Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/209

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Nine Days' Wonder


Ed Thatcher sat in his bay window among the Sunday papers. His hair was grizzled and there were deep folds in his cheeks. The upper buttons of his pongee trousers were undone to ease his sudden little potbelly. He sat in the open window looking out over the blistering asphalt at the endless stream of automobiles that whirred in either direction past the yellowbrick row of stores and the redbrick station under the eaves of which on a black ground gold letters glinted feebly in the sun: Passaic. Apartments round about emitted a querulous Sunday grinding of phonographs playing It's a Bear. The Sextette from Lucia, selections from The Quaker Girl. On his knees lay the theatrical section of the New York Times. He looked out with bleared eyes into the quivering heat feeling his ribs tighten with a breathless ache. He had just read a paragraph in a marked copy of Town Topics.

Malicious tongues are set wagging by the undeniable fact that young Stanwood Emery's car is seen standing every night outside the Knickerbocker Theatre and never does it leave they say, without a certain charming young actress whose career is fast approaching stellar magnitude. This same young gentleman, whose father is the head of one of the city's most respected lawfirms, who recently left Harvard under slightly unfortunate circumstances, has been astonishing the natives for some time with his exploits which we are sure are merely the result of the ebullience of boyish spirits. A word to the wise.

The bell rang three times. Ed Thatcher dropped his papers and hurried quaking to the door. "Ellie you're so late. I was afraid you weren't coming."

"Daddy dont I always come when I say I will?"

"Of course you do deary."

"How are you getting on? How's everything at the office?"

"Mr. Elbert's on his vacation. . . . I guess I'll go when he comes back. I wish you'd come down to Spring Lake with me for a few days. It'd do you good."

"But daddy I cant." . . . She pulled off her hat and