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Manhattan Transfer

ward. Stan stepped across the crack, staggered up the manuresmelling wooden tunnel of the ferryhouse out into the sunny glass and benches of the Battery. He sat down on a bench, clasped his hands round his knees to keep them from shaking so. His mind went on jingling like a mechanical piano.

With bells on her fingers and rings on her toes
Shall ride a white lady upon a great horse
And she shall make mischief wherever she goes . . .

There was Babylon and Nineveh, they were built of brick. Athens was goldmarble columns. Rome was held up on broad arches of rubble. In Constantinople the minarets flame like great candles round the Golden Horn. . . . O there's one more river to cross. Steel glass, tile, concrete will be the materials of the skyscrapers. Crammed on the narrow island the millionwindowed buildings will jut, glittering pyramid on pyramid, white cloudsheads piled above a thunderstorm . . .

And it rained forty days and it rained forty nights
And it didn't stop till Christmas
And the only man who survived the flood
Was longlegged Jack of the Isthmus. . . .

Kerist I wish I was a skyscraper.

The lock spun round in a circle to keep out the key. Dexterously Stan bided his time and caught it. He shot headlong through the open door and down the long hall shouting Pearline into the livingroom. It smelled funny, Pearline's smell, to hell with it. He picked up a chair; the chair wanted to fly, it swung round his head and crashed into the window, the glass shivered and tinkled. He looked out through the window. The street stood up on end. A hookandladder and a fire engine were climbing it licketysplit trail-