—I was just telling my friend Wallis what a lark it would be tonight if you took off the rector in the part of the schoolmaster. It would be a ripping good joke.
Heron made a poor attempt to imitate for his friend Wallis the rector’s pedantic bass and then, laughing at his failure, asked Stephen to do it.
—Go on, Dedalus, he urged, you can take him off rippingly. HE THAT WILL NOT HEAR THE CHURCHA LET HIM BE TO THEEA AS THE HEATHENA AND THE PUBLICANA.
The imitation was prevented by a mild expression of anger from Wallis in whose mouthpiece the cigarette had become too tightly wedged.
—Damn this blankety blank holder, he said, taking it from his mouth and smiling and frowning upon it tolerantly. It’s always getting stuck like that. Do you use a holder?
—I don’t smoke, answered Stephen.
—No, said Heron, Dedalus is a model youth. He doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t go to bazaars and he doesn’t flirt and he doesn’t damn anything or damn all.
Stephen shook his head and smiled in his rival’s flushed and mobile face, beaked like a bird’s. He had often thought it strange that Vincent Heron had a bird’s face as well as a bird’s name. A shock of pale hair lay on the forehead like a ruffled crest: the forehead was narrow and bony and a thin hooked nose stood out between the close-set prominent eyes which were light and inexpressive. The rivals were school friends. They sat together in class, knelt together in the chapel, talked together after beads over their lunches. As the fellows in number one were undistinguished dullards, Stephen and Heron had been during the year the virtual heads of the school. It was they who went up to the rector together to ask for a free day or to get a fellow off.
—O by the way, said Heron suddenly, I saw your governor going in.