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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Such little arguments were all too frequent, the result of a growth
of natures which were largely independent and selfish. George,
Jr., manifested even greater touchiness and exaggeration in the
matter of his individual rights, and attempted to make all feel that
he was a man with a man’s privileges-an assumption which, of all
things, is most groundless and pointless in a youth of nineteen.

Hurstwood was a man of authority and some fine feeling, and it
irritated him excessively to find himself surrounded more and
more by a world upon which he had no hold, and of which he had
a lessening understanding.

Now, when such little things, such as the proposed earlier start to
Waukesha, came up, they made clear to him his position. He was
being made to follow, was not leading. When, in addition, a sharp
temper was manifested, and to the process of shouldering him out
of his authority was added a rousing intellectual kick, such as a
sneer or a cynical laugh, he was unable to keep his temper. He
flew into hardly repressed passion, and wished himself clear of
the whole household. It seemed a most irritating drag upon all his
desires and opportunities.

For all this, he still retained the semblance of leadership and
control, even though his wife was straining to revolt. Her display
of temper and open assertion of opposition were based upon
nothing more than the feeling that she could do it. She had no
special evidence wherewith to justify herself-the knowledge of
something which would give her both authority and excuse. The
latter was all that was lacking, however, to give a solid foundation
to what, in a way, seemed groundless discontent. The clear proof
of one overt deed was the cold breath needed to convert the
lowering clouds of suspicion into a rain of wrath.

An inkling of untoward deeds on the part of Hurstwood had come.
Doctor Beale, the handsome resident physician of the
neighbourhood, met Mrs. Hurstwood at her own doorstep some
days after Hurstwood and Carrie had taken the drive west on
Washington Boulevard. Dr. Beale, coming east on the same

drive, had recognised Hurstwood, but not before he was quite past
him. He was not so sure of Carrie-did not know whether it was
Hurstwood’s wife or daughter.

"You don’t speak to your friends when you meet them out
driving, do you?" he said, jocosely, to Mrs. Hurstwood.

"If I see them, I do. Where was I?"

"On Washington Boulevard," he answered, expecting her eye to
light with immediate remembrance.

She shook her head.

"Yes, out near Hoyne Avenue. You were with your husband."

"I guess you’re mistaken," she answered. Then, remembering her
husband’s part in the affair, she immediately fell a prey to a host
of young suspicions, of which, however, she gave no sign.

"I know I saw your husband," he went on. "I wasn’t so sure about
you. Perhaps it was your daughter."

"Perhaps it was," said Mrs. Hurstwood, knowing full well that
such was not the case, as Jessica had been her companion for
weeks. She had recovered herself sufficiently to wish to know
more of the details.

"Was it in the afternoon?" she asked, artfully, assuming an air of
acquaintanceship with the matter.

"Yes, about two or three."

"It must have been Jessica," said Mrs. Hurstwood, not wishing to
seem to attach any importance to the incident.

The physician had a thought or two of his own, but dismissed the
matter as worthy of no further discussion on his part at least.

Mrs. Hurstwood gave this bit of information considerable thought
during the next few hours, and even days. She took it for granted
that the doctor had really seen her husband, and that he had been
riding, most likely, with some other woman, after announcing
himself as busy to her. As a consequence, she recalled, with rising
feeling, how often he had refused to go to places with her, to share
in little visits, or, indeed, take part in any of the social amenities
which furnished the diversion of her existence. He had been seen
at the theatre with people whom he called Moy’s friends; now he
was seen driving, and, most likely, would have an excuse for that.
Perhaps there were others of whom she did not hear, or why
should he be so busy, so indifferent, of late? In the last six weeks
he had become strangely irritable-strangely satisfied to pick up
and go out, whether things were right or wrong in the house.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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