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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Chapter VI
THE MACHINE AND THE MAIDEN: A KNIGHT
OF TODAY


At the flat that evening Carrie felt a new phase of its atmosphere.
The fact that it was unchanged, while her feelings were different,
increased her knowledge of its character. Minnie, after the good
spirits Carrie manifested at first, expected a fair report. Hanson
supposed that Carrie would be satisfied.

"Well," he said, as he came in from the hall in his working
clothes, and looked at Carrie through the dining-room door, "how
did you make out?"

"Oh," said Carrie, "itís pretty hard. I donít like it."

There was an air about her which showed plainer than any words
that she was both weary and disappointed.

"What sort of work is it?" he asked, lingering a moment as he
turned upon his heel to go into the bathroom.

"Running a machine," answered Carrie.

It was very evident that it did not concern him much, save from
the side of the flatís success. He was irritated a shade because it
could not have come about in the throw of fortune for Carrie to be
pleased.

Minnie worked with less elation than she had just before Carrie
arrived. The sizzle of the meat frying did not sound quite so
pleasing now that Carrie had reported her discontent. To Carrie,
the one relief of the whole day would have been a jolly home, a
sympathetic reception, a bright supper table, and some one to say:
"Oh, well, stand it a little while. You will get something better,"
but now this was ashes. She began to see that they looked upon
her complaint as unwarranted, and that she was supposed to work
on and say nothing. She knew that she was to pay four dollars for
her board and room, and now she felt that it would be an exceed-
ingly gloomy round, living with these people.

Minnie was no companion for her sister-she was too old. Her
thoughts were staid and solemnly adapted to a condition. If
Hanson had any pleasant thoughts or happy feelings he concealed
them. He seemed to do all his mental operations without the aid of
physical expression. He was as still as a deserted chamber. Carrie,
on the other hand, had the blood of youth and some imagination.
Her day of love and the mysteries of courtship were still ahead.
She could think of things she would like to do, of clothes she
would like to wear, and of places she would like to visit. These
were the things upon which her mind ran, and it was like meeting
with opposition at every turn to find no one here to call forth or
respond to her feelings.

She had forgotten, in considering and explaining the result of her
day, that Drouet might come. Now, when she saw how
unreceptive these two people were, she hoped he would not. She
did not know exactly what she would do or how she

would explain to Drouet, if he came. After supper she changed her
clothes. When she was trimly dressed she was rather a sweet little
being, with large eyes and a sad mouth. Her face expressed the
mingled expectancy, dissatisfaction and depression she felt. She
wandered about after the dishes were put away, talked a little with
Minnie, and then decided to go down and stand in the door at the
foot of the stairs. If Drouet came, she could meet him there. Her
face took on the semblance of a look of happiness as she put on
her hat to go below.

"Carrie doesnít seem to like her place very well," said Minnie to
her husband when the latter came out, paper in hand, to sit in the
dining-room a few minutes.

"She ought to keep it for a time, anyhow," said Hanson. "Has she
gone downstairs?"

"Yes," said Minnie.

"Iíd tell her to keep it if I were you. She might be here weeks
without getting another one."

Minnie said she would, and Hanson read his paper.

"If I were you," he said a little later, "I wouldnít let her stand in
the door down there. It donít look good."

"Iíll tell her," said Minnie.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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