Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/82

This page has been validated.

70

Manhattan Transfer

"Well goodby Mrs. Herf. If you ever come down our way. . . . Jimmy I didn't see you kiss the ground young man."

"Oh he's killing, he's so oldfashioned . . . such an oldfashioned child."

The cab smells musty, goes rumbling and lurching up a wide avenue swirling with dust, through brick streets soursmelling full of grimy yelling children, and all the while the trunks creak and thump on top.

"Muddy dear, you dont think it'll break through do you?"

"No dear," she laughs tilting her head to one side. She has pink cheeks and her eyes sparkle under the brown veil.

"Oh muddy." He stands up and kisses her on the chin.

"What lots of people muddy."

"That's on account of the Fourth of July."

"What's that man doing?"

"He's been drinking dear I'm afraid."

From a little stand draped with flags a man with white whiskers with little red garters on his shirtsleeves is making a speech. "That's a Fourth of July orator. . . . He's reading the Declaration of Independence."

"Why?"

"Because it's the Fourth of July."

Crang! . . . that's a cannon-cracker. "That wretched boy might have frightened the horse. . . . The Fourth of July dear is the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 in the War of the Revolution. My great grandfather Harland was killed in that war."

A funny little train with a green engine clatters overhead.

"That's the Elevated . . . and look this is Twentythird Street . . . and the Flatiron Building."

The cab turns sharp into a square glowering with sunlight, smelling of asphalt and crowds and draws up before a tall door where colored men in brass buttons run forward, "And here we are at the Fifth Avenue Hotel."

Icecream at Uncle Jeff's, cold sweet peachy taste thick against the roof of the mouth. Funny after you've left the