Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/185

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Nine Days' Wonder

173

greencarpeted cabbagy stairs and down the hall to his bedroom. Halfway he passed the landlady dumpy in a mob cap who stopped her carpet sweeper to give an icy look at his skinny bare legs under the blue bathrobe.

"Good morning Mrs. Maginnis."

"It's goin to be powerful hot today, Mr. Herf."

"I guess it is all right."

Stan was lying on the bed reading La Revolte des Anges. "Darn it, I wish I knew some languages the way you do Herfy."

"Oh I dont know any French any more. I forget em so much quicker than I learn em."

"By the way I'm fired from college."

"How's that?"

"Dean told me he thought it advisable I shouldnt come back next year . . . felt that there were other fields of activity where my activities could be more actively active. You know the crap."

"That's a darn shame."

"No it isnt; I'm tickled to death. I asked him why he hadnt fired me before if he felt that way. Father'll be sore as a crab . . . but I've got enough cash on me not to go home for a week. I dont give a damn anyway. Honest havent you got any liquor?"

"Now Stan how's a poor wageslave like myself going to have a cellar on thirty dollars a week?"

"This is a pretty lousy room. . . . You ought to have been born a capitalist like me."

"Room's not so bad. . . . What drives me crazy is that paranoiac alarm across the street that rings all night."

"That's a burglar alarm isn't it?"

"There cant be any burglars because the place is vacant. The wires must get crossed or something. I dont know when it stopped but it certainly drove me wild when I went to bed this morning."

"Now James Herf you dont mean me to infer that you come home sober every night?"