit faith amid the welter of
sectarianism and the j argon of its turbulent schisms, si principal men,
peculiar people, seed and snake baptists, supralapsarian dogmatists?*
Had he found the true church all of a sudden in winding up to the end
like a reel of cotton some fnespun line of reasoning upon insufation
on the imposition of hands or the procession of the Holy Ghost?t Or
had Lord Christ touched him and bidden him follow, like that disci
ple* who had sat at the receipt of custom, as he sat by the door of some
zinc roofed chapel, yawning and telling over his church pence?
The dean repeated the word yet again.
-T undish! Well now, that is interesting!
-The question you asked me a moment ago seems to me more in-
teresting. What is that beauty which the artist struggles to express from
lumps of earth, said Stephen coldly.
The little word seemed to have turned a rapier point of his sensi
tiveness against this courteous and vigilant foe. He felt with a smart of
dejection that the man to whom he was speaking was a countryman of
Ben Jonson. He thought:
-The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine.
How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master on his lips and on
mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His
language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired
speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at
bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
-And to distinguish beteen the beautiful and the sublime, the
dean added, to distinguish between moral beaut and material beauty.
And to inquire what knd 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 frm dry tone, was
'Various sects that rebelled from the central control over dogma exercised by the
Catholic Church.
tPractices and beliefs distinguishing various sects from the Church.
:Matthew; see Matthew 9:9.
A Portrit o the Artist
silent: and through the silence a distant noise of many boots and con
fused voices came up the staircase.
-In pursuing these speculations, said the dean conclusively, there is,
however, the danger of perishing ofinanition. * First you must take your
degree. Set that before you as your frst aim. Then, little by little, you
will see your way. I mean in every sense, your way in life and in think
ing. It may be uphill pedaling at frst. 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
in us. I most certainly should not be despondent. Per asper ad astr. t
He left the hearth quickly and went towards the landing to oversee
the arrival of the frst arts' class.
Leaning against the freplace Stephen heard hi m greet briskly and
impartially every student of the class and could almost see the frank
smiles of the coarser students. A desolating pity began to fall like dew
upon his easily embittered heart for this faithful servingman of the
knightly Loyola, for this half brother of the clergy, more venal than
they in speech, more steadfast of soul than they, one whom he would
never call his ghostly father: and he thought how this man and his
companions had earned the name of worldlings at the hands not of the
unworldly only but of the worldly also for having pleaded, during all
their history, at the bar of God's justice for the souls of the lax and the
lukewarm and the prudent.
The entry of the professor was signalled by a few rounds of Kentish
fre* from the heavy boots of those students who sat on the highest tier
of the gloomy theatre under the grey cobwebbed windows. The calling
of the roll began, and the responses to the names were given out in all
tones until the name of Peter Byrne was reached.
A deep bass note in response came from the upper tier, followed by
coughs of protest along the other benches.
The professor paused in hi s reading and called the next name:
No answer.
-Mr Cranly!
Lack of food and water.
tThrough rough ways to the stars (Latin).
:Loud volley of applause produced by hands or feet.
as a Young Man
A smile few across Stephen's face as he thought of his fri end's
studies .
-Try Leopardstown! * said a voice from the bench behind.
Stephen glanced up quickly but Moynihan's snoutish face, outlined
on the grey light, was impassive. A formula was given out. Amid the
rustling of the 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. t
The formula which he wrote obediently on the sheet of paper, the
coiling and uncoiling calculations of the professor, the spectrelike sym
bols of force and velocity fascinated and j aded Stephen's mind. He had
heard some say that the old professor was an atheist freemason. Oh, the
grey dull day! It seemed a limbo of painless pati ent consci ousness
through which souls of mathematicians might wander, projecting long
slender fabrics from plane to plane of ever rarer and paler twilight, ra
diating swift eddies to the last verges of a universe ever vaster, farther
and more impalpable.
-So we must distinguish between elliptical and ellipsoidal. Perhaps
some of you gentlemen may be familiar with the works of Mr W. S.
Gilbert. In one of his songs he speaks of the billiard sharp who is con
demned to play:
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And ellitical billiard balls.*
-He means a ball having the form of the ellipsoid of the principal
axes 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 clois
ter of Stephen's mind, shaking into gay life limp priestly vestments that
hung upon the walls, setting them to sway and caper in a sabbath of
misrule. The forms of the community emerged from the gust blown
*Horseracing track northwest of the city.
tParody of language on baptism in the catechism.
:From Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado (1885).
A Portrit o the Artist
vestments, the dean of studies, the portly forid bursar with his cap of
grey hair, the president, the little priest with feathery hair who wrote
devout verses, the squat peasant form of the professor of economics, the
tall form of the young professor of mental science discussing on the
landing a case of conscience with his class like a giraffe cropping high
leafage among a herd of antelopes, the grave troubled prefect of sodal
ity, the plump round headed professor of Italian with his rogue's eyes.
They came ambling and stumbling, tumbling and capering, kilting
their gowns for leap frog, holding one another back, shaken with deep
false laughter, smackng one another behind and laughing at their rude
malice, calling to one another by familiar 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 a
shelf of which he took down a set of coils, blew away the dust from
many points and, bearing it careflly to the table, held a fnger on it
while he proceeded with his lecture. He explained that the wires in
modern coils were of a compound called platinoid lately discovered by
F W. Martino.
He spoke clearly the initials and surname of the discoverer. Moyni
han whispered from behind:
-Good old Fresh Water Martin!
-Ask hi m, Stephen whispered back with weary humour, if he
wants a subj ect for electrocution. He can have me.
Moynihan, seeing the professor bend over the coi l s, rose in hi s
bench and, clacking noiselessly the fngers of hi s right hand, began to
call with 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 German sil
ver because it has a lower coeffcient of resistance by changes of tem
perature. The platinoid wire is insulated and the covering of silk that
insulates it is wound on the ebonite bobbins just where my fnger i s. If
it were wound single an extra current would be induced in the coils.
The bobbins are saturated in hot paraffn-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
'American chemist.
as a Young Man
and applied science. A heavybuilt student, wearing gold spectacles,
stared with some wonder at the questioner. Moynihan murmured from
behind in his natural voice:
-Isn't MacAister a devil for his pound of fesh?
Stephen looked down coldly on the oblong skull beneath him over
grown with tangled twinecoloured hair. The voice, the accent, the mind
of the questioner offended him and he allowed the offence to carry him
towards wilfl unkndness, bidding his mind think that the student's
father would have done better had he sent his son to Belfast to study
and have saved something on the train fare by so doing.
The oblong skull beneath did not turn to meet this shaft of thought
and yet the shaft came back to its bowstring: for he saw in a moment
the student's whey pale face.
-That thought is not mine, he said to himself quickly. It came from
the comic Irishman in the bench behind. Patience. Can you say with
certitude by whom the soul of your race was bartered and its elect be
trayed-by the questioner or by the mocker? Pati ence. Remember
Epictetus. It is probably in his character to ask such a question at such
a moment in such a tone and to pronounce the word science as a mono
The droning voice of the professor continued to wind itself slowly
round and round the coils it spoke of doubling, trebling, quadrupling
its 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
the door were two photographs in frames and between them a long roll
of paper bearing an irregular tail of signatures. MacCann went briskly
to and fro among the students, talking rapidly, answering rebuffs and
leading one after another to the table. In the inner hall the dean of
studies stood talking to a young professor, stroking his chin gravely and
nodding his head.
Stephen, checked by the crowd at the door, halted irresolutely From
under the wide falling leaf of a soft hat Cranly's dark eyes were watch
ing him.
-Have you signed? Stephen asked.
'Moynihan plays on the call of a pub owner at closing time.
A Portrit o the Artist
Cranly closed his long thinlipped mouth, communed with himself
an instant and answered:
-Ego habeo. *
-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 I I Christ.
The scorn and anger in his voice brought Cranly's eyes back from a
calm survey 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 vos-
tr 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
new world. No stimulants and votes for the bitches.
Stephen smiled at the manner of this confdence and, when Moyni
han had passed, turned again to meet Cranly's eyes.
-Perhaps you can tell me, he said, why he pours hi s soul so freely
into my ear. Can you?
A dull scowl appeared on Cranly's forehead. He stared at the table
where Moynihan had bent to write his name on the roll; and then said
-A sugar!
-Quis est in malo humore, said Stephen, ego aut vos?**
'I have (dog Latin).
tWhat? (Latin).
:For universal peace (Latin).
Russian Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918; ruled 1894-1917) initiated an international
petition for peace that resulted in the Hague Peace Conference (1899).
I I Drunken.
#1 believe you are a bloody liar because your face shows you are in a damned bad hu
mour (dog Latin).
" Who is in a bad humour, you or me? (dog Latin).
as a Young Man
Cranly did not take up the taunt: He brooded sourly on his judg
ment and repeated with the same fat force:
-A faming bloody sugar, that's what he is!
It was his epitaph for all dead friendships and Stephen wondered
whether it would ever be spoken in the same tone over his memory. The
heavy lumpish phrase sank slowly out of hearing like a stone through a
quagmire. Stephen saw it sink as he had seen many another, feeling its
heaviness depress his heart. Cranly's speech, unlike that of Davin, had
neither rare phrases of Elizabethan English nor quaintly turned ver
sions of Irish idioms. Its drawl was an echo of the quays of Dublin
given back by a bleak decaying seaport, its energy an echo of the sacred
eloquence of Dublin given back fatly by a Wicklow pulpit.
The heavy scowl faded from Cranly's face as MacCann marched
briskly towards 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
a respect for punctuality?
-That question is out of order, said Stephen. Next business.
Hi s smiling eyes were fxed on a silver wrapped tablet of mi lk
chocolate which peeped out of the propagandist's breast-pocket. A lit
tle ring oflisteners closed round to hear the war of wits. A lean student
with olive skn and lank black hair thrust his face between the two,
glancing from one to the other at each phrase and seeming to try to
catch each fying phrase in his open moist mouth. Cranly took a small
grey handball from 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
at the 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 onlook
ers in an indistinct bleating voice.
-By hell, that's a queer notion. I consider that notion to be a mer
cenary notion.
His voice faded into silence. No heed was pai d to his words. He
turned his olive face, equine in expression, towards Stephen, inviting
him to speak again.
A Portrit o the Artist
MacCann began to speak with fuent energy of the Tsar's rescript, of
of general disarmament, arbitration in cases of international
disputes, of the signs of the times, of the new humanity and the new
gospel of life which would make it the business of the community to
secure as cheaply as possible the greatest possible happiness of the
greatest 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
a pint after.
-I'm a believer in universal brotherhood, said Temple, glancing
about him out of his dark, oval eyes. Marxt 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 fecked
by a thin foam:
-Socialism was founded by an Irishman and the frst man in Eu
rope who preached the freedom of thought was Collins. Two hundred
years ago. He denounced priestcraft, the philosopher of Middlesex.
Three cheers for John Anthony Collins!
A thin voice from the verge of the ring replied:
-Pip! pip!
Moynihan murmured beside Stephen's ear:
-And what about John Anthony's poor little sister:
Lottie Collins lost her drwer;
Won't you kindly lend her your
Stephen laughed and Moynihan, pleased with the result, murmured
-We' ll have fve bob each wal on John Anthony Collins.
'William Thomas Stead (1849-1912), English journalist.
tKarl Marx (1818-1883) maintained that class confict was inevitable.
:Practical joke.
Anthony Collins (1676-1729), English theologian.
I I Lottie Collins was a late-nineteenth-century music-hall performer, whose best
known number was "Tra-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay."
#That is, they are betting 5 shillings on each possible outcome.
as a Young Man
-I am waiting for your answer, said MacCann briefy.
-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, smackng his lips. You are a reactionary,
-Do you think you impress me, Stephen asked, when you fourish
your wooden sword?
-Metaphors! said MacCann bluntly. Come to facts.
Stephen blushed and turned aside. MacCann stood his ground and
said with hostile humour:
-Minor poets, 1 suppose, are above such trivial questions as the
question of universal peace.
Cranly raised his head and held the handball between the two stu
dents by way of a peaceoffering, saying:
-Pax super tatum sanguinarium globum.*
Stephen, moving away the bystanders, jerked his shoulder angrily in
the direction of the Tsar's image, saying:
-Keep your icon. If you must have a Jesus, let us have a legitimate
-By hell, that's a good one! said the gipsy student to those about
him, that's a fne expression. I like that expression immensely.
He gulped down the spittle in his throat as if he were gulping down
the phrase 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
just now?
Feeling himself j ostled by the students near him, he said to them:
-I am curious t o 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 know
if you believe in man. 1 admire you, sir. I admire the mind of man in
dependent of all religions. Is that your opinion about the mind ofJesus?
-Go on, Temple, said the stout ruddy student, returning, as was his
wont, to his frst idea, that pint is waiting for you.
-He thinks I'm an imbecile, Temple explained to Stephen, because
I'm a believer in the power of mind.
Cranly linked his arms into those of Stephen and his admirer and said:
'Peace all over this bloody globe (dog Latin).
A Portrit of the Artist
-Nos ad manum ballumjocabimus.*
Stephen, in the act of being led away, caught sight of MacCann's
fushed bluntfeatured face.
-My signature is of no account, he said politely. You are right to go
your way. Leave me to go mine.
-Dedalus, said MacCann crisply, I believe you're a good fellow but
you have yet to learn the dignity of altruism and the responsibility of
the human individual.
A voice said:
-Intellectual crankery is better out of this movement than in it.
Stephen, recognizing the harsh tone of MacAister's voice, did not
turn in the direction of the voice. Cranly pushed solemnly through the
throng of students, linking Stephen and Temple like a celebrant at
tended 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 hel, I saw that at once.
As they crossed the inner hall the dean of studies was in the act of
escaping from the student with whom he had been conversing. He
stood at the foot of the staircase, a foot on the lowest step, his thread
bare soutane gathered about him for the ascent with womanish care,
nodding his head often and repeating:
-Not a doubt of it, Mr Hackett! Very fne! Not a doubt of it!
In the middle of the hall the prefect of the college sodality was
speaking earnestly, in a soft querulous voice, with a boarder. As he
spoke he wrinkled a little his freckled brow, and bit, between his
phrases, at a tiny bone pencil.
-I hope the matrict men will all come. The frst arts men are pretty
sure. Second arts, too. We must make sure of the newcomers.
Temple bent again across Cranly, as they were passing through the
doorway, and said in a swift whisper:
-Do you kow that he is a married man? He was a married man
before they converted him. He has a wife and children somewhere. By
hell, I think that's the queerest notion I ever heard! Eh?
His whisper trailed off into sly cackling laughter. The moment they
were through the doorway Cranly seized him rudely by the neck and
shook him, saying:
'Let's go play handball (dog Latin).
t Abbreviation for "matriculation," or frst-year, class.
as a Young Man 1
-You faming foundering fool! I' ll take my dying bible there isn't a
bigger bloody ape, do you know, than you in the whole faming bloody
Temple wriggled in his grip, laughing still with sly content, while
Cranly repeated fatly at every rude shake:
-A faming faring bloody idiot!
They crossed the weedy garden together. The president, wrapped in
a heavy loose cloak, was coming towards them along one of the walks,
reading his offce. * At the end of the walk he halted before turning and
raised his eyes. The students saluted, Temple fmbling as before at the
peak of his cap. They walked forward in silence. As they neared the
alley Stephen could hear the thuds of the players' hands and the wet
smacks of the ball and Davin's voice crying out excitedly at each stroke.
The three students halted round the box on which Davin sat to fol
low the game. Temple, after a few moments, sidled across to Stephen
and said:
-Excuse me, 1 wanted to ask you do you believe that Jean Jacques
Rousseau t was a sincere man?
Stephen laughed outright. Cranly, picking up the broken stave of a
cask from the grass at his feet, turned swiftly and said sternly:
-Temple, 1 declare to the living God if you say another word, do
you know, to anybody on any subject I' ll kill you super spotum.
-He was like you, 1 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 faming cham
berpot as talking to Temple. Go home, Temple. For God's sake, go
-I don't care a damn about you, Cranly, answered Temple, moving
out of reach of the uplifted stave and pointing at Stephen. He's the only
man 1 see in this institution that has an individual mind.
-Instituti on! Individual! cried Cranly. Go home, blast you, for
you're a hopeless bloody man.
-I' m an emotional man, said Temple. That's quite rightly ex
pressed. And I'm proud that I'm an emotionalist.
He sidled out of the alley, smiling slyly. Cranly watched him with a
blank expressionless face.
'Reading through a daily selection of prayers and devotions.
t(1712-1778); French philosopher and writer who infuenced the Romantics.
:On the spot (dog Latin).
8 A Portrit o the Artist
-Look at him! he said. Did you ever see such a go-by-the-wall?
Hi s phrase was greeted by a strange laugh from a student who
lounged against the wall, his peaked cap down on his eyes. The laugh,
pitched in a high key and coming from a so muscular frame, seemed
like the whinny of an elephant. The student's body shook all over and,
to ease his mirth, he rubbed both his hands delightedly, over his groins.
-Lynch is awake, said Cranly.
Lynch, for answer, straightened himself and thrust forward hi s
-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
their faces had fushed with the struggle they drew apart, panting.
Stephen bent down towards Davin who, intent on the game, had paid
no heed to the 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 pipe from his mouth-always alone.
-Now that you have signed the petition for universal peace, said
Stephen, I suppose you will burn that little copybook I saw in your room.
As Davin did not answer Stephen began to quote:
-Long pace, fanna! t Right incline, fanna! Fianna, by numbers,
salute, one, two!
-That's a different question, said Davin. I'm an Irish nationalist,
frst 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 fnd you a
few in this college.
-I can't understand you, said Davi n. One time I hear you talk
against English literature. Now you talk against the Irish informers.
What with your name and your ideas . . . are you Irish at all?
-Come with me now to the offce of arms and I will show you the
tree of my family, said Stephen.
-Then be one of us, said Davin. Why don't you learn Irish? Why
did you drop out of the league class after the frst lesson?
'Insignifcant person.
tThe Irish name for the Fenians (see note on p. 159).
as a Young Man
-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 lady
and Father Moran? But that's all in your own mind, Stevi e. They were
only talkng and laughing.
Stephen paused and laid a friendly hand upon Davin's shoulder.
-Do you remember, he said, when we knew each other frst? The
frst morning we met you asked me to show you the way to the matric
ulation class, putting a very strong stress on the frst syllable. You re
member? Then you used to address the j esuits as father,* you remember?
I ask myself about you: Is he as innocent as his speech?
-I'm a simple person, said Davi n. You kow that. When you told
me that night in Harcourt Street those things about your private life,
honest to God, Stevie, I was not able to eat my dinner. I was quite bad.
I was awake a long time that night. Why did you tell me those things?
-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's friend
-This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I
shall express myself as I am.
-Try to be one of us, repeated Davi n. In your heart you are an
Irishman but your pride is too powerfl.
-My ancestors threw off their language and took another, Stephen
said. They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you
fancy I am going 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 his life and his youth and his affections from the days of Tone to
those of Parnell but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or
reviled him and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of
you. I' d see you damned frst.
-They died for their ideals, Stevie, said Davin. Our day will come
yet, believe me.
Stephen, following his own thought, was silent for an instant.
-The soul is born, he said vaguely, frst in those moments I told you
'Only those Jesuits who are ordained priests are properly addressed as "father"; oth
ers are called simply "mister. "
of It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the
body. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets
fung at it to hold it back from fight. You talk to me of nationality, lan
guage, religion. I shall try to fy by those nets.
Davin knocked the ashes from his pipe.
-Too deep for me, Stevie, he said. But a man's country comes frst.
Ireland frst, Stevie. You can be a poet or 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
head sadly. But in a moment his sadness left him and he was hody dis
puting with Cranly and the two players who had fnished their game. A
match of four was arranged, Cranly insisting, however, that his ball should
be used. He let it rebound twice or thrice to his hand and struck it strongly
and swiftly towards the base of the aey, exclaiming in answer to its thud:
-Your soul!
Stephen stood with Lynch till the score began to ri se. Then he
plucked him 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 the doddering porter was pinning up a notice in the frame. At
the foot of the steps they halted and Stephen took a packet of cigarettes
from his 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
up your mind to swear in yelow.
They lit their cigarettes and turned to the right. After a pause
Stephen began:
-Aristotle has not defned pity and terror.t I have. I say . . .
Lynch halted and said bluntly:
-Stop! I won't listen! I am sick. I was out last night on a yellow
drunk with Horan and Goggins.
'Litter of pigs.
t According to Aristotle in the Poetics, pity and terror are proper concerns of tragedy;
through the spectators' vicarious participation in the story, they are purged of these

Chapter V
(Stephen's walk with Lynch)
- - - (Stephen's walk with Cranly)
A Portrait o the Artist
Stephen went on:
-Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of what
soever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the
human sufferer. Terror is the feeling which arrests the mind in the pres
ence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and
unites it with the secret cause.
-Repeat, said Lynch.
Stephen repeated the defnitions slowly.
-A girl got into a hansom* a few days ago, he went on, in London.
She was 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 of the hansom in the shape of a star. A long fne needle of the
shivered glass pierced her heart. She died on the instant. The reporter
called it a tragic death. It is not. It is remote from terror and pity ac
cording to the terms of my defnitions.
-The tragic emotion, in fact, is a face looking two ways, towards
terror and towards pity, both of which are phases of it. You see I use the
word arrest. I mean that the tragic emotion is static. Or rather the dra
matic emotion is. The feelings excited by improper art are kinetic, de
sire or loathing. Desire urges us to possess, to go to something; loathing
urges us to abandon, to go from something. The arts which excite
them, pornographical or didactic, are therefore improper arts. The es
thetic emotion (I used the general term) is therefore static. The mind is
arrested and raised above desire and loathing.
-You say that art must not excite desire, said Lynch, I told you that
one day I wrote my name in pencil on the backside of the Venus of
Praxitelest in the Museum. Was that not desire?
-I speak of normal natures, said Stephen. You also told me that
when you were a boy in that charming carmelite* school you ate pieces
of dried cowdung.
Lynch broke again into a whinny oflaughter and again rubbed both
his hands over his groins but without taking them from his pockets.
-0, I did! I did! he cried.
Stephen turned towards his companion and looked at him for a mo
ment boldly in the eyes. Lynch, recovering from his laughter, answered
*Horse-drawn carriage.
tA plaster copy of this statue was, at the time, on display in the National Museum,
adjacent to the National Library.
:Order founded in the twelfth century at Mount Carmel, Palestine.
as a Young Man
his look from his humbled eyes. The long slender fattened skull be
neath the long pointed cap brought before Stephen's mi nd the image of
a hooded reptile. The eyes, too, were reptilelike in glint and gaze. Yet at
that instant, humbled and alert in their look, they were lit by one tiny
human poi nt, the window of a shrivelled soul, poignant and self
-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
desire and loathing excited by improper esthetic means are really not
esthetic emotions not only because they are kinetic in character but also
because they are not more than physical. Our fesh shrinks from what
it dreads and responds to the stimulus of what it desires by a purely re
fex action of the nervous system. Our eyelid closes before we are aware
that the fy is about to enter our eye.
-Not always, said Lynch critically.
-In the same way, said Stephen, your fesh responded to the stim-
ulus of a naked statue but it was, I say, simply a refex action of the
nerves. Beauty expressed by the artist cannot awaken in us an emotion
which 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 and at last
dissolved by what I call the rhythm of beauty.
-What is that exactly? asked Lynch.
-Rhythm, said Stephen, is the frst formal esthetic relation of part
to art in any esthetic whole or of an esthetic whole to its part or parts
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 I
admire only beauty.
Stephen raised his cap as if in greeting. Then, blushing slightly, he
laid his hand on Lynch's thick tweed sleeve.
-We are right, he said, and the others are wrong. To speak of these
things 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 and
colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we
have come to understand-that is art.
They had reached the canal bridge and, turning from their course,
A Portrit o the Artist
went on by the trees. A crude grey light, mirrored in the sluggish water,
and a smell of wet branches over their heads seemed to war against the
course of Stephen's thought.
-But you have not answered my question, said Lynch. What is art?
What is the beauty it expresses?
-That was the frst defnition 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 talk
about Wicklow bacon.
-I remember, said Lynch. He told us about them faming fat devils
of pigs.
-Art, said Stephen, is the human disposition of sensible or intelli
gible matter for an esthetic end. You remember the pigs and forgot that.
You are a distressing pair, you and Cranly.
Lynch made a grimace at the raw grey sk and said:
-If I am to listen to your esthetic philosophy give me at least an
other cigarette. I don't care about it. I don't even care about women.
Damn you and damn everything. I want a job of fve hundred a year.
You can't get me one.
Stephen handed him the packet of cigarettes. Lynch took the last
one that remained, saying simply:
-Aquinas, said Stephen, says that is beautifl the apprehension of
which pleases.
Lynch nodded.
-I remember that, he said. Pulra sunt quc visa placent.
-He uses the word visa, said Stephen, to cover esthetic apprehen-
sions of all kinds, whether through sight or hearing or through any
other avenue of apprehension. This word, though it is vague, is clear
enough to keep away good and evil, which excite desire and loathing. It
means certainly a stasis and not a knesis. How about the true? It pro
duces also a stasis of the mind. You would not write your name in pen
cil across the hypothenuse of a rightangled triangle.
-No, said Lynch, give me the hyothenuse of the Venus ofPraxiteles.
-Static therefore, said Stephen. Plato, I believe, said that beauty is
the splendour of truth. * I don't think that it has a meaning but the true
and the beautifl are akin. Truth is beheld by the intellect which is ap-
'Although Plato makes assertions similar to this in both Phaedrus and Symposium,
Joyce came upon the remark in one of Gustave Flaubert's letters.
as a Young Man
peased by the most satisfing relations of the intelligible: beauty is be
held by the imagination which is appeased by the most satisfing relations
of the sensible. The frst step in the direction of truth is to understand
the frame and scope of the intellect itself, to comprehend the act itself
of intellection. Aristotle's entire system of philosophy rests upon his
book of psychology and that, I think, rests on his statement that the
same attribute cannot at the same time and in the same connexion be
long to and not belong to the same subject. The frst step in the direc
tion of beauty is to understand the frame and scope of the imagination,
to comprehend the act itself of esthetic apprehension. Is that clear?-
-But what is beauty? asked Lynch impatiently. Out with another
defnition. Something we see and like! Is that the best you and Aquinas
can do?
-Let us take woman, said Stephen.
-Let us take her! said Lynch fervently.
-The Greek, the Turk, the Chinese, the Copt, the Hottentot, said
Stephen, all admire a different type of female beauty. That seems to be
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 in
women is in direct connexion with the manifold fnctions of women
for the propagation of the species. It may be so. The world, it seems, is
drearier than even you, Lynch, imagined. For my part I dislike that way
out. It leads to eugenics rather than to esthetic. It leads you out of the
maze into a new gaudy lecture room were MacCann, with one hand on
The Origin o Species* and the other hand on the new testament, tells
you that you admired the great fanks of Venus because you felt that she
would bear you burly offspring and admired her great breasts because
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 drayt laden with old iron came round the corner of si r
Patrick Dun's hospital covering the end of Stephen's speech with the
harsh roar of j angled and rattling metal. Lynch closed his ears and gave
out oath after oath till the dray had passed. Then he turned on his heel
'Published in 1859 by Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the book establishes the con
cept of natural selection as the guiding factor in human evolution.
tHorse-drawn cart for hauling goods.
A Portrit o the Artist
rudely. Stephen turned also and waited for a few moments till his com
panion's ill-humour had had its vent.
-This hypothesis, Stephen repeated, is the other way out: that,
though the same object may not seem beautifl to a people, a people
who admire a beautifl object fnd in it certain relations which satisf and
coincide with the stages themselves of aesthetic apprehension. These re
lations of the sensible, visible to you through one form and to me through
another, must be therefore the necessary qualities of beauty. Now, we can
return to our old friend saint Thomas for another pennyworth of wisdom.
Lynch laughed.
-It amuses me vastly, he said, to hear you quoting him time after
time like a jolly round friar. Are you laughing in your sleeve?
-MacAlister, answered Stephen, would call my esthetic theory
applied Aquinas. So far as this side of esthetic philosophy extends
Aquinas will carry me all along the line. When we come to the phe
nomena of artistic conception, artistic gestation and artistic reproduc
tion, I require a new terminology and a new personal experience.
-Of course, said Lynch. Afer all Aquinas, in spite of his intellect,
was exactly a good round friar. But you will tell me about the new per
sonal experience and new terminology some other day. Hurry up and
fnish the frst part.
-Who knows? said Stephen, smiling. Perhaps Aquinas would un
derstand me better than you. He was a poet himself He wrote a hymn
for Maundy Thursday. It begins with the words Pange lingua gloriosi. *
They say it is the highest glory of the hymnal. It is an intricate and
soothing hymn. I like it: but there is no hymn that can be put beside
that mournful and maj estic processional song, the Vxilla Regist of
Venantius Fortunatus.
Lynch began to sing softly and solemnly in a deep bass voice:
Inpleta sunt qua concinit
David fdeli carmine
Dicendo nationibus
Regnavit a lingo Deus. *
*Tell, my tongue, of the glory . . . (Latin).
t"The Banners of the King Advance" (Latin), by Italian poet Venantius :rtunatus
:Fulflied is all that David told / In true prophetic song of old / Amidst the nations,
God, saith he, / Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree (Latin); this is the sec
ond stanza of "Vex ilia Regis."
as a Young Man
-That's great! he said, well pleased. Great music!
They turned into Lower Mount Street. A few steps from the corner
a fat young man, wearing a silk neckcloth, saluted them and stopped.
-Did you hear the results of the exams? he asked. Griffn was plucked.
Halpin and O' Flynn are through the home civil. Moonan got ffth
place in the Indian. O' Shaughnessy got fourteenth. The Irish fellows in
Clark's gave them a feed last night. They all ate curry.
His pallid bloated face expressed benevolent malice and, as he had
advanced through his tidings of success, his small fat encircled eyes
vanished 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 forth
again from their lurking places.
-Yes, MacCullagh and I, he sai d. He's taking pure mathematics
and I'm taking constitutional history. There are twenty subj ects. I'm
taking botany too. You know I'm a member of the feld club.
He drew back from the other two in a stately fashion and placed a
plump woollen gloved hand on his breast, from which muttered wheez
ing laughter at once broke forth.
-Bring us a few turnips and onions the next time you go out, said
Stephen drily, to make a stew.
The fat student laughed indulgently and said:
-We are all highly respectable people in the feld club. Last Satur-
day 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 quicky:
-I hear you are writing some essay about esthetics.
Stephen made a vague gesture of denial.
-Goethe and Lessing, 1 8 said Donovan, have written a lot on that
subj ect, the classical school and the romantic school and all that. The
Laocoon interested me very much when I read it. Of course it is ideal
istic, 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 strong suspi
cion, amounting almost to a conviction, that my sister intended to
make pancakes today for the dinner of the Donovan family.
'Park south of Dublin.
188 A Portrit o the Artist
-Goodbye, Stephen said in his wake. Don't forget the turnips for
me and my mate.
Lynch gazed after him, his lip curling in slow scorn till his face re
sembled a devil's mask:
-To think that that yellow pancake eating excrement can get a
good j ob, he said at length, and I have to smoke cheap cigarettes!
They turned their faces towards Merrion Square and went on for a
little in silence.
-To fnish what I was saying about beauty, said Stephen, the most
satisfing relations of the sensible must therefore correspond to the
necessary phases of artistic apprehension. Find these and you fnd the
qualities of universal beauty. Aquinas says : Ad pulcritudinem tria re
quiruntur integritas, consonantia, daritas. I translate it so: Three things are
needed fr beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance. Do these correspond
to the phases of apprehension? Are you following?
-Of course, I am, said Lynch. If you think I have an excrementa
tious intelligence run after Donovan and ask him to listen to you.
Stephen pointed to a basket which a butcher's boy had slung i n-
verted on hi s head.
-Look at that basket, he said.
-I see it, said Lynch.
-In order to see that basket, said Stephen, your mind frst of all
separates the basket from the rest of the visible universe which is not
the basket. The frst phase of apprehension is a bounding line drawn
about the object to be apprehended. An esthetic image is presented to
us either in space or in time. What is audible is presented in time, what
is visible is presented in space. But temporal or spatial, the esthetic
image is frst luminously apprehended as selfounded and self contained
upon the immeasurable background of space or time which is not it.
You apprehended it as one thing. You see it as one whole. You appre
hend its wholeness. That is integritas.
-Bull's eye! said Lynch, laughing. Go on.
-Then, said Stephen, you pass from point to point, led by its for-
mal lines; you apprehend it as balanced part against part within its lim
its; you feel the rhythm of its structure. In other words, the synthesis of
immediate perception is followed by the analysis of apprehension. Hav
ing frst felt that it is one thing you feel now that it is a thing. You ap
prehend it as complex, multiple, divisible, separable, made up of its
parts, the result of its parts and their sum, harmonious. That is conso
as a Young Man
-Bull's eye agai n! said Lynch wittily. Tell me now what is claritas
and you win the cigar.
-The connotation of the word, Stephen said, is rather vague.
Aquinas uses a term which seems to be inexact. It bafed 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, the idea of which the matter was but the shadow, the reality of
which it was but the symbol. I thought he might mean that cfaritas was
the artistic discovery and representation of the divine purpose in any
thing or a force of generalization which would make the esthetic image
a universal one, make it outshine its proper conditions . But that is lit
erary talk. I understand it so. When you have apprehended that basket
as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form and ap
prehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which is logically
and esthetically permissible. You see that it is that thing which it is and
no other thing. The radiance of which he speaks is the scholastic quid
ditas, the whatness of a thing. This supreme quality is felt by the artist
when the esthetic image is frst conceived in his imagination. The mind
in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautiflly to a fading coal. *
The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance
of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which
has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the
luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to
that cardiac condition which the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani,
using a phrase almost as beautifl as Shelley's, called the enchantment
of the heart. t
Stephen paused and, though his companion did not speak, felt that
his words had called up around them a thought enchanted silence.
-What I have said, he began again, refers to beauty in the wider
sense of the word, in the sense which the word has in the literary tra
dition. In the market place it has another sense. When we speak of
beauty in the second sense of the term our judgment is infuenced in
the frst place by the art itself and by the form of that art. The image,
it is clear, must be set between the mind or senses of the artist himself
and the mind or senses of others. If you bear this in memory you will
see that art necessarily divides itself into three forms progressing from
'Allusion to Shelley's "A Defence of Poetry" (1821).
tGalvani (1737-1798) used the phrase to describe a physiological process witnessed
during experimentation on frogs.
A Portrit o the Artist
one to the next. These forms are: 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 image in immediate relation to others.
-That you told me a few nights ago, said Lynch, and we began the
famous discussion.
-I have a book at home, said Stephen, in which I have written
down questions which are more amusing than yours were. In fnding
the answers to them I found the theory of the esthetic which I am try
ing to explain. Here are some questions I set myself: Is a chair fnel
made trgic or comic? Is the portrit o Mona Lisa good i I desire to see it?
Is the bust o Sir Philip Crampton* lrical epical or drmatic? I not, why
not ?
-Why not, indeed? said Lynch, laughing.
-I a man hacking in fury at a block o wood, Stephen continued,
make there an image o a cow, is that image a work o art ? I not, why not?
-That's a lovely one, said Lynch, laughing again. That has the true
scholastic stink.
-Lessing, said Stephen, should not have taken a group of statues to
write of. The art, being inferior, does not present the forms I spoke of
distinguished clearly one from another. Even in literature, the highest
and most spiritual art, the forms are often confsed. The lyrical form is
in fact the simplest verbal vesture of an instant of emotion, a rhythmi
cal cry such as ages ago cheered on the man who pulled at the oar or
dragged stones up a slope. He who utters it is more conscious of the in
stant of emotion than of himself as feeling emotion. The simplest epi
cal form is seen emerging out of lyrical literature when the artist
prolongs and broods upon himself as the centre of an epical event and
this form progresses till the centre of emotional gravity is equidistant
from the artist himself and from others. The narrative is no longer
purely personal. The personality of the artist passes into the narration
itself, fowing round and round the persons and the action like a vital
sea. This progress you will see easily in that old English ballad Turpin
Hero, t which begins in the frst person and ends in the third person.
The dramatic form is reached when the vitality which has fowed and
*(1777-1858); the notoriously ugly bust of this Dublin surgeon has since been re
tStreet ballad from the early eighteenth century.
as a Young Man
eddied round each person flls every person with such vital force that he
or she assumes a proper and intangible esthetic life. The personality of
the artist, at frst a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fuid and lam
bent narrative, fnally refnes itself out of existence, impersonalizes it
self, so to speak. The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purifed
in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of es
thetic like that of material creation is accomplished. The artist, like the
God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his
handiwork, invisible, refned out of existence, indifferent, paring his
-Trying to refne them also out of existence, said Lynch.
A fne rain began to fall from the high veiled sk and they turned
into the duke's lawn: to reach the national library before the shower
-What do you mean, Lynch asked surlily, by prating about beauty
and the imagination in this miserable God forsaken island? No wonder
the artist retired within or behind his handiwork after having perpe
trated this country.
The rain fell faster. When they passed through the passage beside
the royal Irish academyt they found many students sheltering under the
arcade of the library Cranly, leaning against a pillar, was picking his
teeth with a sharpened match, listening to some companions. Some
girls stood near the entrance door. Lynch whispered to Stephen:
-Your beloved is here.
Stephen took his place silently on the step below the group of stu
dents, heedless of the rain which fell fast, turning his eyes towards her
from time to time. She too stood silently among her companions. She
has no priest to firt with, he thought with conscious bitterness, re
membering how he had seen her last. Lynch was right. His mind, emp
tied of theory and courage, lapsed back into a listless peace.
He heard the students talking among themselves. They spoke of two
friends who had passed the fnal medical examination, of the chances
of getting 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 fright-
fl hole he said it was. Nothing but midwifery cases.
'Lawn beside the Duke of Leinster's house, in the same block as the National Li
brary and the National Museum.
t Founded in 1785 to promote the study of letters and sciences.
A Portrit o the Artist
-Do you mean to say it is better to have a job here in the country
than 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
commercial city.
-Depends on the practice.
-Ego credo ut vita pauperum est simpliciter atrox, simpliciter san-
guinarius atrox, in Liverpoolio. t
Their voices reached his ears as if from a distance in interrupted pul
sation. She was preparing to go away with her companions.
The quick light shower had drawn off, tarrying in clusters of dia
monds among the shrubs of the quadrangle where an exhalation was
breathed forth by the blackened earth. Their trim boots prattled as they
stood on the steps of the colonnade, talking quietly and gaily, glancing
at the clouds, holding their umbrellas at cunning angles against the few
last raindrops, closing them again, holding their skrts demurely.
And if he had judged her harshly? If her life were a simple rosary of
hours, her life simple and strange as a bird's life, gay in the morning,
restless all day, tired at sundown? Her heart simple and wilfl as a bird's
* * * *
Towards dawn he awoke. 0 what sweet music! His soul was all dewy
wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay
still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet music.
His mind was wakng slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a
morning inspiration. A spirit flled him, pure as the purest water, sweet
as dew, moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed, how pas
sionlessly, as if the seraphim themselves were breathing upon him! His
soul was waking slowly, fearing to awake wholly. It was that windless
hour of dawn when madness wakes and strange plants open to the light
and the moth fies forth silently.
An enchantment of the heart! The night had been enchanted. In a
dream or vision he had known the ecstasy of seraphic life. Was it an in
stant of enchantment only or long hours and years and ages?
The instant of inspiration seemed now to be refected from all sides
'Mindless labor; "cramming."
tI believe that the life of the poor is simply awl, simply bloody awl, in Liver
pool (dog Latin).
as a Youn
at once from a multitude of cloudy circumstances of what had hap
pened or of what might have happened. The instant fashed forth like
a point of light and now from cloud on cloud of vague circumstance
confsed form was veiling softly its afterglow. O! In the virgin womb
of the imagination the word was made fesh. Gabriel
the serapht had
come to the virgin's chamber. An afterglow deepened within his spirit,
whence the white fame had passed, deepening to a rose and ardent
light. That rose and ardent light was her strange wilfl heart, strange
that no man had known or would know, wilfl from before the begin
ning of the world: and lured by that ardent roselike glow the choirs of
the seraphim were falling from heaven.
Are you not weary o ardent ways,
Lure o the fallen serphim?
Tell no more o 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.
The roselike glow sent forth its rays of rhyme; ways, days, blaze, praise,
raise. Its rays burned up the world, consumed the hearts of men and an
gels: the rays from the rose that was her wilfl heart.
Your eyes have set man' heart ablaze
And you have had your wil o him.
Are you not weary o 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 fame the smoke o prise
Goes up .om ocean rim to rim
Tell no more o enchanted days.
Smoke went up from the whole earth, from the vapoury oceans,
smoke of her praise. The earth was like a swinging swaying censer, a
*he archangel who will herald the Last Judgment; he announced to the Virgin
Mary that she was pregnant with Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1 :26-38).
t Member of the seraphim, the highest order of angels.
:Poem usually comprising fve tercets followed by a quatrain, based on two rhymes.
A Portrit o the Artist
ball of incense, an ellipsoidal ball. The rhythm died out at once; the cry
of his heart was broken. His lips began to murmur the frst verses over
and over; then went on stumbling through half verses, stammering and
bafed; then stopped. The heart's cry was broken.
The veiled windless hour had passed and behind the panes of the
naked window the morning light was gathering. A bell beat faintly very
far away. A bird twittered; two birds, three. The bell and the bird
ceased: and the dull white light spread itself east and west, covering the
world, covering the roselight in his heart.
Fearing to lose al, he raised himself suddenly on his elbow to look for
paper and pencil. There was neither on the table; only the soup plate he
had eaten the rice from for supper and the candlestick with its tendrils of
tallow and its paper socket, singed by the last fame. He stretched his arm
wearily towards the foot of the bed, groping with his hand in the pock
ets of the coat that hung there. His fngers found a pencil and then a cig
arette packet. He lay back and, tearing open the packet, placed the last
cigarette on the wndow ledge and began to write out the stanzas of the
villanelle in small neat letters on the rough cardboard surface.
Having written them out he lay back on the lumpy pillow, murmur
ing them again. The lumps of knotted fock under his head reminded
him of the lumps of knotted horsehair in the sofa of her parlour on
which he used to sit, smiling or serious, asking himself why he had
come, displeased with her and with himself, confounded by the print of
the Sacred Heart
above the untenanted sideboard. He saw her ap
proach him in a lull of the talk and beg him to sing one of his curious
songs. Then he saw himself sitting at the old piano, striking chords
softly from its specked keys and singing, amid the talk which had risen
again in the room, to her who leaned beside the mantelpiece a dainty
song of the Elizabethans, a sad and sweet loth to depart, the victory
chant of Agincourt,t the happy air of Greensleeves. While he sang and
she listened, or feigned to listen, his heart was at rest but when the
quaint old songs had ended and he heard again the voices in the room
he remembered his own sarcasm: the house where young men are called
by their christian names a little too soon.
At certain instants her eyes seemed about to trust him but he had
waited in vain. She passed now dancing lightly across his memory as
'Color illustration of Jesus, heart exposed, in token of His love for humankind.
t"Ballad of Agincourt" (1605), a poem by Michael Drayton that recalls English
Kng Henry V's victory over the French in 1415.
as a Young Man
she had been that night at the carnival ball, her white dress a little
lifted, a white spray nodding in her hair. She danced lightly in the
round. She was dancing towards him and, as she came, her eyes were a
little averted and a faint glow was on her cheek. At the pause in the
chain 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 spray
nodded to her dancing and when she was in shadow the glow was
deeper on her cheek.
A monk! His own image started forth a profaner of the cloister, a
heretic Franciscan, willing and willing not to serve, spinning like Gher
ardino da Borgo San Donnino,* a lithe web of sophistry and whisper
ing i n her ear.
No, it was not his image. It was like the image of the young priest
in whose company he had seen her last, lookng 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
well not to salute her on the steps of the library. He had done well to
leave her to firt with her priest, to toy with a church which was the
scullery-maid of christendom.
Rude brutal anger routed the last lingering instant of ecstasy from
his soul. It broke up violently her fair image and fung the fragments on
all sides. On all sides distorted refections of her image started from his
memory: the fower girl in the ragged dress with damp coarse hair and
a hoyden's face who had called herself his own girl and begged his
handsel, the kitchen-girl in the next house who sang over the clatter of
her plates, with the drawl of a country singer, the frst bars of By Kil
larney' Lakes and Fells,t a girl who had laughed gaily to see him stum-
'Imprisoned in the thirteenth century for heresy.
tBallad by the popular Michael William Balfe (1808-1870).
A Portrit o the Artist
ble when the iron grating in the footpath near Cork Hill had caught
the broken sole of his shoe, a girl he had glanced at, attracted by her
small ripe mouth as she passed out of Jacob's biscuit factory, who had
cried 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,
his anger was also a form of homage. He had left the classroom in dis
dain that was not wholly sincere, feeling that perhaps the secret of her
race lay behind those dark eyes upon which her long lashes fung a
quick shadow. He had told himself bitterly as he walked through the
streets that she was a fgure of the womanhood of her country, a batlike
soul wakng to the consciousness of itself in darkess and secrecy and
loneliness, tarrying awhile, loveless and sinless, with her mild lover and
leaving him to whisper of innocent transgressions in the latticed ear of
a priest. His anger against her found vent in coarse railing at her para
mour, whose name and voice and features offended his bafed pride: a
priested peasant, with a brother a policeman in Dublin and a brother a
potboy in Moycullen. * To him she would unveil her soul's shy naked
ness, to one who was but schooled in the discharging of a formal rite
rather than to him, a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the
daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life.
The radiant image of the eucharist united again in an instant his bit
ter and despairing thoughts, their cries arising unbroken in a hymn of
Our broken cries and mournful lays t
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary o ardent ways?
While sacriicing hands upraise
The chalice fowing to the brim,
Tell no more o enchanted days.
He spoke the verses aloud from the frst lines till the music and
rhythm sufsed his mind, turning it to quiet indulgence; then copied
them painflly to feel them the better by seeing them; then lay back on
his bolster.
The fll morning light had come. No sound was to be heard: but he
'Small village in County Galway.
t A lay is a simple narrative poem or song.
as a Young Man
knew that all around him life was about to awaken in common noises,
hoarse voices, sleepy prayers. Shrinkng from that life he turned to
wards the wall, makng a cowl of the blanket and staring at the great
overblown scarlet fowers of the tattered wallpaper. He tried to warm
his perishing joy in their scarlet glow, imaging a roseway from where he
lay upwards to heaven all strewn with scarlet fowers. Weary! Weary!
He too was weary of ardent ways.
A gradual warmth, a languorous weariness passed over him, de
scending along his spine from his closely cowled head. He felt it de
scend and, seeing himself as he lay, smiled. Soon he would sleep.
He had written verses for her again after ten years. Ten years before
she had worn her shawl cowlwise about her head, sending sprays of her
warm 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 their bells
to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with the driver,
both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. They stood on the
steps of the tram, he on the upper, she on the lower. She came up to his
step many times beteen their phrases and went down again and once
or twice remained beside him forgetting to go down and then went
down. Let be! Let be!
Ten years from that wisdom of children to his folly. If he sent her
the verses? They would be read out at breakfast amid the tapping of
eggshells. Folly indeed! Her brothers would laugh and try to wrest the
page from each other with their strong hard fngers. The suave priest,
her uncle, seated in his armchair would hold the page at arm's length,
read it smiling and approve of the literary form.
No, no: that was folly. Even if he sent her the verses she would not
show them to others. No, no: she could not.
He began to feel that he had wronged her. A sense of her innocence
moved him almost to pity her, an innocence he had never understood
till he had come to the knowledge of it through sin, an innocence which
she too had not understood while she was innocent or before the
strange humiliation of her nature had frst come upon her. Then frst
her soul had begun to live as his soul had when he had frst sinned: and
a tender compassion flled his heart as he remembered her frail pallor
and her eyes, humbled and saddened by the dark shame of woman
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
at those same moments had been conscious of his homage? It might be.
A Portrit of the Artist
A glow of desire kindled again his soul and fred and flflled all his
body. Conscious of his desire she was waking from odorous sleep, the
temptress 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, enfolded
him like water with a liquid life: and like a cloud of vapour or like wa
ters circum fuent in space the liquid letters of speech, symbols of the el
ement of mystery, fowed forth over his brain.
Are you not weary o ardent ways?
Lure o the fallen serphim?
Tell no more o enchanted days.
Your eyes have set man' heart ablaze
And you have had your will o him.
Are you not weary o ardent ways?
Above the fame the smoke o prise
Goes up fom ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more o enchanted days.
Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary o ardent ways?
While sacriicing hands upraise
The chalice fowing to the brim.
Tell no more o enchanted days.
And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary o ardent ways?
Tel no more o enchanted days.
* * * *
What birds were they? He stood on the steps of the library to look
at them, leaning wearily on his ashplant.* They few round and round
the jutting shoulder of a house in Molesworth Street. The air of the late
'Wkng stick.
as a Young Man 199
March evening made clear their fight, their dark darting quivering
bodies fying clearly against the sk as against a limp hung cloth of
smok tenuous blue.
He watched their fight; bird after bird: a dark fash, a swerve, a fut
ter of wings. He tried to count them before all their darting quivering
bodies passed: Si, ten, eleven: and wondered were they odd or even in
number. Twelve, thirteen: for two came wheeling down from the upper
sk. They were fying high and low but ever round and round in straight
and curving lines and ever fying from left to right, circling about 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 as the fy
ing beaks clove the air. Their cry was shrill and clear and fne and
flling like threads of silken light unwound from whirring spools.
The inhuman clamour soothed his ears in which his mother's sobs
and reproaches murmured insistently and the dark frail quivering bod
ies wheeling and futtering and swerving round an airy temple of the
tenuous sk soothed his eyes which still saw the image of his mother's
Why was he gazing upwards from the steps of the porch, hearing
their shrill twofold cry, watching their fight? For an augury
of good or
evil? A phrase of Cornelius Agrippat few through his mind and then
there few hither an thither shapeless thoughts from Swedenborg* on
the correspondence of birds to things of the intellect and of how the
creatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times and sea
sons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life and have not
perverted that order by reason.
And for ages men had gazed upward as he was gazing at birds in
fight. The colonnade above him made him think vaguely of an ancient
temple and the ashplant on which he leaned wearily of the curved stick
of an augur. A sense of fear of the unknown moved in the heart of his
weariness, a fear of symbols and portents, of the hawklike man whose
name he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier woven wings, of
tHeinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535), German physician,
philosopher, and occultist.
:Emanuei Swedenborg (1688-1772), Swedish scientist and mystic.
Flexible twigs used for wicker work.
200 A Portrit o the Artist
the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and bear
ing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon.
He smiled as he thought of the god's image, for it made him think
of a bottle-nosed judge in a wig, putting commas into a document
which he held at arm's length and he knew that he would not have re
membered the god's name but that it was like an Irish oath. It was folly.
But was it for this folly that he was about to leave for ever the house of
prayer and prudence into which he had been born and the order of life
out of which he had come?
They came back with shrill cries over the jutting shoulder of the
house, fying darkly against the fading air. What birds were they? He
thought 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 and ever leaving the homes they had built to wander.
Bend down your faces, Oona and Alee/
I gaze upon them as the swallow gazes
Upon the nest under the eave bere
He wander the loud waters. t
A soft liquid joy like the noise of many waters fowed over his mem
ory and he felt in his heart the soft peace of silent spaces of fading ten
uous sky above the waters, of oceanic silence, of swallows fying
through the seadusk over the fowing waters.
A soft liquid joy fowed through the words where the soft long vow
els hurtled noiselessly and fell away, lapping and fowing back and ever
shaking the white bells of their waves in mute chime and mute peal and
soft low swooning cry; and he felt that the augury he had sought in the
wheeling darting birds and in the pale space of sk above him had come
forth from his heart like a bird from a turret quietly and swiftly.
Symbol of departure or of loneliness? The verses crooned in the ear
of his memory composed slowly before his remembering eyes the scene
of the hall on the night of the opening of the national theatre. He was
'Scribe of the Egyptian gods; depicted with the head of an ibis.
tFrom Irish writer W. B. Yeats's play The Countess Cathleen, which on May 8, 1899,
opened the new national theater, the Irish Literary Theatre (which in 1904 became
the Abbey Theatre); many in the audience thought the play was "anti-Irish," and a
loud protest ensued.
as a Youn
Man 201
alone at the side of the balcony, lookng out of jaded eyes at the culture
of Dublin in the stalls and at the tawdry scenecloths and human dolls
framed by the garish lamps of the stage. A burly policeman sweated be
hind him and seemed at every moment about to act. The catcalls and
hisses and mocking cries ran in rude gusts round the hall from his scat
tered fellow students.
- A libel on Ireland!
- Made in Germany!
- Blasphemy!
- We never sold our faith!
-No Irish woman ever did it!
- We want no amateur atheist.
- We want no budding buddhists.
A sudden swift hiss fell from the windows above him and he knew
that the electric lamps had been switched on in the reader's room. He
turned into the pillared hall, now calmly lit, went up the staircase and
passed in through the clickng turnstile.
Cranly was sitting over near the dictionaries. A thick book, opened
at the frontispiece, lay before him on the wooden rest. He leaned back
in his chair, inclining his ear like that of a confessor to the face of the
medical student who was reading to him a problem from the chess page
of a journal. Stephen sat down at his right and the priest at the other
side of the table closed his copy of The Tabfet
with an angry snap and
stood up.
Cranly gazed after him blandly and vaguely. The medical student
went on in a softer voice:
-Pawn to king's fourth.
- We had better go, Dixon, said Stephen in warning. He has gone
to complain.
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 of
Cranly's book on which was written Diseases o 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 and
passed out, his well shod feet sounding fatly on the foor. On the stair
case he paused and gazing absently at Dion repeated:
'Conservative Catholic paper.
202 A Portrit o the Artist
-Pawn to kng's bloody fourth.
-Put it that way if you like, Dion said.
He had a quiet toneless voice and urbane manners and on a fnger
of his plump clean hand he displayed at moments a signet ring.
As they crossed the hall a man of dwarfsh stature came towards
them. Under the dome of his tiny hat his unshaven face began to smile
with pleasure and he was heard to murmur. The eyes were melancholy
as those of a monkey.
- Good evening, gentlemen, said the stubble grown monkeyish
- Warm weather for March, said Cranly. They have the windows
open upstairs.
Dixon smiled and turned his ring. The blackish monkey puckered
face pursed its human mouth with gentle pleasure and its voice purred:
- Delightfl weather for March. Simply delightfl.
- There are to 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, cap
- What are you reading now, captain? Dixon asked. The Bride o
- I love old Scott, the fexible lips said. I think he writes something
lovely. There is no writer can touch sir Walter Scott.
He moved a thin shrunken brown hand gently in the air in time to
his praise and his thin quick eyelids beat often over his sad eyes.
Sadder to Stephen's ear was his speech: a genteel accent, low and
moist, marred by errors: and, listening to it, he wondered was the story
true and was the thin blood that fowed in his shrunken frame noble
and come of an incestuous love?
The park trees were heavy with rain and rain fell still and ever in the
lake, lying grey like a shield. A game of swans few there and the water
and the shore beneath were fouled with their greenwhite slime. They
embraced softly, impelled by the grey rainy light, the wet silent trees,
the shieldlike witnessing lake, the swans. They embraced without joy or
passion, his arm about his sister's neck. A grey woollen cloak was
wrapped athwart her from her shoulder to her waist: and her fair head
*1819; one of Sir Walter Scott's immensely popular novels.
as a Young Man
was bent in willing shame. He had loose redbrown hair and tender
shapely strong freckled hands. Face? There was no face seen. The
brother's face was bent upon her fair rain fragrant hair. The hand freck
led and strong and shapely and caressing was Davin's hand.
He frowned angrily upon his thought and on the shrivelled man
who had called it forth. His father's gibes at the Bantry gangt
leaped out of his memory. He held them at a distance and brooded un
easily on his own thought again. Why were they not Cranly's hands?
Had Davin's simplicity and innocence stung him more secretly?
He walked on across the hall with Dion, leaving Cranly to take
leave elaborately of the dwarf
Under the colonnade Temple was standing in the midst of a little
group of 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. By
hell, 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 the priests used to be dining there. By hell, I think they all had a
- 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
you in you?
-A your intellectual soul is in that phrase, O'Keeffe, said Temple
with open scorn.
He moved with a shambling gait round the group and spoke to
- Did you know that the Forsters are the kings of Belgium? I I he
'Little man.
tAnti-Parnellite politicians from Bantry, in the southwest of Ireland.
:hat is, sexual intercourse.
Common, working horse.
l i
ing Leopold I of Belgium (1790-1865) was not descended from the House of
204 A Portrait o the Artist
Cranly came out through the door of the entrance hall, his hat
thrust back on the nape of his neck and picking his teeth with care.
- And here's the wiseacre, said Temple. Do you know that about the
He paused for an answer. Cranly dislodged a fg seed from his teeth
on the point of his rude toothpick and gazed at it intently
-The Forster family, Temple said, is descended from Baldwin the
First, king of Flanders. He was called the Forester. Forester and Forster
are the same name. A descendant of Baldwin the First, captain Francis
Forster, settled in Ireland and married the daughter of the last chieftain
of Clanbrassil. Then there are the Blake Forsters.19 That's a different
- From Baldhead, king of Flanders, Cranly repeated, rooting again
deliberately 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 to
Stephen. Do you know what Giraldus Cambrensis
says about your
- Is he descended from Baldwin too? asked a tall consumptive stu-
dent with dark eyes.
- Baldhead, Cranly repeated, sucking at a crevice in his teeth.
-Pernobilis et pervetusta fmilia, t Temple said to Stephen.
The stout student who stood below them on the steps farted briefy.
Dixon turned towards him saying in a soft voice:
- Did an angel speak?
Cranly turned also and said vehemently but without anger:
- Goggins, you're the famingest dirty devil I ever met, do you
- I had it on my mind to say that, Goggins answered frmly. It did
no one any harm, did it?
- We hope, Dixon said suavely, that it was not of the kind known
to science as a paulo post futurum. *
- Didn't I tell you he was a smiler? said Temple, turning right and
left. Didn't I give him that name?
-You did. We're not deaf, said the tall consumptive.
'Gerald of Wales (c. 1 146-c. 1223); Norman-Welsh author of the earliest accounts
of lreland by a foreigner.
tA noble and distinguished family (Latin).
:State resulting from a fture act (Latin).
as a Young Man
Cranly still frowned at the stout student below him. Then, with a
snort of disgust, he shoved him violently down the steps.
- Go away from here, he said rudely. Go away you stinkpot. And
you are a stinkpot.
Goggins skipped down on to the gravel and at once returned to his
place with 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?
asked Cranly, facing round on him with an expression of wonder.
- The most profound sentence ever written, Temple said with en
thusiasm, is the sentence at the end of the zoology. Reproduction is the
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 forefnger.
-Look at him! he said with scorn to the other. Look at Ireland's
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 as
good as you any day. Do you know what I think about you now as com
pared with 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
myself compared together?
-Out with it, Temple! the stout student cried from the steps. Get
it out in bits!
Temple turned right and left, making sudden feeble gestures as he
- I'm a ballocks,' he said, shaking his head in despair. I am and I
know 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, like
me. 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
Stephen and said with a sudden eagerness:
206 A Portrait o the Artist
-That word is a most interesting word. That's the only English
dual number.
Did you know?
- Is it? Stephen said vaguely.
He was watching Cranly's frm featured suffering face, lit up now by
a smile of false patience. The gross name had passed over it like foul
water poured over an old stone image, patient of injuries: and, as he
watched him, he saw him raise his hat in salute and uncover the black
hair that stood up stify from his forehead like an iron crown.
She passed out from the porch of the library and bowed across
Stephen in reply to Cranly's greeting. He also? Was there not a slight
fush on Cranly's cheek? Or had it come forth at Temple's words? The
light had waned. He could not see.
Did that explain his friend's listless silence, his harsh comments, the
sudden intrusions of rude speech with which he had shattered so often
Stephen's ardent wayward confessions? Stephen had forgiven freely for
he had found this rudeness also in himself And he remembered an
evening when he had dismounted from a borrowed creakng bicycle to
pray to God in a wood near Malahide. He had lifted up his arms and
spoken in ecstasy to the sombre nave of the trees, knowing that he
stood on holy ground and in a holy hour. And when two constabulary
men had come into sight round a bend in the gloomy road he had bro
ken off his prayer to whistle loudly an air from the last pantomime.
He began to beat the frayed end of his ash plant against the base of
a pillar. Had Cranly not heard him? Yet he could wait. The talk about
him ceased for a moment: and a soft hiss fell again from a window
above. But no other sound was in the air and the swallows whose fight
had followed with idle eyes were sleeping.
She had passed through the dusk. And therefore the air was silent
save for one soft hiss that flAnd therefore the tongues about him had
ceased their babble. Darkness was falling.
Darkness falls fom the air. t
A trembling joy, lambent as a faint light, played like a fairy host
around him. But why? Her passage through the darkening air or the
verse with its black vowels and its opening sound, rich and lutelike?
'Special grammatical form of the plural, denoting just two or a pair.
t As Stephen later realizes, the line is actually "Brightness falls from the air"; it is
from a song from Thomas Nashe's Summer' Last Will and Testament ( 1600).
as a Youn
He walked away slowly towards the deeper shadows at the end of
the colonnade, beating the stone softly with his stick to hide his revery
from the students whom he had left: and allowed his mind to summon
back to itself the age of Dowland and Byrd and Nash.
Eyes, opening from the darkness of desire, eyes that dimmed the
breaking east. What was their languid grace but the softness of cham
bering? And what was their shimmer but the shimmer of the scum that
mantled the cesspool of the court of a slobbering Stuart. t And he tasted
in the language of memory ambered wines, dying fallings of sweet airs,
the proud pavan:* and saw with the eyes of memory kind gentlewomen
in Covent Garden wooing from their balconies with sucking mouths
and the pox fouled wenches of the taverns and young wives that, gaily
yielding to their ravishers, clipped and clipped again.
The images he had summoned gave him no pleasure. They were se
cret and enflaming but her image was not entangled by them. That was
not the way to 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 a disinterred sweetness like the fg seeds Cranly rooted out of
his gleaming teeth.
It was not thought nor vision, though he knew vaguely that her fg
ure was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely frst and then
more sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his
blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt: a wild and languid smell: the tepid
limbs over which his music had fowed desirously and the secret soft
linen upon which her fesh distilled odour and a dew.
A louse crawled over the nape of his neck and, putting his thumb
and forefnger deftly beneath his loose collar, he caught it. He rolled its
body, tender yet brittle as a grain of rice, between thumb and fnger for
an instant before he let it fall from him and wondered would it live or
die. There came to his mind a curious phrase from Cornelius a Lapidell
which said that the lice born of human sweat were not created by God
with the other animals on the sixth day. But the tickling of the skin of
'John Dowland ( 1563?-1626) was an English lutist; William Byrd (1543-1623), a
composer of church music and madrigals; Thomas Nashe (1567-1601), an English
tThe reference is probably to James I, who took the throne in 1603.
:Stately dance music.
Infected with venereal disease.
(1567-1637); Jesuit author who maintained that some "creeping things"-like
fies, maggots, and lice-were not created by God.
A Portrit o the Artist
his neck made his mind raw and red. The life of his body, ill clad, ill
fed, louse eaten, made him close his eyelids in a sudden spasm of de
spair: and in the darkness he saw the brittle bright bodies of lice falling
from the air and turning often as they fell. Yes; and it was not darkness
that fell from the air. It was brightness.
Brightness falls fom the air.
He had not even remembered rightly Nash's line. All the images it
had awakened were false. His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were
lice born of 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 clean athlete who washed himself every morning to the waist and
had black hair on his chest. Let her.
Cranly had taken another dried fg from the supply in his pocket
and was eating it slowly and noisily. Temple sat on the pediment of a
pillar, leaning back, his cap pulled down on his sleepy eyes. A squat
young man came out of the porch, a leather portfolio tucked under his
armpit. He marched towards the group, strikng the fags
with the fer
rulet of his heavy umbrella. Then, raising the umbrella in salute, he said
to al:
- Good evening, sirs.
He struck the fags again and tittered while his head trembled with
a slight nervous movement. The tall consumptive student and Dion
and O'Keeffe were speaking in Irish and did not answer him. Then,
turning to Cranly, he said:
- Good evening, particularly to you.
He moved the umbrella in indication and tittered again. Cranly, who
was still chewing the fg, 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
gently and reprovingly.
- I can see, he said, that you are about to make obvious remarks.
- Ur, Cranly answered, holding out what remained of the half
chewed fg and jerking it towards the squat student's mouth in sign that
he should eat.
tMetal tip.
as a Young Man
The squat student did not eat it but, indulging his special humour,
said gravely, still tittering and prodding his phrase with his umbrella:
- Do you intend that . . .
He broke off, pointed bluntly to the munched pulp of the fg and
said loudly:
-1 allude to that.
- Ur, Cranly said as before.
- Do you intend that now, the squat student said, as ipso facto or, 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
to look for you and Moynihan. What have you there? he
asked, tapping the portfolio under Glynn's arm.
- Examination papers, Glynn answered. 1 give them monthly ex
aminations to see that they are profting by my tuition.
He also tapped the portfolio and coughed gently and smiled.
- Tuition! said Cranly rudely. 1 suppose you mean the barefooted
children that are taught by a bloody ape like you. God help them!
He bit off the rest of the fg and fung away the butt.
-1 suffer little children to come unto me,t Glynn said amiably.
- A bloody ape, Cranly repeated with emphasis, and a blasphemous
bloody ape!
Temple stood up and, pushing past Cranly addressed Glynn:
- That phrase you said now, he said, is from the new testament
about suffer the children to come to me.
- Go to sleep again, Temple, said O'Keeffe.
- Very well, then, Temple continued, still addressing Glynn, and if
Jesus suffered the children to come why does the church send them al
to hell if they die unbaptised?* Why is that?
- Were you baptised yourself, Temple? the consumptive student
- 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 diffculty the ner
vous titter in his voice and moving his umbrella at every word:
'Hotel near St. Stephen's Green.
tAllusion to Mark 10:14.
:In Catholic teaching, unbaptized children go to limbo, not hell.
210 A Portrait o the Artist
- And, as you remark, if it is thus 1 ask emphatically whence comes
this thus ness.
- Because the church is cruel like all old sinners, Temple said.
- Are you quite orthodox on that point, Temple? Dixon said
- 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 1 had the impression that limbo ex
isted for such cases.
- Don't argue with him, Dion, Cranly said brutally. Don't talk to
him or look at him. Lead him home with a sugant the way you'd lead a
bleating goat.
-Limbo! Temple cried. That's a fne invention too. Like hell.
- But with the unpleasantness left out, Dion said.
He turned smiling to the others and said:
- I think 1 am voicing the opinions of all present in saying so much.
-You are, Glynn said in a frm tone. On that point Ireland is
He struck the ferrule of his umbrella on the stone foor of the colon
- Hell, Temple said. 1 can respect that invention of the grey spouse
of 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:
- Hoosh!
Temple moved away nimbly.
- Do you know what limbo is? he cried. Do you know what we call
a notion like that in Roscommon?11
- Hoosh! Blast you! Cranly cried, clapping his hands.
-Neither my arse nor my elbow! Temple cried out scornflly. And
that's what 1 call limbo.
'Region bordering on hell set aside for unbaptized children and the righteous who
died before the coming of Christ.
tStraw rope.
:hat is, Sin.
Baby stroller.
County in central lreland.
as a Yaung Man
- Give us that stick here, Cranly said.
He snatched the ashplant roughly from Stephen's hand and sprang
down the steps: but Temple, hearing him move in pursuit, fed through
the dusk like a wild creature, nimble and feet footed. Cranly's heavy
boots were heard loudly charging across the quadrangle and then re
turning heavily, foiled and spurning the gravel at each step.
His step was angry and with an angry abrupt gesture he thrust the
stick back into Stephen's hand. Stephen felt that his anger had another
cause, but 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 speakng. The bird
call from Siegfried* whistled softly followed them from the steps of the
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 billiards
to be played in the Adelphi hotel. Stephen walked on alone and out
into the quiet of Kldare Street opposite Maple's hotel he stood to wait,
patient again. The name of the hotel, a colourless polished wood, and
its colourless front stung him like a glance of polite disdain. He stared
angrily back at the softly lit drawingroom of the hotel in which he
imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland housed in calm.
They thought of army commissions and land agents:t peasants greeted
them along the roads in the country: they knew the names of certain
French dishes and gave orders to jarvies* in highpitched provincial
voices which pierced through their skntight accents.
How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over the
imaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them,
that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under the
deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he
belonged fitting like bats, across the dark country lanes, under trees by
the edges of streams and near the pool mottled bogs. A woman had
waited in the doorway as Davin had passed by at night and, offering
him a cup of milk, had all but wooed him to her bed: for Davin had the
'Openi ng motif in Richard Wagner's opera Siegied (1871).
tThose who manage rental properties for absentee landlords.
:Hackey cab drivers.
212 A Portrit of the Artist
mild eyes of one who could be secret. But him no woman's eyes had
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! 1 swear to Moses, do you know,
that I' ll be the death of that fellow one time.
But his voice was no longer angry and Stephen wondered was he
thinkng of her greeting to him under the porch.
They turned to the left and walked on as before. When they had
gone on so far for some time Stephen said:
- Cranly, 1 had an unpleasant quarrel this evening.
- With your people? Cranly asked.
- With my mother.
- About religion?
-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
He laughed nervously as he spoke and, lookng up into Stephen's
face with moved and friendly eyes, said:
- Do you know that you are an excitable man?
-1 daresay 1 am, said Stephen, laughing also.
Their minds, lately estranged, seemed suddenly to have been drawn
closer, one to the other.
- Do you believe in the eucharist? Cranly asked.
-1 do not, Stephen said.
- Do you disbelieve then?
- I neither believe in it nor disbelieve in it, Stephen answered.
*To make one's confession and receive communion during the Easter season.
as a Young Man 21
- Many persons have doubts, even religious persons, yet they over
come them or put them aside, Cranly said. Are your doubts on that
point too strong?
- I do not wish to overcome them, Stephen answered.
Cranly, embarrassed for a moment, took another fg from his pocket
and was about to eat it when Stephen said:
- Don't, please. You cannot discuss this question with your mouth
fll of chewed tig.
Cranly examined the fg by the light of a lamp under which he
halted. Then he smelt it with both nostrils, bit a tiny piece, spat it out
and threw the fg rudely into the gutter. Addressing it as it lay, he said:
- Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fre!*
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
of judgment?
- What is offered me on the other hand? Stephen asked. An eter
nity of bliss in the company of the dean of studies?
- Remember, Cranly said, that he would be glorifed.
- Ay, Stephen said somewhat bitterly, bright agile, impassible and,
above all, subtle.
- It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately,
how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you
disbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet you did.
- I did, Stephen answered.
- And were you happier then? Cranly asked softly. Happier than
you are now, for instance!
-Often happy, Stephen said, and often unhappy. I was someone
else then.
- 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
to become.
-Not as you are now, not as you had to become, Cranly repeated.
Let me 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?
'Matthew 25:41 (Douay version).
A Portrait o the Artist
- I am not speaking of that, Cranly said in a colder tone. I ask you
if you ever felt love towards anyone or anything.
Stephen walked on beside his friend, staring gloomily at the foot
- I tried to love God, he said at length. It seems now I failed. It is
very diffcult. I tried to unite my will with the will of God instant by
instant. In that I did not always fail. I could perhaps do that still ...
Cranly cut him short by askng:
- 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:
and then said: I don't want to pry into your family affairs. But was your
father 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 shout
ing politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good fel
low, a storyteller, somebody's secretary, something in a distillery, a
taxgatherer, a bankrupt and at present a praiser of his own 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
He used the phrase broadly and loudly as he often used technical ex
pressions as if he wished his hearer to understand that they were used
by him without conviction.
-Your mother must have gone through a good deal of suffering, he
said then. Would you not try to save her from suffering more even
if ... or would you?
- 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
for you? You disbelieve in it. It is a form: nothing else. And you will set
her mind at rest.
as a Young Man 21
He ceased and, as Stephen did not reply, remained silent. Then, as
if giving utterance to the process of his own thought, he said:
- Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a
mother's love is not. Your mother brings you into the world, carries you
frst in her body. What do we know about what she feels? But whatever
she feels, it, at least, must be real. It must be. What are our ideas or ambi
tions? Play. Ideas! Why, that bloody bleating goat Temple has ideas. Mac
Cann has ideas too. Every jackass going the roads thinks he has ideas.
Stephen, who had been listening to the unspoken speech behind the
words, said with assumed carelessness:
if I remember rightly, would not suffer his mother to kiss
him as he feared the contact of her sex.
-Pascal was a pig, said Cranly.
- Aloysius Gonzaga,t 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 faming damn what anyone calls him, Cranly said
rudely and fatly. I call him a pig.
Stephen, preparing the words neatly in his mind, continued:
-esus, too, seems to have treated his mother with scant courtesy in
public but Suarez,20 a jesuit theologian and Spanish gentleman, has
apologised for him.
- Did the idea ever occur to you, Cranly asked, that Jesus was not
what he pretended to be?
- The frst person to whom that idea occurred, Stephen answered,
was Jesus himself
- I mean, Cranly said, hardening in his speech, did the idea ever
occur to you that he was himself a conscious hypocrite, what he called
the jews of his time, a white sepukhre?* Or, to put it more plainly, that
he was a blackguard?
-That idea never occurred to me, Stephen answered. But I am cu
rious to know are you trying to make a convert of me or a pervert of
yourself ?
'Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French mathematician and philosopher.
t(1568-1591); Italian Jesuit.
:Jesus said (Matthew 23:27): "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; be
cause you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautifl
but within are fll of dead men's bones and of all flthiness" (Douay version).
216 A Portrit o the Artist
He turned towards his friend's face and saw there a raw smile which
some force of will strove to make fnely signifcant.
Cranly asked suddenly in a plain sensible tone:- Tell me the truth.
Were you at all shocked by what 1 said?
- Somewhat, Stephen said.
- And why were you shocked, Cranly pressed on in the same tone,
if you feel sure that our religion is false and that Jesus was not the son
of God?
- I am not at all sure of it, Stephen said. He is more like a son of
God than a son of Mary.
- And is that why you will not communicate,
Cranly asked, be
cause you are not sure of that too, because you feel that the host, too,
may be the body and blood of the son of God and not a wafer of bread.
And because you fear that it may be?
-Yes, Stephen said quietly, 1 feel that and 1 also fear it.
- I see, Cranly said.
Stephen, struck by his tone of closure, reopened the discussion at
once by saying:
- I fear many things: dogs, horses, frearms, 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 behind
those things 1 say 1 fear.
- Do you fear then, Cranly asked, that the God of the Roman
catholics would strike you dead and damn you if you made a sacrile
gious communion?
- The God of the Roman catholics could do that now, Stephen
said. 1 fear more than that the chemical action which would be set up
in my soul by a false homage to a symbol behind which are massed
twenty centuries of authority and veneration.
- Would you, Cranly asked, in extreme danger commit that partic-
ular sacrilege? For instance, if you lived in the penal days?t
- I cannot answer for the past, Stephen replied. Possibly not.
- Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant?
- I said that 1 had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that 1
had lost selfrespect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake
'Partake of the Eucharist.
tLate-sixteenth- and seventeenth-century period when the practice of Roman
Catholicism was strictly proscribed in Ireland.
as a Young Man
an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is
illogical and incoherent?
They had walked on towards the township of Pembroke
and now,
as they went on slowly along the avenues, the trees and the scattered
lights in the villas soothed their minds. The air of wealth and repose
diffused about them seemed to comfort their neediness. Behind a
hedge of laurel a light glimmered in the window of a kitchen and the
voice of a servant was heard singing as she sharpened knives. She sang,
in short broken bars,
Rosie O'Grady. t
Cranly stopped to listen, saying:
-Mulier cantat.*
The soft beauty of the Latin word touched with an enchanting
touch the dark of the evening, with a touch fainter and more persuad
ing than the touch of music or of a woman's hand. The strife of their
minds was quelled. The fgure of woman as she appears in the liturgy
of the church passed silently through the darkness: a white robed fg
ure, small and slender as a boy, and with a falling girdle. Her voice, frail
and high as a boy's, was heard intoning from a distant choir the frst
words of a woman which pierce the gloom and clamour of the frst
chanting of the passion:
-Et tu cumJesu Galilao ers.21
And all hearts were touched and turned to her voice, shining like a
young star, shining clearer as the voice intoned the proparoxytonll and
more faintly as the cadence died.
The singing ceased. They went on together, Cranly repeating in
strongly stressed rhythm the end of the refrain:
And when we are married,
0, how happy we'l be
For I love sweet Rosie O'Grdy
And Rosie O'Grdy loves me.
- There's real poetry for you, he said. There's real love.
'District in southeast Dublin.
tPopular song.
:A woman is singing (Latin).
The sufferings of Jesus, culminating in His crucifion.
[[Word accented on the second from last syllable.
218 A Portrait of the Artist
He glanced sideways at Stephen with a strange smile and said:
- Do you consider that poetry? Or do you know what the words
- I want to see Rosie frst, said Stephen.
- She's easy to fnd, Cranly said.
His hat had come down on his forehead. He shoved it back: and in
the shadow of the trees Stephen saw his pale face, framed by the dark,
and his large dark eyes. Yes. His face was handsome: and his body was
strong and hard. He had spoken of a mother's love. He felt then the
sufferings of women, the weaknesses of their bodies and souls: and
would shield them with a strong and resolute arm and bow his mind to
Away then: it is time to go. A voice spoke softly to Stephen's lonely
heart, bidding him go and telling him that his friendship was coming
to an end. Yes; he would go. He could not strive against another. He
knew his part.
-Probably I shall go away, he said.
- Where? Cranly asked.
- Where I can, Stephen said.
-Yes, Cranly said. It might be diffcult 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
driven away if you do not wish to go or as a heretic or an outlaw. There
are many good believers who think as you do. Would that surprise you?
The church is not the stone building nor even the clergy and their dog
mas. It is the whole mass of those born into it. I don't know what you
wish to do in life. Is it what you told me the night we were standing
outside Harcourt Street station?
-Yes, Stephen said, smiling in spite of himself at Cranly's way of
remembering thoughts in connexion with places. The night you spent
half an hour wrangling with Doherty about the shortest way from Sal
lygap to Larras.
-Pothead! Cranly said with calm contempt. What does he know
about the way from Sallygap to Larras? Or what does he know about any
thing for that matter? And the big slobbering washingpot head of him!
He broke out into a loud long laugh.
*A distance of 9 miles through the Dublin mountains, south of the city.
as a Young Man
- Well? Stephen said. Do you remember the rest?
- What you said, is it? Cranly asked. Yes, 1 remember it. To discover
the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in un
fettered freedom.
Stephen raised his hat in acknowledgment.
- Freedom! Cranly repeated. But you are not free enough yet to
commit a sacrilege. Tell me would you rob?
-1 would beg frst, Stephen said.
- And if you got nothing, would you rob?
-You wish me to say, Stephen answered, that the rights of property
are provisional and that in certain circumstances it is not unlawfl to
rob. Everyone would act in that belief So 1 will not make you that an
swer. Apply to the jesuit theologian Juan Mariana de Talavera* who will
also explain to you in what circumstances you may lawfully kll your
kng and whether you had better hand him his poison in a goblet or
smear it for him upon his robe or his saddlebow.t Ask me rather would
1 suffer others to rob me or, if they did, would 1 call down upon them
what 1 believe is called the chastisement of the secular arm?
- And would you?
-1 think, Stephen said, it would pain me much to do as to be
-1 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 defower a virgin?
- Excuse me, Stephen said politely, is that not the ambition of most
young gentlemen?
- What then is your point of view? Cranly asked.
His last phrase, sour smelling as the smoke of charcoal and disheart
ening, excited Stephen's brain, over which its fmes seemed to brood.
- Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do
and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will
not do. I will not serve that in which 1 no longer believe, whether it call
itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and 1 will try to express
myself in some mode of life or art as freely as 1 can and as wholly as 1
can, using for my defence the only arms 1 allow myself to use, silence,
exile and cunning.
*(1536-1624); Spanish Jesuit scholar.
tArched front of a saddle.
220 A Portrait o the Artist
Cranly seized his arm and steered him round so as to lead back to
wards Leeson Park. He laughed almost slyly and pressed Stephen's arm
with 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 also
what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for an
other or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make
a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as 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
that word means? Not only to be separate from all others but to have
not even one friend.
- I will take the risk, said Stephen.
- And not to have any one person, Cranly said, who would be more
than a friend, more even than the noblest and truest friend a man ever
His words seemed to have struck some deep chord in his own na
ture. Had he spoken of himself, of himself as he was or wished to be?
Stephen watched his face for some moments in silence. A cold sadness
was there. He had spoken of himself, of his own loneliness which he
-Of whom are you speakng? Stephen asked at length.
Cranly did not answer.
* * * *
20 March. Long talk with Cranly on the subject of my revolt.
He had his grand manner on. I supple and suave. Attacked me on
the score of love for one's mother. Tried to imagine his mother: cannot.
Told me once, in a moment of thoughtlessness, his father was sixty-one
when he was born. Can see him. Strong farmer type. Pepper and salt
suit. Square feet. Unkempt grizzled beard. Probably attends coursing
Pays his dues regularly but not plentiflly to Father Dwyer
of Larras. Sometimes talks to girls after nightfall. But his mother? Very
young or very old? Hardly the frst. If so, Cranly would not have spo-
Contests between hunting dogs.
as a Young Man 221
ken as he did. Old then. Probably, and neglected. Hence Cranly's de
spair of soul: the child of exhausted loins.
21 1rch, morning. Thought this in bed last night but was too lazy
and free to add it. Free, yes. The exhausted loins are those of Elizabeth
and Zachary.
Then he is the precursor. Item: he eats chiefy belly
bacon and dried fgs. Read locusts and wild honey. t Also, when think
ing of him, saw always a stern severed head or death mask as if outlined
on a grey curtain or veronica.+ Decollation they call it in the fold. Puz
zled for the moment by saint John at the Latin gate.22 What do I see?
A decollated precursor trying to pick the lock.
21 March, night. Free. Soul free and fancy free. Let the dead bury the
dead.11 Ay. And let the dead marry the dead.
22 March. In company with Lynch followed a sizable hospital nurse.
Lynch's idea. Dislike it. Two lean hungry greyhounds walking after a
23 March. Have not seen her since that night. Unwell? Sits at the
fre perhaps with mamma's shawl on her shoulders. But not peevish. A
nice bowl of gruel? Won't you now?
24 March. Began with a discussion with my mother. Subject:
B. V.M.# Handicapped by my sex and youth. To escape held up relations
between Jesus and Papa against those between Mary and her son. Said
religion was not a lying-in hospital.
Mother indulgent. Said I have a
queer mind and have read too much. Not true. Have read little and un
derstood 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
reenter through the sklight of repentance. Cannot repent. Told her so
and asked for sixpence. Got threepence.
Then went to college. Other wrangle with little roundhead rogue's
eye Ghezzi. This time about Bruno the Began in Italian and
ended in pidgin English. He said Bruno was a terrible heretic. I said he
'Elderly parents of John the Baptist; see Luke 1:525.
tJohn the Baptist's diet while living in the wilderness.
:Cloth similar to the one, given to Christ by Saint Veronica on his way to Calvary,
on which the image of his face was imprinted.
Reference to Luke 9:5960.
#Blessed Virgin Mary.
"Maternity hospital.
ttGiordano Bruno (1548 1600), a heretic burned at the stake for his unorthodox
A Portrit o the Artist
was terribly burned. He agreed to this with some sorrow. Then gave me
recipe for what he calls risotto alia bergamasca.
When he pronounces a
soft 0 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's tears,
one from each eye.
Crossing Stephen's, that is, my Green, remembered that his coun
trymen and not mine had invented what Cranly the other night called
our religion. A quartet of them, soldiers of the ninetyseventh infantry
regiment, sat at the foot of the cross and tossed up dice for the overcoat
of the crucifed. t
Went to library. Tried to read three reviews. Useless. She is not out
yet. Am I alarmed? About what? That she will never be out again.
Blake wrote:
I wonder i William Bond wil die,
For assuredl he is very il. *
Alas, poor William!
I was once at a diorama in Rotunda. At the end were pictures of big
nobs. Among them William Ewart Gladstone, 1 I just then dead. Or
chestra played 0, Willie, we have missed you. #
A race of clodhoppers!
25 March, morning. Troubled night of dreams. Want to get them off
my chest.
A long curving galery. From the foor ascend pillars of dark vapours.
It is peopled by the images of fabulous kings, set in stone. Their hands
are folded upon their knees in token of weariness and their eyes are dark
ened for the errors of men go up before them for ever as dark vapours.
Strange fgures advance as from a cave. They are not as tall as men.
One does not seem to stand quite apart from another. Their faces are
phosphorescent, with darker streaks. They peer at me and their eyes
seem to ask me something. They do not speak.
*Rice dish.
tThe casting of lots for Christ's garments is narrated in Matthew 27: 35, Mark
15:24, Luke 23:34, and John 19:24; it is prefgured, as well, in Psalms 21:19.
:From the poem "William Bond," by William Blake (1757-1827).
Performing arts venue at the north end of Sackille (now O'Connell) Street.
I I British prime minister; he died in May 1898.
#From a popular song by American songwriter Stephen Foster (1826-1864).
as a Young Jlan
30 March. This evening Cranly was in the porch of the library, pro
posing a problem to Dixon and her brother. A mother let her child fall
into the Nile. Still harping on the mother. A crocodile seized the child.
Mother asked it back. Crocodile said all right if she told him what 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
by the operation of your sun.
And mine? Is it not too? Then into Nile mud with it.
1 April. Disapprove of this last phrase.
2 April Saw her drinking tea and eating cakes in Johnston's,
Mooney and O'Brien's.t Rather, lynxeyed Lynch saw her as we passed.
He tells me Cranly was invited there by brother. Did he bring his croc
odile? Is he the shining light now? Well, I discovered him. I protest I
did. Shining quietly behind a bushel of Wicklow bran.
3 April. Met Davin at the cigar shop opposite Findlater's church. He
was in a black sweater and had a hurleystick. Asked me was it true I was
going away and why. Told him the shortest way to Tara was via Holy
head.* Just then my father came up. Introduction. Father, polite and ob
servant. Asked Davin if he might offer him some refreshment. Davin
could not, was going to a meeting. When we came away father told me
he had a good honest eye. Asked me why I did not join a rowing club. I
pretended to think it over. Told me then how he broke Pennyfeather's
heart. Wants me to read law. Says I was cut out for that. More mud,
more crocodiles.
5 April. Wild spring. Scudding clouds. 0 life! Dark stream of
swirling bogater on which apple trees have cast down their delicate
fowers. Eyes of girls among the leaves. Girls demure and romping. All
fair or auburn: no dark ones. They blush better. Houp-Ia!
6 April. Certainly she remembers the past. Lynch says all women do.
Then she remembers the time of her childhood- and mine if I was
ever a child. The past is consumed in the present and the present is liv
ing only because it brings forth the fture. Statues of women, if Lynch
'In Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra (act 2, scene 7), Lepidus says, "Your serpent
of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun; so is your croco
dile. "
tChain of Dublin cafes.
:Tara is a mythological name for Ireland. Holyhead is the Welsh port city across the
Irish Sea from Dublin-a common destination for those leaving Ireland.
Study to become an attorney.
224 A Portrit o the Artist
be right, should always be flly draped, one hand of the woman feeling
regretflly her own hinder parts.
6 April, later Michael Robartes remembers forgotten beauty and,
when his arms wrap her round, he presses in his arms the loveliness
which has long faded from the world.
Not this. Not at all. I desire to
press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.
10 April. Faintly, under the heavy night, through the silence of the
city which has turned from dreams to dreamless sleep as a weary lover
whom no caresses move, the sound of hoofs upon the road. Not so
faintly now as they come near the bridge: and in a moment as they pass
the darkened windows the silence is cloven by alarm as by an arrow.
They are heard now far away, hoofs that shine amid the heavy night as
gems, hurrying beyond the sleeping felds to what journey's end- what
heart?- bearing what tidings?
11 April Read what I wrote last night. Vague words for a vague
emotion. Would she like it? I think so. Then I should have to like it
13 April. That tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I
looked it up and fnd it English t and good old blunt English too. Damn
the dean of studies and his fnnel! What did he come here for to teach
us his own language or to learn it from us. Damn him one way or the
14 April. John Alphonsus Mulrennan has just returned from the
west of Ireland. European and Asiatic papers please copy. He told us he
met an old 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 Mulrennan spoke English. Mulrennan spoke to him about uni
verse and stars. Old man sat, listened, smoked, spat. Then said:
-Ah, there must be terrible queer creatures at the latter end of the
I fear him. I fear his redrimmed horny eyes. It is with him I must
struggle all through this night till day come, till he or I lie dead, grip
ping him by the sinewy throat till . . . Till what? Till he yield to me?
No. I mean him no harm.
15 April Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowd
brought us together. We both stopped. She asked me why I never came,
'From "He remembers forgotten beauty," a poem by William Butler Yeats
tlndeed, the word appears in Shakespeare's Measure fr Measure (act 3, scene 2).
as a Young Man
said she had heard al sorts of stories about me. This was only to gain
time. Asked me, was I writing poems? About whom? I asked her. This
confsed her more and I felt sorry and mean. Turned off that valve at
once and opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented
and patented in alcountries by Dante Aighieri.
Talked rapidly of my
self and my plans. In the midst of it unluckly I made a sudden gesture of
a revolutionary nature. I must have looked like a fellow throwing a hand
fl of peas up into the air. People began to look at us. She shook hands a
moment after and, in going away, said she hoped I would 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 and
it seems a new feeling to me. Then, in that case, all the rest, all that I
thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest before now, in
fact . . . 0, give it up, old chap! Sleep it om
16 April. Away! Away!
The spell of arms and voices: the white arms of roads, their promise
of close embraces and the black arms of tall ships that stand against the
moon, their tale of distant nations. They are held out to say: We are
alone- come. And the voices say with them: We are your knsmen.
And the air is thick with their company as they call to me, their kins
man, makng ready to go, shaking the wings of their exultant and ter
rible youth.
26 April Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order.
She prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from
home and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it.
Welcome, 0 life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of
experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated con
science of my race.
27 April. Old father, old artifcer,t stand me now and ever in good
Dublin, 1 904.
Trieste, 1 914.
*Throughout La Vita Nuova (c. 1293), Dante seems to have kept hi s strong feelings
for Beatrice in check.
tThat is, Ddalus.
The Sisters 231
An Encounter 239
Araby 249
Eveline 255
After the Race 260
Two Gallants 267
The Boarding House 277
A Little Cloud 285
Counterparts 299
Clay 309
A Painful Case 31 7
Ivy Day i n the Committee Room 326
A Mother 341
Grace 352
The Dead 373
THERE WAS NO HOPE for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night
after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied
the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it
lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I
would see the refection of candles on the darkened blind for I kew
that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said
to me: I am not longfr this world and I had thought his words idle.
Now I knew they were true. Every night as I gazed up at the window I
said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely
in my ears, like the word gnomon
in the Euclidt and the word simony*
in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some
malefcent and sinfl being. It flled me with fear, and yet I longed to
be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.
Old Cotter was sitting at the fre, smoking, when I came downstairs
to supper. While my aunt was ladling out my stirabout he said, as if re
turning to some former remark of his:
-No, I wouldn't say he was exactly . . . but there was something
queer . . . there was something uncanny about him. I' ll tell you my
opmlOn . . . .
He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his
mind. Tiresome old fool! When we knew him frst he used to be rather
interesting, talking of faints and worms; 1 1 but I soon grew tired of him
and his endless stories about the distillery.
- I have my own theory about it, he said. I think it was one of
those . . . peculiar cases . . . . But it's hard to say . . . .
'Geometrical form created when a parallelogram is removed from the corner of a
larger parallelogram.
tGeometry textbook based on the work of Euclid (c. 300 B. C. ) .
:he si n of selling spirital blessings or pardons.
Hot cereal.
I I Technical terms from the distilling trade.
He began to puff again at his pipe without giving us his theory. My
uncle saw me staring and said to me:
- Well, so your old friend is gone, you'll be sorry to hear.
- Who? said I.
- Father Flynn.
- Is he dead?
- Mr Cotter here has just told us. He was passing by the house.
I knew that I was under observation so I continued eating as if the
news had not interested me. My uncle explained to old Cotter.
- The youngster and he were great friends. The old chap taught
him a great deal, mind you; and they say he had a great wish for him.
- God have mercy on his soul, said my aunt piously.
Old Cotter looked at me for a while. I felt that his little beady black
eyes were examining me but I would not satisf him by looking up from
my plate. He returned to his pipe and fnally spat rudely into the grate.
- I wouldn't like children of mine, he said, to have too much to say
to a man like that.
- How do you mean, Mr Cotter? asked my aunt.
- What I mean is, said old Cotter, it's bad for children. My idea is:
let a young lad run about and play with young lads of his own age and
not be . . . Am I right, Jack?
- That's my principle, too, said my uncle. Let him learn to box his
corner. That's what I'm always saying to that Rosicrucian
there: take
exercise. Why, when I was a nipper every morning of my life I had a
cold bath, winter and summer. And that's what stands to me now. Ed
ucation is all very fne and large . . . . Mr Cotter might take a pick of
that leg of mutton, he added to my aunt.
-No, no, not for me, said old Cotter.
My aunt brought the dish from the safe and put it on the table.
- But why do you think it's not good for children, Mr Cotter? she
- It' s bad for children, said old Cotter, because their minds are so
impressionable. When children see things like that, you know, it has an
effect . . . .
I crammed my mouth with stirabout for fear I might give utterance
to my anger. Tiresome old red-nosed imbecile!
It was late when I fell asleep. Though I was angry with old Cotter
for alluding to me as a child, I puzzled my head to extract meaning
'Member of an esoteric, mystical order.
The Sisters 233
from his unfnished sentences. In the dark of my room I imagined that
I saw again the heavy grey face of the paralytic. I drew the blankets over
my head and tried to think of Christmas. But the grey face still fol
lowed me. It murmured; and I understood that it desired to confess
something. I felt my soul receding into some pleasant and vicious re
gion; and there again I found it waiting for me. It began to confess to
me in a murmuring voice and I wondered why it smiled continually and
why the lips were so moist with spittle. But then I remembered that it
had died of paralysis and I felt that I too was smiling feebly as if to ab
solve the simoniac of his sin.
The next morning after breakfast I went down to look at the little
house in Great Britain Street. It was an unassuming shop, registered
under the vague name of Drpery.
The drapery consisted mainly of
children's bootees and umbrellas; and on ordinary days a notice used to
hang in the window, saying: Umbrellas Re-covered. No notice was visi
ble now for the shutters were up. A crape bouquet was tied to the door
knocker with ribbon. Two poor women and a telegram boy were
reading the card pinned on the crape. I also approached and read:
JULY 1 ST, 1 895
R. 1 pt
The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was
disturbed to fnd myself at check. Had he not been dead I would have
gone into the little dark room behind the shop to fnd him sitting in his
arm-chair by the fre, nearly smothered in his greatcoat. Perhaps my
aunt would have given me a packet of High Toast* for him and this
present would have roused him from his stupefed doze. It was always
I who emptied the packet into his black snuffox for his hands trem
bled too much to allow him to do this without spilling half the snuff
about the foor. Even as he raised his large trembling hand to his nose
little clouds of smoke dribbled through his fngers over the front of his
coat. It may have been these constant showers of snuff which gave his
ancient priestly garments their green faded look for the red hand-
'Dry goods: material, clothing, notions (small usefl articles) .
t Requiescat i n Pace, Latin for "rest in peace. "
:Brand of snuff, a pulverized form of tobacco for inhaling.
kerchief blackened, as it always was, with the snuff-stains of a week, with
which he tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite ineffcacious.
I wished to go in and look at him but I had not the courage to kock.
I walked away slowly along the sunny side of the street, reading all the
theatrical advertisements in the shop-windows as I went. I found it
strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a mourning mood and I felt
even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom as if ! had
been freed from something by his death. I wondered at this for, as my
uncle had said the night before, he had taught me a great deal. He had
studied in the Irish college in Romet and he had taught me to pro
nounce Latin properly. He had told me stories about the catacombs and
about Napoleon Bonaparte, and he had explained to me the meaning of
the different ceremonies of the Mass and of the different vestments*
worn by the priest. Sometimes he had amused himself by putting diff
cult questions to me, asking me what one should do in certain circum
stances or whether such and such sins were mortal or venial or only
imperfections. His questions showed me how complex and mysterious
were certain institutions of the Church which I had always regarded as
the simplest acts. The duties of the priest towards the Eucharist and to
wards the secrecy of the confessional seemed so grave to me that I won
dered how anybody had ever found in himself the courage to undertake
them; and I was not surprised when he told me that the fathers of the
Church had written books as thick as the Post Ofce Directory and as
closely printed as the law notices in the newspaper, elucidating all these
intricate questions. Often when I thought of this I could make no an
swer or only a very foolish and halting one upon which he used to smile
and nod his head twice or thrice. Sometimes he used to put me through
the responses of the Mass which he had made me learn by heart; and, as
I pattered, he used to smile pensively and nod his head, now and then
pushing huge pinches of snuff up each nostril alternately. When he
smiled he used to uncover his big discoloured teeth and let his tongue
lie upon his lower lip- a habit which had made me feel uneasy in the
beginning of our acquaintance before I knew him well.
As I walked along in the sun I remembered old Cotter's words and
tried to remember what had happened afterwards in the dream. I re-
'Without effect.
tlnstitution for the training of Irish priests.
=Priestly garments.
The sacrament of Holy Communion.
The Sisters 2
membered that I had noticed long velvet curtains and a swinging lamp
of antique fashion. I felt that I had been very far away, in some land
where the customs were strange- in Persia,
I thought . . . . But I could
not remember the end of the dream.
In the evening my aunt took me with her to visit the house of
mourning. It was after sunset; but the window-panes of the houses that
looked to the west refected the tawny gold of a great bank of clouds.
Nannie received us in the hall; and, as it would have been unseemly to
have shouted at her, my aunt shook hands with her for all. The old
woman pointed upwards interrogatively and, on my aunt's nodding,
proceeded to toil up the narrow staircase before us, her bowed head
being scarcely above the level of the banister-rail. At the frst landing
she stopped and beckoned us forward encouragingly towards the open
door of the dead-room. My aunt went in and the old woman, seeing
that I hesitated to enter, began to beckon to me again repeatedly with
her hand.
I went in on tiptoe. The room through the lace end of the blind was
suffsed with dusk golden light amid which the candles looked like
pale thin fames. He had been coffned. Nannie gave the lead and we
three knelt down at the foot of the bed. I pretended to pray but I could
not gather my thoughts because the old woman's mutterings distracted
me. I noticed how clumsily her skrt was hooked at the back and how
the heels of her cloth boots were trodden down all to one side. The fancy
came to me that the old priest was smiling as he lay there in his coffn.
But no. When we rose and went up to the head of the bed I saw that
he was not smiling. There he lay, solemn and copious, vested as for the
altar, his large hands loosely retaining a chalice.t His face was very truc
ulent, grey and massive, with black cavernous nostrils and circled by a
scanty white fur. There was a heavy odour in the room- the fowers.
We crossed ourselves and came away. In the little room downstairs
we found Eliza seated in his arm-chair in state. I groped my way to
wards my usual chair in the corner while Nannie went to the sideboard
and brought out a decanter of sherry and some wine-glasses. She set
these on the table and invited us to take a little glass of wine. Then, at
her sister's bidding, she flled out the sherry into the glasses and passed
them to us. She pressed me to take some cream crackers also but I de
clined because I thought I would make too much noise eating them.
'Modern-day Iran.
tCup in which the communion wine is held.
She seemed to be somewhat disappointed at my refusal and went over
quietly to the sofa where she sat down behind her sister. No one spoke:
we all gazed at the empty freplace.
My aunt waited until Eliza sighed and then said:
- Ah, well, he's gone to a better world.
Eliza sighed again and bowed her head in assent. My aunt fngered
the stem of her wine-glass before sipping a little.
- Did he . . . peacefully? she asked.
-Oh, quite peacefully, ma'am, said Eliza. You couldn't tell when the
breath went out of him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised.
- And everything . . . ?
- Father O' Rourke was in with him a Tuesday and anointed him
and prepared him and all.'
- He knew then?
- He was quite resigned.
- He looks quite resigned, said my aunt.
- That's what the woman we had in to wash him said. She said he
just looked as if he was asleep, he looked that peacefl and resigned. No
one would think he'd make such a beautifl corpse.
-Yes, indeed, said my aunt.
She sipped a little more from her glass and said:
- Well, Miss Flynn, at any rate it must be a great comfort for you
to know that you did all you could for him. You were both very kind to
him, I must say.
Eliza smoothed her dress over her knees.
- Ah, poor James! she said. God knows we done al we could, as
poor as we are- we wouldn't see him want anything while he was in it.
Nannie had leaned her head against the sofa-pillow and seemed
about to fall asleep.
- There's poor Nannie, said Eliza, looking at her, she's wore out. All
the work we had, she and me, getting in the woman to wash him and
then laying him out and then the coffn and then arranging about the
Mass in the chapel. Only for Father O' Rourke I don't know what we'd
done at all. It was him brought us all them fowers and them to can
dlesticks out of the chapel and wrote out the notice for the Freeman'
General t and took charge of all the papers for the cemetery and poor
James's insurance.
'Prepared his body for burial according to traditional procedures.
tObituary notice that will appear in the Dublin Freeman' Journal (not "General").
The Sisters
Wasn't that good of him? said my aunt.
Eliza closed her eyes and shook her head slowly.
Ah, there's no friends like the old friends, she said, when all is said
and done, no friends that a body can trust.
Indeed, that's true, said my aunt. And I'm sure now that he's gone
to his eternal reward he won't forget you and all your kindness to him.
Ah, poor James! said Eliza. He was no great trouble to us. You
wouldn't hear him in the house any more than now. Still, I know he's
gone and all to that . . . .
lt's when it's all over that you'll miss him, said my aunt.
I know that, said Eliza. I won't be bringing him in his cup of beef
tea* any more, nor you, ma'am, sending him his snuff. Ah, poor James!
She stopped, as if she were communing with the past and then said
Mind you, I noticed there was something queert coming over him
latterly. Whenever I'd bring in his soup to him there I'd fnd him with
his breviarr fallen to the foor, lying back in the chair and his mouth
She laid a fnger against her nose and frowned: then she continued:
But still and all he kept on saying that before the summer was
over he'd go out for a drive one fne day just to see the old house again
where we were all born down in Irishtown and take me and Nannie
with him. If we could only get one of them new-fangled carriages that
makes no noise that Father O' Rourke told him about, them with the

wheels, for the day cheaphe said, at Johnny Rush's over

the way there and drive out the three of us together of a Sunday
evening. He had his mind set on that . . . . Poor James!
The Lord have mercy on his soul! said my aunt.
Eliza took out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes with it. Then
she put it back again in her pocket and gazed into the empty grate for
some time without s
He was too scrupulous always, she said. The duties of the priest
hood was too much for him. And then his life was, you might say,
'Beef bouillon.
:Prayer book.
Working-class seaside Dublin neighborhood south of the Rver Liffey
I I That i s, pneumatic; a malapropism.
-Yes, said my aunt. He was a disappointed man. You could see that.
A silence took possession of the little room and, under cover of it, I
approached the table and tasted my sherry and then returned quietly to
my chair in the corner. Eliza seemed to have fallen into a deep revery.
We waited respectfully for her to break the silence: and after a long
pause she said slowly:
-It was that chalice he broke . . . . That was the beginning of it. Of
course, they say it was all right, that it contained nothing, I mean. But
still. . . . They say it was the boy's fault. But poor James was so nervous,
God be merciful to him!
-And was that it? said my aunt. I heard something . . . .
Eliza nodded.
-That affected his mind, she said. After that he began to mope by
himself talking to no one and wandering about by himself. So one
night he was wanted for to go on a call and they couldn't fnd him any
where. They looked high up and low down; and still they couldn't see a
sight of him anywhere. So then the clerk suggested to try the chapel.
So then they got the keys and opened the chapel and the clerk and
Father O' Rourke and another priest that was there brought in a light
for to look for him . . . . And what do you think but there he was,
sitting up by himself in the dark in his confession-box, wide-awake and
laughing-like softly to himself
She stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too listened; but there was no
sound in the house; and I knew that the old priest was lying still in his
coffn as we had seen him, solemn and truculent in death, an idle chal
ice on his breast.
Eliza resumed:
-Wide-awake and laughing-like to himself . . . So then, of course,
when they saw that, that made them think that there was something
gone wrong with him . . . .
IT WAS JOE DILLON who introduced the Wild West to us. He had a lit
tle library made up of old numbers of The Union Jack, Pluck and The
Halenny Marvel.* Every evening after school we met in his back gar
den and arranged Indian battles. He and his fat young brother Leo, the
idler, held the loft of the stable while we tried to carry it by storm; or
we fought a pitched battle on the grass. But, however well we fought,
we never won siege or battle and all our bouts ended with Joe Dillon's
war dance of victory. His parents went to eight-o' clock mass every
morning in Gardiner Street and the peaceful odour of Mrs Dillon was
prevalent in the hall of the house. But he played too fercely for us who
were younger and more timid. He looked like some kind of an Indian
when he capered round the garden, an old tea-cosyt on his head, beat
ing a tin with his fst and yelling:
-Ya! yaka, yaka, yaka!
Everyone was incredulous when it was reported that he had a voca
tion for the priesthood. Nevertheless it was true.
A spirit of unruliness diffsed itself among us and, under its infu
ence, differences of culture and constitution were waived. We banded
ourselves together, some boldly, some in jest and some almost in fear:
and of the number of these latter, the reluctant Indians who were afraid
to seem studious or lacking in robustness, I was one. The adventres re
lated in the literature of the Wild West were remote from my nature
but, at least, they opened doors of escape. I liked better some American
detective stories which were traversed from time to time by unkempt
ferce and beautiful girls. Though there was nothing wrong in these
stories and though their intention was sometimes literary they were cir
culated secretly at school. One day when Father Butler was hearing the
four pages of Roman History clumsy Leo Dillon was discovered with a
copy of The Halenny Marvel.
'Inexpensive boys' magazines.
tFabric cover to keep a teapot warm.

"An Enc(
houte the
Oys take
An Encounter
-This page or this page? This page? Now, Dillon, up! Hardl had
the day . . . Go on! What day? Hardl had the day dawned . . . Have you
studied it? What have you there in your pocket?
Everyone's heart palpitated as Leo Dillon handed up the paper and
everyone assumed an innocent face. Father Butler turned over the
pages, frowning.
-What is this rubbish? he said. The Apache Chie! Is this what you
read instead of studying your Roman History? Let me not fnd any
more of this wretched stuff in this college. * The man who wrote it, I
suppose, was some wretched fellow who writes these things for a drink.
I'm surprised at boys like you, educated, reading such stuff I could un
derstand it if you were . . . National Schoolt boys. Now, Dillon, I advise
you strongly, get at your work or . . .
This rebuke during the sober hours of school paled much of the glory
of the Wild West for me and the confsed puff face of Leo Dillon
awakened one of my consciences. But when the restraining infuence of
the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild sensations,
for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer
me. The mimic warfare of the evening became at last as wearisome to
me as the routine of school in the morning because I wanted real ad
ventures to happen to myself But real adventures, I refected, do not
happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.
The summer holidays were near at hand when I made up my mind
to break out of the weariness of school-life for one day at least. With
Leo Dillon and a boy named Mahony I planned a day's miching. * Each
of us saved up sixpence. We were to meet at ten in the morning on the
Canal Bridge. Mahony's big sister was to write an excuse for him and
Leo Dillon was to tell his brother to say he was sick. We arranged to go
along the Wharf Road until we came to the ships, then to cross in the
ferryboat and walk out to see the Pigeon House. Leo Dillon was afraid
we might meet Father Butler or someone out of the college; but
Mahony asked, very sensibly, what would Father Butler be doing out at
the Pigeon House. We were reassured: and I brought the frst stage of
the plot to an end by collecting sixpence from the other two, at the
'Here, not a post-secondary institution but a private boys' preparatory school.
tPublic school; National Schools were less prestigious than the private school the
boys in this story attend.
:Playing hook.
Formerly a fort, now a municipal power plant, on Dublin Bay.
same time showing them my own sixpence. When we were making the
last arrangements on the eve we were all vaguely excited. We shook
hands, laughing, and Mahony said:
-Till to-morrow, mates!
That night I slept badly. In the morning I was frst-comer to the
bridge as I lived nearest. I hid my books in the long grass near the ash
pit at the end of the garden where nobody ever came and hurried along
the canal bank. It was a mild sunny morning in the frst week of June.
I sat up on the coping of the bridge admiring my frail canvas shoes
which I had diligently pipeclayed* overnight and watching the docile
horses pulling a tramload of business people up the hill. All the
branches of the tall trees which lined the mall were gay with little light
green leaves and the sunlight slanted through them on to the water.
The granite stone of the bridge was beginning to be warm and I began
to pat it with my hands in time to an airt in my head. I was very happy.
When I had been sitting there for fve or ten minutes I saw
Mahony's grey suit approaching. He came up the hill, smiling, and
clambered up beside me on the bridge. While we were waiting he
brought out the catapult which bulged from his inner pocket and ex
plained some improvements which he had made in it. I asked him why
he had brought it and he told me he had brought it to have some gas*
with the birds. Mahony used slang freely, and spoke of Father Butler as
Old Bunser. We waited on for a quarter of an hour more but still there
was no sign of Leo Dillon. Mahony, at last, jumped down and said:
-Come along. I knew Fatty'd fnk it.
-And his sipence . . . ? I said.
-That's forfeit, said Mahony. And so much the better for us-a
bob and a tanner instead of a bob.
We walked along the North Strand Road till we came to the Vitriol
Works and then turned to the right along the Wharf Road. Mahony
began to play the Indian as soon as we were out of public sight. He
chased a crowd of ragged girls, brandishing his unloaded catapult and,
when two ragged boys began, out of chivalry, to fing stones at us, he
proposed that we should charge them. I objected that the boys were too
small, and so we walked on, the ragged troop screaming after us: Swad-
'Whitened with fne white clay.
tTune, melody.
Lose his courage.
An Encounter 2
dlers! Swaddlers! thinking that we were Protestants because Mahony,
who was dark-complexioned, wore the silver badge of a cricket club in
his cap. When we came to the Smoothing Iron we arranged a siege; but
it was a failure because you must have at least three. We revenged our
selves on Leo Dillon by saying what a fnk he was and guessing how
many he would get* at three o-clock from Mr Ryan.
We came then near the river. We spent a long time walkng about
the noisy streets fanked by high stone walls, watching the working of
cranes and engines and often being shouted at for our immobility by
the drivers of groaning carts. It was noon when we reached the quays
and, as all the labourers seemed to be eating their lunches, we bought
two big currant buns and sat down to eat them on some metal piping
beside the river. We pleased ourselves with the spectacle of Dublin's
commerce-the barges signalled from far away by their curls of woolly
smoke, the brown fshing feet beyond Rngsend, the big white sailing
vessel which was being discharged on the opposite quay. Mahony said
it would be right skitt to run away to sea on one of those big ships and
even I, looking at the high masts, saw, or imagined, the geography
which had been scantily dosed to me at school gradually taking sub
stance under my eyes. School and home seemed to recede from us and
their infuences upon us seemed to wane.
We crossed the Liffer in the ferryboat, paying our toll to be trans
ported in the company of to labourers and a little Jew with a bag. We
were serious to the point of solemnity, but once during the short voy
age our eyes met and we laughed. When we landed we watched the dis
charging of the gracefl three-master which we had observed from the
other quay. Some bystander said that she was a Norwegian vessel. I
went to the stern and tried to decipher the legend upon it but, failing
to do so, I came back and examined the foreign sailors to see had any
of them green eyes for I had some confused notion . . . . The sailors'
eyes were blue and grey and even black. The only sailor whose eyes
could have been called green was a tall man who amused the crowd on
the quay by calling out cheerflly every time the planks fell:
*That is, how many times would his hands be beaten with the pandybat, a small
club, similar to a blackjack, in which a hard core of whalebone i s covered i n leather.
:The river running west to east through downtown Dublin, dividing it i nto south
and north.
Commercial stretch of road alongside the river.
-Al right! All right!
When we were tired of this sight we wandered slowly into
Ringsend. The day had grown sultry, and in the windows of the gro
cers' shops musty biscuits lay bleaching. We bought some biscuits and
chocolate which we ate sedulously as we wandered through the squalid
streets where the families of the fshermen live. We could fnd no dairy
and so we went into a huckster's shop and bought a bottle of raspberry
lemonade each. Refreshed by this, Mahony chased a cat down a lane,
but the cat escaped into a wide feld. We both felt rather tired and when
we reached the feld we made at once for a sloping bank over the ridge
of which we could see the Dodder. *
It was too late and we were too tired to carry out our project of vis
iting the Pigeon House. We had to be home before four o'clock lest our
adventure should be discovered. Mahony looked regretfully at his cata
pult and I had to suggest going home by train before he regained any
cheerflness. The sun went in behind some clouds and left us to our
jaded thoughts and the crumbs of our provisions.
There was nobody but ourselves in the feld. When we had lain on
the bank for some time without speaking I saw a man approaching
from the far end of the feld. I watched him lazily as I chewed one of
those green stems on which girls tell fortunes. He came along by the
bank slowly. He walked with one hand upon his hip and in the other
hand he held a stick with which he tapped the turf lightly. He was
shabbily dressed in a suit of greenish-black and wore what we used to
call a jerry hatt with a high crown. He seemed to be fairly old for his
moustache was ashen-grey. When he passed at our feet he glanced up
at us quickly and then continued his way. We followed him with our
eyes and saw that when he had gone on for perhaps ffty paces he
turned about and began to retrace his steps. He walked towards us very
slowly, always tapping the ground with his stick, so slowly that I
thought he was looking for something in the grass.
He stopped when he came level with us and bade us good-day. We
answered him and he sat down beside us on the slope slowly and with
great care. He began to talk of the weather, saying that it would be a
very hot summer and adding that the seasons had changed greatly since
he was a boy-a long time ago. He said that the happiest time of one's
life was undoubtedly one's schoolboy days and that he would give any-
'Another of Dublin' s four rivers.
tSoft felt hat.
An Encounter 2
thing to be young again. While he expressed these sentiments which
bored us a little we kept silent. Then he began to talk of school and of
books. He asked us whether we had read the poetry of Thomas Moore
or the works of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Lytton. ! I pretended that I
had read every book he mentioned so that in the end he said:
-Ah, I can see you are a bookorm like myself Now, he added,
pointing to Mahony who was regarding us with open eyes, he is differ
ent; he goes in for games.
He said he had all Sir Walter Scott's works and all Lord Lytton's
works at home and never tired of reading them. Of course, he said,
there were some of Lord Lytton's works which boys couldn't read.
Mahony asked why couldn't boys read them-a question which agi
tated and pained me because I was afraid the man would think I was as
stupid as Mahony. The man, however, only smiled. I saw that he had
great gaps in his mouth between his yellow teeth. Then he asked us
which of us had the most sweethearts. Mahony mentioned lightly that
he had three totties.* The man asked me how many I had. I answered
that I had none. He did not believe me and said he was sure I must have
one. I was silent.
-Tell us, said Mahony pertly to the man, how many have you your
The man smiled as before and said that when he was our age he had
lots of sweethearts.
-Every boy, he said, has a little sweetheart.
His attitude on this point struck me as strangely liberal in a man of
his age. In my heart I thought that what he said about boys and sweet
hearts was reasonable. But I disliked the words in his mouth and I won
dered why he shivered once or twice as if he feared something or felt a
sudden chill. As he proceeded I noticed that his accent was good. He
began to speak to us about girls, saying what nice soft hair they had and
how soft their hands were and how all girls were not so good as they
seemed to be if one only kew. There was nothing he liked, he said, so
much as looking at a nice young girl, at her nice white hands and her
beautifl soft hair. He gave me the impression that he was repeating
something which he had learned by heart or that, magnetised by some
words of his own speech, his mind was slowly circling round and round
in the same orbit. At times he spoke as if he were simply alluding to
some fact that everybody knew, and at times he lowered his voice and
'Sweethearts, girlfriends.
spoke mysteriously as if he were telling us something secret which he
did not wish others to overhear. He repeated his phrases over and over
again, varying them and surrounding them with his monotonous voice.
I continued to gaze towards the foot of the slope, listening to him.
After a long while his monologue paused. He stood up slowly, say
ing that he had to leave us for a minute or so, a few minutes, and, with
out changing the direction of my gaze, I saw him walkng slowly away
from us towards the near end of the feld. We remained silent when he
had gone. After a silence of a few minutes I heard Mahony exclaim:
-I say! Look what he's doing!
As I neither answered nor raised my eyes Mahony exclaimed again:
-I say . . . He's a queer* old josser!t
-In case he asks us for our names, I said, let you be Murphy and
I' ll be Smith.
We said nothing further to each other. I was still considering
whether I would go away or not when the man came back and sat down
beside us again. Hardly had he sat down when Mahony, catching sight
of the cat which had escaped him, sprang up and pursued her across the
feld. The man and I watched the chase. The cat escaped once more and
Mahony began to throw stones at the wall she had escaladed. * Desist
ing from this, he began to wander about the far end of the feld, aim
Mter an interval the man spoke to me. He said that my friend was a
very rough boy and asked did he get whipped often at school. I was
going to reply indignantly that we were not National School boys to be
whipped, as he called it; but I remained silent. He began to speak on the
subject of chastising boys. His mind, as if magnetised again by his
speech, seemed to circle slowly round and round its new centre. He said
that when boys were that kind they ought to be whipped and well
whipped. When a boy was rough and unruly there was nothing would
do him any good but a good sound whipping. A slap on the hand or a
box on the ear was no good: what he wanted was to get a nice warm
whipping. I was surprised at this sentiment and involuntarily glanced up
at his face. As I did so I met the gaze of a pair of bottle-green eyes peer
ing at me from under a twitching forehead. I turned my eyes away again.
'Joyce plays on both the conventional and underground meanings this word carried
in turn-of-the-century Ireland: "strange" but also, increasingly, "homosexual. "
:Mounted or scaled.
An Encounter
The man continued his monologue. He seemed to have forgotten
his recent liberalism. He said that if ever he found a boy talking to girls
or having a girl for a sweetheart he would whip him and whip him; and
that would teach him not to be talking to girls. And if a boy had a girl
for a sweetheart and told lies about it then he would give him such a
whipping as no boy ever got in this world. He said that there was noth
ing in this world he would like so well as that. He described to me how
he would whip such a boy as if he were unfolding some elaborate mys
tery. He would love that, he said, better than anything in this world;
and his voice, as he led me monotonously through the mystery, grew al
most affectionate and seemed to plead with me that I should under
stand him.
I waited till his monologue paused again. Then I stood up abruptly.
Lest I should betray my agitation I delayed a few moments pretending
to f my shoe properly and then, saying that I was obliged to go, I bade
him good-day. I went up the slope calmly but my heart was beating
quickly with fear that he would seize me by the ankles. When I reached
the top of the slope I turned round and, without lookng at him, called
loudly across the feld:
My voice had an accent of forced bravery in it and I was ashamed of
my paltry stratagem. I had to call the name again before Mahony saw
me and hallooed in answer. How my heart beat as he came running
across the feld to me! He ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent;
for in my heart I had always despised him a little.
l. Chr|s||an 8rothors' Shoo|
It |oru Hichmono Strt

" -

The Boy's Route:
on foot ~ -
by rail -

NORTH RICHMOND STREET, BEING blind,* was a quiet street except at
the hour when the Christian Brothers' Schoolt set the boys free. An un
inhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from
its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, con
scious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown
imperturbable faces.
The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back
drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all
the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old
useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the
pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Wlter Scott, The
Devout Communicant and The Memoirs o Vidocq. * I liked the last best
because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house con
tained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes under one of
which I found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very
charitable priest; in his will he had left all his money to institutions and
the frniture of his house to his sister.
When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well
eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown
sombre. The space of sk above us was the colour of ever-changing vi
olet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns.
The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts
echoed in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through
the dark muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the gauntlet of
the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark drip-
*That is, a dead -end street.
tInexpensive day schools, run by the volunteers of the Christian Brothers, that em
phasized practical learning.
:Three popular nineteenth-century texts emphasizing, respectively, romance (The
Abbott is a novel by Sir Walter Scott) , religious devotion, and crime and detection.
Reckless running.
ping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous
stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook
music from the buckled harness. When we returned to the street light
from the ktchen windows had flled the areas. If my uncle was seen
turning the corner we hid in the shadow until we had seen him safely
housed. Or if Mangan's sister came out on the doorstep to call her
brother in to his tea* we watched her from our shadow peer up and
down the street. We waited to see whether she would remain or go in
and, if she remained, we left our shadow and walked up to Mangan's
steps resignedly. She was waiting for us, her fgure defned by the light
from the half-opened door. Her brother always teased her before he
obeyed and I stood by the railings lookng at her. Her dress swung as
she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to
Every morning I lay on the foor in the front parlour watching her
door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that
I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my heart
leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her
brown fgure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at
which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This
happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for
a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my
foolish blood.
Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to ro
mance. On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to
go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the faring streets,
jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of
labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the
barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a
come-al-yout about O'Donovan Rossa,* or a ballad about the troubles
in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of life
for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of
foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and
praises which 1 myself did not understand. My eyes were often fll of
tears (I could not tell why) and at times a food from my heart seemed
*he evening meal.
t A popular ballad, often beginning with the phrase "Come all you [Irish men J ," etc.
:Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831-1915), Irish nationalist leader.
Cup in which the communion wine is held.
to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not
kow whether I would ever speak to her or not or, ifI spoke to her, how
I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp
and her words and gestures were like fngers running upon the wires.
One evening I went into the back drawing-room in which the priest
had died. It was a dark rainy evening and there was no sound in the
house. Through one of the broken panes I heard the rain impinge upon
the earth, the fne incessant needles of water playing in the sodden
beds. Some distant lamp or lighted window gleamed below me. I was
thankfl that I could see so little. Almy senses seemed to desire to veil
themselves and, feeling that I was about to slip from them, I pressed the
palms of my hands together until they trembled, murmuring: 0 love!
o love! many times.
At last she spoke to me. When she addressed the frst words to me
I was so confsed that I did not know what to answer. She asked me
was I going to Arby. * I forgot whether I answered yes or no. It would
be a splendid bazaar, she said she would love to go.
-And why can't you? I asked.
While she spoke she turned a silver bracelet round and round her
wrist. She could not go, she said, because there would be a retreatt that
week in her convent.* Her brother and two other boys were fghting for
their caps and I was alone at the railings. She held one of the spikes,
bowing her head towards me. The light from the lamp opposite our
door caught the white curve of her neck, lit up her hair that rested there
and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. It fell over one side of her
dress and caught the white border of a petticoat, just visible as she stood
at ease.
-It's well for you, she said.
-If I go, I said, I will bring you something.
What innumerable follies laid waste my waking and sleeping
thoughts after that evening! I wished to annihilate the tedious inter
vening days. 1 chafed against the work of school. At night in my bed
room and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the
page I strove to read. The sylables of the word Araby were called to me
through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern en
chantment over me. I asked for leave to go to the bazaar on Saturday
'Bazaar held to support the Jervis Street Hospital, Dublin, held May 14-19, 1894.
tPeriod of withdrawal for the purpose of spiritual refection and teaching.
:That is, a convent school.
night. My aunt was surprised and hoped it was not some Freemason*
affair. I answered few questions in class. I watched my master's face pass
from amiability to sternness; he hoped I was not beginning to idle. I
could not call my wandering thoughts together. I had hardly any pa
tience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood beteen
me and my desire, seemed to me child's play, ugly monotonous child's
On Saturday morning I reminded my uncle that I wished to go to
the bazaar in the evening. He was fssing at the hallstand, looking for
the hat--brush, and answered me curtly:
-Yes, boy, I know.
As he was in the hall I could not go into the front parlour and lie at
the window. I left the house in bad humour and walked slowly towards
the school. The air was pitilessly raw and already my heart misgave me.
When I came home to dinner my uncle had not yet been home. Still
it was early. I sat staring at the clock for some time and, when its tick
ing began to irritate me, I left the room. I mounted the staircase and
gained the upper part of the house. The high cold empty gloomy rooms
liberated me and I went from room to room singing. From the front
window I saw my companions playing below in the street. Their cries
reached me weakened and indistinct and, leaning my forehead against
the cool glass, I looked over at the dark house where she lived. I may
have stood there for an hour, seeing nothing but the brown-clad fgure
cast by my imagination, touched discreetly by the lamplight at the
curved neck, at the hand upon the railings and at the border below the
When I came downstairs again I found Mrs Mercer sitting at the
fre. She was an old garrulous woman, a pawnbroker's widow, who col
lected used stamps for some pious purpose. I had to endure the gossip
of the tea-table. The meal was prolonged beyond an hour and still my
uncle did not come. Mrs Mercer stood up to go: she was sorry she
couldn't wait any longer, but it was after eight o'clock and she did not
like to be out late, as the night air was bad for her. When she had gone
I began to walk up and down the room, clenching my fsts. My aunt
-I'm afraid you may put off your bazaar for this night of Our Lord.
At nine o'clock I heard my uncle's latchkey in the halldoor. I heard
'Relating to the secret fraternal order of Free and Accepted Masons, regarded by
Catholics as a Protestant sect.
him talking to himself and heard the hallstand rocking when it had re
ceived the weight of his overcoat. I could interpret these signs. When
he was midway through his dinner I asked him to give me the money
to go to the bazaar. He had forgotten.
-The people are in bed and after their frst sleep now, he said.
I did not smile. My aunt said to him energetically:
-Can't you give him the money and let him go? You've kept him
late enough as it is.
My uncle said he was very sorry he had forgotten. He said he be
lieved in the old saying: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. He
asked me where I was going and, when I had told him a second time
he asked me did I kow The Arab' Farewell to his Steed. * When I left
the kitchen he was about to recite the opening lines of the piece to my
I held a forin tightly in my hand as I strode down Buckingham
Street towards the station. The sight of the streets thronged with buyers
and glaring with gas recalled to me the purpose of my journey. I took my
seat in a third-class carriage of a deserted train. After an intolerable
delay the train moved out of the station slowly. It crept onward among
ruinous houses and over the twinkling river. At Westland Row Station
a crowd of people pressed to the carriage doors; but the porters moved
them back, saying that it was a special train for the bazaar. I remained
alone in the bare carriage. In a few minutes the train drew up beside an
improvised wooden platform. I passed out on to the road and saw by the
lighted dial of a clock that it was ten minutes to ten. In front of me was
a large building which displayed the magical name.
I could not fnd any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar
would be closed, I passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a
shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall girdled at
half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the
greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised a silence like that
which pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the
bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were
still open. Before a curtain, over which the words Caf Chantant ' were
written in coloured lamps, two men were counting money on a salver. *
I listened to the fall of the coins.
'Poem by English writer Caroline Sheridan Norton (1808-1877).
tCafe with musical entertainment.
:Serving tray.
Remembering with diffculty why I had come I went over to one of
the stalls and examined porcelain vases and fowered tea-sets. At the
door of the stall a young lady was talkng and laughing with two young
gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to
their conversation.
-0, I never said such a thing!
-0, but you did!
-0, but I didn't!
-Didn't she say that?
-Yes, I heard her.
-0, there's a ... fb!
Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to
buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed
to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked humbly at the
great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark en
trance to the stall and murmured:
-No, thank you.
The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went
back to the two young men. They began to talk of the same subject.
Once or tice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.
I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to
make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away
slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed the two
pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call
from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of
the hall was now completely dark.
Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and
derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

SHE SAT AT THE window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her
head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the
odour of dusty cretonne.* She was tired.
Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his way
home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement
and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the new red houses.
One time there used to be a feld there in which they used to play every
evening with other people's children. Then a man from Belfast bought
the feld and built houses in it-not like their little brown houses but
bright brick houses with shining roofs. The children of the avenue used
to play together in that feld-the Devines, the Waters, the Dunns, lit
tle Keogh the cripple, she and her brothers and sisters. Ernest, however,
never played: he was too grown up. Her father used often to hunt them
in out of the feld with his blackthorn stick;t but usually little Keogh
used to keep nix* and call out when he saw her father coming. Still they
seemed to have been rather happy then. Her father was not so bad then;
and besides, her mother was alive. That was a long time ago; she and
her brothers and sisters were all grown up; her mother was dead. Tizzie
Dunn was dead, too, and the Waters had gone back to England. Every
thing changes. Now she was going to go away like the others, to leave
her home.
Home! She looked round the room, reviewing all its familiar objects
which she had dusted once a week for so many years, wondering where
on earth all the dust came from. Perhaps she would never see again
those familiar objects from which she had never dreamed of being di
vided. And yet during all those years she had never found out the name
of the priest whose yellowing photograph hung on the wall above the
broken harmonium beside the coloured print of the promises made to
'Heav cotton fabric.
tWalking stick.
Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque. * He had been a school friend of her
father. Whenever he showed the photograph to a visitor her father used
to pass it with a casual word:
-He is in Melbourne now.
She had consented to go away, to leave her home. Was that wise?
She tried to weigh each side of the question. In her home anyway she
had shelter and food; she had those whom she had known all her life
about her. Of course she had to work hard, both in the house and at
business. What would they say of her in the Stores when they found
out that she had run away with a fellow? Say she was a fool, perhaps;
and her place would be flled up by advertisement. Miss Gavan would
be glad. She had always had an edge on her, especially whenever there
were people listening.
-Miss Hill, don't you see these ladies are waiting.
-Look lively, Miss Hill, please.
She would not cry many tears at leaving the Stores.
But in her new home, in a distant unknown country, it would not be
like that. Then she would be married-she, Eveline. People would treat
her with respect then. She would not be treated as her mother had
been. Even now, though she was over nineteen, she sometimes felt her
self in danger of her father's violence. She knew it was that that had
given her the palpitations. When they were growing up he had never
gone for her, like he used to go for Harry and Ernest, because she was
a girl; but latterly he had begun to threaten her and say what he would
do to her only for her dead mother's sake. And now she had nobody to
protect her. Ernest was dead and Harry, who was in the church deco
rating business, was nearly always down somewhere in the country. Be
sides, the invariable squabble for money on Saturday nights had begun
to weary her unspeakably. She always gave her entire wages-seven
shillings-and Harry always sent up what he could but the trouble was
to get any money from her father. He said she used to squander the
money, that she had no head, that he wasn't going to give her his hard
earned money to throw about the streets, and much more, for he was
usually fairly bad on Saturday night. In the end he would give her the
money and ask her had she any intention of buying Sunday's dinner.
Then she had to rush out as quickly as she could and do her market
ing, holding her black leather purse tightly in her hand as she elbowed
*(1647-1690) ; French nun who was made a saint in 1920; she was instrumental in
the establishment of the devotion to the Sacred Heart oEJesus.
her way through the crowds and returning home late under her load of
rovisions. She had hard work to keep the house together and to see
that the to young children who had been left to her charge went to
school regularly and got their meals regularly. It was hard work-a hard
life-but now that she was about to leave it she did not fnd it a wholly
undesirable life.
She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very
kind, manly, open-hearted. She was to go away with him by the night
boat to be his wife and to live with him in Buenos Ayres where he had
a home waiting for her. How well she remembered the frst time she
had seen him; he was lodging in a house on the main road where she
used to visit. It seemed a few weeks ago. He was standing at the gate,
his peaked cap pushed back on his head and his hair tumbled forward
over a face of bronze. Then they had come to know each other. He used
to meet her outside the Stores every evening and see her home. He
took her to see The Bohemian Gir' and she felt elated as she sat in an
unaccustomed part of the theatre with him. He was awlly fond of
music and sang a little. People knew that they were courting and, when
he sang about the lass that loves a sailor, she always felt pleasantly con
fused. He used to call her Poppens out of fun. First of all it had been
an excitement for her to have a fellow and then she had begun to like
him. He had tales of distant countries. He had started as a deck boy at
a pound a month on a ship of the Allan Line 'going out to Canada. He
told her the names of the ships he had been on and the names of the
different services. He had sailed through the Straits of Magellan and he
told her stories of the terrible Patagonians. He had fallen on his feet in
Buenos Ayres, he said, and had come over to the old country just for a
holiday. Of course, her father had found out the affair and had forbid
den her to have anything to say to him.
-I know these sailor chaps, he said.
One day he had quarrelled with Frank and after that she had to meet
her lover secretly.
The evening deepened in the avenue. The white of two letters in her
lap grew indistinct. One was to Harry; the other was to her father.
Ernest had been her favourite but she liked Harry too. Her father was
becoming old lately, she noticed; he would miss her. Sometimes he
*1843 opera with music by Irish composer Michael William Balfe (1808-1870), li
bretto by Alfred Bunn.
tSteamships serving England and America.
could be very nice. Not long before, when she had been laid up for a
day, he had read her out a ghost story and made toast for her at the fre.
Another day, when their mother was alive, they had all gone for a pic
nic to the Hill of Howth.* She remembered her father putting on her
mother's bonnet to make the children laugh.
Her time was running out but she continued to sit by the window,
leaning her head against the window curtain, inhaling the odour of
dusty cretonne. Down far in the avenue she could hear a street organ
playing. She knew the air.t Strange that it should come that very night
to remind her of the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the
home together as long as she could. She remembered the last night of
her mother's illness; she was again in the close dark room at the other
side of the hall and outside she heard a melancholy air of Italy. The
organ-player had been ordered to go away and given sipence. She re
membered her father strutting back into the sickroom saying:
-Damned Italians! coming over here!
As she mused the pitifl vision of her mother's life laid its spell on
the very quick of her being-that life of commonplace sacrifces clos
ing in fnal craziness. She trembled as she heard again her mother's
voice saying constantly with foolish insistence:
-Derevaun Seraun!* Derevaun Seraun!
She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must es
cape! Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too.
But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy? She had a right
to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her in his arms. He
would save her.
* * * * * * * * * *
She stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North
Wall. He held her hand and she knew that he was speaking to her, say
ing something about the passage over and over again. The station was
full of soldiers with brown baggages. Through the wide doors of the
sheds she caught a glimpse of the black mass of the boat, lying in be
side the quay wall, with illumined portholes. She answered nothing.
*Geographical landmark framing the north side of Dublin Bay.
tTune, melody.
:Though some have claimed that this phrase sounds similar to something in Irish,
it is probably meant simply as gibberish.
North Lifey quays ide for eastern departures.
She felt her cheek pale and cold and, out of a maze of distress, she
prayed to God to direct her, to show her what was her duty. The boat
blew a long mournful whistle into the mist. If she went, tomorrow she
would be on the sea with Frank, steaming toward Buenos Ayres. Their
passage had been booked. Could she still draw back after all he had
done for her? Her distress awoke a nausea in her body and she kept
moving her lips in silent fervent prayer.
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand:
Al the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing
her into them: he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the
iron railing.
No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in
frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish!
-Eveline! Evvy!
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was
shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to
him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love
or farewell or recognition.
THE CARS CAME SCUDDING in towards Dublin, running evenly like
pellets in the groove of the Naas' Road. At the crest of the hill at
Inchicoret sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars career
ing homeward and through this channel of poverty and inaction the
Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps of
people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed. Their sympathy,
however, was for the blue cars-the cars of their friends, the French.*
The French, moreover, were virtual victors. Their team had fnished
solidly; they had been placed second and third and the driver of the
winning German car was reported a Belgian. Each blue car, therefore,
received a double measure of welcome as it topped the crest of the hill
and each cheer of welcome was acknowledged with smiles and nods by
those in the car. In one of these trimly built cars was a part of four
young men whose spirits seemed to be at present well above the level
of successfl Gallicism: in fact, these four young men were almost hi
larious. They were Charles Segouin, the owner of the car; Andree
Riviere, a young electrician of Canadian birth; a huge Hungarian
named Villona and a neatly groomed young man named Doyle.
Segouin was in good humour because he had unexpectedly received
some orders in advance (he was about to start a motor establishment in
Paris) and Rviere was in good humour because he was to be appointed
manager of the establishment; these two young men ( who were
cousins) were also in good humour because of the success of the French
cars. Villona was in good humour because he had had a very satisfac
tory luncheon; and besides he was an optimist by nature. The fourth
member of the party, however, was too excited to be genuinely happy.
He was about twenty-six years of age, with a soft, light brown mous-
'County Kildare town southeast of Dublin.
tVillage on the south bank of the Liffey.
:The relationship between the Irish and the French is longstanding; the aid of the
French in the unsuccessfl 1798 rebellion, led by Wolfe Tone, is but one example.
Afer the Race
tache and rather innocent-looking grey eyes. His father, who had begun
life as an advanced Nationalist,* had modifed his views early. He had
made his money as a butcher in Kingstown ' and by opening shops in
Dublin and in the suburbs he had made his money many times over.
He had also been fortunate enough to secure some of the police con
tracts and in the end he had become rich enough to be alluded to in the
Dublin newspapers as a merchant prince. He had sent his son to En
gland to be educated in a big Catholic college and had afterwards sent
him to Dublin University* to study law. Jimmy did not study very
earnestly and took to bad courses for a while. He had money and he was
popular; and he divided his time curiously between musical and mo
toring circles. Then he had been sent for a term to Cambridge to see a
little life. His father, remonstrative, but covertly proud of the excess,
had paid his bills and brought him home. It was at Cambridge that he
had met Segouin. They were not much more than acquaintances as yet
but Jimmy found great pleasure in the society of one who had seen so
much of the world and was reputed to own some of the biggest hotels
in France. Such a person (as his father agreed) was well worth knowing,
even if he had not been the charming companion he was. Villona was
entertaining also-a brilliant pianist-but, unfortunately, very poor.
The car ran on merrily with its cargo of hilarious youth. The two
cousins sat on the front seat; Jimmy and his Hungarian friend sat be
hind. Decidedly Villona was in excellent spirits; he kept up a deep bass
hum of melody for miles of the road. The Frenchmen fung their laugh
ter and light words over their shoulders and often Jimmy had to strain
forward to catch the quick phrase. This was not altogether pleasant for
him, as he had nearly always to make a deft guess at the meaning and
shout back a suitable answer in the face of a high wind. Besides
Villona's humming would confse anybody; the noise of the car, too.
Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does
the possession of money. These were three good reasons for Jimmy's ex
citement. He had been seen by many of his friends that day in the com
pany of these Continentals. At the control Segouin had presented him
to one of the French competitors and, in answer to his confsed mur-
*Supporter of Home Rule for Ireland, and of Charles Stewart Parnel.
tPort city south of Dublin; now known once again by its Irish name, Dun
:That is, Trinity College, Dublin (also called the University of Dublin), the Protes
tant university founded in 1592 by Qeen Elizabeth I.
mur of compliment, the swarthy face of the driver had disclosed a line
of shining white teeth. It was pleasant after that honour to return to the
profane world of spectators amid nudges and signifcant looks. Then as
to money-he really had a great sum under his control. Segouin, per
haps, would not think it a great sum but Jimmy who, in spite of tem
porary errors, was at heart the inheritor of solid instincts knew well
with what diffculty it had been got together. This knowledge had pre
viously kept his bills within the limits of reasonable recklessness and, if
he had been so conscious of the labour latent in money when there had
been question merely of some freak of the higher intelligence, how
much more so now when he was about to stake the greater part of his
substance! It was a serious thing for him.
Of course, the investment was a good one and Segouin had managed
to give the impression that it was by a favour of friendship the mite* of
Irish money was to be included in the capital of the concern. Jimmy
had a respect for his father's shrewdness in business matters and in this
case it had been his father who had frst suggested the investment;
money to be made in the motor business, pots of money. Moreover
Segouin had the unmistakable air of wealth. Jimmy set out to translate
into days' work that lordly car in which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In
what style they had come careering along the country roads! The jour
ney laid a magical fnger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the
machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses of
the swift blue animal.
They drove down Dame Street. The street was busy with unusual
traffc, loud with the horns of motorists and the gongs of impatient
tram-drivers. Near the Bankt Segouin drew up and Jimmy and his
friend alighted. A little knot of people collected on the footpath to pay
homage to the snorting motor. The party was to dine together that
evening in Segouin's hotel and, meanwhile, Jimmy and his friend, who
was staying with him, were to go home to dress. The car steered out
slowly for Grafton Street while the two young men pushed their way
through the knot of gazers. They walked northward with a curious feel
ing of disappointment in the exercise, while the city hung its pale
globes of light above them in a haze of summer evening.
In Jimmy's house this dinner had been pronounced an occasion. A
'Tiny amount.
tThe Bank of Ireland building, across the street from Trinity College; the home of
the Irish Parliament before the Act of Union in 1800.
Afer the Race
certain pride mingled with his parents' trepidation, a certain eagerness,
also, to play fast and loose for the names of great foreign cities have at
least this virtue. Jimmy, too, looked very well when he was dressed and,
as he stood in the hall giving a last equation to the bows of his dress tie,
his father may have felt even commercially satisfed at having secured
for his son qualities often unpurchaseable. His father, therefore, was
unusually friendly with Villona and his manner expressed a real respect
for foreign accomplishments; but this subtlety of his host was probably
lost upon the Hungarian, who was beginning to have a sharp desire for
his dinner.
The dinner was excellent, exquisite. Segouin, Jimmy decided, had a
very refned taste. The party was increased by a young Englishman
named Routh whom Jimmy had seen with Segouin at Cambridge. The
young men supped in a snug room lit by electric candle lamps. They
talked volubly and with little reserve. Jimmy, whose imagination was
kindling, conceived the lively youth of the Frenchmen tined elegantly
upon the frm framework of the Englishman's manner. A graceful
image of his, he thought, and a just one. He admired the dexterity with
which their host directed the conversation. The fve young men had
various tastes and their tongues had been loosened. Villona, with im
mense respect, began to discover to the mildly surprised Englishman
the beauties of the English madrigal, deploring the loss of old instru
ments. Riviere, not wholly ingenuously, undertook to explain to Jimmy
the triumph of the French mechanicians. The resonant voice of the
Hungarian was about to prevail in ridicule of the spurious lutes of the
romantic painters when Segouin shepherded his party into politics.
Here was congenial ground for al. Jimmy, under generous infuences,
felt the buried zeal of his father wake to life within him: he aroused the
torpid Routh at last. The room grew doubly hot and Segouin's task
grew harder each moment: there was even danger of personal spite. The
alert host at an opportunity lifted his glass to Humanity and, when the
toast had been drunk, he threw open a window signifcantly.
That night the city wore the mask of a capital. The fve young men
strolled along Stephen's Green* in a faint cloud of aromatic smoke.
They talked loudly and gaily and their cloaks dangled from their shoul
ders. The people made way for them. At the corner of Grafton Street a
short fat man was putting two handsome ladies on a car in charge of
'St. Stephen's Green, a public park bordered by the Graf ton Street shopping area on
the north and University College Dublin on the south.
another fat man. The car drove off and the short fat man caught sight
of the party.
-It's Farley!
A torrent of talk followed. Farley was an American. No one knew
very well what the talk was about. Villona and Riviere were the noisi
est, but all the men were excited. They got up on a car, squeezing them
selves together amid much laughter. They drove by the crowd, blended
now into soft colours, to a music of merry bells. They took the train at
Westland Row and in a few seconds, as it seemed to Jimmy, they were
walking out of Kingstown Station. The ticket-collector saluted Jimmy;
he was an old man:
-Fine night, sir!
It was a serene summer night; the harbour lay like a darkened mir
ror at their feet. They proceeded towards it with linked arms, singing
Cadet Roussel * in chorus, stamping their feet at every:
-Ho! Ho! HoM, vriment!
They got into a rowboat at the slip and made out for the American's
yacht. There was to be supper, music, cards. Villona said with convic
-It is delightful!
There was a yacht piano in the cabin. Villona played a waltz for
Farley and Riviere, Farley acting as cavalier and Rviere as lady. Then
an impromptu square dance, the men devising original fgures. What
merriment! Jimmy took his part with a will; this was seeing life, at least.
Then Farley got out of breath and cried Stop! A man brought in a light
supper, and the young men sat down to it for form's sake. They drank,
however: it was Bohemian. They drank Ireland, England, France, Hun
gary, the United States of America. Jimmy made a speech, a long
speech, Villona saying: Hear! hear! whenever there was a pause. There
was a great clapping of hands when he sat down. It must have been a
good speech. Farley clapped him on the back and laughed loudly. What
jovial fellows! What good company they were!
Cards! cards! The table was cleared. Villona returned quietly to his
piano and played voluntaries for them. The other men played game
after game, finging themselves boldly into the adventure. They drank
the health of the Qeen of Hearts and of the Qeen of Diamonds.
'French regimental song dating from the 1790s.
Afer the Race
Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience: the wit was fashing. Play
ran very high and paper began to pass.* Jimmy did not know exactly
who was winning but he knew that he was losing. But it was his own
fault for he frequently mistook his cards and the other men had to cal
culate his LO. U. 's for him. They were devils of fellows but he wished
they would stop: it was getting late. Someone gave the toast of the
yacht The Belle o Newport and then someone proposed one great game
for a fnish.
The piano had stopped; Villona must have gone up on deck. It was
a terrible game. They stopped just before the end of it to drink for luck.
Jimmy understood that the game lay between Routh and Segouin.
What excitement! Jimmy was excited too; he would lose, of course.
How much had he written away? The men rose to their feet to play the
last tricks, talking and gesticulating. Routh won. The cabin shook with
the young men's cheering and the cards were bundled together. They
began then to gather in what they had won. Farley and Jimmy were the
heaviest losers.
He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was
glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his folly.
He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head between his
hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door opened and
he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light:
-Daybreak, gentlemen!
*hat is, IOUs are being used in place of money.
"Two Gallants"
- - -Corley's Route (with and without Lenehan)
Lenehan's Route (solus)
He Light DIstnct
THE GREY WARM EVENING of August had descended upon the city and
a mild warm air, a memory of summer, circulated in the streets. The
streets, shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed with a gaily
coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps shone from the sum
mits of their tall poles upon the living texture below which, changing
shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the warm grey evening air an
unchanging, unceasing murmur.
Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square.* One of
them was just bringing a long monologue to a close. The other, who
walked on the verge of the path and was at times obliged to step on to
the road, owing to his companion's rudeness, wore an amused listen
ing face. He was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap was shoved far back
from his forehead and the narrative to which he listened made con
stant waves of expression break forth over his face from the corners of
his nose and eyes and mouth. Little jets of wheezing laughter followed
one another out of his convulsed body. His eyes, twinkling with cun
ning enjoyment, glanced at every moment towards his companion's
face. Once or twice he rearranged the light waterproof t which he had
slung over one shoulder in toreador fashion. His breeches, his white
rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But
his fgure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey
and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a
ravaged look.
When he was quite sure that the narrative had ended he laughed
noiselessly for flly half a minute. Then he said:
-Well! . . . That takes the biscuit!
His voice seemed winnowed of vigour; and to enforce his words he
added with humour:
'Now known as Parnell Square; at the northern end of Sackville (now O' Connell)
268 Dubliners
-That takes the solitary, unique, and, if I may so call it, recherche*
He became serious and silent when he had said this. His tongue was
tired for he had been talkng all the afternoon in a public-houset in
Dorset Street. Most people considered Lenehan a leech but, in spi te of
this reputation, his adroitness and eloquence had always prevented his
friends from forming any general policy against him. He had a brave
manner of coming up to a party of them in a bar and of holding him
self nimbly at the borders of the company until he was included in a
round. He was a sporting vagrant armed with a vast stock of stories,
limericks and riddles. He was insensitive to all kinds of discourtesy. No
one kew how he achieved the stern task of living, but his name was
vaguely associated with racing tissues.*
-And where did you pick her up, Corley? he asked.
Corley ran his tongue swiftly along his upper lip.
-One night, man, he said, I was going along Dame Street and I
spotted a fne tart under Waterhouse's clock and said good-night, you
know. So we went for a walk round by the canal and she told me she
was a slaveyl l in a house in Baggot Street. I put my arm round her and
squeezed her a bit that night. Then next Sunday, man, I met her by ap
pointment. We went out to Donnybrook# and I brought her into a feld
there. She told me she used to go with a dairyman . . . . It was fne, man.
Cigarettes every night she'd bring me and paying the tram out and
back. And one night she brought me two bloody fne cigars-O, the
real cheese, you know, that the old fellow used to smoke . . . . I was
afraid, man, she'd get in the family way. But she's up to the dodge. **
-Maybe she thinks you'll marry her, said Lenehan.
-I told her I was out of a j ob, said Corley. I told her I was in
Pim' She doesn't know my name. I was too hairy* to tell her that.
But she thinks I'm a bit of class, you know.
Lenehan laughed again, noiselessly.
'Exquisite, over-refned.
t Pub; a licensed premises open to the public, as opposed to a private bar or club.
:Newspapers with information about the day's horse racing.
Formerly, a familiar landmark and rendezous point in downtown Dublin.
I I Working-class woman or one of questionable virtue.
#Rural area southeast of Dublin.
" Deceit.
ttLarge downtown department store.
Two Gallants
-Of all the good ones ever I heard, he said, that emphatically takes
the biscuit.
Corley's stride acknowledged the com
liment. The swing of his
burly body made his friend execute a few light skips from the path to
the roadway and back again. Corley was the son of an inspector of po
lice and he had inherited his father's frame and gait. He walked with
his hands by his sides, holding himself erect and swaying his head from
side to side. His head was large, globular and oily; it sweated in all
weathers; and his large round hat, set upon it sideways, looked like a
bulb which had grown out of another. He always stared straight before
him as if he were on parade and, when he wished to gaze after some
one in the street, it was necessary for him to move his body from the
hips. At present he was about town. Whenever any job was vacant a
friend was always ready to give him the hard word.* He was often to be
seen walking with policemen in plain clothes, talking earnestly. He
knew the inner side of all affairs and was fond of delivering fnal judg
ments. He spoke without listening to the speech of his companions.
His conversation was mainly about himself what he had said to such a
person and what such a person had said to him and what he had said
to settle the matter. When he reported these dialogues he aspirated the
frst letter of his name after the manner of Florentines.
Lenehan offered his friend a cigarette. As the two young men
walked on through the crowd Corley occasionally turned to smile at
some of the passing girls but Lenehan's gaze was fed on the large faint
moon circled with a double halo. He watched earnestly the passing of
the grey web of twilight across its face. At length he said:
-Well . . . tell me, Corley, I suppose you'll be able to
ull it off all
right, eh?
Corley closed one eye expressively as an answer.
-Is she game for that? asked Lenehan dubiously. You can never
kow women.
-She's all right, said Corley. I know the way to get around her, man.
She's a bit gone on me .
-You're what I call a gay Lothario,t said Lenehan. And the proper
knd of a Lothario, too!
A shade of mockery relieved the servility of his manner. To save
* An insider tip.
tSeductive young man; similar to a "Don Juan. "
0 Dubliners
himself he had the habit of leaving his fattery open to the interpreta
tion of raillery. But Corley had not a subtle mind.
-There's nothing to touch a good slavey, he affrmed. Take my tip
for it.
-By one who has tried them all, said Lenehan.
-First I used to go with girls, you know, said Corley, unbosoming;
girls off the South Circular. 1 used to take them out, man, on the tram
somewhere and pay the tram or take them to a band or a play at the
theatre or buy them chocolate and sweets or something that way. 1 used
to spend money on them right enough, he added, in a convincing tone,
as if he was conscious of being disbelieved.
But Lenehan could well believe it, he nodded gravely.
-I know that game, he said, and it's a mug's game.*
-And damn the thing 1 ever got out of it, said Corley.
-Ditto here, said Lenehan.
-Only off of one of them, said Corley.
He moistened his upper lip by running his tongue along it. The rec
ollection brightened his eyes. He too gazed at the pale disc of the
moon, now nearly veiled, and seemed to meditate.
-She was . . . a bit of all right, he said regretfully.
He was silent again. Then he added:
-She's on the turf t now. 1 saw her driving down Earl Street one
night with two fellows with her on a car.*
-I suppose that's your doing, said Lenehan.
-There was others at her before me, said Corley philosophically.
This time Lenehan was inclined to disbelieve. He shook his head to
and fro and smiled.
-You know you can't kid me, Corley, he said.
-Honest to God! said Corley. Didn't she tell me herself
Lenehan made a tragic gesture.
-Base betrayer! he said.
As they passed along the railings of Trinity College, Lenehan
skipped out into the road and peered up at the clock.
-Twenty after, he said.
'Fool's game; futile.
tWorking as a prostitute.
:Horse-drawn hackney coach, or "hack. "
The Protestant university founded in 1592 by Qieen Elizabeth I; also called the
University of Dublin.
Two Galants
-Time enough, said Corley. She'll be there all right. I always let her
wait a bit.
Lenehan laughed quietly.
-Ecod! Corley, you know how to take them, he said.
-I'm up to all their little tricks, Corley confessed.
-But tell me, said Lenehan again, are you sure you can bring it off
all right? You know it's a ticklish job. They're damn close on that point.
Eh? . . What?
His bright, small eyes searched his companion's face for reassurance.
Corley swung his head to and fro as if to toss aside an insistent insect,
and his brows gathered.
-I' ll pull it off he said. Leave it to me, can't you?
Lenehan said no more. He did not wish to rufe his friend's temper,
to be sent to the devil and told that his advice was not wanted. A little
tact was necessary. But Corley's brow was soon smooth again. His
thoughts were running another way.
-She's a fne decent tart, he said, with appreciation; that's what she is.
They walked along Nassau Street and then turned into Kldare Street.
Not far from the porch of the club* a harpist stood in the roadway, play
ing to a little ring of listeners. He plucked at the wires heedlessly, glanc
ing quickly from time to time at the face of each new-comer and from
time to time, wearily also, at the sk. His harp, too, heedless that her cov
erings had fallen about her knees, seemed weary alike of the eyes of
strangers and of her master's hands. One hand played in the bass the
melody of Silent, 0 Moyle, ' while the other hand careered in the treble
after each group of notes. The notes of the air sounded deep and fll.
The two young men walked up the street without speaking, the
mournfl music following them. When they reached Stephen's Green*
they crossed the road. Here the noise of trams, the lights and the crowd
released them from their silence.
-There she is! said Corley.
At the corner of Hume Street a young woman was standing. She
wore a blue dress and a white sailor hat. She stood on the curbstone,
swinging a sunshade in one hand. Lenehan grew lively.
-Let's have a look at her, Corley, he said.
*The Kildare Street Club, an exclusive gentleman's club.
tFrom Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies.
:St. Stephen's Green, a public park bordered by the Grafton Street shopping area
on the north and University College Dublin on the south.
Corley glanced sideways at his triend and an unpleasant grin ap
peared on his face.
-Are you trying to get inside me?* he asked.
-Damn it! said Lenehan boldly, I don't want an introduction. AlI
want is to have a look at her. I'm not going to eat her.
-0 . . . A look at her? said Corley, more amiably. Well . . . I' ll tell
you what. I' ll go over and talk to her and you can pass by.
-Right! said Lenehan.
Corley had already thrown one leg over the chains when Lenehan
called out:
-And after? Where will we meet?
-Half ten,t answered Corley, bringing over his other leg.
-Corner of Merrion Street. We' ll be coming back.
-Work it all right now, said Lenehan in farewell.
Corley did not answer. He sauntered across the road swaying his
head from side to side. His bulk, his easy pace, and the solid sound of
his boots had something of the conqueror in them. He approached the
young woman and, without saluting, began at once to converse with
her. She swung her umbrella more quickly and executed half turns on
her heels. Once or twice when he spoke to her at close quarters she
laughed and bent her head.
Lenehan observed them for a few minutes. Then he walked rapidly
along beside the chains at some distance and crossed the road obliquely.
As he approached Hume Street corner he found the air heavily scented
and his eyes made a swift anxious scrutiny of the young woman's ap
pearance. She had her Sunday fnery on. Her blue serge skirt was held
at the waist by a belt of black leather. The great silver bucke of her belt
seemed to depress the centre of her body, catching the light stuff of her
white blouse like a clip. She wore a short black jacket with mother-of
pearl buttons and a ragged black boa. The ends of her tulle: collarette
had been carefully disordered and a big bunch of red fowers was
pinned in her bosom stems upwards. Lenehan's eyes noted approvingly
her stout short muscular body. Frank rude health glowed in her face, on
her fat red cheeks and in her unabashed blue eyes. Her features were
blunt. She had broad nostrils, a straggling mouth which lay open in a
'Steal the advantage from me.
t Half-past ten.
:S heer, often starched, silk netting.
Two Galants
contented leer, and two projecting front teeth. As he passed Lenehan
took off his cap and, after about ten seconds, Corley returned a salute
to the air. This he did by raising his hand vaguely and pensively chang
ing the angle of position of his hat.
Lenehan walked as far as the Shelbourne Hotel* where he halted
and waited. After waiting for a little time he saw them coming towards
him and, when they turned to the right, he followed them, stepping
lightly in his white shoes, down one side of Merrion Square.t As he
walked on slowly, timing his pace to theirs, he watched Corley's head
which turned at every moment towards the young woman's face like a
big ball revolving on a pivot. He kept the pair in view until he had seen
them climbing the stairs of the Donnybrook tram; then he turned
about and went back the way he had come.
Now that he was alone his face looked older. His gaiety seemed to
forsake him and, as he came by the railings of the Duke's Lawn,* he al
lowed his hand to run along them. The air which the harpist had played
began to control his movements. His softly padded feet played the
melody while his fngers swept a scale of variations idly along the rail
ings after each group of notes.
He walked listlessly round Stephen's Green and then down Grafton
Street. Though his eyes took note of many elements of the crowd
through which he passed they did so morosely. He found trivial althat
was meant to charm him and did not answer the glances which invited
him to be bold. He knew that he would have to speak a great deal, to in
vent and to amuse, and his brain and throat were too dry for such a task.
The problem of how he could pass the hours till he met Corley again
troubled him a little. He could think of no way of passing them but to
keep on walking. He turned to the left when he came to the corner of
Rutland Square and felt more at ease in the dark quiet street, the som
bre look of which suited his mood. He paused at last before the window
of a poor-looking shop over which the words Rereshment Bar were
printed in white letters. On the glass of the window were two fying in
scriptions: Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale. A cut ham was exposed on a
* At the time, Dublin's most fashionable hotel, at the north end of St. Stephen's
tFashionable neighborhood to the east of St. Stephen's Green.
=The lawn beside the Duke of Leinster's house, i n the same block as the National
Library and the National Museum.
Temperance (that is, nonalcoholic) beverages.
great blue dish while near it on a plate lay a segment of very light plum
pudding. He eyed this food earnestly for some time and then, after
glancing warily up and down the street, went into the shop quickly.
He was hungry for, except some biscuits which he had asked two
grudging curates* to bring him, he had eaten nothing since breakast
time. He sat down at an uncovered wooden table opposite to work
girls and a mechanic. A slatternlyt girl waited on him.
--How much is a plate of peas? he asked.
-Three halfpence,* sir, said the girl.
-Bring me a plate of peas, he said, and a bottle of ginger beer.
He spoke roughly in order to belie his air of gentility for his entry had
been followed by a pause of talk. His face was heated. To appear natral
he pushed his cap back on his head and planted his elbows on the table.
The mechanic and the to work-girls examined him point by point be
fore resuming their conversation in a subdued voice. The girl brought
him a plate of grocer's hot peas, seasoned with pepper and vinegar, a fork
and his ginger beer. He ate his food greedily and found it so good that
he made a note of the shop mentally. When he had eaten all the peas he
sipped his ginger beer and sat for some time thinking of Corley's ad
venture. In his imagination he beheld the pair of lovers walking along
some dark road; he heard Corley's voice in deep energetic gallantries and
saw again the leer of the young woman's mouth. This vision made him
feel keenly his own poverty of purse and spirit. He was tired of kock
ing about, of pulling the devil by the tail, of shifts and intrigues. He
would be thirty-one in November. Would he never get a good job?
Would he never have a home of his own? He thought how pleasant it
would be to have a warm fre to sit by and a good dinner to sit down to.
He had walked the streets long enough with friends and with girls. He
knew what those friends were worth: he knew the girls too. Experience
had embittered his heart against the world. But all hope had not left
him. He felt better after having eaten than he had felt before, less weary
of his life, less vanquished in spirit. He might yet be able to settle down
in some snug corner and live happily if he could only come across some
good simple-minded girl with a little of the ready.
He paid twopence halfpenny to the slatternly girl and went out of
the shop to begin his wandering again. He went into Capel Street and
"Dublin lingo for "bartenders. "
:That is, J'/: pence.
Two Galants
walked along towards the City Hall. Then he turned into Dame Street.
At the corner of George's Street he met two friends of his and stopped
to converse with them. He was glad that he could rest from all his walk
ing. His friends asked him had he seen Corley and what was the latest.
He replied that he had spent the day with Corley. His friends talked
very little. They looked vacantly after some fgures in the crowd and
sometimes made a critical remark. One said that he had seen Mac an
hour before in Westmoreland Street. At this Lenehan said that he had
been with Mac the night before in Egan's. * The young man who had
seen Mac in Westmoreland Street asked was it true that Mac had won
a bit over a billiard match. Lenehan did not know: he said that
Holohan had stood them drinks in Egan's.
He left his friends at a quarter to ten and went up George's Street.
He turned to the left at the City Markets ' and walked on into Grafton
Street. The crowd of girls and young men had thinned and on his way
up the street he heard many groups and couples bidding one another
goodnight. He went as far as the clock of the College of Surgeons:* it
was on the stroke of ten. He set off briskly along the northern side of
the Green hurrying for fear Corley should return too soon. When he
reached the corner of Merrion Street he took his stand in the shadow of
a lamp and brought out one of the cigarettes which he had reserved and
lit it. He leaned against the lamp post and kept his gaze fxed on the part
from which he expected to see Corley and the young woman return.
His mind became active again. He wondered had Corley managed
it successflly. He wondered if he had asked her yet or if he would leave
it to the last. He suffered all the pangs and thrills of his friend's situa
tion as well as those of his own. But the memory of Corley's slowly re
volving head calmed him somewhat: he was sure Corley would pull it
off all right. All at once the idea struck him that perhaps Corley had
seen her home by another way and given him the slip. His eyes
searched the street: there was no sign of them. Yet it was surely half-an
hour since he had seen the clock of the College of Surgeons. Would
Corley do a thing like that? He lit his last cigarette and began to smoke
it nervously. He strained his eyes as each tram stopped at the far corner
of the square. They must have gone home by another way. The paper of
his cigarette broke and he fung it into the road with a curse.
*A pub.
tThe South Cit Market Arcade.
:On the west side of St. Stephen's Green.
Suddenly he saw them coming towards him. He started with delight
and keeping close to his lamp-post tried to read the result in their walk.
They were walking quickly, the young woman takng quick short steps,
while Corley kept beside her with his long stride. They did not seem to
be speakng. An intimation of the result pricked him like the point of
a sharp instrument. He knew Corley would fail; he knew it was no go.
They turned down Baggot Street and he followed them at once, tak
ing the other footpath. When they stopped he stopped too. They talked
for a few moments and then the young woman went down the steps
into the area of a house. Corley remained standing at the edge of the
path, a little distance from the front steps. Some minutes passed. Then
the hall-door was opened slowly and cautiously. A woman came run
ning down the front steps and coughed. Corley turned and went to
wards her. His broad fgure hid hers from view for a few seconds and
then she reappeared running up the steps. The door closed on her and
Corley began to walk swiftly towards Stephen's Green.
Lenehan hurried on in the same direction. Some drops of light rain
fell. He took them as a warning and, glancing back towards the house
which the young woman had entered to see that he was not observed,
he ran eagerly across the road. Aniety and his swift run made him
pant. He called out:
-Hallo, Corley!
Corley turned his head to see who had called him, and then contin
ued walking as before. Lenehan ran after him, settling the waterproof
on his shoulders with one hand.
-Hallo, Corley! he cried again.
He came level with his friend and looked keenly in his face. He
could see nothing there.
-Well? he said. Did it come of
They had reached the corner of Ely Place. Still without answering
Corley swerved to the left and went up the side street. His features were
composed in stern calm. Lenehan kept up with his friend, breathing un
easily. He was bafed and a note of menace pierced through his voice.
-Can't you tell us? he said. Did you try her?
Corley halted at the frst lamp and stared grimly before him. Then with
a grave gestre he extended a hand towards the light and, smiling, opened
it slowly to the gaze of his disciple. A small gold coin* shone in the palm.
'Either a sovereign or half-sovereign.
MRS MOONEY WAS A butcher's daughter. She was a woman who was
quite able to keep things to herself: a determined woman. She had mar
ried her father's foreman and opened a butcher's shop near Spring Gar
dens.* But as soon as his father-in-law was dead Mr Mooney began to
go to the devil. He drank, plundered the till, ran headlong into debt. It
was no use making him take the pledge: ' he was sure to break out again
a few days after. By fghting his wife in the presence of customers and
by buying bad meat he ruined his business. One night he went for his
wife with the cleaver and she had to sleep in a neighbour's house.
After that they lived apart. She went to the priest and got a separa
tion* from him with care of the children. She would give him neither
money nor food nor house-room; and so he was obliged to enlist him
self as a sheriff 's man. He was a shabby stooped little drunkard with a
white face and a white moustache and white eyebrows, pencilled above
his little eyes, which were pink-veined and raw; and all day long he sat
in the bailiff 's room, waiting to be put on a job. Mrs Mooney, who had
taken what remained of her money out of the butcher business and set
up a boarding house in Hardwicke Street, was a big imposing woman.
Her house had a foating population made up of tourists from Liver
pool and the Isle of Man and, occasionally, artistes from the music
halls. Its resident population was made up of clerks from the city. She
governed the house cunningly and frmly, knew when to give credit,
when to be stern and when to let things pass. Al the resident young
men spoke of her as The Madam.

Mrs Mooney's young men paid ffteen shillings a week for board
*Neighborhood on the northeast side of Dublin.
tThe temperance pledge-that is, to not drink alcohol.
:Divorce would have been impossible for a Catholic couple in Ireland at this time.
Popular seaside holiday destinations.
l i The implication is that Mrs Mooney runs not just a boarding house but a house
with some features of a brothel.
and lodgings (beer or stout at dinner excluded). They shared in com
mon tastes and occupations and for this reason they were very chummy
with one another. They discussed with one another the chances of
favourites and outsiders. * Jack Mooney, the Madam's son, who was
clerk to a commission agent in Fleet Street, had the reputation of being
a hard case. He was fond of using soldiers' obscenities: usually he came
home in the small hours. When he met his friends he had always a
good one to tell them and he was always sure to be on to a good
thingthat is to say, a likely horse or a likely artiste. He was also handy
with the mitst and sang comic songs. On Sunday nights there would
often be a reunion in Mrs Mooney's front drawing-room. The music
hall artistes would oblige; and Sheridan played waltzes and polkas and
vamped accompaniments. Polly Mooney, the Madam's daughter, would
also sing. She sang:
Jn a . . . naughty gir.
You needn't sham:
You know Jam. *
Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she had light soft hair and a small
fll mouth. Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of green through
them, had a habit of glancing upwards when she spoke with anyone,
which made her look like a little perverse madonna. Mrs Mooney had
frst sent her daughter to be a typist in a corn-factor's ofce but, as a
disreputable sherif's man used to come every other day to the offce,
asking to be allowed to say a word to his daughter, she had taken her
daughter home again and set her to do housework. As Polly was very
lively the intention was to give her the run of the young men. Besides,
young men like to feel that there is a young woman not very far away.
Polly, of course, firted with the young men but Mrs Mooney, who was
a shrewd judge, knew that the young men were only passing the time
away: none of them meant business. Things went on so for a long time
and Mrs Mooney began to think of sending Polly back to typewriting
when she noticed that something was going on between Polly and one
of the young men. She watched the pair and kept her own counsel.
*Terms from horse racing.
tThat is, he is something of a boxer.
:Risque music-hall song.
Broker between grower and wholesaler.
The Boarding House
Polly knew that she was being watched, but still her mother's per
sistent silence could not be misunderstood. There had been no open
complicity between mother and daughter, no open understanding but,
though people in the house began to talk of the affair, still Mrs Mooney
did not intervene. Polly began to grow a little strange in her manner
and the young man was evidently perturbed. At last, when she judged
it to be the right moment, Mrs Mooney intervened. She dealt with
moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she had
made up her mind.
It was a bright Sunday morning of early summer, promising heat,
but with a fresh breeze blowing. All the windows of the boarding house
were open and the lace curtains ballooned gently towards the street be
neath the raised sashes. The belfry of George's Church sent out con
stant peals and worshippers, singly or in groups, traversed the little
circus before the church, revealing their purpose by their self-contained
demeanour no less than by the little volumes in their gloved hands.
Breakast was over in the boarding house and the table of the breakfast
room was covered with plates on which lay yellow streaks of eggs with
morsels of bacon-fat and bacon-rind. Mrs Mooney sat in the straw
arm-chair and watched the servant Mary remove the breakfast things.
She made Mary collect the crusts and pieces of broken bread to help to
make Tuesday's breadpudding. When the table was cleared, the broken
bread collected, the sugar and butter safe under lock and key, she began
to reconstruct the interview which she had had the night before with
Polly. Things were as she had suspected: she had been frank in her
questions and Polly had been frank in her answers. Both had been
somewhat awkard, of course. She had been made awkard by her not
wishing to receive the news in too cavalier a fashion or to seem to have
connived and Polly had been made awkard not merely because allu
sions of that knd always made her awkard but also because she did
not wish it to be thought that in her wise innocence she had divined
the intention behind her mother's tolerance.
Mrs Mooney glanced instinctively at the little gilt clock on the man
telpiece as soon as she had become aware through her revery that the
bells of George's Church had stopped ringing. It was seventeen min
utes past eleven: she would have lots of time to have the matter out with
Mr Doran and then catch short twelve at Marlborough Street.* She
was sure she would win. To begin with she had all the weight of social
'The last, abbreviated Mass at noon on Sunday.
280 Dubliners
opinion on her side: she was an outraged mother. She had allowed him
to live beneath her roof assuming that he was a man of honour, and he
had simply abused her hospitality. He was thirty-four or thirty-fve
years of age, so that youth could not be pleaded as his excuse; nor could
ignorance be his excuse since he was a man who had seen something of
the world. He had simply taken advantage of Polly's youth and inexpe
rience: that was evident. The question was: What reparation would he
There must be reparation made in such case. It is all very well for the
man: he can go his ways as if nothing had happened, having had his
moment of pleasure, but the girl has to bear the brunt. Some mothers
would be content to patch up such an affair for a sum of money; she
had known cases of it. But she would not do so. For her only one repa
ration could make up for the loss of her daughter's honour: marriage.
She counted all her cards again before sending Mary up to Mr
Doran's room to say that she wished to speak with him. She felt sure
she would win. He was a serious young man, not raksh or loud-voiced
like the others. If it had been Mr Sheridan or Mr Meade or Bantam
Lyons her task would have been much harder. She did not think he
would face publicity. Al the lodgers in the house knew something of
the affair; details had been invented by some. Besides, he had been em
ployed for thirteen years in a great Catholic wine-merchant's offce and
publicity would mean for him, perhaps, the loss of his sit. * Whereas if
he agreed all might be well. She knew he had a good screwt for one
thing and she suspected he had a bit of stuff put by. *
Nearly the half-hour! She stood up and surveyed herself in the pier
glass. The decisive expression of her great forid face satisfed her and
she thought of some mothers she knew who could not get their daugh
ters off their hands.
Mr Doran was very anious indeed this Sunday morning. He had
made two attempts to shave but his hand had been so unsteady that he
had been obliged to desist. Three days' reddish beard fringed his jaws
and every two or three minutes a mist gathered on his glasses so that
he had to take them off and polish them with his pocket-handkerchief
The recollection of his confession of the night before was a cause of
"Si tuation" ; job.
t A good salary.
:Money in savings.
Long, narrow mirror.
The Boarding House 281
acute pain to him; the priest had drawn out every ridiculous detail of
the affair and in the end had so magnifed his sin that he was almost
thankful at being afforded a loophole of reparation. The harm was
done. What could he do now but marry her or run away? He could not
brazen it out. * The affair would be sure to be talked of and his employer
certain to hear of it. Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows every
one else's business. He felt his heart leap warmly in his throat as he
heard in his excited imagination old Mr Leonard calling out in his
rasping voice: Send Mr Dorn here, please.
Al his long years of service gone for nothing! Al his industry and
diligence thrown away! As a young man he had sown his wild oats, of
course; he had boasted of his free-thinkng and denied the existence of
God to his companions in public-houses. But that was all passed and
done with . . . nearly. He still bought a copy of Reynol' Newspaper '
every week but he attended to his religious duties and for nine-tenths
of the year lived a regular life. He had money enough to settle down on;
it was not that. But the family would look down on her. First of all
there was her disreputable father and then her mother's boarding house
was beginning to get a certain fame. He had a notion that he was being
had. He could imagine his friends talking of the affair and laughing.
She was a little vulgar; some times she said Jseen and I Jhad've known.
But what would grammar matter if he really loved her? He could not
make up his mind whether to like her or despise her for what she had
done. Of course he had done it too. His instinct urged him to remain
free, not to marry. Once you are married you are done for, it said.
While he was sitting helplessly on the side of the bed in shirt and
trousers she tapped lightly at his door and entered. She told him all,
that she had made a clean breast of it to her mother and that her
mother would speak with him that morning. She cried and threw her
arms round his neck, saying:
-0 Bob! Bob! What am I to do? What am I to do at all?
She would put an end to herself, she said.
He comforted her feebly, telling her not to cry, that it would be al
right, never fear. He felt against his shirt the agitation of her bosom.
It was not altogether his fault that it had happened. He remembered
wel, with the curious patient memory of the celibate, the frst casual ca
resses her dress, her breath, her fngers had given him. Then late one night
'Weather the critici sm.
tRadical London newspaper.
as he was undressing for bed she had tapped at his door, timidly. She
wanted to relight her candle at his for hers had been blown out by a gust.
It was her bath night. She wore a loose open combing jacket* of printed
fannel. Her white instep shone in the opening of her frry slippers and
the blood glowed warmly behind her perfmed skin. From her hands and
wrists too as she lit and steadied her candle a faint perfme arose.
On nights when he came in very late it was she who warmed up his
dinner. He scarcely knew what he was eating feeling her beside him
alone, at night, in the sleeping house. And her thoughtflness! If the
night was anyway cold or wet or windy there was sure to be a little tum
bler of punch ' ready for him. Perhaps they could be happy together . . . .
They used to go upstairs together on tiptoe, each with a candle, and on
the third landing exchange reluctant good-nights. They used to kiss. He
remembered well her eyes, the touch of her hand and his delirium . . . .
But delirium passes. He echoed her phrase, applying it to himself:
What am Jto do? The instinct of the celibate warned him to hold back.
But the sin was there; even his sense of honour told him that repara
tion must be made for such a sin.
While he was sitting with her on the side of the bed Mary came to
the door and said that the missus wanted to see him in the parlour. He
stood up to put on his coat and waistcoat, more helpless than ever.
When he was dressed he went over to her to comfort her. It would be
alright, never fear. He left her crying on the bed and moaning softly:
o my God!
Going down the stairs his glasses became so dimmed with moisture
that he had to take them off and polish them. He longed to ascend
through the roof and fy away to another country where he would never
hear again of his trouble, and yet a force pushed him downstairs step by
step. The implacable faces of his employer and of the Madam stared
upon his discomfture. On the last fight of stairs he passed Jack
Mooney who was coming up from the pantry nursing two bottles of
Bass.* They saluted coldly; and the lover's eyes rested for a second or
two on a thick bulldog face and a pair of thick short arms. When he
reached the foot of the staircase he glanced up and saw Jack regarding
him from the door of the return-room.
*ype of robe.
tHot whiskey drink.
:A British ale.
Room for returning empty bottles.
The Boarding House
Suddenly he remembered the night when one of the music-hall
artistes, a little blond Londoner, had made a rather free allusion to
Polly. The reunion had been almost broken up on account of Jack's vi
olence. Everyone tried to quiet him. The music-hall artiste, a little paler
than usual, kept smiling and saying that there was no harm meant: but
Jack kept shouting at him that if any fellow tried that sort of a game on
with his sister he'd b100dy* well put his teeth down his throat, so he
* * * * * * * * * *
Polly sat for a little time on the side of the bed, crying. Then she
dried her eyes and went over to the looking-glass. She dipped the end
of the towel in the water-jug and refreshed her eyes with the cool water.
She looked at herself in profle and readjusted a hairpin above her ear.
Then she went back to the bed again and sat at the foot. She regarded
the pillows for a long time and the sight of them awakened in her mind
secret, amiable memories. She rested the nape of her neck against the
cool iron bed-rail and fell into a revery. There was no longer any per
turbation visible on her face.
She waited on patiently, almost cheerflly, without alarm, her mem
ories gradually giving place to hopes and visions of the future. Her
hopes and visions were so intricate that she no longer saw the white pil
lows on which her gaze was fed or remembered that she was waiting
for anything.
At last she heard her mother calling. She started to her feet and ran
to the banisters.
-Polly! Polly!
-Yes, mamma?
-Come down, dear. Mr Doran wants to speak to you.
Then she remembered what she had been waiting for.
* An oath strong enough, during this period, that it almost prevented the publica
tion of Dubliners.
"A Litle Cloud"
- - - Chadler's Route
EIGHT YEARS BEFORE HE had seen his friend off at the North Wall*
and wished him godspeed. Gallaher had got on. You could tell that at
once by his travelled air, his well-cut tweed suit, and fearless accent.
Few fellows had talents like his and fewer still could remain unspoiled
by such success. Gallaher's heart was in the right place and he had de
served to win. It was something to have a friend like that.
Little Chandler's thoughts ever since lunchtime had been of his meet
ing with Gallaher, of Gallaher's invitation and of the great city London
where Gallaher lived. He was called Little Chandler because, though he
was but slightly under the average stature, he gave one the idea of being
a little man. His hands were white and small, his frame was fragile, his
voice was quiet and his manners were refned. He took the greatest care
of his fair silken hair and moustache and used perfme discreetly on his
handkerchief. The half-moons of his nails were perfect and when he
smiled you caught a glimpse of a row of childish white teeth.
As he sat at his desk in the Kng's Innst he thought what changes
those eight years had brought. The friend whom he had known under a
shabby and necessitous guise had become a brilliant fgure on the Lon
don Press. He turned often from his tiresome writing to gaze out of the
offce window. The glow of a late autumn sunset covered the grass plots
and walks. It cast a shower of kndly golden dust on the untidy nurses
and decrepit old men who drowsed on the benches; it fickered upon al
the moving fgures-on the children who ran screaming along the gravel
paths and on everyone who passed through the gardens. He watched the
scene and thought of life; and (as always happened when he thought of
life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He felt
how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of
wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.
He remembered the books of poetry upon his shelves at home. He
'North Liffey quayside for eastern departures.
t Imposing building housing legal offces on the north side of the Liffey.
286 Duhliners
had bought them in his bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat
in the little room off the hall, he had been tempted to take one down
from the bookshelf and read out something to his wife. But shyness had
always held him back; and so the books had remained on their shelves.
At times he repeated lines to himself and this consoled him.
When his hour had struck he stood up and took leave of his desk
and of his fellow-clerks punctiliously. He emerged from under the feu
dal arch of the King's Inns, a neat modest fgure, and walked swiftly
down Henrietta Street. The golden sunset was waning and the air had
grown sharp. A horde of grimy children populated the street. They
stood or ran in the roadway or crawled up the steps before the gaping
doors or squatted like mice upon the thresholds. Little Chandler gave
them no thought. He picked his way deftly through all that minute
vermin-like life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral mansions
in which the old nobility of Dublin had roystered. * No memory of the
past touched him, for his mind was fll of a present joy.
He had never been in Corless's ' but he knew the value of the name.
He knew that people went there after the theatre to eat oysters and
drink liqueurs; and he had heard that the waiters there spoke French
and German. Walking swiftly by at night he had seen cabs drawn up
before the door and richly dressed ladies, escorted by cavaliers, alight
and enter quickly. They wore noisy dresses and many wraps. Their faces
were powdered and they caught up their dresses, when they touched
earth, like alarmed Atalantas.* He had always passed without turning
his head to look. It was his habit to walk swiftly in the street even by
day and whenever he found himself in the city late at night he hurried
on his way apprehensively and excitedly. Sometimes, however, he
courted the causes of his fear. He chose the darkest and narrowest
streets and, as he walked boldly forward, the silence that was spread
about his footsteps troubled him, the wandering, silent fgures troubled
him; and at times a sound of low fgitive laughter made him tremble
like a leaf
He turned to the right towards Capel Street. Ignatius Gallaher on
the London Press! Who would have thought it possible eight years be
fore? Still, now that he reviewed the past, Little Chandler could re-
tThat is, in the Burlington Hotel and Restaurant, previously owned by Thomas
:In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Atalanta is a virginal Greek princess.
A Litle Cloud
member many signs of fture greatness in his friend. People used to say
that Ignatius Gallaher was wild. Of course, he did mix with a raksh set
of fellows at that time, drank freely and borrowed money on all sides.
In the end he had got mixed up in some shady affair, some money
transaction: at least, that was one version of his fight. But nobody de
nied him talent. There was always a certain ... something in Ignatius
Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself Even when he was out
at elbows and at his wits' end for money he kept up a bold face. Little
Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight fush of
pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher's sayings when he was in a
tight corner:
-Half time now, boys, he used to say lightheartedly. Where's my
considering cap?
That was Ignatius Gallaher all out; and, damn it, you couldn't but
admire him for it.
Little Chandler quickened his pace. For the frst time in his life he
felt himself superior to the people he passed. For the frst time his soul
revolted against the dull inelegance of Capel Street. There was no
doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could
do nothing in Dublin. As he crossed Grattan Bridge he looked down
the river towards the lower quays and pitied the poor stunted houses.
They seemed to him a band of tramps, huddled together along the
river-banks, their old coats covered with dust and soot, stupefed by the
panorama of sunset and waiting for the frst chill of night to bid them
arise, shake themselves and begone. He wondered whether he could
write a poem to express his idea. Perhaps Gallaher might be able to get
it into some London paper for him. Could he write something origi
nal? He was not sure what idea he wished to express but the thought
that a poetic moment had touched him took life within him like an in
fant hope. He stepped onward bravely.
Every step brought him nearer to London, farther from his own
sober inartistic life. A light began to tremble on the horizon of his
mind. He was not so old-thirty-two. His temperament might be said
to be just at the point of maturity. There were so many different moods
and impressions that he wished to express in verse. He felt them within
him. He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet's soul. Melancholy
was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a
melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and sim
ple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of poems perhaps men
would listen. He would never be popular: he saw that. He could not
sway the crowd but he might appeal to a little circle of kindred minds.
The English critics, perhaps, would recognise him as one of the Celtic
by reason of the melancholy tone of his poems; besides that, he
would put in allusions. He began to invent sentences and phrases from
the notice which his book would get. Mr Chandler has the gi o easy and
grceul verse .... A wisiul sadness pervades these poems .... The Celtic
note. It was a pity his name was not more Irish-looking. Perhaps it
would be better to insert his mother's name before the surname:
Thomas Malone Chandler, or better still: T Malone Chandler. He
would speak to Gallaher about it.
He pursued his revery so ardently that he passed his street and had
to turn back. As he came near Corless's his former agitation began to
overmaster him and he halted before the door in indecision. Finally he
opened the door and entered.
The light and noise of the bar held him at the doorways for a few
moments. He looked about him, but his sight was confused by the
shining of many red and green wine-glasses. The bar seemed to him to
be fll of people and he felt that the people were observing him curi
ously. He glanced quickly to right and left (frowning slightly to make
his errand appear serious), but when his sight cleared a little he saw that
nobody had turned to look at him: and there, sure enough, was Ignatius
Gallaher leaning with his back against the counter and his feet planted
far apart.
-Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are! What is it to be? What will
you have? I'm takng whisk: better stuff than we get across the water.
Soda? Lithia? t No mineral? I'm the same. Spoils the favour .... Here,
garron, bring us two halves of malt whisk, like a good fellow .... Well,
and how have you been pulling along since I saw you last? Dear God,
how old we're getting! Do you see any signs of aging in me-eh, what?
A little grey and thin on the top-what?
Ignatius Gallaher took off his hat and displayed a large closely
cropped head. His face was heavy, pale and clean-shaven. His eyes,
which were of bluish slate-colour, relieved his unhealthy pallor and
shone out plainly above the vivid orange tie he wore. Between these
rival features the lips appeared very long and shapeless and colourless.
He bent his head and felt with two sympathetic fngers the thin hair at
*Member of a movement that attempted to revive traditional Irish language, arts,
and culture; Joyce liked to refer to it with the derisive pun "cultic."
tMineral water.
A Litle Cloud
the crown. Little Chandler shook his head as a denial. Ignatius Gallaher
put on his hat again.
-It pulls you down, he said, Press life. Always hurry and scurry,
looking for copy and sometimes not fnding it: and then, always to have
something new in your stuff Damn proofs and printers, I say, for a few
days. I'm deuced glad, I can tell you, to get back to the old country.
Does a fellow good, a bit of a holiday. I feel a ton better since I landed
again in dear dirty Dublin .... Here you are, Tommy. Water? Say
Little Chandler allowed his whisk to be very much diluted.
-You don't know what's good for you, my boy, said Ignatius Gaaher.
I drink mine neat.
-I drink very little as a rule, said Little Chandler modestly. An odd
half-one or so when I meet any of the old crowd: that's all.
-Ah, well, said Ignatius Gallaher, cheerflly, here's to us and to old
times and old acquaintance.
They clinked glasses and drank the toast.
-I met some of the old gang to-day, said Ignatius Gallaher. O'Hara
seems to be in a bad way. What's he doing?
-Nothing, said Little Chandler. He's gone to the dogs.
-But Hogan has a good sit, t hasn't he?
-Yes; he's in the Land Commission.*
-I met him one night in London and he seemed to be very
fush .... Poor O'Hara! Boose, I suppose?
-Other things, too, said Little Chandler shortly.
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
-Tommy, he said, I see you haven't changed an atom. You're the
very same serious person that used to lecture me on Sunday mornings
when I had a sore head and a fr on my tongue. You'd want to knock
about a bit in the world. Have you never been anywhere even for a trip?
-I've been to the Isle of Man, said Little Chandler.
Ignatius Gallaher laughed.
-The Isle of Man! he said. Go to London or Paris: Paris, for
choice. That's do you good.
-Have you seen Paris?
Without ice or water.
tA good situation (job).
:It oversaw the process of transferring Irish land from former landlords to tenants.
Popular seaside holiday destination.
-I should think I have! I've knocked about there a little.
-And is it really so beautiful as they say? asked Little Chandler.
He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius Gallaher fnished his
-Beautiful? said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing on the word and on the
favour of his drink. It's not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it is
beautifl. ... But it's the life of Paris; that's the thing. Ah, there's no
city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement ....
Little Chandler fnished his whisk and, after some trouble, suc
ceeded in catching the barman's eye. He ordered the same again.
-I've been to the Moulin Rouge,
Ignatius Gallaher continued
when the barman had removed their glasses, and I've been to all the
Bohemian cafes. Hot stuf Not for a pious chap like you, Tommy.
Little Chandler said nothing until the barman returned with two
glasses: then he touched his friend's glass lightly and reciprocated the for
mer toast. He was beginning to feel somewhat disillusioned. Gallaher's
accent and way of expressing himself did not please him. There was
something vulgar in his friend which he had not observed before. But
perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the bustle and
competition of the Press. The old personal charm was still there under
this new gaudy manner. And, after all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen
the world. Little Chandler looked at his friend enviously.
-Everything in Paris is gay, said Ignatius Gallaher. They believe in
enjoying life-and don't you think they're right? If you want to enjoy
yourself properly you must go to Paris. And, mind you, they've a great
feeling for the Irish there. When they heard I was from Ireland they
were ready to eat me, man.
Little Chandler took four or fve sips from his glass.
-Tell me, he said, is it true that Paris is so ... immoral as they say.
Ignatius Gallaher made a catholic gesture with his right arm.
-Every place is immoral, he said. Of course you do fnd spicy bits
in Paris. Go to one of the students' balls, for instance. That's lively, if
you like, when the cocotes ' begin to let themselves loose. You know
what they are, I suppose?
-I've heard of them, said Little Chandler.
Ignatius Gallaher drank off his whisk and shook his head.
'Parisian nightclub renowned for its cancan dancers.
t Prostitutes.
A Litle Cloud
-Ah, he said, you may say what you like. There's no woman like the
Parisienne-for style, for go.
-Then it is an immoral city, said Little Chandler, with timid insis
tence-I mean, compared with London or Dublin?
-London! said Ignatius Gallaher. It's six of one and half-a-dozen
of the other. You ask Hogan, my boy. I showed him a bit about Lon
don when he was over there. He'd open your eye .... I say, Tommy,
don't make punch of that whisk: liquor up.
-No, really ....
-0, come on, another one won't do you any harm. What is it? The
same again, I suppose?
-Well ... all right.
Jrnois, the same again .... Will you smoke, Tommy?
Ignatius Gallaher produced his cigar-case. The two friends lit their
cigars and puffed at them in silence until their drinks were served.
-I' ll tell you my opinion, said Ignatius Gallaher, emerging after
some time from the clouds of smoke in which he had taken refge, it's
a rum
world. Talk of immorality! I've heard of cases-what am I say
ing?-I've known them: cases of ... immorality ....
Ignatius Gallaher puffed thoughtflly at his cigar and then, in a calm
historian's tone, he proceeded to sketch for his friend some pictures of
the corruption which was rife abroad. He summarised the vices of many
capitals and seemed inclined to award the palm to Berlin. Some things
he could not vouch for (his friends had told him) , but of others he had
had personal experience. He spared neither rank nor caste. He revealed
many of the secrets of religious houses on the Continent and described
some of the practices which were fashionable in high society and ended
by telling, with details, a story about an English duchess-a story which
he kew to be true. Little Chandler was astonished.
-Ah, well, said Ignatius Gallaher, here we are in old jog-along
Dublin where nothing is known of such things.
-How dull you must fnd it, said Little Chandler, after all the other
places you've seen!
-Well, said Ignatius Gallaher, it's a relaxation to come over here,
you know. And, after all, it's the old country, as they say, isn't it? You
can't help having a certain feeling for it. That's human nature .... But
tell me something about yourself Hogan told me you had ... tasted
the joys of connubial bliss. Two years ago, wasn't it?
Little Chandler blushed and smiled.
-Yes, he said. I was married last May twelve months.
-I hope it's not too late in the day to offer my best wishes, said
Ignatius Gallaher. I didn't know your address or I'd have done so at the
He extended his hand, which Little Chandler took.
-Well, Tommy, he said, I wish you and yours every joy in life, old
chap, and tons of money, and may you never die till I shoot you. And
that's the wish of a sincere friend, an old friend. You know that?
-I know that, said Little Chandler.
-Any youngsters? said Ignatius Gallaher.
Little Chandler blushed again.
-We have one child, he said.
-Son or daughter?
-A little boy.
Ignatius Gallaher slapped his friend sonorously on the back.
-Bravo, he said, I wouldn't doubt you, Tommy.
Little Chandler smiled, looked confsedly at his glass and bit his
lower lip with three childishly white front teeth.
-I hope you'll spend an evening with us, he said, before you go
back. My wife will be delighted to meet you. We can have a little music
-Thanks awflly, old chap, said Ignatius Gallaher, I'm sorry we
didn't meet earlier. But I must leave to-morrow night.
-To-night, perhaps ... ?
-I'm awflly sorry, old man. You see I'm over here with another fel-
low, clever young chap he is too, and we arranged to go to a little card-
party. Only for that .. .
-0, in that case ... .
-But who knows? said Ignatius Gallaher considerately. Next year I
may take a little skip over here now that I've broken the ice. It's only a
pleasure deferred.
-Very well, said Little Chandler, the next time you come we must
have an evening together. That's agreed now, isn't it?
-Yes, that's agreed, said Ignatius Gallaher. Next year if I come, pa
role d' honneur
-And to clinch the bargain, said Little Chandler, we' ll just have
one more now.
'Word of honor (French).
A Litte Cloud
Ignatius Gallaher took out a large gold watch and looked at it.
-Is it to be the last? he said. Because you know, I have an a.p.
-0, yes, positively, said Little Chandler.
-Very well, then, said Ignatius Gallaher, let us have another one as
a deoc an doruist-that's good vernacular for a small whisk, I believe.
Little Chandler ordered the drinks. The blush which had risen to his
face a few moments before was establishing itself A trife made him
blush at any time: and now he felt warm and excited. Three small
whiskies had gone to his head and Gallaher's strong cigar had confsed
his mind, for he was a delicate and abstinent person. The adventure of
meeting Gallaher after eight years, of fnding himself with Galaher in
Corless's surrounded by lights and noise, of listening to Galaher's sto
ries and of sharing for a brief space Galaher's vagrant and triumphant
life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt acutely the con
trast between his own life and his friend's, and it seemed to him unjust.
Galaher was his inferior in birth and education. He was sure that he
could do something better than his friend had ever done, or could ever
do, something higher than mere tawdry journalism if he only got the
chance. What was it that stood in his way? His unfortunate timidity! He
wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood. He saw
behind Galaher's refsal of his invitation. Gallaher was only patronis
ing him by his friendliness just as he was patronising Ireland by his visit.
The barman brought their drinks. Little Chandler pushed one glass
towards his friend and took up the other boldly.
-Who knows? he said, as they lifted their glasses. When you come
next year I may have the pleasure of wishing long life and happiness to
Mr and Mrs Ignatius Gallaher.
Ignatius Gallaher in the act of drinking closed one eye expressively
over the rim of his glass. When he had drunk he smacked his lips de
cisively, set down his glass and said:
-No blooming fear of that, my boy. I'm going to have my fing frst
and see a bit of life and the world before I put my head in the sack-if
I ever do.
-Some day you will, said Little Chandler calmly.
Ignatius Gallaher turned his orange tie and slate-blue eyes full upon
his friend.
-You think so? he said.
tlrish for "drink of the door"; that is, one for the road.
-You'll put your head in the sack, repeated Little Chandler stoutly,
like everyone else if you can fnd the girl.
He had slightly emphasised his tone and he was aware that he had
betrayed himself; but, though the colour had heightened in his cheek,
he did not finch from his friend's gaze. Ignatius Gallaher watched him
for a few moments and then said:
-If ever it occurs, you may bet your bottom dollar there'll be no
mooning and spooning about it. I mean to marry money. She'll have a
good fat account at the bank or she won't do for me.
Little Chandler shook his head.
-Why, man alive, said Ignatius Gallaher, vehemently, do you kow
what it is? I've only to say the word and to-morrow I can have the
woman and the cash. You don't believe it? Well, I know it. There are
hundreds-what am I saying?-thousands of rich Germans and Jews,
rotten with money, that'd only be too glad .... You wait a while, my
boy. See if I don't play my cards properly. When I go about a thing I
mean business, I tell you. You just wait.
He tossed his glass to his mouth, fnished his drink and laughed
loudly. Then he looked thoughtflly before him and said in a calmer
-But I'm in no hurry. They can wait. I don't fancy tying myself up
to one woman, you know.
He imitated with his mouth the act of tasting and made a wry face.
-Must get a bit stale, I should think, he said.
* * * * * * * * * *
Little Chandler sat in the room off the hall, holding a child in his
arms. To save money they kept no servant but Annie's young sister
Monica came for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or so in the
evening to help. But Monica had gone home long ago. It was a quarter
to nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea
and, moreover, he
had forgotten to bring Annie home the parcel of coffee from Bewley's.t
Of course she was in a bad humour and gave him short answers. She
said she would do without any tea but when it came near the time at
which the shop at the corner closed she decided to go out herself for a
quarter of a pound of tea and to pounds of sugar. She put the sleep
ing child deftly in his arms and said:
'The evening meal.
tBewley's Oriental Cafe, a downtown Dublin institution.
A Little Cloud
-Here. Don't waken him.
A little lamp with a white china shade stood upon the table and its
light fell over a photograph which was enclosed in a frame of crumpled
It was Annie's photograph. Little Chandler looked at it, pausing
at the thin tight lips. She wore the pale blue summer blouse which he
had brought her home as a present one Saturday. It had cost him ten
and elevenpence; but what an agony of nervousness it had cost him!
How he had suffered that day, waiting at the shop door until the shop
was empty, standing at the counter and trying to appear at his ease
while the girl piled ladies' blouses before him, paying at the desk and
forgetting to take up the odd penny of his change, being called back by
the cashier, and fnally, striving to hide his blushes as he left the shop
by examining the parcel to see if it was securely tied. When he brought
the blouse home Annie kssed him and said it was very prett and styl
ish; but when she heard the price she threw the blouse on the table and
said it was a regular swindle to charge ten and elevenpence for it. At
frst she wanted to take it back but when she tried it on she was de
lighted with it, especially with the make of the sleeves, and kissed him
and said he was very good to think of her.
Hm! ...
He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered
coldly. Certainly they were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But he
found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike?
The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defed
him: there was no passion in them, no rapture. He thought of what
Gallaher had said about rich Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he
thought, how fll they are of passion, of voluptuous longing! .. . Why
had he married the eyes in the photograph?
He caught himself up at the question and glanced nervously round
the room. He found something mean in the pretty frniture which he
had bought for his house on the hire system.t Annie had chosen it her
self and it reminded him of her. It too was prim and pretty. A dull re
sentment against his life awoke within him. Could he not escape from his
little house? Was it too late for him to try to live bravely like Gallaher?
Could he go to London? There was the furniture still to be paid for. If
he could only write a book and get it published, that might open the
way for him.
'Possibly tortoise shell.
t Rental, or rent-to-own.
A volume of Byron's poems lay before him on the table. He opened
it cautiously with his left hand lest he should waken the child and
began to read the frst poem in the book:
Hushed are the winds and still the evening gloom,
Not e'en a Zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst Jreturn to view my Margaret' tomb
And scatter fower on the dust Jlove.
He paused. He felt the rhythm of the verse about him in the room.
How melancholy it was! Could he, too, write like that, express the
melancholy of his soul in verse? There were so many things he wanted
to describe: his sensation of a few hours before on Grattan Bridge, for
example. If he could get back again into that mood ....
The child awoke and began to cry. He turned from the page and
tried to hush it: but it would not be hushed. He began to rock it to and
fro in his arms but its wailing cry grew keener. He rocked it faster while
his eyes began to read the second stanza:
Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,
That clay where once ...
It was useless. He couldn't read. He couldn't do anything. The wail
ing of the child pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He
was a prisoner for life. His arms trembled with anger and suddenly
bending to the child's face he shouted:
The child stopped for an instant, had a spasm of fright and began to
scream. He jumped up from his chair and walked hastily up and down
the room with the child in his arms. It began to sob piteously, losing its
breath for four or fve seconds, and then bursting out anew. The thin
wals of the room echoed the sound. He tried to soothe it but it sobbed
more convulsively. He looked at the contracted and quivering face of the
child and began to be alarmed. He counted seven sobs without a break
between them and caught the child to his breast in fright. If it died! ...
The door was burst open and a young woman ran in, panting.
-What is it? What is it? she cried.
'From Byron's "On the Death of a Young Lady" (1802).
A Litte Claud 2
The child, hearing its mother's voice, broke out into a paroxysm of
-It's nothing, Annie ... it's nothing .... He began to cry ...
She fung her parcels on the foor and snatched the child from him.
-What have you done to him? she cried, glaring into his face.
Little Chandler sustained for one moment the gaze of her eyes and
his heart closed together as he met the hatred in them. He began to
-It's nothing .... He ... he began to cry .... I couldn't ... I didn't
do anything .... What?
Giving no heed to him she began to walk up and down the room,
clasping the child tightly in her arms and murmuring:
-My little man! My little mannie! Was 'ou frightened, love? ...
There now, love! There now! ... Lambabaun!
Mamma's little lamb of
the world! ... There now!
Little Chandler felt his cheeks suffsed with shame and he stood
back out of the lamplight. He listened while the paroxysm of the child's
sobbing grew less and less; and tears of remorse started to his eyes.
'From the Irish leanbhdn ("small child").
River Dlley


larrington's route to tram after work
THE BIII R^ !LKCL5IY and, when Miss Parker went to the tube,
a frious voice called out in a piercing North of Ireland accent:
-Send Farrington here!
Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying to a man who was writ
ing at a desk:
-Mr Alleyne wants you upstairs.
The man muttered Blast him! under his breath and pushed back his
chair to stand up. When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk. He
had a hanging face, dark wine-coloured, with fair eyebrows and mous
tache: his eyes bulged forward slightly and the whites of them were
dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by the clients, went out of
the offce with a heavy step.
He went heavily upstairs until he came to the second landing, where
a door bore a brass plate with the inscription Mr Aleyne. Here he
halted, puffng with labour and vexation, and knocked. The shrill voice
-Come in!
The man entered Mr Aleyne's room. Simultaneously Mr Alleyne, a
little man wearing gold-rimmed glasses on a clean-shaven face, shot his
head up over a pile of documents. The head itself was so pink and hair
less it seemed like a large egg reposing on the papers. Mr Alleyne did
not lose a moment:
-Farrington? What is the meaning of this? Why have I always to
complain of you? May I ask you why you haven't made a copy of that
contract between Bodley and Kirwan? I told you it must be ready by
four o'clock.
-But Mr Shelley said, sir-
-Mr Shelley said sir .... Kindly attend to what I say and not to what
Mr Shelley says, sir. You have always some excuse or another for shirking
'Voice tube, an early forerunner of the intercom.
work. Let me tell you that if the contract is not copied before this evening
I' l lay the matter before Mr Crosbie .... Do you hear me now?
-Yes, sir.
-Do you hear me now? ... Ay and another little matter! I might as
well be talking to the wall as talking to you. Understand once for all that
you get a half an hour for your lunch and not an hour and a half How
many courses do you want, I'd like to know .... Do you mind me now?
-Yes, sir.
Mr Alleyne bent his head again upon his pile of papers. The man
stared fedly at the polished skull which directed the affairs of Crosbie
& Alleyne, gauging its fragility. A spasm of rage gripped his throat for
a few moments and then passed, leaving after it a sharp sensation of
thirst. The man recognised the sensation and felt that he must have a
good night's drinkng. The middle of the month was passed and, if he
could get the copy done in time, Mr Alleyne might give him an order
on the cashier. He stood still, gazing fedly at the head upon the pile
of papers. Suddenly Mr Alleyne began to upset all the papers, search
ing for something. Then, as if he had been unaware of the man's pres
ence till that moment, he shot up his head again, saying:
-Eh? Are you going to stand there all day? Upon my word, Far-
rington, you take things easy!
-I was waiting to see ...
-Very good, you needn't wait to see. Go downstairs and do your work.
The man walked heavily towards the door and, as he went out of the
room, he heard Mr Alleyne cry after him that if the contract was not
copied by evening Mr Crosbie would hear of the matter.
He returned to his desk in the lower ofce and counted the sheets
which remained to be copied. He took up his pen and dipped it in the
ink but he continued to stare stupidly at the last words he had written:
In no case shall the said Bernard Bodley be .. . The evening was falling
and in a few minutes they would be lighting the gas: then he could
write. He felt that he must slake the thirst in his throat. He stood up
from his desk and, lifting the counter as before, passed out of the of
fce. As he was passing out the chief clerk looked at him inquiringly.
-It's all right, Mr Shelley, said the man, pointing with his fnger to
indicate the objective of his journey.
The chief clerk glanced at the hat-rack, but, seeing the row com
plete, offered no remark. As soon as he was on the landing the man
pulled a shepherd's plaid cap out of his pocket, put it on his head and
ran quickly down the rickety stairs. From the street door he walked on
frtively on the inner side of the path towards the corner and all at once
dived into a doorway. He was now safe in the dark snug of O'Neill's
and, flling up the little window that looked into the bar with his
infamed face, the colour of dark wine or dark meat, he called out:
-Here, Pat, give us a g.p., t like a good fellow.
The curate* brought him a glass of plain porter. The man drank it at
a gulp and asked for a caraway seed. He put his penny on the counter
and, leaving the curate to grope for it in the gloom, retreated out of the
snug as frtively as he had entered it.
Darkess, accompanied by a thick fog, was gaining upon the dusk of
February and the lamps in Eustace Street had been lit. The man went
up by the houses until he reached the door of the offce, wondering
whether he could fnish his copy in time. On the stairs a moist pungent
odour of perfumes saluted his nose: evidently Miss Delacour had come
while he was out in O'Neill's. He crammed his cap back again into his
pocket and re-entered the ofce, assuming an air of absent mindedness.
-Mr Alleyne has been calling for you, said the chief clerk severely.
Where were you?
The man glanced at the two clients who were standing at the counter
as if to intimate that their presence prevented him from answering. As
the clients were both male the chief clerk allowed himself a laugh.
-I know that game, he said. Five times in one day is a little bit . . . .
Well, you better look sharp and get a copy of our correspondence in the
Delacour case for Mr Alleyne.
This address in the presence of the public, his run upstairs and the
porter he had gulped down so hastily confsed the man and, as he sat
down at his desk to get what was required, he realised how hopeless was
the task of fnishing his copy of the contract before half past fve. The dark
damp night was coming and he longed to spend it in the bars, drinkng
with his friends amid the glare of gas and the clatter of glasses. He got out
the Delacour correspondence and passed out of the ofce. He hoped Mr
Aleyne would not discover that the last two letters were missing.
The moist pungent perfme lay all the way up to Mr Alleyne's room.
Miss Delacour was a middle-aged woman of Jewish appearance. Mr A
leyne was said to be sweet on her or on her money. She came to the of-
'O'Neill's shop is a pub; the snug is a partitioned portion of the counter.
tGlass of porter, a dark ale.
:Dublin lingo for a bartender.
To disguise the smell of alcohol on his breath.
fce often and stayed a long time when she came. She was sitting beside
his desk now in an aroma of perfmes, smoothing the handle of her um
brella and nodding the great black feather in her hat. Mr Alleyne had
swivelled his chair round to face her and thrown his right foot jauntily
upon his left knee. The man put the correspondence on the desk and
bowed respectflly but neither Mr Alleyne nor Miss Delacour took any
notice of his bow. Mr Alleyne tapped a fnger on the correspondence
and then ficked it towards him as if to say: That' all right: you can go.
The man returned to the lower offce and sat down again at his desk.
He stared intently at the incomplete phrase: In no case shall the said
Bernard Bodley be ... and thought how strange it was that the last three
words began with the same letter. The chief clerk began to hurry Miss
Parker, saying she would never have the letters typed in time for post.
The man listened to the clicking of the machine for a few minutes and
then set to work to fnish his copy. But his head was not clear and his
mind wandered away to the glare and rattle of the public-house. It was a
night for hot punches.
He struggled on with his copy, but when the
clock struck fve he had stil fourteen pages to write. Blast it! He couldn't
fnish it in time. He longed to execrate aloud, to bring his fst down on
something violently. He was so enraged that he wrote Bernard Bernard
instead of Bernard Bodley and had to begin again on a clean sheet.
He felt strong enough to clear out the whole offce single-handed.
His body ached to do something, to rush out and revel in violence. Al
the indignities of his life enraged him .... Could he ask the cashier pri
vately for an advance? No, the cashier was no good, no damn good: he
wouldn't give an advance .... He knew where he would meet the boys:
Leonard and O'Halloran and Nosey Flynn. The barometer of his emo
tional nature was set for a spell of riot.
His imagination had so abstracted him that his name was called twice
before he answered. Mr Al eyne and Miss Delacour were standing out
side the counter and all the clerks had turned round in anticipation of
something. The man got up from his desk. Mr Alleyne began a tirade of
abuse, saying that two letters were missing. The man answered that he
knew nothing about them, that he had made a faithfl copy. The tirade
continued: it was so bitter and violent that the man could hardly restrain
his fst from descending upon the head of the manikin ' before him:
-I know nothing about any other two letters, he said stupidly.
'Hot whiskey drinks.
tLittle man.
-You-know-nothing. Of course you know nothing, said Mr
Alleyne. Tell me, he added, glancing frst for approval to the lady be
side him, do you take me for a fool? Do you think me an utter fool?
The man glanced from the lady's face to the little egg-shaped head
and back again; and, almost before he was aware of it, his tongue had
found a felicitous moment:
-I don't think, sir, he said, that that's a fair question to put to me.
There was a pause in the very breathing of the clerks. Everyone was
astounded (the author of the witticism no less than his neighbours) and
Miss Delacour, who was a stout amiable person, began to smile broadly.
Mr Alleyne fushed to the hue of a wild rose and his mouth twitched
with a dwarf 's passion. He shook his fst in the man's face till it seemed
to vibrate like the knob of some electric machine:
-You impertinent ruffan! You impertinent ruffan! I' ll make short
work of you! Wait till you see! You'll apologise to me for your imperti
nence or you' ll quit the offce instanter!
You'll quit this, I'm telling you,
or you' ll apologise to me!
* * * * * * * * * *
He stood in a doorway opposite the offce watching to see if the
cashier would come out alone. All the clerks passed out and fnally the
cashier came out with the chief clerk. It was no use trying to say a word
to him when he was with the chief clerk. The man felt that his position
was bad enough. He had been obliged to offer an abject apology to Mr
Alleyne for his impertinence but he knew what a hornet's nest the of
fce would be for him. He could remember the way in which Mr
Alleyne had hounded little Peake out of the offce in order to make
room for his own nephew. He felt savage and thirsty and revengefl,
annoyed with himself and with everyone else. Mr Alleyne would never
give him an hour's rest; his life would be a hell to him. He had made a
proper fool of himself this time. Could he not keep his tongue in his
cheek? But they had never pulled together from the frst, he and Mr
Aleyne, ever since the day Mr Alleyne had overheard him mimickng
his North of Ireland accent to amuse Higgins and Miss Parker: that
had been the beginning of it. He might have tried Higgins for the
money, but sure Higgins never had anything for himself A man with
two establishments to keep up, of course he couldn't ....
He felt his great body again aching for the comfort of the public
The fog had begun to chill him and he wondered could he
touch t Pat in O'Neill's. He could not touch him for more than a bob
and a bob was no use. Yet he must get money somewhere or other: he
had spent his last penny for the g.p. and soon it would be too late for
getting money anywhere. Suddenly, as he was fngering his watch
chain, he thought of Terry Kelly's pawn-offce in Fleet Street. That was
the dart!* Why didn't he think of it sooner?
He went through the narrow alley of Temple Bar quickly, mutter
ing to himself that they could all go to hell because he was going to
have a good night of it. The clerk in Terry Kelly's said A crown! but the
consignor held out for six shillings; and in the end the si shillings was
allowed him literally. He came out of the pawn-offce joyflly, making
a little cylinder of the coins beteen his thumb and fngers. In West
moreland Street the footpaths were crowded with young men and
women returning from business and ragged urchins ran here and there
yelling out the names of the evening editions. The man passed through
the crowd, looking on the spectacle generally with proud satisfaction
and staring masterfully at the offce-girls. His head was full of the
noises of tram-gongs and swishing trolleys and his nose already sniffed
the curling fumes of punch. As he walked on he preconsidered the
terms in which he would narrate the incident to the boys:
-So, I just looked at him-coolly, you know, and looked at her.
Then I looked back at him again-takng my time, you know. I don't
think that that' a fair
uestion to put to me, says 1.
Nosey Flynn was sitting up in his usual corner of Davy Byrne's and,
when he heard the story, he stood Farrington a half-one,# saying it was
as smart a thing as ever he heard. Farrington stood a drink in his turn.
After a while O'Halloran and Paddy Leonard came in and the story
was repeated to them. O'Halloran stood tailors
of malt, hot, all round
and told the story of the retort he had made to the chief clerk when he
was in Callan's of Fownes's Street; but, as the retort was after the man-
'Pub; a licensed premises open to the public, as opposed to a private bar or club.
tAsk for a loan.
Commercial area south of the Liffey and west of the Bank of Ireland.
Pub off Grafton Street, between St. Stephen's Green and Trinity College; made
famous in Ulsses as the spot where Leopold Bloom eats his lunch.
#A glass (half-pint) of beer or ale.
"Large glasses.
ner of the liberal shepherds in the eclogues, he had to admit that it was
not as clever as Farrington's retort. At this Farrington told the boys to
polish off that and have another.
Just as they were naming their poisons who should come in but
Higgins! Of course he had to join in with the others. The men asked
him to give his version of it, and he did so with great vivacity for the
sight of fve small hot whiskes was very exhilarating. Everyone roared
laughing when he showed the way in which Mr Alleyne shook his fst
in Farrington's face. Then he imitated Farrington, saying, And here was
my nabs, * as cool as you please, while Farrington looked at the company
out of his heavy dirty eyes, smiling and at times drawing forth stray
drops of liquor from his moustache with the aid of his lower lip.
When that round was over there was a pause. O'Halloran had money
but neither of the other two seemed to have any; so the whole party left
the shop somewhat regretfly. At the corner of Duke Street Higgins and
Nosey Flynn bevelled off to the left while the other three turned back
towards the city. Rain was drizzling down on the cold streets and, when
they reached the Ballast Offce, t Farrington suggested the Scotch
House. * The bar was fl of men and loud with the noise of tongues and
glasses. The three men pushed past the whining match-sellers at the door
and formed a little party at the corner of the counter. They began to ex
change stories. Leonard introduced them to a young fellow named
Weathers who was performing at the Tivoli as an acrobat and knock
about artiste. Farrington stood a drink all round. Weathers said he would
take a small Irish and Apollinaris.11 Farrington, who had defnite notions
of what was what, asked the boys would they have an Apollinaris too;
but the boys told Tim to make theirs hot. The talk became theatrical.
O'Halloran stood a round and then Farrington stood another round,
Weathers protesting that the hospitality was too Irish. He promised to
get them in behind the scenes and introduce them to some nice girls.
O'Halloran said that he and Leonard would go, but that Farrington
wouldn't go because he was a married man; and Farrington's heavy dirty
eyes leered at the company in token that he understood he was being
chaffed. Weathers made them all have just one little tincture at his
tHeadquarters of the Dublin Port and Docks Board.
:A pub.
A music hall.
[[Irish whiskey and mineral water.
306 Duhliners
expense and promised to meet them later on at Mulligan's in Poolbeg
When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligan's. They
went into the parlour at the back and Q'Haloran ordered small hot spe
al round. They were al beginning to feel mellow. Farrington was
just standing another round when Weathers came back. Much to
Farrington's relief he drank a glass of bittert this time. Funds were get
ting low but they had enough to keep them going. Presently two young
women with big hats and a young man in a check suit came in and sat
at a table close by. Weathers saluted them and told the company that
they were out of the Tivoli. Farrington's eyes wandered at every moment
in the direction of one of the young women. There was something strik
ing in her appearance. An immense scarf of peacock-blue muslin was
wound round her hat and kotted in a great bow under her chin; and
she wore bright yellow gloves, reaching to the elbow. Farrington gazed
admiringly at the plump arm which she moved very often and with
much grace; and when, after a little time, she answered his gaze he ad
mired still more her large dark brown eyes. The oblique staring expres
sion in them fascinated him. She glanced at him once or twice and,
when the party was leaving the room, she brushed against his chair and
said 0, pardon! in a London accent. He watched her leave the room in
the hope that she would look back at him, but he was disappointed. He
cursed his want of money and cursed all the rounds he had stood,
particularly all the whiskies and Apollinaris which he had stood to
Weathers. If there was one thing that he hated it was a sponge.* He was
so angry that he lost count of the conversation of his friends.
When Paddy Leonard called him he found that they were talking
about feats of strength. Weathers was showing his biceps muscle to
the company and boasting so much that the other two had called on
Farrington to uphold the national honour. Farrington pulled up his
sleeve accordingly and showed his biceps muscle to the company. The
two arms were examined and compared and fnally it was agreed to
have a trial of strength. The table was cleared and the two men rested
their elbows on it, clasping hands. When Paddy Leonard said Go! each
was to try to bring down the other's hand on to the table. Farrington
looked very serious and determined.
'Hot whiskey punch.
tDry ale.
The trial began. After about thirty seconds Weathers brought his
opponent's hand slowly down on to the table. Farrington's dark wine
coloured face fushed darker still with anger and humiliation at having
been defeated by such a stripling.
-You're not to put the weight of your body behind it. Play fair, he said.
-Who's not playing fair? said the other.
-Come on again. The two best out of three.
The trial began again. The veins stood out on Farrington's forehead,
and the pallor of Weathers' complexion changed to peony. Their hands
and arms trembled under the stress. After a long struggle Weathers
again brought his opponent's hand slowly on to the table. There was a
murmur of applause from the spectators. The curate, who was standing
beside the table, nodded his red head towards the victor and said with
stupid familiarity:
-Ah! that's the knack!
-What the hell do you know about it? said Farrington fercely,
turning on the man. What do you put in your gab
-Sh, sh! said O'Halloran, observing the violent expression of
Farrington's face. Pony up, boys. We' ll have just one little smahant more
and then we' ll be off
A very sullen-faced man stood at the corner of O'Connell Bridge
waiting for the little Sandymount tram to take him home. He was fll
of smouldering anger and revengeflness. He felt humiliated and dis
contented; he did not even feel drunk; and he had only twopence in his
pocket. He cursed everything. He had done for himself in the offce,
pawned his watch, spent all his money; and he had not even got drunk.
He began to feel thirsty again and he longed to be back again in the hot
reeking public-house. He had lost his reputation as a strong man, hav
ing been defeated twice by a mere boy. His heart swelled with fry and,
when he thought of the woman in the big hat who had brushed against
him and said Pardon. his fry nearly choked him.
His tram let him down at Shelbourne Road and he steered his great
body along in the shadow of the wall of the barracks.: He loathed re
turning to his home. When he went in by the side-door he found the
kitchen empty and the ktchen fre nearly out. He bawled upstairs:
'Mouth or speech.
tFrom the Irish smeachdn ("little taste").
:The Beggar's Bush Infantry Barracks.
308 Dubliners
-Ada! Ada!
His wife was a little sharp-faced woman who bullied her husband
when he was sober and was bullied by him when he was drunk. They
had fve children. A little boy came running down the stairs.
-Who is that? said the man, peering through the darkness.
-Me, pa.
-Who are you? Charlie?
-No, pa. Tom.
-Where's your mother?
-She's out at the chapel.
-That's right .... Did she think of leaving any dinner for me?
-Yes, pa. 1-
-Light the lamp. What do you mean by having the place in dark-
ness? Are the other children in bed?
The man sat down heavily on one of the chairs while the little boy
lit the lamp. He began to mimic his son's fat accent, saying half to him
self: At the chapel At the chapel, i you please! When the lamp was lit he
banged his fst on the table and shouted:
-What's for my dinner?
-I'm going ... to cook it, pa, said the little boy.
The man jumped up friously and pointed to the fre.
-On that fre! You let the fre out! By God, I' ll teach you to do that
He took a step to the door and seized the walking-stick which was
standing behind it.
-I' ll teach you to let the fre out! he said, rolling up his sleeve in
order to give his arm free play.
The little boy cried 0, pal and ran whimpering round the table, but
the man followed him and caught him by the coat. The little boy looked
about him wildly but, seeing no way of escape, fell upon his knees.
-Now, you'll let the fre out the next time! said the man, striking at
him vigorously with the stick. Take that, you little whelp!
The boy uttered a squeal of pain as the stick cut his thigh. He
clasped his hands together in the air and his voice shook with fright.
-0, pa! he cried. Don't beat me, pa! And I' ll ... I' ll say a Hail
for you .... I' ll say a Hail Mary for you, pa, if you don't beat
me .... I'll say a Hail Mary . . . .
'Catholic devotional prayer beginning: "Hail Mary, mof grace, the Lord is with thee."
TII NP1IC^ IPl IVI^ her leave to go out as soon as the women's tea
was over and Maria looked forward to her evening out. The kitchen was
spick and span: the cook said you could see yourself in the big copper boil
ers. The fre was nice and bright and on one of the side-tables were four
very big barmbracks.t These barmbracks seemed uncut; but if you went
closer you would see that they had been cut into long thick even slices and
were ready to be handed round at tea. Maria had cut them herself
Maria was a very, very small person indeed but she had a very long
nose and a very long chin. She talked a little through her nose, always
soothingly: Yes, my dear, and No, my dear. She was always sent for when
the women quarrelled over their tubs and always succeeded in makng
peace. One day the matron had said to her:
-Maria, you are a veritable peace-maker!
And the sub-matron and two of the Board ladies had heard the
compliment. And Ginger Mooney was always saying what she wouldn't
do to the dummy who had charge of the irons if it wasn't for Maria.
Everyone was so fond of Maria.
The women would have their tea at six o'clock and she would be able
to get away before seven. From Balsbridge to the Pillar,1I twenty min
utes; from the Pillar to Drumcondra,# twenty minutes; and twenty min
utes to buy the things. She would be there before eight. She took out her
purse with the silver clasps and read again the words A Present fom
Belast. She was very fond of that purse because Joe had brought it to her
fve years before when he and Alphy had gone to Belfast on a Whit-
*he evening meal.
t From the Irish bdirin breac a brown cake similar to fruitcake.
Fashionable southeast Dublin neighborhood.
II Nelson's Pillar, honoring Admiral Lord Nelson; it stood at the center of Sackille
(now O'Connell) Street until 1966, when the I. R.A. demolished it.
#Working-class neighborhood 2 miles north of Dublin's cit center.
- - Maria's Houte
trip. In the purse were two half-crowns and some coppers. She
would have fve shillings clear after paying tram fare. What a nice
evening they would have, a the children singing! Only she hoped that
Joe wouldn't come in drunk. He was so different when he took any drink.
Often he had wanted her to go and live with them; but she would
have felt herself in the way (though Joe's wife was ever so nice with her)
and she had become accustomed to the life of the laundry. Joe was a
good fellow. She had nursed him and Alphy too; and Joe used often say:
-Mamma is mamma but Maria is my proper mother.
After the break-up at home the boys had got her that position in the
Dublin by Lamplight laundry,t and she liked it. She used to have such a
bad opinion of Protestants but now she thought they were very nice peo
ple, a little quiet and serious, but stil very nice people to live with. Then
she had her plants in the conservatory and she liked lookng after them.
She had lovely ferns and wax-plants and, whenever anyone came to visit
her, she always gave the visitor one or two slips* from her conservatory.
There was one thing she didn't like and that was the tracts on the walks;
but the matron was such a nice person to deal with, so genteel.
When the cook told her everything was ready she went into the
women's room and began to pull the big bell. In a few minutes the
women began to come in by twos and threes, wiping their steaming
hands in their petticoats and pulling down the sleeves of their blouses
over their red steaming arms. They settled down before their huge
mugs which the cook and the dummy flled up with hot tea, already
mixed with milk and sugar in huge tin cans. Maria superintended the
distribution of the barmbrack and saw that every woman got her four
slices. There was a great deal of laughing and joking during the meal.
Lizzie Fleming said Maria was sure to get the ring and, though
Fleming had said that for so many Hallow Eves, 11 Maria had to laugh
and say she didn't want any ring or man either; and when she laughed
her grey-green eyes sparkled with disappointed shyness and the tip of
her nose nearly met the tip of her chin. Then Ginger Mooney lifted up
her mug of tea and proposed Maria's health while all the other women
*The Monday following Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter.
tFounded in the 1850s with a mission to reform prostitutes.
The one discovering the ring in her piece of bannbrack was supposed to marry
within the year.
312 Dubliners
clattered with their mugs on the table, and said she was sorry she hadn't
a sup of porter
to drink it in. And Maria laughed again till the tip of
her nose nearly met the tip of her chin and till her minute body nearly
shook itself asunder because she knew that Mooney meant well
though, of course, she had the notions of a common woman.
But wasn't Maria glad when the women had fnished their tea and
the cook and the dummy had begun to clear away the tea-things! She
went into her little bedroom and, remembering that the next morning
was a mass morning, changed the hand of the alarm from seven to six.
Then she took off her working skirt and her house-boots and laid her
best skrt out on the bed and her tiny dress-boots beside the foot of the
bed. She changed her blouse too and, as she stood before the mirror,
she thought of how she used to dress for mass on Sunday morning
when she was a young girl; and she looked with quaint affection at the
diminutive body which she had so often adorned. In spite of its years
she found it a nice tidy little body.
When she got outside the streets were shining with rain and she was
glad of her old brown waterproof. The tram was full and she had to sit
on the little stool at the end of the car, facing all the people, with her
toes barely touching the foor. She arranged in her mind all she was
going to do and thought how much better it was to be independent and
to have your own money in your pocket. She hoped they would have a
nice evening. She was sure they would but she could not help thinking
what a pity it was Alphy and Joe were not speaking. They were always
falling out now but when they were boys together they used to be the
best of friends: but such was life.
She got out of her tram at the Pillar and ferreted her way quickly
among the crowds. She went into Downes's cake-shop but the shop
was so full of people that it was a long time before she could get her
self attended to. She bought a dozen of mixed penny cakes, and at last
came out of the shop laden with a big bag. Then she thought what else
would she buy: she wanted to buy something really nice. They would
be sure to have plenty of apples and nuts. It was hard to know what to
buy and all she could think of was cake. She decided to buy some plum
cake but Downes's plumcake had not enough almond icing on top of it
so she went over to a shop in Henry Street. Here she was a long time
in suiting herself and the stylish young lady behind the counter, who
'Dark ale.
was evidently a little annoyed by her, asked her was it wedding-cake she
wanted to buy. That made Maria blush and smile at the young lady; but
the young lady took it all very seriously and fnally cut a thick slice of
plumcake, parcelled it up and said:
-Two-and-four, please.
She thought she would have to stand in the Drumcondra tram because
none of the young men seemed to notice her but an elderly gentleman
made room for her. He was a stout gentleman and he wore a brown hard
hat; he had a square red face and a greysh moustache. Maria thought he
was a colonel-lookng gentleman and she refected how much more polite
he was than the young men who simply stared straight before them. The
gentleman began to chat with her about Hallow Eve and the rainy
weather. He supposed the bag was fl of good things for the little ones
and said it was only right that the youngsters should enjoy themselves
while they