Babbit eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about Babbit.
knew that was because of the jealousy of his captain and he ought to have been a high-ranking officer, he had that natural ability to command that so very, very few men have—­and this man came out into the road and held up his hand and stopped the buggy and said, ‘Major,’ he said, ’there’s a lot of the folks around here that have decided to support Colonel Scanell for congress, and we want you to join us.  Meeting people the way you do in the store, you could help us a lot.’

“Well, Your Father just looked at him and said, ’I certainly shall do nothing of the sort.  I don’t like his politics,’ he said.  Well, the man—­Captain Smith they used to call him, and heaven only knows why, because he hadn’t the shadow or vestige of a right to be called ‘Captain’ or any other title—­this Captain Smith said, ’We’ll make it hot for you if you don’t stick by your friends, Major.’  Well, you know how Your Father was, and this Smith knew it too; he knew what a Real Man he was, and he knew Your Father knew the political situation from A to Z, and he ought to have seen that here was one man he couldn’t impose on, but he went on trying to and hinting and trying till Your Father spoke up and said to him, ‘Captain Smith,’ he said, ’I have a reputation around these parts for being one who is amply qualified to mind his own business and let other folks mind theirs!’ and with that he drove on and left the fellow standing there in the road like a bump on a log!”

Babbitt was most exasperated when she revealed his boyhood to the children.  He had, it seemed, been fond of barley-sugar; had worn the “loveliest little pink bow in his curls” and corrupted his own name to “Goo-goo.”  He heard (though he did not officially hear) Ted admonishing Tinka, “Come on now, kid; stick the lovely pink bow in your curls and beat it down to breakfast, or Goo-goo will jaw your head off.”

Babbitt’s half-brother, Martin, with his wife and youngest baby, came down from Catawba for two days.  Martin bred cattle and ran the dusty general-store.  He was proud of being a freeborn independent American of the good old Yankee stock; he was proud of being honest, blunt, ugly, and disagreeable.  His favorite remark was “How much did you pay for that?” He regarded Verona’s books, Babbitt’s silver pencil, and flowers on the table as citified extravagances, and said so.  Babbitt would have quarreled with him but for his gawky wife and the baby, whom Babbitt teased and poked fingers at and addressed: 

“I think this baby’s a bum, yes, sir, I think this little baby’s a bum, he’s a bum, yes, sir, he’s a bum, that’s what he is, he’s a bum, this baby’s a bum, he’s nothing but an old bum, that’s what he is—­a bum!”

All the while Verona and Kenneth Escott held long inquiries into epistemology; Ted was a disgraced rebel; and Tinka, aged eleven, was demanding that she be allowed to go to the movies thrice a week, “like all the girls.”

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Project Gutenberg
Babbit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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