a woman helping her husband with a backache

—Down with his aunt Sally, I suppose, Mr Dedalus said, the Goulding faction, the drunken little costdrawer and Crissie, papa’s little lump of dung, the wise child that knows her own father.

Mr Bloom smiled joylessly on Ringsend road. Wallace Bros: the bottleworks: Dodder bridge.

Richie Goulding and the legal bag. Goulding, Collis and Ward he calls the firm. His jokes are getting a bit damp. Great card he was. Waltzing in Stamer street with Ignatius Gallaher on a Sunday morning, the landlady’s two hats pinned on his head. Out on the rampage all night. Beginning to tell on him now: that backache of his, I fear. Wife ironing his back. Thinks he’ll cure it with pills. All breadcrumbs they are. About six hundred per cent profit.

—He’s in with a lowdown crowd, Mr Dedalus snarled. That Mulligan is a contaminated bloody doubledyed ruffian by all accounts. His name stinks all over Dublin. But with the help of God and His blessed mother I’ll make it my business to write a letter one of those days to his mother or his aunt or whatever she is that will open her eye as wide as a gate. I’ll tickle his catastrophe, believe you me.

He cried above the clatter of the wheels:

—I won’t have her bastard of a nephew ruin my son. A counterjumper’s son. Selling tapes in my cousin, Peter Paul M’Swiney’s. Not likely.


Ringsend Road area

( map source )

I looked up a map of Ringsend Rd at the time. Wallace Brothers was a coal store. Interestingly enough I’m personally familiar with that area of Dublin as I stayed just across Ringsend Rd from Wallace Brothers for a few weeks on vacation. The map shows The bottle works and Dodder Bridge. Just across Dodder bridge there’s a really great Pub called the Oarsmen ( site ). I enjoyed an evening pint and dinner there more than a few times. They were even kind enough to keep bringing me drinks and leave me be as I sat and drew the inside of the building for several hours one night. 


I love the visual of a wife holding an iron to her husbands back, being someone who suffered from a back injury and knowing what it can be like to need relief from the pain.

I had never heard the term “counterjumper” before so I looked it up and it’s a derogatory term for a salesman in a shop ( wiki )