As Stephen tries to answer his question "What she?" (i.e., to which young woman in particular might he be addressing his ardent but hopelessly metaphysical words?), he thinks of a bookish "virgin at Hodges Figgis' window" whom he spotted three days earlier and gave a "Keen glance." Hodges, Figgis & Co. was a bookseller and publisher on Grafton Street, the elegant shopping mecca in the SE part of central Dublin. The shop now lives on Dawson Street.
Stephen seems to have been inside the shop, because he saw the girl through the window, "looking in for one of the alphabet books you were going to write" (perhaps a wry reference to the books he was "going to write with letters for titles," mentioned earlier in Proteus). It is the first of several bookish locales for Stephen in the novel, followed by the library in Scylla and Charybdis, and a bookseller's cart in Wandering Rocks.