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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

"Where were you, George?" asked Carrie, after the first absence.

"Tied up at the office," he said genially. "There were some
accounts I had to straighten."

"I’m sorry you couldn’t get home," she said kindly. "I was fixing
to have such a nice dinner."

The second time he gave a similar excuse, but the third time the
feeling about it in Carrie’s mind was a little bit out of the

"I couldn’t get home," he said, when he came in later in the
evening, "I was so busy."

"Couldn’t you have sent me word?" asked Carrie.

"I meant to," he said, "but you know I forgot it until it was too late
to do any good."

"And I had such a good dinner!" said Carrie.

Now, it so happened that from his observations of Carrie he began
to imagine that she was of the thoroughly domestic type of mind.
He really thought, after a year, that her chief expression in life
was finding its natural channel in household duties.
Notwithstanding the fact that he had observed her act in Chicago,
and that during the past year he had only seen her limited in her
relations to her flat and him by conditions which he made, and
that she had not gained any friends or associates, he drew this
peculiar conclusion. With it came a feeling of satisfaction in
having a wife who could thus be content, and this satisfaction
worked its natural result. That is, since he imagined he saw her
satisfied, he felt called upon to give

only that which contributed to such satisfaction. He supplied the
furniture, the decorations, the food, and the necessary clothing.
Thoughts of entertaining her, leading her out into the shine and
show of life, grew less and less. He felt attracted to the outer
world, but did not think she would care to go along. Once he went
to the theatre alone. Another time he joined a couple of his new
friends at an evening game of poker. Since his money-feathers
were beginning to grow again he felt like sprucing about. All this,
however, in a much less imposing way than had been his wont in
Chicago. He avoided the gay places where he would be apt to
meet those who had known him.

Now, Carrie began to feel this in various sensory ways. She was
not the kind to be seriously disturbed by his actions. Not loving
him greatly, she could not be jealous in a disturbing way. In fact,
she was not jealous at all. Hurstwood was pleased with her placid
manner, when he should have duly considered it. When he did not
come home it did not seem anything like a terrible thing to her.
She gave him credit for having the usual allurements of men-
people to talk to, places to stop, friends to consult with. She was
perfectly willing that he should enjoy himself in his way, but she
did not care to be neglected herself. Her state still seemed fairly
reasonable, however. All she did observe was that Hurstwood was
somewhat different.

Some time in the second year of their residence in Seventy-eighth
Street the flat across the hall from Carrie became vacant, and into
it moved a very handsome young woman and her husband, with
both of whom Carrie afterwards be-

came acquainted. This was brought about solely by the
arrangement of the flats, which were united in one place, as it
were, by the dumb-waiter. This useful elevator, by which fuel,
groceries, and the like were sent up from the basement, and
garbage and waste sent down, was used by both residents on one
floor; that is, a small door opened into it from each flat.

If the occupants of both flats answered to the whistle of the janitor
at the same time, they would stand face to face when they opened
the dumb-waiter doors. One morning, when Carrie went to
remove her paper, the newcomer, a handsome brunette of perhaps
twenty-three years of age, was there for a like purpose. She was in
a night-robe and dressing-gown, with her hair very much tousled,
but she looked so pretty and good-natured that Carrie instantly
conceived a liking for her. The newcomer did no more than smile
shamefacedly, but it was sufficient. Carrie felt that she would like
to know her, and a similar feeling stirred in the mind of the other,
who admired Carrie’s innocent face.

"That’s a real pretty woman who has moved in next door," said
Carrie to Hurstwood at the breakfast table.

"Who are they?" asked Hurstwood.

"I don’t know," said Carrie. "The name on the bell is Vance.
Some one over there plays beautifully. I guess it must be she."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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