Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/349

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Revolving Doors


old man Perkins, you know him, he's one of the vicepresidents of your bank. . . . And look when you see Maisie tell her I'm coming up to see her tomorrow. An extraordinary series of events has kept me from communicating with her . . . a most unfortunate series of events that took all my time up to this moment. . . . We'll talk about it later."

Merivale cleared his throat. "Very well," he said dryly.

"All right sir," said the fitter giving Merivale a last tap on the buttocks. He went back into the booth to dress.

"All right old thing," shouted Cunningham, "I've got to go pick out another suit . . . I'll expect you at seven. I'll have a Jack Rose waiting for you."

Merivale's hands were trembling as he fastened his belt. Perkins, Jack Cunningham, the damn blackguard, hydroplanes. Jack Cunningham Salmagundi Perkins. He went to a phone booth in a corner of the store and called up his mother. "Hello Mother, I'm afraid I wont be up to dinner. . . . I'm dining with Randolph Perkins at the Salmagundi Club. . . . Yes it is very pleasant. . . . Oh well he and I have always been fairly good friends. . . . Oh yes it's essential to stand in with the men higher up. And I've seen Jack Cunningham. I put it up to him straight from the shoulder man to man and he was very much embarrassed. He promised a full explanation within twentyfour hours. . . . No I kept my temper very well. I felt I owed it to Maisie. I tell you I think the man's a blackguard but until there's proof. . . . Well good night dear, in case I'm late. Oh no please dont wait up. Tell Maisie not to worry I'll be able to give her the fullest details. Good night mother."

They sat at a small table in the back of a dimly lighted tearoom. The shade on the lamp cut off the upper parts of their faces. Ellen had on a dress of bright peacock blue and a small blue hat with a piece of green in it. Ruth Prynne's face had a sagging tired look under the street makeup.

"Elaine, you've just got to come," she was saying in a