Paddy Dignam's funeral (version two):
Carriage seating in Hades
U 6.8: Are we all here now? Martin Cunningham asked. Come along, Bloom.
Martin Cunningham, first, poked his silkhatted head into the creaking carriage and, entering deftly, seated himself. Mr Power stepped in after him, curving his height with care.
—Come on, Simon.
—After you, Mr Bloom said.
Mr Dedalus covered himself quickly and got in, saying:
—Are we all here now? Martin Cunningham asked. Come along, Bloom. (U 6.1-8)
So begins the “Hades” episode of Ulysses, outside Paddy Dignam’s house before the funeral procession. Because Joyce did not specify where each mourner sat in the carriage, the reader was left to infer from the clues provided in the text.
In this piece I will put forward my own proposal of the seating allocation in the carriage, by examining the text for visual, auditory, tactile and, in one instance, olfactory clues.
Given his privileged childhood, Joyce would have been aware of the order of precedence in the allocation of seating in a carriage, which is well documented in Victorian etiquette books. This example is from The Girl’s Own Outdoor Book (1889):
The ‘place of honour' is at the back of the carriage, facing the horses, and it is reserved for the person of highest rank, the elderly, or the matrons of the party. The front seat, with the back to the horses, is called that of ‘youth and beauty;’ and if there be a gentleman, it is here that he must sit, married or unmarried, so long as there are two ladies to occupy the back seat.1
To this end, I have proposed the following configuration:2
Here is an example of a typical carriage of the time. It is from Bloomsday, 1954, with writer
Anthony Cronin and poet Patrick Kavanagh in the jarvey seat, where the driver would sit.
Source: National Library of Ireland
I have reproduced it here as a mirror image, to show Bloom’s position on the nearside, facing backwards.
We will now test this proposed seating by close examination of the text of the episode.
Here is a map of the overall route of the funeral procession.3 The buildings and landmarks on the nearside of the carriage are shown in red; those on the offside are in green; people encountered along the way are in blue. These will be discussed in detail in the following pages.
Map from James Joyces Dublin: see note 3.
— What way is he taking us? Mr Power asked through both windows.
— Irishtown, Martin Cunningham said. Ringsend. Brunswick street. (U 6.33-4)
The carriage was waiting outside the Dignam house, facing towards Tritonville Road, Irishtown, its left-hand door over the kerb. The mourners would therefore have entered by that door.
Cunningham was anxious to get moving, having already taken his seat, followed by Power:
— Come on, Simon.
— After you, Mr Bloom said.
Mr Dedalus covered himself quickly and got in, saying:
— Yes, yes.
— Are we all here now? Martin Cunningham asked. Come along, Bloom. (U 6.4-8)
Cunningham, as self-appointed leader, entered first and moved across to take his place on right-hand side of the seat of honour, facing the horses. Power followed, taking the nearside place alongside Cunningham. Next came Dedalus, occupying the rear-facing offside place, opposite Cunningham. Bloom, having deferred to Dedalus, went last, sitting into the vacant nearside spot, with his back to the horses.
Here is another lesson in carriage etiquette from the publication referenced earlier, The Girl’s Own Outdoor Book:
Simple as it may seem to those who have been accustomed to the use of a carriage from childhood, it may be expedient for others to tell them how to enter and where to place themselves. The choice of the foot to be placed on the carriage step must be determined by the seat to be taken. If that facing the horses, place the right foot on the step and the left into the carriage; if with the back to the horses, the left foot should be placed on the step and the right into the carriage.4
This instruction was clearly intended for entry through the right-hand (offside) door. Since the nearside door was used at Dignam’s, Bloom would have entered in this manner: placed his right hand on the frame of the door window, which was open (U 6.119); raised himself on to the step using his right foot; stepped into the carriage, left foot first, still holding the door; sat back into the vacant place and “pulled the door to after him.” (U 6.9-10) Bloom was in the most convenient position to pull the door to after him; since the doors were hinged near the back seat, anyone in that seat would have difficulty pulling the door shut as he sat down.
As the carriages moved off, Bloom, seated overlooking the kerb outside the Dignam house, was well placed to observe as the “blinds of the avenue passed and number nine with its craped knocker, door ajar.” (U 6.26-7)5
Stephen near Watery Lane
They proceeded along Newbridge Avenue, Tritonville Road and Irishtown Road. The carriage “swerved from the tramtrack and reached the smoother road past Watery lane”, where “Mr Bloom at gaze saw a lithe young man, clad in mourning, a wide hat.” (U 6.38-40)
— There's a friend of yours gone by, Dedalus, he said.
— Who is that?
— Your son and heir.
— Where is he? Mr Dedalus said, stretching over across. (U 6.41-4)
While Bloom could easily see Stephen through the open window beside him, Dedalus, on the offside, had to stretch over across [Bloom’s lap] in a vain attempt to glimpse his son.
Regarding Bloom seeing Stephen “at gaze”, Brown and Knuth interpret this as seeing Stephen in the distance.6 The Oxford English Dictionary contains a few entries for “gaze,” but only one for “at gaze.” None of these refer to distance. The OED definition of “at gaze” is:
said of a deer (now chiefly Heraldry), also of persons: in the attitude of gazing, esp. in wonder, expectancy, bewilderment, etc.7
If we look to heraldry for enlightenment, we get a more a detailed definition of “at gaze”.
“[A stag] is said to be at gaze when it is statant [standing] with the head turned to face the spectator.”
These are the accompanying explanatory drawings.8
So, we should assume that Stephen was not at a distance from the carriage, rather that he had “gone by” (U 6.41) close to Bloom’s nearside window, as he looked at gaze (head turned sideways, and perhaps also in astonishment) at him.9
Considering Joyce’s well reported interest in heraldry, it is likely that he had a heraldic theme in mind when he wrote this phrase. Indeed, in the corresponding episode, “Proteus”, he has Stephen use his imagination to conjure up the transformation of a dog into a buck on an imaginary coat of arms:
“[The dog] turned, bounded back, came nearer, trotted on twinkling shanks. On a field tenney a buck, trippant, proper, unattired.10(U 3.335-7)
He ceased. Mr Bloom glanced from his angry moustache to Mr Power's mild face and Martin Cunningham's eyes and beard, gravely shaking. (U 6.72-4)
People may argue the that if this seating arrangement was valid, Bloom would glance at his companions in clockwise order: from Dedalus to Cunningham opposite, and lastly to Power, directly across from Bloom. But we should remember that Dedalus has just finished a ferocious rant against Mulligan:
He cried above the clatter of the wheels:
— I won’t have her bastard of a nephew ruin my son. A counterjumper's son. Selling tapes in my cousin, Peter Paul M'Swiney's. Not likely. (U 6.68-70)
Dedalus must have been screaming at the top of his voice, which would have been disconcerting for his fellow mourners. It is not surprising then that Bloom’s eyes would dart about looking for some kind of reassurance from Simon’s friends. Cunningham’s beard, “gravely shaking,” testifies to his disapproval of Dedalus’ outburst. He may also have been signalling to Bloom to remain silent, as he and Power did, and allow Dedalus to calm down.
Grand Canal Bridge
The carriage now turns left and passes Wallace Brothers and bottleworks on Dedalus and Cunningham’s side, the offside. They cross the bridge over the Dodder river (U 6.54-5) and travel along Ringsend road until
The carriage halted short.
— What's wrong?
— We're stopped.
— Where are we?
Mr Bloom put his head out of the window.
— The grand canal, he said.
Gasworks. (U 6.115-21)
It is obvious that Bloom cannot see the gasworks, which are on the offside across the bridge. But Bloom made no such claim. The fact is that, as his head was out the window, he could smell the gasworks. Gasworks were notoriously malodorous, emitting hydrogen sulphide into the atmosphere, giving the air the smell of rotten eggs. “Whooping cough they say it cures.” (U 6.121) This confirms that he can smell the pungent air and it brings that old folk remedy to mind.
“Dogs’ home over there” (U 6.125)
If Bloom’s head had been out the opposite window, he would be looking at the gasworks. In that case his musing “dogs home over there” would imply that it was over there in the vicinity of the gasworks. This is patently untrue, as the map shows that it is across the dock a fair distance from the gasworks and only visible (if indeed it is visible) from the nearside window.
It is debatable whether he could see the dogs’ home on the far side of the dock, but he obviously knew it was there. Perhaps his father had adopted his dog from there: “Poor old Athos! Be good to Athos, Leopold, is my last wish.” (U 6.125-6)
This is a 1926 photograph11 looking in the same general direction as Bloom, showing the dogs’ home he is looking towards and the gasworks that he cannot see (but can smell).
The veiled sun
Mr Dedalus, peering through his glasses towards the veiled sun, hurled a mute curse at the sky.
— It's as uncertain as a child's bottom, he said. (U 6.136-8)
At that time (11.15 am) on Bloomsday, the sun was high in the sky to the south-south-east. Dedalus was in the perfect position for the veiled sun to shine directly into his eyes through the nearside window. Anyone in the back seat, especially the nearside place, would have had to turn his body and neck in an awkward fashion to observe the sun.
The carriage moved on into Great Brunswick Street, past a national school, Meade’s yard, and the hackney hazard. (U 6.171) Bloom had been mentally listing these as he watched through his open nearside window, until his view was abruptly blocked:
A pointsman's back straightened itself upright suddenly against a tramway standard by Mr Bloom's window. (U 6.175-6)
While the pointsman could have been on either side of the carriage – because there were points on both sides – with Bloom argued to be at the nearside window facing backwards, the pointsman would have been bending down to change over the points in Westland Row. This would have the effect of joining the Westland Row tracks to either Great Brunswick Street or Lombard Street, depending on the tram destination.
Perhaps because he was startled by the pointsman, Bloom turned his gaze to the offside window to see the Antient Concert Rooms and St Mark’s church; then back to his own side; the Queens’s Theatre; then to his offside again; Plasto’s and the Crampton memorial.
The carriage reached the end of Great Brunswick Street, where it gave on to D’Olier Street.
— How do you do? Martin Cunningham said, raising his palm to his brow in salute.
— He doesn't see us, Mr Power said. Yes, he does. How do you do? (U 6.192-4)
Cunningham, facing forward on the offside, was best placed to spot Boylan at the door of the Red Bank restaurant. Note that Dedalus, opposite Cunningham, “bent across” to see Boylan (U 6.198), whereas at Watery Lane, he stretched “over across” in an effort to see his son. (U 6.44) This is Joyce’s fine distinction between someone looking out an adjacent window and someone looking out an opposite one.
Bloom fortuitous placement meant that he was able to studiously avoid Boylan’s sight, busying himself by surveying his nails (U 6.200); we know that this was his intention, from the panic attack he suffered on catching a glimpse of Boylan at the end of “Lestrygonians”. (U 8.1168-93)
Smith O’Brien statue
They continued down D’Olier Street towards O’Connell Bridge. A statue of William Smith O’Brien stood on the intersection of D’Olier Street, Westmoreland Street and O’Connell Bridge.
Smith O'Brien. Someone has laid a bunch of flowers there. Woman. Must be his deathday. (U 6.226-7)
If the statue was on the offside as the carriage passed it, as all the other statuary was, it might pose a problem for the seating proposed here: while Bloom would be able to see the statue through the offside window, it is probable that the flowers at its base would be hidden by the carriage bodywork. If there was evidence that the carriage could pass to the right of the O’Brien statue, it would resolve this dilemma.
Source: Museum of New Zealand
And here is photographic evidence.13 The Smith O’Brien statue is in the foreground; the O’Connell monument (U 6.249) and Nelson’s Pillar (U 6.293) are in the background.
The horse-drawn cart at the bottom of the photo is exiting D’Olier Street. The funeral carriages would follow the same line as the cart, “wheeling by Farrell's statue” (U 6.228) and turning right onto the western carriageway of O’Connell Bridge.14 Note that the front of the O’Brien statue is facing west; flowers would normally be laid at that side of the statue.
Bloom would be able to see the flowers through the nearside window as the carriage rounded the statue.
Reuben J Dodd
The carriage crossed O’Connell Bridge on to Lower O’Connell Street (officially named Sackville Street, but universally known as O’Connell Street). On the right was the memorial to Daniel O’Connell, known as The Liberator for his championing of Catholic Emancipation.
They passed under the hugecloaked Liberator's form.
Martin Cunningham nudged Mr Power.
— Of the tribe of Reuben, he said.
A tall blackbearded figure, bent on a stick, stumping round the corner of Elvery's Elephant house, showed them a curved hand open on his spine.
— In all his pristine beauty, Mr Power said. (U 6.251-4)
Cunningham nudging Power is further affirmation that they are side by side. Initially only Cunningham and Power would have been able to see Reuben from their back seat.
When the carriage moved on a short distance, Dedalus, facing rearwards, could now see Reuben’s back through the nearside window as he walked away down Abbey Street.
Mr Dedalus looked after the stumping figure and said mildly:
—The devil break the hasp of your back! (U 6.255-6)
“Dead side of the street this.”
They passed Nelson’s Pillar on the right (U 6.294) at the bottom of Upper O’Connell Street.
Dead side of the street this [my emphasis]. Dull business by day, land agents, temperance hotel, Falconer's railway guide, civil service college, Gill's, catholic club, the industrious blind. (U 6.316-8)
This is convincing evidence that Bloom is in a nearside seat, adjacent to the buildings on the west side of the street. As he gazed out his nearside window, he listed off the dull businesses he passed:
Land agents: No. 60. Askin, Paul & Son
Temperance Hotel: No. 56, Edinburgh Temperance Hotel
Falconer’s: No. 53, Falconer, John, printer, publisher, wholesale stationer
Civil Service College: No. 51, Maguire’s Civil Service College
Gill’s: No. 50, Gill, M H & Son, wholesale and retail booksellers, publishers, printers, bookbinders
Catholic Club: No 42, Catholic Commercial Club
Industrious Blind: No.41, Richmond National Institution for the Instruction of the Industrious Blind15
Having passed the Father Mathew statue and the Parnell monument foundation stone to their offside, the carriage carried on to Rutland Square. A hearse carrying a child’s white coffin sped by Dedalus and Cunningham’s offside window, drawing sympathetic comments from both. (U 6.321-31) Because it passed in a hurry, Bloom was expecting the hearse to be there when they arrived at the cemetery: “Where is that child's funeral disappeared to?” (U 6.506)
Blessington Street Basin
They go on briskly by North Frederick Street, Blessington Street and Berkeley Street, where music can be heard through Bloom’s open nearside window. It is from a streetorgan near Blessington Street basin, a Dublin Corporation reservoir. (U 6.372-5)
As Bloom sees the west end of Eccles Street on the offside, he muses that his house is down there, as is the Mater Hospital. (U 6.375-6)
They turn into North Circular Road where their progress is impeded by a drove of cattle and sheep heading for the North Wall and on to England for slaughter. (U 6.384-99)
Crossguns Bridge over the Royal Canal
At Dunphy’s corner they turn right into Phibsborough Road and carry on to Crossguns Bridge.
Water rushed roaring through the sluices. A man stood on his dropping barge, between clamps of turf. (U 6.439-40)
The canal lock is on the western side of Crossguns Bridge, Bloom and Power’s side, so they would be in the better positions to see the bargeman dropping to the lower level in the lock.
They continued to Prospect Road, past the Brian Boroimhe public house on the nearside (U 6.454) before the carriage steered left for Finglas Road. On the offside there was a stonecutter’s yard, the property of monumental builder and sculptor Thomas Dennany.
Through the offside window Mr Power pointed out the house on Bengal Terrace where Thomas Childs was murdered. (U 6.469)
There is no evidence that they made a U-turn at Glasnevin, so we assume that the carriage crossed to the right-hand side of the road, where the metal rim of an offside wheel grated against the kerb.
The felly harshed against the curbstone: stopped. Martin Cunningham put out his arm and, wrenching back the handle, shoved the door open with his knee. He stepped out. Mr Power and Mr Dedalus followed. (U 6.490-3)
Because he was on the nearside, farthest away from the open door, Bloom alighted last, after a slight delay to transfer the lemon soap from his hip pocket to his handkerchief pocket. (U 6 494-7)
A 1904 photograph of the entrance to Glasnevin Cemetery, showing the curbstone.16 Paddy Dignam’s funeral would have come from the right of the picture.
This seating arrangement, first mooted in the opening paragraphs, withstands all the tests it has undergone.
Cunningham and Power took the back seat, Cunningham on the right.
Dedalus and Bloom sat with their backs to the horses, Bloom on the nearside.
Here are examples from the text that support this seating arrangement:
After Bloom saw Stephen go by on his side, Dedalus, sitting next to Bloom, has to stretch “over across” to see out Bloom’s window; later he simply bent across toward Cuningham opposite to see Boylan out his own window.
On seeing Reuben J Dodd, Cunningham nudged Power, confirming that they were side by side.
At the Grand Canal bridge, Dedalus was in the only place in the carriage where the sun would shine directly into his eyes.
At the cemetery, “Martin Cunningham put out his arm and, wrenching back the handle, shoved the door open with his knee.” He would not be able to perform these actions from a backward facing seat: since the door was hinged near the back seat, he would not a) put out his arm, because the handle would be near his arm; b) wrench back the handle, rather he would push it forward; or c) shove the door open with his knee. He may have been able to push it open a little from the front seat, but only from the back seat could he shove the door open with his knee.
Additionally, what each mourner is reported as seeing is compatible with this seating plan:
Bloom does not see the gasworks because he is looking out the window away from them; however, he can mentally note them because he can smell their emissions, as evidenced by his recalling that the fumes supposedly cure croup.
“Dogs’ home over there” tallies with the fact that Blooms is looking across the dock to Grand Canal Quay, where the dogs’ home is situated.
The hackney hazard outside Westland Row station was close to Blooms window as they passed, so he was able to note that only two carriages were there (U 6.171), presumably fewer than when he passed them earlier. (U. 4.210-20)
The pointsman who stood up straight in Westland Row would have been by Bloom’s nearside window. He startled Bloom, causing his focus to shift to the far window.
Cunningham’s sighting of Boylan through the offside window, and Dedalus then saluting him from the seat opposite, is in line with the proposed seating. Also, Bloom being able to hide from Boylan at that point is consistent with the seating plan.
With the photographic evidence that the carriage could pass to the right of the Smith O’Brien statue, Bloom seeing the flowers at its base conforms with the seating plan.
Cunningham sighted Dodd first through the nearside window because he was facing forward; Dedalus then seeing and cursing him makes sense when we know he could only see him from his back-facing seat when the carriage had moved on past the junction.
Bloom mentally noting a series of addresses close to his window on the west side of Upper O’Connell Street is convincing evidence that he is in a nearside place in the carriage.
Similarly, the barge in the Royal Canal lock is closer to Bloom and Power’s side, so they could better see the bargeman dropping down a level.
Overall, Joyce provided ample clues for the discerning reader that the quartet took their seats in accordance with the accepted practice of the day.
1 Charles Peters (ed.), The Girl’s Own Outdoor Book (London, The Religious Tract Society, 1889), p. 227.
2 Carriage diagrams are reproduced from Paddy Dignam's Funeral by Harald Beck and John Simpson in James Joyce Online Notes. By kind permission.
3 Ian Gunn and Clive Hart, with Harald Beck, James Joyce’s Dublin, A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses, 2nd edition (Split Pea Press, 2022), p. 42. I am deeply indebted to Ian, the late Clive Hart and Harald; without their exhaustive guide, consulted extensively, this paper would not have been written.
4 Peters, p. 227
5 All maps from here on are from the Ordnance Survey Ireland 25-inch series, 1897-1913. Downloaded from https://webapps.geohive.ie/mapviewer/index.html
6 Carole Brown and Leo Knuth, Bloomsday, the Eleventh Hour: the Quest for the Vacant Place (Colchester: A Wake Newslitter Press, 1981), p.15.
7 The Oxford English Dictionary, online edition.
8 Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, A Complete Guide to Heraldry (London, T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1909), p. 208.
9 It is interesting that Bloom did not see Stephen’s boots as he passed. In “Aeolus”, Bloom saw Stephen ahead of him: “Has a good pair of boots on him today. Last time I saw him he had his heels on view. Been walking in muck somewhere. Careless chap. What was he doing in Irishtown?” (U 7.985-7) This means that Bloom was seeing Buck’s cast-off boots for the first time. So, perhaps looking “at gaze” at Stephen, he only saw the upper part of his body.
10 Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated (Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1988), p. 60. 3.336-7. tenney: tenne, orange, or tawny; trippant: applied to a buck or stag when passant, or walking; proper: in natural colours; unattired: without antlers.
11 Official Handbook of the Port of Dublin (designed and issued for the Port and Docks Board, by Wilson
Hartnell & Co., Publishers, Dublin, 1926), p. 25.
12 NOAA Solar Calculator: Azimuth angle: 160 degrees; elevation:59 degrees.
13 Source: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Sackville Street, Dublin, Collections Online, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
14 Unlike today, O’Connell Bridge was a “double thoroughfare” at that time (Black’s Guide to Ireland; London; 1906, p. 30). Traffic could travel in in both directions on its eastern and western carriageways.
15 Thom’s Directory (Dublin, 1904) pp. 1585-6.
16 Map of Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, County Dublin, Ireland. Indicating Burial Places of Noted Persons and Communities, and containing some Illustrations (1904), p. 31 of 64