Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next ->
PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Chapter XXXI

The effect of the city and his own situation on Hurstwood was
paralleled in the case of Carrie, who accepted the things fortune
provided with the most genial good-nature. New York, despite her
first expression of disapproval, soon interested her exceedingly.
Its clear atmosphere, more populous thoroughfares, and peculiar
indifference struck her forcibly. She had never seen such a little
flat as hers, and yet it soon enlisted her affection. The new
furniture made an excellent showing, the sideboard which
Hurstwood himself arranged gleamed brightly. The furniture for
each room was appropriate, and in the so-called parlour, or front
room, was installed a piano, because Carrie said she would like to
learn to play. She kept a servant and developed rapidly in
household tactics and information. For the first time in her life she
felt settled, and somewhat justified in the eyes of society as she
conceived of it. Her thoughts were merry and innocent enough.
For a long while she concerned herself over the arrangement of
New York flats, and wondered at ten families living in one
building and all remaining strange and indifferent to each other.
She also marvelled at the whistles of the hundreds of vessels in
the harbour-the long, low cries of the Sound steamers and ferry-
boats when fog was on. The mere fact that these things spoke
from the sea made them wonderful. She looked much at what she
could see of the Hudson from her west windows

and of the great city building up rapidly on either hand. It was
much to ponder over, and sufficed to entertain her for more than a
year without becoming stale.

For another thing, Hurstwood was exceedingly interesting in his
affection for her. Troubled as he was, he never exposed his
difficulties to her. He carried himself with the same self-important
air, took his new state with easy familiarity, and rejoiced in
Carrie’s proclivities and successes. Each evening he arrived
promptly to dinner, and found the little dining-room a most
inviting spectacle. In a way, the smallness of the room added to its
luxury. It looked full and replete. The white-covered table was
arrayed with pretty dishes and lighted with a four-armed
candelabra, each light of which was topped with a red shade.
Between Carrie and the girl the steaks and chops came out all
right, and canned goods did the rest for a while. Carrie studied the
art of making biscuit, and soon reached the stage where she could
show a plate of light, palatable morsels for her labour.

In this manner the second, third, and fourth months passed.
Winter came, and with it a feeling that indoors was best, so that
the attending of theatres was not much talked of. Hurstwood made
great efforts to meet all expenditures without a show of feeling
one way or the other. He pretended that he was reinvesting his
money in strengthening the business for greater ends in the future.
He contented himself with a very moderate allowance of personal
apparel, and rarely suggested anything for Carrie. Thus the first
winter passed.

In the second year, the business which Hurstwood managed did
increase somewhat. He got out of it regularly the $150 per month
which he had anticipated. Un-

fortunately, by this time Carrie had reached certain conclusions,
and he had scraped up a few acquaintances.

Being of a passive and receptive rather than an active and
aggressive nature, Carrie accepted the situation. Her state seemed
satisfactory enough. Once in a while they would go to a theatre
together, occasionally in season to the beaches and different
points about the city, but they picked up no acquaintances.
Hurstwood naturally abandoned his show of fine manners with
her and modified his attitude to one of easy familiarity. There
were no misunderstandings, no apparent differences of opinion. In
fact, without money or visiting friends, he led a life which could
neither arouse jealousy nor comment. Carrie rather sympathised
with his efforts and thought nothing upon her lack of
entertainment such as she had enjoyed in Chicago. New York as a
corporate entity and her flat temporarily seemed sufficient.

However, as Hurstwood’s business increased, he, as stated, began
to pick up acquaintances. He also began to allow himself more
clothes. He convinced himself that his home life was very
precious to him, but allowed that he could occasionally stay away
from dinner. The first time he did this he sent a message saying
that he would be detained. Carrie ate alone, and wished that it
might not happen again. The second time, also, he sent word, but
at the last moment. The third time he forgot entirely and explained
afterwards. These events were months apart, each.
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next ->
PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with