Episode 14

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To be erudite and ignorant with simultaneous ornament of high mindedness and which all circumstances being equal deserve veneration by reason of the factification of all the progress most solicitous and illuminated by a conscious apprehension of a reality bountiful beyond natural splendor and every citizen with some obligation towards excellence and the transmission of customs from honorable ancestors must most dutifully endeavor to eradicate the audacious circumstances which would make the function of procreation which is the basis of all mortal behavior the most exhaulted of all our acts.

The Celtic tribe honoured knowledge of medicine above all else. In spite of great tragedies and plagues the great medical families recorded the traditional methods for curing all maladies. The most noble manifestation of public health was in all aspects of childbirth with every woman whether poor or opulent being giving due care during the difficult trials of labour.

The wellbeing of the expectant mother was a chief concern of all worthy citizens. In this happy circumstance all praised and felt blessed and so cherished the mother in anticipation of her time to give birth. A most comfortable abode kept her safe from any form of molestation.

A gathering of midwives ensured that baby continued to be as blissfully content as it was when in the venerated womb. Everything conducive to the best human and divine circumstances was put in place. When it came close to the time for the birth the pregnant woman came to a bright and well built house with good sunlight, surgical implements and drugs.

At nightfall a man from the tribe of Israel stood by the door of this house. He had travelled far to complete his errand in this very place.
A. Horne is lord over the seventy beds where bairns come forth into the world. Blessed be to the lord and his blessed mother. All night sisters dressed in white walk sleepless to watch and calm the sick.

A watchful sister comes forth from a ward to unlock the gate and let enter the mild hearted man. She blesses herself with holy water and invites him into the house.

The traveller stood in the hall of Horne’s holding his hat and recalling that nine long years has passed since he had ventured here. It had been too long since he had seen her face and he bows low and issues compliments that made her skin glow with blushes.

The benevolent white sister expresses concern that he is dressed in mourning but he assures her all is well with his dear wife and daughter. He enquires if there are any tidings of Doctor O’Hare and she sadly tells him he had passed away, a tragedy for one so young, but who could question the will of God, and he had received the last rights before enjoying a peaceful death. Three years past the tragedy had unfolded when he had contracted a most horrible stomach virus in remote Mona Island. They commiserated with one another at the sad loss.

Let all men beware that naked we come into the earth and naked we depart and so must be warned that no power can hold back that inevitable day.

The sister relayed the terrible ordeal of Mina Purefoy who continued to labour for more than three long days. Bloom looked at her still young face and with kindness wondered if perhaps it was not time that she also moved towards that fruitful state of motherhood.

A door from the castle opened and many voices were heard and the young student Dixon came forth to salute the traveler who had most recently crossed his path needing salve of salt and chrism to heal a most dreadful wound inflicted by a winged dragon. Leopold hesitates to accept his call to partake of jovial hospitality and the white sister scolds the young intern, but he prevails, and Leopold weary of bone and in much need of rest joins them in the castle.

They go forth into the castle where a large plank of birchwood is held magically in place by four dwarf men. Swords of steel smelted in white fire have been set in bone handles and crystal blown from sand adorns the table covered with fish from Portugal and a mead brewed in wondrous fashion in the devil’s own kitchen. Dixon pours Leopold a draught and all present lift their glasses to toast the traveller. Bloom unbeknown to his neighbour adds the golden mead to his glass and is grateful to rest for a short time. The white sister comes forth to seek quiet and all hear the loud cries of a woman still in the throes of birth. Bloom converses with Lenehan his good colleague from the newspaper who suggests it cannot take much longer now. A very drunken student quaffs more and toasts the health of mother and baby and Leopold, a gentle and true knight, contemplates the anguish which is the lot of women.

The gathering included medical students and young Stephen Dedalus who even though the most drunk demanded yet more of the golden mead. The party awaited the arrival of Malachi Mulligan. Leopold bound by a duty of friendship to Simon will look out for the wellbeing of the son of Simon. The witty gathering of scholars each puts forth a theory about who has the greater right to life, the mother or the child, when God had ordained that the woman bring forth in pain. They pray to the Virgin Mother for the rights of the mother and Lenehan fills their glasses to help the good humour of all present. Stephen ponders deep about limbo and purgatory and the impossibility of humble creatures being able to comprehend the larger designs of nature. Punch Costello in drunken abandon wants no more than to unleash his lust with any maid or wife. A bawdy rendition of Malachi Mulligan’s version of the unicorn who comes once in a thousand years is presented by Crotthers and Alba Longa. Leopold and Stephen are rendered quiet amongst the jocular company by some untoward regard for womankind.

Stephen even at risk of excommunication brings forth ideas about the complex nature of potency and expounds that the holy church concerned itself not with the earthly mother but the human soul that was deemed to come into being on the second month of pregnancy. The bachelors present turn to Leopold to enquire of his opinion and he, loath to offend any that are present, circumvents the question by deliberating between the medical skill of laymen and the power of life and death invested in the church. Leopold is still unnerved by the terrifying shrieks drifting downstairs and thinks of his good wife Marion who bore a son whom none could save from a short life of only eleven days. Broken hearted the mother had knitted her dead baby a shroud of lambs wool to keep him warm in the middle of winter. Leopold now without his own son and heir looks towards young Stephen and grieves for the squandering of his talent amongst the wastrels present. Stephen fills the glasses of all present and drinks a toast to the vicar of Bray. At table with bread and wine Stephen shows all, not forty pieces of silver, but two pounds and nineteen shillings. He asks all present to contemplate eternity in the light of time as but a transient thing within the cycles of nature. In woman’s womb the word becomes flesh but the word of the spirit does not pass away. Perhaps there will be a second Eve who will be a venerable and mighty mother. We all are connected back through the eons to the first woman who sold out the human race for a penny apple. Our destiny is one without substance linked to Joseph and the fruit of the immaculate conception. Punch Costello breaks in with a loud bawdy song. Nurse Quigly comes and scolds their insensitive and lewd behaviour whereupon all call out a litany of names to silence the offending party. Bloom upholds that quiet is necessary in the sacred house of Horne. Stephen, challenged by Master Dixon, lists his version of monastic vows including chastity in the tomb and declares himself an eternal son ever virgin in response to remarks by Master Lenehan. A full description of the deflowering of spouses in Madagascar unleashes more outrageous fun and the delicate poetry of Fletcher and Beaumont becomes a bawdy rendition being more appropriately written by ‘Beau Mount’ and ‘Letcher’. The quotes of Zarathustra are also mischievously maligned and the Professor of French at Oxford is juxtaposed into providing french letters for oxtails.

The voice of God is heard chastising Ireland for allowing strangers to undertake fornication in his sight and other abominable behaviour so that the sun and moon produce but a bitter milk. The Orient and Egypt too must link in some multicultural concordance, which through a process of metamorphosis will reconnect with nature. The aged sisters contain this knowledge. Punch Costello says such knowledge is contained in a pea which will make a pretty penny for whoever can find it in the crystal mansion of wisdom.

A loud clap of thunder is heard and a storm stirs in the heavens. Master Lynch chides Stephen that he has brought forth the wrath of God Almighty with his pagan ideas. Stephen trembles in his heart and turns deathly pale as the storm moves closer, they all mock and jeer him. He drinks to rally courage but the thunder only rumbles louder and Master Bloom speaks to calm the braggart saying it is but a natural phenomena and the rain now falling will soon clear the sky.

A bitterness in Stephen’s heart will not be cured with words alone. The holiness from his youth did not meld easily with an understanding of natural phenomenon that only confirmed that he also one day must die. The Land of Promise that offers so much can only be reached by a pious and chaste land and a woman has tempted him into a world of carnal knowledge.

All there present in the house of mothers risk the promised land by lusting after a bird in the hand. They are protected from the monstrous venereal scourge by a little shield but there was no escaping that this contraption violates God’s instructions that they should go forth and multiply.

Paddy Dignam was laid in clay parched like all the countryside with the vegetation gone brown without water and in danger of catching fire. The evening however had brought large clouds from the west and a great rain followed the thunder and lightning. Baggott Street is awash and every soul has run for shelter. In the doorway of Justice Fitzgibbon’s chambers Mallachi Mulligan bumps into the medical student Alec Bannon on his way home from Mullingar who tells him of a skittish young woman he had found there. They decide to join the others at Horne’s Hospital where Mrs Puefoy is still struggling to deliver her ninth child. A fifty year old Methodist husband takes his boys fishing off Bullock harbour. All is refreshed from the downpour which Malachi Mulligan interprets from the almanac. Lenehan tries to find Deasy’s letter in his copy of the Freeman to show Stephen. This gentleman writes about sport and is not adverse to frequenting disreputable taverns and coffee houses with all manner of rogues. He is however quick witted and always manages to talk himself out of tricky situations. Deasy’s letter he tells Frank Costello is to help prevent Kerry cows being slaughtered because of the plague. A connoisseur of good food and wine he partakes of some salty fish and breaks into his excellent French. A vagabond in spite of the best efforts of his father he leads a life of lucky escapes and always returning home with empty pockets. Bloom is concerned that all the cattle will be slaughtered and having worked for Mr Cuffe who traded in livestock he appreciates the extent of the problem. Stephen assures him that the intervention of Doctor Rinderpest will alleviate the need for such drastic action. Irish bulls are a force to be reckoned with being that they are descended from farmer Nicholas who wore an emerald nose ring. A repartee about bulls eyes, women leaving the hearth to give chase, gelded balls and eunuchs follows with one witticism topping another. Lord Harry, appropriating the good life of the bull besotted all the women by memorizing the first personal pronoun and writing it in large letters on every rock, table and roll of fabric.
The other poor fellows desperate for lack of female attention built themselves a raft and set sail for America.

Mr Malachi Mulligan arrives just in time with an excellent proposal for fertilization and incubation of the women of Ireland. He plans to devote himself full time to such a noble task and his concerns about the causes of sterility. He will prevent the wanton waste of fertile females sacrificed to one wastrel. The farm called Omphalos will be located on Lombay Island where he will feed himself on fish and hot chillies and be ready to serve any woman to fulfill her natural purpose be she lady or kitchen maid. He substantiates his grand scheme with quotes from Latin and examples from nature. Mr Mulligan salutes Bloom a stranger in their midst who tells him he has come about a poor woman still in labour. Mr Dixon encourages Mulligan to elaborate on the medical possibilities of a male womb and his mimic of Mrs Grogan brings howls of laughter. One of the students with a most refined gesture offers a drink to Alec Bannon who has arrived with Mulligan and he assents with a bow of his head. He then eulogizes in a most polite manner about his gratitude for such hospitality. He takes from his bosom a locket of the young maiden in Mullingar in a most fetching cap given her for her birthday and declares his willingness to surrender completely to such charms before kissing the locket and returning it close to his heart. The only blemish to such a perfect meeting was that he forgot to bring his ‘cloak’ and tomorrow he will ensure that the purchase of neat fitting french cloaks will provide protection from the heaviest showers. A warning is given to him on good authority that in ‘Cape Horn’ a shower of sufficient violence will break through any cloak. Monsieur Lynch suggests an alternative contraceptive device, an umbrella, as a far more secure enterprise and better value and he elaborates on the opinion of his dear Kitty but is interrupted by a bell. Miss Callan enters to have a quiet word with Mr. Dixon and everyone is momentarily on their best behaviour, however, many ribald comments follow her exit.

Kitty has provided many stories about the carry on and bedside manner in such establishments with nuns being tickled under the chin. Dixon excuses himself to attend to a brave woman who has just given birth to a bouncing boy and pleads that due reverence be allotted to the women who come to the house of Horne. Frank Costello tries to excuse himself from the rebuke and that indeed his upbringing encouraged him to honour his father and his mother.

Bloom makes allowances for the exuberance of youth but finds Mr Costello offensive and he seems to be proof that man has made no progress on the evolutionary chain. He regarded misogyny as the lowest form of wit but is much relieved that Mrs Purfoy has duly completed her ordeal and given birth to a new human life. He thinks only the coldest heart would fail to be touched by such a great outcome at the end of so much pain.
The others however refuse to join in such sentimentality and are astounded that an aged husband could manage to get her to produce yet another child and that maybe some travelling salesmen was responsible. Bloom looks at these louts who will soon be respectable men of the world. He excuses them on the basis that such mayhem may help them to blow off steam. Piety is perhaps no fitting attitude for someone that is allowed into this inner sanctum and he is beholden to show gratitude. In deluding others he has only succeeded in duping himself. Neither is it in his interest to interfere with or comment on any dimensions of virtue, in the bedchamber of the daughter of the gallant Major Tweedy. The poor woman must have been nothing less than desperate with his philandering with servants and experiments with flagellation. He had left a fertile woman unattended for too long and he has many secrets best left undisclosed and all reflect neglect of an exotic species transplanted to a temperate climate. The news of the birth of a baby boy brings loud cheers from all and Bloom’s efforts to bring order are drowned out in the noise as all manner of medical wonders and deformities are bandied around in an irreverent manner. Details of obstetrics and forensic medicine are interwoven with folklore and old wives tales.
Theories about memories of being in the mother’s womb are followed by the relaying of myths such as the one about the Minotaur which seems to verify that woman copulated with brutes and Mulligan facetiously argues that none could surpass a nice old man as an object of desire. Madden and Lynch require an intermediary in a heated argument about the correctness of separating Siamese twins and Stephen solemnly declares that what God hath joined no man should pull asunder. Malachi Mulligan tells a horror story and as Haines appears from the black chimney their blood freezes in mortal terror. The fiend holds a portfolio of literature in Irish and a phial of poison. He shows no repentance for the murder of Samuel Childs and blames history for everything. He had mastered a thick brogue and could only escape hell on earth with drugs and then with a cry he vanishes from whence he came only to reappear at the door with instructions for Malachi to meet him at Westland Row Station. Whereupon Malachi quotes verbatim from Stephen’s telegram which condemns the sentimentalist as one who enjoys without being responsible for his behaviour. Malachi, overcome with emotion, stops, a series of mad ideas get tossed together to explain the drama. The soul of man is not restricted in time and Molly has liberated herself and grown young again. Instead of merely reminiscing about old times, Bloom is transported back to being a vibrant young lad as he treks to school then moves onto his first job returning home to his father to be guided in his first experiences as a travelling salesman. Time flashes by and he now himself is a father surrounded by young men who could be his sons. Perhaps there are sons that he has begotten without even knowing but it is a vain hope for his loins have not produced a son.

The silence of eternity wafts through infinite space and generations from time immemorial. Sad phantoms fly over the wasteland towards the dead sea and through the miracle of metempsychosis Martha and Millicent arise queen-like dressed in gossamer and gold which floats in swirls of colour, creating mysterious symbols until it forms a bright red sign upon the forehead of Taurus. Stephen and Francis were at Belvedere College during Father Conmee’s time but prompted to remember phantoms from the past Stephen already imagines he has far surpassed those he might call back into life. Vincent hopes Stephen will succeed in his goal as bard and when Lenehan mentions his mother, he is again devastated by the raw pain of her loss such that it is apparent to all present. The noisy talk about gambling losses incurred on the Gold Cup helps to soften the deeper hurt felt by Stephen. Lenehan sings the praises of W. Lane who rode Throwaway to victory along with many others. Lenehan is want to still praise Sceptre but Vincent wants to talk of another filly and an afternoon spent under an Oak tree and that they were blessed by Father Conmee as they wondered back onto the road.

They see that Bloom is deep in thought and Stephen contemplates the principles of incarnation as put forth by Theosophos. Bloom is not mesmerized in some altered state, rather he is intently gazing at the scarlet label on a bottle of Bass stout until their eyes meet and he endeavors to pour some beer into a glass. A debate of encyclopedic proportions is underway between all those assembled in the house of Horne. Stephen takes refuge from metaphysical torments in the friendly discussion whilst Bloom in spite of the drama of the day holds in his heart the image of loveliness which is Molly. Science challenges the transcendental and deals with tangible phenomena. Bloom wants to know if science can determine the sex of a child and many theories are expounded about sperm and the position during copulation. A discussion follows on infant mortality with Mulligan blaming sanitary conditions. He advocates that all pregnant women be placed in an idyllic setting surrounded by music and art. Even allowing for physical labour and acts of violence, evidence suggested that infanticide was still occurring, but taking everything into account it was amazing that so many children did in fact survive at all.

Lynch postulates that all of nature is one vast mathematical equation linking births and deaths with the flowers and the sun. All factors being equal it is a mystery why one child will succumb and another thrive. The protective organisms that take up residence in the uterine plasma, a substance that science has deemed immortal, seem to be disappearing at an earlier age. Nature appears to have its own laws about the survival of the fittest. Stephen elaborates on the less fit, such as emaciated young mothers and jaundiced politicians, finding relief in a simple repast of embryonic plasma most easily available from a young calf at the abattoir. Mr Bloom in moderate tones states the inevitable fact that once the cat has got into the bag - a euphemism surely for the complications of sexual congress - there is no alternative but for it to come out again. Mrs Purfoy rests content with her baby and breathes a silent prayer to a Universal Husband after her manly fight through the trials of a long labour. She awaits the arrival of her slightly stooped older husband to share her joy and welcome Mortimer Edward as the youngest in their large family.
Memories of sins committed will come back to haunt us when we least expect such as towards midnight when one is filled with wine.
The stranger studies the calm face of the embittered speaker. Something in the expression evokes an image from long ago of a little five year old boy standing on an urn in a lilac garden with a fountain being mesmerized by a circle of girls and an exotic dark skinned woman with earrings made from a little clump of cherries. The frown on the boy’s forehead is alleviated by the reassurance of his mother watching in the distance.

The end comes unexpectedly. Calm falls on the gathering that held vigil for a nativity scene as in Bethlehem long ago. The disturbance caused by the storm of thundering and lightening earlier in the night was as of naught in comparison to the response to the pronouncement of one Word. Burke’s! Stephen cried and everyone grabbed their gear in unison and charged down the hall through the open door. Dixon caught off guard swears and races to catch up as they all leg it towards the corner of Denzille and Holles street. Bloom stays to have a quiet word with the nurse and wonders when it will be her turn to bear a child.

The streets glisten from the rain and the air is alive and fresh following the downpour. The vigour of the night stirs Bloom to admire the virility of Theodore Purefoy and his great tribe of offspring. Go forth and multiply! Mrs Purefoy had her trials but this was outweighed by the bundles of joy over twenty years and far better than a sterile existence. Life is abundant and must be embraced and enjoyed like the richness of mother’s milk.

They holler to one another and spur each other on to get to Burke’s before last drinks. They fall into step and quick march the last few hundred yards and then crash the door like a front row at Lawnsdowne Road.

Stephen is on the ropes and with too much mead he is more than punch drunk. Calls for orders. Ginger Cordial. Absinthe. Mulligan keeps an eye on the time. Bloom was sleeping in the garden when stung by the bumblebee. Bawdy medical comments and tally ho between the Jesuit educated Stephen and Mulligan as they try to establish which one is leading the other astray. They hand around the barley brew and make drunken toasts. The comments become more maudlin with references to Milly, Sara and Molly. The cross banter degenerates into total incoherence. Lenenhan is still smarting from the loss on the Gold Cup. Some take their leave and are teased unmercifully for returning home to Mammy. Another round of Absinthe is ordered for everyone on closing time. Bannon twigs that Bloom is the Father of Milly in Mullingar. Time and down the hatch. Health all.
Bloom finds out a little more about Macintosh who is rather a forlorn character and spares a thought for Paddy Dignam. Time. They get out before the police arrive and some head for Mount Street. Lynch and Stephen cut out at Denzille lane for the bawdyhouse. A whisper about Bloom dressed in mourning is hushed up and words of hell and damnation introduces a discussion about Elijah who is scheduled to talk at Merrion Hall. Elijah is coming sparks a volley of more appropriate names from the drunken louts who start yelling at one another to come on in blasphemous parody. Evangelism is big business but, as someone quips, diddling the Almighty God might be a different kettle of fish.

Ulysses comprises 18 EPISODES June 16th 1904 Dublin