BABBITT'S preparations for leaving the office
to its feeble self during the hour and a half of his lunch-period were somewhat less elaborate than the plans for a general European war
He fretted to Miss McGoun, "What time you going to lunch? Well, make sure Miss Bannigan is in then. Explain to her that if Wiedenfeldt calls up, she's to tell him I'm already having the title traced. And oh, b' the way, remind me
to-morrow to have Penniman trace it. Now if anybody comes in looking for a cheap house, remember we got to shove that Bangor Road place off onto somebody. If you need me, I'll be at the Athletic Club. And--uh--And--uh--I'll be back by two."
He dusted the cigar-ashes off his vest. He placed a difficult unanswered letter on the pile of unfinished work, that he might not fail to attend to it that afternoon. (For three noons, now, he had placed the same letter on the
unfinished pile.) He scrawled on a sheet of yellow backing-paper the memorandum
: "See abt apt h drs," which gave him an agreeable feeling of having already seen about the apartment-house doors.
He discovered that he was smoking another cigar
. He threw it away, protesting, "Darn it, I thought you'd quit this darn smoking
!" He courageously returned
the cigar-box to the correspondence-file, locked it up, hid the key in a more difficult place, and raged, "Ought to take care of myself. And need more exercise--walk to the club, every single noon--just what I'll do--every
noon-cut out this motoring all the time."
The resolution made him feel exemplary. Immediately after it he decided that this noon
it was too late to walk.
It took but little more time to start his car and edge it into the traffic
than it would have taken to walk the three and a half blocks to the club.
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