Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/30

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Manhattan Transfer

parlor with specks and splinters of light. Susie Thatcher sat limp by the window watching him out of eyes too blue for her sallow face. Between them, stepping carefully among the roses on the sunny field of the carpet, little Ellen danced. Two small hands held up the pinkfrilled dress and now and then an emphatic little voice said, "Mummy watch my expression."

"Just look at the child," said Thatcher, still playing. "She's a regular little balletdancer."

Sheets of the Sunday paper lay where they had fallen from the table; Ellen started dancing on them, tearing the sheets under her nimble tiny feet.

"Dont do that Ellen dear," whined Susie from the pink plush chair.

"But mummy I can do it while I dance."

"Dont do that mother said." Ed Thatcher had slid into the Barcarole. Ellen was dancing to it, her arms swaying to it, her feet nimbly tearing the paper.

"Ed for Heaven's sake pick the child up; she's tearing the paper."

He brought his fingers down in a lingering chord. "Deary you mustnt do that. Daddy's not finished reading it."

Ellen went right on. Thatcher swooped down on her from the pianostool and set her squirming and laughing on his knee. "Ellen you should always mind when mummy speaks to you, and dear you shouldnt be destructive. It costs money to make that paper and people worked on it and daddy went out to buy it and he hasnt finished reading it yet. Ellie understands dont she now? We need con-struction and not de-struction in this world." Then he went on with the Barcarole and Ellen went on dancing, stepping carefully among the roses on the sunny field of the carpet.

There were six men at the table in the lunch room eating fast with their hats on the backs of their heads.

"Jiminy crickets!" cried the young man at the end of the