adelite - a delightful colour word?
U 6.307-8: Cure for a red nose. Drink like the devil till it turns adelite.
In the cab on the way to the cemetery, Bloom thinks of Dignam:
Although the word adelite is so rare that it hasn’t made it into the OED,1 it has been around since 1891 when the mineral so named was first discovered by the Swedish mineralogist Hjalmar Sjögren (1856-1922). The system of mineralogy of James Dwight Dana of 1892 describes it as:
In 1919 Joyce entered "P.D. spent good money colouring. Cure for red nose. Drink like - till it turns adelaide"3 on to a note sheet. In September 1921 he altered the last bit in the second set of proofs from "[...] till it turns puce" via "[...] till it turns adelaide" to "adelite". Both 'puce' and 'adelaide' describe variations of purple. Adelaide turned up fairly regularly then in fashion catalogues and advertisements for clothes. James Napier’s A manual of dyeing and dyeing receipts of 1875 has an entry ‘Light Purple of Adelaide’ (p. 373). The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Friday, May 13 1831 uses the word in an article about Ladies’ dresses:
And in Letitia Mary Bell's The Secret of a Life of 1858 we read:
Whatever Joyce’s reason was for eventually turning ‘adelaide’ into ‘adelite’ (it would not be be the first instance in Ulysses when his hero is verbally accident-prone) it seems rather unlikely that he meant us to believe that Bloom uses the name of a rare mineral only recently discovered in Sweden in his interior monologue to put across that Dignam’s nose was coloured grey through drink. The genesis of this passage indicates that the change intended was from red(hot) to purple.
1 Note: entries for the words Adelaide and adelite were added to the OED online in December 2011 and March 2012 respectively.
2 James Prescott, Exploring James Joyce (1964), p. 109.
3 As the manuscript (JJA 12, p. 38 ) unmistakably shows when properly enlarged, Joyce wrote 'adelaide', not 'adelite'.