Did I not take it up?

Picking his nose at the end of Proteus, Stephen reaches for "My handkerchief. He threw it. I remember. Did I not take it up? / His hand groped vainly in his pockets. No, I didn't. Better buy one." The narrative here is artful not only in not representing Stephen's nose-picking (he seems to be largely unaware of his body, and his urination a minute earlier has also been represented very obliquely), but also in not representing, much earlier, his not picking up the handkerchief that Mulligan ("He") laid down for him. This non-action in Telemachus occurs just before Mulligan throws Stephen's hat out on the floor, and the response: "Stephen picked it up and put it on." Careful readers will also notice a connection to a question that Bloom asks in Calypso: "Where is my hat, by the way? Must have put it back on the peg."

JH 2017

Source: etc.usf.edu.