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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Over to Brooklyn," he answered. Then, seeing her still
inquisitive, he added: "I think I can get on over there."

"On the trolley lines?" said Carrie, astonished.

"Yes," he rejoined.

"Arenít you afraid?" she asked.

"What of?" he answered. "The police are protecting them."

"The paper said four men were hurt yesterday."

"Yes," he returned; "but you canít go by what the papers say.
Theyíll run the cars all right."

He looked rather determined now, in a desolate sort of way, and
Carrie felt very sorry. Something of the old Hurstwood was here-
the least shadow of what was once shrewd and pleasant strength.
Outside, it was cloudy and blowing a few flakes of snow.

"What a day to go over there," thought Carrie.

Now he left before she did, which was a remarkable thing, and
tramped eastward to Fourteenth Street and Sixth Avenue, where
he took the car. He had read

that scores of applicants were applying at the office of the
Brooklyn City Railroad building and were being received. He
made his way there by horse-car and ferry-a dark, silent man-to
the offices in question. It was a long way, for no cars were
running, and the day was cold; but he trudged along grimly. Once
in Brooklyn, he could clearly see and feel that a strike was on.
People showed it in their manner. Along the routes of certain
tracks not a car was running. About certain corners and nearby
saloons small groups of men were lounging. Several spring
wagons passed him, equipped with plain wooden chairs, and
labelled "Flatbush" or "Prospect Park. Fare, Ten Cents." He
noticed cold and even gloomy faces. Labour was having its little
war.

When he came near the office in question, he saw a few men
standing about, and some policemen. On the far corners were
other men-whom he took to be strikers-watching. All the houses
were small and wooden, the streets poorly paved. After New
York, Brooklyn looked actually poor and hard-up.

He made his way into the heart of the small group, eyed by
policemen and the men already there. One of the officers
addressed him.

"What are you looking for?"

"I want to see if I can get a place."

"The offices are up those steps," said the bluecoat. His face was a
very neutral thing to contemplate. In his heart of hearts, he
sympathised with the strikers and hated this "scab." In his heart of
hearts, also, he felt the dignity and use of the po-

lice force, which commanded order. Of its true social
significance, he never once dreamed. His was not the mind for
that. The two feelings blended in him-neutralised one another and
him. He would have fought for this man as determinedly as for
himself, and yet only so far as commanded. Strip him of his
uniform, and he would have soon picked his side.

Hurstwood ascended a dusty flight of steps and entered a small,
dust-coloured office, in which were a railing, a long desk, and
several clerks.

"Well, sir?" said a middle-aged man, looking up at him from the
long desk.

"Do you want to hire any men?" inquired Hurstwood.

"What are you-a motorman?"

"No; Iím not anything," said Hurstwood.

He was not at all abashed by his position. He knew these people
needed men. If one didnít take him, another would. This man
could take him or leave him, just as he chose.

"Well, we prefer experienced men, of course," said the man. He
paused, while Hurstwood smiled indifferently. Then he added:
"Still, I guess you can learn. What is your name?"

"Wheeler," said Hurstwood.

The man wrote an order on a small card. "Take that to our barns,"
he said, "and give it to the foreman. Heíll show you what to do."

Hurstwood went down and out. He walked straight away in the
direction indicated, while the policemen looked after.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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