2010 edition FW pages 238-296
1939 edition FW pages 309-382
Downstairs in the Pub
While it divides bibliographically into seven sections, this very long and difficult chapter is best separated into five parts that, as it happens, were written at different times and with different ends in view.
II.3§1: 238–256.03 (309–331.36), The Norwegian Captain
II.3§2-3: 256.04–260.31 (332.01–338.03) Kate Comes In
II.3§4-5: 260.32–274.34 (338.04–355.07) Butt and Taff
II.3§6: 274.35–286 (355.08–370.29) HCE's Confession
II.3§7: 287–close (370.30–382.30), Lights out in the village
The children, having gone to bed, are upstairs with ALP and so off-stage. The action turns to the goings-on downstairs in the bar of HCE's hotel/shack/public house. Humphrey the host, or landlord as he might prefer to think of himself, serves drink to his querulous customers. Over the hubbub a radio can be heard heard broadcasting an adaptation of the tale of a humpbacked Norwegian captain attempting to buy a suit of clothes from a Dublin tailor. Some music is then broadcast. Later again, in part two, a television set is turned on, and we hear Butt and Taff's version of the assassination of a Russian general by Private Buckley. In part three a drunken HCE confsses exculptatorily to his sins. It is getting late and closing-time arrives. In part four the customers are ejected from the pub, HCE finishes off the dregs left behind, washes the empties, and passes out.
II.3§1: 238–256.03 (309–331.36), The Norwegian Captain
Three tales are commingled in §1: the making of a suit of clothes, the marriage suit of HCE and ALP marriage suit, and the conversion and baptism of the Viking invader. §2 details an interruption when the cleaning lady comes down the stairs into the bar-room. The third section acts as a short prelude to the fourth: John Stanislaus Joyce's comic story about the shooting dead of a Russian soldier. Onto this is superimposed the charge of the Light Brigade and other notable battles. Section Five terminates the assassination tale with the amalgamation of Shem and Shaun into a composite entity. Section Six covers Earwicker's confession to (and subsequent appraisal by) his customers. Closing-time is announced with the arrival on the scene of the handyman, Sigurdsson, in a second interruption. The seventh and final section looks at the leave-taking of the drinkers and HCE's behaviour in the now empty barroom. At the end, the tavern becomes a sea-going ship bearing the unconscious body of HCE.
§1 is notoriously difficult to make head or tail of. It may well be the most abstruse part of the whole text of Finnegans Wake. In writing it, Joyce sought to relate not one but at least six major aspects of HCE (H). Within the piece the big man appears primarily as host or publican, he then segues into the house-builder Finnegan, into the Biblical character Gideon, into a heathen Viking seafarer, into a hump-backed Norwegian captain visiting a tailor in Dublin, and, finally, into a husband-to-be, an alien marrying an Irish native.
Of these aspects of HCE perhaps the most transparent and accessible form is that of the Norwegian captain. His story, which we are to understand is in fact historically true, derives from an anecdote or yarn of Joyce's father. Ellmann writes of this:
[James Joyce] was baptised on February 5 at the Church of St. Joseph, Terenure, by the Reverend John O'Mulloy, C.C. His sponsors were Philip and Ellen McCann, to whom he was related through his great grandmother, John O'Connell's wife. Philip McCann was a ship's chandler at 2 Burgh Quay in Dublin; Joyce suggests in Stephen Hero that it was McCann who paid his godson's way through University College from 1898 to 1902, but McCann died in 1898, and does not seem to have left money for the purpose. A more genuine connection between him and Joyce came about through McCann's story, told to John Joyce, of a hunchbacked Norwegian captain who ordered a suit from a Dublin tailor, J.H. Kerse of 34 Upper Sackville Street. The finished suit did not fit him, and the captain berated the tailor for being unable to sew, whereupon the irate tailor denounced him from being impossible to fit.
In transferring the story to the Wake, Joyce cast the sailor (a hunchback) as HCE under the odd name of ‘Pukkelsen.’ The tailor appears as ‘Kersse’ and McCann, the ship's chandler, as a ship's husband (an agent who attends to a ship's business on its arrival at port). The underlying story is the same. The sailor asks the ship's husband where he could have a suit of clothes made. The ship's husband replies that his friend the tailor could make one for him and he encourages both parties into an agreement. The sailor departs. On his return he complains to the tailor that the suit doesn't fit him, whereupon the tailor insists that the sailor is impossible to fit because of his hump. At this point Joyce invents his own ending: the ship's husband, wishing to match the sailor with the tailor's daughter, successfully reconciles the two parties. The suit (this time a marriage suit) fits, and the sailor, having first been baptised, is married to the tailor's daughter. There is a huge celebration in Dublin at the joyful news of this minor miracle. Enmity is momentarily laid aside and everyone is happy for a while. The section then ends.
We are first given the details of the radio electrical appliance in HCE's pub. It is a ‘tolvtubular high fidelity daildialler’ capable of capturing all sorts of emissions and boiling the lot down in its aluminium saucepan so as to re-emit a ‘melogoturny marygorauund’, suitably filtered, to all Irish hearths and homes. Truly an up-to-the-minute ‘harmonic condenser enginium’! It had been a gift, much like HCE's tumulus had been donated.
Nightly, the customers gather at HCE's house of call for one ‘watthour’ till closing-time with its Time, gentlemen, please! All the while, the host of the bottle-filled tavern, uncorking the ale and stout bottles for them, fills his till.
On the radio, the Norwegian captain is the first to speak (‘Then sagd he’), asking the ship's husband ‘in his translatentic norjankeltian’ (as a foreigner he requires an interpreter) where he can get a suit made, Hwere can a ketch or hook alive a suit and sowterkins. The ship's husband, who knows the language, exclaims: Shit! Here's a tailor! Turning round, he asks his friend the tailor (‘tayler’) if he could handle it (the suit, that is), meaning to say the suit of clothes, as the captain (‘his lady her master’) is in need of a pair of trousers. The tailor, ‘Mengarments’, is agreeable and promises to make the suit. So, with traditional spitting into palms and clasping each the other's hand, a bargain is struck and the sailor takes his leave. Much as the Jarl did, the ship's husband shouts after him to stop, the thief, and come back. But the captain answers, not likely! And he weighed anchor and sailed away and for seven silent years he rode the brine from Franz Josef land to the Cape of Good Hope, from dawn to dusk, from January to December, and tides ebbed and tides flowed and, holy buckets! Didn't it rain!
The captain qua captain remains away until 242.37 (315.09) ‘shiply efter, shoply after’ when, half-sailor, half-publican, he hastily returns, breathing heavily, and shoots the three tailors, that is, serves them drink (the single tailor now multiplied into three). He has butted back after the devil's own deluge (possibly he went out to take a piss), breezing in dripping wet, through the sheets of rain. He has left his ‘stickup’ (either an umbrella or his penis) in his hand ‘to show them none ill feeling.’ His ‘stickup’, we are told, has to all appearances a mushroom on top. He faces the tailors back to front then whirls around, ‘quite taken atack’, exclaiming, how goes everybody?
The coming back into beer-haven introduces suitable imagery, particularly of the arrival of a ship putting into harbour: he ‘put into bierhiven jilling to windwards.’ Having arrived, the sailor asks the tailors ‘how the hitch did do this my fand Sulkers’ (whatever that means), saying also he was looking for ‘Sutchenson’, a particular friend of his, because he wants to talk to him. (This is presumably Sigurdsson, a likely candidate for the ship's husband.)
The customers fall to talking among themselves in French and Irish, telling each other the skipper has come in. This image fades and passes into that of the publican coming in bearing a tray full of drink to the due acknowledgment by the thirsty customers to the landlord of their appreciation: Here's to you!
The Captain's return from the Icelands and Brazils of the world is viewed as a kind of resurrection, Finnegan-like. The ship's husband responds to the captain's salute, ‘God marrams’, with the reply, ‘Good marrams and good mirrymills.’ For his own part he had feared that the sailor was long dead, drowned, down at the bottom of the sea in Davy Jones's locker with the door shut and fish picking at his bones. Accordingly, he makes the ‘sign of the hammer.’ ‘Cod's drought’, he says in a bit of a daze, thinking of all those years that had elapsed since he last saw him, how life passes!
‘Here you are back again’, says he to the old falcon, back from Brazil to our port of call, Dublin, the town of the ford of the hurdles, ‘as if you dropped out of the sky! Here's open arms to you and a table full of food from all of us folk here at home!’
The Norwegian captain is gruff. Your soul to the devil, says he, ‘with a warry posthumour's expletion’, where's that slob, meaning the tailor, till I shoot him! But as he is fairly starving, he asks first for a bit of cheese, if he can have it, for his dinner, or some roast turkey or a piece of ray on a slice of bread. Your soul to the devil, says he, did ye think I'm dead! And, he adds, something to drink, coming home has given him a thirst. Okey dokey, says the ship's husband, knowing the captain's language, every man to his taste, and my hundred thousand welcomes to you! And he passed on the captain's request to an expedient (a waiter) as he laid the cloth on the table before the seaman. God be praised! A dish of oysters for my hungry friend here! One fish-ball with fixings! For a son of a son of a son of a son of a gombolier! Hurry up, old son, he said, and wait upon him or this ugly Ostman will maul us all! And the waiter plied him in haste with fare, seasick as he was from walking on the balls of his feet and waiting for the tide to turn.
The tailor, still presented in triplicate, speaks in turn about the coat and trousers, the gentleman's agreement earlier made with the sailor, and the futility, the utter impossibility, of fitting a man with such a terrible lump of a hump on his back. Everyone seems to be drinking. The tailors knock back Three Swallows whiskey as fast as they can swallow it. HCE, who seems to have rheumatism after the incessant rain, takes tar water (appropriately enough). The ship's husband meanwhile wants to know what the captain did with the coat and trousers. Turning round to answer, Pukkelsen (HCE) declares that he hopes a pox light on the cursed tailor because, to tell the God's truth, he cast the suit of clothes, new buckles and all, into the fire behind the oasthouse. The loafers seem to find the situation rather comical and laugh till they shed tears.
By 246.28 (320.0l) the sailor has screwed his rage at the tailor up to the point where, deeply hypnotised or half-seas-over, he openly ridicules his miserable efforts at sewing. Curse that man, he says, curse that stitch-in-time snipper addicted to nasturtiums in his buttonhole, that communist, and his boasting of being in the very latest Saville Row fashion. Curse him! The back of my hand to him, he says, and all his penny-bun breakfasts. Didn't he put his goddamned fleece of wool in the fire behind the oasthouse? A half-made rag! Curse that God-damned gusset-sewer! The ‘kersse of my armsore appal this most unmentionablest of men.’ Mundering eeriesk, if he didn't scalded him all the shrimps names in his gitter! His first cousin sweeps up dung in a stable and he himself is the worst West End suit-maker that ever poked a needle into a cloth!
After this outburst the sailor makes off, Prankquean-like, for a second time; and again the ship's husband roars at him to stop, thief, and come back. And again the captain, now raging and blaspheming, hollers back: Not likely! And again he fares far on the seven seas, from Africa round the world and back to Africa again, baked by the sun here, battered by the snows there. Now the seas were calm and now the seas were in squall and soaking skippers! Didn't it rain!
Kersse the tailor (also called ‘Ashe Junior’) re-enters wearing a white hat, kerchief, cotton pantaloons and carrying his coat over his shoulder so as to look more like a naval officer. He is addressed by what seems to be a triplicate ship's husband. The first of the three demands that he take off his white hat: Take off thatch whitehat! Kersse, it is said, had been making a sample of the costume of the country. The second ship's husband repeats the demand that he take the hat off: Take off that whiltehot! He adds, ‘you scum of a botch.’ Kersse is ‘cuttered up and misfutthered’ in the most ridiculous manner for the mariner (that ‘poor old bridge's masthard’, that poor old bitch's bastard ) in a suit of clothes so ill-sewn that his own father would not know him in them. The third ship's husband also demands that Kersse remove the hat and adds that the ‘suck of a thick, stock and the udder’ should go and ‘confiteor’ himself.
In unison they ask in unison how did he do at Baldoyle, for it transpires that he had been at the horseraces. Kersse replies (mimicking Shem): Search me! (possibly meaning he had lost all his money). Then he told the three of them how the whole bloody race occurred.
The tailor, having come in (there is a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing and mixing-up going on), seizes the opportunity to berate the sailor. Waxing hot under the collar, he declares to God that he would happily spit in the face of that confounded buccaneer of a cursed, coarse-haired highwayman and skirt-chaser. One can smell it off his clothes, he says, how he has just come from another breach of promise! Where is he, anyhow, the old mutineer, he wants to know. Where is he till he gives him three almighty boots in the rump, the gory, horrid, gorbellied hunchback with the potatoes in his pockets? He's a bloody disgrace to the Roman Catholic Church! Why, he explains, there isn't a tailor in the green isle of Ireland or in the length and breath of Scandinavia, no one from Muckross to Dundrum, that could possibly make a coat and trousers to fit a fellow with that hell of a hill of a hump on his back!
Upon this declaration, the sea-captain returns to his guests, now described as a bunch of peelers ‘on their round’ (that is, the Twelve), who were just about to burst out laughing again when they spotted the joke of a duke on his way back again, the dead spit of his first prototype. But once again, when he arrives they hail and cheer him.
The landlord, once more in a mariner phase-space, repeats his earlier greeting: How goes everybody? Shit! respond the tailors, Shut up and sit down! And they pour him some more liquor and they all tilt their glasses together. Cheers!
After a significant pause during which a weather and news report is broadcast on the ever-transmitting radio, the ship's husband once again addresses the circumnavigating Viking sailor, saying that he, the agent, as a businessman, can help him to settle down after all his wanderings and sometimes venery and find himself a father-in-law, namely his best friend the tailor. Turning round to the Dublin tailor, he then tells him that he could help him find himself a much wanted son-in-law, namely the sailor. Of course, before he can do that for each or either of them, the warring pair must be reconciled. So it is that the ship's husband takes it upon himself to intervene in the peace-making. Let there be peace, he says, between you. So ‘let laid pacts be being betving ye, he sayd, for the two breasts of Banba are her soilers and her toilers.’ Sure, youse being two sods from the one field, two peas in the one pod, isn't it best, he says, for each and for both of you, sailor and tailor, tailor and sailor, to exchange oaths of fraternity.
‘Gophar’ (the ship's husband) now attends to the pressing and levelling business of ‘Glideon's’ (the ‘nowwedding’ captain's) conversion to Christianity. The sailor is happy to be converted, provided the proposed daughter promises to love him. Come here, says the ship's husband to ‘the rude hunnerable Humphrey’, come here, my old maritime sea-pike, you white whale, come into the sheep-fold of our holy island, with the blessing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Let us pray! No more of your heathen tricks after this or I'll murder you entirely as quick as Patrick plucked the sprig of shamrock. ‘And he pured him beheild of the ouishguss‘ (Irish uisce, water), ‘mingling a sign of the cruisk’ (making a sign of the Cross). And he said:
I baptise thee, Oisin, father of Oscar, O Viking, unconditionally, first among the greatest of the Gaels, hero-chief of all the clans. I baptise you out of the hell of the heathen, and be damned to you, into the Roman Catholic Church. And may the Lord have mercy on your sail. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Nonsense! you snort, HCE was always considerably opposed to religions and superstitions of any sort, so why the deuce would he go and have himself wholesale baptised by some second-hand priest in a Dublin bar. Indeed. But read on!
The ship's husband now knuckles down to work in earnest on his match-making. Calling his ‘rere admirable peader poulsen’ closer, he urges the sailor to send round the wine and offers meanwhile to clue him in on some Christian doctrine (‘crismion dottrin’). The tailor, the ‘secondnamed sutor’, he assures him, is the nicest sort of a man that ever walked up a Dublin Street, the finest to be found from Ballscadden Bay to Leixlip. That lucky swine the tailor's heart pounded in his chest to hear all this, thinking of the smuggled goods he could cadge duty-free from the sailor once he became his father-in-law. Getting down to the meat of the mating, the ship's husband continues, he (the tailor) has to be sure the nicest sort of a little woman in his house, a real treasure of a girl, none to match her, and she has been lying in her truckle-bed all winter long thinking romantic thoughts and looking up at the moon and praying for the bad weather finally to come to an end and waiting for the primroses to spring up again out of the ditches and all the leaves to clad the bare boughs in the wood and saying how when the summer comes first thing in the morning she'll look out of her window to see if her Flying Dutchman has come in. It would be a blue moon indeed, he adds, so it would, the night she failed to give a man a good Irish time. Her ‘fresh racy turf is kindly kindling up the lovver with the flu’ with a glow that would set a young man's heart ablaze, let alone an old antiquated hippopotamus like himself with water on the brain.
Directing his attention to the second man involved in the suit, the tailor, the ‘marriage mixter’ (that is, the ship's husband) tells him (that is, Kersse, her ‘coaxfonder’) that he can bet his royal blue Protestant arse that after all the rounds of drink and volumes of smoke, when the clock in the steeple struck one, even if the sailor were to be laid out flat on his back on the bar and were she ever so tired (and the breath of the old salt ‘swumped in his seachest’ to think of it) that between that hour and when daylight fell again on her pillow, before the bells in the church were rung and the whole valley knew it was dawn, it is no idle piece of rotted timber his daughter would have held in her arms in the privacy of her room at the wee dark hours of night when the stars shine so bright, because he, the man he is talking about, her husband to be, is assuredly the ‘bettest bluffy blondblubber of an olewidgeon what overspat a skettle in a skib.’
The matchmaking of the ship's husband is successful. His arguments and entreaties are persuasive. The sailor and the tailor strike another bargain and the wedding proposed follows shortly after. And Dub did glow that night! The ‘soul of everyelsesbody rolled into its olesoleself.’ It was a ‘doublemonth's licence while hooneymoon and her flame went huneysuckling.’ What ringing of bells! What celebrations! Even the dead rose out of their graves to join in the fun. ‘Tombs left doss and dunnage down in Demidoff's tomb and drew on the dournailed clogs and legged in by Ghoatstown Gate.’
It was jubilee day that night all right. And all old enmities were forgotten. ‘You could hear them swearing threaties on the Cymylaya Mountains, man.’ And praying to the Father above and beseeching the Holy Mary ‘to bring down the rain of Tarar.’ It was beyond a doubt the grandest ‘bethehailey seen or heard on earth's conspectrum since Scape the Goat, that gafr, ate the Suenders bible.’
Singing and dancing, play-acting, general mirth, merriment, door-knocking, and unrestrained drinking ensue. The ‘threelegged man’ HCE weds the druidess ALP (‘tulippied dewydress’) in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And so was it that ‘capriole legs’ covered the ‘limbs of a crane’, that giant arm slipped around dwarf waist, that ‘Big Bil Brine Borumoter first took his gage at lil lolly lavvander waader’, whether it was the twilight that made him do it, or the month of the year, or simply the ‘feint of her smell’, to the laetification and delight of all our Christian generation as ‘the last liar in the earth begeylywayled the first lady of the forest.’
§1 concludes with this appreciation of God's miracle, the arrival of the promised dew as much as of the conversion and holy matrimony of the once-pagan invader.
‘For the joy of the dew on the flower of the fleets on the fields of the foam of the waves of the seas of the wild main from Borneholm has jest come to crown.’
Before moving on, we should recap. HCE's role as publican is clear right from the start of II.3, where he emerges pink-faced as a ‘host of a bottlefilled’ uncorking a bottle of O'Connell's ale while keeping a side-eye on the till. Pop! A cork flies out, and the chicken-chokingly and turkey-throttlingly strong tugger pours out the slippery froth of the liquid down the tilted side of a lifted glass. He comes and goes, serving drinks. At 313.14-28, he scoops in the coins (the cost of his customers' liquid courage) as if his life depended on it. At 314.07 he stumbles across a ladder leaning against a wall and falls with a thunderous clash, much to the amusement of the drinkers. This is one of the landlord-sailor's symbolic acts of death re-introducing the Finnegan motif. His moving round (dying, being reborn) seems on the physical level to be into and out of a cellar (the undedrworld) to replenish his store of stout. Or it may be exiting and returning for the purpose of relieving himself.
He is back at the till at 247.39 (321.22) where he half-listens or, rather, eavesdrops (earwigs) in characteristic barman fashion to the private conversations of the customers while he is ostensibly busy blending ‘rum, milk and toddy’. Like many a Dublin barman he has mastered the art of lip-reading. By 249.28 (323.27) he has been elevated into the ‘lord of the saloom’ and we read how he lifts/lists a ‘tummelumpsk pack’ (his hunchback) as he responds to the customer's shouting for more drink.
As Finnegan, HCE's disappearances and reappearances mimic his whiskey-induced revival from the bier. Indeed, the whole episode can be read as a wacky version of Tim's wake. On the captain's arrival, and after the ship's husband has said his full, he declares (244.14 [317.03]) ‘when I'm soured to the tipple you can sink me lead.’ Later at 248.05 (321.29) he mocks the customers, ‘Your sows tin the topple, dodgers, trink me dregs! Zoot!’
The role of the ‘electronic device’ is important. It is through this device (first as a radio, then later, in §4, as a television) that the drinkers in the bar hear/watch the Norwegian Captain and the Russian general's stories. The complex origin of the appliance is detailed at 238.10ff (309.11ff). It is located fairly high up on a wall and intrudes into the narrative at various points. It is possible that in climbing up to adjust its dial — ‘A pushpull, qq: quiescence, pp: with extravent intervolve coupling’ (242.14) when (pip, pip, pip) a time signal is heard — that HCE falls off a ladder to the hilarity of the customers. What a dust it raised! An important announcement is transmitted at 250.11 (324.18) where the station is identified as Radio Athlone (Ireland's first radio station):
This is a personal message concerning a missing coat and trousers. Will any person listening return it or report information to the Howth police-master or telephone Clontarf 1014.
A weather report follows:
As our commentator predicted in last month's forecast, the unexpected depression over Scandinavia, with showers of varying precipitation heralded by fog and enveloped in an unusual suite of clouds, has filtered halfway across Saint George's Channel on its way westwards, occasioning a sudden ridge of low pressure, mist in some parts and local drizzle. The outlook for tomorrow, Monday, seems brighter, with visibility good.
Also some news: ‘Giant crash in Aden.’ Naturally, things being what they are in the world of the Wake, all the radio transmissions are directly suggestive of scenes in the pub. When the news is over, advertisements for Guinness's stout and its female counterpart, Ann Lynch's tea, are relayed. Finally, odds are quoted regarding a projected ‘stork dyrby.’ The betting is on the success of HCE's marriage. The dark night of episode III.4, with the four posters of the bed overlooking the long-married HCE and ALP as they lie together is predicted: when the palaver is finished.
II.3§2-3: 256.04–260.31 (332.01–338.03) Kate Comes In
The conclusion of the fairy-tale marriage of the tailor's daughter is indicated formulaically in Danish (snip snap snude, nuer er historien ude) and in English (so they put on the kettle and they made tea and if they don't live happy that you and I may). Such was the act of God that stopped the talk of Dublin and put an end to the gossip (for the time being at least), shutting up the stout-sipping gossips.
Of course, as we know from episode I.2, before the captain's ship was converted into a shop and before he was quite settled down and domesticated there was a little thingamajig incident ‘that hoppy-go-jumpy Junuary morn’ when he collided with a cad with a pipe (a cat out of the bag). Not that it ever made much difference to ALP.
The place or meeting-point of the ‘engagement’ encounter is given as Inbhear Life (‘Inverleffy’), Dublin Bay, and the antagonists are pictured as warring ships. Later, in III.3, the Four go to great lengths to have their witness Yawn detail these self-same games, which they suspect were more in the line of marriage feasts than funeral games.
At 256.33 (332.36) there is an interruption: ‘Enterruption. Check or slowback. Dvershen.’ The diversion is caused by the sound of the barroom door (Czech, dvere) opening to admit the aged Kate. What o szeszame open, v door s t doing? V door s being. She comes in, clip-clopping past the tipplers, to deliver a message to HCE from headquarters upstairs. She has brought word from ‘Panny Kostello’ (ALP) who is tired of washing tubs of dirty clothes and fed up to the chaps with menstrual pains and a splitting ache in her head to the effect that, seeing as the two boys and the girl are safely tucked in and asleep after saying their night prayers and eating their supper of mince-pies and potato-cakes dusted with nutmeg, it is her express wish that her general now come to bed.
As it is Kate who enters, the narrative resonates with echoes of her role as janitress of the wax-works war museum. Her characteristic ‘tip’ is repeated here as ‘dip.’ Whereas in I.1 she advised her companions to mind their heads on entering and leaving the museum, here she warns them to ‘band your hands going in, bind your heads coming out.’ The information that the ‘jinnies is a cooin her hand and the jinnies is a ravin her hair and the Willingdone git the band up’ (7.26 [8.33]) is mirrored at 257.07 (333.16): the ‘jammesons is a cook in his hair. And the juinnesses is a rapin his hind. And the Bullingdong caught the wind up.’ The tripartite sailor/tailor/ship's husband alignment is reflective of the original battle-scene matrix as Kate clops militaristically ‘along the danzing corridor’ ‘between the two deathdealing allied divisions and the lines of readypresent fire of the corkedagains’ upstored’ (the Corsican upstart).
When she speaks, Kate does so in the style of guide: this is this, this is that, this is the other! This time, however, her conversation is more complex. While it is she who speaks, thrice, in keeping with the numerology of the section, it is the voices of the prototypal fusilier triad that are articulated. The current situation is made even more ambiguous in that when she speaks she does so in the voices of HCE:
— This is the time for my bottle, reflected Mr ‘Gladstone Browne’ in the tall hat. (It was characteristic of that man of destiny.)
— This is ‘me vulcanite smoking’, professed Mr ‘Bonaparte Nolan’ under his nightcap. (One feels how one may hereby recognise the grand old man.)
— And this is the defender of the first man in ‘Danelagh’, joined in with a glance and a frown the pair's common denominator.
References to various Wake themes, the King (‘Majesty’), Punch and Judy, the Magazine Wall, Humpty Dumpty, and so on, follow in a mosaic of song fragments. Then silence. Kate, having delivered her message, leaves by the same door she came in (an old Irish tradition) and closes it. Her departure heralds in a brief re-narration (in outline) of the I.2 encounter of the King and HCE when the royal hunting party paused on the road to allow the king a drink of water: ‘It tellyhows its story to their six of hearts, a twelve-eyed man, for whom has modjestky who since is dyed drown reign before the izba’ (258.17).
Other images from earlier chapters follow rapidly as the customers fall to discussing their host among themselves. An event that is shortly to occur, the story of the assassination of the Russian General, is foreshadowed and introduced. ‘As stage to set by ritual rote for the grimm grimm tale of the four of hyacinths, the deafeeled carp and the bugler's dozen of leagues-in-amour or how Bullyclubber burgherly shut the rush in general’ (258.20).
Anticipating the performance, the customers roar in delight with a noise recalling the din of battle from the Waterloo scene. ‘The Wellingthund sturm waxes fuercilier.’ They are all agog to watch a bare private match his manhood against a bare-arsed general. And so one and all they call on their host, ‘the one in the same time hibernian knights undertharer.’
It was long ago, they declare; it was out in the green of the park where the obelisk rises (they cannot shake that original sin theme out of their heads) where the odalisques were standing, near to the soldier boys. It was long after he first made a sign of the Cross and went to mass. Loudmouths, they insist on being heard. And mixing up the promised story with the one just concluded, to the tapping of Kate's tipping they ‘pled him beheighten the firing. Dope.’
At 259.17 (336.12), our attention is redirected to ‘Mr A (tillalaric)’ and ‘these wasch woman’ (H and A/}) whose issue was Cain and Abel and another besides and of whom nothing more is told ‘until now.’ The clamour of the crowding customers quickly dominates and we overhear two of them argue the HCE case.
It was within the rights of that grand old gardener and gold-medallist, a ‘liberaloider’ says to a ‘petty corporelezzo’ that is hanging on his every word, it was open to him, he and his wife think, to feel every young fruit. Not so!, snaps ‘The Nolan’ in reply. The hunchback of the pigeon-shoot was bowled out: LBW!
This brief and even more abstruse §3 reintroduces through a series of images the original sin in the park. His ‘almonence’ (HCE as salmon etc) is busy dispensing drinks to his patrons (described here as three other Saint Patricks) while periodically disappearing into the cellar or going upstairs to feed milk to the children while ALP prattles on. The ‘mug in the middle’ (perhaps the ass, or son number three) speaks to Brian, Noel, Billy, and Boney (either X, the Four, or a hybrid multiple form of Shem and Shaun, the Browne and Nolan brothers), asking them to imagine, if they can, a beautiful thought:
Two creamy roses (J K), a stutterer (H) and ‘up to three longly lurking lobstarts’ (C, D, and G).
This tableau is of the scene in the Park where HCE spied on the two girls while he was himself being spied on by the three soldiers. Savour the image. This is Dublin. Step out and greet the protagonists: How do? to the doe-limbed girls, So pleased to meet you. How do you do? to Mister Finnegan, and Hello to you. How the hell are ye? to the three soldiers.
Thus reminded of the old fornicator, the customers are eager to re-hear how he got his comeuppance. They want Butt (‘We want Bud’), the man that shot the Russian General, the man that won the battle of the Boyne. And Taff. (‘And tough.’) Though they have heard the story told a thousand times they want to hear it again: How Buckley shot the Russian General.
II.3§4-5: 260.32–274.34 (338.04–355.07) Butt and Taff
The basic thread running through the story of Buckley is an account by Joyce père of how a private came to assassinate a general. Ellmann writes of it in his biography, p 411:
One evening when Ottocaro Weiss had been discussing Freud's theory that humour was the mind's way of securing relief through a short cut for some repressed feeling, Joyce replied gaily, ‘Well that isn't true in this case.’ He then told his father's story of Buckley and the Russian General, which was to be mentioned in Ulysses and to wind in and out of Finnegans Wake. Buckley, he explained, was an Irish soldier in the Crimean War who drew a bead on a Russian General, but when he observed his splendid epaulettes and decorations, he could not bring himself to shoot. After a moment, alive to his duty, he raised his rifle again, but just then the general let down his pants to defecate. The sight of the enemy in so helpless and human a plight was too much for Buckley, who again lowered his gun. But when the general prepared to finish the operation with a piece of grassy turf, Buckley lost all respect for him and fired. Weiss replied, ‘Well, that isn't funny.’ Joyce told the story to other friends, convinced that it was in some way archetypal.’
Weiss didn't get it, but Samuel Beckett did. It was the misuse of the green sod, That insult to Ireland! The version in the Wake is difficult, as Joyce himself conceded, but with patience it is not impenetrable. There is an exceptionally dense concentration of non-English words in it: Russian, Malay, Ruthenian, Polish, Bulgarian, Armenian, Albanian, Shelta (an Irish ‘secret language’) and Greek, among others.
The original story is an anecdote from the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 for the possession of Sebastopol. Joyce has put in references to many of the military personalities involved: Lord Cardigan, Sir Geo. Brown, Lord Raglan, Lord Lucan, Tsar Nicholas, &c. The whole is embedded in a highly militarised context. The parenthetical descriptions of the speakers, introduced into the drafts at a late stage, serve to provide a succession of visual images in extension of the two principal technical aspects of Joyce's version: radio broadcast and television programme.
The story itself (well hidden in a thicket of words) opens with a citizen Taff, described as ‘a smart boy in his thirties’, looking up at the sky. He is in a public place, an inn or in the open-air jakes at the back of the tavern. He gazes upwards to judge the likelihood of a cloud-burst previous to hoisting an emergency umbrella by way of solution to the rattle (is it hail or post-battle trauma?) in his head. Another man stands beside him: Butt, an ex-soldier, now a middle-aged youth of clerical appearance.
With weather playing on his mind, figuratively and literally, Taff turns to Butt and asks him if the conditions at the time they were just talking about were bloody awful? There were flashes and cracks, what, with the sky mad red, the colour of blood. In fact, was it all so bloody bad that Butt couldn't see a thing?
Butt agrees, it was all uproar and confusion. It was a vast pool of blood, a Sebastopol.
They emerge from the cesspool of a toilet and head back into the tavern. Butt asks Taff to describe the general to him, the governor-general and under-lieutenant of the Black Sea, the Russian General. And to use parliamentary language, good old monosyllables, and describe his clothes and all, calling a spade a spade. He adds that perhaps Butt's recollections are imaginary and thus no more substantial than the interpretation of a reverie forgotten on waking.
Real or not, the memory of the general fills Butt with dread. His knees knock, his eyes flash and his tongue lolls out over his lip. The dirty bugger! The piss-a-bed! Curse him and damn him, he shouts. There were cannons in front of him, cannons behind. The general was enveloped by the enemy. All his weapons were of no avail. Surrounded, in his overcoat, busby (bearskin hat) and varnished buskins, waistcoat and scarlet cuffs, three-coloured camouflage and ‘perikopendulous gaelstorms.’ All on hire purchase from Karrs and Polikoff's, the men's outfitters, where he could get the best of terms. He was dressed to the nines for women to look back at him. But out there on the battlefield it was all thunder and lightning.
Taff's eyes bulge and glare. Grandiose! Some garments! Magnificent! But was it war?
Butt agrees. The Russian was absurdly overdressed. He was a walking rainbow, more constellation than man, in his ‘heavenspawn consomation robes.’ Red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo and, of course, violet. There he stood, a caped Armenian cloak-and-dagger voodoo man, stuttering and stooping all over the place.
Taff gets the wind up and makes the sign of the Cross to protect himself. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. A right bloody scutterer he was, he says, a notorious rogue! The lewd son of a bitch!
Uncurling his tongue from his cheek, Butt recalls the unforgettable scene. In explication of his words he points out to his companion certain imaginary objects in the distant landscape. His mind blocked, he mixes up his encounter with the general with the episode of the three fusiliers and the flashing HCE. This was the lie of the land, he says. ‘Here furry glunn … Their feery pass.’ Over there, ‘guerillaman aspear aspoor to prink the pranks of prinkissies.’ Yonder, ‘the buddies behide in the byre.’ Taff tries his best to visualise the scene but, a pessimist of the deepest dye, he only sees a blank. He can remember nothing except his struggles for life in the rut of the past.
Back at the bar, Butt continues to berate the hated general and calls him a bear, a hog, the grizzliest hyena of all. He defiled the lilies of the field and confronted ‘samp, tramp and marchint’, the three troopers, with the outline of his arse (the ‘rumbume of a narsde’). God save Ireland!
Taff is uncertain what exactly he is supposed to visualise and asks his companion to divulge more. He is less intimidated by the general than Butt is and indulges in a spot of horse-play, making up a riddle on HCE's comical name (Persse O'Reilly). Butt relaxes a little (the general is long dead and buried after all) and joins into the jocularity of the thing. He physically imitates the assassination while, beside him, Taff acts the maggot and obligingly bangs away on a piano and sings out coarsely. With a sick sigh but with humour, Butt speaks through his hair to shout out, Murder! Murder! He is excited and openly mocks the aged HCE. Oh, he saw him, he did! He saw what the risible scourge was at. Indeed he did! And they both carry on in self-amusement, singing two old favourites, Piff paff and A Life for the Tsar.
At this point, 263.32 (341.18), in the first of four interruptions of the dialogue, details of a race meeting are broadcast on the radio/television. An ‘admirable verbivocovisual presentment of the world-renownced Caerholme Event’ is offered at this corkscrew bend of events. We see, hear, taste, and smell the throng: one hundred and eleven contenders. Horses flash past on the screen before us. Helioscope, with Mr Thomas Nolan up, outpaces Epiphanes. Begging urchins hustling coppers bustle through the punters. Professional conmen finger-twinkle casual strollers with the three-card trick. Drinkers lounge besotted in large tents. This is Baldoyle. We glimpse girls in summer frocks, a chief-smith out for the day, a group of candlestick-makers relaxing. Then we hear more hoof-thudding. There is a shout of exclamation. Emancipator is showing its fat behind to three geldings and two fillies are showing ‘a clean pairofhids’ to Emancipator. Such a thing to happen! In the open air! ‘To this virgin's tuft, on this golden of evens!’ The lord mayor is ‘proformly annuysed.’ He is shaking under his chains. That will be all for today!
After this eerie drama, offered to us by ‘Bett and Tipp’ in ‘From Topphole to Bottom of The Irish Race and World’, the scene in the pub undergoes a transformation. The report of the race segues into one of a rifle discharging, followed by a weak flash. We now find ourselves in the thick of battle and we perceive Taff soldiering in the fray. He changes direction by the light of the flash and calls out to Butt to accuse him of cowardice for contemplating retreat. Think again, he says, and move forward with dispatch.
Butt stumbles on in the dark. He puts on a surcoat (an outer coat) so as to look more like a gentleman and explains to Taff (he is perhaps back in the pub again) that he saw the royal HCE strike a match. He saw the son of a gun, epaulettes and all, smoking cigars at both ends. ‘Of all the quirasses and all the qwehrmin in the tragedoes of the antiants their grandoper, that soun of a gunnong!’ Butt was sure the general was only reeling backwards bandy-legged after the explosion, looking for somewhere to take a seat to recover himself, a cromlech or some such thing. Then he heard the bloke recite the four gospels out loud to all and sundry, though it is truer he may have been only breaking wind after having had his breakfast. Whatever he was doing, by the Holy Ghost, Butt no sooner caught sight of HCE's ‘frighteousness’ a few versts off but he quaked with fear. He was ‘bibbering with vear’.
Taff joins in, though the Anglo-Saxons are a-coming for to get him. He is back on the field of battle. He urges Butt to deal with the papist now that he has the chance to put a stop to his praying. Deliver the blow, he shouts. That gombeen man's hour is up! But Butt lacks the heart to do so. Giving his Siamese twin, Taff, an indication in acknowledgement of his communiqué, he drops down suddenly to squat and changes colour in fear. His face grows green, his hairs turn grey, his blue eyes go brown. When he saw the general come within range and attempt like a ‘brandylogged’ Roman Catholic to say his prayers and then to go and pull down his pants to expose his fleshy rump ‘by manurevring in open ordure’, Butt was sure the old bugger was only recovering breath and relieving himself. He had every intention of shooting him. But when he got a clear view of him by the flashing of the flares and caught a sharp whiff of the fierce smell of the old goat, no lie, he trembled with fear again and wanted to scram and beat it. Even so, he composed himself. But, just as he was about to take the shot — Butt can confess this without prejudice — he looked at the Tsar of all the Russians hobbling with ague and doubled up with the rumbles in his stomach. He recognised the face of a brother. Well, he hadn't the heart to. Taff is less sentimental. Thinking about all the ‘country clowns’ that the general, a right wild man from Borneo, had seduced in his day, he insists that he ought to be put paid to with a parang or bloody well plugged through and coaxed into the next life, murdered, as a matter of fact, before he dozes, surprised though he is. Great almighty God! Taff declares. You hadn't the heart to!
The situation on the battlefield has changed. Butt has stumbled across the general all right but, in this take, HCE is asleep. Butt declares he heard someone or other, some rotter, give one or two sad snores like he was fast asleep. He waited a minute or two to see might he stir but, whoever it was, he straightaway fell asleep without doing anything at all. Though it was him, the notorious Russian, Butt felt the moment was not quite right, the timing was off. He had met him when it was already too late. That was his fate.
At 266.36 (345.16) Butt pauses while Taff gestures to the publican for more booze, a Guinness for himself and one for his companion. When served, he passes the drink to Butt and urges him to down it. Butt obliges, doffs his hat, and, curling his moist lips round the rim of the glass, he sinks the bitter brown liquid down his gullet. But not before he has paid the tavern-keeper, ‘proffering into his pauses somewhog salt bacon.’
The second interruption begins at 267.12 (345.35). We learn that besides the two jokers we are listening to there are at least four other drinkers in the bar, the same four old codgers (X) we met earlier, though their role, like everybody else's, changes from chapter to chapter. These goatherds are ‘teilweisioned.’ Four images appear on the television screen. The first, Matthew-related, is a fashion report: macintoshes are in. The second, Mark's, reminds us to prepare ourselves for the coming winter. The third, Luke's, says something about a new kind of fashionable dance. The last, John's, states that as it is Christmas and the New Year is just round the corner boys and girls everywhere are thinking up resolutions.
Back at the bar, Taff, who has been passed the black stuff (Guinness), wants Butt to get on with his story-telling. Let him say his piece, how Buckley shot the Russian General. He has clearly heard Butt tell this one before. He reminds Butt not to leave out the bit about the sod of turf. What's up? He's not off song, is he? The four old goatherds are eavesdropping, he reminds him, waiting to hear how he called the old ram's bluff. Won't he tell them, then? Taff starts to mock him, reciting the old rhyme about one fine day in the middle of the night when two dead men got up to fight while three blind men stood looking on. Come on, Butt, out with it!
At heart Butt is a God-forsaken nihilist and unmistakably depressed. Still, all right, he'll tell them the whole thing. He said he would. It was like this, he says. Here we get yet another distorted account of the encounter. It was, he explains, out on a plain roughly about the time of the full moon after the spring equinox. Truth to tell, it was the most moonful, mournful date any man ever kept. He (Butt) was in the Royal Irish Militia at the time as an aide-de-camp. Thinking back, though, gives him a headache, the most awful megrim. He is drinking more and more and he grows ever more sentimental as inebriation seeps in. Between the associations of his past and the disconnections of his future, he declares, his head is literally stuffed up with memories. His tears run slow even as he thinks of it, any of it. All those faithful departed! Ah, how things come back to one! So, a toast to long-dead trench-fellows, to mates, to ‘all them old boyars that's now boomaringing in waulholler, me alma marthyrs!’ He drinks to them, his cullies, sweet whiskey and water. They were all in the same barracks. So, hip, hip, hooray! Once twice thrice! Three times three! Up lads, and at 'em!
Taff, who recalls the scent of those heroines that had entertained him when they were se&ntilda;oritas in sunny Spain before emptying his wallet in the bustle of the Bakerloo line, passes his tongue in smooth irony over the anfractuosities of his teeth before joining in with the toast. Their cockade, he assures Butt, will go around the world, man! They'll mint money and make glory till they've rings on their fingers and bells on their toes. He asks Butt, mistaking sentiment for agony, what caused all his suffering. Is your war wound acting up? Was it a drumhead court-martial or general staff? Arrah, man, get on with it. Do your thing. Sing!
The third interruption follows at 269.39 (349.06). Taff, who was last to speak, fades from the screen, leaving a ‘heliotropical noughttime’, a colourful nothing, in his wake. The images on the screen are breaking up into pixels, thousands of points of light. ‘A spraygun rakes and splits them from a double focus.’ A ‘gaspel truce leaks out over the caeseine coatings.’ Amid a great deal of fluorescence, a still suddenly appears on the screen: it is the ghostly figure of ‘Popey O'Donoshough, the jesuneral of the russuates’. He exhibits the seals of his many offices, his various stars and garters, his latchets, bands, belts and buckles. He is a vicar officiating at the customary mid-week service. Please do not speak above one's breath! Suddenly, damn it, something goes wrong with the supersonic switch: ‘Hll, smthngs gnwrng wthth sprsncswtch!’ The pope/vicar blinks his eyes and confesses. He blows his nose. He confesses to everything, confesses he was always ‘putting up his latest faengers.’ He wipes his mouth. He confesses how often he was up on her and under her. He clasps together his hands. He confesses ‘before all his handcomplishies and behind all his comfoderacies.’ Here he is, coming back into focus, saying he couldn't stay away, grasping his member (‘touched upon this tree of livings in the middenst of the garerden’). He confesses everything in every possible place and every possible way. The pitiable old piece of dung! The service comes to a close. The unconditional exomologosis or public confession is over and done with. It is announced that there will now be a collection for the wretch.
Butt, gesturing expansively and sporting a buttonhole, commences the longest speech in the episode in the sonorous tones of Oscar Wilde during his notorious homosexuality trials. He confesses to having sowed his wild oats. He has quite had a bellyful of Turkish delights. No more for that poor African! He has had his bellyful of toes in the stomach and butts in the ribs, once, twice, and again, and they all praying for the night to end and light to spread over the darkness. Yet, he says, still and all, he was hail-fellow-well-met and he had his wages and he had his bit of fun. Actually, they were halcyon days for him and his comrades in arms, the ‘loyal leibsters’, when they were raw recruits together with food and wine and women and song aplenty. And we all tuned in to hear the topmast noviality. He was a bare private, believe him, without his sea-legs but he didn't give a tuppeny damn about ‘those thusengaged slavey generales’ and their ‘very flank movemens.’ He could always take good cover of himself and he didn't care three tinker's hoots about all those loose women because he had his ‘respectables soeurs assistershood’ and she can tell the truth and swear by her ring and she would never let him down. By Jove, he never went wrong nor ever let anyone down till the day ‘up come stumblebum (ye olde cottemptable!), his urssian gemenal’, when he saw ‘how they gave love to him.’ It was odious to him. It was just maddening. And ‘the Percy rally got to blow the grand off his aceupper.’ In his sexual jealousy he ‘insurrectioned’ and he shot him for the white slaver he was.
Taff common-sensibly realises that since they have given Butt a gun he is going to see red. But he is himself too well-bred not to ignore the unearthliness of his rival's proceedings. In an effort at autosuggestion he ‘effaces himself.’ He can well believe what Butt has to say. He was up against it. He was ‘shutter reshottus and sieger besieged.’ It was at bottom a race of field marshals against a nation of sharpshooters.
Butt, his moustache bristling, breaks into a war cry, as one by one he shoves his thumb and four fingers up the hole in his arse. The bloody back-shooter! says he. He'll uncork no more wine or hunt gazelles in the hills, the werewolf. Taff, meanwhile, sensing the rising height of Butt's passion and the psychological depth of the moment, utters a few oaths of his own and waits for Butt to go on. Yes, sir, Butt says, scoffing but still determined, he felt cynical all right. In sober truth, that the general lives not is no grief to him. He was dared to do it, and then double-dared. When the bell for twelve o'clock tolled out he saw the old goat ‘beheaving up that sob of tunf for to claimhis, for to wollpimsolff’. When he saw him expose that way his great colophon of a royal arse and make to wipe it clean with shamrock … he was enraged. By Jesus: at that insult to Ireland! He wasted no time but he upped with his gun and merde! he bloody well plugged him.
The fourth interruption intervenes at 273.24. The assassination of the Russian general is viewed as the splitting of the atom, as the ‘first lord of Hurtreford expolodotonates’ through infinite space with a terrible rumble amid which general confusion one can perceive molecules scraping against molecules and golden coaches bursting into pumpkin-pieces. Similar scenes are projected from the four corners of the globe. It is precisely twelve o'clock, no minutes, no seconds. Sunset here. Break of day there.
Taff returns for a last drink with Butt after this final catastrophic interruption (where, amid ruin and chaos, HCE is dispersed throughout outer space). Butt's transgression (patricide), however, is unpardonable. Their images then become faint. Vitality ebbs. The enemy is dead. HCE is kaput.
In §5 Butt and Taff coalesce into one and the same person. A mosaic of fragments of Irish rebel songs follow, equating the assassination of the Russian general with the 1916 Easter rebellion in Dublin. Butt/Taff lies under the shadow of the more-than-mythical military man as he falls. Peace follows and general reconciliation. Everybody shakes everybody else's hand. Irish airs are played on hurdy-gurdies. All pledge friendship each to each in a common vow. Butt/Taff speaks of new hope, now that HCE has been reduced to a spent insect.
The pipes are packed away. Tents are folded. The show is over. The screen goes blank.
II.3§6: 274.35–286 (355.08–370.29) HCE's Confession
‘And bud did doom well right. And if he sung dumb in his glass darkly speech lit face to face on all around.’ The miracle has been worked. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only and there was dew on all the ground. The culmination of the Russian General skit is announced. The battle is over. Night closes round the conqueror's way.
HCE, host once again, declares throatily before those assembled that to err is human. No man, he asserts, is wholly innocent, ‘for whole men is lepers.’ We are all wanderers in the chill wilderness of paradise lost. He quotes instances of failing in the Solomon islands, in Germany, in Egypt as, in keeping with this universality, he is elevated in his own estimation into the stature of a well-nourished god keeping watch in ‘Khummer-Phett’, running his tavern while upstairs his spouse ‘An-Lyph’ warms his couch. And, since he has been speaking to them about lie-detectors and truth-drugs, he informs his listeners that he has at last persuaded himself that there is not as much as one iota of truth from start to last in what people gossip about him. Where is the man, he asks, who is free from slander? His plight, surely, is common to each and every one of them, as surely as his head sits on his shoulders.
He solicits free advice from the onlookers, none excluded, asking them if they have perhaps studied jurisprudence or read metaphysics and, if so, could they explain to him the ‘farst wriggle from the ubivence, whereom is man, that old offender, nother man, wheile he is asame.’
He relates an anecdote about himself as if to prove the point in question and show that he is not a heretic. He has, he explains, let them suppose, been reading in a (suppressed) book lavishly illustrated with ‘expurgative plates’ and printed on paper that has scarcely ever been bettered in any previous publication. He has read sufficient of it to realise that it will command the widest circulation and gain a reputation co-extensive with its merits. It is replete in information from first to last. The plates, in particular, as he has just been saying, represent the finest work of ‘this early woodcutter, a master of vignettiennes … Mr Aubeyron Birdslay.’ It is dirt cheap and well worth the read. One can feel something Arabian about the fellow, damn it. And what an exotic book! What erotic art! What shadowing! What lovely lines! ‘Not the king of this age could richlier eyefeast in oreillental longuardness with alternate nightjoys of a thousand kinds but one kind.’ May a pox take him if he is lying. As he was idly turning over the loose leaves as he sat musing in the lavatory some fortnights ago, as far as he can remember, he, if he be permitted the expression, was entrenched in contemplation of himself as he sat there for the purposes of relieving himself in his truly rural vegetable garden. He was often (sometimes, maybe) enlivened by the scenes lying illustrated there before him and in the slip of a sudden motion had the quite involuntary notion that he was watching snapshots of his distant relations and of himself behind the scenes at no special time. He felt that in spite of his having belittled himself as he did and having named himself after an insect he is wholly pleased and heartened to learn from the latest reports that he is considered big altogether. BIG!
Having reached the end of his tale, HCE sets about his normal business as the tavern begins to metamorphose into a boat, with all aboard her. The customers, however, are not over impressed with his self-defence; and, taking him apart, are unanimous in being wholly pleased to say of him that he had to die, the beetle. The fish hurt only himself. The sins are his and not the pelican's childrens' like Fintan that lived before and after the Flood. He was sometimes too damned often on the safe side, so he was. He was no better than he would have been before he could have been better than he would have been before he could have been better than what he was after. He is the same old piece of dirt of the same old tuppeny class. But what they want to hear right now ‘is the woods of chirpsies cries to singaloo sweecheeriode’ and so let someone go and lock him up, the old cant rogue.
We are listening to the radio again. At 278.12 (359.22) we are told that we have just been listening to an excerpt from ‘John Whitton's fiveaxled production, The Coach With The Six Insides’, a ghost-story by ‘Eeric Whiggs’ shortly to be continued in Pearson's Weekly. We are told to pay attention to what is to follow: a musical piece as requested by the customers, The Twofold Song of the Nightingales.
After a great deal of orchestral organisation this interlude, 279.03-28 (360.23-361.17), turns out to be a conversation Issy holds with herself as she sits on a hilltop in the peace and harmony of the great outdoors. Listening in, we learn that she is thinking about the old buzzard and how he was watching her as she pissed. What a nerve! What a dirty old man! But she is highly amused. As a canopy of leaves drifts downwards over her she has to laugh to herself: ‘they laughtered, one on other, undo the end and enjoyed their laughings merry was the timeswhen so grant it High Hilarion us may too!’
The tipplers in that pig's village smoke (the pub), a legion or circle of druids cryptically known as 6666 now sit down and consume a huge sacrificial clam. They drunkenly agree to conspire in the condemnation of HCE who seems for the moment to have exited again. In his absence they discuss what he did, why he did it, how he didn't have to do it, and how his wife, his droll delight, first invented pottery by moulding one bowl on another. They conclude with a description of the conditions under which the pair have to cope.
As this is going on, HCE re-enters and replies yet again to the vile accusations laid at his feet. He freely admits his guilt — guilty! But, he adds in unconditional exoneration, felix culpa! He tells those assembled, whom he calls his fellow culprits, a syndicate of three soldiers, Misters MacGurk, O'Duane, and MacElligut, that, yes, he has long suspected that certain rumours about him had been circulating round the docks. Even if he did flog hot peas to actresses after late-night performances, and even though he might well have emptied slop down a drain rather than dump it on a midden, well, what of it? He was, he insists, ‘ever incalpable of unlifting upfallen girls wherein dangered from them in thereopen out of unadulteratous bowery, with those hintering influences from an angelsexonism.’
He effaces the detractions from his mind. The two girls implicated were lowly maids, he explains, two brazen hussies. They can take as proof of his huge liberality and magnanimity the twenty odd thousand coaches standing ready to distribute his large parcels of presents. All he ever wanted to do was to put himself ‘in their kirtlies’, to leap (sleep) with them and, still sixteen at heart, show him ‘too bisextine.’ Had he not been an exemplary citizen from the very beginning? Did he not dutifully register his deeds? And, no matter what his henpecking wife had to cackle and scribble about, preaching the very worst, the two nymphs involved acquiesced without undue persuasion from him. Any other man in his position would have done the same, surely? He appeals to their consciences. What evidence is there at bottom to his bad? None whatsoever! See. And, either way, it shall not be for them but for a higher court, the highest court, you, his very good friend, to decide whether or not he is an asthmatic old ruffian and seducer and whether the Ides of March makes a good day to be shot at.
He closes his defence, full stop. ‘Here endeth chinchinatibus with have speak finish.’ The four avuncula now bob up to the surface, talking to him (who, it seems, has slipped into the water dressed in his whole suit of clothes): ‘And dong wonged Magongty till the bombtomb of the warr’. There is a shift of perspective. The tavern is now fully a ferry-boat, if not Noah's own ark, floating on the waters of the flood. The sea-goer Noah/Deucalion (HCE) gazes out over the residual deluge and he beholds the four as four dodos bobbing about in the water quacking to one another. Twelve commandments are listed for good measure at 284.37-285.12 (368.07-23). The four, who are by now seriously inebriated and singing snatches of songs, prepare something of a report on what they think they can be assured is the case.
They claim (a) that ALP pretended with some suggestions from Shem to write a letter to Sigurdsson concerning HCE; (b) that Issy is anxiously waiting for the letter to turn up; (c) that Shaun the postman has divorced the twins and gone off about his deliveries; (d) that Issy was indebted to Tristan for introducing her to forks; (e) that (they cannot think); and (f) that (what was it?) …
Characteristically (as in the next chapter) they have their facts hopelessly mixed up and half-remembered. But the night out is about to end for all of them. A ‘soresen's head subrises thustous out of rumpumplikum oak’ (286.35). Sigurdsson has arrived to clear the pub. They are not sure (in their drunken haze) who he is exactly: ‘well, we cannot say whom we are looking like through his nowface.’ They suspect (rightly) that it is ‘Noggens’, who dusts both sides of the seats in the Mullingar Inn in far-famed Chapelizod.
Sigurdsson is introduced to the rhythm of the popular song The Wild Man from Borneo, to the same strains as earlier when the Norwegian captain was ushered out.
II.3§7: 287–close (370.30–382.30), Lights out in the village
Sigurdsson, the bouncer, has arrived to announce that it is polizeistunde, the legal closing hour. He has come to put the fear of God into those sons of half-seas-over bitches. To think that the whole time till now he was down under, rinsing dirty bottles for the perishers. Fyre maynoother endnow! Four minutes to go! Shut up shop! No more candle time, chicken-livers! All ashore for Chapelizod!
He is fairly raging, though the vipers in his heart are kept in stranglehold. He has been rinsing and cleaning up slop since ten in the morning. The customers mock him as he merges into the personality of HCE by encouraging Hosty to sing a ballad about him, much as he did in I.2. Which he does:
Dour Douchy was a sieguldson.
He cooed that loud nor he was young.
He cud bad caw nor he was gray.
Like wather parted from the say.
Sigurdsson can only think of all the ‘chubbs, chipps, chaffs, chuckinpucks and chayney chimebells’ (287.15) that he had ‘mistributed in port, pub, park, pantry and poultryhouse.’ The customers meanwhile are concerned with soaking up the last possible drop of alcohol into themselves before ‘Sockerson’ locks and bolts the door on them. Which he will, certain sure, and leave them to mope.
HCE is bowing and scraping and trying to empty the house as peacefully as he can, exhorting them to go. Time, gentlemen please! Please! But they ignore him and clamour for an extension of his liquor license.
By this point, the tavern has fully metamorphosed into a ship. The customers, the ‘Mullingar minstrels’, are herded out reluctantly onto the gangplank. The shuffle of their Diaspora is causing the boat to rock and their sense of balance is naturally somewhat impaired. And so they file out, these august founder members of the city of Dublin, senators all, peloothered, into the spilling rain. All the patricians except one, of course, ‘Tuppeter Sowyer’, tavern-master and Russian general, sometime ‘frankling to thise citye’, civically honoured by having been granted supporters for his arms.
The tavern/ship, like Shaun's barrel in Book III, is moored on the bank of the Liffey. The customers want to get out by the gateway before the vessel is launched, so as to wend their way safely back home to the town after their evening out. That cynical and mocking balladeer, Hosty, is the last to leave: ‘Last ye, lundsmin, hasty hosty!’ As he goes, he bawls away:
His bludgeon's bruk, his drum is tore.
For spuds we'll keep the hat he wore.
And roll in clover on his clay
By wather parted from the say.
The customers, still tight, merry and making jokes, cheering, hissing and singing, are fast turning into a lynching party, irate at having been made to leave the pub. The four old codgers, by now absolutely at their wits' ends, slip, all four of them, off the gangplank and fall into the water below where they flounder about, bobbing up and down while their donkey, berthed on the road above to the west, brays, ‘and they were all trying to and baffling with the walters of, hoompsydoompsy walters of’. Over them, unheeding, the gangplank is raised and the anchor weighed.
The second part of §7 consists of an extended statement by (presumably) the customers dumped onto the bank. They revile the old tavern keeper. He should be ashamed of himself, they say, ‘hiding that shepe in his goat’ and for resembling so barefacedly old crookback, Richard the Third. The drink he serves would be an insult to a pig's trough! They want to have his license stopped, to have him gaoled, going on the way he does, taking his leisure like a god on pension and chasing women in the rain in the park and trying to squeeze himself into young girls' tights, getting dizzy spells and concealing himself under various guises, the bloody old rogue. In consideration to the musicians, he ought to have kept the house open, damn him. ‘Pass out your cheeks, why daunt you? Penalty, please!’ He'll soon know all about partings. This is not the end of it, by no manner or means. They will report him, have no fear. It will be written about. He'll read all about his exploits in the morning papers as he sits down and chews his breakfast curds. An eye for an eye and a throat for a throat! He can read, can't he? And he knows what a glove means, eh? When the clergy get to hear about him there'll be great fun. And the Foreign Office is looking for him, to boot, to lay him out. Darby of the Yard, the whistling policeman, a veritable artist and the finest of his kind, is planning it. Oscar Wilde is writing again about nice boys going native. Does he appreciate exactly how he will be written about? How he fell from storey to storey, like a sack of sand, filling infinity. And how he wanted to have a finger in every pie. And they're the witnesses. Wait till they send him to sleep, by God. By the blessed cross! He'll be blasted to bloody bits by the chosen one, the youth who once he was. He'll find this out for himself when we all wake up in the morning, the whole parish of us, twenty-two thousand souls. And isn't it them, the twelve, and no others, who he shall have to face when he finds himself in the dock when his case is heard in camera and ‘His Honour Surpacker’ is on the bench. Oh, yes! So help him God and kiss the book. He thought that the village would never wake up to him, did he, eh? When he goes to court, it will be his own child that gives him away. It's then he'll get it right smack between the legs! Buckley's photo will appear in the paper, for one sure five, sporting the viscera of a certain well-known Russian general. His little widow will have to go out and bribe the locals to say an Our Father for the repose of his soul.
The customers gel into an Irish mythological band of warriors, the Fianna, and threaten HCE as both the youthful Fionn (otherwise scurvy Deimne) and, paradoxically, as the love fugitive Diarmuid, who made a cuckold of the aged Fionn (but not for long) when he eloped with Gráinne, the daughter of Eitche and the King of Ireland, the betrothed of forgiving Fionn (with whom she ended up).
So let him give it up! Give over! Slip on the ropen collar and draw a nosebag over his head. Make life easy for everybody. The noose will tighten the turkey folds of his neck and snap his vicious cycle shut. Is he feeling the jitters? He'll be feeling tight all right when the hemp chokes him.
Why wait for the inevitable? There is already a hearse with four horses drawn up, waiting for what's left of him, with the four ‘interprovincial crucifixioners throwing lots inside’, preparing to consume him, laying the cloth, the four of them, and saying their grace before meals. And they have an ass and cart behind for safe measure. Those four ghouls are just itching to nail him up. He'll sway up there, dead as a doorknob, the once mighty monarch of Ireland, for all his boasting of hearing his name in the thunder — Rrrwwwkkkrrr! — and seeing it scrawled in flashing phosphorus on the walls of the market-place: Persse O'Reilly. The bloody tram-conductor, he's no better than a nameless alien converting himself into an Irishman overnight! They'll make statuettes out of his false ingots yet, trademarks and all.
Despite their bravura, HCE's hostile mob now seems to wake up to the regrettable fact that the big man is, in fact, not yet dead, recalling the situation at the close of I.1, ‘He's alight there still, by Mike’, though they had fondly pictured him as dangling limply, a lifeless carcase on a gibbet for crows to peck at. They change their tune accordingly and now demand possession (of the letter it seems). They failed to understand, they say, what he was saying about eleven thirty-two in his fancy languages. They're Free Staters, man, he can't impose on them. ‘Every tub here spucks his own fat.’ They also fail to remember to whom the letter was sent. But, more importantly for them, what they want is more booze: Boohoohoo it oose! (293.24)
Who the heck does he think he is, with his seven holes in his head, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a throat like everybody else? And all his little whores! It's no wonder he stinks like a buck and suffers delusions in bed. He just gets their goat. He just galls their kibe. He'll be the death of them some fine day or other, faith, he will.
As the night slips into midnight the presence of the carping customers grows fainter and fainter as they cry out in the indifferent night whatever comes into their heads. The boat is drawing away from them, stranded on the bank, as the tide carries it down the river towards Dublin Bay. They must leave the narration of HCE's subsequent doings to those that remain on board with him, to Kate and to Joe, and to Shem and Shaun.
HCE is alone in the now-vacated barroom. He sets about cleaning up the mess left in the wake of the customers. Collecting all the dirty glasses, he pours the dregs left in them, considerably more than the better part of a gill or noggin of imperial dry and liquid measure, into one receptacle and swallows the concoction. He passes out. He has fallen again. His condition is now precisely parallel to that at the end of I.3. He begins to dream. The tavern (N) that is now a ship — the stout ship Nansy Hands — sets sail by starlight to the strains of the ballad Follow me up to Carlow, the marching song of Feagh MacHugh O'Byrne.