Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/285

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Rejoicing City That Dwelt Carelessly


James Merivale. He was a tall straightfeatured young man with a slight heaviness under the chin. He wore a neatfitting whipcord uniform picked out by the insignia of the Rainbow Division, well furnished with ribbons and service-stripes. The light of the mirror was reflected silvery on either calf of his puttees. He cleared his throat as he looked himself up and down. A young man in civilian clothes came up behind him.

"Hello James, all cleaned up?"

"You betcher. . . . Say isnt it a damn fool rule not letting us wear Sam Browne belts? Spoils the whole uniform. . . ."

"They can take all their Sam Browne's belts and hang them on the Commanding General's fanny for all I care. . . . I'm a civilian."

"You're still an officer in the reserve corps, dont forget that."

"They can take their reserve corps and shove it ten thousand miles up the creek. Let's go have a drink."

"I've got to go up and see the folks." They had come out on Fortysecond Street. "Well so long James, I'm going to get so drunk . . . Just imagine being free." "So long Jerry, dont do anything I wouldnt do."

Merivale walked west along Fortysecond. There were still flags out, drooping from windows, waggling lazily from poles in the September breeze. He looked in the shops as he walked along; flowers, women's stockings, candy, shirts and neckties, dresses, colored draperies through glinting plateglass, beyond a stream of faces, men's razorscraped faces, girls' faces with rouged lips and powdered noses. It made him feel flushed and excited. He fidgeted when he got in the subway. "Look at the stripes that one has. . . . He's a D.S.C.," he heard a girl say to another. He got out at Seventysecond and walked with his chest stuck out down the too familiar brownstone street towards the river.

"How do you do. Captain Merivale," said the elevator man.