Buck Mulligan suddenly linked his arm in Stephen's and wlaked with him round the tower, his razor and mirror clacking in the pocket where he had thrust them,
—It's not fair to tease you like that, Kinch, is it? he said kindly. God knows you have more spirit than any of them.
Parried again. He fears the lancet of my art as I fear that of his. The cold steelpen.
—Cracked lookingglass of a servant. Tell that to the oxy chap downstairs and touch him for a guinea. He's stinking with money and thinks you're not a gentleman. His old fellow made his tinby selling jalap to Zalus or some bloody swindle or other. God, Kinch, if you and I could only work together we might do something for the island. Hellanise it.
Cranly's arm. His arm.
—And to think of your having to beg from these swine. I'm the only one that knows what you are. Why don't you trust me more? What have you up your nose against me? Is it Haines? If he makes any noise here I'll bring you down Seymour and we'll give him a ragging worse than they gave Clive Kempthorpe.
Young shouts of moneyed voices in Clive Kempthorpe's rooms. Palefaces: they hold their ribs with laughter, one clasping, O, I shall expire! Break the news to her gently, Aubrey! I shall die! With slit ribbons of his shirt whipping the air he hops and hobbles round the table, with trousers down at his heels, chased by Ades of Magdalen with the tailor's shears. A scared calf's face gilded with marmalade. I don't want to be debagged! Don't play the giddy ox with me!
Shouts from the open window startling evening in the quadrangle. A deaf gardener, aproned, masked with Matthew Arnold's face, pushed his mower on the sombre lawn watching narrowly the dancing motes of grasshalms.
To ourselves…new paganism…omphalos.
—Let him stay, Stephen said. There's nothing wrong with him except at night.
—The what is it? Buck Mulligan asked impatiently. Cough it up. I'm quite frank with you. What have you against me now?
They halted, looking towards the blunt cape of Bray Head that lay on the water like the snout of a sleeping whale. Stephen freed his arm quietly.
—Do you wish me to tell you? he asked.
—Yes, what is it? Buck Mulligan answered. I don't remember anything. He looked in Stephen's face as he spoke. A light wind passed his brow, fanning softly his hair and stirring silver points of anxiety in his eyes.
Stephen, depressed by his own voice, said:
—Do you remember the first day I went to your house after my mother's death?
Buck Mulligan frowned quickly and said:
—What? Where? I can't remember anything, I remember only ideas and sensations. Why? What happened in the name of God?
—You were making tea, Stephen said, and I went across the landing to get more hot water. Your mother and some visitor came out of the drawing room. She asked you who was in your room.
—Yes? Buck Mulligan said. What did I say? I forget.
—YOu said, Stephen answered, O, it's only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead.
A flush which made him seem younger and more engaging rose to Buck Mulligan's cheek.
—Did I say that? he asked. Well? What harm is that?
He shook his constraint from him nervously.
—And what is death, he asked, your mother's or yours or my own? You saw only your mother die. I see them pop off every day in the Mater and Richmond and cut up into tripes in the dissectingroom. It's a beastly thing and nothing else. It simply doesn't matter. You wouldn't kneel down to pray for your mother on her deathbed when she asked you. Why? Because you have cursed jesuit strain in you, only it's injected the wrong way. To me it's all a mockery and beastly. Her cerebral lobes are not functioning. She calls the doctor Sir Peter Teazle and picks buttercups off the quilt. Humour her till it's over. You crossed her last wish in death and yet you sulk because I didn''t whinge like some hire mute from Lalouette's. Absurd! I suppose I did say it. I didn't mean to offend the memory of your mother.
He had spoken himself into boldness. Stephen, shielding the gaping wounds which the words had left in his heart, said very coldly:
—I am not thinking of the offence to my mother.