Down, sir!

As Stephen walks down to the swimming hole, he hears Mulligan engaged in some new kind of clowning: "Behind him he heard Buck Mulligan club with his heavy bathtowel the leader shoots of ferns or grasses. / — Down, sir! How dare you, sir!" It would seem that Joyce has dreamed up this fanciful way of addressing vegetation, but in fact he (and perhaps Gogarty) took it from a common British fashion for addressing dogs and other domestic animals.

JH 2021

John Charles Dolman's The Dogs' Home, in a 27 February 1875 issue of The Pictorial World held in Philip Howell's personal collection. Source: www.branchcollective.org.