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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Summoning all his courage, he crossed to Broadway and up to the
Broadway Central hotel. Within a block he halted, undecided. A
big, heavy-faced porter was standing at one of the side entrances,
looking out. Hurstwood purposed to appeal to him. Walking
straight up, he was upon him before he could turn away.

"My friend," he said, recognising even in his plight the manís
inferiority, "is there anything about this hotel that I could get to
do?"

The porter stared at him the while he continued to talk.

"Iím out of work and out of money and Iíve got to get something-
it doesnít matter what. I donít care to talk about what Iíve been,
but if youíd tell me how to get something to do, Iíd be much
obliged to you. It wouldnít matter if it only lasted a few days just
now. Iíve got to have something."

The porter still gazed, trying to look indifferent. Then, seeing that
Hurstwood was about to go on, he said:

"Iíve nothing to do with it. Youíll have to ask inside."

Curiously, this stirred Hurstwood to further effort.

"I thought you might tell me."

The fellow shook his head irritably.

Inside went the ex-manager and straight to an office off the
clerkís desk. One of the managers of the hotel happened to be
there. Hurstwood looked him straight in the eye.

"Could you give me something to do for a few days?" he said.
"Iím in a position where I have to get something at once."

The comfortable manager looked at him, as much as to say:
"Well, I should judge so."

"I came here," explained Hurstwood, nervously, "because Iíve
been a manager myself in my day. Iíve had bad luck in a way, but
Iím not here to tell you that. I want something to do, if only for a
week."

The man imagined he saw a feverish gleam in the applicantís eye.

"What hotel did you manage?" he inquired.

"It wasnít a hotel," said Hurstwood. "I was manager of Fitzgerald
and Moyís place in Chicago for fifteen years."

"Is that so?" said the hotel man. "How did you come to get out of
that?"

The figure of Hurstwood was rather surprising in contrast to the
fact.

"Well, by foolishness of my own. It isnít anything to talk about
now. You could find out if you wanted to. Iím Ďbrokeí now and, if
you will believe me, I havenít eaten anything to-day."

The hotel man was slightly interested in this story. He could
hardly tell what to do with such a figure, and yet Hurstwoodís
earnestness made him wish to do something.

"Call Olsen," he said, turning to the clerk.

In reply to a bell and a disappearing hall-boy, Olsen, the head
porter, appeared.

"Olsen," said the manager, "is there anything downstairs you
could find for this man to do? Iíd like to give him something."

"I donít know, sir," said Olsen. "We have about all the help we
need. I think I could find something, sir, though, if you like."

"Do. Take him to the kitchen and tell Wilson to give him
something to eat."

"All right, sir," said Olsen.

Hurstwood followed. Out of the managerís sight, the head porterís
manner changed.

"I donít know what the devil there is to do," he observed.

Hurstwood said nothing. To him the big trunk hustler was a
subject for private contempt.

"Youíre to give this man something to eat," he observed to the
cook.

The latter looked Hurstwood over, and seeing something keen and
intellectual in his eyes, said:

"Well, sit down over there."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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