Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/74

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Manhattan Transfer

Ellen was sitting beside her father on a bench at the Battery. She was looking at her new brown button shoes. A glint of sunlight caught on the toes and on each of the little round buttons when she swung her feet out from under the shadow of her dress.

"Think how it'd be," Ed Thatcher was saying, "to go abroad on one of those liners. Imagine crossing the great Atlantic in seven days."

"But daddy what do people do all that time on a boat?"

"I dunno . . . I suppose they walk round the deck and play cards and read and all that sort of thing. Then they have dances."

"Dances on a boat! I should think it'd be awful tippy." Ellen giggled.

"On the big modern liners they do."

"Daddy why dont we go?"

"Maybe we will some day if I can save up the money."

"Oh daddy do hurry up an save a lot of money. Alice Vaughan's mother an father go to the White Mountains every summer, but next summer they're going abroad."

Ed Thatcher looked out across the bay that stretched in blue sparkling reaches into the brown haze towards the Narrows. The statue of Liberty stood up vague as a sleepwalker among the curling smoke of tugboats and the masts of schooners and the blunt lumbering masses of brickbarges and sandscows. Here and there the glary sun shone out white on a sail or on the superstructure of a steamer. Red ferryboats shuttled back and forth.

"Daddy why arent we rich?"

"There are lots of people poorer than us Ellie. . . . You wouldn't like your daddy any better if he were rich would you?"

"Oh yes I would daddy."

Thatcher laughed. "Well it might happen someday. . . . How would you like the firm of Edward C. Thatcher and Co., Certified Accountants?"

Ellen jumped to her feet: "Oh look at that big boat. . . . That's the boat I want to go on."