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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Where were you last night?" she answered. The words were hot
as they came. "Who were you driving with on Washington
Boulevard? Who were you with at the theatre when George saw
you? Do you think Iím a fool to be duped by you? Do you think
Iíll sit at home here and take your Ďtoo busysí and Ďcanít come,í
while you parade around and make out that Iím unable to come? I
want you to know that lordly airs have come to an end so far as I
am concerned. You canít dictate to me nor my children. Iím
through with you entirely."

"Itís a lie," he said, driven to a corner and knowing no other
excuse.

"Lie, eh!" she said, fiercely, but with returning reserve; "you may
call it a lie if you want to, but I know."

"Itís a lie, I tell you," he said, in a low, sharp voice. "Youíve been
searching around for some cheap accusation for months, and now
you think you have it. You think youíll spring something and get
the upper hand. Well, I tell you, you canít. As long as Iím in this
house Iím master of it, and you or any one else wonít dictate to
me-do you hear?"

He crept toward her with a light in his eye that was ominous.
Something in the womanís cool, cynical, upper-handish manner,
as if she were already master, caused him to feel for the moment
as if he could strangle her.

She gazed at him-a pythoness in humour.

"Iím not dictating to you," she returned; "Iím telling you what I
want."

The answer was so cool, so rich in bravado, that somehow it took
the wind out of his sails. He could not attack her, he could not ask
her for proofs. Somehow he felt evidence, law, the remembrance
of all his property which she held in her name, to be shining in her
glance. He was like a vessel, powerful and dangerous, but rolling
and floundering without sail.

"And Iím telling you," he said in the end, slightly recovering
himself, "what youíll not get."

"Weíll see about it," she said. "Iíll find out what my rights are.
Perhaps youíll talk to a lawyer, if you wonít to me."

It was a magnificent play, and had its effect. Hurstwood fell back
beaten. He knew now that he had more than mere bluff to contend
with. He felt that he was

face to face with a dull proposition. What to say he hardly knew.
All the merriment had gone out of the day. He was disturbed,
wretched, resentful. What should he do?

"Do as you please," he said, at last. "Iíll have nothing more to do
with you," and out he strode.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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