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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Chapter IV

For the next two days Carrie indulged in the most high-flown

Her fancy plunged recklessly into privileges and amusements
which would have been much more becoming had she been
cradled a child of fortune. With ready will and quick mental
selection she scattered her meagre four-fifty per week with a swift
and graceful hand. Indeed, as she sat in her rocking-chair these
several evenings before going to bed and looked out upon the
pleasantly lighted street, this money cleared for its prospective
possessor the way to every joy and every bauble which the heart
of woman may desire. "I will have a fine time," she thought.

Her sister Minnie knew nothing of these rather wild cerebrations,
though they exhausted the markets of delight. She was too busy
scrubbing the kitchen woodwork and calculating the purchasing
power of eighty cents for Sunday’s dinner. When Carrie had
returned home, flushed with her first success and ready, for all her
weariness, to discuss the now interesting events which led up to
her achievement, the former had merely smiled approvingly and
inquired whether she would have to spend any of it for car fare.
This consideration had not entered in before, and it did not now
for long affect the glow of Carrie’s enthusiasm. Disposed as

she then was to calculate upon that vague basis which allows the
subtraction of one sum from another without any perceptible
diminution, she was happy.

When Hanson came home at seven o’clock, he was inclined to be
a little crusty-his usual demeanour before supper. This never
showed so much in anything he said as in a certain solemnity of
countenance and the silent manner in which he slopped about. He
had a pair of yellow carpet slippers which he enjoyed wearing,
and these he would immediately substitute for his solid pair of
shoes. This, and washing his face with the aid of common
washing soap until it glowed a shiny red, constituted his only
preparation for his evening meal. He would then get his evening
paper and read in silence.

For a young man, this was rather a morbid turn of character, and
so affected Carrie. Indeed, it affected the entire atmosphere of the
flat, as such things are inclined to do, and gave to his wife’s mind
its subdued and tactful turn, anxious to avoid taciturn replies.
Under the influence of Carrie’s announcement he brightened up

"You didn’t lose any time, did you?" he remarked, smiling a little.

"No," returned Carrie with a touch of pride.

He asked her one or two more questions and then turned to play
with the baby, leaving the subject until it was brought up again by
Minnie at the table.

Carrie, however, was not to be reduced to the common level of
observation which prevailed in the flat.

"It seems to be such a large company," she said at one place.
"Great big plate-glass windows and lots of clerks. The man I saw
said they hired ever so many people."

"It’s not very hard to get work now," put in Hanson, "if you look

Minnie, under the warming influence of Carrie’s good spirits and
her husband’s somewhat conversational mood, began to tell
Carrie of some of the well-known things to see-things the
enjoyment of which cost nothing.

"You’d like to see Michigan Avenue. There are such fine houses.
It is such a fine street."

"Where is ‘H. R. Jacob’s’?" interrupted Carrie, mentioning one of
the theatres devoted to melodrama which went by that name at the

"Oh, it’s not very far from here," answered Minnie. "It’s in
Halstead Street, right up here."

"How I’d like to go there. I crossed Halstead Street to-day, didn’t
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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