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

“What do you mean ‘worth while’?  If you get to be Gruensberg’s secretary—­and maybe you would, if you kept up your shorthand and didn’t go sneaking off to concerts and talkfests every evening—­I guess you’ll find thirty-five or forty bones a week worth while!”

“I know, but—­oh, I want to—­contribute—­I wish I were working in a settlement-house.  I wonder if I could get one of the department-stores to let me put in a welfare-department with a nice rest-room and chintzes and wicker chairs and so on and so forth.  Or I could—­”

“Now you look here!  The first thing you got to understand is that all this uplift and flipflop and settlement-work and recreation is nothing in God’s world but the entering wedge for socialism.  The sooner a man learns he isn’t going to be coddled, and he needn’t expect a lot of free grub and, uh, all these free classes and flipflop and doodads for his kids unless he earns ’em, why, the sooner he’ll get on the job and produce—­produce—­produce!  That’s what the country needs, and not all this fancy stuff that just enfeebles the will-power of the working man and gives his kids a lot of notions above their class.  And you—­if you’d tend to business instead of fooling and fussing—­All the time!  When I was a young man I made up my mind what I wanted to do, and stuck to it through thick and thin, and that’s why I’m where I am to-day, and—­Myra!  What do you let the girl chop the toast up into these dinky little chunks for?  Can’t get your fist onto ’em.  Half cold, anyway!”

Ted Babbitt, junior in the great East Side High School, had been making hiccup-like sounds of interruption.  He blurted now, “Say, Rone, you going to—­”

Verona whirled.  “Ted!  Will you kindly not interrupt us when we’re talking about serious matters!”

“Aw punk,” said Ted judicially.  “Ever since somebody slipped up and let you out of college, Ammonia, you been pulling these nut conversations about what-nots and so-on-and-so-forths.  Are you going to—­I want to use the car tonight.”

Babbitt snorted, “Oh, you do!  May want it myself!” Verona protested, “Oh, you do, Mr. Smarty!  I’m going to take it myself!” Tinka wailed, “Oh, papa, you said maybe you’d drive us down to Rosedale!” and Mrs. Babbitt, “Careful, Tinka, your sleeve is in the butter.”  They glared, and Verona hurled, “Ted, you’re a perfect pig about the car!”

“Course you’re not!  Not a-tall!” Ted could be maddeningly bland.  “You just want to grab it off, right after dinner, and leave it in front of some skirt’s house all evening while you sit and gas about lite’ature and the highbrows you’re going to marry—­if they only propose!”

“Well, Dad oughtn’t to ever let you have it!  You and those beastly Jones boys drive like maniacs.  The idea of your taking the turn on Chautauqua Place at forty miles an hour!”

“Aw, where do you get that stuff!  You’re so darn scared of the car that you drive up-hill with the emergency brake on!”

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