Nice kind of evening feeling. No more wandering about. Just loll there: quiet dusk: let everything rip. Forget. Tell about places you have been, strange customs. The other one, jar on her head, was getting the supper: fruit, olives, lovely cool water out of a well, stonecold like the hole in the wall at Ashtown. Must carry a paper goblet next time I go to the trottingmatches. She listens with big dark soft eyes. Tell her: more and more: all. Then a sigh: silence. Long long long rest.
Going under the railway arch he took out the envelope, tore it swiftly in shreds and scattered them towards the road. The shreds fluttered away, sank in the dank air: a white flutter, then all sank.
Henry Flower. You could tear up a cheque for a hundred pounds in the same way. Simple bit of paper. Lord Iveagh once cashed a sevenfigure cheque for a million in the bank of Ireland. Shows you the money to be made out of porter. Still the other brother lord Ardilaun has to change his shirt four times a day, they say. Skin breeds lice or vermin. A million pounds, wait a moment. Twopence a pint, fourpence a quart, eightpence a gallon of porter, no, one and fourpence a gallon of porter. One and four into twenty: fifteen about. Yes, exactly. Fifteen millions of barrels of porter.
What am I saying barrels? Gallons. About a million barrels all the same.
An incoming train clanked heavily above his head, coach after coach. Barrels bumped in his head: dull porter slopped and churned inside. The bungholes sprang open and a huge dull flood leaked out, flowing together, winding through mudflats all over the level land, a lazy pooling swirl of liquor bearing along wideleaved flowers of its froth.
Bloom seems to be musing about either some past experience he has abroad or a fantasy about being abroad. He mentions strange customs and someone carrying a jar on her head and drawing water up from a well. He then refers to someone listening with dark soft eyes, revealing all the her and then he thinks of a long long long rest. I believe this means death. I’ve looked several different places to find out who exactly he’s referring to but couldn’t find an answer.
The act of tearing up the letter speaks volumes of the guilt that Bloom is feeling about conducting his secret letter writing. He sees the character of Henry Flower as almost a completely separate person. A sort of Mr. Hyde who he somewhat despises but also admires. This is evidenced in his comparison of Henry to a highly regarded businessman and philanthropist of the day Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh (wiki ), and his brother Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun (wiki ). Bloom then spends some time fantasizing about money and booze.
The woman with the water jar is probably Mary Magdalene, remembered from a painting. He just tears up the envelope not the letter.
hey thanks I definitely read into it that he tore up the letter too, but this is my first time reading the book so I’m sure I’m missing things