Friday, April 29, 2011


"—the man whom the editor believed (certainly hoped) to be unmarried, though not through any knowledge or report but because of something which the man's living being emanated—a creature who apparently never had any parents either and who will not be old and never was a child, who apparently sprang fullgrown and irrevocably mature out of some violent and instantaneous transition like the stories of dead steamboatmen and mules: if it were learned that he had a brother for instance it would create neither warmth nor surprise anymore than finding the mate to a discarded shoe in a trashbin—of whom the editor had heard how a girl in a Barricade Street crib said that it would be like assessing the invoked spirit at a seance held in a rented restaurant room with a covercharge."


"—one day Hagood looked up and watched a woman whom he had never seen before enter the city room. 'She looked like a locomotive,' he told the paper's owner later with bitter outrage. 'You know: when the board has been devilled and harried by the newsreels of Diesel trains and by the reporters that ask them about the future of railroading until at last the board takes the old engine, the one that set the record back in nineteen-two or nineteen-ten or somewhere and sends it to the shops and one day they unveil it (with the newsreels and the reporters all there, too) with horseshoe rose wreaths and congressmen and thirty-six highschool girls out of the beauty show in bathing suits, and it is a new engine on the outside only, because everyone is glad and proud that inside it is still the old fast one of nineteen-two or -ten. The same number is on the tender and the old fine, sound, timeproved workingparts, only the cab and the boiler are painted robin'segg blue and the rods and the bell look more like gold than gold does and even the supercharger dont look so very noticeable except in a hard light, and the number is in neon now: the first number in the world to be in neon?' He looked up from his desk and saw her enter on a blast of scent as arresting as mustard gas and followed by the reporter looking more than ever like a shadow whose projector had eluded it weeks and weeks ago—the fine big bosom like one of the walled impervious towns of the middleages whose origin antedates writing, which have been taken and retaken in uncountable fierce assaults which overran them in the brief fury of a moment and vanished, leaving no trace, the broad tomatocolored mouth, the eyes pleasant shrewd and beyond mere disillusion, the hair of that diamondhard and imperviously recent luster of a gilt service in a shopwindow, the goldstudded teeth square and white and big like those of a horse—all seen beneath a plump rich billowing of pink plumes so that Hagood thought of himself as looking at a canvas out of the vernal equinox of pigment when they could not always write to sign their names to them—a canvas conceived in and executed out of that fine innocence of sleep and open bowels capable of crowning the rich foul unchaste earth with rosy clouds where lurk and sport oblivious and incongruous cherubim."


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