|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9||Next|
He could not eat the blackish fish fritters they got on Wednesdays in lent and one of his potatoes had the mark of the spade in it. Yes, he would do what the fellows had told him. He would go up and tell the rector that he had been wrongly punished. A thing like that had been done before by somebody in history, by some great person whose head was in the books of history. And the rector would declare that he had been wrongly punished because the senate and the Roman people always declared that the men who did that had been wrongly punished. Those were the great men whose names were in Richmal Magnall's Questions. History was all about those men and what they did and that was what Peter Parley's Tales about Greece and Rome were all about. Peter Parley himself was on the first page in a picture. There was a road over a heath with grass at the side and little bushes: and Peter Parley had a broad hat like a protestant minister and a big stick and he was walking fast along the road to Greece and Rome.
It was easy what he had to do. All he had to do was when the dinner was over and he came out in his turn to go on walking but not out to the corridor but up the staircase on the right that led to the castle. He had nothing to do but that: to turn to the right and walk fast up the staircase and in half a minute he would be in the low dark narrow corridor that led through the castle to the rector's room. And every fellow had said that it was unfair, even the fellow out of second of grammar who had said that about the senate and the Roman people.
What would happen?
He heard the fellows of the higher line stand up at the top of the refectory and heard their steps as they came down the matting: Paddy Rath and Jimmy Magee and the Spaniard and the Portuguese and the fifth was big Corrigan who was going to be flogged by Mr Gleeson. That was why the prefect of studies had called him a schemer and pandied him for nothing: and, straining his weak eyes, tired with the tears, he watched big Corrigan's broad shoulders and big hanging black head passing in the file. But he had done something and besides Mr Gleeson would not flog him hard: and he remembered how big Corrigan looked in the bath. He had skin the same colour as the turf-coloured bogwater in the shallow end of the bath and when he walked along the side his feet slapped loudly on the wet tiles and at every step his thighs shook a little because he was fat.
The refectory was half empty and the fellows were still passing out in file. He could go up the staircase because there was never a priest or a prefect outside the refectory door. But he could not go. The rector would side with the prefect of studies and think it was a schoolboy trick and then the prefect of studies would come in every day the same, only it would be worse because he would be dreadfully waxy at any fellow going up to the rector about him. The fellows had told him to go but they would not go themselves. They had forgotten all about it. No, it was best to forget all about it and perhaps the prefect of studies had Only said he would come in. No, it was best to hide out of the way because when you were small and young you could often escape that way.
The fellows at his table stood up. He stood up and passed out among them in the file. He had to decide. He was coming near the door. If he went on with the fellows he could never go up to the rector because he could not leave the playground for that. And if he went and was pandied all the same all the fellows would make fun and talk about young Dedalus going up to the rector to tell on the prefect of studies.
He was walking down along the matting and he saw the door before him. It was impossible: he could not. He thought of the baldy head of the prefect of studies with the cruel no-coloured eyes looking at him and he heard the voice of the prefect of studies asking him twice what his name was. Why could he not remember the name when he was told the first time? Was he not listening the first time or was it to make fun out of the name? The great men in the history had names like that and nobody made fun of them. It was his own name that he should have made fun of if he wanted to make fun. Dolan: it was like the name of a woman who washed clothes.
He had reached the door and, turning quickly up to the right, walked up the stairs and, before he could make up his mind to come back, he had entered the low dark narrow corridor that led to the castle. And as he crossed the threshold of the door of the corridor he saw, without turning his head to look, that all the fellows were looking after him as they went filing by.
He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors that were the doors of the rooms of the community. He peered in front of him and right and left through the gloom and thought that those must be portraits. It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired with tears so that he could not see. But he thought they were the portraits of the saints and great men of the order who were looking down on him silently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding an open book and pointing to the words AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM in it; saint Francis Xavier pointing to his chest; Lorenzo Ricci with his berretta on his head like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of holy youth--saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzago, and Blessed John Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they were young, and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a big cloak.
He came out on the landing above the entrance hall and looked about him. That was where Hamilton Rowan had passed and the marks of the soldiers' slugs were there. And it was there that the old servants had seen the ghost in the white cloak of a marshal.
An old servant was sweeping at the end of the landing. He asked him where was the rector's room and the old servant pointed to the door at the far end and looked after him as he went on to it and knocked.
There was no answer. He knocked again more loudly and his heart jumped when he heard a muffled voice say:
He turned the handle and opened the door and fumbled for the handle of the green baize door inside. He found it and pushed it open and went in.
He saw the rector sitting at a desk writing. There was a skull on the desk and a strange solemn smell in the room like the old leather of chairs.
His heart was beating fast on account of the solemn place he was in and the silence of the room: and he looked at the skull and at the rector's kind-looking face.
--Well, my little man, said the rector, what is it?
Stephen swallowed down the thing in his throat and said:
--I broke my glasses, sir.
The rector opened his mouth and said:
Then he smiled and said:
--Well, if we broke our glasses we must write home for a new pair.
--I wrote home, sir, said Stephen, and Father Arnall said I am not to study till they come.
--Quite right! said the rector.
Stephen swallowed down the thing again and tried to keep his legs and his voice from shaking.
--Father Dolan came in today and pandied me because I was not writing my theme.
The rector looked at him in silence and he could feel the blood rising to his face and the tears about to rise to his eyes.
The rector said:
--Your name is Dedalus, isn't it?
--And where did you break your glasses?
--On the cinder-path, sir. A fellow was coming out of the bicycle house and I fell and they got broken. I don't know the fellow's name.
The rector looked at him again in silence. Then he smiled and said:
--O, well, it was a mistake; I am sure Father Dolan did not know.
--But I told him I broke them, sir, and he pandied me.
--Did you tell him that you had written home for a new pair? the rector asked.
--O well then, said the rector, Father Dolan did not understand. You can say that I excuse you from your lessons for a few days.
Stephen said quickly for fear his trembling would prevent him:
--Yes, sir, but Father Dolan said he will come in tomorrow to pandy me again for it.
--Very well, the rector said, it is a mistake and I shall speak to Father Dolan myself. Will that do now?
Stephen felt the tears wetting his eyes and murmured:
--O yes sir, thanks.
The rector held his hand across the side of the desk where the skull was and Stephen, placing his hand in it for a moment, felt a cool moist palm.
--Good day now, said the rector, withdrawing his hand and bowing.
--Good day, sir, said Stephen.
He bowed and walked quietly out of the room, closing the doors carefully and slowly.
But when he had passed the old servant on the landing and was again in the low narrow dark corridor he began to walk faster and faster. Faster and faster he hurried on through the gloom excitedly. He bumped his elbow against the door at the end and, hurrying down the staircase, walked quickly through the two corridors and out into the air.
He could hear the cries of the fellows on the playgrounds. He broke into a run and, running quicker and quicker, ran across the cinderpath and reached the third line playground, panting.
The fellows had seen him running. They closed round him in a ring, pushing one against another to hear.
--Tell us! Tell us!
--What did he say?
--Did you go in?
--What did he say?
--Tell us! Tell us!
He told them what he had said and what the rector had said and, when he had told them, all the fellows flung their caps spinning up into the air and cried:
They caught their caps and sent them up again spinning sky-high and cried again:
They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among them and carried him along till he struggled to get free. And when he had escaped from them they broke away in all directions, flinging their caps again into the air and whistling as they went spinning up and crying:
And they gave three groans for Baldyhead Dolan and three cheers for Conmee and they said he was the decentest rector that was ever in Clongowes.
The cheers died away in the soft grey air. He was alone. He was happy and free; but he would not be anyway proud with Father Dolan. He would be very quiet and obedient: and he wished that he could do something kind for him to show him that he was not proud.
The air was soft and grey and mild and evening was coming. There was the smell of evening in the air, the smell of the fields in the country where they digged up turnips to peel them and eat them when they went out for a walk to Major Barton's, the smell there was in the little wood beyond the pavilion where the gallnuts were.
The fellows were practising long shies and bowling lobs and slow twisters. In the soft grey silence he could hear the bump of the balls: and from here and from there through the quiet air the sound of the cricket bats: pick, pack, pock, puck: like drops of water in a fountain falling softly in the brimming bowl.
|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9||Next|
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man -by- James JoyceBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.