Page:Ulysses, 1922.djvu/298

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Herr Hurhausdirektorpresident Hans Chuechli-Steuerli, Nationalgymnasium-
professordoctor Kriegfried Ueberallgemein. All the delegates without exception
expressed themselves in the strongest possible heterogeneous terms concerning
the nameless barbarity which they had been called upon to witness. An
animated altercation (in which all took part) ensued among F. O. T. E. I.
as to whether the eighth or the ninth of March was the correct date of the
birth of Ireland’s patron saint. In the course of the argument cannonballs,
scimitars, boomerangs, blunderbusses, stinkpots, meatchoppers, umbrellas,
catapults, knuckledusters, sandbags, lumps of pig iron were resorted to and
blows were freely exchanged. The baby policeman, Constable MacFadden,
summoned by special courier from Booterstown, quickly restored order and
with lightning promptitude proposed the seventeenth of the month as a
solution equally honourable for both contending parties. The readywitted
ninefooter’s suggestion at once appealed to all and was unanimously accepted.
Constable MacFadden was heartily congratulated by all the F. O. T. E. I.,
several of whom were bleeding profusely. Commendatore Beninobenone
having been extricated from underneath the presidential armchair, it was
explained by his legal adviser Avvocato Pagamimi that the various articles
secreted in his thirtytwo pockets had been abstracted by him during the affray
from the pockets of his junior colleagues in the hope of bringing them to
their senses. The objects (which included several hundred ladies’ and
gentlemen’s gold and silver watches) were promptly restored to their rightful
owners and general harmony reigned supreme.
       Quietly, unassumingly, Rumbold stepped on to the scaffold in faultless
morning dress and wearing his favourite flower the Gladiolus Cruentus. He
announced his presence by that gentle Rumboldian cough which so many
have tried (unsuccessfully) to imitate short, painstaking yet withal so
characteristic of the man. The arrival of the worldrenowned headsman was
greeted by a roar of acclamation from the huge concourse, the viceregal ladies
waving their handkerchiefs in their excitement while the even more excitable
foreign delegates cheered vociferously in a medley of cries, hoch, banzai, eljen,
zivio, chinchin, polla kronia, hiphip, vive, Allah, amid which the ringing evviva of
the delegate of the land of song (a high double F recalling those piercingly lovely
notes with which the eunuch Catalani beglamoured our greatgreatgrandmothers)
was easily distinguishable. It was exactly seventeen o’clock. The signal for prayer
was then promptly given by megaphone and in an instant all heads were bared,