Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/33

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Metropolis

21

self flat on the deck again, burying his dark sootsmudged face in his crossed arms.

"I want to get somewhere in the world, that's what I mean. Europe's rotten and stinking. In America a fellow can get ahead. Birth dont matter, education dont matter. It's all getting ahead."

"And if there was a nice passionate little woman right here now where the deck's warm, you wouldn't like to love her up?"

"After we're rich, we'll have plenty, plenty of everything."

"And they dont have any military service?"

"Why should they? Its the coin they're after. They dont want to fight people; they want to do business with them."

Congo did not answer.

The cabin boy lay on his back looking at the clouds. They floated from the west, great piled edifices with the sunlight crashing through between, bright and white like tinfoil. He was walking through tall white highpiled streets, stalking in a frock coat with a tall white collar up tinfoil stairs, broad, cleanswept, through blue portals into streaky marble halls where money rustled and clinked on long tinfoil tables, banknotes, silver, gold.

"Merde v'là l'heure." The paired strokes of the bell in the crowsnest came faintly to their ears. "But dont forget, Congo, the first night we get ashore. . ." He made a popping noise with his lips. "We're gone."

"I was asleep. I dreamed of a little blonde girl. I'd have had her if you hadnt waked me." The cabinboy got to his feet with a grunt and stood a moment looking west to where the swells ended in a sharp wavy line against a sky hard and abrupt as nickel. Then he pushed Congo's face down against the deck and ran aft, the wooden clogs clattering on his bare feet as he went.

Outside, the hot June Saturday was dragging its frazzled