had saved him from being trampled under foot and had gone, scarcely having been. A poor soul gone to heaven: and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth, listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped.
Sitting at his side Stephen solved out the problem. He proves by algebra that Shakespeare's ghost is Hamlet's grandfather. Sargent peered askance through his slanted glasses. Hockeysticks rattled in the lumberroom: the hollow knock of a ball and calls from the field.
Across the page the symbols moved in grave morrice, in the mummery of their letters, wearing quaint caps of squares and cubes. Give hands, traverse, bow to partner: soL imps of fancy of the Moors. Gone too from the world, Averroes and Moses Maimonides, dark men in mien and movement, flashing in their mocking mirrors the obscure soul of the world, a darkness shining in brightness which brightness could not comprehend.
—Do you understand now? Can you work the second for yourself?
In long shady strokes Sargent copied the data. Waiting always for a word of help his hand moved faithfully the unsteady symbols, a faint hue of shame flickering behind his dull skin. Amor matris: subjective and objective genitive. With her weal blood and wheysour milk she had fed him and hid from sight of others his swaddling bands.
Like him was I, these sloping shoulders, this gracelessness. My childhood bends beside me. Too far for me to lay a hand there once or lightly. Mine is far and his secret as our eyes. Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark places of both our hearts: secrets, silent stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.
The sum was done.
—It is very simple, Stephen said as he stood up.
—Yes, sir. Thanks, Sargent answered.
He dried the page with a sheet of thin blotting paper and carried his copybook back to his desk.
—You had better get your stick and go out to the others, Stephen said as he followed towards the door the boy's graceless form.
In the corridor his name was heard, calling from the playfield.
—Run on, Stephen said, Mr Deasy is calling you,
He stood in the porch and watched the laggard hurry towards the scrappy field where sharp voices were in strife, They were sorted in teams and Mr Deasy came stepping over wisps of grass with gaitered feet. When he had reached the schoolhouse voices again contending called to him. He turned his angry white moustache.
—What is it now? he cried continually without listening.
—Cochrane and Halliday are on the same side, sir, Stephen cried.
—Will you wait in my study for a moment, Mr Deasy said, till I restore order here.
And as he stepped fussily back across the field his old man's voice cried sternly:
—What is the matter? What is it now?
Their sharp voices cried about him on all sides: their many forms closed round him, the garish sunshine bleaching the honey of his illdyed head.
Stale smoky air hung in the study with the smell of drab abraded leather of its chairs. As on the first day he bargained with me here. As it was in the beginning, is now. On the sideboard the tray of Stuart coins, base treasure of a bog: and ever shall be. And snug in their spooncase of purple plush, faded, the twelve apostles having preached to all the gentiles: world without end.
A hasty step over the stone porch and in the corridor. Blowing out his rare moustache Mr Deasy halted at the table.
—First, our little financial settlement, he said.
He brought out of his coat a pocketbook bound by a leather thong. It slapped open and he took from it two notes, one of joined halves, and laid them carefully on the table.
—Two, he said, strapping and stowing his pocketbook away.
And now his strongroom for the gold. Stephen's embarrassed hand moved over the shells heaped in the cold stone mortar: whelks and money, cowries and leopard shells: and this, whorled as an emir's turban, and this, the scallop of Saint James. An old pilgrim's hoard, dead treasure, hollow shells.
A sovereign fell, bright and new, on the soft pile of the tablecloth.