They thrashed things over and over for half an hour. At the end, weeping drably, Zilla promised to restrain herself.
Paul returned four days later, and the Babbitts and Rieslings went festively to the movies and had chop suey at a Chinese restaurant. As they walked to the restaurant through a street of tailor shops and barber shops, the two wives in front, chattering about cooks, Babbitt murmured to Paul, “Zil seems a lot nicer now.”
“Yes, she has been, except once or twice. But it’s too late now. I just—I’m not going to discuss it, but I’m afraid of her. There’s nothing left. I don’t ever want to see her. Some day I’m going to break away from her. Somehow.”
The International Organization of Boosters’ Clubs has be come a world-force for optimism, manly pleasantry, and good business. Chapters are to be found now in thirty countries. Nine hundred and twenty of the thousand chapters, however, are in the United States.
None of these is more ardent than the Zenith Boosters’ Club.
The second March lunch of the Zenith Boosters was the most important of the year, as it was to be followed by the annual election of officers. There was agitation abroad. The lunch was held in the ballroom of the O’Hearn House. As each of the four hundred Boosters entered he took from a wall-board a huge celluloid button announcing his name, his nick name, and his business. There was a fine of ten cents for calling a Fellow Booster by anything but his nickname at a lunch, and as Babbitt jovially checked his hat the air was radiant with shouts of “Hello, Chet!” and “How’re you, Shorty!” and “Top o’ the mornin’, Mac!”
They sat at friendly tables for eight, choosing places by lot. Babbitt was with Albert Boos the merchant tailor, Hector Seybolt of the Little Sweetheart Condensed Milk Company, Emil Wengert the jeweler, Professor Pumphrey of the Riteway Business College, Dr. Walter Gorbutt, Roy Teegarten the photographer, and Ben Berkey the photo-engraver. One of the merits of the Boosters’ Club was that only two persons from each department of business were permitted to join, so that you at once encountered the Ideals of other occupations, and realized the metaphysical oneness of all occupations—plumbing and portrait-painting, medicine and the manufacture of chewing-gum.
Babbitt’s table was particularly happy to-day, because Professor Pumphrey had just had a birthday, and was therefore open to teasing.