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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

When she arrived in the business part it was quite eleven o’clock,
and the business had little longer to run. She did not realise this at
first, being affected by some of the old distress which was a result
of her earlier adventure into this strenuous and exacting quarter.
She wandered about, assuring herself that she was making up her
mind to look for something, and at the same time feeling that
perhaps it was not necessary to be in such haste about it. The
thing was difficult to encounter, and she had a few days. Besides,
she was not sure that she was really face to face again with the
bitter problem of self-sustenance. Anyhow, there was one change
for the better. She knew that she had improved in appearance. Her
manner had vastly changed. Her clothes were becoming, and men-
well-dressed men, some of the kind who before had gazed at her
indifferently from behind their polished railings and imposing
office partitions-now gazed into her face with a soft light in their
eyes. In a way, she felt the power and satisfaction of the thing, but
it did not wholly reassure her. She looked for nothing save what
might come legitimately and without the appearance of special
favour. She wanted some-

thing, but no man should buy her by false protestations or favour.
She proposed to earn her living honestly.

"This store closes at one on Saturdays," was a pleasing and
satisfactory legend to see upon doors which she felt she ought to
enter and inquire for work. It gave her an excuse, and after
encountering quite a number of them, and noting that the clock
registered 12.15, she decided that it would be no use to seek
further to-day, so she got on a car and went to Lincoln Park. There
was always something to see there-the flowers, the animals, the
lake-and she flattered herself that on Monday she would be up
betimes and searching. Besides, many things might happen
between now and Monday.

Sunday passed with equal doubts, worries, assurances, and heaven
knows what vagaries of mind and spirit. Every half-hour in the
day the thought would come to her most sharply, like the tail of a
swishing whip, that action-immediate action-was imperative. At
other times she would look about her and assure herself that
things were not so bad-that certainly she would come out safe and
sound. At such times she would think of Drouet’s advice about
going on the stage, and saw some chance for herself in that
quarter. She decided to take up that opportunity on the morrow.

Accordingly, she arose early Monday morning and dressed herself
carefully. She did not know just how such applications were
made, but she took it to be a matter which related more directly to
the theatre buildings. All you had to do was to inquire of some
one about the theatre for the manager and ask for a position. If
there was anything, you might get it, or, at least, he could tell you

She had had no experience with this class of individuals
whatsoever, and did not know the salacity and humour of the
theatrical tribe. She only knew of the position which Mr. Hale
occupied, but, of all things, she did not wish to encounter that
personage, on account of her intimacy with his wife.

There was, however, at this time, one theatre, the Chicago Opera
House, which was considerably in the public eye, and its manager,
David A. Henderson, had a fair local reputation. Carrie had seen
one or two elaborate performances there and had heard of several
others. She knew nothing of Henderson nor of the methods of
applying, but she instinctively felt that this would be a likely
place, and accordingly strolled about in that neighbourhood. She
came bravely enough to the showy entrance way, with the
polished and begilded lobby, set with framed pictures out of the
current attraction, leading up to the quiet box-office, but she could
get no further. A noted comic opera comedian was holding forth
that week, and the air of distinction and prosperity overawed her.
She could not imagine that there would be anything in such a lofty
sphere for her. She almost trembled at the audacity which might
have carried her on to a terrible rebuff. She could find heart only
to look at the pictures which were showy and then walk out. It
seemed to her as if she had made a splendid escape and that it
would be foolhardy to think of applying in that quarter again.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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