Nimbus and niche

Near the end of Telemachus, an old man pops to the surface of the swimming hole and clambers up the rocks, seawater running off of his body and bathing trunks. Glancing at Stephen and Haines, Mulligan crosses himself, to indicate that the swimmer is a priest. His information is confirmed later when the narrative mentions "The priest's grey nimbus in a niche where he dressed discreetly." The nimbus seems to refer to a "garland of grey hair" seen earlier on the old man, and the niche to a gap between rocks on the shore where he can modestly remove his swimsuit, but both words have religious overtones.

JH 2011

Mercury Appearing to Aeneas, a fresco painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1757), displayed in Villa Valmarana, Vicenza. Source: Wikimedia Commons.