Stephan Dedalus 16

He began to confess his sins: masses missed, prayers not said, lies.

–  Anything else, my child?

Sins of anger, envy of others, gluttony, vanity, disobedience.

–  Anything else, my child?

There was no help. He murmured:

–  I … committed sins of impurity, father.

–  With yourself, my child?

–  And…with others.

–  With women, my child?

–  Yes, father.

–  Were they married women, my child?

He did not know. His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled in shameful drops from his soul, festering and oozing like a sore, a squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy. There was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome.

The priest was silent. Then he asked:

–    How old are you, my child?

–    Sixteen, father.