Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/211

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Nine Days' Wonder

199

from her to look out the window at the two endless bands of automobiles that passed along the road in front of the station. Dust rose from them and angular glitter of glass enamel and nickel. Tires made a swish on the oily macadam. Ellen dropped onto the davenport and let her eyes wander among the faded red roses of the carpet.

The bell rang. "I'll go daddy. . . . How do you do Mrs. Culveteer?"

A redfaced broad woman in a black and white chiffon dress came into the room puffing. "Oh you must forgive my butting in, I'm just dropping by for a second. . . . How are you Mr. Thatcher? . . . You know my dear your poor father has really been very poorly."

"Nonsense; all I had was a little backache."

"Lumbago my dear."

"Why daddy you ought to have let me know."

"The sermon today was most inspiring, Mr. Thatcher. . . . Mr. Lourton was at his very best."

"I guess I ought to rout out and go to church now and then, but you see I like to lay round the house Sundays."

"Of course Mr, Thatcher it's the only day you have. My husband was just like that. . . . But I think it's different with Mr. Lourton than with most clergymen. He has such an uptodate commonsense view of things. It's really more like attending an intensely interesting lecture than going to church. . . . You understand what I mean."

"Y'll tell you what I'll do Mrs. Culveteer, next Sunday if it's not too hot I'll go. . . . I guess I'm getting too set in my ways."

"Oh a little change does us all good. . . . Mrs. Oglethorpe you have no idea how closely we follow your career, in the Sunday papers and all. . . . I think it's simply wonderful. . . . As I was telling Mr. Thatcher only yesterday it must take a lot of strength of character and deep Christian living to withstand the temptations of stage life nowadays. It's inspiring to think of a young girl and wife coming so sweet and unspoiled through all that."

Ellen kept looking at the floor so as not to catch her