Out in the living room, a nice lady is tuning my piano. This seems to involve playing a long series of two-note intervals hovering around the same few notes. It's like Gregorian chant, weirdly hypnotic.
(The wand in Lynch's hand flashes: a brass poker. Stephen stands at the pianola on which sprawl his hat and ashplant. With two fingers he repeats once more the series of empty fifths. Florry Talbot, a blond feeble goosefat whore in a tatterdemalion gown of mildewed strawberry, lolls spreadeagle in the sofacorner, her limp forearm pendent over the bolster, listening. A heavy stye droops over her sleepy eyelid.)
(Hiccups again with a kick of her horsed foot.) O, excuse!
(Promptly.) Your boy's thinking of you. Tie a knot on your shift.
(Kitty Ricketts bends her head. Her boa uncoils, slides, glides over her shoulder, back, arm, chair to the ground. Lynch lifts the curled caterpillar on his wand. She snakes her neck, nestling. Stephen glances behind at the squatted figure with its cap back to the front.)
As a matter of fact it is of no importance whether Benedetto Marcello found it or made it. The rite is the poet's rest. It may be an old hymn to Demeter or also illustrate Coela enarrant gloriam Domini. It is susceptible of nodes or modes as far apart as hyperphrygian and mixolydian and of texts so divergent as priests haihooping round David's that is Circe's or what am I saying Ceres' altar and David's tip from the stable to his chief bassoonist about the alrightness of his almightiness. Mais nom de nom, that is another pair of trousers. Jetez la gourme. Faut que jeunesse se passe. (He stops, points at Lynch's cap, smiles, laughs.) Which side is your knowledge bump?
(With saturnine spleen.) Bah! It is because it is. Woman's reason. Jewgreek is greekjew. Extremes meet. Death is the highest form of life. Bah!
You remember fairly accurately all my errors, boasts, mistakes. How long shall I continue to close my eyes to disloyalty? Whetstone!
Here's another for you. (He frowns.) The reason is because the fundamental and the dominant are separated by the greatest possible interval which...
Which? Finish. You can't.
(With an effort.) Interval which. Is the greatest possible ellipse. Consistent with. The ultimate return. The octave. Which.
(Outside the gramophone begins to blare The Holy City.)
(Abruptly.) What went forth to the ends of the world to traverse not itself. God, the sun, Shakespeare, a commercial traveller, having itself traversed in reality itself becomes that self. Wait a moment. Wait a second. Damn that fellow's noise in the street. Self which it itself was ineluctably preconditioned to become. Ecco!
(With a mocking whinny of laughter grins at Bloom and Zoe Higgins.) What a learned speech, eh?
Two nights ago I woke in the dark to the sound of furniture falling over. It sounded first in my bedroom, then out in the hall, then in the bedroom again, and I really didn't know what was happening; it's not like I have that much precarious furniture. For a few seconds I thought that the building was collapsing, that Al Qaeda must have come up from Mexico to take out my apartment complex. Then I found my glasses and turned on the light and found the cat sitting in my closet, swiveling his head in confusion and terror. The handle of a paper garment bag was wrapped tight around his torso. I don't know how he got entangled in it, but he had managed to rip the paper to shreds; it must have made a hell of a noise as he tore up and down the hall at Mach 3.