They had set out early in the morning from Newcombe’s coffee-house, where Mr Dedalus’s cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, and Stephen had tried to cover that shameful sign of his father’s drinking bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing. One humiliation had succeeded another—the false smiles of the market sellers, the curvetings and oglings of the barmaids with whom his father flirted, the compliments and encouraging words of his father’s friends. They had told him that he had a great look of his grandfather and Mr Dedalus had agreed that he was an ugly likeness. They had unearthed traces of a Cork accent in his speech and made him admit that the Lee was a much finer river than the Liffey. One of them, in order to put his Latin to the proof, had made him translate short passages from Dilectus and asked him whether it was correct to say: TEMPORA MUTANTUR NOS ET MUTAMUR IN ILLIS or TEMPORA MUTANTUR ET NOS MUTAMUR IN ILLIS. Another, a brisk old man, whom Mr Dedalus called Johnny Cashman, had covered him with confusion by asking him to say which were prettier, the Dublin girls or the Cork girls.
—He’s not that way built, said Mr Dedalus. Leave him alone. He’s a level-headed thinking boy who doesn’t bother his head about that kind of nonsense.
—Then he’s not his father’s son, said the little old man.
—I don’t know, I’m sure, said Mr Dedalus, smiling complacently.
—Your father, said the little old man to Stephen, was the boldest flirt in the City of Cork in his day. Do you know that?
Stephen looked down and studied the tiled floor of the bar into which they had drifted.
—Now don’t be putting ideas into his head, said Mr Dedalus. Leave him to his Maker.
—Yerra, sure I wouldn’t put any ideas into his head. I’m old enough to be his grandfather. And I am a grandfather, said the little old man to Stephen. Do you know that?
—Are you? asked Stephen.
—Bedad I am, said the little old man. I have two bouncing grandchildren out at Sunday’s Well. Now, then! What age do you think I am? And I remember seeing your grandfather in his red coat riding out to hounds. That was before you were born.
—Ay, or thought of, said Mr Dedalus.
—Bedad I did, repeated the little old man. And, more than that, I can remember even your great-grandfather, old John Stephen Dedalus, and a fierce old fire-eater he was. Now, then! There’s a memory for you!
—That’s three generations—four generations, said another of the company. Why, Johnny Cashman, you must be nearing the century.
—Well, I’ll tell you the truth, said the little old man. I’m just twenty-seven years of age.
—We’re as old as we feel, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus. And just finish what you have there and we’ll have another. Here, Tim or Tom or whatever your name is, give us the same again here. By God, I don’t feel more than eighteen myself. There’s that son of mine there not half my age and I’m a better man than he is any day of the week.