Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/412

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Manhattan Transfer

closed. Relax, she must let herself relax more. Ridiculous to go round always keyed up so that everything is like chalk shrieking on a blackboard. Suppose I'd been horribly burned, like that girl, disfigured for life. Probably she can get a lot of money out of old Soubrine, the beginning of a career. Suppose I'd gone with that young man with the ugly necktie who tried to pick me up. . . . Kidding over a banana split in a soda fountain, riding uptown and then down again on the bus, with his knee pressing my knee and his arm round my waist, a little heavy petting in a doorway. . . . There are lives to be lived if only you didn't care. Care for what, for what; the opinion of mankind, money, success, hotel lobbies, health, umbrellas, Uneeda biscuits . . .? It's like a busted mechanical toy the way my mind goes brrr all the time. I hope they havent ordered dinner. I'll make them go somewhere else if they havent. She opens her vanity case and begins to powder her nose.

When the taxi stops and the tall doorman opens the door, she steps out with dancing pointed girlish steps, pays, and turns, her cheeks a little flushed, her eyes sparkling with the glinting seablue night of deep streets, into the revolving doors.

As she goes through the shining soundless revolving doors, that spin before her gloved hand touches the glass, there shoots through her a sudden pang of something forgotten. Gloves, purse, vanity case, handkerchief, I have them all. Didn't have an umbrella. What did I forget in the taxicab? But already she is advancing smiling towards two gray men in black with white shirtfronts getting to their feet, smiling, holding out their hands.

Bob Hildebrand in dressing gown and pyjamas walked up and down in front of the long windows smoking a pipe. Through the sliding doors into the front came a sound of glasses tinkling and shuffling feet and laughing and Running Wild grating hazily out of a blunt needle on the phonograph.

"Why dont you park here for the night?" Hildebrand was