Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/145

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Great Lady on a White Horse


The door across the hall opened and Jimmy found himself looking in the white face of a crookednosed man whose red hair rode in two unequal mounds on either side of a straight part. He wore a green satin bathrobe and red morocco slippers.

"What heow Cassahndrah?" he said in a careful Oxford drawl. "What prophecies today?"

"Nothing except a wire from Mrs. Fitzsimmons Green. She wants me to go to see her at Scarsdale tomorrow to talk about the Gweenery Theater. . . . Excuse me this is Mr. Herf, Mr. Oglethorpe." The redhaired man raised one eyebrow and lowered the other and put a limp hand in Jimmy's.

"Herf, Herf. . . . Let me see, it's not a Georgiah Herf? In Atlahnta there's an old family of Herfs. . . ."

"No I dont think so."

"Too bad. Once upon a time Josiah Herf and I were boon companions. Today he is the president of the First National Bank and leading citizen of Scranton Pennsylvahnia and I . . . a mere mountebank, a thing of rags and patches." When he shrugged his shoulders the bathrobe fell away exposing a flat smooth hairless chest.

"You see Mr. Oglethorpe and I are going to do the Song of Songs. He weads it and I interpwet it in dancing. You must come up and see us wehearse sometime."

"Thy navel is like a round goblet which wanteth not liquor, thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies . . ."

"Oh dont begin now." She tittered and pressed her legs together.

"Jojo close that door," came a quiet deep girl's voice from inside the room.

"Oh poo-er deah Elaine, she wants to sleep. . . . So glahd to have met you, Mr. Herf."


"Yes my deah. . . ."

Through the leaden drowse that cramped him the girl's voice set Jimmy tingling. He stood beside Cassie con-