—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.
—Draw it mild now, Dedalus. I think it’s time for you to take a back seat, said the gentleman who had spoken before.