Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/221

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Fire Engine

209

"Hell dont worry about it, I'll see yez around somewheres."

"Thank you Joe. And for God's sake dont buy any more Blue Peter Mines on a margin without asking me about it. I may be a back number but I can still tell a goldbrick with my eyes closed."

"Well I got my money back."

"It took the devil's own luck to do it."

"Jez it strikes me funny me loanin a dollar to the guy who owned half the Street."

"Oh I never had as much as they said I did."

"This is a funny place. . . ."

"Where?"

"Oh I dunno, I guess everywhere. . . . Well so long Joe, I guess I'll go along an buy that ticket. . . . Jez it's goin to be a swell fight."

Joe Harland watched the young man's short jerky stride as he went off down the path with his straw hat on the side of his head. Then he got to his feet and walked east along Twentythird Street, The pavements and housewalls still gave off heat although the sun had set. He stopped outside a corner saloon and examined carefully a group of stuffed ermines, gray with dust, that occupied the center of the window. Through the swinging doors a sound of quiet voices and a malty coolness seeped into the street. He suddenly flushed and bit his upper lip and after a furtive glance up and down the street went in through the swinging doors and shambled up to the brassy bottleglittering bar.

After the rain outdoors the plastery backstage smell was pungent in their nostrils. Ellen hung the wet raincoat on the back of the door and put her umbrella in a corner of the dressing room where a little puddle began to spread from it. "And all I could think of," she was saying in a low voice to Stan who followed her staggering, "was a funny song somebody'd told me when I was a little girl about: And the only