Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/330

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Manhattan Transfer

Congo. Jimmy found himself standing beside a tall sallow shylooking man with bunchy black hair growing low on his forehead. In the inner room were shelves full of chinaware and a round table covered by a piece of mustardcolored oilcloth. "Eh la patronne," shouted Congo. A fat Frenchwoman with red applecheeks came out through the further door; behind her came a chiff of sizzling butter and garlic. "This is frien o mine. . . . Now maybe we eat," shouted Congo. "She my wife," said Cardinale proudly. "Very deaf. . . . Have to talk loud." He turned and closed the door to the large hall carefully and bolted it. "No see lights from road," he said. "In summer," said Mrs. Cardinale, "sometime we give a hundred meals a day, or a hundred an fifty maybe."

"Havent you got a little peekmeup?" said Congo. He let himself down with a grunt into a chair.

Cardinale set a fat fiasco of wine on the table and some glasses. They tasted it smacking their lips. "Bettern Dago Red, eh Meester 'Erf?"

"It sure is. Tastes like real Chianti."

Mrs. Cardinale set six plates with a stained fork, knife, and spoon in each and then put a steaming tureen of soup in the middle of the table.

"Pronto pasta," she shrieked in a guineahen voice.

"Thisa Anetta," said Cardinale as a pinkcheeked blackhaired girl with long lashes curving back from bright black eyes ran into the room followed by a heavily tanned young man in khaki overalls with curly sunbleached hair. They all sat down at once and began to eat the peppery thick vegetable chowder, leaning far over their plates.

When Congo had finished his soup he looked up. "Mike did you see lights?" Cardinale nodded. "Sure ting . . . be here any time." While they were eating a dish of fried eggs and garlic, frizzled veal cutlets with fried potatoes and broccoli, Herf began to hear in the distance the pop pop pop of a motorboat. Congo got up from the table with a motion to them to be quiet and looked out the window, cautiously lifting a corner of the shade, "That him," he said as he