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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


He was beginning to find, in his wretched clothing and meagre
state of body, that people took him for a chronic type of bum and
beggar. Police bustled him along, restaurant and lodging-house
keepers turned him out promptly the moment

he had his due; pedestrians waved him off. He found it more and
more difficult to get anything from anybody.

At last he admitted to himself that the game was up. It was after a
long series of appeals to pedestrians, in which he had been refused
and refused-every one hastening from contact.

"Give me a little something, will you, mister?" he said to the last
one. "For Godís sake, do; Iím starving."

"Aw, get out," said the man, who happened to be a common type
himself. "Youíre no good. Iíll give you nawthiní."

Hurstwood put his hands, red from cold, down in his pockets.
Tears came into his eyes.

"Thatís right," he said; "Iím no good now. I was all right. I had
money. Iím going to quit this," and, with death in his heart, he
started down toward the Bowery. People had turned on the gas
before and died; why shouldnít he? He remembered a lodging-
house where there were little, close rooms, with gas-jets in them,
almost pre-arranged, he thought, for what he wanted to do, which
rented for fifteen cents. Then he remembered that he had no
fifteen cents.

On the way he met a comfortable-looking gentleman, coming,
clean-shaven, out of a fine barber shop.

"Would you mind giving me a little something?" he asked this
man boldly.

The gentleman looked him over and fished for a dime. Nothing
but quarters were in his pocket.

"Here," he said, handing him one, to be rid of him. "Be off, now."

Hurstwood moved on, wondering. The sight of the large, bright
coin pleased him a little. He remembered that he was hungry and
that he could get a bed for ten cents. With this, the idea of death
passed, for the time being, out of his mind. It was only when he
could get nothing but insults that death seemed worth while.

One day, in the middle of the winter, the sharpest spell of the
season set in. It broke grey and cold in the first day, and on the
second snowed. Poor luck pursuing him, he had secured but ten
cents by nightfall, and this he bad spent for food. At evening he
found himself at the Boulevard and Sixty-seventh Street, where he
finally turned his face Bowery-ward. Especially fatigued because
of the wandering propensity which had seized him in the morning,
he now half dragged his wet feet, shuffling the soles upon the
sidewalk. An old, thin coat was turned up about his red ears-his
cracked derby hat was pulled down until it turned them outward.
His hands were in his pockets.

"Iíll just go down Broadway," he said to himself.

When he reached Forty-second Street, the fire signs were already
blazing brightly. Crowds were hastening to dine. Through bright
windows, at every corner, might be seen gay companies in
luxuriant restaurants. There were coaches and crowded cable cars.

In his weary and hungry state, he should never have come here.
The contrast was too sharp. Even he was recalled keenly to better
things.

"Whatís the use?" he thought. "Itís all up with me. Iíll quit this."

People turned to look after him, so uncouth was his shambling
figure. Several officers followed him with their eyes, to see that
he did not beg of anybody.

Once he paused in an aimless, incoherent sort of way and looked
through the windows of an imposing restaurant, before which
blazed a fire sign, and through the large, plate windows of which
could be seen the red and gold decorations, the palms, the white
napery, and shining glassware, and, above all, the comfortable
crowd. Weak as his mind had become, his hunger was sharp
enough to show the importance of this. He stopped stock still, his
frayed trousers soaking in the slush, and peered foolishly in.

"Eat," he mumbled. "Thatís right, eat. Nobody else wants any."

Then his voice dropped even lower, and his mind half lost the
fancy it had.

"Itís mighty cold," he said. "Awful cold."

At Broadway and Thirty-ninth Street was blazing, in incandescent
fire, Carrieís name. "Carrie Madenda," it read, "and the Casino
Company." All the wet, snowy sidewalk was bright with this
radiated fire. It was so bright that it attracted Hurstwoodís gaze.
He looked up, and then at a large, gilt-framed poster-board, on
which was a fine lithograph of Carrie, life-size.

Hurstwood gazed at it a moment, snuffling and hunching one
shoulder, as if something were scratching him. He was so run
down, however, that his mind was not exactly clear.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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