Tuesday, 1 October 2013

----Per pax universalis.

----Stephen pointed to the Tsar's photograph and said:

----He has the face of a besotted Christ.

The scorn and anger in his voice brought Cranly's eyes back from a calm survey of the walls of the hall.

----Are you annoyed? he asked.

----No, answered Stephen.

----Are you in bad humour?


----Credo ut vos sanguinarius mendax estis, said Cranly, quia facies vostra monstrat ut vos in damno malo humore estis.

Moynihan, on his way to the table, said in Stephen's ear:

----MacCann is in tiptop form. Ready to shed the last drop. Brand new world. No stimulants and votes for the bitches.

Stephen smiled at the manner of this confidence and, when Moynihan had passed, turned again to meet Cranly's eyes.

----Perhaps you can tell me, he said, why he pours his soul so freely into my ear. Can you?

A dull scowl appeared on Cranly's forehead. He stared at the table where Moynihan had bent to write his name on the roll, and then said flatly:

----A sugar!

----Quis est in malo humore, said Stephen, ego aut vos?

Cranly did not take up the taunt. He brooded sourly on his judgement and repeated with the same flat force:

----A flaming bloody sugar, that's what he is!

It was his epitaph for all dead friendships and Stephen wondered whether it would ever be spoken in the same tone over his memory. The heavy lumpish phrase sank slowly out of hearing like a stone through a quagmire. Stephen saw it sink as he had seen many another, feeling

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