—For pity sake and for pity sake let us have no political discussion on this day of all days in the year.
—Quite right, ma’am, said uncle Charles. Now, Simon, that’s quite enough now. Not another word now.
—Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus quickly.
He uncovered the dish boldly and said:
—Now then, who’s for more turkey?
Nobody answered. Dante said:
—Nice language for any catholic to use!
—Mrs Riordan, I appeal to you, said Mrs Dedalus, to let the matter drop now.
Dante turned on her and said:
—And am I to sit here and listen to the pastors of my church being flouted?
—Nobody is saying a word against them, said Mr Dedalus, so long as they don’t meddle in politics.
—The bishops and priests of Ireland have spoken, said Dante, and they must be obeyed.
—Let them leave politics alone, said Mr Casey, or the people may leave their church alone.
—You hear? said Dante, turning to Mrs Dedalus.
—Mr Casey! Simon! said Mrs Dedalus, let it end now.
—Too bad! Too bad! said uncle Charles.
—What? cried Mr Dedalus. Were we to desert him at the bidding of the English people?
—He was no longer worthy to lead, said Dante. He was a public sinner.
—We are all sinners and black sinners, said Mr Casey coldly.
—WOE BE TO THE MAN BY WHOM THE SCANDAL COMETH! said Mrs Riordan. IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE TIED ABOUT HIS NECK AND THAT HE WERE CAST INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA RATHER THAN THAT HE SHOULD SCANDALIZE ONE OF THESE, MY LEAST LITTLE ONES. That is the language of the Holy Ghost.
—And very bad language if you ask me, said Mr Dedalus coolly.
—Simon! Simon! said uncle Charles. The boy.
—Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus. I meant about the… I was thinking about the bad language of the railway porter. Well now, that’s all right. Here, Stephen, show me your plate, old chap. Eat away now. Here.
He heaped up the food on Stephen’s plate and served uncle Charles and Mr Casey to large pieces of turkey and splashes of sauce. Mrs Dedalus was eating little and Dante sat with her hands in her lap. She was red in the face. Mr Dedalus rooted with the carvers at the end of the dish and said:
—There’s a tasty bit here we call the pope’s nose. If any lady or gentleman…
He held a piece of fowl up on the prong of the carving fork. Nobody spoke. He put it on his own plate, saying:
—Well, you can’t say but you were asked. I think I had better eat it myself because I’m not well in my health lately.
He winked at Stephen and, replacing the dish-cover, began to eat again.
There was a silence while he ate. Then he said:
—Well now, the day kept up fine after all. There were plenty of strangers down too.
Nobody spoke. He said again:
—I think there were more strangers down than last Christmas.