Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/291

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Rejoicing City That Dwelt Carelessly


stand. The bellboy came with glasses and a bowl of clinking ice and White Rock on a tray.

"You fix us a drink out of the hotwaterbottle. We've got to use that up or it'll eat the rubber. . . . And we'll drink to the Cafe d'Harcourt."

"Of course what you kids dont realize," said Hildebrand, "is that the difficulty under prohibition is keeping sober."

Ellen laughed; she stood over the little lamp that gave out a quiet domestic smell of hot nickel and burned alcohol.

George Baldwin was walking up Madison Avenue with his light overcoat on his arm. His fagged spirits were reviving in the sparkling autumn twilight of the streets. From block to block through the taxiwhirring gasoline gloaming two lawyers in black frock coats and stiff wing collars argued in his head. If you go home it will be cozy in the library. The apartment will be gloomy and quiet and you can sit in your slippers under the bust of Scipio Africanus in the leather chair and read and have dinner sent in to you. . . . Nevada would be jolly and coarse and tell you funny stories. . . . She would have all the City Hall gossip . . . good to know. . . . But you're not going to see Nevada any more . . . too dangerous; she gets you all wrought up. . . . And Cecily sitting faded and elegant and slender biting her lips and hating me, hating life. . . . Good God how am I going to get my existence straightened out? He stopped in front of a flowerstore. A moist warm honied expensive smell came from the door, densely out into the keen steelblue street. If I could at least make my financial position impregnable. . . . In the window was a minature Japanese garden with brokenback bridges and ponds where the goldfish looked big as whales. Proportion, that's it. To lay out your life like a prudent gardener, plowing and sowing. No I wont go to see Nevada tonight. I might send her some flowers though. Yellow roses, those coppery roses . . . it's Elaine who ought to wear those. Imagine