How long is Haines going to stay in this tower?
Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder.
-- God, isn't he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you're not a gentleman. God, these bloody English. Bursting with money and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus; you have the real Oxford manner. He can't make you out. O, my name for you is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade.
He shaved warily over his chin.
-- He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is his guncase?
-- A woful lunatic, Mulligan said. Were you in a funk?
-- I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark with a man I don't know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther. You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however. If he stays on here I am off.
Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily.
-- Scutter, he cried thickly.
He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen's upper pocket, said:
-- Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.
Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly. Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said:
-- The bard's noserag. A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen. You can almost taste it, can't you?
He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair oakpale hair stirring slightly.
-- God, he said quietly. Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks. I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look.
Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbour mouth of Kingstown.
-- Our mighty mother, Buck Mulligan said.
He turned abruptly his great searching eyes from the sea to Stephen's face.
-- The aunt thinks you killed your mother, he said. That's why she won't let me have anything to do with you.
-- Someone killed her, Stephen said gloomily.
-- You could have knelt down, damn it, Kinch, when your dying mother asked you, Buck Mulligan said. I'm hyperborean as much as you. But to think of your mother begging you with her last breath to kneel down and pray for her. And you refused. There is something sinister in you.
He broke off and lathered again lightly his farther cheek. A tolerant smile curled his lips.
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