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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Iíll go over and see about it," said Hurstwood. This was the first
time he had ever suggested doing an errand, but, somehow, the
wish to sit about the house prompted it as a sort of compensation
for the privilege.

All day and all night it snowed, and the city began to suffer from a
general blockade of traffic. Great attention was given to the
details of the storm by the newspapers, which played up the
distress of the poor in large type.

Hurstwood sat and read by his radiator in the corner. He did not
try to think about his need of work. This storm being so terrific,
and tying up all things, robbed him of the need. He made himself
wholly comfortable and toasted his feet.

Carrie observed his ease with some misgiving. For all the fury of
the storm she doubted his comfort. He took his situation too
philosophically.

Hurstwood, however, read on and on. He did not pay much
attention to Carrie. She fulfilled her household duties and said
little to disturb him.

The next day it was still snowing, and the next, bitter cold.
Hurstwood took the alarm of the paper and sat still. Now he
volunteered to do a few other little things. One was to go to the
butcher, another to the grocery. He really thought nothing of these
little services in connection with their true significance. He felt as
if he were not wholly useless-indeed, in such a stress of weather,
quite worth while about the house.

On the fourth day, however, it cleared, and he read that the storm
was over. Now, however, he idled, thinking how sloppy the
streets would be.

It was noon before he finally abandoned his papers and got under
way. Owing to the slightly warmer temperature the streets were
bad. He went across Fourteenth Street on the car and got a transfer
south on Broadway. One little advertisement he had, relating to a
saloon down in Pearl Street. When he reached the Broadway
Central, however, he changed his mind.

"Whatís the use?" he thought, looking out upon the slop and
snow. "I couldnít buy into it. Itís a thousand to one nothing comes
of it. I guess Iíll get off," and off he got. In the lobby he took a
seat and waited again, wondering what he could do.

While he was idly pondering, satisfied to be inside, a well-dressed
man passed up the lobby, stopped, looked sharply, as if not sure of
his memory, and then approached. Hurstwood recognised Cargill,
the owner of the large stables in Chicago of the same name, whom
he had last seen at Avery Hall, the night Carrie appeared there.
The remembrance of how this individual brought up his wife to
shake hands on that occasion was also on the instant clear.

Hurstwood was greatly abashed. His eyes expressed the difficulty
he felt.

"Why, itís Hurstwood!" said Cargill, remembering now, and sorry
that he had not recognised him quickly enough in the beginning to
have avoided this meeting.

"Yes," said Hurstwood. "How are you?"

"Very well," said Cargill, troubled for something to talk about.
"Stopping here?"

"No," said Hurstwood, "just keeping an appointment."

"I knew you had left Chicago. I was wondering what had become
of you."

"Oh, Iím here now," answered Hurstwood, anxious to get away.

"Doing well, I suppose?"

"Excellent."

"Glad to hear it."

They looked at one another, rather embarrassed.

"Well, I have an engagement with a friend upstairs. Iíll leave you.
So long."

Hurstwood nodded his head.

"Damn it all," he murmured, turning toward the door. "I knew that
would happen."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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