Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/328

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Manhattan Transfer

school board. . . . All right Joe, drop in again next week. . . . I'll keep you in mind, you and your army."

Dougan was waiting in the outer office. He sidled up mysteriously. "Well Joe, how's things?"

"Pretty good," said Joe puffing out his chest. "Gus tells me Tammany'll be right behind us in our drive for the bonus . . . planning a nation wide campaign. He gave me some cigars a friend o his brought up by airplane from Havana. . . . Have one?" With their cigars tilting up out of the corners of their mouths they walked briskly cockily across City Hall square. Opposite the old City Hall there was a scaffolding. Joe pointed at it with his cigar. "That there's the new statue of Civic Virtue the mayor's havin set up."

The steam of cooking wrenched at his knotted stomach as he passed Child's. Dawn was sifting fine gray dust over the black ironcast city. Dutch Robertson despondently crossed Union Square, remembering Francie's warm bed, the spicy smell of her hair. He pushed his hands deep in his empty pockets. Not a red, and Francie couldn't give him anything. He walked east past the hotel on Fifteenth. A colored man was sweeping off the steps. Dutch looked at him enviously; he's got a job. Milk wagons jingled by. On Stuyvesant Square a milkman brushed past him with a bottle in each hand. Dutch stuck out his jaw and talked tough. "Give us a swig o milk will yez?" The milkman was a frail pinkfaced youngster. His blue eyes wilted. "Sure go round behind the wagon, there's an open bottle under the seat. Dont let nobody see you drink it." He drank it in deep gulps, sweet and soothing to his parched throat. Jez I ddin't need to talk rough like that. He waited until the boy came back. "Thankye buddy, that was mighty white."

He walked into the chilly park and sat down on a bench. There was hoarfrost on the asphalt. He picked up a torn