Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/377

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Skyscraper

365

"I wont have you meddling between me and my dressmakers. . . . I wont have it . . . I wont have it. . . ."

"Oh have it your own way." He left the room with his head hunched between his thick sloping shoulders.

"Ann-ee!"

"Yes ma'am." The maid came back into the room.

Mrs. Densch had sunk down in the middle of a little spindlelegged sofa. Her face was green. "Annie please get me that bottle of sweet spirits of ammonia and a little water. . . . And Annie you can call up Hickson's and tell them that that dress was sent back through a mistake of . . . of the butler's and please to send it right back as I've got to wear it tonight."

Pursuit of happiness, unalienable pursuit . . . right to life liberty and. . . . A black moonless night; Jimmy Herf is walking alone up South Street. Behind the wharfhouses ships raise shadowy skeletons against the night. "By Jesus I admit that I'm stumped," he says aloud. All these April nights combing the streets alone a skyscraper has obsessed him, a grooved building jutting up with uncountable bright windows falling onto him out of a scudding sky. Typewriters rain continual nickelplated confetti in his ears. Faces of Follies girls, glorified by Ziegfeld, smile and beckon to him from the windows. Ellie in a gold dress, Ellie made of thin gold foil absolutely lifelike beckoning from every window. And he walks round blocks and blocks looking for the door of the humming tinsel windowed skyscraper, round blocks and blocks and still no door. Every time he closes his eyes the dream has hold of him, every time he stops arguing audibly with himself in pompous reasonable phrases the dream has hold of him. Young man to save your sanity you've got to do one of two things. . . . Please mister where's the door to this building? Round the block? Just round the block . . . one of two unalienable alternatives: go