Ulysses HTML version

Chapter 16
Preparatory to anything else Mr Bloom brushed off the greater bulk of the shavings and
handed Stephen the hat and ashplant and bucked him up generally in orthodox Samaritan
fashion which he very badly needed. His (Stephen's) mind was not exactly what you
would call wandering but a bit unsteady and on his expressed desire for some beverage to
drink Mr Bloom in view of the hour it was and there being no pump of Vartry water
available for their ablutions let alone drinking purposes hit upon an expedient by
suggesting, off the reel, the propriety of the cabman's shelter, as it was called, hardly a
stonesthrow away near Butt bridge where they might hit upon some drinkables in the
shape of a milk and soda or a mineral. But how to get there was the rub. For the nonce he
was rather nonplussed but inasmuch as the duty plainly devolved upon him to take some
measures on the subject he pondered suitable ways and means during which Stephen
repeatedly yawned. So far as he could see he was rather pale in the face so that it
occurred to him as highly advisable to get a conveyance of some description which would
answer in their then condition, both of them being e.d.ed, particularly Stephen, always
assuming that there was such a thing to be found. Accordingly after a few such
preliminaries as brushing, in spite of his having forgotten to take up his rather soapsuddy
handkerchief after it had done yeoman service in the shaving line, they both walked
together along Beaver street or, more properly, lane as far as the farrier's and the
distinctly fetid atmosphere of the livery stables at the corner of Montgomery street where
they made tracks to the left from thence debouching into Amiens street round by the
corner of Dan Bergin's. But as he confidently anticipated there was not a sign of a Jehu
plying for hire anywhere to be seen except a fourwheeler, probably engaged by some
fellows inside on the spree, outside the North Star hotel and there was no symptom of its
budging a quarter of an inch when Mr Bloom, who was anything but a professional
whistler, endeavoured to hail it by emitting a kind of a whistle, holding his arms arched
over his head, twice.
This was a quandary but, bringing common sense to bear on it, evidently there was
nothing for it but put a good face on the matter and foot it which they accordingly did.
So, bevelling around by Mullett's and the Signal House which they shortly reached, they
proceeded perforce in the direction of Amiens street railway terminus, Mr Bloom being
handicapped by the circumstance that one of the back buttons of his trousers had, to vary
the timehonoured adage, gone the way of all buttons though, entering thoroughly into the
spirit of the thing, he heroically made light of the mischance. So as neither of them were
particularly pressed for time, as it happened, and the temperature refreshing since it
cleared up after the recent visitation of Jupiter Pluvius, they dandered along past by
where the empty vehicle was waiting without a fare or a jarvey. As it so happened a
Dublin United Tramways Company's sandstrewer happened to be returning and the elder
man recounted to his companion A PROPOS of the incident his own truly miraculous
escape of some little while back. They passed the main entrance of the Great Northern
railway station, the starting point for Belfast, where of course all traffic was suspended at
that late hour and passing the backdoor of the morgue (a not very enticing locality, not to
say gruesome to a degree, more especially at night) ultimately gained the Dock Tavern