Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/98

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Manhattan Transfer

pain on the bed and the skinny whitefaced boy in short pants standing beside her with his hands full of hairpins.

"What is it Lil?" she asked quietly.

"My dear something terrible's the matter with me," came Lily Herf's voice in a gasping hiss.

"James," said Aunt Emily harshly, "you must run off to bed. . . . Mother needs perfect quiet."

"Good night muddy dear," he said.

Aunt Emily patted him on the back. "Dont worry James I'll attend to everything." She went to the telephone and began calling a number in a low precise voice.

The box of candy was on the parlor table; Jimmy felt guilty when he put it under his arm. As he passed the bookcase he snatched out a volume of the American Cyclopædia and tucked it under the other arm. His aunt did not notice when he went out the door. The dungeon gates opened. Outside was an Arab stallion and two trusty retainers waiting to speed him across the border to freedom. Three doors down was his room. It was stuffed with silent chunky darkness. The light switched on obediently lighting up the cabin of the schooner Mary Stuart. All right Captain weigh anchor and set your course for the Windward Isles and dont let me be disturbed before dawn; I have important papers to peruse. He tore off his clothes and knelt beside the bed in his pyjamas. Nowilaymedowntosleep Ipraythelordmysoultokeep Ifishoulddiebeforeiwake Ipraythe lordmysoultotake.

Then he opened the box of candy and set the pillows together at the end of the bed under the light. His teeth broke through the chocolate into a squashysweet filling. Let's see . . .

A the first of the vowels, the first letter in all written alphabets except the Amharic or Abyssinian, of which it is the thirteenth, and the Runic of which it is the tenth. . . .

Darn it that's a hairy one. . . .

AA, Aachen (see Aix-la-Chapelle).
Aardvark . . .

Gee he's funny looking . . .

(orycteropus capensis), a plantigrade animal of the class mammalia, order edentata, peculiar to Africa.