—Yes. Well now, that’s all right. O, we had a good walk, hadn’t we, John? Yes… I wonder if there’s any likelihood of dinner this evening. Yes… O, well now, we got a good breath of ozone round the Head today. Ay, bedad.
He turned to Dante and said:
—You didn’t stir out at all, Mrs Riordan?
Dante frowned and said shortly:
Mr Dedalus dropped his coat-tails and went over to the sideboard. He brought forth a great stone jar of whisky from the locker and filled the decanter slowly, bending now and then to see how much he had poured in. Then replacing the jar in the locker he poured a little of the whisky into two glasses, added a little water and came back with them to the fireplace.
—A thimbleful, John, he said, just to whet your appetite.
Mr Casey took the glass, drank, and placed it near him on the mantelpiece. Then he said:
—Well, I can’t help thinking of our friend Christopher manufacturing…
He broke into a fit of laughter and coughing and added:
—…manufacturing that champagne for those fellows.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly.
—Is it Christy? he said. There’s more cunning in one of those warts on his bald head than in a pack of jack foxes.
He inclined his head, closed his eyes, and, licking his lips profusely, began to speak with the voice of the hotel keeper.
—And he has such a soft mouth when he’s speaking to you, don’t you know. He’s very moist and watery about the dewlaps, God bless him.
Mr Casey was still struggling through his fit of coughing and laughter. Stephen, seeing and hearing the hotel keeper through his father’s face and voice, laughed.
Mr Dedalus put up his eyeglass and, staring down at him, said quietly and kindly:
—What are you laughing at, you little puppy, you?
The servants entered and placed the dishes on the table. Mrs Dedalus followed and the places were arranged.
—Sit over, she said.
Mr Dedalus went to the end of the table and said:
—Now, Mrs Riordan, sit over. John, sit you down, my hearty.
He looked round to where uncle Charles sat and said:
—Now then, sir, there’s a bird here waiting for you.
When all had taken their seats he laid his hand on the cover and then said quickly, withdrawing it:
Stephen stood up in his place to say the grace before meals:
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which through Thy bounty we are about to receive through Christ our Lord. Amen.
All blessed themselves and Mr Dedalus with a sigh of pleasure lifted from the dish the heavy cover pearled around the edge with glistening drops.
Stephen looked at the plump turkey which had lain, trussed and skewered, on the kitchen table. He knew that his father had paid a guinea for it in Dunn’s of D’Olier Street and that the man had prodded it often at the breastbone to show how good it was: and he remembered the man’s voice when he had said: