Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/267

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VIII. One More River to Jordan

A MAN is shouting from a soapbox at Second Avenue and Houston in front of the Cosmopolitan Cafè: ". . . these fellers, men . . . wageslaves like I was . . . are sittin on your chest . . . they're takin the food outen your mouths. Where's all the pretty girls I used to see walkin up and down the bullevard? Look for em in the up-town cabarets. . . . They squeeze us dry friends . . . feller workers, slaves I'd oughter say . . . they take our work and our ideers and our women. . . . They build their Plaza Hotels and their millionaire's clubs and their million dollar theayters and their battleships and what do they leave us? . . . They leave us shopsickness an the rickets and a lot of dirty streets full of garbage cans. . . . You look pale you fellers. . . . You need blood. . . . Why dont you get some blood in your veins? . . . Back in Russia the poor people . . . not so much poorer'n we are . . . believe in wampires, things come suck your blood at night. . . . That's what Capitalism is, a wampire that sucks your blood . . . day . . . and . . . night."

It is beginning to snow. The flakes are giltedged where they pass the streetlamp. Through the plate glass the Cosmopolitan Cafe full of blue and green opal rifts of smoke looks like a muddy aquarium: faces blob whitely round the tables like illassorted fishes. Umbrellas begin to bob in clusters up the snowmottled street. The orator turns up his collar and walks briskly east along Houston, holding the muddy soapbox away from his trousers.