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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Oh, all right."

"I havenít seen you in six weeks. When did you get in?"

"Friday," said Drouet. "Had a fine trip."

"Glad of it," said Hurstwood, his black eyes lit with a warmth
which half displaced the cold make-believe that usually dwelt in
them. "What are you going to

take?" he added, as the barkeeper, in snowy jacket and tie, leaned
toward them from behind the bar. "Old Pepper," said Drouet.

"A little of the same for me," put in Hurstwood.

"How long are you in town this time?" inquired Hurstwood.

"Only until Wednesday. Iím going up to St. Paul."

"George Evans was in here Saturday and said he saw you in
Milwaukee last week."

"Yes, I saw George," returned Drouet. "Great old boy, isnít he?
We had quite a time there together."

The barkeeper was setting out the glasses and bottle before them,
and they now poured out the draught as they talked, Drouet filling
his to within a third of full, as was considered proper, and
Hurstwood taking the barest suggestion of whiskey and modifying
it with seltzer.

"Whatís become of Caryoe?" remarked Hurstwood. "I havenít
seen him around here in two weeks."

"Laid up, they say," exclaimed Drouet. "Say, heís a gouty old
boy!"

"Made a lot of money in his time, though, hasnít he?"

"Yes, wads of it," returned Drouet. "He wonít live much longer.
Barely comes down to the office now."

"Just one boy, hasnít he?" asked Hurstwood.

"Yes, and a swift-pacer," laughed Drouet.

"I guess he canít hurt the business very much, though, with the
other members all there."

"No, he canít injure that any, I guess."

Hurstwood was standing, his coat open, his thumbs in his pockets,
the light on his jewels and rings relieving them with agreeable
distinctness. He was the picture of fastidious comfort.

To one not inclined to drink, and gifted with a more serious turn
of mind, such a bubbling, chattering, glittering chamber must ever
seem an anomaly, a strange commentary on nature and life. Here
come the moths, in endless procession, to bask in the light of the
flame. Such conversation as one may hear would not warrant a
commendation of the scene upon intellectual grounds. It seems
plain that schemers would choose more sequestered quarters to
arrange their plans, that politicians would not gather here in
company to discuss anything save formalities, where the sharp-
eared may hear, and it would scarcely be justified on the score of
thirst, (or the majority of those who frequent these more gorgeous
places have no craving for liquor. Nevertheless, the fact that here
men gather, here chatter, here love to pass and rub elbows, must
be explained upon some grounds. It must be that a strange bundle
of passions and vague desires give rise to such a curious social
institution or it would not be.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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