—Yes, now, Stephen said. We can’t speak here. Come away.
They crossed the quadrangle together without speaking. The bird call from SIEGFRIED whistled softly followed them from the steps of the porch. Cranly turned, and Dixon, who had whistled, called out:
—Where are you fellows off to? What about that game, Cranly?
They parleyed in shouts across the still air about a game of billiards to be played in the Adelphi hotel. Stephen walked on alone and out into the quiet of Kildare Street opposite Maple’s hotel he stood to wait, patient again. The name of the hotel, a colourless polished wood, and its colourless front stung him like a glance of polite disdain. He stared angrily back at the softly lit drawing-room of the hotel in which he imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland housed in calm. They thought of army commissions and land agents: peasants greeted them along the roads in the country; they knew the names of certain French dishes and gave orders to jarvies in high-pitched provincial voices which pierced through their skin-tight accents.
How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over the imaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them, that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under the deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he belonged flitting like bats across the dark country lanes, under trees by the edges of streams and near the pool-mottled bogs. A woman had waited in the doorway as Davin had passed by at night and, offering him a cup of milk, had all but wooed him to her bed; for Davin had the mild eyes of one who could be secret. But him no woman’s eyes had wooed.
His arm was taken in a strong grip and Cranly’s voice said:
—Let us eke go.
They walked southward in silence. Then Cranly said:
—That blithering idiot, Temple! I swear to Moses, do you know, that I’ll be the death of that fellow one time.
But his voice was no longer angry and Stephen wondered was he thinking of her greeting to him under the porch.
They turned to the left and walked on as before. When they had gone on so for some time Stephen said:
—Cranly, I had an unpleasant quarrel this evening.
—With your people? Cranly asked.
—With my mother.
—Yes, Stephen answered.
After a pause Cranly asked:
—What age is your mother?
—Not old, Stephen said. She wishes me to make my easter duty.
—And will you?
—I will not, Stephen said.
—Why not? Cranly said.
—I will not serve, answered Stephen.
—That remark was made before, Cranly said calmly.
—It is made behind now, said Stephen hotly.
Cranly pressed Stephen’s arm, saying:
—Go easy, my dear man. You’re an excitable bloody man, do you know.
He laughed nervously as he spoke and, looking up into Stephen’s face with moved and friendly eyes, said: