Hay. Just passing the time. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing to see here, move along. I just heard a little news from my friend there, just passing by on his rounds, that’s all. Nothing in particular, mind, just a bit of something. Would be more useful with a picture; got to make a living. Just breathe your best news to me a little, I’ll be silent as the grave. Heard that noise did you? Gasses escaping. Ok so the dead do make some sounds now and then. We die a bit in this hour. I must be guarded. Protect my soul, God’s soul if one might say, created by God. They breathe stuff out; can’t blame them for that. So what do you know? Spit it out. A generous arm a woman’s hand from a window flung forth a coin. I’ll take your secret to my coffin. I take care of my regulars, they take care of me. Capisci? I’ve got my ear to the ground, we can do an exchange. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. You go first. Don’t think you’ll be throwing your money out the window, nobody’s more faithful than me.
Better get this job over quick. Side by side with the serpent plants and milkoozing fruits. Pain is far. And no more turn aside and brood. Brood on my boots. His boots. I am a Buck’s castoff. Brother soul, Wilde’s love that dare not speak its name. His arm, Cranley’s arm. He will leave me. אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה. I will be what I will be. All or not at all. I shall wait. No. Chafing against the low rocks. Swirling. Passing. Listen: vehement breath. Wavespeech of waters. Seesoo, amid seasnakes. Hrss rearing horses. Rsseeiss rocks. Ooos. In cups of rocks it slops. Flop slop slap. Bounded in barrels. Slopped and churned. The bungholes sprang open and a huge dull flood leaked out, flowing together, winding through mudflats all over the level land, a lazy pooling swirl bearing along wideleaved flowers of its froth.
Whispering weeds: Shhh. Lift your skirts, we are flooded. Let fall. Ahhh we are weary. Lift. Shhh. Flooded. We await fullness. Day by day and night by night. Shhh. Pray to St Ambrose for us. He loves virgins. Shhh. He knows how to hide. Lift. Shhh. Let fall. He will hide us. Shhh. Gather up forthflowing. We are flooded. Shhh. Wending back. We are weary. Help us St. Ambrose. Shhh. Help us.
Here’s what happened. And it happened, by the way, not by accident of matter or the motion or immovability of things in the space we occupied, but encased within one of the ineffably ridiculous number of possible ways in which it could have gone down. Buck had hold of my arm and I moved away from him and he asked so I finally told him look, do you remember what you said the day after my mother died? I came to your place and your mother asked who was in your room and you said O it is only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead. I don’t care that he sees death all day and night at the hospital and the blood and the smells and the bits of meaningless matter. What is dead, he said. Anybody’s death, what does it matter but the matter that he has to shovel away. I saw my mother die and I wouldn’t (couldn’t) humor her. End of story (that particular version). Cranly said the same, just kneel and think what you want. No. What does the Sound care? Look at it he said. Well look at it. It ebbs and it flows but it also swirls and eddies. It can be anywhere do anything move in all directions simultaneously. And when you look in infinite directions at its contact with dry (relatively) land, it is contained by nothing. No different in length than the coast of Britain. The Sound doesn’t have to care. It doesn’t have my problems.
Cranly once held my arm and told me that I am an excitable man. I have no fear of being alone, even without a friend who would be more true and more noble and more than a friend. It is Buck who wishes to excite me now (his arm Cranly’s arm) this time into borrowing money from Haines before kicking him out. Even said he’d call Seymour and we could call him out, kick his ass, but I don’t think so. Let him stay. Nothing wrong with him except at night.