Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/216

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Manhattan Transfer

thought we were goin to be lawyers. Then I worked as an usher one summer at the Irving Place and got the theater bug. . . . Not such a bad hunch it turned out to be, but it's too uncertain. Now I dont care any more, only want to cover my losses. That's the trouble with me. I'm thirtyfive an I dont care any more. Ten years ago I was still only a kind of clerk in old man Erlanger's office, and now there's lots of em whose shoes I used to shine in the old days'd be real glad of the opportunity to sweep my floors on West Forty-eighth. . . . Tonight I can take you anywhere in New York, I dont care how expensive or how chic it is . . . an in the old days us kids used to think it was paradise if we had five plunks to take a couple of girls down to the Island. . . . I bet all that was different with you Elaine. . . . But what I want to do is get that old feelin back, understand? . . . Where shall we go?"

"Why dont we go down to Coney Island then? I've never been?

"It's a pretty rough crowd . . . still we can just ride round. Let's do it. I'll go phone for the car."

Ellen sits alone looking down into her coffeecup. She puts a lump of sugar on her spoon, dips it in the coffee and pops it into her mouth where she crunches it slowly, rubbing the grains of sugar against the roof of her mouth with her tongue. The orchestra is playing a tango.

The sun streaming into the office under the drawn shades cut a bright slanting layer like watered silk through the cigarsmoke.

"Mighty easy," George Baldwin was saying dragging out the words. "Gus we got to go mighty easy on this." Gus McNiel bullnecked redfaced with a heavy watchchain in his vest sat in the armchair nodding silently, pulling on his cigar. "As things are now no court would sustain such an injunction . . . an injunction that seems to me a pure piece