Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/373

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would we? . . . I wish Jimmy would tell us where he expected to go on his mysterious travels."

"No, you are saying to yourselves what a bore he is, what use is he to society? He has no money, he has no pretty wife, no good conversation, no tips on the stockmarket. He's a useless fardel on society. . . . The artist is a fardel."

"That's not so Martin. . . . You're talking through your hat."

Martin waved an arm across the table. Two wineglasses upset. A scaredlooking waiter laid a napkin over the red streams. Without noticing, Martin went on, "It's all pretense. . . . When you talk you talk with the little lying tips of your tongues. You dont dare lay bare your real souls. . . . But now you must listen to me for the last time. . . . For the last time I say. . . . Come here waiter you too, lean over and look into the black pit of the soul of man. And Herf is bored. You are all bored, bored flies buzzing on the windowpane. You think the windowpane is the room. You dont know what there is deep black inside. . . . I am very drunk. Waiter another bottle."

"Say hold your horses Martin. . . . I dont know if we can pay the bill as it is. . . . We dont need any more."

"Waiter another bottle of wine and four grappas."

"Well it looks as if we were in for a rough night," groaned Roy.

"If there is need my body can pay. . . . Alice take off your mask. . . . You are a beautiful little child behind your mask. . . . Come with me to the edge of the pit. . . . O I am too drunk to tell you what I feel." He brushed off his tortoiseshell glasses and crumpled them in his hand, the lenses shot glittering across the floor. The gaping waiter ducked among the tables after them.

For a moment Martin sat blinking. The rest of them looked at each other. Then he shot to his feet. "I see your little smirking supercil-superciliosity. No wonder we can no longer have decent dinners, decent conversations. . . . I