—Is the brother with you, Malachi?
—Down in Westmeath. With the Bannons.
—Still there? I got a card from Bannon. Says he found a sweet young thing down there. Photo girl he calls her.
—Snapshot, eh? Brief exposure.
Buck Mulligan sat down to unlace his boots. An elderly man shot up near the spur of rock a blowing red face. He scrambled up by the stones, water glistening on his pate and on its garland of grey hair, water rilling over his chest and paunch and spilling jets out of his black sagging loincloth.
Buck Mulligan made way for him to scramble past and, glancing at Haines and Stephen, crossed himself piously with his thumbnail at brow and lips and breastbone.
—Seymour’s back in town, the young man said, grasping again his spur of rock. Chucked medicine and going in for the army.
—Ah, go to God! Buck Mulligan said.
—Going over next week to stew. You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily?
—Spooning with him last night on the pier. The father is rotto with money.
—Is she up the pole?
—Better ask Seymour that.
—Seymour a bleeding officer! Buck Mulligan said.
He nodded to himself as he drew off his trousers and stood up, saying tritely:
—Redheaded women buck like goats.
He broke off in alarm, feeling his side under his flapping shirt.
—My twelfth rib is gone, he cried. I’m the Uebermensch. Toothless Kinch and I, the supermen.