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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Chapter XXXIX
OF LIGHTS AND OF SHADOWS: THE PARTING
OF WORLDS


What Hurstwood got as the result of the determination was more
self-assurance that each particular day was not the day. At the
same time, Carrie passed through thirty days of mental distress.

Her need of clothes-to say nothing of her desire for ornaments-
grew rapidly as the fact developed that for all her work she was
not to have them. The sympathy she felt for Hurstwood, at the
time he asked her to tide him over, vanished with these newer
urgings of decency. He was not always renewing his request, but
this love of good appearance was. It insisted, and Carrie wished to
satisfy it, wished more and more that Hurstwood was not in the
way.

Hurstwood reasoned, when he neared the last ten dollars, that he
had better keep a little pocket change and not become wholly
dependent for car-fare, shaves, and the like; so when this sum was
still in his hand he announced himself as penniless.

"Iím clear out," he said to Carrie one afternoon. "I paid for some
coal this morning, and that took all but ten or fifteen cents."

"Iíve got some money there in my purse."

Hurstwood went to get it, starting for a can of tomatoes. Carrie
scarcely noticed that this was the beginning of the new order. He
took out fifteen cents and bought the can with it. Thereafter it was
dribs and drabs of this sort, until one morning Carrie suddenly
remembered that she would not be back until close to dinner time.

"Weíre all out of flour," she said; "youíd better get some this
afternoon. We havenít any meat, either. How would it do if we
had liver and bacon?"

"Suits me," said Hurstwood.

"Better get a half or three-quarters of a pound of that."

"Halfíll be enough," volunteered Hurstwood.

She opened her purse and laid down a half dollar. He pretended
not to notice

it.

Hurstwood bought the flour-which all grocers sold in 3 1/2 pound
packagesfor thirteen cents and paid fifteen cents for a half-pound
of liver and bacon. He left the packages, together with the balance
of thirty-two cents, upon the kitchen table, where Carrie found it.
It did not escape her that the change was accurate. There was
something sad in realising that, after all, all that he wanted of her
was something to eat. She felt as if hard thoughts were unjust.
Maybe he would get something yet. He had no vices.

That very evening, however, on going into the theatre, one of the
chorus girls passed her all newly arrayed in a pretty mottled tweed
suit, which took Carrieís

eye. The young woman wore a fine bunch of violets and seemed
in high spirits. She smiled at Carrie good-naturedly as she passed,
showing pretty, even teeth, and Carrie smiled back.

"She can afford to dress well," thought Carrie, "and so could I, if I
could only keep my money. I havenít a decent tie of any kind to
wear."

She put out her foot and looked at her shoe reflectively.

"Iíll get a pair of shoes Saturday, anyhow; I donít care what
happens."

One of the sweetest and most sympathetic little chorus girls in the
company made friends with her because in Carrie she found
nothing to frighten her away. She was a gay little Manon,
unwitting of societyís fierce conception of morality, but,
nevertheless, good to her neighbour and charitable. Little license
was allowed the chorus in the matter of conversation, but,
nevertheless, some was indulged in.

"Itís warm to-night, isnít it?" said this girl, arrayed in pink
fleshings and an imitation golden helmet. She also carried a
shining shield.

"Yes; it is," said Carrie, pleased that some one should talk to her.

"Iím almost roasting," said the girl.

Carrie looked into her pretty face, with its large blue eyes, and
saw little beads of moisture.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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