Ellen bloom: (In pantomime dame’s stringed mobcap, widow TWANKEY’S crinoline and Bustle, blouse with MUTTONLEG sleeves buttoned behind, grey mittens and cameo brooch, her plaited hair in A CRISPINE net, appears over the staircase banisters, A slanted candlestick in her hand, and cries out in shrill alarm) O blessed Redeemer, what have they done to him! My smelling salts! (She hauls up A reef of skirt and ransacks the pouch of her striped Blay petticoat. A phial, an Agnus DEI, A shrivelled potato and A celluloid doll fall out) Sacred Heart of Mary, where were you at all at all?
(Bloom, mumbling, his eyes downcast, begins to bestow his parcels in his filled pockets but DESISTS, muttering.)
A voice: (Sharply) Poldy!
Bloom: Who? (He ducks and wards off A blow clumsily) At your service.
(He looks up. Beside her
Mirage of DATEPALMS A handsome woman
costume stands before him. Opulent curves fill out her scarlet trousers
and jacket, slashed with gold. A wide yellow cummerbund girdles her. A
white yashmak, violet in the night, covers her face, leaving free only
her large dark eyes and Raven hair.)
Marion: Welly? Mrs Marion from this out, my dear man, when you speak to me. (Satirically) Has poor little hubby cold feet waiting so long?
Bloom: (Shifts from foot to foot) No, no. Not the least little bit.
(He breathes in deep agitation,
swallowing gulps of air, questions,
hopes, CRUBEENS for her supper, things to tell her, excuse, desire,
spellbound. A coin gleams on her forehead. On her feet are jewelled
TOERINGS. Her ankles are linked