Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/290

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Manhattan Transfer

in as they went out the gate. "Want to smell our breaths?" asked Hildebrand. The man had a face like a block of wood. He closed the door. "Helena doesn't know prohibition yet, does she?"

"He gave me a scare . . . Look."

"Good gracious!" From under the blanket that was wrapped round the baby she produced a brownpaper package. . . . "Two quarts of our special cognac . . . gout famille 'Erf . . . and I've got another quart in a hotwaterbottle under my waistband. . . . That's why I look as if I was going to have another baby."

The Hildebrands began hooting with laughter.

"Jimp's got a hotwaterbottle round his middle too and chartreuse in a flask on his hip. . . . We'll probably have to go and bail him out of jail."

They were still laughing so that tears were streaming down their faces when they drew up at the hotel. In the elevator the baby began to wail.

As soon as she had closed the door of the big sunny room she fished the hotwaterbottle from under her dress. "Look Bob phone down for some cracked ice and seltzer. . . . We'll all have a cognac a l'eau de selz. . . ."

"Hadn't we better wait for Jimps?"

"Oh he'll be right here. . . . We haven't anything dutiable. . . . Much too broke to have anything. . . . Frances what do you do about milk in New York?"

"How should I know, Helena?" Frances Hildebrand flushed and walked to the window.

"Oh well we'll give him his food again. . . . He's done fairly well on it on the trip." Ellen had laid the baby on the bed. He lay kicking, looking about with dark round goldstone eyes.

"Isnt he fat?"

"He's so healthy I'm sure he must be halfwitted. . . . Oh Heavens and I've got to call up my father. . . . Isnt family life just too desperately complicated?"

Ellen was setting up her little alcohol stove on the wash-