What made a crocodile bite the flute of an anchor?
U 16.460: — Why, the sailor said, shifting his partially chewed plug, I seen queer things too, ups and downs. I seen a crocodile bite the fluke of an anchor same as I chew that quid.
for the Eumaeus episode contain the entry:
which the editor Phillip F. Herring associates with the allusion above.1 It was not unusual for Joyce to extract topical references from the English newspapers published while he was about to work on an episode, and so if that is the case here, we might look for key-eating crocodiles in mid to late 1920.
In May 1920 the London Zoological Gardens at Regent’s Park (London Zoo) were proudly displaying to visitors “one of the most curious little creatures in the world”, “Baby Peter”. “Baby Peter” was a baby alligator, not a baby crocodile. A journalist from the Daily Mirror went along to see the curious baby, and wrote a short article about him:
journalist had visited the baby alligator several times, and was fascinated by
the way the alligator’s keeper could stroke its chest and apparently send it
off to sleep. But while he was intrigued by the baby alligator, his attention
was also arrested by two fierce young baby crocodiles:
Whereas “Baby Peter” the alligator was amiable, it was the crocodiles who would try to snap at a bunch of keys dangled in front of them and, exaggerated by the sailor’s characteristic hyperbole, their aggression found its way into Ulysses.
Joyce's Allusions >