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At this there was a slight halt in the natural reply. Thoughts are a
strangely permeating factor. At her suggestion of going to the
theatre, the unspoken shade of disapproval to the doing of those
things which involved the expenditure of money-shades of feeling
which arose in the mind of Hanson and then in Minnie-slightly
affected the atmosphere of the table. Minnie answered "yes," but
Carrie could feel that going to the theatre was poorly advocated
here. The subject was put off for a
little while until Hanson, through with his meal, took his paper
and went into the front room.
When they were alone, the two sisters began a somewhat freer
conversation, Carrie interrupting it to hum a little, as they worked
at the dishes.
"I should like to walk up and see Halstead Street, if it isnít too
far," said Carrie, after a time. "Why donít we go to the theatre to-
"Oh, I donít think Sven would want to go to-night," returned
Minnie. "He has to get up so early."
"He wouldnít mind-heíd enjoy it," said Carrie.
"No, he doesnít go very often," returned Minnie.
"Well, Iíd like to go," rejoined Carrie. "Letís you and me go."
Minnie pondered a while, not upon whether she could or would
go-for that point was already negatively settled with her-but upon
some means of diverting the thoughts of her sister to some other
"Weíll go some other time," she said at last, finding no ready
means of escape.
Carrie sensed the root of the opposition at once.
"I have some money," she said. "You go with me."
Minnie shook her head.
"He could go along," said Carrie.
"No," returned Minnie softly, and rattling the dishes to drown the
conversation. "He wouldnít."
It had been several years since Minnie had seen Carrie, and in that
time that latterís character had developed a few shades. Naturally
timid in all things that related to her own advancement, and
especially so when without power or resource, her craving for
pleasure was so strong that it was the one stay of her nature. She
would speak for that when silent on all else.
"Ask him," she pleaded softly.
Minnie was thinking of the resource which Carrieís board would
add. It would pay the rent and would make the subject of
expenditure a little less difficult to talk about with her husband.
But if Carrie was going to think of running around in the
beginning there would be a hitch somewhere. Unless Carrie
submitted to a solemn round of industry and saw the need of hard
work without longing for play, how was her coming to the city to
profit them? These thoughts were not those of a cold, hard nature
at all. They were the serious reflections of a mind which
invariably adjusted itself, without much complaining, to such
surroundings as its industry could make for it.
At last she yielded enough to ask Hanson. It was a half-hearted
procedure without a shade of desire on her part.
"Carrie wants us to go to the theatre," she said, looking in upon
her husband. Hanson looked up from his paper, and they
exchanged a mild look, which said as plainly as anything: "This
isnít what we expected."
"I donít care to go," he returned. "What does she want to see?"
"H. R. Jacobís," said Minnie.
He looked down at his paper and shook his head negatively.
When Carrie saw how they looked upon her proposition, she
gained a still clearer feeling of their way of life. It weighed on her,
but took no definite form of opposition.
"I think Iíll go down and stand at the foot of the stairs," she said,
after a time.
Minnie made no objection to this, and Carrie put on her hat and
"Where has Carrie gone?" asked Hanson, coming back into the
dining-room when he heard the door close.