Stealing upon larks
When Bloom hurries out of the Telegraph office on Middle Abbey Street hoping to waylay Alexander Keyes about the renewal of an ad, Professor MacHugh and Lenehan are amused to see a file of newsboys following him:
As "Small nines" was a late insertion which refers to Bloom's shoe size, it seems likely that "Steal upon larks" describes Bloom's rather than the boys' walk.1 This last expression is documented and explained in Pádraic Colum's My Irish Year, published in 1912.
Though Bloom may not be exactly slow here, his step obviously looks sneaky to the boys and to the observers in the office. We are reminded of the impression Bloom's walk makes on Stephen when he passes through the library gate before him: "step of a pard" (9.1214) .
Joyce's Allusions >