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Mulligan’s friendly condescension in the first part of this chapter has now turned into something a little darker. “You have eaten all we left, I suppose,” a comment directed at Stephen, is basically insulting. Stephen is the last to leave the tower, and he has the key. He’s being treated like the help, like unreliable help, the “server of a servant” again.
For the sake of clarity we left a line out here — after the “You have eaten” line, Mulligan says “And going forth he met Butterly.” It’s yet another instance of Mulligan using scripture for a (rather elliptical) joke. It’s based on a passage in the passion of the Gospel of Matthew where the apostle Peter realizes that he has betrayed Jesus three times over the course of one night, as Jesus had predicted he would. The original passage is: “And going forth he wept bitterly.” Mulligan’s quote puts him, curiously, in the place of Peter, whereas before he was Jesus. There is no other mention of a Butterly in the book, by the way.
Finally, keep an eye on the key. It’s a symbol of ownership, property, and power.
Oh and one more thing — Rob, is it time to say something about the “Latin Quarter Hat”?