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Manhattan Transfer

"Please sir what's that?"

"That's New York. . . . You see New York is on Manhattan Island."

"Is it really on an island?"

"Well what do you think of a boy who dont know that his own home town is on an island?"

The tweedy gentleman's gold teeth glitter as he laughs with his mouth wide open. Jimmy walks on round the deck, kicking his heels, all foamy inside; New York's on an island.

"You look right glad to get home little boy," says the Southern lady.

"Oh I am, I could fall down and kiss the ground."

"Well that's a fine patriotic sentiment. . . . I'm glad to hear you say it."

Jimmy scalds all over. Kiss the ground, kiss the ground, echoes in his head like a catcall. Round the deck.

"That with the yellow flag's the quarantine boat." A stout man with rings on his fingers—he's a Jew—is talking to the tweedy man. "Ha we're under way again. . . . That was quick, what?"

"We'll be in for breakfast, an American breakfast, a good old home breakfast."

Muddy coming down the deck, her brown veil floating. "Here's your overcoat Jimmy, you've got to carry it."

"Muddy, can I get out that flag?"

"What flag?"

"The silk American flag."

"No dear it's all put away."

"Please I'd so like to have that flag cause it's the Fourth of July an everything."

"Now dont whine Jimmy. When mother says no she means no."

Sting of tears; he swallows a lump and looks up in her eyes.

"Jimmy it's put away in the shawlstrap and mother's so tired of fussing with those wretched bags."

"But Billy Jones has one."