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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


She was glad when the short half hour was over and the wheels
began to whirr again. Though wearied, she would be
inconspicuous. This illusion ended when another young man
passed along the aisle and poked her indifferently in the ribs with
his thumb. She turned about, indignation leaping to her eyes, but
he had gone on and only once turned to grin. She found it difficult
to conquer an inclination to cry.

The girl next her noticed her state of mind. "Donít you mind," she
said. "Heís too fresh."

Carrie said nothing, but bent over her work. She felt as though she
could hardly endure such a life. Her idea of work had been so
entirely different. All during the long afternoon she thought of the
city outside and its imposing show, crowds, and fine buildings.
Columbia City and the better side of her home life came back. By
three oíclock she was sure it must be six, and by four it seemed as
if they had forgotten to note the hour and were letting all work
overtime. The fore-man became a true ogre, prowling constantly
about, keeping her tied down to her miserable task. What she
heard of the conversation about her only made her feel sure that
she did not want to make friends with any of these. When six
oíclock came she hurried eagerly away, her arms aching and her
limbs stiff from sitting in one position.

As she passed out along the hall after getting her hat, a young
machine hand, attracted by her looks, made bold to jest with her.

"Say, Maggie," he called, "if you wait, Iíll walk with you."

It was thrown so straight in her direction that she knew who was
meant, but never turned to look.

In the crowded elevator, another dusty, toil-stained youth tried to
make an impression on her by leering in her face.

One young man, waiting on the walk outside for the appearance
of another, grinned at her as she passed.

"Ainít going my way, are you?" he called jocosely.

Carrie turned her face to the west with a subdued heart. As she
turned the corner, she saw through the great shiny window the
small desk at which she had applied. There were the crowds,
hurrying with the same buzz and energy-yielding enthusiasm. She
felt a slight relief, but it was only at her escape. She felt ashamed
in the face of better dressed girls who went by. She felt as though
she should be better served, and her heart revolted.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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