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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Well, you never can tell what sort of people youíre living next to
in this town, can you?" said Hurstwood, expressing the customary
New York opinion about neighbours.

"Just think," said Carrie, "I have been in this house with nine
other families for over a year and I donít know a soul. These
people have been here over a month, and I havenít seen any one
before this morning."

"Itís just as well," said Hurstwood. "You never know who youíre
going to get in with. Some of these people are pretty bad
company."

"I expect so," said Carrie, agreeably.

The conversation turned to other things, and Carrie thought no
more upon the subject until a day or two later, when, going out to
market, she encountered Mrs. Vance coming in. The latter
recognised her and nodded, for which Carrie returned a smile.
This settled the probability of acquaintanceship. If there had been
no faint recognition on this occasion, there would have been no
future association.

Carrie saw no more of Mrs. Vance for several weeks, but she
heard her play through the thin walls which divided the front
rooms of the flats, and was pleased by the merry selection of
pieces and the brilliance of their rendition. She could play only
moderately herself, and such variety as Mrs. Vance exercised
bordered, for Carrie, upon the verge of great art. Everything she
had seen and heard thus farthe merest scraps and shadows-
indicated that these people were, in a measure, re-

fined and in comfortable circumstances. So Carrie was ready for
any extension of the friendship which might follow.

One day Carrieís bell rang and the servant, who was in the
kitchen, pressed the button which caused the front door of the
general entrance on the ground floor to be electrically unlatched.
When Carrie waited at her own door on the third floor to see who
it might be coming up to call on her, Mrs. Vance appeared.

"I hope youíll excuse me," she said. "I went out a while ago and
forgot my outside key, so I thought Iíd ring your bell."

This was a common trick of other residents of the building,
whenever they had forgotten their outside keys. They did not
apologise for it, however.

"Certainly," said Carrie. "Iím glad you did. I do the same thing
sometimes."

"Isnít it just delightful weather?" said Mrs. Vance, pausing for a
moment.

Thus, after a few more preliminaries, this visiting acquaintance
was well launched, and in the young Mrs. Vance Carrie found an
agreeable companion.

On several occasions Carrie visited her and was visited. Both flats
were good to look upon, though that of the Vances tended
somewhat more to the luxurious.

"I want you to come over this evening and meet my husband,"
said Mrs. Vance, not long after their intimacy began. "He wants to
meet you. You play cards, donít you?"

"A little," said Carrie.

"Well, weíll have a game of cards. If your husband comes home
bring him over."

"Heís not coming to dinner to-night," said Carrie.

"Well, when he does come weíll call him in."

Carrie acquiesced, and that evening met the portly Vance, an
individual a few years younger than Hurstwood, and who owed
his seemingly comfortable matrimonial state much more to his
money than to his good looks. He thought well of Carrie upon the
first glance and laid himself out to be genial, teaching her a new
game of cards and talking to her about New York and its
pleasures. Mrs. Vance played some upon the piano, and at last
Hurstwood came.

"I am very glad to meet you," he said to Mrs. Vance when Carrie
introduced him, showing much of the old grace which had
captivated Carrie.

"Did you think your wife had run away?" said Mr. Vance,
extending his hand upon introduction.

"I didnít know but what she might have found a better husband,"
said Hurstwood.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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