"Pictures and books are fine for those that have the time to study 'em, but they don't shoot out on the road and holler 'This is what little old Zenith can put up in the way of Culture.' That's precisely what a Symphony Orchestra does do. Look at the credit Minneapolis and Cincinnati get. An orchestra with first-class musickers and a swell conductor — and I believe we ought to do the thing up brown and get one of the highest-paid conductors on the market, providing he ain't a Hun — it goes right into Beantown and New York and Washington; it plays at the best theaters to the most cultured and moneyed people; it gives such class-advertising as a town can get in no other way; and the guy who is so short-sighted as to crab this orchestra proposition is passing up the chance to impress the glorious name of Zenith on some big New York millionaire that might-that might establish a branch factory here!
"I could also go into the fact that for our daughters who show an interest in highbrow music and may want to teach it, having an A1 local organization is of great benefit, but let's keep this on a practical basis, and I call on you good brothers to whoop it up for Culture and a World-beating Symphony Orchestra!"
To a rustle of excitement President Gunch proclaimed, "Gentlemen, we will now proceed to the annual election of officers." For each of the six offices, three candidates had been chosen by a committee. The second name among the candidates for vice-president was Babbitt's.
He was surprised. He looked self-conscious. His heart pounded. He was still more agitated when the ballots were counted and Gunch said, "It's a pleasure to announce that Georgie Babbitt will be the next assistant gavel-wielder. I know of no man who stands more stanchly for common sense and enterprise than good old George. Come on, let's give him our best long yell!"
As they adjourned, a hundred men crushed in to slap his back. He had never known a higher moment. He drove away in a blur of wonder. He lunged into his office, chuckling to Miss McGoun, "Well, I guess you better congratulate your boss! Been elected vice-president of the Boosters!"
He was disappointed. She answered only, "Yes — Oh, Mrs. Babbitt's been trying to get you on the 'phone." But the new salesman, Fritz Weilinger, said, "By golly, chief, say, that's great, that's perfectly great! I'm tickled to death! Congratulations!"
Babbitt called the house, and crowed to his wife, "Heard you were trying to get me, Myra. Say, you got to hand it to little Georgie, this time! Better talk careful! You are now addressing the vice-president of the Boosters' Club!"
"Oh, Georgie — "
"Pretty nice, huh? Willis Ijams is the new president, but when he's away, little ole Georgie takes the gavel and whoops 'em up and introduces the speakers — no matter if they're the governor himself — and — "
" — It puts him in solid with big men like Doc Dilling and — "
"George! Paul Riesling — "
"Yes, sure, I'll 'phone Paul and let him know about it right away."
"Georgie! LISTEN! Paul's in jail. He shot his wife, he shot Zilla, this noon. She may not live."