Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/279

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One More River to Jordan

267

dust and gasoline out of their nostrils. Through the pearly night the square frames of houses along the Drive opposite flicker like burnedout fireworks. The waves slap tinily against the shoving bow of the ferry. A hunchback with a violin is scratching Marianela.

"Nothing succeeds like success," Larry is saying in a deep droning voice.

"Oh if you knew how little I cared about anything just now you wouldnt go on teasing me with all these words. . . . You know, marriage, success, love, they're just words."

"But they mean everything in the world to me. . . . I think you'd like it in Lima Elaine. . . . I waited until you were free, didnt I? And now here I am."

"We're none of us that ever. . . . But I'm just numb." The riverwind is brackish. Along the viaduct above 125th Street cars crawl like beetles. As the ferry enters the slip they hear the squudge and rumble of wheels on asphalt.

"Well we'd better get back into the car, you wonderful creature Elaine."

"After all day it's exciting isnt it Larry, getting back into the center of things."

Beside the smudged white door are two pushbuttons marked Night Bell and Day Bell. She rings with a shaky finger, A short broad man with a face like a rat and sleek black hair brushed straight back opens. Short dollhands the color of the flesh of a mushroom hang at his sides. He hunches his shoulders in a bow.

"Are you the lady? Come in."

"Is this Dr. Abrahms?"

"Yes. . . . You are the lady my friend phoned me about. Sit down my dear lady." The office smells of something like arnica. Her heart joggles desperately between her ribs.

"You understand . . ." She hates the quaver in her voice; she's going to faint. "You understand, Dr. Abrahms