Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/256

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Manhattan Transfer

The long day love was crisp in the curls . . . the dark curls . . . broken in the dark steel light . . . hurls . . . high O God high into the bright . . . She was cutting with her fork in the crisp white heart of a lettuce. She was saying words while quite other words spilled confusedly inside her like a broken package of beads. She sat looking at a picture of two women and two men eating at a table in a high paneled room under a shivering crystal chandelier. She looked up from her plate to find Miss Goldweiser's little birdeyes kindly querulous fixed hard on her face.

"Oh yes New York is really pleasanter in midsummer than any other time; there's less hurry and bustle."

"Oh yes that's quite true Miss Goldweiser." Ellen flashed a sudden smile round the table. . . . All the long day love Was crisp in the curls of his high thin brow, Flashed in his eyes in dark steel light. . . .

In the taxi Goldweiser's broad short knees pressed against hers; his eyes were full of furtive spiderlike industry weaving a warm sweet choking net about her face and neck. Miss Goldweiser had relapsed pudgily into the seat beside her. Dick Snow was holding an unlighted cigar in his mouth, rolling it with his tongue. Ellen tried to remember exactly how Stan looked, his polevaulter's tight slenderness; she couldn't remember his face entire, she saw his eyes, lips, an ear.

Times Square was full of juggled colored lights, criss-crossed corrugations of glare. They went up in the elevator at the Astor. Ellen followed Miss Goldweiser across the roofgarden among the tables. Men and women in evening dress, in summer muslins and light suits turned and looked after her, like sticky tendrils of vines glances caught at her as she passed. The orchestra was playing In My Harem. They arranged themselves at a table.

"Shall we dance?" asked Goldweiser.

She smiled a wry broken smile in his face as she let him put his arm round her back. His big ear with solemn lonely hairs on it was on the level of her eyes.

"Elaine," he was breathing into her ear, "honest I thought