They went past the bleak pulpit of saint Mark’s, under the railway bridge, past the Queen’s theatre: in silence. Hoardings: Eugene Stratton, Mrs Bandmann Palmer. Could I go to see LEAH tonight, I wonder. I said I. Or the Lily of Killarney? Elster Grimes Opera Company. Big powerful change. Wet bright bills for next week. Fun on the Bristol. Martin Cunningham could work a pass for the Gaiety. Have to stand a drink or two. As broad as it’s long.
He’s coming in the afternoon. Her songs.
Plasto’s. Sir Philip Crampton’s memorial fountain bust. Who was he?
—How do you do? Martin Cunningham said, raising his palm to his brow in salute.
—He doesn’t see us, Mr Power said. Yes, he does. How do you do?
—Who? Mr Dedalus asked.
—Blazes Boylan, Mr Power said. There he is airing his quiff.
Just that moment I was thinking.
Mr Dedalus bent across to salute. From the door of the Red Bank the white disc of a straw hat flashed reply: spruce figure: passed.
Mr Bloom reviewed the nails of his left hand, then those of his right hand. The nails, yes. Is there anything more in him that they she sees? Fascination. Worst man in Dublin. That keeps him alive. They sometimes feel what a person is. Instinct. But a type like that. My nails. I am just looking at them: well pared. And after: thinking alone. Body getting a bit softy. I would notice that: from remembering. What causes that? I suppose the skin can’t contract quickly enough when the flesh falls off. But the shape is there. The shape is there still. Shoulders. Hips. Plump. Night of the dance dressing. Shift stuck between the cheeks behind.
He clasped his hands between his knees and, satisfied, sent his vacant glance over their faces.
I looked up both Operas that Bloom mentions. The first, The Lily of Killarney is an opera by Julius Benedict ( source ). It’s interesting that Joyce chose to make this opera appealing to Bloom. Julius Benedict was a German Jewish composer who lived in London. Perhaps Bloom felt some kind of kinship with his ethnicity ( source ). The second Opera was a little harder to find anything about, but I did manage to find a rather favorable review ( source ), a brief description of the play ( source ), and even a poster for a production of the play ( source ). It seems that it was a fairly entertaining minstrel show at the time.
I was excited to draw Blazes “the villain” for the first time, but as a drew him I found myself making him look more a vacuous dandy. Knowing Bloom I don’t really feel that he would see another male challenger to his wife as dark or villainous. If anything I think Bloom would see him in a far more passive aggressive light. Not feeling attacked by Boylan’s superior manhood but confused by Molly’s attraction to him.