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242

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friend (121). O’Molloy is, in a word, a talented barrister on

the decline, falling deeper and deeper in debt. “Practice

dwindling” might have contributed to his financial difficulty

and downfall, but it is gambling which dooms him to disaster

and ruination. His financial trouble notwithstanding,

O’Molloy endeavors to maintain an air of respectability: he

speaks “gently” (108) and “quietly” (109, 114), and offers

several rounds of cigarettes in the course of the

conversation

the only person who offers cigarettes. As a

barrister, ironically, O’Molloy does not work in his office or at

the bar, but loafs around with a gang of spongers and

ne’er-do-wells in the newspaper office and struggles to get a

loan. He is “socially superfluous” as Herr suggests (1986: 73),

despite being an intellectual of the third profession.

However, even without his financial problems, O’Molloy

cannot be accounted an adequate and respectable lawyer

despite Bloom’s positive assessment of his capability. For one

thing, his statement concerning the wife of the Lord Lieutenant

of Ireland buying a commemoration postcard of the Invincibles

proves to be an embellished flourish, not fact (Gifford &

Seidman, 1988: 142). When the nostalgic Crawford says with

disdain that silver-tongued barristers existed in the past but not

at present, O’Molloy retorts, and applauds Seymour Bushe for

his eloquence in the Childs murder case, during which Bushe

delivered “[o]ne of the most polished periods” he has “ever

listened to in [his] life” (Joyce, 1986: 114). As O’Molloy

recollects: “[Bushe] spoke on the law of evidence . . . of

Roman justice as contrasted with the earlier Mosaic code, the

lex talionis

. And he cited the Moses of Michelangelo in the

vatican” (115). O’Molloy’s recollection slightly differs from

what actually happened in court. To begin with, Bushe did

speak on the laws of evidence during the trial, but he

compared Irish laws of evidence with English laws, and did not

mention the contrast between Roman justice and the Mosaic