Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/231

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Went to the Animals' Fair

219

It'll do one thing, it'll keep that row off the front page. . . . I'll tell you about him in a minute. . . . I dont suppose you like steamed clams do you? They are very good here."

"George I adore steamed clams."

"Then we'll have a regular old fashioned Long Island shore dinner. What do you think of that?" Laying her gloves away on the edge of the table her hand brushed against the vase of rusty red and yellow roses. A shower of faded petals fluttered onto her hand, her gloves, the table. She shook them off her hands.

"And do have him take these wretched roses away George. . . . I hate faded flowers."

Steam from the plated bowl of clams uncoiled in the rosy glow from the lampshade. Baldwin watched her fingers, pink and limber, pulling the clams by their long necks out of their shells, dipping them in melted butter, and popping them dripping in her mouth. She was deep in eating clams. He sighed. "Elaine . . . I'm a very unhappy man. . . . Seeing Gus McNiel's wife. It's the first time in years. Think of it I was crazy in love with her and now I cant remember what her first name was . . . Funny isn't it? Things had been extremely slow ever since I had set up in practice for myself. It was a rash thing to do, as I was only two years out of lawschool and had no money to run on. I was rash in those days. I'd decided that if I didn't get a case that day I'd chuck everything and go back to a clerkship. I went out for a walk to clear my head and saw a freightcar shunting down Eleventh Avenue run into a milkwagon. It was a horrid mess and when we'd picked the fellow up I said to myself I'd get him his rightful damages or bankrupt myself in the attempt. I won his case and that brought me to the notice of various people downtown, and that started him on his career and me on mine."

"So he drove a milkwagon did he? I think milkmen are the nicest people in the world. Mine's the cutest thing."

"Elaine you wont repeat this to anyone. . . . I feel the completest confidence in you."

"That's very nice of you George. Isn't it amazing the