The following sentence from James Joyce's "The Dead" is giving me trouble (as in, I can't seem to parse it in my head).
He set to his supper and took no part in the conversation with which the table covered Lily's removal of the plates.
When "with which" (or "in which" or "for which", etc.) is used, my understanding is that there must be something that another thing is with. For instance, in "The example with which I am concerned is X", the word "example" is with the example X.
However, in Joyce's sentence I cannot tell with what the "conversation" is. "[T]he table covered Lily's removal of the plates" isn't a noun phrase(?), which I think is causing the trouble in my understanding. My guess is that "conversation" is with "Lily's removal of the plates", but I still can't seem to fully parse the sentence.
So my question is: Is the above sentence grammatical? Could it be a regional variation in phrasing (Joyce was Irish; I live in the US)?