By Henry Roth
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Extra info for Call It Sleep: A Novel
His mother’s protecting hands settled on his shoulders. ” her husband said furiously “He begins this! This howling! And now we’ll have it all the way home, I suppose I Quiet! ” she protested. “Am I? Well, let him be quiet. ” “Will you take that off when I—” A snarl choked whatever else he would have uttered. While his wife looked on aghast, his long fingers scooped the hat from the child’s head. The next instant it was sailing over the ship’s side to the green waters below. The overalled men in the stern grinned at each other.
Before her the grimy cupolas and towering square walls of the city loomed up. Above the jagged roof tops, the white smoke, whitened abd suffused by the slanting sun, faded into the slots and wedges of the sky. She pressed her brow against her child’s, hushed him with whispers. This was that vast incredible land, the land of freedom, of immense opportunity, that Golden Land. Again she tried to smile. ” “Gehen vir voinen du? ” “Nein. Bronzeville. ” She nodded uncertainly, sighed . . Screws threshing, backing water, the Peter Stuyvesant neared her dock—drifting slowly and with canceled momentum as if reluctant.
The old orange-peddler shook her head and clucked. “Alberti” his wife caught her breath. ” he rapped out. ” His teeth clicked, and he glared about the deck. She. lifted the sobbing child to her breast, pressed him against her. With a vacant stunned expression, her gaze wandered from the grim smouldering face of her husband to the stern of the ship. In the silvery-green wake that curved trumpet-wise through the water, the blue hat still bobbed and rolled, ribbon stretched out on the waves. Tears sprang to her eyes.