James Joyce pp 98-99 | Cite as

I Met James Joyce

  • Nina Hamnett


I met James Joyce one day; Ford1 introduced me to him. He was a most charming man and had a most beautifully proportioned head. I asked him if I could do a painting of him. He said that I could, but I sent telegrams to him and he sent telegrams to me, and all of them arrived too late or too early and so I never painted him at all. He dined every evening at the Trianon and one evening I did a drawing of him when I was sitting at another table and he did not know that I was doing it. It was a very good likeness and I believe was reproduced in an American paper. The drawing is unfortunately lost and I never got paid for it. I met him and his wife whenever I went to the Trianon which, alas, was not often as it was rather expensive. Joyce is the most respectable and old-fashioned man that I have ever met. He also has the most beautiful manners, which is a pleasant change from most of the modern young men. He has a most charming voice and occasionally will sing. I think he is a little older than I am, but we were discussing old-fashioned songs one evening, ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do’, and others of the same kind and I said, ‘Did you see many years ago a show that was a kind of Magic Lantern show with a ship going down? The ship was attached to the screen and heaved up and down and voices sang a song, called, “I’ll stick to the ship, boys, you save your lives”? ’It was a tragic story of a ship that sank and the Captain stuck to his ship because he was a bachelor and the crew had wives and families. Joyce remembered it and knew the whole song.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990

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  • Nina Hamnett

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