Longlegged Jack of the Isthmus
corner of a clattery lowceilinged restaurant. "All the ham actors in the world seem to eat here."
"All the ham actors in the world live up at Mrs. Sunderland's."
"What's the latest news from the Balkans?"
"Balkans is right. . ."
Beyond Ruth's black straw hat with red poppies round the crown Jimmy looked at the packed tables where faces decomposed into a graygreen blur. Two sallow hawkfaced waiters elbowed their way through the seesawing chatter of talk. Ruth was looking at him with dilated laughing eyes while she bit at a stalk of celery.
"Whee I feel so drunk," she was spluttering. "It went straight to my head. . . . Isnt it terrible?"
"Well what were these shocking goingson at 105th Street?"
"O you missed it. It was a shriek. . . . Everybody was out in the hall, Mrs. Sunderland with her hair in curlpapers, and Cassie was crying and Tony Hunter was standing in his door in pink pyjamas. . . ."
"Just a juvenile. . . . But Jimmy I must have told you about Tony Hunter. Peculiar poissons Jimmy, peculiar poissons."
Jimmy felt himself blushing, he bent over his plate. "Oh is that's what's his trouble?" he said stiffly.
"Now you're shocked, Jimmy; admit that you're shocked."
"No I'm not; go ahead, spill the dirt."
"Oh Jimmy you're such a shriek. . . . Well Cassie was sobbing and the little dog was barking, and the invisible Costello was yelling Police and fainting into the arms of an unknown man in a dress suit. And Jojo was brandishing a revolver, a little nickel one, may have been a waterpistol for all I know. . . . The only person who looked in their right senses was Elaine Olgethorpe. . . . You know the titianhaired vision that so impressed your infant mind."
"Honestly Ruth my infant mind wasnt as impressed as all that."