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Manhattan Transfer

by the cashdesk. The man was fanning himself with a thickbrimmed straw hat that had a checked band.

"Varm tonight," said Madame Rigaud.

"It sure is. . . . Norah we ought to have gone down to the Island instead of bummin round this town."

"Billy you know why we couldn't go perfectly well."

"Don't rub it in. Aint I tellin ye it'll be all jake by Saturday."

"History and literature," continued Emile when the customers had gone off with the chicken, leaving Madame Rigaud a silver half dollar to lock up in the till . . . "history and literature teach us that there are friendships, that there sometimes comes love that is worthy of confidence. . . ."

"History and literature!" Madame Rigaud growled with internal laughter. "A lot of good that'll do us."

"But dont you ever feel lonely in a big foreign city like this . . .? Everything is so hard. Women look in your pocket not in your heart. . . . I cant stand it any more."

Madame Rigaud's broad shoulders and her big breasts shook with laughter. Her corsets creaked when she lifted herself still laughing off the stool. "Emile, you're a good-looking fellow and steady and you'll get on in the world. . . . But I'll never put myself in a man's power again. . . . I've suffered too much. . . . Not if you came to me with five thousand dollars."

"You're a very cruel woman."

Madame Rigaud laughed again. "Come along now, you can help me close up."

Sunday weighed silent and sunny over downtown. Baldwin sat at his desk in his shirtsleeves reading a calfbound lawbook. Now and then he wrote down a note on a scratchpad in a wide regular hand. The phone rang loud in the hot stillness. He finished the paragraph he was reading and strode over to answer it.

"Yes I'm here alone, come on over if you want to." He