Light behind her

Foretelling the uncertainties of online dating, Bloom understands that "Martha Clifford" may be no more transparent a projection of the woman with whom he is corresponding than "Henry Flower" is of himself. In Lotus Eaters he stands in the church and imagines meeting Martha in the flesh, thinking that she could "Turn up with a veil and black bag. Dusk and the light behind her." The reference is to a one-act operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan in which a young man woos a woman so unattractive that she could seem desirable only in such lighting conditions.

JH 2019

Cover of April 1875 theater program for La Périchole (featured) and Trial by Jury, with Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert as cherubs on either side of the director. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Page 3 of the same program, giving Trial by Jury its due.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.