…from the 4th chapter of Joyce’s “Ulysses,” as Bloom prepares breakfast, his cat lingering by:
Another slice of bread and butter: three, four: right. She didn’t like
her plate full. Right. He turned from the tray, lifted the kettle off
the hob and set it sideways on the fire. It sat there, dull and squat,
its spout stuck out. Cup of tea soon. Good. Mouth dry. The cat walked
stiffly round a leg of the table with tail on high.
–O, there you are, Mr Bloom said, turning from the fire.
The cat mewed in answer and stalked again stiffly round a leg of the
table, mewing. Just how she stalks over my writingtable. Prr. Scratch my
Mr Bloom watched curiously, kindly the lithe black form. Clean to see:
the gloss of her sleek hide, the white button under the butt of her
tail, the green flashing eyes. He bent down to her, his hands on his
–Milk for the pussens, he said.
–Mrkgnao! the cat cried.
They call them stupid. They understand what we say better than we
understand them. She understands all she wants to. Vindictive too.
Cruel. Her nature. Curious mice never squeal. Seem to like it. Wonder
what I look like to her. Height of a tower? No, she can jump me.
–Afraid of the chickens she is, he said mockingly. Afraid of the
chookchooks. I never saw such a stupid pussens as the pussens.
Cruel. Her nature. Curious mice never squeal. Seem to like it.
–Mrkrgnao! the cat said loudly.
She blinked up out of her avid shameclosing eyes, mewing plaintively
and long, showing him her milkwhite teeth. He watched the dark eyeslits
narrowing with greed till her eyes were green stones. Then he went to
the dresser, took the jug Hanlon’s milkman had just filled for him,
poured warmbubbled milk on a saucer and set it slowly on the floor.
–Gurrhr! she cried, running to lap.