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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Slowly, exceedingly slowly, his desire to greet, conciliate, and
make at home these people who visited the Warren Street place
passed from him. More and more slowly the significance of the
realm he had left began to be clear. It did not seem so wonderful
to be in it when he was in it. It had seemed very easy for any one
to get up there and have ample raiment and money to spend, but
now that he was out of it, how far off it became. He began to see
as one sees a city with a wall about it. Men were posted at the
gates. You could not get in. Those inside did not care to come out
to see who you were. They were so merry inside there that all
those outside were forgotten, and he was on the outside.

Each day he could read in the evening papers of the doings within
this walled city. In the notices of passengers for Europe he read
the names of eminent frequenters of his old resort. In the
theatrical column appeared, from time to time, announcements of
the latest successes of men he had known. He knew that they were
at their old gayeties. Pullmans were hauling them to and fro about
the land, papers were greeting them with interesting mentions, the
elegant lobbies of hotels and the glow of polished dining-rooms
were keeping them close within the walled city. Men whom he
had known, men whom he had tipped glasses with-rich men,

and he was forgotten! Who was Mr. Wheeler? What was the
Warren Street resort? Bah!

If one thinks that such thoughts do not come to so common a type
of mind-that such feelings require a higher mental development-I
would urge for their consideration the fact that it is the higher
mental development that does away with such thoughts. It is the
higher mental development which induces philosophy and that
fortitude which refuses to dwell upon such things-refuses to be
made to suffer by their consideration. The common type of mind
is exceedingly keen on all matters which relate to its physical
welfare-exceedingly keen. It is the unintellectual miser who
sweats blood at the loss of a hundred dollars. It is the Epictetus
who smiles when the last vestige of physical welfare is removed.

The time came, in the third year, when this thinking began to
produce results in the Warren Street place. The tide of patronage
dropped a little below what it had been at its best since he had
been there. This irritated and worried him.

There came a night when he confessed to Carrie that the business
was not doing as well this month as it had the month before. This
was in lieu of certain suggestions she had made concerning little
things she wanted to buy. She had not failed to notice that he did
not seem to consult her about buying clothes for himself. For the
first time, it struck her as a ruse, or that he said it so that she
would not think of asking for things. Her reply was mild enough,
but her thoughts were rebellious. He was not looking after her at
all. She was depending for her enjoyment upon the Vances.

And now the latter announced that they were going away. It was
approaching spring, and they were going North.

"Oh, yes," said Mrs. Vance to Carrie, "we think we might as well
give up the flat and store our things. We’ll be gone for the
summer, and it would be a useless expense. I think we’ll settle a
little farther down town when we come back."

Carrie heard this with genuine sorrow. She had enjoyed Mrs.
Vance’s companionship so much. There was no one else in the
house whom she knew. Again she would be all alone.

Hurstwood’s gloom over the slight decrease in profits and the
departure of the Vances came together. So Carrie had loneliness
and this mood of her husband to enjoy at the same time. It was a
grievous thing. She became restless and dissatisfied, not exactly,
as she thought, with Hurstwood, but with life. What was it? A
very dull round indeed. What did she have? Nothing but this
narrow, little flat. The Vances could travel, they could do the
things worth doing, and here she was. For what was she made,
anyhow? More thought followed, and then tears-tears seemed
justified, and the only relief in the world.

For another period this state continued, the twain leading a rather
monotonous life, and then there was a slight change for the worse.
One evening, Hurstwood, after thinking about a way to modify
Carrie’s desire for clothes and the general strain upon his ability
to provide, said:

"I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do much with Shaughnessy."

"What’s the matter?" said Carrie.

"Oh, he’s a slow, greedy ‘mick’! He won’t agree to anything to
improve the place, and it won’t ever pay without it."

"Can’t you make him?" said Carrie.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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