Bloom steps into a carriage after Martin Cunningham, Jack Power, and Simon Dedalus—they are going to Dignam’s funeral. As the carriage begins to move, Bloom points out Stephen on the street. Simon disapprovingly asks if Mulligan is with him. Bloom thinks Simon is too vehement, but reasons that Simon is right to look out for Stephen, as Bloom would have for Rudy, if he had lived.
Cunningham starts to describe his night at the pub and then asks Dedalus if he has read Dan Dawson’s speech in this morning’s paper. Bloom moves to take out the paper for Dedalus, but Dedalus signals that it would be inappropriate to read it now. Bloom skims the obituaries and checks that he still has Martha’s letter. Bloom’s thoughts soon wander to Boylan and his upcoming afternoon visit. At this moment, the carriage passes Boylan in the street, and the other men salute him from the carriage. Bloom is flustered by the coincidence. He does not understand what Molly and the others see in Boylan. Power asks Bloom about Molly’s concert, referring to her as Madame, which makes Bloom uncomfortable.
The carriage passes Reuben J. Dodd, a moneylender, and the men curse him. Cunningham remarks that they have all owed money to Dodd—except Bloom, his look implies. Bloom begins to tell a humorous story about how Dodd’s son almost drowned, but Cunningham rudely takes over. The men soon check their laughter and reminisce sadly about Dignam. Bloom remarks that he died the best way, quickly and painlessly, but the other men disagree silently—Catholics fear a sudden death because one has no chance to repent. Power pronounces that the worst death is a suicide and Dedalus agrees. Cunningham, knowing that Bloom’s father committed suicide, argues for a charitable attitude toward it. Bloom is appreciative of Cunningham’s sympathy.
The carriage stops for a cattle crossing. Bloom wonders aloud why there is no tramline for the cattle and Cunningham agrees. Bloom also suggests funeral trams, but the others agree only reluctantly. Cunningham reasons that a tram would prevent hearse accidents, such as the one recently that ended with a coffin dumped onto the road. Bloom envisions Dignam spilling out of his coffin. The carriage passes a water canal that runs to Mullingar, where Milly lives, and Bloom considers visiting her. Meanwhile, Power points out the house where the Childs fratricide, a well-known murder, took place.
The carriage arrives and the men get out. Trailing behind, Cunningham fills Power in about Bloom’s father’s suicide. Bloom asks Tom Kernan if Dignam was insured. Ned Lambert reports that Cunningham is taking up a collection for the Dignam children. Bloom looks on one of Dignam’s sons with pity. They enter the church and kneel—Bloom last. Bloom watches the unfamiliar ceremony and thinks about the repetitiveness of a priest’s job. The ceremony ends and the coffin is carried outside.
As the procession passes May Dedalus’s grave, Dedalus begins crying. Bloom thinks about the realities of death—specifically, the failure of body organs. Corny Kelleher, the undertaker, joins them. Ahead, John Henry Menton asks who Bloom is. Lambert explains that he is Molly’s husband. Menton fondly recalls dancing with Molly once, and he harshly wonders why Molly married Bloom.