Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/97

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"Mother." She wasn't in the sittingroom. He was terrified. She'd gone out, she'd gone away. "Mother!"

"Come here dear," came her voice weakly from the bedroom.

He pulled off his hat and raincoat and rushed in. "Mother what's the matter?"

"Nothing honey. . . . I've a headache that's all, a terrible headache. . . . Put some cologne on a handkerchief and put it on my head nicely, and dont please dear get it in my eye the way you did last time."

She lay on the bed in a skyblue wadded wrapper. Her face was purplish pale. The silky salmoncolored teagown hung limp over a chair; on the floor lay her corsets in a tangle of pink strings. Jimmy put the wet handkerchief carefully on her forehead. The cologne reeked strong, prickling his nostrils as he leaned over her.

"That's so good," came her voice feebly, "Dear call up Aunt Emily, Riverside 2466, and ask her if she can come round this evening. I want to talk to her. . . . Oh my head's bursting."

His heart thumping terribly and tears blearing his eyes he went to the telephone. Aunt Emily's voice came unexpectedly soon.

"Aunt Emily mother's kinder sick. . . . She wants you to come around. . . . She's coming right away mother dear," he shouted, "isn't that fine? She's coming right around."

He tiptoed back into his mother's room, picked up the corset and the teagown and hung them in the wardrobe.

"Deary" came her frail voice "take the hairpins out of my hair, they hurt my head. . . . Oh honeyboy I feel as if my head would burst. . . ." He felt gently through her brown hair that was silkier than the teagown and pulled out the hairpins.

"Ou dont, you are hurting me."

"Mother I didn't mean to."

Aunt Emily, thin in a blue mackintosh thrown over her evening dress, hurried into the room, her thin mouth in a pucker of sympathy. She saw her sister lying twisted with