Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/56

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Manhattan Transfer

"Wont daddy come and kiss me good night?"

"He will when he comes in; he's gone back down to the office and mother's going to Mrs. Spingarn's to play euchre."

"When'll daddy be home?"

"Ellie I said go to sleep. . . . I'll leave the light."

"Dont mummy, it makes shadows. . . . When'll daddy be home?"

"When he gets good and ready." She was turning down the gaslight. Shadows out of the corners joined wings and rushed together. "Good night Ellen." The streak of light of the door narrowed behind mummy, slowly narrowed to a thread up and along the top. The knob clicked; the steps went away down the hall; the front door slammed. A clock ticked somewhere in the silent room; outside the apartment, outside the house, wheels and gallumping of hoofs, trailing voices; the roar grew. It was black except for the two strings of light that made an upside down L in the corner of the door.

Ellie wanted to stretch out her feet but she was afraid to. She didnt dare take her eyes from the upside down L in the corner of the door. If she closed her eyes the light would go out. Behind the bed, out of the window-curtains, out of the closet, from under the table shadows nudged creakily towards her. She held on tight to her ankles, pressed her chin in between her knees. The pillow bulged with shadow, rummaging shadows were slipping into the bed. If she closed her eyes the light would go out.

Black spiraling roar outside was melting through the walls making the cuddled shadows throb. Her tongue clicked against her teeth like the ticking of the clock. Her arms and legs were stiff; her neck was stiff; she was going to yell. Yell above the roaring and the rattat outside, yell to make daddy hear, daddy come home. She drew in her breath and shrieked again. Make daddy come home. The roaring shadows staggered and danced, the shadows lurched round and round. Then she was crying, her eyes were full of safe warm tears, they were running over her cheeks and into