Mr Bloom moved forward, raising his troubled eyes. Think no more about that. After one. Timeball on the ballastoffice is down. Dunsink time. Fascinating little book that is of sir Robert Ball’s. Parallax. I never exactly understood. There’s a priest. Could ask him. Par it’s Greek: parallel, parallax. Met him pike hoses she called it till I told her about the transmigration. O rocks!
Mr Bloom smiled O rocks at two windows of the ballastoffice. She’s right after all. Only big words for ordinary things on account of the sound. She’s not exactly witty. Can be rude too. Blurt out what I was thinking. Still, I don’t know. She used to say Ben Dollard had a base barreltone voice. He has legs like barrels and you’d think he was singing into a barrel. Now, isn’t that wit. They used to call him big Ben. Not half as witty as calling him base barreltone. Appetite like an albatross. Get outside of a baron of beef. Powerful man he was at stowing away number one Bass. Barrel of Bass. See? It all works out.
A procession of whitesmocked sandwichmen marched slowly towards him along the gutter, scarlet sashes across their boards. Bargains. Like that priest they are this morning: we have sinned: we have suffered. He read the scarlet letters on their five tall white hats: H. E. L. Y. S. Wisdom Hely’s. Y lagging behind drew a chunk of bread from under his foreboard, crammed it into his mouth and munched as he walked. Our staple food. Three bob a day, walking along the gutters, street after street. Just keep skin and bone together, bread and skilly. They are not Boyl: no, M’Glade’s men. Doesn’t bring in any business either. I suggested to him about a transparent showcart with two smart girls sitting inside writing letters, copybooks, envelopes, blottingpaper. I bet that would have caught on. Smart girls writing something catch the eye at once. Everyone dying to know what she’s writing. Get twenty of them round you if you stare at nothing. Have a finger in the pie. Women too. Curiosity. Pillar of salt. Wouldn’t have it of course because he didn’t think of it himself first. Or the inkbottle I suggested with a false stain of black celluloid. His ideas for ads like Plumtree’s potted under the obituaries, cold meat department. You can’t lick ’em. What? Our envelopes. Hello, Jones, where are you going? Can’t stop, Robinson, I am hastening to purchase the only reliable inkeraser Kansell, sold by Hely’s Ltd, 85 Dame street. Well out of that ruck I am. Devil of a job it was collecting accounts of those convents. Tranquilla convent. That was a nice nun there, really sweet face. Wimple suited her small head. Sister? Sister? I am sure she was crossed in love by her eyes. Very hard to bargain with that sort of a woman. I disturbed her at her devotions that morning. But glad to communicate with the outside world. Our great day, she said. Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Sweet name too: caramel. She knew I, I think she knew by the way she. If she had married she would have changed. I suppose they really were short of money. Fried everything in the best butter all the same. No lard for them. My heart’s broke eating dripping. They like buttering themselves in and out. Molly tasting it, her veil up. Sister? Pat Claffey, the pawnbroker’s daughter. It was a nun they say invented barbed wire.
Robert Stawell Ball was an Irish astronomer and the discoverer of Screw theory, the algebraic calculation of a pair of vectors. (source)
I also found an interesting article on the literary history of barbed wire as a metaphor. The thing that protects because it is in itself dangerous. (source)