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Manhattan Transfer

When they sit up in the great bed they can see across the harbor, can see the yards of a windjammer and a white sloop and a red and green toy tug and plainfaced houses opposite beyond a peacock stripe of water; when they lie down they can see gulls in the sky. At dusk dressing rockily, shakily stumbling through the mildewed corridors of the hotel out into streets noisy as a brass band, full of tambourine rattle, brassy shine, crystal glitter, honk and whir of motors. . . . Alone together in the dusk drinking sherry under a broad-leaved plane, alone together in the juggled particolored crowds like people invisible. And the spring night comes up over the sea terrible out of Africa and settles about them.

They had finished their coffee. Jimmy had drunk his very slowly as if some agony waited for him when he finished it.

"Well I was afraid we'd find the Barneys here," said Ellen.

"Do they know about this place?"

"You brought them here yourself Jimps. . . . And that dreadful woman insisted on talking babies with me all the evening. I hate talking babies."

"Gosh I wish we could go to a show."

"It would be too late anyway."

"And just spending money I havent got. . . . Lets have a cognac to top off with. I don't care if it ruins us."

"It probably will in more ways than one."

"Well Ellie, here's to the breadwinner who's taken up the white man's burden."

"Why Jimmy I think it'll be rather fun to have an editorial job for a while."

"I'd find it fun to have any kind of job. . . . Well I can always stay home and mind the baby."

"Dont be so bitter Jimmy, it's just temporary."

"Life's just temporary for that matter."

The taxi drew up. Jimmy paid him with his last dollar. Ellie had her key in the outside door. The street was a confusion of driving absintheblurred snow. The door of their apartment closed behind them. Chairs, tables, books,