Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/93

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dow and walked back to the sittingroom, slowly so that the red would have time to fade out of his face.

"Dreaming again, Jimmy. My little dreamer."

He put the butter beside his mother's plate and sat down.

"Hurry up and eat your lamb while it's hot. Why dont you try a little French mustard on it? It'll make it taste better."

The mustard burnt his tongue, brought tears to his eyes.

"Is it too hot?" mother asked laughing. "You must learn to like hot things. . . . He always liked hot things."

"Who mother?"

"Someone I loved very much."

They were silent. He could hear himself chewing. A few rattling sounds of cabs and trolleycars squirmed in brokenly through the closed windows. The steampipes knocked and hissed. Down the airshaft the furnaceman with grease up to his armpits was spitting words out of his wabbly mouth up at the maid in the starched cap—dirty words. Mustard's the color of . . .

"A penny for your thoughts."

"I wasn't thinking of anything."

"We mustn't have any secrets from each other dear. Remember you're the only comfort your mother has in the world."

"I wonder what it'd be like to be a seal, a little harbor seal."

"Very chilly I should think."

"But you wouldn't feel it. . . . Seals are protected by a layer of blubber so that they're always warm even sitting on an iceberg. But it would be such fun to swim around in the sea whenever you wanted to. They travel thousands of miles without stopping."

"But mother's traveled thousands of miles without stopping and so have you."


"Going abroad and coming back." She was laughing at him with bright eyes.

"Oh but that's in a boat."