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Cold Bean Porridge and a Virgin Milkmaid

Disgruntled Goodreads Expat

I wish I had written this paragraph


"Well, that's that," said Dick, aloud to himself. He felt terribly sorry about Anne Elizabeth. Gee, I'm glad I'm not a girl, he kept thinking. He had a splitting headache. He locked his door, got undressed and put out the light. When he opened the window, a gust of raw rainy air came into the room and made him feel better. It was just like Ed said, you couldn't do anything without making other people miserable. A hell of a rotten world. The streets in front of the Gare Saint-Lazare shone like canals where the streetlights were reflected in them. There were still people on the pavements, a man calling inTRANsigeant, twangy honk of taxicabs. He thought of Anne Elizabeth going home alone in a taxicab through the wet streets. He wished he had a great many lives so that he might have spent one of them with Anne Elizabeth. Might write a poem about that and send it to her. And the smell of the little cyclamens. In the cafe opposite the waiters were turning the chairs upside down and setting them on the tables. He wished he had a great many lives so that he might be a waiter in a cafe turning the chairs upside down. The iron shutters clanked as they came down. Now was the time the women came out on the streets, walking back and forth, stopping, loitering, walking back and forth, and those young toughs with skin the color of mushrooms. He began to shiver. He got into bed, the sheets had a clammy glaze on them. All the same, Paris was no place to go to bed alone, no place to go home alone in a honking taxi, in the heartbreak of honking taxis. Poor Anne Elizabeth. Poor Dick. He lay shivering between the clammy sheets, his eyes were pinned open with safteypins.

(John Dos Passos, U.S.A., p. 707)