—And what did you do, John? asked Mr Dedalus.
—I let her bawl away, said Mr Casey. It was a cold day and to keep up my heart I had (saving your presence, ma’am) a quid of Tullamore in my mouth and sure I couldn’t say a word in any case because my mouth was full of tobacco juice.
—Well. I let her bawl away, to her heart’s content, KITTY O’SHEA and the rest of it till at last she called that lady a name that I won’t sully this Christmas board nor your ears, ma’am, nor my own lips by repeating.
He paused. Mr Dedalus, lifting his head from the bone, asked:
—And what did you do, John?
—Do! said Mr Casey. She stuck her ugly old face up at me when she said it and I had my mouth full of tobacco juice. I bent down to her and PHTH! says I to her like that.
He turned aside and made the act of spitting.
—PHTH! says I to her like that, right into her eye.
He clapped his hand to his eye and gave a hoarse scream of pain.
—O JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH! says she. I’M BLINDED! I’M BLINDED AND DROWNDED!
He stopped in a fit of coughing and laughter, repeating:
—I’M BLINDED ENTIRELY.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly and lay back in his chair while uncle Charles swayed his head to and fro.
Dante looked terribly angry and repeated while they laughed:
—Very nice! Ha! Very nice!
It was not nice about the spit in the woman’s eye.
But what was the name the woman had called Kitty O’Shea that Mr Casey would not repeat? He thought of Mr Casey walking through the crowds of people and making speeches from a wagonette. That was what he had been in prison for and he remembered that one night Sergeant O’Neill had come to the house and had stood in the hall, talking in a low voice with his father and chewing nervously at the chinstrap of his cap. And that night Mr Casey had not gone to Dublin by train but a car had come to the door and he had heard his father say something about the Cabinteely road.
He was for Ireland and Parnell and so was his father: and so was Dante too for one night at the band on the esplanade she had hit a gentleman on the head with her umbrella because he had taken off his hat when the band played GOD SAVE THE QUEEN at the end.
Mr Dedalus gave a snort of contempt.
—Ah, John, he said. It is true for them. We are an unfortunate priest-ridden race and always were and always will be till the end of the chapter.
Uncle Charles shook his head, saying:
—A bad business! A bad business!
Mr Dedalus repeated:
—A priest-ridden Godforsaken race!
He pointed to the portrait of his grandfather on the wall to his right.
—Do you see that old chap up there, John? he said. He was a good Irishman when there was no money in the job. He was condemned to death as a whiteboy. But he had a saying about our clerical friends, that he would never let one of them put his two feet under his mahogany.