Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/372

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Manhattan Transfer

"I just found there was nothing in it for me," he found himself saying a little later.

"Oh we none of us know what we want," burst out Martin. "That's why we're such a peewee generation."

"I'm beginning to learn a few of the things I dont want," said Herf quietly. "At least I'm beginning to have the nerve to admit to myself how much I dislike all the things I dont want."

"But it's wonderful," cried Alice, "throwing away a career for an ideal."

"Excuse me," said Herf pushing back his chair. In the toilet he looked himself in the eye in the wavy lookingglass.

"Dont talk," he whispered. "What you talk about you never do. . . ." His face had a drunken look. He filled the hollow of his two hands with water and washed it. At the table they cheered when he sat down.

"Yea for the wanderer," said Roy.

Alice was eating cheese on long slices of pear. "I think it's thrilling," she said.

"Roy is bored," shouted Martin Schiff after a silence. His face with its big eyes and bone glasses swam through the smoke of the restaurant like a fish in a murky aquarium.

"I was just thinking of all the places I had to go to look for a job tomorrow."

"You want a job?" Martin went on melodramatically. "You want to sell your soul to the highest bidder?"

"Jez if that's all you had to sell. . . ." moaned Roy.

"It's my morning sleep that worries me. . . . Still it is lousy putting over your personality and all that stuff. It's not your ability to do the work it's your personality."

"Prostitutes are the only honest . . ."

"But good Lord a prostitute sells her personality."

"She only rents it."

"But Roy is bored. . . . You are all bored. . . . I'm boring you all."

"We're having the time of our lives," insisted Alice. "Now Martin we wouldn't be sitting here if we were bored,