chapter 8

THE great events of Babbitt's spring were the secret buying of real-estate options in Linton for certain street- traction officials, before the public announcement that the Linton Avenue Car Line would be extended, and a dinner

which was, as he rejoiced to his wife, not only "a regular society spread but a real sure-enough highbrow affair, with, some of the keenest intellects and the brightest bunch of little women in town." It was so absorbing an occasion that he almost forgot his desire to run off to Maine with Paul Riesling.

Though he had been born in the village of Catawba, Babbitt had risen to that metropolitan social plane on which hosts have as many as four people at dinner without planning it for more than an evening or two. But a dinner of twelve, with flowers from the florist's and all the cut-glass out, staggered even the Babbitts.

For two weeks they studied, debated, and arbitrated the list of guests.

Babbitt marveled, "Of course we're up-to-date ourselves, but still, think of us entertaining a famous poet like Chum Frink, a fellow that on nothing but a poem or so every day and just writing a few advertisements pulls down fifteen thousand berries a year!"

"Yes, and Howard Littlefield. Do you know, the other evening Eunice told me her papa speaks three languages!" said Mrs. Babbitt.

"Huh! That's nothing! So do I--American, baseball, and poker!"

"I don't think it's nice to be funny about a matter like that. Think how wonderful it must be to speak three languages, and so useful and-- And with people like that, I don't see why we invite the Orville Joneses."

"Well now, Orville is a mighty up-and-coming fellow!"

"Yes, I know, but-- A laundry!"

"I'll admit a laundry hasn't got the class of poetry or real estate, but just the same, Orvy is mighty deep. Ever start him spieling about gardening? Say, that fellow can tell you the name of every kind of tree, and some of their Greek and Latin names too! Besides, we owe the Joneses a dinner. Besides, gosh, we got to have some boob for audience, when a bunch of hot-air artists like Frink and Littlefield get going."

"Well, dear--I meant to speak of this--I do think that as host you ought to sit back and listen, and let your guests have a chance to talk once in a while I!"

"Oh, you do, do you! Sure! I talk all the time! And I'm just a business man--oh sure!--I'm no Ph.D. like Littlefield, and no poet, and I haven't anything to spring! Well, let me tell you, just the other day your darn Chum Frink comes up

-87-

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Babbitt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Chapter 1 5
  • Chapter 2 15
  • Chapter 3 23
  • Chapter 4 34
  • Chapter 5 44
  • Chapter 6 57
  • Chapter 7 77
  • Chapter 8 87
  • Chapter 9 102
  • Chapter 10 110
  • Chapter 11 122
  • 12 Chapter 127
  • Chapter 13 130
  • Chapter 14 145
  • Chapter 15 156
  • Chapter 16 166
  • Chapter 17 174
  • Chapter 18 182
  • Chapter 19 191
  • Chapter 20 203
  • Chapter 21 209
  • Chapter 22 214
  • Chapter 23 218
  • Chapter 24 226
  • Chapter 25 236
  • Chapter 26 242
  • Chapter 27 249
  • Chapter 28 256
  • Chapter 29 265
  • Chapter 30 279
  • Chapter 31 288
  • Chapter 32 294
  • Chapter 33 303
  • Chapter 34 311
  • AFTERWORD 320
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