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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"You want to see Lincoln Park," he said, "and Michigan
Boulevard. They are putting up great buildings there. Itís a second
New York-great. So much to seetheatres, crowds, fine houses-oh,
youíll like that."

There was a little ache in her fancy of all he described. Her
insignificance in the presence of so much magnificence faintly
affected her. She realised that hers was not to be a round of
pleasure, and yet there was something promising in all the
material prospect he set forth. There was something satisfactory in
the attention of this individual with his good clothes. She could
not help smiling as he told her of some popular actress of whom
she reminded him. She was not silly, and yet attention of this sort
had its weight.

"You will be in Chicago some little time, wonít you?" he
observed at one turn of the now easy conversation.

"I donít know," said Carrie vaguely-a flash vision of the
possibility of her not securing employment rising in her mind.

"Several weeks, anyhow," he said, looking steadily into her eyes.

There was much more passing now than the mere words
indicated. He recognised the indescribable thing that made up for
fascination and beauty in her. She realised that she was of interest
to him from the one standpoint which a woman both delights in
and fears. Her manner was simple, though for the very reason that
she had not yet learned the many little affectations with which
women conceal their true feelings. Some things she did appeared
bold. A clever companion-had she ever had one-would have
warned her never to look a man in the eyes so stead-ily.

"Why do you ask?" she said.

"Well, Iím going to be there several weeks. Iím going to study
stock at our place and get new samples. I might show you
Ďround."

"I donít know whether you can or not. I mean I donít know
whether I can. I shall be living with my sister, and-"

"Well, if she minds, weíll fix that." He took out his pencil and a
little pocket note-book as if it were all settled. "What is your
address there?"

She fumbled her purse which contained the address slip.

He reached down in his hip pocket and took out a fat purse. It was
filled with slips of paper, some mileage books, a roll of
greenbacks. It impressed her deeply. Such a purse had never been
carried by any one attentive to her. Indeed, an experienced
traveller, a brisk man of the world, had never come within such
close range before. The purse, the shiny tan shoes, the smart new
suit, and the air with which he did things, built up for her a dim
world of fortune, of which he was the centre. It disposed her
pleasantly toward all he might do.

He took out a neat business card, on which was engraved Bartlett,
Caryoe & Company, and down in the lefthand corner, Chas. H.
Drouet.

"Thatís me," he said, putting the card in her hand and touching his
name. "Itís pronounced Drew-eh. Our family was French, on my
fatherís side."

She looked at it while he put up his purse. Then he got out a letter
from a bunch in his coat pocket. "This is the house I travel for,"
he went on, pointing to a picture on it, "corner of State and Lake."
There was pride in his voice. He felt that it was something to be
connected with such a place, and he made her feel that way.

"What is your address?" he began again, fixing his pencil to write.

"Carrie Meeber," she said slowly. "Three hundred and fifty-four
West Van Buren Street, care S. C. Hanson."

He wrote it carefully down and got out the purse again. "Youíll be
at home if I come around Monday night?" he said.

"I think so," she answered.

How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the
volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together
great inaudible feelings and purposes. Here were these two,
bandying little phrases, drawing purses, looking at cards, and both
unconscious of how inarticulate all their real feelings were.
Neither was wise enough to be sure of the working of the mind of
the other. He could not tell how his luring succeeded. She could
not realise that she was drifting, until he secured her address. Now
she felt that she had yielded something-he, that he had gained a
victory. Already they felt that they were somehow associated.
Already he took control in directing the conversation. His words
were easy. Her manner was relaxed.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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