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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"What a fool I was to do that," he said over and over. "What a
mistake!"

In his sober senses, he could scarcely realise that the thing had
been done. He could not begin to feel that he was a fugitive from
justice. He had often read of such things, and had thought they
must be terrible, but now that the thing was upon him, he only sat
and looked into the past. The future was a thing which concerned
the Canadian line. He wanted to reach that. As for the rest, he
surveyed his actions for the evening, and counted them parts of a
great mistake.

"Still," he said, "what could I have done?"

Then he would decide to make the best of it, and would begin to
do so by starting the whole inquiry over again. It was a fruitless,
harassing round, and left him in a queer mood to deal with the
proposition he had in the presence of Carrie.

The train clacked through the yards along the lake front, and ran
rather slowly to Twenty-fourth Street. Brakes and signals were
visible without. The engine gave short calls with its whistle, and
frequently the bell rang. Several brakemen came through, bearing
lanterns. They were locking the vestibules and putting the cars in
order for a long run.

Presently it began to gain speed, and Carrie saw the silent streets
flashing by in rapid succession. The engine also began its whistle-
calls of four parts, with which it signalled danger to important
crossings.

"Is it very far?" asked Carrie.

"Not so very," said Hurstwood. He could hardly repress a smile at
her simplicity. He wanted to explain and conciliate her, but he
also wanted to be well out of Chicago.

In the lapse of another half-hour it became apparent to Carrie that
it was quite a run to wherever he was taking her, anyhow.

"Is it in Chicago?" she asked nervously. They were now far
beyond the city limits, and the train was scudding across the
Indiana line at a great rate.

"No," he said, "not where we are going."

There was something in the way he said this which aroused her in
an instant.

Her pretty brow began to contract.

"We are going to see Charlie, arenít we?" she asked.

He felt that the time was up. An explanation might as well come
now as later. Therefore, he shook his head in the most gentle
negative.

"What?" said Carrie. She was nonplussed at the possibility of the
errand being different from what she had thought.

He only looked at her in the most kindly and mollifying way.

"Well, where are you taking me, then?" she asked, her voice
showing the quality of fright.

"Iíll tell you, Carrie, if youíll be quiet. I want you to come along
with me to another city."

"Oh," said Carrie, her voice rising into a weak cry. "Let me off. I
donít want to go with you."

She was quite appalled at the manís audacity. This was something
which had never for a moment entered her head. Her one thought
now was to get off and away. If only the flying train could be
stopped, the terrible trick would be amended.

She arose and tried to push out into the aisle-anywhere. She knew
she had to do something. Hurstwood laid a gentle hand on her.

"Sit still, Carrie," he said. "Sit still. It wonít do you any good to
get up here. Listen to me and Iíll tell you what Iíll do. Wait a
moment."

She was pushing at his knees, but he only pulled her back. No one
saw this little altercation, for very few persons were in the car,
and they were attempting to doze.

"I wonít," said Carrie, who was, nevertheless, complying against
her will. "Let me go," she said. "How dare you?" and large tears
began to gather in her eyes.

Hurstwood was now fully aroused to the immediate difficulty, and
ceased to think of his own situation. He must do something with
this girl, or she would cause him trouble. He tried the art of
persuasion with all his powers aroused.

"Look here now, Carrie," he said, "you mustnít act this way. I
didnít mean to hurt your feelings. I donít want to do anything to
make you feel bad."

"Oh," sobbed Carrie, "oh, oh-oo-o!"
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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