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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Carrie stepped along easily enough after they got out of the car at
Thirty-fourth Street, but soon fixed her eyes upon the lovely
company which swarmed by and with them as they proceeded.
She noticed suddenly that Mrs. Vance’s manner had rather
stiffened under the gaze of handsome men and elegantly dressed
ladies, whose glances were not modified by any rules of propriety.
To stare seemed the proper and natural thing. Carrie found herself
stared at and ogled. Men in flawless top-coats, high hats, and
silver-headed walking sticks elbowed near and looked too often
into conscious eyes. Ladies rustled by in dresses of stiff cloth,
shedding affected smiles and perfume. Carrie noticed among them
the sprinkling

of goodness and the heavy percentage of vice. The rouged and
powdered cheeks and lips, the scented hair, the large, misty, and
languorous eye, were common enough. With a start she awoke to
find that she was in fashion’s crowd, on parade in a show place-
and such a show place! Jewellers’ windows gleamed along the
path with remarkable frequency. Florist shops, furriers,
haberdashers, confectioners-all followed in rapid succession. The
street was full of coaches. Pompous doormen in immense coats,
shiny brass belts and buttons, waited in front of expensive
salesrooms. Coachmen in tan boots, white tights, and blue jackets
waited obsequiously for the mistresses of carriages who were
shopping inside. The whole street bore the flavour of riches and
show, and Carrie felt that she was not of it. She could not, for the
life of her, assume the attitude and smartness of Mrs. Vance, who,
in her beauty, was all assurance. She could only imagine that it
must be evident to many that she was the less handsomely dressed
of the two. It cut her to the quick, and she resolved that she would
not come here again until she looked better. At the same time she
longed to feel the delight of parading here as an equal. Ah, then
she would be happy!
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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