Mr Bloom admired the caretaker’s prosperous bulk. All want to be on good terms with him. Decent fellow, John O’Connell, real good sort. Keys: like Keyes’s ad: no fear of anyone getting out. No passout checks. Habeas corpus. I must see about that ad after the funeral. Did I write Ballsbridge on the envelope I took to cover when she disturbed me writing to Martha? Hope it’s not chucked in the dead letter office. Be the better of a shave. Grey sprouting beard. That’s the first sign when the hairs come out grey. And temper getting cross. Silver threads among the grey. Fancy being his wife. Wonder he had the gumption to propose to any girl. Come out and live in the graveyard. Dangle that before her. It might thrill her first. Courting death. Shades of night hovering here with all the dead stretched about. The shadows of the tombs when churchyards yawn and Daniel O’Connell must be a descendant I suppose who is this used to say he was a queer breedy man great catholic all the same like a big giant in the dark. Will o’ the wisp. Gas of graves. Want to keep her mind off it to conceive at all. Women especially are so touchy. Tell her a ghost story in bed to make her sleep. Have you ever seen a ghost? Well, I have. It was a pitchdark night. The clock was on the stroke of twelve. Still they’d kiss all right if properly keyed up. Whores in Turkish graveyards. Learn anything if taken young. You might pick up a young widow here. Men like that. Love among the tombstones. Romeo. Spice of pleasure. In the midst of death we are in life. Both ends meet. Tantalising for the poor dead. Smell of grilled beefsteaks to the starving. Gnawing their vitals. Desire to grig people. Molly wanting to do it at the window. Eight children he has anyway.
He has seen a fair share go under in his time, lying around him field after field. Holy fields. More room if they buried them standing. Sitting or kneeling you couldn’t. Standing? His head might come up some day above ground in a landslip with his hand pointing. All honeycombed the ground must be: oblong cells. And very neat he keeps it too: trim grass and edgings. His garden Major Gamble calls Mount Jerome. Well, so it is. Ought to be flowers of sleep. Chinese cemeteries with giant poppies growing produce the best opium Mastiansky told me. The Botanic Gardens are just over there. It’s the blood sinking in the earth gives new life. Same idea those jews they said killed the christian boy. Every man his price. Well preserved fat corpse, gentleman, epicure, invaluable for fruit garden. A bargain. By carcass of William Wilkinson, auditor and accountant, lately deceased, three pounds thirteen and six. With thanks.
Now nearing the end of the chapter I can see light kind of poking through the gloom. Bloom wonders what it’s like to be married to the caretaker, has thoughts about someone picking up a widow, and the concept of the bodies of the dead feeding growth from the earth all show signs however brief that Bloom is turning his thoughts away from death. The phrasing of this passage was a little hard to follow so I checked spark notes just to make sure. It’s worth reading if you’re confused. ( source )
“Same idea those jews they said killed the christian boy” may be an anachronistic reference to Menahem Mendel Beilis, a Russian Jew accused of killing a child and using the blood for passover. ( source ) The incident caused a broad cultural conversation about anti-semitism. A very interesting story and worth reading his wiki. ( wiki )