Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/41

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"No to a real painter."

"By Gad I'll buy it."

"Maybe you wont have a chance."

She nodded her blond pompadour at him.

"You're a wicked little tease, Olga."

She laughed keeping her lips tight over her long teeth.

A man was leaning towards the man with the diamond stud, tapping with a stubby finger on the table.

"No sir as a real estate proposition, Twentythird Street has crashed. . . . That's generally admitted. . . . But what I want to talk to you about privately sometime Mr. Godalming, is this. . . . How's all the big money in New York been made? Astor, Vanderbilt, Fish. . . . In real estate of course. Now it's up to us to get in on the next great cleanup. . . . It's almost here. . . . Buy Forty. . . ."

The man with the diamond stud raised one eyebrow and shook his head. "For one night on Beauty's lap, O put gross care away . . . or something of the sort. . . . Waiter why in holy hell are you so long with the champagne?" He got to his feet, coughed in his hand and began to sing in his croaking voice:

O would the Atlantic were all champagne
Bright billows of champagne.

Everybody clapped. The old waiter had just divided a baked Alaska and, his face like a beet, was prying out a stiff champagnecork. When the cork popped the lady in the tiara let out a yell. They toasted the man in the diamond stud.

For he's a jolly good fellow . . .

"Now what kind of a dish d'ye call this?" the man with the bottlenose leaned over and asked the girl next to him. Her black hair parted in the middle; she wore a palegreen dress with puffy sleeves. He winked slowly and then stared hard into her black eyes.