Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/71

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Dollars

59

Emile screwed up one eye. "Might be worse. . . . But I'm sick of waiting. . . . It's so tiring; nobody regards a waiter."

"You are a man of ambition, Monsieur Loustec,"

"Que voulez vous?" He blushed, and said timidly "My name's Emile."

Mme. Rigaud rolled her eyes towards the ceiling. "That was my dead husband's name. I'm used to that name." She sighed heavily.

"And how's business?"

"Comma ci comma ça. . . . Ham's gone up again."

"It's the Chicago ring's doing that. . . . A corner in pork, that's the way to make money."

Emile found Mme. Rigaud's bulgy black eyes probing his. "I enjoyed your singing so last time. . . . I've thought of it often. . . . Music does one good dont it?" Mme. Rigaud's dimples stretched and stretched as she smiled. "My poor husband had no ear. . . . That gave me a great deal of pain."

"Couldn't you sing me something this evening?"

"If you want me to, Emile? . . . But there is nobody to wait on customers."

"I'll run in when we hear the bell, if you will permit me."

"Very well. . . . I've learned a new American song . . . C'est chic vous savez."

Mme. Rigaud locked the till with a key from the bunch that hung at her belt and went through the glass door in the back of the shop. Emile followed with his hat in his hand.

"Give me your hat Emile."

"Oh dont trouble yourself."

The room beyond was a little parlor with yellow flowered wallpaper, old salmon pink portieres and, under the gasbracket from which hung a bunch of crystals, a piano with photographs on it. The pianostool creaked when Mme. Rigaud sat down. She ran her fingers over the keys. Emile sat carefully on the very edge of the chair beside the piano