Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/111

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"Yes Aunt Emily."

"A boy's school days are the happiest time in his life. You must be sure to write your mother once a week at least James. . . . You are all she has now. . . . Miss Billings and I will keep you informed."

"Yes Aunt Emily."

"And James I want you to know my James better. He's the same age you are, only perhaps a little more developed and all that, and you ought to be good friends. . . . I wish Lily had sent you to Hotchkiss too."

"Yes Aunt Emily."

There were pillars of pink marble in the lower hall of Aunt Emily's apartmenthouse and the elevatorboy wore a chocolate livery with brass buttons and the elevator was square and decorated with mirrors. Aunt Emily stopped before a wide red mahogany door on the seventh floor and fumbled in her purse for her key. At the end of the hall was a leaded window through which you could see the Hudson and steamboats and tall trees of smoke rising against the yellow sunset from the yards along the river. When Aunt Emily got the door open they heard the piano. "That's Maisie doing her practicing." In the room where the piano was the rug was thick and mossy, the wallpaper was yellow with silveryshiny roses between the cream woodwork and the gold frames of oilpaintings of woods and people in a gondola and a fat cardinal drinking. Maisie tossed the pigtails off her shoulders as she jumped off the pianostool. She had a round creamy face and a slight pugnose. The metronome went on ticking.

"Hello James," she said after she had tilted her mouth up to her mother's to be kissed. "I'm awfully sorry poor Aunt Lily's so sick."

"Arent you going to kiss your cousin, James?" said Aunt Emily.

Jimmy shambled up to Maisie and pushed his face against hers.

"That's a funny kind of a kiss," said Maisie.

"Well you two children can keep each other company till