Padraic Colum, in The Joyce We Knew, ed. Ulick O’Connor (Cork: Mercier Press 1967; Brandon 2004), pp.19-38.

Colum first met Joyce at a Lady Gregory soiree – Joyce being with Gogarty. [59]

All of us used the cold approach from time to time, of course - the ‘frozen mitt’ was often proferred. Still, Joyce’s attitude of ironic detachment toward me was not surprising. The nationalist group around The United Irishman, with which I was associated, was to him nothing more than ‘the rabblement’. AE, whose Hermeticism he despised, was promoting whatever stock I had. Perhaps Joyce thought of me then as one of those whom he later described as: ‘Those souls have not the strength that mine has / Steeled in the school of old Aquinas.’ But he seemed to be kin, at this stage, with his own ‘comedian Capuchin’. The gestures he made with the ashplant he now carried, his way of making his voice raucous, were surely part of an act. And wasn’t there, too, in his behaviour, the assertion of a young man conscious of his hand-me-down clothes, whose resort was the pawn office, and who was familiar with the houses in Nighttown? The raucous voice, the obscene limericks delivered with such punctilio ... Was he playing Rimbaud? Villon? (p.63.)

Joyce’s attachment to [James] Stephens was shown by a reort that came from him when I questioned something that Stephens had done. He and Cynthia had left Paris to be house guests [77] of Lady Londonderry. ‘Isn’t it a wonder,’ I said to Joyce, ‘that James Stephens would have anything to do with a descendant of Castlereagh?’ Joyce did not answer for a moment: then he said with some rancour, ‘Haven’t I seen you talking with John Dillon’s son?’

I will have to explain why the retort was a staggering surprise to me. Lord Londonderry was a descendant of the Castlereagh who, in the most cynical fashion, destroyed the Irish Legislature. John Dillon belonged to the group in Parnell’s party that deposed him as leader. In joyce’s time and mine, John Dillon, backed by an Irish constituency, worked for the restoration of the Legislature. That Joyce should put John Dillon and Castlereagh in the same class was inexplicable to me. John Dillon’s son was in Paris ; he was a philologist studying Sanskrit and the connections of Old Irish with it. My wife and 1 had brought this young man, Myles Dillon, to Joyce’s, and Joyce had treated him with his usual courtesy. And all the time he was remembering that he was entertaining the son of a man who had helped to bring about the downfall of the Uncrowned King!

Pondering on this, I found something magnificent in the unreason of joyce’s loyalty to an individual who had stirred his imagination. What passion a boy of ten or eleven must have known as he watched Parnell’s downfall! Was it this that separated him from all political interests? ‘Colum, this is the second time have come into the room and found you talking politics,’ he once admonished me.

About this time I wrote an essay on joyce for The Dublin Magazine . Here is how I saw him. He was approaching fifty. … [78]

The only saint he would praise was Saint Patrick; him he [79] vaunted above all the other saints in the Calendar. “He was modest, and he was sincere”, he said, and this was praise indeed from Joyce. And he added: ‘He waited too long to write his Portrait of the Artist – Joyce meant Saint Patrick’s Confession. (pp.79-80.)

Tuohy’s Portrait of a Dublin Gentleman’ .. I was making my report to one for whom the tration of gentlemanliness was important.

[On Munich:] The Joyces came back to the city. When Joyce telephoned, he mentioned the settlement. “Give him Europe ?” he said angrily. At this time Joyce was instrumental in trying to place some relatives of a jewish friend of his, Herr Brauchbar, whome he had known in Trieste . Brauchbar had been helpful to Joyce. Joyce did not forget it. As a result of Joyce’s pleadings, I wrote to the Minister of Justice in Ireland. After initial setbacks, Here Brauchbar’s relative was permitted to take up residence in Ireland. (p.83.)

 

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