“Oh, who the hell is Lord Wycombe? What you always lugging him in for? You been touting him for the last six weeks!” protested Orville Jones.
“George ordered him from Sears-Roebuck. You can get those English high-muckamucks by mail for two bucks apiece,” suggested Sidney Finkelstein.
“That’s all right now! Lord Wycombe, he’s one of the biggest intellects in English political life. As I was saying: Of course I’m conservative myself, but I appreciate a guy like Senny Doane because—”
Vergil Gunch interrupted harshly, “I wonder if you are so conservative? I find I can manage to run my own business without any skunks and reds like Doane in it!”
The grimness of Gunch’s voice, the hardness of his jaw, disconcerted Babbitt, but he recovered and went on till they looked bored, then irritated, then as doubtful as Gunch.
He thought of Tanis always. With a stir he remembered her every aspect. His arms yearned for her. “I’ve found her! I’ve dreamed of her all these years and now I’ve found her!” he exulted. He met her at the movies in the morning; he drove out to her flat in the late afternoon or on evenings when he was believed to be at the Elks. He knew her financial affairs and advised her about them, while she lamented her feminine ignorance, and praised his masterfulness, and proved to know much more about bonds than he did. They had remembrances, and laughter over old times. Once they quarreled, and he raged that she was as “bossy” as his wife and far more whining when he was inattentive. But that passed safely.
Their high hour was a tramp on a ringing December afternoon, through snow-drifted meadows down to the icy Chaloosa River. She was exotic in an astrachan cap and a short beaver coat; she slid on the ice and shouted, and he panted after her, rotund with laughter.... Myra Babbitt never slid on the ice.
He was afraid that they would be seen together. In Zenith it is impossible to lunch with a neighbor’s wife without the fact being known, before nightfall, in every house in your circle. But Tanis was beautifully discreet. However appealingly she might turn to him when they were alone, she was gravely detached when they were abroad, and he hoped that she would be taken for a client. Orville Jones once saw them emerging from a movie theater, and Babbitt bumbled, “Let me make you ’quainted with Mrs. Judique. Now here’s a lady who knows the right broker to come to, Orvy!” Mr. Jones, though he was a man censorious of morals and of laundry machinery, seemed satisfied.