Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/91

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window when he saw that the waiter wasn't Pat. The waiter switched on the light. Jimmy saw him reflected in the windowpane, a lean spikyhaired man holding aloft in one hand the dinnertray on which the silver covers were grouped like domes. Breathing hard the waiter advanced into the room dragging a folding stand after him with his free hand. He jerked open the stand, set the tray on it and laid a cloth on the round table. A greasy pantry smell came from him. Jimmy waited till he'd gone to turn round. Then he walked about the table tipping up the silver covers; soup with little green things in it, roast lamb, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, spinach, no desert either.

"Muddy." "Yes deary," the voice wailed frailly through the folding doors.

"Dinner's ready mother dear."

"You begin darling boy, I'll be right in. . . ."

"But I dont want to begin without you mother."

He walked round the table straightening knives and forks. He put a napkin over his arm. The head waiter at Delmonico's was arranging the table for Graustark and the Blind King of Bohemia and Prince Henry the Navigator and . . .

"Mother who d'you want to be Mary Queen of Scots or Lady Jane Grey?"

"But they both had their heads chopped off honey. . . . I dont want to have my head chopped off." Mother had on her salmoncolored teagown. When she opened the folding doors a wilted smell of cologne and medicines seeped out of the bedroom, trailed after her long lacefringed sleeves. She had put a little too much powder on her face, but her hair, her lovely brown hair was done beautifully. They sat down opposite one another; she set a plate of soup in front of him, lifting it between two long blueveined hands.

He ate the soup that was watery and not hot enough. "Oh I forgot the croutons, honey."

"Muddy . . . mother why arent you eating your soup?"

"I dont seem to like it much this evening. I couldn't