A tide began to surge beneath the calm surface of Stephen's friendliness. This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am. Try to be one of us, repeated Davin. In your heart you are an Irishman but your pride is too powerful. My ancestors threw off their language and took another, Stephen said. They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you fancy that I am going to pay in my own life and person debts they made? What for? For our freedom, said Davin. No honourable and sincere man, said Stephen, has given up to you his life and his youth and his affections from the days of Wolfe Tone to those of Parnell, but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or reviled him and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of you. I'd see you damned first. They died for their ideals, Stevie, said Davin. Our day will come yet, believe me. Stephen, following his own thought, was silent for an instant... When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets ... Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.