Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/166

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Manhattan Transfer

the pit inside her thousands of gnomes were building tall brittle glittering towers. The car swooped ringing along the rails, stopped. As she climbed in she remembered swooningly the smell of Stan's body sweating in her arms. She let herself drop into a seat, biting her lips to keep from crying out. God it's terrible to be in love. Opposite two men with chinless bluefish faces were talking hilariously, slapping fat knees.

"I'll tell yer Jim it's Irene Castle that makes the hit wid me. . . . To see her dance the onestep juss makes me hear angels hummin."

"Naw she's too skinny."

"But she's made the biggest hit ever been made on Broadway."

Ellen got off the car and walked east along the desolate empty pavements of 105th Street. A fetor of mattresses and sleep seeped out from the blocks of narrow-windowed houses. Along the gutters garbagecans stank sourly. In the shadow of a doorway a man and girl swayed tightly clamped in each other's arms. Saying good night. Ellen smiled happily. Greatest hit on Broadway. The words were an elevator carrying her up dizzily, up into some stately height where electric light signs crackled scarlet and gold and green, where were bright roofgardens that smelled of orchids, and the slow throb of a tango danced in a goldgreen dress with Stan while handclapping of millions beat in gusts like a hailstorm about them. Greatest hit on Broadway.

She was walking up the scaling white stairs. Before the door marked Sunderland a feeling of sick disgust suddenly choked her. She stood a long time her heart pounding with the key poised before the lock. Then with a jerk she pushed the key in the lock and opened the door.

"Strange fish, Jimmy, strange fish." Herf and Ruth Prynne sat giggling over plates of pate in the innermost