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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


The life of the streets continued for a long time to interest Carrie.
She never wearied of wondering where the people in the cars were
going or what their enjoyments were. Her imagination trod a very
narrow round, always winding up at

points which concerned money, looks, clothes, or enjoyment. She
would have a far-off thought of Columbia City now and then, or
an irritating rush of feeling concerning her experiences of the
present day, but, on the whole, the little world about her enlisted
her whole attention.

The first floor of the building, of which Hansonís flat was the
third, was occupied by a bakery, and to this, while she was
standing there, Hanson came down to buy a loaf of bread. She
was not aware of his presence until he was quite near her.

"Iím after bread," was all he said as he passed.

The contagion of thought here demonstrated itself. While Hanson
really came for bread, the thought dwelt with him that now he
would see what Carrie was doing. No sooner did he draw near her
with that in mind than she felt it. Of course, she had no
understanding of what put it into her head, but, nevertheless, it
aroused in her the first shade of real antipathy to him. She knew
now that she did not like him. He was suspicious.

A thought will colour a world for us. The flow of Carrieís
meditations had been disturbed, and Hanson had not long gone
upstairs before she followed. She had realised with the lapse of
the quarter hours that Drouet was not coming, and somehow she
felt a little resentful, a little as if she had been forsaken-was not
good enough. She went upstairs, where everything was silent.
Minnie was sewing by a lamp at the table. Hanson had already
turned in for the night. In her weariness and disappointment
Carrie did no more than announce that she was going to bed.

"Yes youíd better," returned Minnie. "Youíve got to get up early,
you know."

The morning was no better. Hanson was just going out the door as
Carrie came from her room. Minnie tried to talk with her during
breakfast, but there was not much of interest which they could
mutually discuss. As on the previous morning, Carrie walked
down town, for she began to realise now that her four-fifty would
not even allow her car fare after she paid her board. This seemed a
miserable arrangement. But the morning light swept away the first
misgivings of the day, as morning light is ever wont to do.

At the shoe factory she put in a long day, scarcely so wearisome
as the preceding, but considerably less novel. The head foreman,
on his round, stopped by her machine.

"Where did you come from?" he inquired.

"Mr. Brown hired me," she replied.

"Oh, he did, eh!" and then, "See that you keep things going."

The machine girls impressed her even less favourably. They
seemed satisfied with their lot, and were in a sense "common."
Carrie had more imagination than they. She was not used to slang.
Her instinct in the matter of dress was naturally better. She
disliked to listen to the girl next to her, who was rather hardened
by experience.

"Iím going to quit this," she heard her remark to her neighbour.
"What with the stipend and being up late, itís too much for me
health."

They were free with the fellows, young and old, about the place,
and exchanged banter in rude phrases, which at first shocked her.
She saw that she was taken to be of the same sort and addressed
accordingly.

"Hello," remarked one of the stout-wristed sole-workers to her at
noon. "Youíre a daisy." He really expected to hear the common
"Aw! go chase yourself!" in return, and was sufficiently abashed,
by Carrieís silently moving away, to retreat, awkwardly grinning.

That night at the flat she was even more lonely-the dull situation
was becoming harder to endure. She could see that the Hansons
seldom or never had any company. Standing at the street door
looking out, she ventured to walk out a little way. Her easy gait
and idle manner attracted attention of an offensive but common
sort. She was slightly taken back at the overtures of a well-dressed
man of thirty, who in passing looked at her, reduced his pace,
turned back, and said:

"Out for a little stroll, are you, this evening?"
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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