Bloom rouses Stephen and begins walking him to a nearby cabman’s shelter for food. On the way, Bloom lectures Stephen about the dangers of Nighttown and drinking with “friends” who desert one. Stephen is silent. The men pass by Gumley, a friend of Stephen’s father’s. Further down, Stephen is accosted by a down-and-out acquaintance, Corley. Stephen half-seriously advises Corley to apply for Stephen’s soon-to-be-vacant post at Deasy’s school, then gives him a halfcrown. Bloom is appalled by Stephen’s generosity. As they continue on, Bloom reminds Stephen that he has no place to sleep tonight himself now that Buck and Haines have ditched him. Bloom suggests Stephen’s father’s house and reassures Stephen of Simon’s pride in him. Stephen is silent, remembering a depressing home scene. Bloom wonders if he has misspoken in his criticism of Buck.
Bloom and Stephen enter the cabman’s shelter, the keeper of which is rumored to be Skin-the-Goat Fitzharris, the getaway-car driver during the Phoenix Park murders. Bloom orders coffee and a roll for Stephen. A red-haired sailor asks Stephen what his name is, then if he knows Simon Dedalus. Bloom is confused by Stephen’s noncommittal response. When the sailor begins telling tall tales of Simon Dedalus, Bloom assumes it must be a coincidence.
The sailor introduces himself as D.B. Murphy and begins telling travel stories. He passes around a picture postcard of tribal women. Bloom notes suspiciously that the addressee’s name is not Murphy. The sailor’s tales remind Bloom of his own unambitious travel plans and of the untapped market of affordable travel for the average man.
The sailor describes seeing an Italian knife a man in the back. At the mention of knives, someone brings up the Phoenix Park murders. Silence descends as the clientele think about the Park murders and glance surreptitiously at the keeper. Murphy shows off his tattoos: an anchor, the number 16, and a profile of Antonio, a friend who was later eaten by sharks.
Bloom notices Bridie Kelly standing outside and ducks his head in embarrassment. Seeing her leave, Bloom lectures Stephen about dis-ease-ridden prostitutes. Stephen shifts the conversation from traffic in sex to traffic in souls. A confused discussion ensues—Bloom talks about simple grey matter, and Stephen talks about theological debates about souls.
Bloom urges Stephen to eat and brings their conversation back to the sailor’s tale about the Italian knifer. Bloom agrees that Mediterraneans are hot-tempered and mentions that his wife is half-Spanish. Meanwhile, the other men discuss Irish shipping—the keeper insists England is draining Ireland’s riches. Bloom thinks a break with England would be foolish, but he wisely keeps silent. He describes to Stephen the similar scene with the citizen, and his own comeback about Christ also being a Jew, though Bloom reassures Stephen that he (Bloom) is not actually a Jew. Bloom outlines his own antidote to the citizen’s combative patriotism: a society in which all men worked and were rewarded with a comfortable income. Stephen is unenthusiastic, and Bloom clarifies that work in Bloom’s Ireland would include literary labor. Stephen scoffs at Bloom’s plan, which condescends to Stephen—Stephen arrogantly inverts this by insisting that Ireland is important because it belongs to him.