The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball (Henry)

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The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: A man realized he had a drinking problem and decided to quit, causing tension in his marriage, but his wife ultimately supported his decision and they both chose to change their lifestyle.

Bob Babbitt was a young man who had recently given up drinking alcohol. He had been a regular at a Broadway bar, where he would meet his friends and enjoy a few drinks before heading home to his wife, Jessie.

Bob Babbitt — husband; initially a heavy drinker; determined to quit drinking.
Jessie Babbitt — Bob's wife; initially enjoyed their Bohemian lifestyle; supportive of Bob's decision to quit drinking.

One day, he overheard someone at the bar talking about how drunk he had been the night before, and this realization led him to quit drinking altogether.

Babbitt was in last night as full as a boiled owl.

Bob and Jessie had met in Sullivan County, where they both fell in love with the poetry of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat. They married and moved to New York City, where Bob found work in a lawyer's office. They became part of a bohemian social circle, dining at French and Italian restaurants and hosting friends at their home. Jessie learned to drink cocktails and play the banjo, and they both enjoyed the excitement of their new lifestyle.

However, when Bob decided to quit drinking, it caused a rift between him and Jessie. She was confused and hurt by his sudden change in behavior, and their once lively home became quiet and tense. One evening, after a particularly strained dinner, Bob tried to recapture the magic of their early days together by reciting a verse from the Rubaiyat. This led to Jessie knocking a bottle of Scotch and glasses off the table in a passionate outburst.

Oh, my God, Bobbie — not that verse — I see now. I wasn’t always such a fool, was I?

In that moment, both Bob and Jessie realized that their love for each other was more important than the superficial excitement of their bohemian lifestyle. They decided to leave behind their old habits and focus on rebuilding their relationship, drawing inspiration from the verse in the Rubaiyat that speaks of shattering the world and remolding it closer to the heart's desire.

Would not we shatter it to bits — and then Remould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!