Babbit eBook

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

“It’s certainly better for them than going to roadhouses and smoking and drinking!”

“I don’t know whether it is or not!  Personally I don’t see a whole lot of difference.  In both cases they’re trying to get away from themselves—­most everybody is, these days, I guess.  And I’d certainly get a whole lot more out of hoofing it in a good lively dance, even in some dive, than sitting looking as if my collar was too tight, and feeling too scared to spit, and listening to Opal chewing her words.”

“I’m sure you do!  You’re very fond of dives.  No doubt you saw a lot of them while I was away!”

“Look here!  You been doing a hell of a lot of insinuating and hinting around lately, as if I were leading a double life or something, and I’m damn sick of it, and I don’t want to hear anything more about it!”

“Why, George Babbitt!  Do you realize what you’re saying?  Why, George, in all our years together you’ve never talked to me like that!”

“It’s about time then!”

“Lately you’ve been getting worse and worse, and now, finally, you’re cursing and swearing at me and shouting at me, and your voice so ugly and hateful—­I just shudder!”

“Oh, rats, quit exaggerating!  I wasn’t shouting, or swearing either.”

“I wish you could hear your own voice!  Maybe you don’t realize how it sounds.  But even so—­You never used to talk like that.  You simply couldn’t talk this way if something dreadful hadn’t happened to you.”

His mind was hard.  With amazement he found that he wasn’t particularly sorry.  It was only with an effort that he made himself more agreeable:  “Well, gosh, I didn’t mean to get sore.”

“George, do you realize that we can’t go on like this, getting farther and farther apart, and you ruder and ruder to me?  I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He had a moment’s pity for her bewilderment; he thought of how many deep and tender things would be hurt if they really “couldn’t go on like this.”  But his pity was impersonal, and he was wondering, “Wouldn’t it maybe be a good thing if—­Not a divorce and all that, o’ course, but kind of a little more independence?”

While she looked at him pleadingly he drove on in a dreadful silence.

CHAPTER XXXI

I

When he was away from her, while he kicked about the garage and swept the snow off the running-board and examined a cracked hose-connection, he repented, he was alarmed and astonished that he could have flared out at his wife, and thought fondly how much more lasting she was than the flighty Bunch.  He went in to mumble that he was “sorry, didn’t mean to be grouchy,” and to inquire as to her interest in movies.  But in the darkness of the movie theater he brooded that he’d “gone and tied himself up to Myra all over again.”  He had some satisfaction in taking it out on Tanis Judique.  “Hang Tanis anyway!  Why’d she gone and got him into these mix-ups and made him all jumpy and nervous and cranky?  Too many complications!  Cut ’em out!”

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Babbit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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