Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/304

This page has been validated.


Manhattan Transfer

"I've just been having my throat X-rayed," she said with a giggle. "I feel like the wrath of God."

"What are you doing Ruth? I havent heard of you for ages."

"Put me down as a back number, hadn't you?" She caught his words up fiercely.

"After that beautiful performance you gave in The Orchard Queen. . . ."

"To tell the truth Billy I've had a terrible run of bad luck."

"Oh I know everything is dead."

"I have an appointment to see Belasco next week. . . . Something may come of that."

"Why I should say it might Ruth. . . . Are you expecting someone?"

"No. . . . Oh Billy you're still the same old tease. . . . Dont tease me this afternoon. I dont feel up to it."

"You poor dear sit down and have a cup of tea with me."

"I tell you Ruth it's a terrible year. Many a good trouper will pawn the last link of his watch chain this year. . . . I suppose you're going the rounds."

"Dont talk about it. . . . If I could only get my throat all right. . . . A thing like that wears you down."

"Remember the old days at the Somerville Stock?"

"Billy could I ever forget them? . . . Wasnt it a scream?"

"The last time I saw you Ruth was in The Butterfly on the Wheel in Seattle. I was out front. . . ."

"Why didn't you come back and see me?"

"I was still angry at you I suppose. . . . It was my lowest moment. In the valley of shadow . . . melancholia . . . neurasthenia. I was stranded penniless. . . . That night I was a little under the influence, you understand. I didn't want you to see the beast in me."

Ruth poured herself a fresh cup of tea. She suddenly felt feverishly gay. "Oh but Billy havent you forgotten all that? . . . I was a foolish little girl then. . . . I was afraid that love or marriage or anything like that would in-