Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/116

This page has been validated.


Manhattan Transfer

There was hot chocolate sauce with the icecream. "An Irishman and a Scotchman were walking down the street and the Irishman said to the Scotchman; Sandy let's have a drink. . . ." A prolonged ringing at the front door bell was making them inattentive to Uncle Jeff's story. The colored maid flurried back into the diningroom and began whispering in Aunt Emily's ear. ". . . And the Scotchman said, Mike . . . Why what's the matter?"

"It's Mr. Joe sir."

"The hell it is."

"Well maybe he's all right," said Aunt Emily hastily.

"A bit whipsey, ma'am."

"Sarah why the dickens did you let him in?"

"I didnt let him, he juss came."

Uncle Jeff pushed his plate away and slapped down his napkin. "Oh hell . . . I'll go talk to him."

"Try and make him go . . ." Aunt Emily had begun; she stopped with her mouth partly open. A head was stuck through the curtains that hung in the wide doorway to the livingroom. It had a birdlike face, with a thin drooping nose, topped by a mass of straight black hair like an Indian's. One of the redrimmed eyes winked quietly.

"Hullo everybody! . . . How's every lil thing? Mind if I butt in?" His voice perked hoarsely as a tall skinny body followed the head through the curtains. Aunt Emily's mouth arranged itself in a frosty smile. "Why Emily you must . . . er . . . excuse me; I felt an evening . . . er . . . round the family hearth . . . er . . . would be . . . er . . . er . . . beneficial. You understand, the refining influence of the home." He stood jiggling his head behind Uncle Jeff's chair. "Well Jefferson ole boy, how's the market?" He brought a hand down on Uncle Jeff's shoulder.

"Oh all right. Want to sit down?" he growled.

"They tell me . . . if you'll take a tip from an old timer . . . er . . . a retired broker . . . broker and broker every day . . . ha-ha. . . . But they tell me that Interborough Rapid Transit's worth trying a snifter of. . . . Doan look at me crosseyed like that Emily. I'm going right away. . . .