—I am happier than you are, he said. We have committed many errors and many sins. A woman brought sin into the world. For a woman who was no better than she should be, Helen, the runaway wife of Menelaus, ten years the Greeks made war on Troy. A faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough’s wife and her leman, O’Rourke, prince of Breffni. A woman too brought Parnell low. Many errors, many failures but not the one sin. I am a struggler now at the end of my days. But I will fight for the right till the end.
For Ulster will fight And Ulster will be right.
Stephen raised the sheets in his hand.
—Well, sir, he began…
—I foresee, Mr Deasy said, that you will not remain here very long at this work. You were not born to be a teacher, I think. Perhaps I am wrong.
—A learner rather, Stephen said.
And here what will you learn more?
Mr Deasy shook his head.
—Who knows? he said. To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.
Stephen rustled the sheets again.
—As regards these, he began.
—Yes, Mr Deasy said. You have two copies there. If you can have them published at once.
Telegraph. Irish Homestead.
—I will try, Stephen said, and let you know tomorrow. I know two editors slightly.
—That will do, Mr Deasy said briskly. I wrote last night to Mr Field, M.P. There is a meeting of the cattletraders’ association today at the City Arms hotel. I asked him to lay my letter before the meeting. You see if you can get it into your two papers. What are they?
—The Evening Telegraph…
—That will do, Mr Deasy said. There is no time to lose. Now I have to answer that letter from my cousin.
—Good morning, sir, Stephen said, putting the sheets in his pocket. Thank you.
—Not at all, Mr Deasy said as he searched the papers on his desk. I like to break a lance with you, old as I am.
—Good morning, sir, Stephen said again, bowing to his bent back.