Mentioned in both “Eveline” and “Two Gallants,” the Stores was actually a department store in South Great George’s Street. Don Gifford refers to it as “a small wholesale-retail empire” run by Pim Brothers Limited. Pictured below, the Pim’s Department Store was “designed by Sandham Symes and built in several stages by the Pim family from the mid 1850s onwards,” according to Archiseek. And Shaw’s 1850 Dublin Directory shows “Pim Brothers and Co., [at] 75-82 South Great George’s St (wholesale and retail linen and woollen drapers, silk mercers, hosiers and haberdashers).” Incidentally, one member of the prominent Quaker Pim family was Elizabeth Eveleen Pim.
Eveline, the young woman in Joyce’s story, works in the Stores to bring in income for her family. The place holds connotations of responsibility for Eveline, and it appears in direct contrast to her whimsical fantasies of running off with her lover Frank:
“Of course she had to work hard both in the house and at business. What would they say of her in the Stores when they found out that she had run away with a fellow?” (37)
The Stores appear again in quite another context, as “Pim’s,” in “Two Gallants.” Corley boasts to Lenehan about his “slavey,” admitting that he essentially lied to her, telling her that he had worked in Pim’s and was now out of a job:
“Maybe she thinks you’ll marry her,” said Lenehan.
“I told her I was out of a job,” said Corley. “I told her I was in Pim’s. She doesn’t know my name. I was too hairy to tell her that. But she thinks I’m a bit of class, you know.”
There is no explanation in the story of how or why Corley would no longer work in Pim’s. However, the Times, London’s Annual Summaries [1851-1892] reports “the co-operative stores in Dublin were burned out” in 1892 (201). Corley would certainly have been out of work at Pim’s if it had recently burned down. The reference is still somewhat murky, however, since other accounts don’t place the 1892 fire at Pim’s, but rather at another well-known Great George’s Street shopping area, the City Markets. The markets, also referenced in “Two Gallants” as Lenehan makes his back to meet Corley after wandering the city, are a block north of the department store on the east side of the street. (The Market would be to the right of the diagram below.) Now called the George’s Street Arcade, the Markets, according to their website’s history, were originally opened with a large private luncheon that featured “the Chairman of the market company Mr Joseph Tod Hunter Pim.” Eleven years later, in 1892, a fire devastated the markets, but they were repaired and rebuilt in 1894.
Is it possible that Corley had been referring to the City Markets when he said he worked in Pim’s? The Pims were certainly prominent merchants in Great George’s Street and may have operated a shop in the markets in addition to their department store down the street. Or is Corley conflating Pim’s Department Store and the City Markets, ignorant of his mistake? If so, is it possible that his lady friend probably sees through his lies? Or is his immediate shift from “I told her I was out of a job” to “I told her I was in Pim’s” simply a non-sequitur, having nothing to do with the fire that could have understandably put him out of work temporarily? Is Joyce himself conflating Pim’s and the Markets?
In any case, there’s room for more study here. Among one of the more compelling literary implications is the idea that Corley, already a manipulative cad, is made even lower by his intent to garner sympathy for his lack of a job due to a devastating fire.
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