Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/78

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Manhattan Transfer

Without a word Bud pocketed the quarter and shuffled out.

"Such ingratitude," he heard the woman snort as he closed the door behind him.

A cramp was tying knots in his stomach. He turned east again and walked the long blocks to the river with his fists pressed tight in under his ribs. At any moment he expected to throw up. If I lose it it wont do me no good. When he got to the end of the street he lay down on the gray rubbish slide beside the wharf. A smell of hops seeped gruelly and sweet out of the humming brewery behind him. The light of the sunset flamed in the windows of factories on the Long Island side, flashed in the portholes of tugs, lay in swaths of curling yellow and orange over the swift browngreen water, glowed on the curved sails of a schooner that was slowly bucking the tide up into Hell Gate. Inside him the pain was less. Something flamed and glowed like the sunset seeping through his body. He sat up. Thank Gawd I aint agoin to lose it.

On deck it's damp and shivery in the dawn. The ship's rail is wet when you put your hand on it. The brown harbor-water smells of washbasins, rustles gently against the steamer's sides. Sailors are taking the hatches off the hold. There's a rattle of chains and a clatter from the donkey-engine where a tall man in blue overalls stands at a lever in the middle of a cloud of steam that wraps round your face like a wet towel.

"Muddy is it really the Fourth of July?"

Mother's hand has grasped his firmly trailing him down the companionway into the dining saloon. Stewards are piling up baggage at the foot of the stairs.

"Muddy is it really the Fourth of July?"

"Yes deary I'm afraid it is. . . . A holiday is a dreadful time to arrive. Still I guess they'll all be down to meet us."

She has her blue serge on and a long trailing brown veil