—Do you pay rent for this tower?
—Twelve quid, Buck Mulligan said.
—To the secretary of state for war, Stephen added over his shoulder.
They halted while Haines surveyed the tower and said at last:
—Rather bleak in wintertime, I should say. Martello you call it?
—Billy Pitt had them built, Buck Mulligan said, when the French were on the sea. But ours is the omphalos.
—What is your idea of Hamlet? Haines asked Stephen.
—No, no, Buck Mulligan shouted in pain. I’m not equal to Thomas Aquinas and the fiftyfive reasons he has made out to prop it up. Wait till I have a few pints in me first.
He turned to Stephen, saying, as he pulled down neatly the peaks of his primrose waistcoat:
—You couldn’t manage it under three pints, Kinch, could you?
—It has waited so long, Stephen said listlessly, it can wait longer.
—You pique my curiosity, Haines said amiably. Is it some paradox?
—Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde and paradoxes. It’s quite simple. He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father.
—What? Haines said, beginning to point at Stephen. He himself?
Buck Mulligan slung his towel stolewise round his neck and, bending in loose laughter, said to Stephen’s ear:
—O, shade of Kinch the elder! Japhet in search of a father!