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

“Jus’ minute—­getting ’phone call,” said Dr. Drew in businesslike tones, then, aggressively, to the telephone:  “’Lo—­’lo!  This Berkey and Hannis?  Reverend Drew speaking.  Where the dickens is the proof for next Sunday’s calendar?  Huh?  Y’ ought to have it here.  Well, I can’t help it if they’re all sick!  I got to have it to-night.  Get an A.D.T. boy and shoot it up here quick.”

He turned, without slackening his briskness.  “Well, Brother Babbitt, what c’n I do for you?”

“I just wanted to ask—­Tell you how it is, dominie:  Here a while ago I guess I got kind of slack.  Took a few drinks and so on.  What I wanted to ask is:  How is it if a fellow cuts that all out and comes back to his senses?  Does it sort of, well, you might say, does it score against him in the long run?”

The Reverend Dr. Drew was suddenly interested.  “And, uh, brother—­the other things, too?  Women?”

“No, practically, you might say, practically not at all.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell me, brother!  That’s what I’m here for.  Been going on joy-rides?  Squeezing girls in cars?” The reverend eyes glistened.

“No—­no—­”

“Well, I’ll tell you.  I’ve got a deputation from the Don’t Make Prohibition a Joke Association coming to see me in a quarter of an hour, and one from the Anti-Birth-Control Union at a quarter of ten.”  He busily glanced at his watch.  “But I can take five minutes off and pray with you.  Kneel right down by your chair, brother.  Don’t be ashamed to seek the guidance of God.”

Babbitt’s scalp itched and he longed to flee, but Dr. Drew had already flopped down beside his desk-chair and his voice had changed from rasping efficiency to an unctuous familiarity with sin and with the Almighty.  Babbitt also knelt, while Drew gloated: 

“O Lord, thou seest our brother here, who has been led astray by manifold temptations.  O Heavenly Father, make his heart to be pure, as pure as a little child’s.  Oh, let him know again the joy of a manly courage to abstain from evil—­”

Sheldon Smeeth came frolicking into the study.  At the sight of the two men he smirked, forgivingly patted Babbitt on the shoulder, and knelt beside him, his arm about him, while he authorized Dr. Drew’s imprecations with moans of “Yes, Lord!  Help our brother, Lord!”

Though he was trying to keep his eyes closed, Babbitt squinted between his fingers and saw the pastor glance at his watch as he concluded with a triumphant, “And let him never be afraid to come to Us for counsel and tender care, and let him know that the church can lead him as a little lamb.”

Dr. Drew sprang up, rolled his eyes in the general direction of Heaven, chucked his watch into his pocket, and demanded, “Has the deputation come yet, Sheldy?”

“Yep, right outside,” Sheldy answered, with equal liveliness; then, caressingly, to Babbitt, “Brother, if it would help, I’d love to go into the next room and pray with you while Dr. Drew is receiving the brothers from the Don’t Make Prohibition a Joke Association.”

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