Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/271

This page has been validated.

One More River to Jordan


Under the skin of her temples iron clamps tighten till her head will mash like an egg; she begins to walk with long strides up and down the room that bristles with itching stuffiness; spotty colors of pictures, carpets, chairs wrap about her like a choking hot blanket. Outside the window the backyards are striped with blue and lilac and topaz of a rainy twilight. She opens the window. No time to get tight like the twilight, Stan said. The telephone reached out shivering beady tentacles of sound. She slams the window down. O hell cant they give you any peace?

"Why Harry I didnt know you were back. . . . Oh I wonder if I can. . . . Oh yes I guess I can. Come along by after the theater. . . . Isnt that wonderful? You must tell me all about it." She no sooner puts the receiver down than the bell clutches at her again. "Hello. . . . No I dont. . . . Oh yes maybe I do. . . . When did you get back?" She laughed a tinkling telephone laugh. "But Howard I'm terribly busy. . . . Yes I am honestly. . . . Have you been to the show? Well sometime come round after a performance. . . . I'm so anxious to hear about your trip . . . you know . . . Goodby Howard."

A walk'll make me feel better. She sits at her dressingtable and shakes her hair down about her shoulders. "It's such a hellish nuisance, I'd like to cut it all off . . . spreads apace. The shadow of white Death. . . . Oughtnt to stay up so late, those dark circles under my eyes. . . . And at the door, Invisible Corruption. . . . If I could only cry; there are people who can cry their eyes out, really cry themselves blind . . . Anyway the divorce'll go through. . . .

Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
Whose sails were never to the tempest given

Gosh it's six o'clock already. She starts walking up and down the room again. I am borne darkly fearfully afar. . . . The phone rings. "Hello. . . . Yes this is Miss Oglethorpe. . . . Why hello Ruth, why I haven't seen you for ages, since Mrs. Sunderland's. . . . Oh, do I'd love to see