Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/212

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

200

Manhattan Transfer

father's eye. He was tapping with two fingers on the arm of his morrischair. Mrs. Culveteer beamed from the middle of the davenport. She got to her feet. "Well I just must run along. We have a green girl in the kitchen and I'm sure dinner's all ruined. . . Wont you drop in this afternoon . . .? quite informally. I made some cookies and we'll have some gingerale out just in case somebody turns up."

"I'm sure we'd be delighted Mrs. Culveteer," said Thatcher getting stiffly to his feet. Mrs. Culveteer in her bunchy dress waddled out the door.

"Well Ellie suppose we go eat. . . . She's a very nice kindhearted woman. She's always bringing me pots of jam and marmalade. She lives upstairs with her sister's family. She's the widow of a traveling man."

"That was quite a line about the temptations of stage life," said Ellen with a little laugh in her throat. "Come along or the place'll be crowded. Avoid the rush is my motto."

Said Thatcher in a peevish crackling voice, "Let's not dawdle around."

Ellen spread out her sunshade as they stepped out of the door flanked on either side by bells and letterboxes. A blast of gray heat beat in their faces. They passed the stationery store, the red A. and P., the corner drugstore from which a stale coolness of sodawater and icecream freezers drifted out under the green awning, crossed the street, where their feet sank into the sticky melting asphalt, and stopped at the Sagamore Cafeteria. It was twelve exactly by the clock in the window that had round its face in old English lettering, Time to Eat. Under it was a large rusty fern and a card announcing Chicken Dinner $1.25. Ellen lingered in the doorway looking up the quivering street. "Look daddy we'll probably have a thunderstorm." A cumulus soared in unbelievable snowy contours in the slate sky. "Isnt that a fine cloud? Wouldnt it be fine if we had a riproaring thunderstorm?"

Ed Thatcher looked up, shook his head and went in through the swinging screen door. Ellen followed him. In-