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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


He now turned his attention to Mrs. Vance, and in a flash Carrie
saw again what she for some time had sub-consciously missed in
Hurstwood-the adroitness and flattery of which he was capable.
She also saw that she was not well dressednot nearly as well
dressed-as Mrs. Vance. These were not vague ideas any longer.
Her situation was cleared up for her. She felt that her life was
becoming stale, and

therein she felt cause for gloom. The old helpful, urging
melancholy was restored. The desirous Carrie was whispered to
concerning her possibilities.

There were no immediate results to this awakening, for Carrie had
little power of initiative; but, nevertheless, she seemed ever
capable of getting herself into the tide of change where she would
be easily borne along. Hurstwood noticed nothing. He had been
unconscious of the marked contrasts which Carrie had observed.
He did not even detect the shade of melancholy which settled in
her eyes. Worst of all, she now began to feel the loneliness of the
flat and seek the company of Mrs. Vance, who liked her
exceedingly.

"Letís go to the matinee this afternoon," said Mrs. Vance, who
had stepped across into Carrieís flat one morning, still arrayed in
a soft pink dressing-gown, which she had donned upon rising.
Hurstwood and Vance had gone their separate ways nearly an
hour before.

"All right," said Carrie, noticing the air of the petted and well-
groomed woman in Mrs. Vanceís general appearance. She looked
as though she was dearly loved and her every wish gratified.
"What shall we see?"

"Oh, I do want to see Nat Goodwin," said Mrs. Vance. "I do think
he is the jolliest actor. The papers say this is such a good play."

"What time will we have to start?" asked Carrie.

"Letís go at one and walk down Broadway from Thirty-fourth
Street," said Mrs. Vance. "Itís such an interesting walk. Heís at
the Madison Square."

"Iíll be glad to go," said Carrie. "How much will we have to pay
for seats?"

"Not more than a dollar," said Mrs. Vance.

The latter departed, and at one oíclock reappeared, stunningly
arrayed in a dark-blue walking dress, with a nobby hat to match.
Carrie had gotten herself up charmingly enough, but this woman
pained her by contrast. She seemed to have so many dainty little
things which Carrie had not. There were trinkets of gold, an
elegant green leather purse set with her initials, a fancy
handkerchief, exceedingly rich in design, and the like. Carrie felt
that she needed more and better clothes to compare with this
woman, and that any one looking at the two would pick Mrs.
Vance for her raiment alone. It was a trying, though rather unjust
thought, for Carrie had now developed an equally pleasing figure,
and had grown in comeliness until she was a thoroughly attractive
type of her colour of beauty. There was some difference in the
clothing of the two, both of quality and age, but this difference
was not especially noticeable. It served, however, to augment
Carrieís dissatisfaction with her state.

The walk down Broadway, then as now, was one of the
remarkable features of the city. There gathered, before the
matinee and afterwards, not only all the pretty women who love a
showy parade, but the men who love to gaze upon and admire
them. It was a very imposing procession of pretty faces and fine
clothes. Women appeared in their very best hats, shoes, and
gloves, and walked arm in arm on their way to the fine shops or
theatres strung along from Fourteenth to Thirty-fourth streets.
Equally the men paraded with the very latest they could afford. A

tailor might have secured hints on suit measurements, a
shoemaker on proper lasts and colours, a hatter on hats. It was
literally true that if a lover of fine clothes secured a new suit, it
was sure to have its first airing on Broadway. So true and well
understood was this fact, that several years later a popular song,
detailing this and other facts concerning the afternoon parade on
matinee days, and entitled "What Right Has He on Broadway?"
was published, and had quite a vogue about the music-halls of the
city.

In all her stay in the city, Carrie had never heard of this showy
parade; had never even been on Broadway when it was taking
place. On the other hand, it was a familiar thing to Mrs. Vance,
who not only knew of it as an entity, but had often been in it,
going purposely to see and be seen, to create a stir with her beauty
and dispel any tendency to fall short in dressiness by contrasting
herself with the beauty and fashion of the town.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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