Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/59

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Metropolis

47

night two guys starts asluggin an I has to mix it up with both of em to clear the place out. . . . I'm sick o fighten every drunk on Tenth Avenoo. . . . Have somethin on the house?"

"Jez I'm afraid Nellie'll smell it on me."

"Oh, niver moind that. Nellie ought to be used to a bit o drinkin. Her ole man loikes it well enough."

"But honest Mac I aint been slopped once since me weddinday."

"I dont blame ye. She's a real sweet girl Nellie is. Those little spitcurls o hers'd near drive a feller crazy."

The second beer sends a foamy acrid flush to Gus's fingertips. Laughing he slaps his thigh.

"She's a pippin, that's what she is Gus, so ladylike an all."

"Well I reckon I'll be gettin back to her."

"You lucky young divil to be goin home to bed wid your wife when we're all startin to go to work."

Gus's red face gets redder. His ears tingle. "Sometimes she's abed yet. . . . So long Mac." He stamps out into the street again.

The morning has grown bleak. Leaden clouds have settled down over the city. "Git up old skin an bones," shouts Gus jerking at the gelding's head. Eleventh Avenue is full of icy dust, of grinding rattle of wheels and scrape of hoofs on the cobblestones. Down the railroad tracks comes the clang of a locomotive bell and the clatter of shunting freightcars. Gus is in bed with his wife talking gently to her: Look here Nellie, you wouldn't moind movin West would yez? I've filed application for free farmin land in the state o North Dakota, black soil land where we can make a pile o money in wheat; some fellers git rich in foive good crops. . . . Healthier for the kids anyway. . . . "Hello Moike!" There's poor old Moike still on his beat. Cold work bein a cop. Better be a wheatfarmer an have a big farmhouse an barns an pigs an horses an cows an chickens. . . . Pretty curlyheaded Nellie feedin the chickens at the kitchen door. . . .