Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/292

This page has been validated.


Manhattan Transfer

her married again and with a baby. He went into the store. "What's that rose?"

"It's Gold of Ophir sir."

"All right I want two dozen sent down to the Brevoort immediately. . . . Miss Elaine . . . No Mr. and Mrs. James Herf. . . . I'll write a card."

He sat down at the desk with a pen in his hand. Incense of roses, incense out of the dark fire of her hair. . . . No nonsense for Heaven's sake . . .

Dear Elaine,

I hope you will allow an old friend to call on you and your husband one of these days. And please remember that I am always sincerely anxious—you know me too well to take this for an empty offer of politeness—to serve you and him in any way that could possibly contribute to your happiness. Forgive me if I subscribe myself your lifelong slave and admirer

George Baldwin

The letter covered three of the florists' white cards. He read it over with pursed lips, carefully crossing the t's and dotting the i's. Then he paid the florist from the roll of bills he took from his back pocket and went out into the street again. It was already night, going on to seven o'clock. Still hesitating he stood at the corner watching the taxis pass, yellow, red, green, tangerinecolored.

The snubnosed transport sludges slowly through the Narrows in the rain. Sergeant-Major O'Keefe and Private 1st Class Dutch Robertson stand in the lee of the deckhouse looking at the liners at anchor in quarantine and the low wharfcluttered shores.

"Look some of em still got their warpaint—Shippin Board boats. . . . Not worth the powder to blow em up."

"The hell they aint," said Joey O'Keefe vaguely.

"Gosh little old New York's goin to look good to me. . . ."