Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

by

Ray Lawler

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Barney Ibbot Character Analysis

Barney is Roo's best friend. Though Olive describes him as being short, the stage directions indicate that he's only short in relation to Roo. He's about forty, beginning to gray, and has a potbelly. Until this layoff season, Barney had been in a relationship with Nancy. He's sad that Nancy married someone else, and Roo confides to Bubba that Barney may have even cried when he found out. However, Barney refuses to be tied down, and it's implied that he had (and has) a number of other women he sees. He insists to Pearl that he's not out to get all the love he can; rather, he says he just wants to give as much love as possible. Though Pearl seems to warm to the idea, she takes great offense that Barney has three children with three different women. He insists that he couldn't choose one to marry, and that he did the right thing because he paid the required child support. Throughout the play, Barney drinks heavily. His relationship with Roo, which has been inseparable in previous years, is faltering because Barney refused to walk off the job with Roo in the north. Roo sees this as the ultimate betrayal, made worse only by Barney's open admiration of Johnnie Dowd, the young man who took Roo's place as "ganger." During Roo and Barney's massive fight, Barney admits that he lied when he said that Roo hurt his back to protect Roo's pride, though Roo continues to see it as evidence of Barney's untrustworthiness. Though Barney initially decides to pick grapes with Johnnie after the fight, when Olive turns down Roo's offer of marriage, Barney reaffirms his loyalty to Roo. The two leave together.

Barney Ibbot Quotes in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll quotes below are all either spoken by Barney Ibbot or refer to Barney Ibbot. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Samuel French, Inc. edition of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll published in 2011.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

That's what the lay-off is. Not just playing around and spending a lot of money, but a time for livin'. You think I haven't sized that up against what other women have? I laugh at them every time they try to tell me. Even waiting for Roo to get back is more exciting than anything they've got.

Related Characters: Olive Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Pearl Cunningham, Barney Ibbot
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

All round would be the regulars—soft city blokes...and then in would come Roo and Barney. They wouldn't say anything...there'd just be the two of them walkin' in, then a kind of wait for a second or two, and quiet. After that, without a word, the regulars'd stand side to let 'em through, just as if they was a—a coupla kings. She always reckoned they made the rest of the mob look like a bunch of skinned rabbits.

Related Characters: Olive Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Pearl Cunningham, Barney Ibbot, Nancy
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Not as good as Roo when he's fit, mind yer, but he could run rings round the best of us. And this time he even made Roo look like a has-been. I never seen Roo git so mad, in no time at all he made it like a running fight between 'em, tryin' to git the better of this kid.

Related Characters: Barney Ibbot (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Olive: You didn't go with him?

Barney: No.

Olive: Why not?

Barney: I dunno. It was all messed up. You know what Roo's always been to me, a sort of little tin god. I've never seen him in the wrong before.

Related Characters: Olive Leech (speaker), Barney Ibbot (speaker), Roo Webber
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

But the ordinary bloke's got a way out, he can get married. There's always been a sorta reason why I never could—

Related Characters: Barney Ibbot (speaker), Pearl Cunningham
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Y'know, it's a funny thing. All the wimmen I've ever knocked around with, there's never been one of them ever knitted anything for me. Now, why d'yer reckon that is?

Related Characters: Barney Ibbot (speaker), Pearl Cunningham
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

The way you went on about everythin'—sounded just as if when they arrived, the whole town was gunna go up like a balloon.

Related Characters: Pearl Cunningham (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

...We come down here for the lay-off, five months of the year, December to April. That leaves another seven months still hangin'—what d'yer reckon Olive does in that time? Knocks around with other blokes, goes out on the loose every week? No, she doesn't, she just waits for us to come back again—coz she thinks our five months is worth all the rest of the year put together!

Related Characters: Roo Webber (speaker), Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Oh, of course I've never been here, it's just the reputation that's been built up among the boys. I reckon you could say it's almost famous, up north.

Related Characters: Johnnie Dowd (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Bubba Ryan
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

H-how can I? All that's happened in a house makes a feeling—you can't tell anyone that. It's between people.

Related Characters: Bubba Ryan (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

Bubba? Is that what they call you? Seems to me they're keeping you in the cradle, too. What's your real name?

Related Characters: Johnnie Dowd (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot, Bubba Ryan
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Yes, and so was he. Both of us sloggin' it out under the sun! Are you tryin' to say that's the same thing as this—a job in a paint factory? Are you?

Related Characters: Roo Webber (speaker), Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

This is what I call interestin'. The lot of yez squabbling at last 'stead of all that playin' around went on other times. Only thing I'm sorry for is Nancy ain't here. She knew which way the wind was blowin', that one.

Related Characters: Emma Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Nancy
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

You and Barney are two of a pair. Only the time he spent chasin' wimmin, you put in being top dog! Both of you champions! Well, that's all very fine and a lot of fun while it lasts, but last is one thing it just don't do. There's a time for sowing and a time for reaping—and reapin' is what you're doing now.

Related Characters: Emma Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

He might have been drinking, and this morning he might have forgotten like you said, but this is the only chance I've ever had of comin' close to—I dunno—whatever it is I've been watchin' all these years. You think I'd give that up?

Related Characters: Bubba Ryan (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Summer of the Seventeenth Doll PDF

Barney Ibbot Character Timeline in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The timeline below shows where the character Barney Ibbot appears in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...been running in and out of the house since she was a toddler, and treats Barney and Roo like uncles. (full context)
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...sick in public, and Olive explains that Nancy was just a good sport and that Barney was fond of her. (full context)
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Pearl is unimpressed. She remarks on the close way that Barney is holding Nancy in the photo, and Olive tells Pearl that Roo and Barney are... (full context)
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...to get married was a mistake, even if there was no hope of ever marrying Barney. Pearl says that it's likely Barney didn't marry Nancy because Nancy probably made herself “cheap.”... (full context)
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...over and says that when Bubba was five, she was jealous of the gifts that Barney and Roo brought, especially the kewpie doll on a walking stick. To placate her, Barney... (full context)
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...to find it's after 6:00pm. Olive wonders if her mother went to meet Roo and Barney at the airport, and says that she'll have gotten money out of the men before... (full context)
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...better prospect than "the other one," and Olive insists that you can't compare Roo and Barney. She says that Roo's a "big man" and runs his own gang of cane-cutters, but... (full context)
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Pearl asks why people call Barney Barney. Olive isn't sure, but says his real name is Arthur. She excitedly offers that... (full context)
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Pearl insists that she won't hate Barney, but she's not getting involved in a "nasty mess" either. Olive is offended, and Pearl... (full context)
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...says that she gets five months of heaven every year. She explains that Roo and Barney work hard for seven months and then come down to live. Olive says that she's... (full context)
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...to stop talking if she can't make sense. Pearl indignantly reminds Olive that Roo and Barney don't write while they're gone, and Olive simply says that they don't have to because... (full context)
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...sitting chained to her husband is worth missing the excitement of waiting for Roo and Barney. Pearl awkwardly apologizes for offending Olive, and Olive says that Pearl reminded her of her... (full context)
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Barney appears in the doorway, carrying Emma over his shoulder. Emma pretends to be angry. Barney... (full context)
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Olive turns towards Pearl and Barney and asks if they've met, and Barney shares that he's introduced himself to "Missus Cunningham."... (full context)
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Barney hugs Olive and calls her his favorite barmaid, and Olive jokingly explains that Pearl works... (full context)
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...take bags upstairs, but Olive asks him to only take up his own and not Barney's. Roo heads upstairs and Olive gives Barney a telegram. Olive asks Pearl to go check... (full context)
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Barney sits and tells Olive that what Emma said about needing her to make it home... (full context)
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Barney says that when they met in Brisbane, Roo had already spent all his money drinking.... (full context)
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Barney leaves, and Roo seems embarrassed. Olive asks why Roo went to Melbourne instead of coming... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...breeze, before heading to the kitchen. Olive enters the living room and finds Roo collecting Barney's empty beer bottles from the verandah. Olive says that Pearl didn't like Barney's drinking, and... (full context)
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Olive asks Roo how his back is, but Roo tells Olive to ask Barney. Olive picks up the seventeenth doll and says that she thinks this doll is dressed... (full context)
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...Emma barges in and says that breakfast is hot, but insists she won't yell for Barney. She begins cleaning the living room. Olive returns her attention to Roo and asks about... (full context)
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...Company is near the house, and Emma says it's around the corner. She asks if Barney is broke too, which Roo says is unlikely. Emma says she'd never think of helping... (full context)
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...Emma storms off to the kitchen. Bubba breathlessly tells Roo that she has something for Barney and hands an envelope to Roo. She explains that the envelope contains photos from Nancy's... (full context)
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...she was dating last summer, and Roo teases that she'll grow up to be like Barney. Bubba quietly asks how much more she'll grow, since she's twenty-two. Roo insists he meant... (full context)
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...it'd only be enough for a few weeks, and says he's just as untrustworthy as Barney is. Emma says that she knew from the first day she met Roo that he... (full context)
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Barney angrily says that Roo's pride is keeping him from taking money, and insists that Roo... (full context)
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Olive is shocked at Barney's disaffect, and Barney explains that Roo is going to look for work. Olive is even... (full context)
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Pearl again tries to begin the real conversation, but Barney insists that she sit. Pearl seems uncertain, but accepts the chair. She says that she... (full context)
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Very sincerely, Barney says that he can't help it: when he sees a beautiful woman, he feels as... (full context)
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Pearl insists that Barney could've done something, but can't come up with what. Barney continues his story, and says... (full context)
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Pearl isn't amused by Barney calling himself "lucky," but Barney explains that only a special kind of woman really understands... (full context)
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Barney asks Olive if Roo is actually going to get a job, and Olive moodily says... (full context)
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Pearl comes breathlessly back down the stairs with her hat and purse. Pearl tells Barney she's off, and asks him to take her bags upstairs—but not to jump to conclusions.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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The group is assembled in the living room on New Year's Eve. Barney is writing a letter, Pearl is knitting, and Olive is playing cards with Roo. They... (full context)
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Roo says that the ferns on the verandah are full of mosquitos, and Barney suggests they all go to the beach. Pearl deems it too late, but Barney notes... (full context)
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Pearl calls Barney to her to test the length of the sweater sleeve she's working on. Barney resists,... (full context)
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...appears on the back verandah in an evening dress and calls to Olive. She tells Barney that she promised to show Olive her dress. When Bubba steps into the living room,... (full context)
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...that the Morrises are Nancy's cousins. Pearl begins winding a new ball of yarn, and Barney moves to help her. He says that he's spent time with many women, but none... (full context)
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...says that some women don't want to knit a sweater for an "eagle," which confuses Barney. Pearl explains that it's something Olive said once, and Olive tries to change the subject... (full context)
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...in with what the man was saying, but Pearl keeps giggling and tells Roo and Barney that she had no idea what to expect with everything Olive said about them. Pearl... (full context)
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...angrily declares that staying up until midnight is silly and she'd rather go to bed. Barney insists she stay, and suggests they get Emma in to play the piano so they... (full context)
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Barney calls for Emma, who's sitting outside. He offers her money to play any tunes she... (full context)
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...says that Emma never apologizes for hurting her. To try to save the tense situation, Barney suggests they open some beer. Olive jumps on the idea and calls Pearl to the... (full context)
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Barney and Roo discuss Emma's fussiness. There seems to be a guarded air around the men... (full context)
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Barney tells Roo that he told the boys Roo was working, but didn't say where. At... (full context)
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Barney sobers and quietly admits to Roo that he didn't walk out with him up north,... (full context)
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Barney asks if he can make it up to Roo, and suggests they go north with... (full context)
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Roo stands over Barney and reminds him that they come here five months out of every year for the... (full context)
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...it. Olive sits beside Roo and apologizes for being dramatic earlier. Roo soothes Olive as Barney offers them glasses, telling them to drink before they start kissing. Pearl giggles and pours... (full context)
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...a few minutes and Olive says to Roo that she's glad they didn't go out. Barney raises a toast to happy days and glamorous nights, which makes Pearl choke on her... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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...and upset with Emma for letting him sleep. She goes to wake him up as Barney calls for Emma to come settle things with the taxi driver. (full context)
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...shakes Roo, it takes him a minute to fully wake up. Olive tells Roo that Barney is very drunk and is here with a friend. She describes the friend as Roo... (full context)
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An extremely drunk Barney appears on the verandah. He has ahold of Emma's apron and asks her loudly for... (full context)
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Johnnie congenially greets Roo and they exchange awkward pleasantries. Barney steps forward and begins to try to talk to Roo, but Johnnie pushes Barney back... (full context)
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...to go. Johnnie enthusiastically starts to make plans, but Roo tells Johnnie to plan with Barney and let him know. He motions to his dirty clothes and says he needs to... (full context)
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...Johnnie if he'll stay for dinner, but Johnnie declines the invitation. She follows Roo upstairs. Barney, elated, tells Johnnie that getting Roo to shake was easy. Johnnie is less thrilled—he says... (full context)
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Suddenly, Barney lights up with an idea. He suggests that just the three of them—he, Roo, and... (full context)
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When Pearl enters the living room, Barney reintroduces her to Johnnie. She steps past them to sit on the sofa and tells... (full context)
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Pearl asks if Johnnie will be going without a date. Barney begins to say that Johnnie is shy and particular with women. Johnnie tries to stop... (full context)
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Amazed, Barney reminds Pearl that she'd be there to supervise Vera. Johnnie tries to diffuse the situation,... (full context)
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Johnnie impatiently calls for Barney, who comes back into the living room dragging a surprised Bubba with him. Johnnie tries... (full context)
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...like to go and she only seemed hesitant because she was surprised. She continues that Barney and Roo have never brought someone from up north to this house. Johnnie looks around... (full context)
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...place, and it's developed a reputation among the boys up north with what Roo and Barney say about it. As Johnnie looks around, he says it looks like their tales were... (full context)
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...to, he asks her to remind him of her name. Johnnie says that Roo and Barney are trying to keep Bubba "in the cradle" by calling her a nickname, and asks... (full context)
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Barney comes in from the verandah and calls for Roo. Johnnie asks Barney to tell Kathie... (full context)
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...when Olive tries to say that meeting Johnnie wasn't so bad, Roo coldly says that Barney forced him to give in to Johnnie. Olive moves away from him and tells him... (full context)
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...asks why Pearl is crying, and Olive says she's not sure, but it's something about Barney asking her to allow Vera to go to the races. Bubba cuts in and says... (full context)
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...yells at her to get out, and Olive pulls Bubba away with her. Roo grabs Barney's collar and hauls him inside. Barney asks Roo to be gentle since he's drunk, but... (full context)
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Barney turns back to Roo and accuses him of being jealous of Johnnie, and he says... (full context)
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...age fight over one bad season. When Roo insists it's not about the bad season, Barney tells Roo to "be a man" and admit the truth. He goads Roo, taunting him... (full context)
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Barney asks Roo if he really thought he would've told the women his secret, and Roo... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Pearl asks when Barney will be back. Olive answers that if she knows Barney, he's guaranteed to return before... (full context)
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Olive approaches Pearl and says stonily that everything she ever said about Roo and Barney was the truth, every year until this one. She says that Pearl is the last... (full context)
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Olive tells Barney that he's just in time to say goodbye to Pearl, and Barney replies that he... (full context)
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Pearl asks Barney where he's been, but Barney insists that only a wife can ask that question. He... (full context)
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Barney looks confused and says that when it comes down to it, Pearl is leaving for... (full context)
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Pearl begins to ask Barney a question, and a horn honks outside. Barney leans out the door and yells to... (full context)
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Roo insists that the fight with Barney had been brewing for some time and reminds Olive what Barney "did to him." Olive... (full context)
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...remembers everything. She recounts the very first Sunday when Nancy and Olive met Roo and Barney at the aquarium, and Nancy said that Roo and Barney were the only fish out... (full context)
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Suddenly, Roo asks Emma who's at fault for messing up the layoff season, him or Barney. Emma is astonished and asks him if he's kidding. She asks if he really thought... (full context)
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...Roo, still confused, says that something went wrong and it was either his fault or Barney's. Emma concedes that Barney may have had more to do with the fight, but says... (full context)
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Emma asks Roo why he thinks Barney lied. Roo insists that lying is natural for Barney, but Emma says that Barney only... (full context)
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Roo hears Bubba and Barney approaching. Barney tries to grab Bubba, but Bubba pulls free. Barney asks Bubba why she... (full context)
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...but deserves to know why she was asked to the races in the first place. Barney says it's his fault and he was drunk, but Bubba insists that Johnnie asked her... (full context)
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...to her. Softly, Roo says that Bubba has outgrown them, and Bubba agrees. Roo asks Barney to tell Bubba where Johnnie is, and then tells Bubba to arrange to meet Johnnie... (full context)
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Barney tells Roo that he's leaving to pick grapes with the boys and Johnnie. He asks... (full context)
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Roo and Barney hear an argument upstairs. Olive, dressed for work, comes down the stairs followed by Emma.... (full context)
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...and seventeen summers are worth in cash. Angry, Roo says that he's not leaving; only Barney is. He tells her it's horrible to talk about money that way. Olive replies that... (full context)
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Olive asks Roo if he and Barney could come down for the afternoon, but Roo explains that Barney is still going to... (full context)
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...staying here with her. She stares at him and asks how he'll meet up with Barney for the start of the season, and Roo insists that Barney will be fine without... (full context)
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Emma and Barney run in, asking about the commotion. Olive won't tell Emma what's going on. She gets... (full context)
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Barney quietly turns to Roo and says that the other boys, Johnnie included, can go to... (full context)