They appeared to one another exactly as they had in college—as raw youngsters whose present mustaches, baldnesses, paunches, and wrinkles were but jovial disguises put on for the evening.
Jovially they whooped back—Vergil Gunch, the coal-dealer, Sidney Finkelstein, the ladies’-ready-to-wear buyer for Parcher & Stein’s department-store, and Professor Joseph K. Pumphrey, owner of the Riteway Business College and instructor in Public Speaking, Business English, Scenario Writing, and Commercial Law.
By the joviality of their insults Babbitt knew that he had been taken back to their hearts, and happily he rose.
There was a fine of ten cents for calling a Fellow Booster by anything but his nickname at a lunch, and as Babbitt jovially checked his hat the air was radiant with shouts of "Hello, Chet!" and "How’re you, Shorty!" and "Top o’ the mornin’, Mac!"
Babbitt tried to be jovial; he worked at it; but he could find nothing to interest him in Overbrook’s timorousness, the blankness of the other guests, or the drained stupidity of Mrs. Overbrook, with her spectacles, drab skin, and tight-drawn hair.