Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/229

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V. Went to the Animals' Fair

Red light. Bell.

A block deep four ranks of cars wait at the grade crossing, fenders in taillights, mudguards scraping mudguards, motors purring hot, exhausts reeking, cars from Babylon and Jamaica, cars from Montauk, Port Jefferson, Patchogue, limousines from Long Beach, Far Rockaway, roadsters from Great Neck . . . cars full of asters and wet bathingsuits, sunsinged necks, mouths sticky from sodas and hotdawgs . . . cars dusted with pollen of ragweed and goldenrod.

Green light. Motors race, gears screech into first. The cars space out, flow in a long ribbon along the ghostly cement road, between blackwindowed blocks of concrete factories, between bright slabbed colors of signboards towards the glow over the city that stands up incredibly into the night sky like the glow of a great lit tent, like the yellow tall bulk of a tentshow.

Sarajevo, the word stuck in her throat when she tried to say it. . . .

"It's terrible to think of, terrible," George Baldwin was groaning. "The Street'll go plumb to hell. . . . They'll close the Stock Exchange, only thing to do."

"And I've never been to Europe either. . . . A war must be an extraordinary thing to see." Ellen in her blue velvet dress with a buff cloak over it leaned back against the cushions of the taxi that whirred smoothly under them. "I always think of history as lithographs in a schoolbook, generals making proclamations, little tiny figures running across fields with their arms spread out, facsimiles of signatures." Cones of light cutting into cones of light along the hot humming roadside, headlights splashing trees, houses, billboards, telegraph poles with broad brushes of whitewash.