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Manhattan Transfer

dropped it on the davenport. "Look I brought you some roses, daddy."

"Think of it; they're red roses like your mother used to like. That was very thoughtful of you I must say. . . . But I dont like going all alone on my vacation."

"Oh you'll meet lots of cronies daddy, sure you will."

"Why couldnt you come just for a week?"

"In the first place I've got to look for a job . . . show's going on the road and I'm not going just at present. Harry Goldweiser's awfully sore about it." Thatcher sat down in the bay window again and began piling up the Sunday papers on a chair. "Why daddy what on earth are you doing with that copy of Town Topics?"

"Oh nothing. I'd never read it; I just bought it to see what it was like." He flushed and compressed his lips as he shoved it in among the Times.

"It's just a blackmail sheet." Ellen was walking about the room. She had put the roses in a vase. A spiced coolness was spreading from them through the dustheavy air. "Daddy, there's something I want to tell you about . . . Jojo and I are going to get divorced." Ed Thatcher sat with his hands on his knees nodding with tight lips, saying nothing. His face was gray and dark, almost the speckled gray of his pongee suit. "It's nothing to take on about. We've just decided we cant get along together. It's all going through quietly in the most approved style . . . George Baldwin, who's a friend of mine, is going to run it through."

"He with Emery and Emery?"

"Yes."

"Hum."

They were silent. Ellen leaned over to breathe deep of the roses. She watched a little green measuring worm cross a bronzed leaf.

"Honestly I'm terribly fond of Jojo, but it drives me wild to live with him. . . . I owe him a whole lot, I know that."

"I wish you'd never set eyes on him."

Thatcher cleared his throat and turned his face away