The beginning of Lestrygonians finds Bloom one block
north of the Liffey on O'Connell
Street, gazing in the windows of a candy shop that the
narrative refers to as "Graham Lemon's" but that most
people knew as Lemon & Co. A royal license in the shop
window prompts Bloom, in an act of comic subversion, to
picture the British monarch as a grotesquely overgrown child.
Read MoreLooking in the window, Bloom sees "A sugarsticky girl shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother" and thinks that the teacher must be buying them as a "school treat" for his students. Then he reads the sign announcing that the British crown has officially sanctioned the business: "Lozenge and comfit manufacturer to His Majesty the King." Such licenses were, and still are, liberally granted to makers of high-quality products as marketing boons. Bloom takes this one in a comically literal spirit and imagines His Majesty ("God. Save. Our." noble king, he imagines in his mind's ear) "Sitting on his throne sucking red jujubes white." In Circe King Edward VII shows up doing exactly that. The fantasy is goofy but also fitting, considering Edward's insatiable appetites and copious supply of baby fat.
Some candies, similar to gummy bears, are still sold under the name "jujubes." The name goes back at least to the beginning of the 18th century, having been applied then to candies made from gum arabic, sugar, and fruits from the Ziziphus jujuba tree, called red dates, Chinese dates, or jujubes. I have not run across any records suggesting what exact sort of jujube candies might have been sold in 1904.
Lemon's confectionery opened in 1842 and lasted well into the era of mass-produced sweets, finally going out of business in 1984. The candies were produced by its factory on Millmount Avenue in Drumcondra. Bloom thinks of "Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch," the first and last of which need no explanation. Lemon platt, also mentioned in the fourth sentence of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is glossed by Gifford as a "Candy made of plaited sticks of lemon-flavored barley sugar," while Slote cites the definition in the OED: "A flat sugar-stick, flavoured with lemon."
Today, new businesses occupy all the buildings on the first
block of O'Connell Street, but above the ground-floor signage
for the Foot Locker at number 49 one can still see remnants of
the Lemon's shopfront. A sign with several letters missing
proclaims "The Confectioners Hall," and a colored shield
records the street number and the date of establishment. In
1988 Irish sculptor Robin Buick honored the shop with the
first of 14 bronze sidewalk plaques that let pedestrians
follow in Bloom's footsteps.