Orville Jones commented, “And, then take our other advantages—the movies, frinstance. These Yapville sports think they’re all-get-out if they have one change of bill a week, where here in the city you got your choice of a dozen diff’rent movies any evening you want to name!”
“Sure, and the inspiration we get from rubbing up against high-class hustlers every day and getting jam full of ginger,” said Eddie Swanson.
“Same time,” said Babbitt, “no sense excusing these rube burgs too easy. Fellow’s own fault if he doesn’t show the initiative to up and beat it to the city, like we done—did. And, just speaking in confidence among friends, they’re jealous as the devil of a city man. Every time I go up to Catawba I have to go around apologizing to the fellows I was brought up with because I’ve more or less succeeded and they haven’t. And if you talk natural to ’em, way we do here, and show finesse and what you might call a broad point of view, why, they think you’re putting on side. There’s my own half-brother Martin—runs the little ole general store my Dad used to keep. Say, I’ll bet he don’t know there is such a thing as a Tux—as a dinner-jacket. If he was to come in here now, he’d think we were a bunch of—of—Why, gosh, I swear, he wouldn’t know what to think! Yes, sir, they’re jealous!”
Chum Frink agreed, “That’s so. But what I mind is their lack of culture and appreciation of the Beautiful—if you’ll excuse me for being highbrow. Now, I like to give a high-class lecture, and read some of my best poetry—not the newspaper stuff but the magazine things. But say, when I get out in the tall grass, there’s nothing will take but a lot of cheesy old stories and slang and junk that if any of us were to indulge in it here, he’d get the gate so fast it would make his head swim.”
Vergil Gunch summed it up: “Fact is, we’re mighty lucky to be living among a bunch of city-folks, that recognize artistic things and business-punch equally. We’d feel pretty glum if we got stuck in some Main Street burg and tried to wise up the old codgers to the kind of life we’re used to here. But, by golly, there’s this you got to say for ’em: Every small American town is trying to get population and modern ideals. And darn if a lot of ’em don’t put it across! Somebody starts panning a rube crossroads, telling how he was there in 1900 and it consisted of one muddy street, count ’em, one, and nine hundred human clams. Well, you go back there in 1920, and you find pavements and a swell little hotel and a first-class ladies’ ready-to-wear shop-real perfection, in fact! You don’t want to just look at what these small towns are, you want to look at what they’re aiming to become, and they all got an ambition that in the long run is going to make ’em the finest spots on earth—they all want to be just like Zenith!”
However intimate they might be with T. Cholmondeley Frink as a neighbor, as a borrower of lawn-mowers and monkey-wrenches, they knew that he was also a Famous Poet and a distinguished advertising-agent; that behind his easiness were sultry literary mysteries which they could not penetrate. But to-night, in the gin-evolved confidence, he admitted them to the arcanum: