Brightness falls from the air.
He had not even remembered rightly Nash’s line. All the images it had awakened were false. His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice born of the sweat of sloth.
He came back quickly along the colonnade towards the group of students. Well then, let her go and be damned to her! She could love some clean athlete who washed himself every morning to the waist and had black hair on his chest. Let her.
Cranly had taken another dried fig from the supply in his pocket and was eating it slowly and noisily. Temple sat on the pediment of a pillar, leaning back, his cap pulled down on his sleepy eyes. A squat young man came out of the porch, a leather portfolio tucked under his armpit. He marched towards the group, striking the flags with the heels of his boots and with the ferrule of his heavy umbrella. Then, raising the umbrella in salute, he said to all:
—Good evening, sirs.
He struck the flags again and tittered while his head trembled with a slight nervous movement. The tall consumptive student and Dixon and O’Keeffe were speaking in Irish and did not answer him. Then, turning to Cranly, he said:
—Good evening, particularly to you.
He moved the umbrella in indication and tittered again. Cranly, who was still chewing the fig, answered with loud movements of his jaws.
—Good? Yes. It is a good evening.
The squat student looked at him seriously and shook his umbrella gently and reprovingly.
—I can see, he said, that you are about to make obvious remarks.
—Um, Cranly answered, holding out what remained of the half chewed fig and jerking it towards the squat student’s mouth in sign that he should eat.
The squat student did not eat it but, indulging his special humour, said gravely, still tittering and prodding his phrase with his umbrella:
—Do you intend that…?
He broke off, pointed bluntly to the munched pulp of the fig, and said loudly:
—I allude to that.
—Um, Cranly said as before.
—Do you intend that now, the squat student said, as IPSO FACTO or, let us say, as so to speak?
Dixon turned aside from his group, saying:
—Goggins was waiting for you, Glynn. He has gone round to the Adelphi to look for you and Moynihan. What have you there? he asked, tapping the portfolio under Glynn’s arm.
—Examination papers, Glynn answered. I give them monthly examinations to see that they are profiting by my tuition.
He also tapped the portfolio and coughed gently and smiled.
—Tuition! said Cranly rudely. I suppose you mean the barefooted children that are taught by a bloody ape like you. God help them!
He bit off the rest of the fig and flung away the butt.
—I suffer little children to come unto me, Glynn said amiably.
—A bloody ape, Cranly repeated with emphasis, and a blasphemous bloody ape!
Temple stood up and, pushing past Cranly, addressed Glynn: