Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/54

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Manhattan Transfer

"I couldnt tell him we lived in the Bronx could I? He'd have thought we were Jews and wouldnt have rented us the apartment."

"But you know I dont like that sort of thing."

"Well we'll just move down to the Astor for the rest of the week, if you're feeling so truthful. . . . I've never in my life stopped in a big downtown hotel."

"Oh Bertha it's the principle of the thing. . . . I don't like you to be like that."

She turned and looked at him with twitching nostrils. "You're so nambypamby, Billy. . . . I wish to heavens I'd married a man for a husband."

He took her by the arm. "Let's go up here," he said gruffly with his face turned away.

They walked up a cross street between buildinglots. At a corner the rickety half of a weatherboarded farmhouse was still standing. There was half a room with blueflowered paper eaten by brown stains on the walls, a smoked fireplace, a shattered builtin cupboard, and an iron bedstead bent double.

Plates slip endlessly through Bud's greasy fingers. Smell of swill and hot soapsuds. Twice round with the little mop, dip, rinse and pile in the rack for the longnosed Jewish boy to wipe. Knees wet from spillings, grease creeping up his forearms, elbows cramped.

"Hell this aint no job for a white man."

"I dont care so long as I eat," said the Jewish boy above the rattle of dishes and the clatter and seething of the range where three sweating cooks fried eggs and ham and hamburger steak and browned potatoes and cornedbeef hash.

"Sure I et all right," said Bud and ran his tongue round his teeth dislodging a sliver of salt meat that he mashed against his palate with his tongue. Twice round with the