Episode 7

Nelson’s Pillar in O Connell Street is the hub of the tram system. The names of the Dublin suburbs are shouted out like clock-work as each outward journey begins. Sacks of letters also leave from the General Post Office for far away destinations and for local delivery. Barrels roll out from the brewery store in Prince’s street and are lifted onto a float for transport along the canal.

Bloom watches Red Murray cut from the Freeman’s Journal an advertisement for Alexander Keyes that he will take around to the Telegraph office. The proprietor Brayden arrives carrying an umbrella and they follow his imposing figure as he climbs the stairs. Bloom considers Red Murray’s comment that he looks like Our Saviour and remembering Simon Dedalus’s comment about his fat neck suggests perhaps he is more like Mario the singer. A telegram boy drops in an envelope and Bloom thinks that he also is one of our saviours. However the important question is can he ensure a healthy circulation? Bloom steps over packing paper and he ventures towards Nannetti the foreman’s office amidst the thumping sound of the printing presses. Hynes hands over some copy about Dignam’s funeral. The powerful printing machines ferociously thumb away and would crush completely anybody that got too close. The bald foreman keeps the machines in order. Bloom tells Hynes that the cashier is just going to lunch hoping it will act as a subtle hint for him to pay back the money he lent him three weeks earlier. He tries to explain to Nanetti over the noise of the machines that Keyes wants the image of two keys to be inserted into his advertisement. He tries to yell within the rhythm of the clanking noise as he watches the paper being fed off rollers and uses his hands to show two keys crossing over each other. Bloom will bring a prototype for the design from a Kilkenny paper. The typesetters sit at their cases working silently in the midst of multiple noises. The foreman tells Bloom to get a three-month renewal from Keyes. Bloom walking through the case room watches a typesetter read backwards like his father reading his hagadah book. Bloom does a confused ramble about the Jews from the land of Egypt, the story of Jacob’s sons and butchers and dogs and concludes that justice boils down to everyone eating everyone else. Outside on the landing he decides to make a phone call before he traipses all the way over to Keyes. He is glad to be away from the greasy smell and when he takes out his handkerchief it smells of lemon from the soap. He thinks of Molly and with grit and determination stops himself being tempted to go home. He is distracted by laughter from the Evening News office and as he enters recognizes Ned Lambert who has taken the day off work. The funeral party have gathered and are unmerciful in their ridicule of Mr Dawson’s speech in the paper. McHugh the deputy editor reads some more of the grandiose words suggesting they are a recently discovered fragment of Cicero’s and as Bloom arrives at the door he overhears a phrase about land and naively asks ‘whose’ land which fuels further satire on the political ambitions of Mr Dawson. J.J. O’ Molly enters flushed and flustered and is anxious to speak to the editor in private. Bloom thinks it is a shame that this brilliant barrister is almost a wreck from coping with gambling debts. Ned Lambert continues to read Dawson’s pontificating drivel and jokes abound about Dawson the baker going down like hot cakes so much so that Simon Dedalus is groaning for mercy. Unfortunately the reality is that people do buy this eloquent nonsense especially when it is linked to grand functions with good food. The editor Myles Crawford and Ned Lambert, both Cork men like Simon Dedalus, come out of his office. Bloom asks if he can make a phone call. The Cork men decide to go for a drink. J.J. Molloy tries to waylay Myles Crawford for a quick chat as the phone rings out the digits dialed by Bloom. Lenehan comes from the sports office with a tip for the Gold Cup. The newsboys scream outside and when one gets pushed through the door he is grabbed playfully by McHugh. They are eager for the racing special. Bloom ascertains that Keyes is attending an auction and plans to catch him at Dillon’s auction rooms. McHugh admires Bloom’s determination to get the advertisement and they all watch from the window as the newsboys on the street mimic Bloom’s walk. Lenehan does his own version, an even better caricature, across the floor. Myles Crawford prepares to join the other Cork men at the public house and when he staggers slightly on his way to lock his desk drawer McHugh whispers that the editor is already pretty inebriated.

J.J. Molloy offers McHugh and Lenehan a cigarette. Myles Crawford, donning a straw hat, returns, takes a cigarette and makes a few provocative tally ho remarks to McHugh about the Roman Empire. This stirs McHugh into a passionate tirade against the Roman Empire and he suggests that for all the grand words their civilization amounted to no more than an obsession with toilets which they installed all around the world. J.J. Molly interjects a point in favor of their legal system but McHugh dismisses Roman law as having Pontius Pilate as it’s Prophet. O’ Madden Burke and Stephen Dedalus arrive and Myles Crawford the editor makes Stephen welcome telling him his father has just left. Lenehan amuses them with a riddle and Stephen hands over Mr Garrett Deasy’s letter about the foot and mouth cattle disease. Stephen is careful to explain the letter is not from him. Myles Crawford who knows Deasy derides his wife as cranky and bitter. He quickly runs his eye over the letter. Stephen thinks of Deasy’s comments about women bringing sin into the world. McHugh continues about loyalty to lost causes and derides himself for speaking the tongue of a race based on the maxim ‘time is money’. He dismisses materialism as an aberration of all that is fine in humankind and a hollow success that does not inspire any genuine allegiance between people. He argues that spirituality is with the Greeks and their great intellect and that the spirit of Ireland will never succumb to a colonial force who amount to no more than builders of toilets. Mc Hugh eulogizes about Pyrrhus’s final battle to save Greece. The only worthwhile fights are the ones for lost causes. Myles confirms he will print Deasy’s letter and Lenehan has another lively bash at telling his riddle. McHugh teases Stephen and O’Madden about their ties which are loosely knotted as is the fashion in Paris. The editor recognizes Stephen’s potential and wants him to write something of substance and tries to inspire him by recalling a major coup by Ignatius Gallagher when he worked out a secret code during the time of the invincibles. An interruption to take a call from Bloom is met with an expletive and he continues to recall a golden era. J.J. Molloy adds a story about Seymour Bushe whom he eloquently quotes comparing Roman justice with the more ancient Mosaic code. Stephen seduced by the beauty of the language blushes and takes a cigarette when addressed directly by J.J. Molloy. He goes on to quiz Stephen about his views on the poet A.E. who had spoken to an American journalist about Stephen visiting him in the middle of the night seeking answers about mysticism. Stephen, even though dying of curiosity to know what was said, stops himself from asking the details. McHugh takes the floor to say that a speech by John F. Taylor was the best he had ever heard and he braces himself to repeat it to the gathering present. The speech portrays the strength of Moses not to bow to Egypt or to be daunted by the grandness of the civilization. He seeks divine guidance at the summit of Mount Sinai and brings the chosen people out of bondage. All those great words relate to people now dead. Stephen opts for the living. He has money in his pocket and so suggests they adjourn to the public house and O’ Madden Burke readily agrees. The editor slaps Stephen on the back as he goes towards his inner office and says he is just like his father Simon. J.J. Molloy follows the editor into his office closing the door for a private conversation. Stephen walking with McHugh tells the parable of two old women climbing Nelson’s Pillar. He makes up the creative and funny story as he walks along. The women eat brawn and this makes them thirsty. They have massaged their lumbago with holy water given them by a Passionist father. They are frightened the pillar might collapse and exhausted from the climb they sit down at the railings drooling plum juice and spitting the stones over the edge as they locate the domes of the different churches. Myles Crawford recognizes the analogy with Moses climbing Mount Sinai and surveying the Promised Land. Bloom races up to catch Myles Crawford and get confirmation on some editorial to accompany the Keyes advertisement. He notices Stephen in the distance and that he is wearing a good pair of boots. Myles Crawford cannot lend Molloy the money he needs to borrow and they catch up with the others. They listen in on Stephen’s story and when it gets a little racy about the women being titillated by a sexual interpretation of Nelson on his high pillar Myles jokes with him to be careful as he is in the archdiocese. They cross the tramlines on O’Connell Street with all the trolleys banked up waiting to depart to the many Dublin suburbs. Stephen names his story the Parable of the Plums and even J.J. Molloy stops to squint upwards at Nelson’s Pillar and joins in the bawdy laughter.

Ulysses comprises 18 EPISODES June 16th 1904 Dublin