(Abruptly.) What went forth to the ends of the world to traverse not itself. God, the sun, Shakespeare, a commercial traveller, having itself traversed in reality itself becomes that self. Wait a moment. Wait a second. Damn that fellow's noise in the street. Self which it itself was ineluctably preconditioned to become. Ecco!
(With a mocking whinny of laughter grins at Bloom and Zoe Higgins.) What a learned speech, eh?
(briskly) God help your head, he knows more than you have forgotten."
"(With obese stupidity Florry Talbot regards Stephen.)
They say the last day is coming this summer.
(explodes in laughter) Great unjust God!
(offended) Well, it was in the papers about Antichrist. O, my foot's tickling."
"(Ragged barefoot newsboys, jogging a wagtail kite, patter past, yelling.)
Stop press edition. Result of the rockinghorse races. Sea serpent in the royal canal. Safe arrival of Antichrist.
(Stephen turns and sees Bloom.)
A time, times and half a time." (U15.2137)
"(Reuben J Antichrist, wandering jew, a clutching hand open on his spine, stumps forward. Across his loins is slung a pilgrim's wallet from which protrude promissory notes and dishonoured bills. Aloft over his shoulder he bears a long boatpole from the hook of which the sodden huddled mass of his only son, saved from Liffey waters, hangs from the slack of its breeches."
""A hobgoblin in the image of Punch Costello, hipshot, crookbacked, hydrocephalic, prognathic with receding forehead and Ally Sloper nose, tumbles in somersaults through the gathering darkness.)
(his jaws chattering, capers to and fro, goggling his eyes, squeaking, kangaroohopping with outstretched clutching arms, then all at once thrusts his lipless face through the fork of his thighs)"
"Il vient! C'est moi! L'homme qui rit! L'homme primigène! (He whirls round and round with dervish howls.)"
"Sieurs et dames, faites vos jeux! (He crouches juggling."
"Tiny roulette planets fly from his hands.)"
"Les jeux sont faits! (The planets rush together, uttering crepitant cracks.) Rien va plus! "
"(The planets, buoyant balloons, sail swollen up and away. He springs off into vacuum.)
(Sinking into torpor, crosses herself secretly.) The end of the world!
(A female tepid effluvium leaks out from her."
"Nebulous obscurity occupies space. Through the drifting fog without the gramophone blares over coughs and feetshuffling.)"
Open your gates and sing
"(A rocket rushes up the sky and bursts. A white star falls from it, proclaiming the consummation of all things and second coming of Elijah." (U15.2174)
On May 19th 1910, the Earth was (accurately) predicted to pass through the tail of Halley's Comet, the most intimate contact between Earth and a comet in recorded history. As the poisonous gas cyanogen had been recently detected in Moorehouse's comet (1908), there was widespread panic, and dire predictions that the end of the world was coming.
"Along an infinite invisible tightrope taut from zenith to nadir the End of the World,"
"a twoheaded octopus in gillie's kilts, busby and tartan filibegs, whirls through the murk, head over heels, in the form of the Three Legs of Man.)
THE END OF THE WORLD
(With a Scotch accent.) Wha'll dance the keel row, the keel row, the keel row?"
"(Over the possing drift and choking breathcoughs, Elijah's voice, harsh as a corncrake's, jars on high. Perspiring in a loose lawn surplice with funnel sleeves he is seen, vergerfaced, above a rostrum about which the banner of old glory is draped. He thumps the parapet.)"