Nothing in black and white

During Bloom's brief absence from the pub in Lestrygonians, Nosey Flynn says "there's one thing he'll never do," and he mimes the action by pretending to write his signature on the table beside him. Davy Byrne says, "I know." "Nothing in black and white," Flynn affirms. This attribution sounds suspiciously like an anti-Semitic slur casting Jews as financially cunning, but Flynn has just been talking at length about Freemasonry, and there is more evidence to suggest that he is thinking of that order's obsession with secrecy—in particular, a Masonic oath that Bloom recalls in Circe.

JH 2020

Illustration (p. 33) from Duncan's Ritual and Monitor of Freemasonry (1866) showing a "candidate taking the oath of an Entered Apprentice," with a Master Mason holding a gavel behind the altar and a Conductor standing behind the candidate. Source: www.sacred-texts.com.

Illustration from Duncan's ritual (p. 19) showing compasses placed on the altar, "both points covered by the square." Source: www.sacred-texts.com.

Postcard sent by Davy Byrne from America in September 1912 to his colleagues in the pub, displayed on one of the pub's walls. Source: Senan Moloney.