Chase me Charley, chase me Charley, chase me Charley do
U 15.2426-7: Perceive. That is his appropriate sun. Nightbird nightsun nighttown. Chase me, Charley! (he blows into Bloom’s ear) Buzz!
Virag contributes a contemporary catch-phrase “Chase me, Charley!” to Circe. Don Gifford paraphrases Eric Partridge in calling this “a common Edwardian music-hall expression of female high spirits”.
If this were the correct reading of Chase me, Charley then it would clearly be anachronistic in relation to 1904. This is not impossible, but suggests that further research may be desirable.
The song “Chase me, Charlie” was written by C. G. Cotes, composed by Bennett Scott and sung by Miss Childie Stuart. The musical score was published by Francis, Day & Hunter in London in 1899. The “authorised” spelling of the personal name in the score was “Charlie”, though “Charley” (as in Joyce) is of course a common variation.
Miss Childie Stuart was a popular singer, comedienne and dancer of the day, performing throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles. In April 1899 she appeared at the Empire in Belfast. Her “immense success” at the time was particularly based on two songs: “A Tiny Little Scrap of Paper”, and “Chase me, Charlie”.8 It is a matter of record that she appeared in Dublin in 1900 at the Empire Palace, in a show headlined by Miss Daisy Mayer (“Great American Artiste and Sand Dancer”) and Mr. Edwin Boyde (“Rowley’s Son and Rowley Redivivus”), and doubtless regaled the audience with “Chase me, Charlie”.9 But we need not have recourse to this in order to explain Joyce’s familiarity with a common catch-phrase.
Interested in the freaks there, -
1 Ann Kay McGarrity “Chaplin” in A Wake Newslitter (1973), vol. 10 No. 5 October p. 75.
2 Observer (1917), 19 August p. 5.
3 Manchester Guardian (1917), 7 September p. 4.
4 Washington Post (1914), 20 December p. ES14.
5 Essex County Standard (1900), 15 December.
6 Pick-Me-Up (1899), 30 September.
7 Era (1899), 2 September.
8 Era (1899), 15 April.
9 Freeman’s Journal (1900), 20 June.
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