Babbit eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 351 pages of information about Babbit.

He sought to be calm and brotherly: 

“Yes, I know, Zilla.  But gosh, it certainly is the essence of religion to be charitable, isn’t it?  Let me tell you how I figure it:  What we need in the world is liberalism, liberality, if we’re going to get anywhere.  I’ve always believed in being broad-minded and liberal—­”

“You?  Liberal?” It was very much the old Zilla.  “Why, George Babbitt, you’re about as broad-minded and liberal as a razor-blade!”

“Oh, I am, am I!  Well, just let me tell you, just—­let me—­tell—­you, I’m as by golly liberal as you are religious, anyway!  You religious!”

“I am so!  Our pastor says I sustain him in the faith!”

“I’ll bet you do!  With Paul’s money!  But just to show you how liberal I am, I’m going to send a check for ten bucks to this Beecher Ingram, because a lot of fellows are saying the poor cuss preaches sedition and free love, and they’re trying to run him out of town.”

“And they’re right!  They ought to run him out of town!  Why, he preaches—­if you can call it preaching—­in a theater, in the House of Satan!  You don’t know what it is to find God, to find peace, to behold the snares that the devil spreads out for our feet.  Oh, I’m so glad to see the mysterious purposes of God in having Paul harm me and stop my wickedness—­and Paul’s getting his, good and plenty, for the cruel things he did to me, and I hope he Dies in prison!”

Babbitt was up, hat in hand, growling, “Well, if that’s what you call being at peace, for heaven’s sake just warn me before you go to war, will you?”

III

Vast is the power of cities to reclaim the wanderer.  More than mountains or the shore-devouring sea, a city retains its character, imperturbable, cynical, holding behind apparent changes its essential purpose.  Though Babbitt had deserted his family and dwelt with Joe Paradise in the wilderness, though he had become a liberal, though he had been quite sure, on the night before he reached Zenith, that neither he nor the city would be the same again, ten days after his return he could not believe that he had ever been away.  Nor was it at all evident to his acquaintances that there was a new George F. Babbitt, save that he was more irritable under the incessant chaffing at the Athletic Club, and once, when Vergil Gunch observed that Seneca Doane ought to be hanged, Babbitt snorted, “Oh, rats, he’s not so bad.”

At home he grunted “Eh?” across the newspaper to his commentatory wife, and was delighted by Tinka’s new red tam o’shanter, and announced, “No class to that corrugated iron garage.  Have to build me a nice frame one.”

Verona and Kenneth Escott appeared really to be engaged.  In his newspaper Escott had conducted a pure-food crusade against commission-houses.  As a result he had been given an excellent job in a commission-house, and he was making a salary on which he could marry, and denouncing irresponsible reporters who wrote stories criticizing commission-houses without knowing what they were talking about.

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Project Gutenberg
Babbit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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