The Miracles of Leopold Bloom

A passage from “Circe,” my favorite chapter of Ulysses–

BLOOM: Shoot him! Dog of a christian! So much for M’Intosh!

(A cannonshot. The man in the macintosh disappears. Bloom with his sceptre strikes down poppies. The instantaneous deaths of many powerful enemies, graziers, members of parliament, members of standing committees, are reported. Bloom’s bodyguard distribute Maundy money, commemoration medals, loaves and fishes, temperance badges, expensive Henry Clay cigars, free cowbones for soup, rubber preservatives in sealed envelopes tied with gold thread, butter scotch, pineapple rock, billets doux in the form of cocked hats, readymade suits, porringers of toad in the hole, bottles of Jeyes’ Fluid, purchase stamps, 40 days’ indulgences, spurious coins, dairyfed pork sausages, theatre passes, season tickets available for all tramlines, coupons of the royal and privileged Hungarian lottery, penny dinner counters, cheap reprints of the World’s Twelve Worst Books: Froggy And Fritz (politic), Care of the Baby (infantilic), 50 Meals for 7/6 (culinic), Was Jesus a Sun Myth? (historic), Expel that Pain (medic), Infant’s Compendium of the Universe (cosmic), Let’s All Chortle (hilaric), Canvasser’s Vade Mecum (journalic), Loveletters of Mother Assistant (erotic), Who’s Who in Space (astric), Songs that Reached Our Heart (melodic), Pennywise’s Way to Wealth (parsimonic). A general rush and scramble. Women press forward to touch the hem of Bloom’s robe. The Lady Gwendolen Dubedat bursts through the throng, leaps on his horse and kisses him on both cheeks amid great acclamation. A magnesium flashlight photograph is taken. Babes and sucklings are held up.)

THE WOMEN: Little father! Little father!

THE BABES AND SUCKLINGS:

Clap clap hands till Poldy comes home,
Cakes in his pocket for Leo alone.

(Bloom, bending down, pokes Baby Boardman gently in the stomach.)

BABY BOARDMAN: (Hiccups, curdled milk flowing from his mouth) Hajajaja.

BLOOM: (Shaking hands with a blind stripling) My more than Brother! (Placing his arms round the shoulders of an old couple) Dear old friends! (He plays pussy fourcorners with ragged boys and girls) Peep! Bopeep! (He wheels twins in a perambulator) Ticktacktwo wouldyousetashoe? (He performs juggler’s tricks, draws red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet silk handkerchiefs from his mouth) Roygbiv. 32 feet per second. (He consoles a widow) Absence makes the heart grow younger. (He dances the Highland fling with grotesque antics) Leg it, ye devils! (He kisses the bedsores of a palsied veteran) Honourable wounds! (He trips up a fit policeman) U. p: up. U. p: up. (He whispers in the ear of a blushing waitress and laughs kindly) Ah, naughty, naughty! (He eats a raw turnip offered him by Maurice Butterly, farmer) Fine! Splendid! (He refuses to accept three shillings offered him by Joseph Hynes, journalist) My dear fellow, not at all! (He gives his coat to a beggar) Please accept. (He takes part in a stomach race with elderly male and female cripples) Come on, boys! Wriggle it, girls!

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