Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/52

This page has been validated.

40

Manhattan Transfer

"And die of the syph in a hospital at thirty. . . ."

"What's it matter? . . . Your body renews itself every seven years."

The steps of their rooming house smelled of cabbage and stale beer. They stumbled up yawning.

"Waiting's a rotton tiring job. . . . Makes the soles of your feet ache. . . . Look it's going to be a fine day; I can see the sun on the watertank opposite."

Congo pulled off his shoes and socks and trousers and curled up in bed like a cat.

"Those dirty shades let in all the light," muttered Emile as he stretched himself on the outer edge of the bed. He lay tossing uneasily on the rumpled sheets. Congo's breathing beside him was low and regular. If I was only like that, thought Emile, never worrying about a thing. . . . But it's not that way you get along in the world. My God it's stupid. . . . Marco's gaga the old fool.

And he lay on his back looking up at the rusty stains on the ceiling, shuddering every time an elevated train shook the room. Sacred name of God I must save up my money. When he turned over the knob on the bedstead rattled and he remembered Marco's hissing husky voice: I never see the dawn that I dont say to myself perhaps.

"If you'll excuse me just a moment Mr. Olafson," said the houseagent. "While you and the madam are deciding about the apartment. . ." They stood side by side in the empty room, looking out the window at the slatecolored Hudson and the warships at anchor and a schooner tacking upstream.

Suddenly she turned to him with glistening eyes; "O Billy, just think of it."

He took hold of her shoulders and drew her to him slowly. "You can smell the sea, almost."

"Just think Billy that we are going to live here, on Riverside Drive. I'll have to have a day at home . . . Mrs. Wil-