The Burthen of Nineveh
saying in his deep serious voice, "Those people'll fade out gradually. . . . We can put you up on the couch."
"No thanks," said Jimmy. "They'll start talking psychoanalysis in a minute and they'll be here till dawn."
"But you'd much better take a morning train."
"I'm not going to take any kind of a train."
"Say Herf did you read about the man in Philadelphia who was killed because he wore his straw hat on the fourteenth of May?"
"By God if I was starting a new religion he'd be made a saint."
"Didnt you read about it? It was funny as a crutch. . . . This man had the temerity to defend his straw hat. Somebody had busted it and he started to fight, and in the middle of it one of these streetcorner heroes came up behind him and brained him with a piece of lead pipe. They picked him up with a cracked skull and he died in the hospital."
"Bob what was his name?"
"I didnt notice."
"Talk about the Unknown Soldier. . . . That's a real hero for you; the golden legend of the man who would wear a straw hat out of season."
A head was stuck between the double doors. A flushfaced man with his hair over his eyes looked in. "Cant I bring you fellers a shot of gin. . . . Whose funeral is being celebrated anyway?"
"I'm going to bed, no gin for me," said Hildebrand grouchily.
"It's the funeral of Saint Aloysius of Philadelphia, virgin and martyr, the man who would wear a straw hat out of season," said Herf. "I might sniff a little gin. I've got to run in a minute. . . . So long Bob."
"So long you mysterious traveler. . . . Let us have your address, do you hear?"
The long front room was full of ginbottles, gingerale bottles, ashtrays crowded with halfsmoked cigarettes, couples dancing, people sprawled on sofas. Endlessly the phono-