Poor Dignam! His last lie on the earth in his box. When you think of them all it does seem a waste of wood. All gnawed through. They could invent a handsome bier with a kind of panel sliding, let it down that way. Ay but they might object to be buried out of another fellow’s. They’re so particular. Lay me in my native earth. Bit of clay from the holy land. Only a mother and deadborn child ever buried in the one coffin. I see what it means. I see. To protect him as long as possible even in the earth. The Irishman’s house is his coffin. Embalming in catacombs, mummies the same idea.
Mr Bloom stood far back, his hat in his hand, counting the bared heads. Twelve. I’m thirteen. No. The chap in the macintosh is thirteen. Death’s number. Where the deuce did he pop out of? He wasn’t in the chapel, that I’ll swear. Silly superstition that about thirteen.
Nice soft tweed Ned Lambert has in that suit. Tinge of purple. I had one like that when we lived in Lombard street west. Dressy fellow he was once. Used to change three suits in the day. Must get that grey suit of mine turned by Mesias. Hello. It’s dyed. His wife I forgot he’s not married or his landlady ought to have picked out those threads for him.
The coffin dived out of sight, eased down by the men straddled on the gravetrestles. They struggled up and out: and all uncovered. Twenty.
If we were all suddenly somebody else.
Far away a donkey brayed. Rain. No such ass. Never see a dead one, they say. Shame of death. They hide. Also poor papa went away.
Gentle sweet air blew round the bared heads in a whisper. Whisper. The boy by the gravehead held his wreath with both hands staring quietly in the black open space. Mr Bloom moved behind the portly kindly caretaker. Wellcut frockcoat. Weighing them up perhaps to see which will go next. Well, it is a long rest. Feel no more. It’s the moment you feel. Must be damned unpleasant. Can’t believe it at first. Mistake must be: someone else. Try the house opposite. Wait, I wanted to. I haven’t yet. Then darkened deathchamber. Light they want. Whispering around you. Would you like to see a priest? Then rambling and wandering. Delirium all you hid all your life. The death struggle. His sleep is not natural. Press his lower eyelid. Watching is his nose pointed is his jaw sinking are the soles of his feet yellow. Pull the pillow away and finish it off on the floor since he’s doomed. Devil in that picture of sinner’s death showing him a woman. Dying to embrace her in his shirt. Last act of Lucia. Shall I nevermore behold thee? Bam! He expires. Gone at last. People talk about you a bit: forget you. Don’t forget to pray for him. Remember him in your prayers. Even Parnell. Ivy day dying out. Then they follow: dropping into a hole, one after the other.
I tried to find something about mothers who die in childbirth being buried with the child and it seems to be a common practice even to this day.
It’s interesting that Bloom points out that animals withdraw somewhere when they are dying and how he compares that to the fact his father chose to commit suicide in a hotel room, away from his family.
The last act of Lucia refers to the opera Lucia di Lammermoor. In the final act of the opera the male protagonist Edgardo commits suicide when he learns of the death of his star crossed lover Lucia. ( source ) This is the most famous scene from the opera in which it become apparent that Lucia has lost her mind and murdered her bridegroom.