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Manhattan Transfer

like. I'm going to the ladies' room a minute. . . . And please have me a Martini, I'm dead tonight, just dead."

"You poor little thing, of course I will. . . . And dont be long please."

His knees were weak under him, he felt like melting ice as he went into the gilt ponderously ornamented diningroom. Good lord Baldwin you're acting like a hobbledehoy of seventeen . . . after all these years too. Never get anywhere that way. . . . "Well Joseph what are you going to give us to eat tonight? I'm hungry. . . . But first you can get Fred to make the best Martini cocktail he ever made in his life."

"Tres bien monsieur," said the longnosed Roumanian waiter and handed him the menu with a flourish. Ellen stayed a long time looking in the mirror, dabbing a little superfluous powder off her face, trying to make up her mind. She kept winding up a hypothetical dollself and setting it in various positions. Tiny gestures ensued, acted out on various model stages. Suddenly she turned away from the mirror with a shrug of her toowhite shoulders and hurried to the diningroom.

"Oh George I'm starved, simply starved."

"So am I" he said in a crackling voice. "And Elaine I've got news for you," he went on hurriedly as if he were afraid she'd interrupt him.

"Cecily has consented to a divorce. We're going to rush it through quietly in Paris this summer. Now what I want to know is, will you . . .?"

She leaned over and patted his hand that grasped the edge of the table. "George lets eat our dinner first. . . . We've got to be sensible. God knows we've messed things up enough in the past both of us. . . . Let's drink to the crime wave." The smooth infinitesimal foam of the cocktail was soothing in her tongue and throat, glowed gradually warmly through her. She looked at him laughing with sparkling eyes. He drank his at a gulp.

"By gad Elaine." he said flaming up helplessly, "you're the most wonderful thing in the world."