bilder wohnzimmer orchideen

bilder wohnzimmer orchideen

chapter xiii i it was by accident that babbitt had hisopportunity to address the s. a. r. e. b. the s. a. r. e. b., as its members calledit, with the universal passion for mysterious and important-sounding initials, was the state association of real estateboards; the organization of brokers and operators. it was to hold its annual convention atmonarch, zenith's chief rival among the cities of the state.


babbitt was an official delegate; anotherwas cecil rountree, whom babbitt admired for his picaresque speculative building,and hated for his social position, for being present at the smartest dances onroyal ridge. rountree was chairman of the conventionprogram-committee. babbitt had growled to him, "makes me tiredthe way these doctors and profs and preachers put on lugs about being'professional men.' a good realtor has to have more knowledgeand finesse than any of 'em." "right you are! i say: why don't you put that into a paper,and give it at the s. a. r. e. b.?"


suggested rountree. "well, if it would help you in making upthe program--tell you: the way i look at it is this: first place, we ought to insistthat folks call us 'realtors' and not 'real-estate men.' sounds more like a reg'lar profession.second place--what is it distinguishes a profession from a mere trade, business, oroccupation? what is it? why, it's the public service and the skill,the trained skill, and the knowledge and, uh, all that, whereas a fellow that merelygoes out for the jack, he never considers


the-public service and trained skill and soon. now as a professional--""rather! that's perfectly bully! perfectly corking!now you write it in a paper," said rountree, as he rapidly and firmly movedaway. ii however accustomed to the literary laborsof advertisements and correspondence, babbitt was dismayed on the evening when hesat down to prepare a paper which would take a whole ten minutes to read.


he laid out a new fifteen-cent schoolexercise-book on his wife's collapsible sewing-table, set up for the event in theliving-room. the household had been bullied intosilence; verona and ted requested to disappear, and tinka threatened with "if ihear one sound out of you--if you holler for a glass of water one single solitarytime--you better not, that's all!" mrs. babbitt sat over by the piano, makinga nightgown and gazing with respect while babbitt wrote in the exercise-book, to therhythmical wiggling and squeaking of the sewing-table. when he rose, damp and jumpy, and histhroat dusty from cigarettes, she marveled,


"i don't see how you can just sit down andmake up things right out of your own head!" "oh, it's the training in constructiveimagination that a fellow gets in modern business life."he had written seven pages, whereof the first page set forth: {illustration omitted: consists of severaldoodles and "(1) a profession (2) not just a trade crossed out (3) skill & vision (3)shd be called "realtor" & not just real est man"} the other six pages were rather like thefirst. for a week he went about looking important.


every morning, as he dressed, he thoughtaloud: "jever stop to consider, myra, that before a town can have buildings orprosperity or any of those things, some realtor has got to sell 'em the land? all civilization starts with him.jever realize that?" at the athletic club he led unwilling menaside to inquire, "say, if you had to read a paper before a big convention, would youstart in with the funny stories or just kind of scatter 'em all through?" he asked howard littlefield for a "set ofstatistics about real-estate sales; something good and impressive," andlittlefield provided something exceedingly


good and impressive. but it was to t. cholmondeley frink thatbabbitt most often turned. he caught frink at the club every noon, anddemanded, while frink looked hunted and evasive, "say, chum--you're a shark on thiswriting stuff--how would you put this sentence, see here in my manuscript-- manuscript now where the deuce is that?--oh, yes, here. would you say 'we ought not also to alonethink?' or 'we ought also not to think alone?' or--" one evening when his wife was away and hehad no one to impress, babbitt forgot about


style, order, and the other mysteries, andscrawled off what he really thought about the real-estate business and about himself,and he found the paper written. when he read it to his wife she yearned,"why, dear, it's splendid; beautifully written, and so clear and interesting, andsuch splendid ideas! why, it's just--it's just splendid!" next day he cornered chum frink and crowed,"well, old son, i finished it last evening! just lammed it out! i used to think you writing-guys must havea hard job making up pieces, but lord, it's a cinch.pretty soft for you fellows; you certainly


earn your money easy! some day when i get ready to retire, guessi'll take to writing and show you boys how to do it. i always used to think i could write betterstuff, and more punch and originality, than all this stuff you see printed, and now i'mdoggone sure of it!" he had four copies of the paper typed inblack with a gorgeous red title, had them bound in pale blue manilla, and affablypresented one to old ira runyon, the managing editor of the advocate-times, who said yes, indeed yes, he was very glad tohave it, and he certainly would read it all


through--as soon as he could find time.mrs. babbitt could not go to monarch. she had a women's-club meeting. babbitt said that he was very sorry. iii besides the five official delegates to theconvention--babbitt, rountree, w. a. rogers, alvin thayer, and elbert wing--there were fifty unofficial delegates, most of them with their wives. they met at the union station for themidnight train to monarch. all of them, save cecil rountree, who wassuch a snob that he never wore badges,


displayed celluloid buttons the size ofdollars and lettered "we zoom for zenith." the official delegates were magnificentwith silver and magenta ribbons. martin lumsen's little boy willy carried atasseled banner inscribed "zenith the zip city--zeal, zest and zowie--1,000,000 in1935." as the delegates arrived, not in taxicabsbut in the family automobile driven by the oldest son or by cousin fred, they formedimpromptu processions through the station waiting-room. it was a new and enormous waiting-room,with marble pilasters, and frescoes depicting the exploration of the chaloosariver valley by pere emile fauthoux in


1740. the benches were shelves of ponderousmahogany; the news-stand a marble kiosk with a brass grill. down the echoing spaces of the hall thedelegates paraded after willy lumsen's banner, the men waving their cigars, thewomen conscious of their new frocks and strings of beads, all singing to the tuneof auld lang syne the official city song, written by chum frink: good oldzenith, our kin and kith, wherever we may be, hats in the ring, we blithely singof thy prosperity. warren whitby, the broker, who had a giftof verse for banquets and birthdays, had


added to frink's city song a special versefor the realtors' convention: oh, here we come, the fellows fromzenith, the zip citee. we wish to state, in real estatethere's none so live as we. babbitt was stirred to hysteric patriotism.he leaped on a bench, shouting to the crowd:"what's the matter with zenith?" "she's all right!" "what's best ole town in the u. s. a.?""zeeeeeen-ith!" the patient poor people waiting for themidnight train stared in unenvious wonder-- italian women with shawls, old weary menwith broken shoes, roving road-wise boys in


suits which had been flashy when they werenew but which were faded now and wrinkled. babbitt perceived that as an officialdelegate he must be more dignified. with wing and rogers he tramped up and downthe cement platform beside the waiting pullmans. motor-driven baggage-trucks and red-cappedporters carrying bags sped down the platform with an agreeable effect ofactivity. arc-lights glared and stammered overhead. the glossy yellow sleeping-cars shoneimpressively. babbitt made his voice to be measured andlordly; he thrust out his abdomen and


rumbled, "we got to see to it that theconvention lets the legislature understand just where they get off in this matter oftaxing realty transfers." wing uttered approving grunts and babbittswelled--gloated. the blind of a pullman compartment wasraised, and babbitt looked into an unfamiliar world. the occupant of the compartment was lucilemckelvey, the pretty wife of the millionaire contractor.possibly, babbitt thrilled, she was going to europe! on the seat beside her was a bunch oforchids and violets, and a yellow paper-


bound book which seemed foreign. while he stared, she picked up the book,then glanced out of the window as though she was bored.she must have looked straight at him, and he had met her, but she gave no sign. she languidly pulled down the blind, and hestood still, a cold feeling of insignificance in his heart. but on the train his pride was restored bymeeting delegates from sparta, pioneer, and other smaller cities of the state, wholistened respectfully when, as a magnifico from the metropolis of zenith, he explained


politics and the value of a good soundbusiness administration. they fell joyfully into shop-talk, thepurest and most rapturous form of conversation: "how'd this fellow rountree make out withthis big apartment-hotel he was going to put up?whadde do? get out bonds to finance it?" asked asparta broker. "well, i'll tell you," said babbitt."now if i'd been handling it--" "so," elbert wing was droning, "i hiredthis shop-window for a week, and put up a big sign, 'toy town for tiny tots,' andstuck in a lot of doll houses and some


dinky little trees, and then down at the bottom, 'baby likes this dollydale, butpapa and mama will prefer our beautiful bungalows,' and you know, that certainlygot folks talking, and first week we sold-- " the trucks sang "lickety-lick, lickety-lick" as the train ran through the factory district.furnaces spurted flame, and power-hammers were clanging. red lights, green lights, furious whitelights rushed past, and babbitt was important again, and eager.


ivhe did a voluptuous thing: he had his clothes pressed on the train. in the morning, half an hour before theyreached monarch, the porter came to his berth and whispered, "there's a drawing-room vacant, sir. i put your suit in there." in tan autumn overcoat over his pajamas,babbitt slipped down the green-curtain- lined aisle to the glory of his firstprivate compartment. the porter indicated that he knew babbittwas used to a man-servant; he held the ends of babbitt's trousers, that the beautifullysponged garment might not be soiled, filled


the bowl in the private washroom, andwaited with a towel. to have a private washroom was luxurious. however enlivening a pullman smoking-compartment was by night, even to babbitt it was depressing in the morning, when itwas jammed with fat men in woolen undershirts, every hook filled with wrinkled cottony shirts, the leather seatpiled with dingy toilet-kits, and the air nauseating with the smell of soap andtoothpaste. babbitt did not ordinarily think much ofprivacy, but now he reveled in it, reveled in his valet, and purred with pleasure ashe gave the man a tip of a dollar and a


half. he rather hoped that he was being noticedas, in his newly pressed clothes, with the adoring porter carrying his suit-case, hedisembarked at monarch. he was to share a room at the hotelsedgwick with w. a. rogers, that shrewd, rustic-looking zenith dealer in farm-lands. together they had a noble breakfast, withwaffles, and coffee not in exiguous cups but in large pots. babbitt grew expansive, and told rogersabout the art of writing; he gave a bellboy a quarter to fetch a morning newspaper fromthe lobby, and sent to tinka a post-card:


"papa wishes you were here to bat roundwith him." vthe meetings of the convention were held in the ballroom of the allen house.in an anteroom was the office of the chairman of the executive committee. he was the busiest man in the convention;he was so busy that he got nothing done whatever. he sat at a marquetry table, in a roomlittered with crumpled paper and, all day long, town-boosters and lobbyists andorators who wished to lead debates came and whispered to him, whereupon he looked


vague, and said rapidly, "yes, yes, that'sa fine idea; we'll do that," and instantly forgot all about it, lighted a cigar andforgot that too, while the telephone rang mercilessly and about him men kept beseeching, "say, mr. chairman--say, mr.chairman!" without penetrating his exhausted hearing. in the exhibit-room were plans of the newsuburbs of sparta, pictures of the new state capitol, at galop de vache, and largeears of corn with the label, "nature's gold, from shelby county, the garden spotof god's own country." the real convention consisted of menmuttering in hotel bedrooms or in groups


amid the badge-spotted crowd in the hotel-lobby, but there was a show of public meetings. the first of them opened with a welcome bythe mayor of monarch. the pastor of the first christian church ofmonarch, a large man with a long damp frontal lock, informed god that the real-estate men were here now. the venerable minnemagantic realtor, majorcarlton tuke, read a paper in which he denounced cooperative stores. william a. larkin of eureka gave acomforting prognosis of "the prospects for increased construction," and reminded themthat plate-glass prices were two points


lower. the convention was on.the delegates were entertained, incessantly and firmly. the monarch chamber of commerce gave them abanquet, and the manufacturers' association an afternoon reception, at which achrysanthemum was presented to each of the ladies, and to each of the men a leather bill-fold inscribed "from monarch themighty motor mart." mrs. crosby knowlton, wife of themanufacturer of fleetwing automobiles, opened her celebrated italian garden andserved tea.


six hundred real-estate men and wivesambled down the autumnal paths. perhaps three hundred of them were quietlyinconspicuous; perhaps three hundred vigorously exclaimed, "this is prettyslick, eh?" surreptitiously picked the late asters and concealed them in their pockets, and tried to get near enough to mrs.knowlton to shake her lovely hand. without request, the zenith delegates(except rountree) gathered round a marble dancing nymph and sang "here we come, thefellows from zenith, the zip citee." it chanced that all the delegates frompioneer belonged to the brotherly and protective order of elks, and they producedan enormous banner lettered: "b. p. o. e.--


best people on earth--boost pioneer, oheddie." nor was galop de vache, the state capital,to be slighted. the leader of the galop de vache delegationwas a large, reddish, roundish man, but active. he took off his coat, hurled his broadblack felt hat on the ground, rolled up his sleeves, climbed upon the sundial, spat,and bellowed: "we'll tell the world, and the good ladywho's giving the show this afternoon, that the bonniest burg in this man's state isgalop de vache. you boys can talk about your zip, but jus'lemme murmur that old galop has the largest


proportion of home-owning citizens in thestate; and when folks own their homes, they ain't starting labor-troubles, and they'reraising kids instead of raising hell! galop de vache!the town for homey folks! the town that eats 'em alive oh, bosco! we'll--tell--the--world!"the guests drove off; the garden shivered into quiet. but mrs. crosby knowlton sighed as shelooked at a marble seat warm from five hundred summers of amalfi. on the face of a winged sphinx whichsupported it some one had drawn a mustache


in lead-pencil.crumpled paper napkins were dumped among the michaelmas daisies. on the walk, like shredded lovely flesh,were the petals of the last gallant rose. cigarette stubs floated in the goldfishpool, trailing an evil stain as they swelled and disintegrated, and beneath themarble seat, the fragments carefully put together, was a smashed teacup. vias he rode back to the hotel babbitt reflected, "myra would have enjoyed allthis social agony." for himself he cared less for the gardenparty than for the motor tours which the


monarch chamber of commerce had arranged.indefatigably he viewed water-reservoirs, suburban trolley-stations, and tanneries. he devoured the statistics which were givento him, and marveled to his roommate, w. a. rogers, "of course this town isn't a patchon zenith; it hasn't got our outlook and natural resources; but did you know--i nev' did till to-day--that they manufacturedseven hundred and sixty-three million feet of lumber last year?what d' you think of that!" he was nervous as the time for reading hispaper approached. when he stood on the low platform beforethe convention, he trembled and saw only a


purple haze. but he was in earnest, and when he hadfinished the formal paper he talked to them, his hands in his pockets, hisspectacled face a flashing disk, like a plate set up on edge in the lamplight. they shouted "that's the stuff!" and in thediscussion afterward they referred with impressiveness to "our friend and brother,mr. george f. babbitt." he had in fifteen minutes changed from aminor delegate to a personage almost as well known as that diplomat of business,cecil rountree. after the meeting, delegates from all overthe state said, "hower you, brother


babbitt?" sixteen complete strangers called him"george," and three men took him into corners to confide, "mighty glad you hadthe courage to stand up and give the profession a real boost. now i've always maintained--"next morning, with tremendous casualness, babbitt asked the girl at the hotel news-stand for the newspapers from zenith. there was nothing in the press, but in theadvocate-times, on the third page--he gasped.they had printed his picture and a half- column account.


the heading was "sensation at annual land-men's convention. g. f. babbitt, prominent ziptown realtor,keynoter in fine address." he murmured reverently, "i guess some ofthe folks on floral heights will sit up and take notice now, and pay a little attentionto old georgie!" viiit was the last meeting. the delegations were presenting the claimsof their several cities to the next year's convention. orators were announcing that "galop devache, the capital city, the site of kremer college and of the upholtz knitting works,is the recognized center of culture and


high-class enterprise;" and that "hamburg, the big little city with the logicallocation, where every man is open-handed and every woman a heaven-born hostess,throws wide to you her hospitable gates." in the midst of these more diffidentinvitations, the golden doors of the ballroom opened with a blatting oftrumpets, and a circus parade rolled in. it was composed of the zenith brokers,dressed as cowpunchers, bareback riders, japanese jugglers. at the head was big warren whitby, in thebearskin and gold-and-crimson coat of a drum-major.


behind him, as a clown, beating a bassdrum, extraordinarily happy and noisy, was babbitt. warren whitby leaped on the platform, mademerry play with his baton, and observed, "boyses and girlses, the time has came toget down to cases. a dyed-in-the-wool zenithite sure loves hisneighbors, but we've made up our minds to grab this convention off our neighbor burgslike we've grabbed the condensed-milk business and the paper-box business and--" j. harry barmhill, the convention chairman,hinted, "we're grateful to you, mr. uh, but you must give the other boys a chance tohand in their bids now."


a fog-horn voice blared, "in eureka we'llpromise free motor rides through the prettiest country--" running down the aisle, clapping his hands,a lean bald young man cried, "i'm from sparta! our chamber of commerce has wired methey've set aside eight thousand dollars, in real money, for the entertainment of theconvention!" a clerical-looking man rose to clamor,"money talks! move we accept the bid from sparta!"it was accepted. viiithe committee on resolutions was reporting.


they said that whereas almighty god in hisbeneficent mercy had seen fit to remove to a sphere of higher usefulness some thirty-six realtors of the state the past year, therefore it was the sentiment of this convention assembled that they were sorrygod had done it, and the secretary should be, and hereby was, instructed to spreadthese resolutions on the minutes, and to console the bereaved families by sendingthem each a copy. a second resolution authorized thepresident of the s.a.r.e.b. to spend fifteen thousand dollars in lobbying forsane tax measures in the state legislature. this resolution had a good deal to sayabout menaces to sound business and


clearing the wheels of progress from ill-advised and shortsighted obstacles. the committee on committees reported, andwith startled awe babbitt learned that he had been appointed a member of thecommittee on torrens titles. he rejoiced, "i said it was going to be agreat year! georgie, old son, you got big things aheadof you! you're a natural-born orator and a goodmixer and--zowie!" ixthere was no formal entertainment provided for the last evening. babbitt had planned to go home, but thatafternoon the jered sassburgers of pioneer


suggested that babbitt and w. a. rogershave tea with them at the catalpa inn. teas were not unknown to babbitt--his wifeand he earnestly attended them at least twice a year--but they were sufficientlyexotic to make him feel important. he sat at a glass-covered table in the artroom of the inn, with its painted rabbits, mottoes lettered on birch bark, andwaitresses being artistic in dutch caps; he ate insufficient lettuce sandwiches, and was lively and naughty with mrs.sassburger, who was as smooth and large- eyed as a cloak-model. sassburger and he had met two days before,so they were calling each other "georgie"


and "sassy." sassburger said prayerfully, "say, boys,before you go, seeing this is the last chance, i've got it, up in my room, andmiriam here is the best little mixelogist in the stati unidos like us italians say." with wide flowing gestures, babbitt androgers followed the sassburgers to their room. mrs. sassburger shrieked, "oh, howterrible!" when she saw that she had left a chemise of sheer lavender crepe on the bed. she tucked it into a bag, while babbittgiggled, "don't mind us; we're a couple o'


little divvils!" sassburger telephoned for ice, and thebell-boy who brought it said, prosaically and unprompted, "highball glasses orcocktail?" miriam sassburger mixed the cocktails inone of those dismal, nakedly white water- pitchers which exist only in hotels. when they had finished the first round sheproved by intoning "think you boys could stand another--you got a dividend coming"that, though she was but a woman, she knew the complete and perfect rite of cocktail-drinking. outside, babbitt hinted to rogers, "say, w.a., old rooster, it comes over me that i


could stand it if we didn't go back to thelovin' wives, this handsome abend, but just kind of stayed in monarch and threw aparty, heh?" "george, you speak with the tongue ofwisdom and sagashiteriferousness. el wing's wife has gone on to pittsburg. let's see if we can't gather him in."at half-past seven they sat in their room, with elbert wing and two up-statedelegates. their coats were off, their vests open,their faces red, their voices emphatic. they were finishing a bottle of corrosivebootlegged whisky and imploring the bell- boy, "say, son, can you get us some more ofthis embalming fluid?"


they were smoking large cigars and droppingashes and stubs on the carpet. with windy guffaws they were tellingstories. they were, in fact, males in a happy stateof nature. babbitt sighed, "i don't know how itstrikes you hellions, but personally i like this busting loose for a change, andkicking over a couple of mountains and climbing up on the north pole and wavingthe aurora borealis around." the man from sparta, a grave, intenseyoungster, babbled, "say! i guess i'm as good a husband as the run of the mill, butgod, i do get so tired of going home every evening, and nothing to see but the movies.


that's why i go out and drill with thenational guard. i guess i got the nicest little wife in myburg, but--say! know what i wanted to do as a kid? know what i wanted to do?wanted to be a big chemist. tha's what i wanted to do. but dad chased me out on the road sellingkitchenware, and here i'm settled down-- settled for life--not a chance!oh, who the devil started this funeral talk? how 'bout 'nother lil drink?'and a-noth-er drink wouldn' do 's 'ny


harmmmmmmm.'""yea. cut the sob-stuff," said w. a. rogers genially. "you boys know i'm the village songster?come on nowsing up: said the old obadiah to the young obadiah,'i am dry, obadiah, i am dry.' said the young obadiah to the old obadiah,'so am i, obadiah, so am i.'" xthey had dinner in the moorish grillroom of the hotel sedgwick. somewhere, somehow, they seemed to havegathered in two other comrades: a manufacturer of fly-paper and a dentist.


they all drank whisky from tea-cups, andthey were humorous, and never listened to one another, except when w. a. rogers"kidded" the italian waiter. "say, gooseppy," he said innocently, "iwant a couple o' fried elephants' ears." "sorry, sir, we haven't any.""huh? no elephants' ears? what do you know about that!" rogers turned to babbitt."pedro says the elephants' ears are all out!" "well, i'll be switched!" said the man fromsparta, with difficulty hiding his laughter.


"well, in that case, carlo, just bring me ahunk o' steak and a couple o' bushels o' french fried potatoes and some peas,"rogers went on. "i suppose back in dear old sunny it' theeyetalians get their fresh garden peas out of the can.""no, sir, we have very nice peas in italy." "is that a fact! georgie, do you hear that?they get their fresh garden peas out of the garden, in italy! by golly, you live and learn, don't you,antonio, you certainly do live and learn, if you live long enough and keep yourstrength.


all right, garibaldi, just shoot me in thatsteak, with about two printers'-reams of french fried spuds on the promenade deck,comprehenez-vous, michelovitch angeloni?" afterward elbert wing admired, "gee, youcertainly did have that poor dago going, w. a. he couldn't make you out at all!" in the monarch herald, babbitt found anadvertisement which he read aloud, to applause and laughter:old colony theatre shake the old dogs to the wrollicking wrensthe bonniest bevy of beauteous bathing babes in burlesque.pete menutti and his oh, gee, kids. this is the straight steer, benny, thepainless chicklets of the wrollicking wrens


are the cuddlingest bunch that ever hittown. steer the feet, get the card board, andtwist the pupils to the pdqest show ever. you will get 111% on your kale in this fun-fest. the calroza sisters are sure some lookersand will give you a run for your gelt. jock silbersteen is one of the pepper ladsand slips you a dose of real laughter. shoot the up and down to jackson and westfor graceful tappers. they run 1-2 under the wire.provin and adams will blow the blues in their laugh skit "hootch mon!" something doing, boys.listen to what the hep bird twitters.


"sounds like a juicy show to me.let's all take it in," said babbitt. but they put off departure as long as theycould. they were safe while they sat here, legsfirmly crossed under the table, but they felt unsteady; they were afraid ofnavigating the long and slippery floor of the grillroom under the eyes of the otherguests and the too-attentive waiters. when they did venture, tables got in theirway, and they sought to cover embarrassment by heavy jocularity at the coatroom. as the girl handed out their hats, theysmiled at her, and hoped that she, a cool and expert judge, would feel that they weregentlemen.


they croaked at one another, "who owns thebum lid?" and "you take a good one, george; i'll take what's left," and to the check-girl they stammered, "better come along, sister! high, wide, and fancy evening ahead!"all of them tried to tip her, urging one another, "no! wait!here! i got it right here!" among them, they gave her three dollars. xi flamboyantly smoking cigars they sat in abox at the burlesque show, their feet up on


the rail, while a chorus of twenty daubed,worried, and inextinguishably respectable grandams swung their legs in the more elementary chorus-evolutions, and a jewishcomedian made vicious fun of jews. in the entr'actes they met other lonedelegates. a dozen of them went in taxicabs out tobright blossom inn, where the blossoms were made of dusty paper festooned along a roomlow and stinking, like a cow-stable no longer wisely used. here, whisky was served openly, in glasses. two or three clerks, who on pay-day longedto be taken for millionaires, sheepishly


danced with telephone-girls and manicure-girls in the narrow space between the tables. fantastically whirled the professionals, ayoung man in sleek evening-clothes and a slim mad girl in emerald silk, with amberhair flung up as jaggedly as flames. babbitt tried to dance with her. he shuffled along the floor, too bulky tobe guided, his steps unrelated to the rhythm of the jungle music, and in hisstaggering he would have fallen, had she not held him with supple kindly strength. he was blind and deaf from prohibition-eraalcohol; he could not see the tables, the


faces.but he was overwhelmed by the girl and her young pliant warmth. when she had firmly returned him to hisgroup, he remembered, by a connection quite untraceable, that his mother's mother hadbeen scotch, and with head thrown back, eyes closed, wide mouth indicating ecstasy, he sang, very slowly and richly, "lochlomond." but that was the last of his mellowness andjolly companionship. the man from sparta said he was a "bumsinger," and for ten minutes babbitt quarreled with him, in a loud, unsteady,heroic indignation.


they called for drinks till the managerinsisted that the place was closed. all the while babbitt felt a hot raw desirefor more brutal amusements. when w. a. rogers drawled, "what say we godown the line and look over the girls?" he agreed savagely. before they went, three of them secretlymade appointments with the professional dancing girl, who agreed "yes, yes, sure,darling" to everything they said, and amiably forgot them. as they drove back through the outskirts ofmonarch, down streets of small brown wooden cottages of workmen, characterless ascells, as they rattled across warehouse-


districts which by drunken night seemed vast and perilous, as they were bornetoward the red lights and violent automatic pianos and the stocky women who simpered,babbitt was frightened. he wanted to leap from the taxicab, but allhis body was a murky fire, and he groaned, "too late to quit now," and knew that hedid not want to quit. there was, they felt, one very humorousincident on the way. a broker from minnemagantic said, "monarchis a lot sportier than zenith. you zenith tightwads haven't got any jointslike these here." babbitt raged, "that's a dirty lie!snothin' you can't find in zenith.


believe me, we got more houses and hootch-parlors an' all kinds o' dives than any burg in the state." he realized they were laughing at him; hedesired to fight; and forgot it in such musty unsatisfying experiments as he hadnot known since college. in the morning, when he returned to zenith,his desire for rebellion was partly satisfied.he had retrograded to a shamefaced contentment. he was irritable.he did not smile when w. a. rogers complained, "ow, what a head!i certainly do feel like the wrath of god


this morning. say! i know what was the trouble!somebody went and put alcohol in my booze last night." babbitt's excursion was never known to hisfamily, nor to any one in zenith save rogers and wing.it was not officially recognized even by himself. if it had any consequences, they have notbeen discovered.

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