Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/312

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Manhattan Transfer


Riverside 11121

"Maybe some day you need some little ting . . . I deal in nutting but prewar imported. I am the best bootleggair in New York.

"If I ever get any money I certainly will spend it on you Congo. . . . How do you find business?"

"Veree good. . . . I tell you about it. Tonight I'm too busee. . . . Now I find you a table in the restaurant."

"Do you run this place too?"

"No this my bruderinlaw's place."

"I didnt know you had a sister."

"Neither did I."

When Congo limped away from their table silence came down between them like an asbestos curtain in a theater.

"He's a funny duck," said Jimmy forcing a laugh.

"He certainly is."

"Look Ellie let's have another cocktail."


"I must get hold of him and get some stories about bootleggers out of him."

When he stretched his legs out under the table he touched her feet. She drew them away. Jimmy could feel his jaws chewing, they clanked so loud under his cheeks he thought Ellie must hear them. She sat opposite him in a gray tailoredsuit, her neck curving up heartbreakingly from the ivory V left by the crisp frilled collar of her blouse, her head tilted under her tight gray hat, her lips made up; cutting up little pieces of meat and not eating them, not saying a word.

"Gosh . . . let's have another cocktail." He felt paralyzed like in a nightmare; she was a porcelaine figure under a bellglass. A current of fresh snowrinsed air from somewhere eddied all of a sudden through the blurred packed jangling glare of the restaurant, cut the reek of food and drink and tobacco. For an instant he caught the smell of