Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/84

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72

Manhattan Transfer

The July sun pricked out the holes in the worn shades on the office windows. Gus McNiel sat in the morrischair with his crutches between his knees. His face was white and puffy from months in hospital. Nellie in a straw hat with red poppies rocked herself to and fro in the swivel chair at the desk.

"Better come an set by me Nellie. That lawyer might not like it if he found yez at his desk."

She wrinkled up her nose and got to her feet. "Gus I declare you're scared to death."

"You'd be scared too if you'd had what I'd had wid de railroad doctor pokin me and alookin at me loike I was a jailbird and the Jew doctor the lawyer got tellin me as I was totally in-cap-aciated. Gorry I'm all in. I think he was lyin though."

"Gus you do as I tell ye. Keep yer mouth shut an let the other guys do the talkin',"

"Sure I wont let a peep outa me."

Nellie stood behind his chair and began stroking the crisp hair back from his forehead.

"It'll be great to be home again, Nellie, wid your cookin an all." He put an arm round her waist and drew her to him.

"Juss think, maybe I wont have to do any."

"I don't think I'd loike that so well. . . . Gosh if we dent git that money I dunno how we'll make out."

"Oh pop'll help us like he's been doin."

"Hope to the Lord I aint goin to be sick all me loife."

George Baldwin came in slamming the glass door behind him. He stood looking at the man and his wife a second with his hands in his pockets. Then he said quietly smiling:

"Well it's done people. As soon as the waiver of any further claims is signed the railroad's attorneys will hand me a check for twelve thousand five hundred. That's what we finally compromised on."

"Twelve thousand iron men," gasped Gus. "Twelve thousand five hundred. Say wait a second. . . . Hold me crutches while I go out an git run over again. . . . Wait till