Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/300

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Manhattan Transfer

reconstruction . . . the confusion attendant on the winding up of a great conflict . . . the bankruptcy of a continent . . . bolshevism and subversive doctrines rife . . . America . . ." he says, cutting with the sharp polished steel knife into the thick steak, rare and well peppered. He chews a mouthful slowly. "America," he begins again, "is in the position of taking over the receivership of the world. The great principles of democracy, of that commercial freedom upon which our whole civilization depends are more than ever at stake. Now as at no other time we need men of established ability and unblemished integrity in public office, particularly in the offices requiring expert judicial and legal knowledge."

"That's what I was tryin to tell ye the other day George."

"But that's all very well Gus, but how do you know I'd be elected. . . . After all it would mean giving up my law practice for a number of years, it would mean . . ."

"You just leave that to me. . . . George you're elected already."

"An extraordinarily good steak," says Densch, "I must say. . . . No but newspaper talk aside . . . I happen to know from a secret and reliable source that there is a subversive plot among undesirable elements in this country. . . . Good God think of the Wall Street bomb outrage. . . . I must say that the attitude of the press has been gratifying in one respect . . . in fact we're approaching a national unity undreamed of before the war."

"No but George," breaks in Gus, "put it this way. . . . The publicity value of a political career'd kinder bolster up your law practice."

"It would and it wouldn't Gus."

Densch is unrolling the tinfoil off a cigar. "At any rate it's a grand sight." He takes off his glasses and cranes his thick neck to look out into the bright expanse of harbor that stretches full of masts, smoke, blobs of steam, dark oblongs of barges, to the hazeblurred hills of Staten Island.