Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/127

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Steamroller

115

of three silently glittering streams of water playing into the upper windows. Must be right opposite the delicatessen. He was making his way through the jam on the sidewalk when the crowd suddenly opened. Two policemen were dragging out a negro whose arms snapped back and forth like broken cables. A third cop came behind cracking the negro first on one side of the head, then on the other with his billy.

"It's a shine 'at set the fire."

"They caught the firebug."

"'At's 'e incendiary."

"God he's a meanlookin smoke."

The crowd closed in. Emile was standing beside Madame Rigaud in front of the door of her store.

"Cheri que ça me fait une emotiong. . . . J'ai horriblemong peu du feu."

Emile was standing a little behind her. He let one arm crawl slowly round her waist and patted her arm with his other hand, "Everyting awright. Look no more fire, only smoke. . . . But you are insured, aint you?"

"Oh yes for fifteen tousand." He squeezed her hand and then took his arms away. "Viens ma petite on va rentrer."

Once inside the shop he took both her plump hands. "Ernestine when we get married?"

"Next month."

"I no wait zat long, imposseeble. . . . Why not next Wednesday? Then I can help you make inventory of stock. . . . I tink maybe we can sell this place and move uptown, make bigger money."

She patted him on the cheek. "P'tit ambitieux," she said through her hollow inside laugh that made her shoulders and her big bust shake.

They had to change at Manhattan Transfer. The thumb of Ellen's new kid glove had split and she kept rubbing it nervously with her forefinger. John wore a belted raincoat