Wheezy bell

In Brief

"I pull the wheezy bell of their shuttered cottage: and wait. They take me for a dun, peer out from a coign of vantage": starting here and continuing for 22 short paragraphs, Stephen imagines what it would be like to visit the home of Richie and Sally Goulding. He is not actually standing at their door in Irishtown.

Read More

This is one more instance, then, of Stephen composing little dramatic vignettes out of memory and imagination, just as he does in Telemachus when a remark by Mulligan conjures up a scene of hazing at Oxford, or in Nestor when portraits of horses bring back a scene at a racetrack. There will be many others in Proteus.

In this case, he imagines his relatives peering out from behind shuttered windows, looking to see if a bill collector ("dun") is at the door. Doing his legal work at home in bed, the half-naked Richie orders his son Walter about like a military subordinate, orders Stephen to sit down in a room that has no chair in it, gives orders for his wife (who is busy bathing a baby) to bring whiskey for the visitor, offers him food that the house does not contain. This is not gracious or elegant entertainment.

JH 2012
Detail from photograph of Strasburg Terrace in Irishtown by Patrick Healy, 13 August 1979, published on the Web by the South Dublin County Council. Source: source.southdublinlibraries.ie.