Taking Stephen on one side he had the customary doleful ditty to tell. Not as much as a farthing to purchase a night's lodgings. His friends had all deserted him. Furthermore, he had a row with Lenehan and called him to Stephen a mean bloody swab with a sprinkling of other uncalled-for expressions. He was out of a job and implored of Stephen to tell him where on God's earth he could get something, anything at all to do. No, it was the daughter of the mother in the washkitchen that was fostersister to the heir of the house or else they were connected through the mother in some way, both occurrences happening at the same time if the whole thing wasn't a complete fabrication from start to finish. Anyhow, he was ill in.
-- I wouldn't ask you, only, pursued he, on my solemn oath and God knows I'm on the rocks.
-- There'll be a job tomorrow or the next day, Stephen told him, in a boys' school at Dalkey for a gentleman usher. Mr Garret Deasy. Try it. You may mention my name.
-- Ah, God, Corley replied, sure I couldn't teach in a school, man. I was never one of your bright ones, he added with a half laugh. Got stuck twice in the junior at the Christian Brothers.
-- I have no place to sleep myself, Stephen informed him.
Corley, at the first go-off, was inclined to suspect it was something to do with Stephen being fired out of his digs for bringing in a bloody tart off the street. There was a dosshouse in Marlborough street, Mrs Maloney's, but it was only a tanner touch and full of undesirables but M'Conachie told him you got a decent enough do in the Brazen Head over in Winetavern street (which was distantly suggestive to the person addressed of friar Bacon) for a bob. He was starving too though he hadn't said a word about it.
Though this sort of thing went on every other night or very near it still Stephen's feelings got the better of him in a sense though he knew that Corley's brandnew rigmarole, on a par with the others, was hardly deserving of much credence. However, haud ignarus malorum miseris succurrere disco, etcetera, as the Latin poet remarks, especially as luck would have it he got paid his screw after every middle of the month on the sixteenth which was the date of the month as a matter of fact though a good bit of the wherewithal was demolished. But the cream of the joke was nothing would get it Out of Corley's head that he was living in affluence and hadn't a thing to do but hand out the needful - whereas. He put his hand in a pocket anyhow, not with the idea of finding any food there, but thinking he might lend him anything up to a bob or so in lieu so that he might endeavour at all events and get sufficient to eat. But the result was in the negative for, to his chagrin, he found his cash missing. A few broken biscuits were all the result of his investigation. He tried his hardest to recollect for the moment whether he had lost, as well he might have, or left, because in that contingency it was not a pleasant lookout, very much the reverse, in fact. He was altogether too fagged out to institute a thorough search though he tried to recollect about biscuits he dimly remembered. Who now exactly gave them, or where was, or did he buy? However, in another pocket he came across what he surmised in the dark were pennies, erroneously, however, as it turned out.
-- Those are halfcrowns, man, Corley corrected him.
And so in point of fact they turned out to be. Stephen lent him one of them.
-- Thanks, Corley answered. You're a gentleman. I'll pay you back some time. Who's that with you? I saw him a few times in the Bleeding Horse in Camden street with Boylan the billsticker. You might put in a good word for us to get me taken on there. I'd carry a sandwichboard only the girl in the office told me they're full up for the next three weeks, man. God, you've to book ahead, man, you'd think it was for the Carl Rosa. I don't give a shite anyway so long as I get a job even as a crossing sweeper.
Subsequently, being not quite so down in the mouth after the two-and-six he got, he informed Stephen about a fellow by the name of Bags Comisky that he said Stephen knew well out of Fullam's, the shipchandler's bookkeeper there, that used to be often round in Nagle's back with O'Mara and a little chap with a stutter the name of Tighe. Anyhow, he was lagged the night before last and fined ten bob for a drunk and disorderly and refusing to go with the constable.
Mr Bloom in the meanwhile kept dodging about in the vicinity of the cobblestones near the brazier of coke in front of the corporation watchman's sentrybox, who, evidently a glutton for work, it struck him, was having a quiet forty winks for all intents and purposes on his own private account while Dublin slept. He threw an odd eye at the same time now and then at Stephen's anything but immaculately attired interlocutor as if he had seen that nobleman somewhere or other though where he was not in a position to truthfully state nor had he the remotest idea when. Being a levelheaded individual who could give points to not a few in point of shrewd observation, he also remarked on his very dilapidated hat and slouchy wearing apparel generally, testifying to a chronic impecuniosity. Probably he was one of his hangerson but for the matter of that it was merely a question of one preying on his next door neighbour all round, in every deep, so to put it, a deeper depth and for the matter of that if the man in the street chanced to be in the dock himself penal servitude, with or without the option of a fine, would be a very rara avis altogether. In any case he had a consummate amount of cool assurance intercepting people at that hour of the night or morning. Pretty thick that was certainly.
The pair parted company and Stephen rejoined Mr Bloom, who, with his practised eye, was not without perceiving that he had succumbed to the blandiloquence of the other parasite. Alluding to the encounter he said, laughingly, Stephen, that is:
-- He's down on his luck. He asked me to ask you to ask somebody named Boylan, a billsticker, to give him a job as a sandwichman.