He walked on through the caseroom passing an old man, bowed, spectacled, aproned. Old Monks, the dayfather. Queer lot of stuff he must have put through his hands in his time: obituary notices, pubs’ ads, speeches, divorce suits, found drowned. Nearing the end of his tether now. Sober serious man with a bit in the savingsbank I’d say. Wife a good cook and washer. Daughter working the machine in the parlour. Plain Jane, no damn nonsense.
I had never heard the term “dayfather” so I wanted to see if I could find some clarification. According to James Joyce Online he is the leading representative of the day staff of a printing house ( source ) The article also states that Joyce’s “Monks” might have been patterned after a real person named Edward Monks, a printer of some note in Dublin at the time Joyce was writing.