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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


For some days thereafter he put on his overcoat regularly in the
morning and sallied forth. On these ventures he first consoled
himself with the thought that with the seven hundred dollars he
had he could still make some advantageous arrangement. He
thought about going to some brewery, which, as he knew,
frequently controlled saloons which they leased, and get them to
help him. Then he

remembered that he would have to pay out several hundred any
way for fixtures and that he would have nothing left for his
monthly expenses. It was costing him nearly eighty dollars a
month to live.

"No," he said, in his sanest moments, "I canít do it. Iíll get
something else and save up."

This getting-something proposition complicated itself the moment
he began to think of what it was he wanted to do. Manage a place?
Where should he get such a position? The papers contained no
requests for managers. Such positions, he knew well enough, were
either secured by long years of service or were bought with a half
or third interest. Into a place important enough to need such a
manager he had not money enough to buy.

Nevertheless, he started out. His clothes were very good and his
appearance still excellent, but it involved the trouble of deluding.
People, looking at him, imagined instantly that a man of his age,
stout and well dressed, must be well off. He appeared a
comfortable owner of something, a man from whom the common
run of mortals could well expect gratuities. Being now forty-three
years of age, and comfortably built, walking was not easy. He had
not been used to exercise for many years. His legs tired, his
shoulders ached, and his feet pained him at the close of the day,
even when he took street cars in almost every direction. The mere
getting up and down, if long continued, produced this result.

The fact that people took him to be better off than he was, he well
understood. It was so painfully clear to him that it retarded his
search. Not that he wished to

be less well-appearing, but that he was ashamed to belie his
appearance by incongruous appeals. So he hesitated, wondering
what to do.

He thought of the hotels, but instantly he remembered that he had
had no experience as a clerk, and, what was more important, no
acquaintances or friends in that line to whom he could go. He did
know some hotel owners in several cities, including New York,
but they knew of his dealings with Fitzgerald and Moy. He could
not apply to them. He thought of other lines suggested by large
buildings or businesses which he knew of-wholesale groceries,
hardware, insurance concerns, and the like-but he had had no
experience.

How to go about getting anything was a bitter thought. Would he
have to go personally and ask; wait outside an office door, and,
then, distinguished and affluent looking, announce that he was
looking for something to do? He strained painfully at the thought.
No, he could not do that.

He really strolled about, thinking, and then, the weather being
cold, stepped into a hotel. He knew hotels well enough to know
that any decent looking individual was welcome to a chair in the
lobby. This was in the Broadway Central, which was then one of
the most important hotels in the city. Taking a chair here was a
painful thing to him. To think he should come to this! He had
heard loungers about hotels called chair-warmers. He had called
them that himself in his day. But here he was, despite the
possibility of meeting some one who knew him, shielding himself
from cold and the weariness of the streets in a hotel lobby.

"I canít do this way," he said to himself. "Thereís no use of my
starting out mornings without first thinking up some place to go.
Iíll think of some places and then look them up."

It occurred to him that the positions of bartenders were sometimes
open, but he put this out of his mind. Bartender-he, the ex-
manager!

It grew awfully dull sitting in the hotel lobby, and so at four he
went home. He tried to put on a business air as he went in, but it
was a feeble imitation. The rocking-chair in the dining-room was
comfortable. He sank into it gladly, with several papers he had
bought, and began to read.

As she was going through the room to begin preparing dinner,
Carrie said:

"The man was here for the rent to-day."

"Oh, was he?" said Hurstwood.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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