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Manhattan Transfer

Twentysecond Avenoo wid another feller an we're goin to git a pianer an live quiet an lay offen the skoits."

"Matrimony isnt much is it?"

"You said it. What leads up to it's all right, but gettin married is loike de mornin after."

Fifth Avenue was white and empty and swept by a sparkling wind. The trees in Madison Square were unexpectedly bright green like ferns in a dun room. At the Brevoort a sleepy French nightporter carried her baggage. In the low whitepainted room the sunlight drowsed on a faded crimson armchair. Ellen ran about the room like a small child kicking her heels and clapping her hands. With pursed lips and tilted head she arranged her toilet things on the bureau. Then she hung her yellow nightgown on a chair and undressed, caught sight of herself in the mirror, stood naked looking at herself with her hands on her tiny firm appleshaped breasts.

She pulled on her nightgown and went to the phone. "Please send up a pot of chocolate and rolls to 108 . . . as soon as you can please." Then she got into bed. She lay laughing with her legs stretched wide in the cool slippery sheets.

Hairpins were sticking into her head. She sat up and pulled them all out and shook the heavy coil of her hair down about her shoulders. She drew her knees up to her chin and sat thinking. From the street she could hear the occasional rumble of a truck. In the kitchens below her room a sound of clattering had begun. From all around came a growing rumble of traffic beginning. She felt hungry and alone. The bed was a raft on which she was marooned alone, always alone, afloat on a growling ocean. A shudder went down her spine. She drew her knees up closer to her chin.