As I come out of Ralli's house I come upon her suddenly as we both are giving alms to a blind beggar. She answers my sudden greeting by turning and averting her black basilisk eyes. E col suo vedere attosca l'uomo quando lo vede. I thank you for the word, messer brunetto.
They spread under my feet carpets for the son of man. They await my passing. She stands in the yellow shadow of the hall, a plaid cloak shielding from chills her sinking shoulders: and as I halt in wonder and look about me she greets me wintrily and passes up the staircase darting at me for an instant out of her sluggish sidelong eyes a jet of liquorish venom.
A soft crumpled peagreen cover drapes the lounge. A narrow Parisian room. The hairdresser lay here but now. I kissed her stocking and the hem of her rustblack dusty skirt. It is the other. She. Gogarty came yesterday to be introduced. Ulysses is the reason. Symbol of the intellectual conscience.... Ireland then? And the husband? Pacing the corridor in list shoes or playing chess against himself. Why are we left here? The hairdresser lay here but now, clutching my head between her knobby knees.... Intellectual symbol of my race. Listen? The plunging gloom has fallen. Listen!
- I am not convinced that such activities of the mind or body can be called unhealthy -
She speaks. A weak voice from beyond the cold stars. Voice of wisdom. Say on! O, say again, making me wise! This voice I never heard.
She coils towards me along the crumpled lounge. I cannot move or speak. Coiling approach of starborn flesh. Adultery of wisdom. No. I will go. I will.
- Jim, love! -
Soft sucking lips kiss my left armpit: a coiling kiss on myriad veins. I burn! I crumple like a burning leaf! From my right armpit a fang of flame leaps out. A starry snake has kissed me: a cold nightsnake. I am lost!
- Nora! -