Episode 18

Molly is surprised that Bloom wants his breakfast in bed as this has not occurred since they lived at the City Arms Hotel. Her mind begins to race and she thinks about Mrs Riordan who impressed Bloom with her money but was really a prudish old bitch in spite of being well educated who spent her money on having masses said for the repose of her own soul.

She likes that Bloom is polite to women and waiters but when he gets sick he is hopeless like all men thinking he is dying like when he cut his toe paring his corns. He must have told her all those lies about the hotel because he was with another women but as he still had a good appetite it must have been only sex otherwise he would be mooning for her and not eating his food. He met with John Henry Menton who years ago had tried to impress her with his grand talk but she had no interest and saw him flirting with a young girl only a week after he was married and slinking away, guilty, when she saw him. Bloom covered up a letter he was writing when she went to show him Dignam’s death notice in the paper so there is certainly something going on although she does not really care so long as it is not under her own roof men at forty are so gullible. She will not tolerate a situation like with Mary that slut of a housekeeper and her lies about stealing the oysters and when she found the garters in her room that was the last straw she gave her notice preferring to do the cleaning herself except that the cooking and emptying out the dirt was too much and she was lazy telling whopping big lies and then having the audacity to sing around the house. The last time Bloom ejaculated on her bottom was the night that she flirted with Boylan and he must have known about today because he had enough sense not to come home. She enjoyed the change of partner it was boring always with the same person and maybe she would take up with a young boy and have fun making him blush. Bloom tried to make her fantasise about having sex with a Bishop or the German Emperor but he would not turn her into a whore and having to pretend to like it when she had no interest and had to satisfy herself afterwards anyway it was a relief to have a real sexual partner today and all the fuss about nothing and why all the tadoo about needing to marry someone anyway it is wonderful to be passionate and wild and enjoy a kiss that connects deep with your soul and why do you have to marry someone in order to enjoy sex with him and the ridiculous confession with the priest wanting to know all the details with suggestive and vague questions to avoid using real words like bottom so when he asked where he had touched her she naively told him about being on the canal bank confessing to God is one thing but why did this thick-necked priest with moist palms want to know such details although he was very upset when his father died but of course like all men they are lost without a woman. Boylan was a bit crude slapping her on the backside though she laughed it off and will she be in his dreams tonight and he said he bought the flower in his lapel but he had already had something sweet to drink like the liquors they drink at the Opera anyway he was exhausted afterwards and could hardly stay awake when they had the salty potted meat and port. Molly slept like a log afterwards until she was woken by the thunder and wondered if it was some kind of punishment and said a Hail Mary and if it was the end of the world what could you do except say a prayer Bloom of course thinks there is only gray matter nothing else. Boylan had an enormous erection like a big brute although his nose is not so big it stood up like a crowbar when she took off her clothes he must have eaten dozens of oysters driving it into her like a Stallion as though that is all they want women for and a concentrated look in his eye for all the size he did not have that much spunk and women having to take the brunt of all the suffering with childbirth and so irresponsible like Mina Purfoy’s husband keeping her pregnant all the time and surrounded by bawling children but supposing she did have another with Poldy’s semen though it could be fun and he seemed a bit excited probably because of Boylan and talking to Josie Breen for whom he used to have a soft spot even after he went with Molly he would still dance with her and so they had the huge row about politics and she couldn’t get the better of him and was furious with herself for starting to cry but he knows a lot about everything then acting cool until he gave her the book of poems by Lord Byron anyway there were many ways to tell if he took up with her again like his refusal to eat onions before he went out anyway she knows how to put him into a spin just by asking him to fix her blouse of course Josie would be only too glad to pick up with him but she would confront her straight out although she respected that Bloom did know how to hold back from being too emotional and when he wanted to propose in the kitchen with her hands full of floor she put him off because she felt she had revealed too much and Josie hugging her as a way of flirting with Bloom although you couldn’t blame her as he was very handsome in those days and after they got engaged when Molly was in fits of giggles Josie was jealous and stopped coming around after they were married.
And she looked haggard the last time Molly saw her exhausted from living with a dotty old husband going to bed wearing his boots and gone completely daft trying to get one thousand pounds because of a postcard somebody sent him at least Poldy takes off his hat and cleans his shoes coming into the house anyway she would rather die than marry another man and the things she has to put up with no wonder Mrs Maybrink poisoned her husband men could drive you to distraction and then always complaining about women you wonder why they ask you to marry them in the first place because they can’t manage without a woman plain and simple she poisoned him with white arsenic but no point in asking Bloom like everything he would say it is from the Greek and you’d be no wiser anyway she must have really been passionate about her lover to risk hanging. Boylan was attracted by the shape of her foot when they were taking tea at the DBC and wetting herself before she could pull down those ridiculous knickers Bloom bought for her so that she forgot her gloves and he wanted her to advertise in the lost property section of the Irish Times anyway she glanced back and saw Boylan looking at her feet and once in Lombard Street Bloom had taken off her stockings and another time her muddy boots and getting her to walk in horse’s dung on the street and the polite man in Lucan’s dairy watching her taste the butter and Barrel d’Arcy aroused after they sang Gounod’s Ave Maria even though he had a tinny voice and he used to carry on about low notes and how it was sacrilegious to be kissing in the choir stairs but what about it and one day she would take Bloom and show him the place he imagines he is the only one with racy ideas to do things wanting a bit of her knickers which of course he is obsessed with always watching the brazen hussies on bicycles and at the fete looking at the woman with her transparent muslin dress in the sun or the day she caught him all dressed up carrying a muffler of course men are allowed to chase anything in a skirt with no questions asked but women have to account for themselves and she took off her glove and he worried she might be cold just so he could touch her and she gave him the knickers off her doll which he put in his waistcoat pocket O Santa Maria he would stop at nothing threatening to kneel down in the wet in his new raincoat if she didn’t show him her petticoat absolutely wild for it and so she lifted her skirt and touched the outside of his trousers the way she had learned with Gardner when they were in public although she really wanted to know if he was circumcised and the great urgency so that there is no time for pleasure and she was late home to get her father’s dinner and working out lies together to deceive him and the embarrassed letter and a show of good manners but of course he wasn’t stupid and knew she was not offended by his carry on and pretending to be coy for appearances sake about something completely natural although written up on the wall like in Gibraltar where children can see is too much and the letters he sent her sometimes twice a day he knew how to court a woman and gave her eight poppies for her birthday and walking on air the night of that romantic kiss on her heart at Dolphins barn but he did not have Gardner’s firm embrace and she hopes that Boylan will keep his appointment on Monday at 4 o’clock rather than dropping by when not expected and you open the door not properly dressed or the door open to the kitchen when it is full of filthy slops like when Goodwin called unexpectedly and she had just cooked all the stew and was a mess but he was very polite but then she had nobody to answer the door for her and so she has to peep through the blind first and thinking that Boylan wasn’t coming because of the port and peaches arriving first and then his rapped knock on the door just as she was starting to yawn anyway the watch Boom gave her doesn’t work and she never knows the time and when the Dedalus's sisters were going home from school she hadn’t even put on her clean slip anyway just as well Bloom has to go to Ennis for his father’s anniversary while she is gone to Belfast with Boylan so that they were not all in the same hotel together because you could fool a husband but not a lover and some drama always unfolds when Bloom is travelling like when he ordered soup on the train to the Mallow Concert at Maryborough and because it was boiling hot making the train wait and refusing to pay until he had finished he is the most pigheaded man and the carriage door not opening deliberately so they would have gone on to Cork if he didn’t manage to open it with his pen knife she hopes that Boylan will have splashed out on first calls tickets for Belfast with lovely soft cushions and maybe they would have sex on the train although I suppose there will be no privacy with stupid men gaping at them but there was that considerate workman on the train to Howth who left them on their own anyway a few dark tunnels and she could find out a few things then of course you have to nonchalantly pretend you are gazing out the window perhaps she would elope with him and never come back a bit of scandal is good in show business the last concert at Clarendon Street having the best Irish ballads sung by little wisps of girls and she not invited because of her father being in the army although Bloom is pretty good at getting around things like he did the Stabat Mater pretending to the jesuits that he was putting ‘Lead Kindly Light’ to music and then going around with the ‘Sinner Fein’ talking about politics with that little man Griffith who is supposed to be so intelligent and the waste of fine young men like Lieutenant Gardner who died in the army and the farewell kiss when Gardner was hardly able to stand up and called her his Irish beauty why did they have to create a war that killed all the handsome young men with typhoid fever without even the chance to be shot like a hero and it was lovely watching the cavalry on parade in Gibraltar and the Prince of Wales with his lancers and Boylan’s father made his money selling horses to the army so he could buy her something special in Belfast as he has plenty maybe some linen if she could manage to take off her wedding ring and leave it at home but she doesn’t care what they all think but she is not sure yet how much he likes her with all the close scrutiny when he was lying on top of her better to try the way Mrs Mastiansky suggested with her husband from the back who would have thought a quiet man like that anyway Boylan has money with his expensive blue suit and a heavy watch and he was in a temper after losing twenty quid on the race and cursing Lenehan to blazes after the bad tip he gave him the same man being much too familiar with her in the carriage after that great dinner at Glencree when she wanted to lick her fingers and was tempted to take some of the expensive silver always having to flirt and grovel with men to get meals in restaurants or even a cup of tea as though you are fortunate to be noticed at all and if that is the way the world is then she is going to make sure she gets some lovely chemises but he is not interested in knickers and maybe she will wear none like the girls in Gibraltar and her silk stockings with ladders after wearing them only once she should bring them back and complain and she would like a corset as her belly is a bit fat from drinking stout with her dinner and anyway it arrives flat from O’Rourkes so she may as well stop and he only sent her a cheap cake at Christmas and some hogwash he couldn’t sell in the shop she would try some antifat but she might get too thin but she had nice violet garters Bloom bought with his last pay cheque and the skin lotion and she needed more and wondered if he remembered to get a new prescription made up otherwise she would have to wash in her own piss where the burn was on her finger is healing and her skin is lovely and only four handkerchiefs to her name it is such a handicap having no style in the world with scrimping and saving to buy food and pay the rent when she would like to not measure the tea but lash out on things even if she buys shoes the first thing he asks is the price with only three miserable outfits and having to patch and mend so that men don’t even look at you and women assume you have no man at all when you have to make the best of things up to thirty five then a woman’s beauty starts to wane only the exceptional one such as Mrs Langtry remained stunning until she is forty five and when the Prince of Wales wanted her he used an oyster knife to cut through the tin chastity belt he had put around her although you could not believe half the things all fiction like the woman having a child born out of her ear or drinking champagne out of her slipper and how could a child the size of the infant Jesus in the crib at Inchcore come out of any woman’s body and the Prince of Wales planting a tree in Gibraltar and no doubt planting plenty of the women as well Poldy ought to get a job in the bank counting money all day instead of the few shillings he earns at the Freeman and Molly feeling rotten in a dress Bloom wanted her to buy at the sales when he knows nothing about women suggesting a hat like a wedding cake and those insolent women in the rich shops and Poldy pigheaded wherever he goes and he likes her titties and sucks them to make them fatter a thing of beauty like the statues in the museums of course women are lovely in comparison to men with two sacks and the rest either hanging limp or standing up like a hat stand.he wanted her to be painted naked and that man in the trees flashing himself at her as she went by and those horrible smelly green outhouses for men which she squatted in once coming home late with Poldy. The large jawbreakers he uses when you want something explained and then he burns the kidneys when she had the full breasts with Milly he sucked them and tried to milk her into the tea he was like a big baby Molly needs a good stretch and would like Boylan there to tickle her again with his finger like when she came for five minutes and now she has to wait another four days until Monday the night train goes by and she thinks of the poor men shuffling coal in the stifling engine room instead of being home with their wives anyway she is glad she burned all those old papers Freeman’s and Photo bits belonging to Bloom today and that she took all those big old overcoats out of the hall although the rain was lovely and cooled everything down like in Gibraltar where the heat faded that lovely frock that Mrs Stanhope sent from Paris and she missed their teas with currant scones and raspberry wafers and she was years younger than her husband when they went to the bullfight at La Linea and she wore the stays so she wouldn’t be able to jump or run if one of the bulls began to charge in her direction the women were as bad cheering on the men and the poor horses being gored by the horns and cries of bravo anyway they are probably all dead now and her friend Hester who taught her how to make a knot in her hair and when she was frightened of the storm put her arms around her to feel safe and then the fun with pillow fights in the morning and the excitement of meeting his eyes and her skin all flushed like a rose and all the books that she read but that stupid book about Flanders a molly like her and she straightens her nightdress which has been bundled up by Bloom and it reminds her when her clothes would stick between the cheeks of her bottom in the heat and Mrs Stanhope and her husband went off and they never came back and when she kissed her goodbye in her beautiful blue shawl she started to cry and life was so dull after they left she planned to run away and all the guns booming for the Queens birthday and the drums rolling and her father and Captain Groves talking about battles and smoking their pipes and the old Jewish men with their long beards and their jelibees and the drunken old Gordon at Khartoum who was full of compliments for her and all the women and fond of his Bushmills whiskey but would still send her out of the room before he told a dirty story and the drink has well killed him by now and not a letter from anyone and sending bits of paper to herself in desperation and listening to the old one eyed Arab chanting and not even a nice fellow across the road like that medical student at Holles Street but men are hopeless and don’t pick up on the most blatant hint one wonders what is this great intelligence all below the waist and those country lads at the City Arms with less between the ears than the bulls and the cows and this morning Boylan’s letter and the card from Milly and Mrs Breen wrote wanting a recipe and Floey Dillon married to a wealthy architect and living in a villa and her father used to call her Miss Tweedy and when Nancy Blak Floey’s friend died of pneumonia and trying to spell nephew with two yous anyway hopefully Boylan will write her a love letter and she will write him a short reply in bed none of those long letters that Atty Dillon wrote and no wonder the fellow jilted her and she had told her to write something simple and straight forward and once your old then they may as well toss you out with the fire ashes. The first love letter was from Mulvey making an appointment and she read it all day and wanted to put the clock forward to make the time fly and he was the first to kiss her and put his tongue in her mouth and she made up a story about being engaged to Don Miguel de la Flora and he believed her and three years later she was married to ‘a flower that bloometh’ and he was from Cappaquin on the Blackwater and they climbed up into the caves and watched the sea and the sky and he felt the roundness of her breasts through her blouse and she wouldn’t let him touch her in case she had a child and she stroked him until he came in her handkerchief and then he blushed when she unbuttoned his trousers and held back the foreskin and even if they were married when he came back she promised faithfully they would get together anyway he is forty now and she was so exhilarated she blew up a paper bag from the biscuits and exploded it frightening all the pigeons and they pretended to read the Hebrew in the Jewish burial place and that old Bishop preaching from the altar about girls riding bicycles at least Bloom is a better name than ‘Ramsbottom’ her mother had such a beautiful name Lunita Loredo she should have given her a nicer name and he went off to India when men go off on those voyages where they might drown in a big storm they need to be embraced by a woman and watching his ship through Captain Rubios spyglass and she kept the handkerchief under her pillow and gave the Claddagh ring he gave her to Gardner before he went the Boers killed him with their war and fever her rendition of loves old sweet song will show up all those mawkish squealers who try and make themselves interesting by talking about politics how could they know the feeling of walking down the Alameda on the arm of an officer they know nothing about passion to enable them to sing a song even Gardner admired her smile and her mouth and he was not a bit snooty like many of the English and let them get a fine husband and daughter like her or a rich dandy like Boylan and as she goes through her songs she thinks she will change the lace on her dress to show off her bosom and fix the big black fan her twat itching when she thinks of Boylan and she can’t even fart in peace with Bloom sleeping beside her and it was probably the pork chop and she hopes the fumes from the light aren’t making soot in her nose but she only lights the gas lamp in winter like in Gibraltar when she was ten and the icy wind came across from the mountains in winter and she would race to the fire in a short shift to warm herself up and then race back into bed and maybe the fellow opposite could see so she turned out the light when she used the chamber pot anyway she is going to get no sleep but at least he didn’t wake her up but what do they talk about all night spending all their money on drink instead of drinking water and he wants his breakfast in bed eggs and toast with melted butter but she loves to hear the tray clattering up the stairs and the cat sitting on the landing looking into space a little robber who stole the plaice off the plate maybe she will get some fish for tomorrow no sure it is already Friday not those eels but some nice cod and she must stop herself buying enough for three still it would be nice to organize a picnic but not on a bank holiday with all and sundry out anyway she will not go boating after their experience at Bray with Bloom pretending he could row and the boat going in every direction at once and the water spilling into the boat and terrified not being able to swim and he saying to calm down and she would have liked to throttle him with his trousers down only they were being watched by Burke from the City Arms and that fellow with the long nose that hangs out with him and that book written by Mr de Cock he must have been given that as a nickname by some of the women and of course the salt air excited her and reminded her of Catalan Bay and all the fisherman’s baskets full of sardines and bream now all dead and gone probably and she does not like this big old barracks of a house very lonely since Milly left with his ideas for a musical academy or a private hotel and all the promises about a honeymoon in Venice he should get a medal for all the plans he invents. And what if a criminal came to the door after being locked up in prison or a madhouse not that Bloom is much use the night he went to check if there was a burglar in the kitchen with the poker and a candle and making a huge racket and sending Milly away to do photography like her grandfather of course he plots out every detail anyway she was becoming a handful coming into her room without knocking and breaking that little statue that Molly got fixed before Bloom found out and he helping her into her coat and explaining things out of the paper and flirting and whistling and riding Harry Devan’s bicycle at night and smoking cigarettes and telling Molly her blouse was too low and doing worse herself with her legs up on the windowsill so she could be seen from the street and going to the theatre and she fussing about her pleated skirt being crushed though she clapped at the end and then talked about the handsome Martin Harvey morning noon and night because it was a real love story like when Bloom’s father didn’t want to live after his wife died and then she wouldn’t let Molly kiss her goodbye when she was going after all the times she nursed her when she was sick and wanting to put her hair up and answering her back in public but Molly gave her a wallop across the ear when she wouldn’t fix the knives properly she was that exasperated it was the last time she turned on the waterworks but it is hard to manage without a proper servant and old Mrs Fleming just potters about and then Bloom bringing home Simon Dedalus’s son who won all the prizes and his father so particular with his tall hat at the cricket and Bloom climbing over the railing and taking him down to the dirty old kitchen just as well her old knickers were not on display and Mrs Fleming needing to stay home to look after her husband who is paralyzed and she will need to find another housekeeper anyway she will have peace stretched out in her grave and now blast it her monthly has arrived probably because of that big brute Boylan and now when he comes on Monday she will have this affliction and the night it caught her by surprise at the Gaiety and that man looking at her with his glasses and smiling through to the end and sitting in the soggy mess the blood is gushing out damn and blast it to hell anyway she is not pregnant for all of Boylan’s vigour and the bed jiggling so she put a quilt on the floor with the pillow to support her bottom maybe she will shave herself and be like a young girl and she sits on the chamber pot and is relieved of a full bladder. Maybe there is something wrong with her insides but she is not going back to that Dr Collins in Stephen’s Green being polite and vague why couldn’t he make himself clear anyway she wouldn’t trust him with chloroform although he looked intelligent when he put on his glasses to write the prescription Bloom wrote her great letters with quotes from erotic books and she was aroused several times every day when they first set eyes on each other they just stared for almost ten minutes and Bloom talking about home rule and the Land League and all sorts of things about religion and persecution and the first opportunity running into her bedroom and he tried to wash his hands with the gelatine still around the albion milk and sulpher soap until she almost made herself sick laughing at him all his strange habits breathing with his hand on his nose like that Indian god who has more worshippers than all the Jews and Catholics combined over in Asia she hopes the press doesn’t creak as she gets out some napkins still Bloom is sound asleep and that old bed reminds her of Cohen even though she told Bloom her father had bought it from Lord Napier and here it still is as bad as ever after sixteen years he was lucky he wasn’t put in prison with that lottery that was going to be their salvation. He will be lucky if they do not sack him from the Freeman with all his involvement with the Sin Fein politics and St George’s bells a fine hour for him to be coming home and wanting tea and toast buttered on both sides with an egg for breakfast anyway he’d never have the courage to go with Josie being a married woman with that scatty husband of course they were all dressed up for Paddy Dignam’s funeral nothing like a real officer’s funeral with muffled drums and a horse walking behind in black and that McCoy fellow at the funeral I noticed in the paper with that skinny little wife who is hopeless attempting to sing her songs and those men drinking all day well she is not going to let Bloom into their clutches not that she begrudges Paddy Dignam a good send off and hopes his widow has insurance with her five children to look after and Ben Dollard the night they dressed him in the tight trousers a perfect spectacle for the women in the front row and Simon Dedalas half drunk but with such a wonderful natural singing voice and his son a writer and going to be a Professor of Italian and Bloom showing him her photo the last time she saw him with his parents eleven years ago when she was in mourning and he came out in the cards this morning the seventh card a young stranger that she had met before and she dreamt something about poetry but she hopes he doesn’t have long greasy hair he must be more than twenty and he wouldn’t have been in the kitchen with Bloom if he was a snob the moon shining on the night boat from Tarifa with the guitar playing and it is unlikely she will ever go back there again and those fine young men swimming naked in Margate Strand naked like a God like that lovely little statue so you would like to suck it in your mouth it would be wonderful to have a handsome young poet in her life she will throw the cards again first thing in the morning and she will make him faint with desire and they will write about his lover and mistress in the papers not like Boylan slapping her on the behind no refinement and rather barefaced and vulgar anyway it is well for men all the pleasure they are able to get from a woman’s body and the corner boys making up bawdy stories about Uncle John and Auntie Mary and putting handles in brooms when it is only nature and husbands being jealous why can’t everybody be friends she is young and has desires and Bloom kissing her bottom when she wants a man to be romantic and kiss the feet of his senorita a woman needs to be embraced to stay young and maybe she would just go and pick up a sailor by the quays except maybe half of them wreaking with disease and he wouldn’t be sleeping so soundly beside her if he saw himself in the cards this morning as a perplexed man and he wants his breakfast in bed but if you give them too much attention they walk all over you the world would be better run by women who would not go about slaughtering one another and drinking and gambling every penny because women know when to stop and where would all these men be without their mothers to look after them and already with his mother gone neglecting his studies and not going home because of the rows when they should be happy to have such a fine son not like her when she buried him in the little lambswool jacket crying and she and Bloom never got over it she wonders why he wouldn’t stay the night they have no friends like when they came home late from the dances women are real bitches and he could have slept on the sofa and his name sounds foreign Dedalas like in Gibraltar and she remembers her Spanish and he could tell her the Italian and bring him his breakfast in bed as well and he could move into Milly’s room upstairs and he could read in bed in the morning if he wanted to and she would get herself some red Turkish slippers and a transparent dressing gown anyway she will give Bloom one more chance and get up early and go to the markets with all the fruit and vegetables and maybe come across a man who is hot for it she would love to bite into a juicy pear and she will give Bloom his eggs and tea humming to herself and start dressing herself and giving him a good view of everything so he gets excited and it is his fault if she is an adulteress with him only kissing her bottom she will shove it right in his face so he can put his tongue right up into her and then she will ask him for money and she knows so many ways to excite him but she has forgotten her monthlies and will have to wear her old drawers he will wonder where she has gone so early in the morning it is still a godforsaken hour and in China they would be waking up combing out their pigtails and she counts to try to get to sleep and turns down the lamp and she will get flowers in the morning and have music and cigarettes and fairy cakes with pink icing and a plant for the table she would love to have dozens of roses and my god nothing is as wonderful as nature with the wildness of the mountains and the sea and with all their learning they don’t know anything they should go and create something and he said the sun shone for her when sixteen years ago they lay among the rhododendrons and she fed him some chewed seedcake from her mouth and he said she was a flower like the flowers of the mountain and he asked her to say yes and she looked out over the sea and thought of all the people in Gibraltar when she was a girl and the sea the deep deep sea and she had a rose in her hair and she looked at him imploring him to ask again and she pulled him towards her so he could feel her breasts and she could feel his heart which was racing and she said she would YES.
Sydney 2004

Ulysses comprises 18 EPISODES June 16th 1904 Dublin