The jujube-sucking King
U 8.3-4: Lozenge and comfit manufacturer to His Majesty the King. God. Save. Our. Sitting on his throne sucking red jujubes white.
Bloom stands outside Graham Lemon’s the confectioners in Sackville Street, conjuring up an image of King Edward VII sucking jujubes. Jujubes are pastilles sold as sweets or as medicinal lozenges, especially for coughs, and they featured regularly in the newspaper advertisements of Lemon and other confectioners in Dublin at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gordon Holmes, Senior Physician to Dublin’s Municipal Throat and Ear Infirmary, strongly advised the use of “Epps’s Glycerine Jujubes” in numerous advertisements in the 1880s: the “glycerine, in these agreeable confections, being in proximity to the glands at the moment they are excited by the act of sucking, becomes actively healing”.1
From the mid nineteenth century the flavouring of these jujube pastilles was derived not from the original jujube fruit (resembling a plum), but from raspberries, redcurrants, and other ingredients. The “white jujube” was transparent, made from gum Arabic, sugar, water, and a tincture of orange-flower water.
Jubube. A fruit, resembling a small plum, produced by various species of Zizyphus. Combined with sugar, it forms the jujube paste of the shops, when genuine; but that now almost always sold under the name is a mixture of gum and sugar, slightly coloured and flavoured.
Arnold J. Cooley and J. C. Brough Cooley’s Cyclopaedia of Practical Receipts, Processes, and Collateral Information (1844: ed. 4) p. 807 (see also p. 1035)
But was Joyce inventing the King’s predilection for red and white pastilles? Lemon’s of Sackville Street had been promoting their royal connections since the 1850s:
BATH PIPE for COUGHS and COLDS, SOLD
BY GRAHAM LEMON AND COMPANY,
COMFIT MAKERS TO THE QUEEN,
LOZENGE MANUFACTURERS TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT
Nation (1853) 19 November p. 175
and other Dublin confectioners had attracted illustrious patronage. The Freeman’s Journal announced, on 26 February, 1880, that:
The Empress of Austria has been pleased to extend her patronage to the establishment of Mr. A. Fitzpatrick, lozenge and comfit manufacturer, 128 Stephen’s-green. (p. 3)
But confirmation of Edward VIIth's love of jujubes comes from poet, equstrian, and journalist Nannie Lambert Power O'Donoghue, writing in the “Social & Personal” column of the Dublin Daily Express, on 13 August 1906:
She calls him 'Fonsy'! an excited lady exclaimed on Thursday on the lawn, and the announcement was succeeded by sundry other telling items of information […] "The King is a baby in his love for sweets; he had a pocketful of ‘bulls’ eyes’ this morning!" "He had crimson jujubes yesterday, and gave one to Lady Nemo’s poodle just to see it make faces!"
Joyce elaborates the picture slightly, by imagining the King sucking jujubes on the throne, but he is quite accurate in his identification of the royal sweets of choice.
1 Irish Times (1882), 9 February p. 3.
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