Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: —Introibo ad altare Dei. Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called out coarsely: —Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit! Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak. Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly. —Back to barracks! he said sternly. He added in a preacher's tone:
—For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all. He peered sideways up and gave a long slow whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm. —Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you? He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages. A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips. —The mockery of it! he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek! He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck. Buck Mulligan's gay voice went on. —My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn't it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?
He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight, cried: —Will he come? The jejune jesuit! Ceasing, he began to shave with care. —Tell me, Mulligan, Stephen said quietly. —Yes, my love? —How long is Haines going to stay in this tower? Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder. —God, isn't he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you're not a gentleman. God, these bloody English! Bursting with money and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus, you have the real Oxford manner. He can't make you out. O, my name for you is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade. He shaved warily over his chin. —He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is his guncase? —A woful lunatic! Mulligan said. Were you in a funk? —I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark with a man I don't know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther. You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however. If he stays on here I am off. Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily. —Scutter! he cried thickly.
He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen's upper pocket, said: —Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor. Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly. Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said: —The bard's noserag! A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen. You can almost taste it, can't you? He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair oakpale hair stirring slightly. —God! he said quietly. Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look. Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbourmouth of Kingstown. —Our mighty mother! Buck Mulligan said.
Woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed. Inshore and farther out the mirror of water whitened, spurned by lightshod hurrying feet. White breast of the dim sea. The twining stresses, two by two. A hand plucking the harpstrings, merging their twining chords. Wavewhite wedded words shimmering on the dim tide. A cloud began to cover the sun slowly, wholly, shadowing the bay in deeper green. It lay beneath him, a bowl of bitter waters. Fergus' song: I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those words, Stephen: love's bitter mystery. Where now? Her secrets: old featherfans, tasselled dancecards, powdered with musk, a gaud of amber beads in her locked drawer. A birdcage hung in the sunny window of her house when she was a girl. She heard old Royce sing in the pantomime of Turko the Terrible and laughed with others when he sang: I am the boy That can enjoy Invisibility. Phantasmal mirth, folded away: muskperfumed. And no more turn aside and brood. Folded away in the memory of nature with her toys. Memories beset his brooding brain. Her glass of water from the kitchen tap when she had approached the sacrament. A cored apple, filled with brown sugar, roasting for her at the hob on a dark autumn evening. Her shapely fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the children's shirts. In a dream, silently, she had come to him, her wasted body within its loose graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, bent over him with mute secret words, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Her glazing eyes, staring out of death, to shake and bend my soul. On me alone. The ghostcandle to light her agony. Ghostly light on the tortured face. Her hoarse loud breath rattling in horror, while all prayed on their knees. Her eyes on me to strike me down. Liliata rutilantium te confessorum turma circumdet: iubilantium te virginum chorus excipiat. Ghoul! Chewer of corpses! No, mother! Let me be and let me live. —Kinch ahoy! Buck Mulligan's voice sang from within the tower. It came nearer up the staircase, calling again. Stephen, still trembling at his soul's cry, heard warm running sunlight and in the air behind him friendly words. —Dedalus, come down, like a good mosey. Breakfast is ready. Haines is apologising for waking us last night. It's all right. —I'm coming, Stephen said, turning. —Do, for Jesus' sake, Buck Mulligan said. For my sake and for all our sakes. His head disappeared and reappeared.
—I told him your symbol of Irish art. He says it's very clever. Touch him for a quid, will you? A guinea, I mean. —I get paid this morning, Stephen said. —The school kip? Buck Mulligan said. How much? Four quid? Lend us one. —If you want it, Stephen said. —Four shining sovereigns, Buck Mulligan cried with delight. We'll have a glorious drunk to astonish the druidy druids. Four omnipotent sovereigns. He flung up his hands and tramped down the stone stairs, singing out of tune with a Cockney accent: O, won't we have a merry time, Drinking whisky, beer and wine! On coronation, Coronation day! O, won't we have a merry time On coronation day! Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. The nickel shavingbowl shone, forgotten, on the parapet. Why should I bring it down? Or leave it there all day, forgotten friendship? He went over to it, held it in his hands awhile, feeling its coolness, smelling the clammy slaver of the lather in which the brush was stuck. So I carried the boat of incense then at Clongowes. I am another now and yet the same. A servant too. A server of a servant. In the gloomy domed livingroom of the tower Buck Mulligan's gowned form moved briskly to and fro about the hearth, hiding and revealing its yellow glow. Two shafts of soft daylight fell across the flagged floor from the high barbacans: and at the meeting of their rays a cloud of coalsmoke and fumes of fried grease floated, turning. —We'll be choked, Buck Mulligan said. Haines, open that door, will you? Stephen laid the shavingbowl on the locker. A tall figure rose from the hammock where it had been sitting, went to the doorway and pulled open the inner doors. —Have you the key? a voice asked. —Dedalus has it, Buck Mulligan said. Janey Mack, I'm choked! He howled, without looking up from the fire: —Kinch! —It's in the lock, Stephen said, coming forward. The key scraped round harshly twice and, when the heavy door had been set ajar, welcome light and bright air entered. Haines stood at the doorway, looking out. Stephen haled his upended valise to the table and sat down to wait. Buck Mulligan tossed the fry on to the dish beside him. Then he carried the dish and a large teapot over to the table, set them down heavily and sighed with relief. —I'm melting, he said, as the candle remarked when... But, hush! Not a word more on that subject! Kinch, wake up! Bread, butter, honey. Haines, come in. The grub is ready. Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. Where's the sugar? O, jay, there's no milk. Stephen fetched the loaf and the pot of honey and the buttercooler from the locker. Buck Mulligan sat down in a sudden pet. —What sort of a kip is this? he said. I told her to come after eight. —We can drink it black, Stephen said thirstily. There's a lemon in the locker. —O, damn you and your Paris fads! Buck Mulligan said. I want Sandycove milk. Haines came in from the doorway and said quietly: —That woman is coming up with the milk. —The blessings of God on you! Buck Mulligan cried, jumping up from his chair. Sit down. Pour out the tea there. The sugar is in the bag. Here, I can't go fumbling at the damned eggs. He hacked through the fry on the dish and slapped it out on three plates, saying: —In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.
Haines sat down to pour out the tea. —I'm giving you two lumps each, he said. But, I say, Mulligan, you do make strong tea, don't you? Buck Mulligan, hewing thick slices from the loaf, said in an old woman's wheedling voice: —When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I makes water I makes water. —By Jove, it is tea, Haines said. Buck Mulligan went on hewing and wheedling: —So I do, Mrs Cahill, says she. Begob, ma'am, says Mrs Cahill, God send you don't make them in the one pot. He lunged towards his messmates in turn a thick slice of bread, impaled on his knife. —That's folk, he said very earnestly, for your book, Haines. Five lines of text and ten pages of notes about the folk and the fishgods of Dundrum. Printed by the weird sisters in the year of the big wind. He turned to Stephen and asked in a fine puzzled voice, lifting his brows: —Can you recall, brother, is mother Grogan's tea and water pot spoken of in the Mabinogion or is it in the Upanishads? —I doubt it, said Stephen gravely. —Do you now? Buck Mulligan said in the same tone. Your reasons, pray? —I fancy, Stephen said as he ate, it did not exist in or out of the Mabinogion. Mother Grogan was, one imagines, a kinswoman of Mary Ann. Buck Mulligan's face smiled with delight. —Charming! he said in a finical sweet voice, showing his white teeth and blinking his eyes pleasantly. Do you think she was? Quite charming! Then, suddenly overclouding all his features, he growled in a hoarsened rasping voice as he hewed again vigorously at the loaf: —For old Mary Ann She doesn't care a damn. But, hising up her petticoats... He crammed his mouth with fry and munched and droned. The doorway was darkened by an entering form. —The milk, sir! —Come in, ma'am, Mulligan said. Kinch, get the jug. An old woman came forward and stood by Stephen's elbow. —That's a lovely morning, sir, she said. Glory be to God. —To whom? Mulligan said, glancing at her. Ah, to be sure! Stephen reached back and took the milkjug from the locker. —The islanders, Mulligan said to Haines casually, speak frequently of the collector of prepuces. —How much, sir? asked the old woman. —A quart, Stephen said.