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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

"Well," he said, as one pleased with a puzzle, "the expression in
your face is one that comes out in different things. You get the
same thing in a pathetic song, or any picture which moves you
deeply. Itís a thing the world likes to see, because itís a natural
expression of its longing."

Carrie gazed without exactly getting the import of what he meant.

"The world is always struggling to express itself," he went on.
"Most people are not capable of voicing their feelings. They
depend upon others. That is what genius is for. One man
expresses their desires for them in music; another one in poetry;
another one in a play. Sometimes nature does it in a face-it makes
the face representative of all desire. Thatís what has happened in
your case."

He looked at her with so much of the import of the thing in his
eyes that she caught it. At least, she got the idea that her look was
something which represented the worldís longing. She took it to
heart as a creditable thing, until he added:

"That puts a burden of duty on you. It so happens that you have
this thing. It is no credit to you-that is, I mean, you might not have
had it. You paid nothing to get it. But now that you have it, you
must do something with it."

"What?" asked Carrie.

"I should say, turn to the dramatic field. You have so much
sympathy and such a melodious voice. Make them valuable to
others. It will make your powers endure."

Carrie did not understand this last. All her comedy success was
little or nothing.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"Why, just this. You have this quality in your eyes and mouth and
in your nature. You can lose it, you know. If you turn away from
it and live to satisfy yourself alone, it will go fast enough. The
look will leave your eyes. Your mouth will change. Your power to
act will disappear. You may think they wonít, but they will.
Nature takes care of that."

He was so interested in forwarding all good causes that he
sometimes became enthusiastic, giving vent to these preachments.
Something in Carrie appealed to him. He wanted to stir her up.

"I know," she said, absently, feeling slightly guilty of neglect.

"If I were you," he said, "Iíd change."

The effect of this was like roiling helpless waters. Carrie troubled
over it in her rocking-chair for days.

"I donít believe Iíll stay in comedy so very much longer," she
eventually remarked to Lola.

"Oh, why not?" said the latter.

"I think," she said, "I can do better in a serious play."

"What put that idea in your head?"

"Oh, nothing," she answered; "Iíve always thought so."

Still, she did nothing-grieving. It was a long way to this better
thing-or seemed so-and comfort was about her; hence the
inactivity and longing.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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