Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/378

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Manhattan Transfer

away in a dirty soft shirt or stay in a clean Arrow collar. But what's the use of spending your whole life fleeing the City of Destruction? What about your unalienable right, Thirteen Provinces? His mind unreeling phrases, he walks on doggedly. There's nowhere in particular he wants to go. If only I still had faith in words.

"How do you do Mr. Goldstein?" the reporter breezily chanted as he squeezed the thick flipper held out to him over the counter of the cigar store. "My name's Brewster. . . . I'm writing up the crime wave for the News."

Mr. Goldstein was a larvashaped man with a hooked nose a little crooked in a gray face, behind which pink attentive ears stood out unexpectedly. He looked at the reporter out of suspicious screwedup eyes.

"If you'd be so good I'd like to have your story of last night's little . . . misadventure . . ."

"Vont get no story from me young man. Vat vill you do but print it so that other boys and goils vill get the same idear."

"It's too bad you feel that way Mr. Goldstein . . . Will you give me a Robert Burns please . . .? Publicity it seems to me is as necessary as ventilation. . . . It lets in fresh air." The reporter bit off the end of the cigar, lit it, and stood looking thoughtfully at Mr. Goldstein through a swirling ring of blue smoke. "You see Mr. Goldstein it's this way," he began impressively. "We are handling this matter from the human interest angle . . . pity and tears . . . you understand. A photographer was on his way out here to get your photograph. . . . I bet you it would increase your volume of business for the next couple of weeks. . . . I suppose I'll have to phone him not to come now."

"Well this guy," began Mr. Goldstein abruptly, "he's a welldressed lookin feller, new spring overcoat an all that and he comes in to buy a package o Camels. . . . 'A nice night,'