Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/196

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Manhattan Transfer

four flights down the steps. Through the glass and wroughtiron doors of the vestibule downstairs he caught sight of her on the curb, standing tall and stiff, pulling on her gloves. He rushed out and took her by the hand just as a taxi drove up. Sweat beaded on his forehead and was prickly under his collar. He could see himself standing there with the napkin ridiculous in his hand and the colored doorman grinning and saying, "Good mornin, Mr. Baldwin, looks like it going to be a fine day." Gripping her hand tight, he said in a low voice through his teeth:

"Cecily there's something I want to talk to you about. Wont you wait a minute and we'll go downtown together? . . . Wait about five minutes please," he said to the taxi-driver. We'll be right down." Squeezing her wrist hard he walked back with her to the elevator. When they stood in the hall of their own apartment, she suddenly looked him straight in the face with dry blazing eyes.

"Come in here Cecily" he said gently. He closed their bedroom door and locked it. "Now lets talk this over quietly. Sit down dear." He put a chair behind her. She sat down suddenly stiffly like a marionette.

"Now look here Cecily you have no right to talk the way you do about my friends. Mrs. Oglethorpe is a friend of mine. We occasionally take tea together in some perfectly public place and that's all. I would invite her up here but I've been afraid you would be rude to her. . . . You cant go on giving away to your insane jealousy like this. I allow you complete liberty and trust you absolutely. I think I have the right to expect the same confidence from you. . . . Cecily do be my sensible little girl again. You've been listening to what a lot of old hags fabricate out of whole cloth maliciously to make you miserable."

"She's not the only one."

"Cecily I admit frankly there were times soon after we were married . . . when . . . But that's all over years ago. . . . And who's fault was it? . . . Oh Cecily a woman like