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James Joyce Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from James Joyce
01
“His life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, word, and deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to revibrate radiantly in heaven; and at times his sense of such immediate repercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion pressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register and to see the amount of his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as a number but as a frail column of incense or as a slender flower.”
02
“How beautiful and sad that was! How beautiful the words were where they said Bury me in the old churchyard! A tremor passed over his body. How sad and how beautiful! He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music. The bell! The bell! Farewell! O farewell!”
03
“To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on!”
04
“…a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life.”
05
“– We go to the house of God, Mr Casey said, in all humility to pray to our Maker and not to hear election addresses. – It is religion, Dante said again. They are right. They must direct their flocks. – And preach politics from the altar, is it? asked Mr Dedalus. – Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priest would not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right and what is wrong.”
06
“– Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant? – I said that I had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that I had lost self-respect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?”
07
“Eileen had long white hands. One evening when playing tig she had put her hands over his eyes: long and white and thin and cold and soft. That was ivory: a cold white thing. That was the meaning of Tower of Ivory.”
08
“On Sunday mornings as he passed the church door he glanced coldly at the worshippers who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church, morally present at the mass which they could neither see nor hear. Their dull piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hair-oil with which they had anointed their heads repelled him from the altar they prayed at.”
09
“This supreme quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost as beautiful as Shelley’s, called the enchantment of the heart.”
10
“It was very big to think about everything and everywhere. Only God could do that. He tried to think what a big thought that must be; but he could only think of God. God was God’s name just as his name was Stephen. Dieu was the French for God and that was God’s name too; and when anyone prayed to God and said Dieu then God knew at once that it was a French person that was praying. But, though there were different names for God in all the different languages in the world and God understood what all the people who prayed said in their different languages, still God remained always the same God and God’s real name was God.”
11
“The personality of the artist, at first a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid and lambent narrative, finally refines itself out of existence, impersonalizes itself, so to speak. The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of esthetic, like that of material creation, is accomplished. The artist, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.”
12
“There was a cold night smell in the chapel. But it was a holy smell. It was not like the smell of the old peasants who knelt at the back of the chapel at Sunday mass. That was a smell of air and rain and turf and corduroy. But they were very holy peasants. They breathed behind him on his neck and sighed as they prayed.”
13
“—Corpus Domini nostri. Could it be? He knelt there sinless and timid: and he would hold upon his tongue the host and God would enter his purified body.—In vitam eternam. Amen. Another life! A life of grace and virtue and happiness! It was true. It was not a dream from which he would wake. The past was past.—Corpus Domini nostri. The ciborium had come to him.”
14
“He saw clearly too his own futile isolation. He had not gone one step nearer the lives he had sought to approach nor bridged the restless shame and rancour that had divided him from mother and brother and sister. He felt that he was hardly of the one blood with them but stood to them rather in the mystical kinship of fosterage, fosterchild and fosterbrother.”
15
“The causes of his embitterment were many, remote and near. He was angry with himself for being young and the prey of restless foolish impulses, angry also with the change of fortune which was reshaping the world about him into a vision of squalor and insincerity. Yet his anger lent nothing to the vision. He chronicled with patience what he saw, detaching himself from it and tasting its mortifying flavour in secret.”
16
In a vague way he understood that his father was in trouble and that this was the reason why he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes. For some time he had felt the slight change in his house; and those changes in what he had deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world.
17
“His father’s whistle, his mother’s mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now so many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his youth.”
18
“– Ah, it’s a scandalous shame for you, Stephen, said his mother, and you’ll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know how it has changed you.”
19
“He waited for some moments, listening, before he too took up the air with them. He was listening with pain of spirit to the overtone of weariness behind their frail fresh innocent voices. Even before they set out on life’s journey they seemed weary already of the way.”
20
“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.”
21
“So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I’ll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now under whitespread wings like he’d come from Arkangels, I sink I’d die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup.”
22
“They lived and laughed and loved and left.”
23
“A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”
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24
“First we feel. Then we fall. And let her rain now if she likes ... for my time has come.”
25
“One great part of every human existence is passed in a state which cannot be rendered sensible by the use of wideawake language, cutanddry grammar and goahead plot.”
26
“And you’ll miss me more as the narrowing weeks wing by. Someday duly, oneday truly, twosday newly, till whensday.”
27
“Where oranges have been laid to rust upon the green...”
28
“He is cured by faith who is sick of fate.”
29
“It is their segnall for old Champelysied to seek the shades of his retirement and for young Chappielassies to tear a round and tease their partners lovesoftfun at Finnegan’s Wake.”
30
“Never slip the silver key of gate through your golden age.”
31
“For all their faults. I am passing out. O bitter ending! I’ll slip away before they’re up. They’ll never see. Nor know. Nor miss me.”
32
“Group drinkards maaks grope thinkards.”
33
“Let us leave theories there and return to here’s hear.”
34
“Make me feel good in the moontime.”
35
“bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!”
persons
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36
“The Gracehoper was always jigging ajog, hoppy on akkant of his joyicity.”
37
“Loud, heap miseries upon us yet entwine our arts with laughters low!”
38
“I done me best when I was let. Thinking always if I go all goes. A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles and is there one who understands me? One in a thousand of years of the nights? All me life I have been lived among them but now they are becoming lothed to me.”
39
“In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!”
40
“Others are as tired of themselves as you are. Let each one learn to bore himself.”
41
It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.
42
In the dark of my room I imagined that I saw again the heavy grey face of the paralytic. I drew the blankets over my head and tried to think of Christmas. But the grey face still followed me.
43
I felt my soul receding into some pleasant and vicious region; and there again I found it waiting for me.
44
“That’s my principle, too,” said my uncle. “Let him learn to box his corner. That’s what I’m always saying to that Rosicrucian there: take exercise. Why, when I was a nipper every morning of my life I had a cold bath, winter and summer. And that’s what stands to me now.”
character
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45
“He was too scrupulous always,” she said. “The duties of the priesthood was too much for him. And then his life was, you might say, crossed.”
46
But then I remembered that it had died of paralysis and I felt that I too was smiling feebly as if to absolve the simoniac of his sin.
47
He had often said to me: “I am not long for this world,” and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true.
48
Tiresome old fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery.
49
The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was disturbed to find myself at check. Had he not been dead I would have gone into the little dark room behind the shop to find him sitting in his arm-chair by the fire, nearly smothered in his great-coat.
50
I found it strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a mourning mood and I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom as if I had been freed from something by his death.
51
I pretended to pray but I could not gather my thoughts because the old woman’s mutterings distracted me. I noticed how clumsily her skirt was hooked at the back and how the heels of her cloth boots were trodden down all to one side. The fancy came to me that the old priest was smiling as he lay there in his coffin.
52
You couldn’t tell when the breath went out of him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised.
53
She stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too listened; but there was no sound in the house: and I knew that the old priest was lying still in his coffin as we had seen him, solemn and truculent in death, an idle chalice on his breast.
54
Old Cotter looked at me for a while. I felt that his little beady black eyes were examining me but I would not satisfy him by looking up from my plate.
55
“No one would think he’d make such a beautiful corpse.”
56
“God knows we done all we could, as poor as we are—we wouldn’t see him want anything while he was in it.”
57
“He was a disappointed man. You could see that.”
58
It may have been these constant showers of snuff which gave his ancient priestly garments their green faded look for the red handkerchief, blackened, as it always was, with the snuff-stains of a week, with which he tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite inefficacious.
59
His questions showed me how complex and mysterious were certain institutions of the Church which I had always regarded as the simplest acts. The duties of the priest towards the Eucharist and towards the secrecy of the confessional seemed so grave to me that I wondered how anybody had ever found in himself the courage to undertake them; and I was not surprised when he told me that the fathers of the Church had written books as thick as the Post Office Directory and as closely printed as the law notices in the newspaper, elucidating all these intricate questions.
60
When he smiled he used to uncover his big discoloured teeth and let his tongue lie upon his lower lip—a habit which had made me feel uneasy in the beginning of our acquaintance before I knew him well.
61
I went in on tiptoe. The room through the lace end of the blind was suffused with dusky golden light amid which the candles looked like pale thin flames. He had been coffined.
62
“It was that chalice he broke.... That was the beginning of it. Of course, they say it was all right, that it contained nothing, I mean. But still.... They say it was the boy’s fault. But poor James was so nervous, God be merciful to him!”
63
But when the restraining influence of the school was at a distance I began to hunger again for wild sensations, for the escape which those chronicles of disorder alone seemed to offer me.
64
A spirit of unruliness diffused itself among us and, under its influence, differences of culture and constitution were waived.
65
But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.
66
The summer holidays were near at hand when I made up my mind to break out of the weariness of school-life for one day at least.
67
All the branches of the tall trees which lined the mall were gay with little light green leaves and the sunlight slanted through them on to the water. The granite stone of the bridge was beginning to be warm and I began to pat it with my hands in time to an air in my head. I was very happy.
68
The mimic warfare of the evening became at last as wearisome to me as the routine of school in the morning because I wanted real adventures to happen to myself.
69
School and home seemed to recede from us and their influences upon us seemed to wane.
70
The sun went in behind some clouds and left us to our jaded thoughts and the crumbs of our provisions.
71
“Ah, I can see you are a bookworm like myself. Now,” he added, pointing to Mahony who was regarding us with open eyes, “he is different; he goes in for games.”
72
How my heart beat as he came running across the field to me! He ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little.
73
When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners. When we met in the street the houses had grown sombre. The space of sky above us was the colour of ever-changing violet and towards it the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns. The cold air stung us and we played till our bodies glowed. Our shouts echoed in the silent street. The career of our play brought us through the dark muddy lanes behind the houses where we ran the gauntlet of the rough tribes from the cottages, to the back doors of the dark dripping gardens where odours arose from the ashpits, to the dark odorous stables where a coachman smoothed and combed the horse or shook music from the buckled harness.
74
I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.
75
I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play.
76
But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.
77
At night in my bedroom and by day in the classroom her image came between me and the page I strove to read.
78
It was hard work—a hard life—but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life.
79
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.
80
All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he would drown her.
81
She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy? She had a right to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her in his arms. He would save her.
82
She was about to explore another life with Frank. Frank was very kind, manly, open-hearted. She was to go away with him by the night-boat to be his wife and to live with him in Buenos Ayres where he had a home waiting for her.
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83
As she mused the pitiful vision of her mother’s life laid its spell on the very quick of her being—that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness.
84
A bell clanged upon her heart.
85
Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does the possession of money. These were three good reasons for Jimmy’s excitement.
86
That night the city wore the mask of a capital.
concepts
87
Jimmy set out to translate into days’ work that lordly car in which he sat. How smoothly it ran. In what style they had come careering along the country roads! The journey laid a magical finger on the genuine pulse of life and gallantly the machinery of human nerves strove to answer the bounding courses of the swift blue animal.
88
Jimmy, too, looked very well when he was dressed and, as he stood in the hall giving a last equation to the bows of his dress tie, his father may have felt even commercially satisfied at having secured for his son qualities often unpurchaseable.
89
He knew that he would regret in the morning but at present he was glad of the rest, glad of the dark stupor that would cover up his folly. He leaned his elbows on the table and rested his head between his hands, counting the beats of his temples. The cabin door opened and he saw the Hungarian standing in a shaft of grey light: “Daybreak, gentlemen!”
90
Jimmy felt obscurely the lack of an audience: the wit was flashing.
91
They walked northward with a curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise, while the city hung its pale globes of light above them in a haze of summer evening.
92
Most people considered Lenehan a leech but, in spite of this reputation, his adroitness and eloquence had always prevented his friends from forming any general policy against him.
93
To save himself he had the habit of leaving his flattery open to the interpretation of raillery.
94
His bulk, his easy pace, and the solid sound of his boots had something of the conqueror in them.
character
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95
Experience had embittered his heart against the world. But all hope had not left him.
96
He felt better after having eaten than he had felt before, less weary of his life, less vanquished in spirit.
character
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97
She governed her house cunningly and firmly, knew when to give credit, when to be stern and when to let things pass. All the resident young men spoke of her as The Madam.
98
Mrs Mooney was a butcher’s daughter. She was a woman who was quite able to keep things to herself: a determined woman.
99
Jack Mooney, the Madam’s son, who was clerk to a commission agent in Fleet Street, had the reputation of being a hard case.
100
Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she had light soft hair and a small full mouth. Her eyes, which were grey with a shade of green through them, had a habit of glancing upwards when she spoke with anyone, which made her look like a little perverse madonna.
101
Besides, young men like to feel that there is a young woman not very far away.
102
She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat: and in this case she had made up her mind.
103
The belfry of George’s Church sent out constant peals and worshippers, singly or in groups, traversed the little circus before the church, revealing their purpose by their self-contained demeanour no less than by the little volumes in their gloved hands.
104
At last she heard her mother calling. She started to her feet and ran to the banisters. “Polly! Polly!” “Yes, mamma?” “Come down, dear. Mr Doran wants to speak to you.” Then she remembered what she had been waiting for.
105
She waited on patiently, almost cheerfully, without alarm, her memories gradually giving place to hopes and visions of the future. Her hopes and visions were so intricate that she no longer saw the white pillows on which her gaze was fixed or remembered that she was waiting for anything.
106
It is all very well for the man: he can go his ways as if nothing had happened, having had his moment of pleasure, but the girl has to bear the brunt.
107
For her only one reparation could make up for the loss of her daughter’s honour: marriage.
108
Dublin is such a small city: everyone knows everyone else’s business.
109
She was sure she would win. To begin with she had all the weight of social opinion on her side: she was an outraged mother. She had allowed him to live beneath her roof, assuming that he was a man of honour, and he had simply abused her hospitality.
110
As a young man he had sown his wild oats, of course; he had boasted of his free-thinking and denied the existence of God to his companions in public-houses. But that was all passed and done with ... nearly. He still bought a copy of Reynolds’s Newspaper every week but he attended to his religious duties and for nine-tenths of the year lived a regular life.
111
She was a little vulgar; sometimes she said “I seen” and “If I had’ve known.” But what would grammar matter if he really loved her?
112
His instinct urged him to remain free, not to marry. Once you are married you are done for, it said.
113
The instinct of the celibate warned him to hold back. But the sin was there; even his sense of honour told him that reparation must be made for such a sin.
114
Few fellows had talents like his and fewer still could remain unspoiled by such success. Gallaher’s heart was in the right place and he had deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.
115
He was called Little Chandler because, though he was but slightly under the average stature, he gave one the idea of being a little man. His hands were white and small, his frame was fragile, his voice was quiet and his manners were refined.
116
No memory of the past touched him, for his mind was full of a present joy.
117
People used to say that Ignatius Gallaher was wild. Of course, he did mix with a rakish set of fellows at that time, drank freely and borrowed money on all sides. In the end he had got mixed up in some shady affair, some money transaction: at least, that was one version of his flight. But nobody denied him talent. There was always a certain ... something in Ignatius Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself. Even when he was out at elbows and at his wits’ end for money he kept up a bold face.
118
Little Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher’s sayings when he was in a tight corner: “Half time now, boys,” he used to say light-heartedly. “Where’s my considering cap?” That was Ignatius Gallaher all out; and, damn it, you couldn’t but admire him for it.
119
Could he write something original? He was not sure what idea he wished to express but the thought that a poetic moment had touched him took life within him like an infant hope. He stepped onward bravely.
120
He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet’s soul. Melancholy was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of poems perhaps men would listen.
121
Every step brought him nearer to London, farther from his own sober inartistic life. A light began to tremble on the horizon of his mind.
concepts
122
He was not so old—thirty-two. His temperament might be said to be just at the point of maturity.
123
Press life. Always hurry and scurry, looking for copy and sometimes not finding it: and then, always to have something new in your stuff.
124
Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very much diluted. “You don’t know what’s good for you, my boy,” said Ignatius Gallaher. “I drink mine neat.”
125
“I drink very little as a rule,” said Little Chandler modestly.
126
“It’s not so beautiful, you know. Of course, it is beautiful.... But it’s the life of Paris; that’s the thing. Ah, there’s no city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement....”
127
There was something vulgar in his friend which he had not observed before. But perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the bustle and competition of the Press.
128
The old personal charm was still there under this new gaudy manner.
129
And, after all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen the world.
130
If you want to enjoy yourself properly you must go to Paris.
131
“Ah,” he said, “you may say what you like. There’s no woman like the Parisienne—for style, for go.”
132
“Well, Tommy,” he said, “I wish you and yours every joy in life, old chap, and tons of money, and may you never die till I shoot you. And that’s the wish of a sincere friend, an old friend. You know that?”
133
The adventure of meeting Gallaher after eight years, of finding himself with Gallaher in Corless’s surrounded by lights and noise, of listening to Gallaher’s stories and of sharing for a brief space Gallaher’s vagrant and triumphant life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature.
134
He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered coldly. Certainly they were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But he found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied him: there was no passion in them, no rapture. He thought of what Gallaher had said about rich Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he thought, how full they are of passion, of voluptuous longing!... Why had he married the eyes in the photograph?
135
It was useless. He couldn’t read. He couldn’t do anything. The wailing of the child pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He was a prisoner for life. His arms trembled with anger and suddenly bending to the child’s face he shouted: “Stop!”
136
His wife was a little sharp-faced woman who bullied her husband when he was sober and was bullied by him when he was drunk.
137
He cursed everything. He had done for himself in the office, pawned his watch, spent all his money; and he had not even got drunk. He began to feel thirsty again and he longed to be back again in the hot reeking public-house.
138
A very sullen-faced man stood at the corner of O’Connell Bridge waiting for the little Sandymount tram to take him home. He was full of smouldering anger and revengefulness. He felt humiliated and discontented; he did not even feel drunk; and he had only twopence in his pocket.
139
A spasm of rage gripped his throat for a few moments and then passed, leaving after it a sharp sensation of thirst. The man recognised the sensation and felt that he must have a good night’s drinking.
140
The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot.
141
“You—know—nothing. Of course you know nothing,” said Mr Alleyne. “Tell me,” he added, glancing first for approval to the lady beside him, “do you take me for a fool? Do you think me an utter fool?” The man glanced from the lady’s face to the little egg-shaped head and back again; and, almost before he was aware of it, his tongue had found a felicitous moment: “I don’t think, sir,” he said, “that that’s a fair question to put to me.” There was a pause in the very breathing of the clerks. Everyone was astounded (the author of the witticism no less than his neighbours) and Miss Delacour, who was a stout amiable person, began to smile broadly.
142
Only she hoped that Joe wouldn’t come in drunk. He was so different when he took any drink.
143
She arranged in her mind all she was going to do and thought how much better it was to be independent and to have your own money in your pocket.
144
Joe was a good fellow. She had nursed him and Alphy too; and Joe used often say: “Mamma is mamma but Maria is my proper mother.”
145
She used to have such a bad opinion of Protestants but now she thought they were very nice people, a little quiet and serious, but still very nice people to live with.
146
So Maria let him have his way and they sat by the fire talking over old times and Maria thought she would put in a good word for Alphy. But Joe cried that God might strike him stone dead if ever he spoke a word to his brother again and Maria said she was sorry she had mentioned the matter.
147
He was very nice with her, and when she was getting out at the Canal Bridge she thanked him and bowed, and he bowed to her and raised his hat and smiled agreeably, and while she was going up along the terrace, bending her tiny head under the rain, she thought how easy it was to know a gentleman even when he has a drop taken.
148
But no one tried to show her her mistake; and when she had ended her song Joe was very much moved. He said that there was no time like the long ago and no music for him like poor old Balfe, whatever other people might say; and his eyes filled up so much with tears that he could not find what he was looking for and in the end he had to ask his wife to tell him where the corkscrew was.
149
His liking for Mozart’s music brought him sometimes to an opera or a concert: these were the only dissipations of his life.
150
He lived his spiritual life without any communion with others, visiting his relatives at Christmas and escorting them to the cemetery when they died. He performed these two social duties for old dignity’s sake but conceded nothing further to the conventions which regulate the civic life.
151
He allowed himself to think that in certain circumstances he would rob his bank but, as these circumstances never arose, his life rolled out evenly—an adventureless tale.
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152
He had neither companions nor friends, church nor creed.
153
Little by little he entangled his thoughts with hers. He lent her books, provided her with ideas, shared his intellectual life with her. She listened to all.
154
With almost maternal solicitude she urged him to let his nature open to the full: she became his confessor.
155
This union exalted him, wore away the rough edges of his character, emotionalised his mental life.
156
One of his sentences, written two months after his last interview with Mrs Sinico, read: Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.
157
Now that she was gone he understood how lonely her life must have been, sitting night after night alone in that room. His life would be lonely too until he, too, died, ceased to exist, became a memory—if anyone remembered him.
158
“Only I’m an old man now I’d change his tune for him. I’d take the stick to his back and beat him while I could stand over him—as I done many a time before. The mother, you know, she cocks him up with this and that.”
159
“Parnell,” said Mr Henchy, “is dead. Now, here’s the way I look at it. Here’s this chap come to the throne after his old mother keeping him out of it till the man was grey. He’s a man of the world, and he means well by us. He’s a jolly fine decent fellow, if you ask me, and no damn nonsense about him. He just says to himself: ‘The old one never went to see these wild Irish. By Christ, I’ll go myself and see what they’re like.’ And are we going to insult the man when he comes over here on a friendly visit? Eh? Isn’t that right, Crofton?”
character
concepts
160
“This is Parnell’s anniversary,” said Mr O’Connor, “and don’t let us stir up any bad blood. We all respect him now that he’s dead and gone—even the Conservatives,” he added, turning to Mr Crofton.
161
He is dead. / Our Uncrowned King is dead. / O, Erin, mourn with grief and woe / For he lies dead whom the fell gang / Of modern hypocrites laid low.
162
He fell as fall the mighty ones, / Nobly undaunted to the last, / And death has now united him / With Erin’s heroes of the past.
163
“The working-man,” said Mr Hynes, “gets all kicks and no halfpence. But it’s labour produces everything. The working-man is not looking for fat jobs for his sons and nephews and cousins. The working-man is not going to drag the honour of Dublin in the mud to please a German monarch.”
164
“I think Joe Hynes is a straight man. He’s a clever chap, too, with the pen. Do you remember that thing he wrote...”
165
“He was the only man that could keep that bag of cats in order. ‘Down, ye dogs! Lie down, ye curs!’ That’s the way he treated them.”
166
They had their way: they laid him low. / But Erin, list, his spirit may / Rise, like the Phoenix from the flames, / When breaks the dawning of the day, / The day that brings us Freedom’s reign. / And on that day may Erin well / Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy / One grief—the memory of Parnell.
167
May everlasting shame consume / The memory of those who tried / To befoul and smear the exalted name / Of one who spurned them in his pride.
168
“It is because Colgan’s a working-man you say that? What’s the difference between a good honest bricklayer and a publican—eh? Hasn’t the working-man as good a right to be in the Corporation as anyone else—ay, and a better right than those shoneens that are always hat in hand before any fellow with a handle to his name? Isn’t that so, Mat?” said Mr Hynes, addressing Mr O’Connor.
169
Mr Crofton sat down on a box and looked fixedly at the other bottle on the hob. He was silent for two reasons. The first reason, sufficient in itself, was that he had nothing to say; the second reason was that he considered his companions beneath him. He had been a canvasser for Wilkins, the Conservative, but when the Conservatives had withdrawn their man and, choosing the lesser of two evils, given their support to the Nationalist candidate, he had been engaged to work for Mr Tierney.
170
“What we want in this country, as I said to old Ward, is capital. The King’s coming here will mean an influx of money into this country. The citizens of Dublin will benefit by it. Look at all the factories down by the quays there, idle! Look at all the money there is in the country if we only worked the old industries, the mills, the ship-building yards and factories. It’s capital we want.”
171
She stood still for an instant like an angry stone image and, when the first notes of the song struck her ear, she caught up her daughter’s cloak and said to her husband: “Get a cab!”
character
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172
Mrs Kearney’s anger began to flutter in her cheek and she had all she could do to keep from asking: “And who is the Cometty pray?” But she knew that it would not be ladylike to do that: so she was silent.
173
He walked up and down constantly, stood by the hour at street corners arguing the point and made notes; but in the end it was Mrs Kearney who arranged everything.
174
When the Irish Revival began to be appreciable Mrs Kearney determined to take advantage of her daughter’s name and brought an Irish teacher to the house.
175
As Mr Holohan was a novice in such delicate matters as the wording of bills and the disposing of items for a programme, Mrs Kearney helped him. She had tact. She knew what artistes should go into capitals and what artistes should go into small type. She knew that the first tenor would not like to come on after Mr Meade’s comic turn. To keep the audience continually diverted she slipped the doubtful items in between the old favourites. Mr Holohan called to see her every day to have her advice on some point. She was invariably friendly and advising—homely, in fact. She pushed the decanter towards him, saying: “Now, help yourself, Mr Holohan!”
176
She forgot nothing and, thanks to her, everything that was to be done was done.
177
She respected her husband in the same way as she respected the General Post Office, as something large, secure and fixed; and though she knew the small number of his talents she appreciated his abstract value as a male.
178
They thought they had only a girl to deal with and that, therefore, they could ride roughshod over her. But she would show them their mistake. They wouldn’t have dared to have treated her like that if she had been a man. But she would see that her daughter got her rights: she wouldn’t be fooled. If they didn’t pay her to the last farthing she would make Dublin ring.
179
After a quarter of a century of married life, she had very few illusions left.
180
Religion for her was a habit and she suspected that a man of her husband’s age would not change greatly before death.
181
Her beliefs were not extravagant. She believed steadily in the Sacred Heart as the most generally useful of all Catholic devotions and approved of the sacraments. Her faith was bounded by her kitchen but, if she was put to it, she could believe also in the banshee and in the Holy Ghost.
182
“But, of course,” said Mr Cunningham quietly and effectively, “our religion is the religion, the old, original faith.”
183
Mr M’Coy had tried unsuccessfully to find a place in the bench with the others and, when the party had settled down in the form of a quincunx, he had tried unsuccessfully to make comic remarks. As these had not been well received he had desisted. Even he was sensible of the decorous atmosphere and even he began to respond to the religious stimulus.
character
concept
184
Jesus Christ, with His divine understanding of every cranny of our human nature, understood that all men were not called to the religious life, that by far the vast majority were forced to live in the world and, to a certain extent, for the world: and in this sentence He designed to give them a word of counsel, setting before them as exemplars in the religious life those very worshippers of Mammon who were of all men the least solicitous in matters religious.
185
Mr Kernan came of Protestant stock and, though he had been converted to the Catholic faith at the time of his marriage, he had not been in the pale of the Church for twenty years. He was fond, moreover, of giving side-thrusts at Catholicism.
186
“O, now, Mrs Kernan,” said Mr Power, “we’ll make him turn over a new leaf. I’ll talk to Martin. He’s the man. We’ll come here one of these nights and talk it over.”
187
Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living.
188
A wave of yet more tender joy escaped from his heart and went coursing in warm flood along his arteries. Like the tender fire of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illumined his memory. He longed to recall to her those moments, to make her forget the years of their dull existence together and remember only their moments of ecstasy. For the years, he felt, had not quenched his soul or hers.
189
Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, did housemaid’s work for them. Though their life was modest they believed in eating well; the best of everything: diamond-bone sirloins, three-shilling tea and the best bottled stout. But Lily seldom made a mistake in the orders so that she got on well with her three mistresses. They were fussy, that was all. But the only thing they would not stand was back answers.
190
“Isn’t it a terrible thing to die so young as that?”

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