"Quit!" I cried. But it was too late. She was already out the door and had told the paper boy to round up the neighbors. A tense crowd quickly gathered.
"I want to make it plain," Clarissa began, "that my quitting marriage should cast no aspersions on the Mundys. I hope, in fact, to visit the Mundys sometime in the future. It is just that now, at this time, it is not good for my situation to visit the Mundys."
"Does this mean that you are through with marriage for good?" asked Roger Hooker, our next-door neighbor.
"I am afraid so," my wife said. "As much as I regret it, I don't see any other way, since principle is involved. This will, of course, mean a great sacrifice to me. I may have to go to work."
Clarissa began to sob softly at this point as Dutch Bailliere, from two houses down, approached with his new Polaroid, and Jack Winter, from across the street, began to roll the Super-8.
At last, desperate, I brought in my mother-in-law, the former Doreen Wrath of suburban Missoula, Mont. We huddled, and the situation was not improving until my mother-in-law wondered if the guarantee of a new bedspread might expedite matters. Clarissa was unmoved by that proposal, but hinted (through her counsel, cagey Louise McAdams of the Bridge Club) that materialization of the long-promised new living room suite might loosen the logjam. I balked at this, but a promise of one bedspread and one sofa seemed to satisfy all parties. Soon thereafter, at the Mundys, Clarissa was able to commandeer a coffee table long enough to apologize for the difficulty she had caused and to assure all assembled that she would not let what had happened in any way detract from the rest of her performance at the party. "I am back in the swing," she told a spokesman.
We hardly got home that night before the word was out that Maury Wills was quitting an $85,000-a-year contract and that Majestic Prince was quitting the Belmont. The house was curiously quiet, and I found my 8-year-old son in a darkened living room, staring at a vase.
"What is it, Trevor?" I asked.
"I'm quitting, Dad," he said.
"You are sure?"