Episode 8

A Christian Brother buys some sweets. Bloom is handed a flyer about the coming of Elijah, he views this as another money making racket, like selling a luminous Crucifix. He remembers the codfish light up when he went to get raisins for a pregnant Molly in the middle of the night. Bloom notices that Simon Dedalus’s daughter is undernourished and is still waiting for her father outside the Auction House. Bloom thinks how ridiculous trying to feed fifteen children and the priests responsible for such a situation with no one to feed only themselves. The brewery barge goes by and Bloom imagines rats drinking the porter. He throws the Elijah flyer towards some gulls in the Liffey but they are not interested and he buys a few cakes and feeds them. It seems logical to Bloom that saltwater fish should taste salty. Bloom notices an advertisement on a rowboat and thinks of other clever places for advertising products including a cure for venereal disease in public toilets and briefly panics that Boylan might give Molly a dose of the clap. He distracts himself from such thoughts by pondering the definition for parallax and immediately is back thinking of Molly again and her clever use of words. Five men walk by wearing sandwich boards spelling a stationery supplier and one of them is munching bread. Smart girls would be much more effective but Hely the owner is too obstinate to listen to other people’s ideas and Bloom is glad he no longer works for him. He did not like that the job entailed collecting money from the nuns. Bloom notices for the first time that the races are on today. Bloom worked at Hely’s when he first married and the memories come pouring back of happy and fun times with Molly such as concerts and late suppers and the tenor Bartell d’Arcy. Mrs Breen a friend from old times comes by and greets Bloom. She is tormented with a dotty husband and confides her trouble with him wanting to take libel action in relation to a postcard.

A waft of bread from Harrison’s bakery makes Bloom hungry and he notices flakes of pastry on a rather unkempt Mrs Breen. They discuss Mina Purefoy who has been in labour for three days at Holles Street hospital. under the care of Dr Horne. Bloom guides her away from being bumped by the wayward Cashel Boyle O’Conner Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell, and, as she runs off to rescue her husband, she sends her best regards to Molly. He watches them head in the direction of Menton the solicitor.

Bloom passes the Irish Times and decides not to check if there are other replies to his advertisement for smart lady typist as he already had forty four replies. He recaps lines from Martha’s letter. He is dismissive of the rather pretentious reply from Lizzy Twigg because of her association with the poet A.E. and he imagines her with unkempt hair. Bloom loves the announcements in the Irish Times about the gentry and the hunt and is entranced by the confidence and brazen habits of the women. He contrasts this with poor women like Mina Purefoy who have a child every year. Bloom stands at Fleet street to reflect on whether he will go to the library or eat lunch. He is glad that Molly had an easy labour. Bloom works out a plan to give new babies a financial grant which would mature over twenty years. He walks past Parliament House and the Police Station at College Green and Tommy Moore’s sculpture above a urinal. Women unlike men have no public conveniences and must run into a cake shop. Bloom almost got nabbed by a policeman when he was hanging out with medical students. One of them, Dixon, is now at Holles Street where Mina Purfoy is in confinement. Everyone gets implicated in the political movement and the secret service so that you never know whom your secret is safe with, although James Stephens had a good idea to only confide in a maximum of ten people at any one time. Often being totally open rather than subversive is the most effective way to avoid detection. A leader needs charisma, like Parnell, and a good feed, served by attractive daughters, is probably the best method for attracting recruits. Bloom is still amused by the distortion of the metaphor used in terms of the nationalist movement which has the new dawn rising in the northwest. A cloud covers over the sun and Bloom thinks about how transient life is and that few things last except maybe the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. He feels dejected and listless and his thoughts turn to food. He notices Parnell’s brother as the sun comes back out and thinks about his cushy job with the Council. Perhaps Simon Dedalus is right and Parnell will continue to guide things from the grave. The poet A.E. passes by, and when Bloom notices that the woman absorbed in listening to him has loose stockings he is not impressed nor does he approve of their vegetarian diet with steaks made from nuts to pretend you are eating meat. He found such a diet too salty. Perhaps poets do require different food from a burly policeman and maybe this effects the brain waves. Bloom looks at the field glasses in Yeates’s window and decides he can probably get a pair in the railway lost property office as people forget so many things. Looking to spot the little watch used to check binoculars he experiments with blocking out the sun with his finger and remembers there will be an eclipse in a few months. Bloom would like to know more about Dunsink time and Greenwich time. He would like to have a discussion with Professor Joly and learn more about the transition between gas and solids and the cold in outer space and the moon. Molly had said there must be a new moon and Bloom tries to stop remembering the last full moon when, as Molly was humming, she and Boylan touched fingers. Bloom spots Bob Doran on a bender and wonders about the dutch courage alcohol generates for approaching women or to broach a difficult subject. Bloom reflects that things changed with himself and Molly after little Rudy died. Bloom gets absorbed in the fabrics and fashions of Grafton Street and contemplates buying a present for Molly. He knows that it is useless to go back to Eccles Street and that one cannot stop the inevitable. Bloom pushes into Burton’s restaurant but he just cannot cope with the smells and the men devouring all before them. He leaves thinking of soup kitchens and feeding the multitudes. Butchers and slaughter are on his mind as he enters Davy Byrnes and he decides on a glass of burgundy and a cheese sandwich with mustard and olives.

He looks at the cans of fish and thinks how idiotic to place an advertisement for potted meat under the obituary column. Cannibals would eat Dignam’s potted meat with rice and lemon without any qualms. He thinks about the hygiene concept underpinning a Kosher kitchen and that fasting for Yom Kipper is very cleansing for the insides. Food and religion seem to go together with turkeys and geese being slaughtered for Christmas. Imagine war or peace being influenced by how some fellow digests his dinner.

Nosey Flynn intrudes with questions about Molly and mentions Blazes Boylan organizing the tour, which puts Bloom’s heart in his mouth and he checks the clock and knows the time is getting close for Boylan’s visit to Molly. Nosey Fynn is impressed with Boylan’s enterprise in setting up a rumor to control the betting odds and so make a hefty killing on a recent boxing match. He discusses with Davy Byrne a winner for the Gold Cup and Bloom thinks better of telling him the tip from Lenehan the sports writer at the Freeman. Bloom is enjoying the wine and notices that he can savor it better because he is not thirsty. He thinks he will eat properly around six o’clock and by then the inevitable will have happened between Molly and Boylan. He contemplates all the cans of fish on the shelves and how food like snails and oysters come out of a shell and how some people like tainted game or the Chinese eat eggs which are fifty years old. White hatted chefs cook geese which have been forced fed and boil lobsters alive and then serve it all with fancy names. Micky Hanlon of Moore street has made a fortune from selling fish and yet he can’t write his own name.

He allows the wine to linger on his palate and the sensual experience of touch takes him back to Howth Head and his first kiss with Molly. The curves of the oak bar suggest to him other curves and the immortal and lovely Greek goddesses who eat electric light. He has never checked to see if these statues do have a rectal orifice and plans to have a discreet look when he visits the Gallery later in the day. When Bloom goes off to the toilet Davy Byrne and Nosey Flynn gossip about him and there are innuendoes that he belongs to some secret scam linked to the freemasons. Bantom Lyons comes in with two others and tells them he is going to put five bob on a tip from Bloom whom he notices leaving the pub. A dog vomits but Bloom feels better and hums Don Giovanni in his head as he goes towards the library to get the Keyes advertisement from the Kilkenny People. The dividend for him will be excellent and he can buy Molly a silk petticoat but he must not think about that today. He helps a blind man to South Frederick Street. He spots Sir Frederick Falkiner going into the Freemasons and thinks about the quality of the wine he will have enjoyed for lunch. Posters announce that there is a fund raising bazaar for Mercer’s hospital on in the afternoon. A glimpse of a straw hat and he darts towards the Museum gate in total panic that he might be seen by Blazes Boylan.

Ulysses comprises 18 EPISODES June 16th 1904 Dublin