Say, old man! I just want to know can I do you a whaleuva favor? Honest! No kidding! I know you’re interested in getting a house, not merely a place where you hang up the old bonnet but a love-nest for the wife and kiddies—and maybe for the flivver out beyant (be sure and spell that b-e-y-a-n-t, Miss McGoun) the spud garden. Say, did you ever stop to think that we’re here to save you trouble? That’s how we make a living—folks don’t pay us for our lovely beauty! Now take a look:
Sit right down at the handsome carved mahogany escritoire and shoot us in a line telling us just what you want, and if we can find it we’ll come hopping down your lane with the good tidings, and if we can’t, we won’t bother you. To save your time, just fill out the blank enclosed. On request will also send blank regarding store properties in Floral Heights, Silver Grove, Linton, Bellevue, and all East Side residential districts.
Yours for service,
P.S.—Just a hint of some plums we can pick for you—some genuine bargains that came in to-day:
Silver grove.—Cute four-room California bungalow, a.m.i., garage, dandy shade tree, swell neighborhood, handy car line. $3700, $780 down and balance liberal, Babbitt-Thompson terms, cheaper than rent.
Dorchester.—A corker! Artistic two-family house, all oak trim, parquet floors, lovely gas log, big porches, colonial, heated all-weather garage, a bargain at $11,250.
Dictation over, with its need of sitting and thinking instead of bustling around and making a noise and really doing something, Babbitt sat creakily back in his revolving desk-chair and beamed on Miss McGoun. He was conscious of her as a girl, of black bobbed hair against demure cheeks. A longing which was indistinguishable from loneliness enfeebled him. While she waited, tapping a long, precise pencil-point on the desk-tablet, he half identified her with the fairy girl of his dreams. He imagined their eyes meeting with terrifying recognition; imagined touching her lips with frightened reverence and—She was chirping, “Any more, Mist’ Babbitt?” He grunted, “That winds it up, I guess,” and turned heavily away.
For all his wandering thoughts, they had never been more intimate than this. He often reflected, “Nev’ forget how old Jake Offutt said a wise bird never goes love-making in his own office or his own home. Start trouble. Sure. But—”
In twenty-three years of married life he had peered uneasily at every graceful ankle, every soft shoulder; in thought he had treasured them; but not once had he hazarded respectability by adventuring. Now, as he calculated the cost of repapering the Styles house, he was restless again, discontented about nothing and everything, ashamed of his discontentment, and lonely for the fairy girl.