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

“Oh, quit fussing!” Babbitt fussed.  “You never hear me whining about my Troubles, and yet if you had to run a real-estate office—­Why, to-day I found Miss Bannigan was two days behind with her accounts, and I pinched my finger in my desk, and Lyte was in and just as unreasonable as ever.”

He was so vexed that after dinner, when it was time for a tactful escape to Tanis, he merely grumped to his wife, “Got to go out.  Be back by eleven, should think.”

“Oh!  You’re going out again?”

“Again!  What do you mean ‘again’!  Haven’t hardly been out of the house for a week!”

“Are you—­are you going to the Elks?”

“Nope.  Got to see some people.”

Though this time he heard his own voice and knew that it was curt, though she was looking at him with wide-eyed reproach, he stumped into the hall, jerked on his ulster and furlined gloves, and went out to start the car.

He was relieved to find Tanis cheerful, unreproachful, and brilliant in a frock of brown net over gold tissue.  “You poor man, having to come out on a night like this!  It’s terribly cold.  Don’t you think a small highball would be nice?”

“Now, by golly, there’s a woman with savvy!  I think we could more or less stand a highball if it wasn’t too long a one—­not over a foot tall!”

He kissed her with careless heartiness, he forgot the compulsion of her demands, he stretched in a large chair and felt that he had beautifully come home.  He was suddenly loquacious; he told her what a noble and misunderstood man he was, and how superior to Pete, Fulton Bemis, and the other men of their acquaintance; and she, bending forward, chin in charming hand, brightly agreed.  But when he forced himself to ask, “Well, honey, how’s things with you,” she took his duty-question seriously, and he discovered that she too had Troubles: 

“Oh, all right but—­I did get so angry with Carrie.  She told Minnie that I told her that Minnie was an awful tightwad, and Minnie told me Carrie had told her, and of course I told her I hadn’t said anything of the kind, and then Carrie found Minnie had told me, and she was simply furious because Minnie had told me, and of course I was just boiling because Carrie had told her I’d told her, and then we all met up at Fulton’s—­his wife is away—­thank heavens!—­oh, there’s the dandiest floor in his house to dance on—­and we were all of us simply furious at each other and—­Oh, I do hate that kind of a mix-up, don’t you?  I mean—­it’s so lacking in refinement, but—­And Mother wants to come and stay with me for a whole month, and of course I do love her, I suppose I do, but honestly, she’ll cramp my style something dreadful—­she never can learn not to comment, and she always wants to know where I’m going when I go out evenings, and if I lie to her she always spies around and ferrets around and finds out where I’ve been, and then she looks like Patience on a Monument till I could just scream.  And oh, I must tell you—­You know I never talk about myself; I just hate people who do, don’t you?  But—­I feel so stupid to-night, and I know I must be boring you with all this but—­What would you do about Mother?”

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