—There must be a new moon out, she said. He’s always bad then. Do you know what he did last night?
Her hand ceased to rummage. Her eyes fixed themselves on him, wide in alarm, yet smiling.
—What? Mr Bloom asked.
Let her speak. Look straight in her eyes. I believe you. Trust me.
—Woke me up in the night, she said. Dream he had, a nightmare.
—Said the ace of spades was walking up the stairs.
—The ace of spades! Mr Bloom said.
She took a folded postcard from her handbag.
—Read that, she said. He got it this morning.
—What is it? Mr Bloom asked, taking the card. U. P.?
—U. p: up, she said. Someone taking a rise out of him. It’s a great shame for them whoever he is.
—Indeed it is, Mr Bloom said.
She took back the card, sighing.
—And now he’s going round to Mr Menton’s office. He’s going to take an action for ten thousand pounds, he says.
She folded the card into her untidy bag and snapped the catch.
Same blue serge dress she had two years ago, the nap bleaching. Seen its best days. Wispish hair over her ears. And that dowdy toque: three old grapes to take the harm out of it. Shabby genteel. She used to be a tasty dresser. Lines round her mouth. Only a year or so older than Molly.
See the eye that woman gave her, passing. Cruel. The unfair sex.