Of "those" she made a linked sweetness long drawn out; a far-off delicate call in a twilight minor. It chastely rebuked the restless husbands, yet brought them a message of healing.
"There are those who have seen the rim and outer seeming of the logos there are those who have glimpsed and in enthusiasm possessed themselves of some segment and portion of the Logos there are those who thus flicked but not penetrated and radioactivated by the Dynamis go always to and fro assertative that they possess and are possessed of the Logos and the Metaphysikos but this word I bring you this concept I enlarge that those that are not utter are not even inceptive and that holiness is in its definitive essence always always always whole-iness and — "
It proved that the Essence of the Sun Spirit was Truth, but its Aura and Effluxion were Cheerfulness:
"Face always the day with the dawn-laugh with the enthusiasm of the initiate who perceives that all works together in the revolutions of the Wheel and who answers the strictures of the Soured Souls of the Destructionists with a Glad Affirmation — "
It went on for about an hour and seven minutes.
At the end Mrs. Mudge spoke with more vigor and punctuation:
"Now let me suggest to all of you the advantages of the Theosophical and Pantheistic Oriental Reading Circle, which I represent. Our object is to unite all the manifestations of the New Era into one cohesive whole — New Thought, Christian Science, Theosophy, Vedanta, Bahaism, and the other sparks from the one New Light. The subscription is but ten dollars a year, and for this mere pittance the members receive not only the monthly magazine, Pearls of Healing, but the privilege of sending right to the president, our revered Mother Dobbs, any questions regarding spiritual progress, matrimonial problems, health and well-being questions, financial difficulties, and — "
They listened to her with adoring attention. They looked genteel. They looked ironed-out. They coughed politely, and crossed their legs with quietness, and in expensive linen handkerchiefs they blew their noses with a delicacy altogether optimistic and refined.
As for Babbitt, he sat and suffered.
When they were blessedly out in the air again, when they drove home through a wind smelling of snow and honest sun, he dared not speak. They had been too near to quarreling, these days. Mrs. Babbitt forced it:
"Did you enjoy Mrs. Mudge's talk?"
"Well I — What did you get out of it?"
"Oh, it starts a person thinking. It gets you out of a routine of ordinary thoughts."
"Well, I'll hand it to Opal she isn't ordinary, but gosh — Honest, did that stuff mean anything to you?"
"Of course I'm not trained in metaphysics, and there was lots I couldn't quite grasp, but I did feel it was inspiring. And she speaks so readily. I do think you ought to have got something out of it."
"Well, I didn't! I swear, I was simply astonished, the way those women lapped it up! Why the dickens they want to put in their time listening to all that blaa when they — "
"It's certainly better for them than going to roadhouses and smoking and drinking!"
"I don't know whether it is or not! Personally I don't see a whole lot of difference. In both cases they're trying to get away from themselves — most everybody is, these days, I guess. And I'd certainly get a whole lot more out of hoofing it in a good lively dance, even in some dive, than sitting looking as if my collar was too tight, and feeling too scared to spit, and listening to Opal chewing her words."
"I'm sure you do! You're very fond of dives. No doubt you saw a lot of them while I was away!"
"Look here! You been doing a hell of a lot of insinuating and hinting around lately, as if I were leading a double life or something, and I'm damn sick of it, and I don't want to hear anything more about it!"
"Why, George Babbitt! Do you realize what you're saying? Why, George, in all our years together you've never talked to me like that!"
"It's about time then!"
"Lately you've been getting worse and worse, and now, finally, you're cursing and swearing at me and shouting at me, and your voice so ugly and hateful — I just shudder!"
"Oh, rats, quit exaggerating! I wasn't shouting, or swearing either."
"I wish you could hear your own voice! Maybe you don't realize how it sounds. But even so — You never used to talk like that. You simply COULDN'T talk this way if something dreadful hadn't happened to you."
His mind was hard. With amazement he found that he wasn't particularly sorry. It was only with an effort that he made himself more agreeable: "Well, gosh, I didn't mean to get sore."
"George, do you realize that we can't go on like this, getting farther and farther apart, and you ruder and ruder to me? I just don't know what's going to happen."
He had a moment's pity for her bewilderment; he thought of how many deep and tender things would be hurt if they really "couldn't go on like this." But his pity was impersonal, and he was wondering, "Wouldn't it maybe be a good thing if — Not a divorce and all that, o' course, but kind of a little more independence?"
While she looked at him pleadingly he drove on in a dreadful silence.