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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Mrs. Hurstwood was the type of the woman who has ever
endeavoured to shine and has been more or less chagrined at the
evidences of superior capability in this direction elsewhere. Her
knowledge of life extended to that little conventional round of
society of which she was not-but longed to be-a member. She was
not without realisation already that this thing was impossible, so
far as she was concerned. For her daughter, she hoped better
things. Through Jessica she might rise a little. Through George,
Jr.ís, possible success she might draw to herself the privilege of
pointing proudly. Even Hurstwood was doing well enough, and
she was anxious that his small real estate adventures should
prosper. His property holdings, as yet, were rather small, but his
income was pleasing and his position with Fitzgerald and Moy
was fixed. Both those gentlemen were on pleasant and rather
informal terms with him.

The atmosphere which such personalities would create must be
apparent to all. It worked out in a thousand little conversations, all
of which were of the same calibre.

"Iím going up to Fox Lake to-morrow," announced George. Jr., at
the dinner table one Friday evening.

"Whatís going on up there?" queried Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Eddie Fahrwayís got a new steam launch, and he wants me to
come up and see how it works."

"How much did it cost him?" asked his mother.

"Oh, over two thousand dollars. He says itís a dandy."

"Old Fahrway must be making money," put in Hurstwood.

"He is, I guess. Jack told me they were shipping Vega-cura to
Australia now-said they sent a whole box to Cape Town last
week."

"Just think of that!" said Mrs. Hurstwood, "and only four years
ago they had that basement in Madison Street."

"Jack told me they were going to put up a six-story building next
spring in Robey Street."

"Just think of that!" said Jessica.

On this particular occasion Hurstwood wished to leave early.

"I guess Iíll be going down town," he remarked, rising.

"Are we going to McVickerís Monday?" questioned Mrs.
Hurstwood, without rising.

"Yes," he said indifferently.

They went on dining, while he went upstairs for his hat and coat.
Presently the door clicked.

"I guess papaís gone," said Jessica.

The latterís school news was of a particular stripe.

"Theyíre going to give a performance in the Lyceum, upstairs,"
she reported one day, "and Iím going to be in it."

"Are you?" said her mother.

"Yes, and Iíll have to have a new dress. Some of the nicest girls in
the school are going to be in it. Miss Palmer is going to take the
part of Portia."

"Is she?" said Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Theyíve got that Martha Griswold in it again. She thinks she can
act."

"Her family doesnít amount to anything, does it?" said Mrs.
Hurstwood sympathetically. "They havenít anything, have they?"

"No," returned Jessica, "theyíre poor as church mice."

She distinguished very carefully between the young boys of the
school, many of whom were attracted by her beauty.

"What do you think?" she remarked to her mother one evening;
"that Herbert Crane tried to make friends with me."

"Who is he, my dear?" inquired Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Oh, no one," said Jessica, pursing her pretty lips. "Heís just a
student there. He hasnít anything."

The other half of this picture came when young Blyford, son of
Blyford, the soap manufacturer, walked home with her. Mrs.
Hurstwood was on the third floor, sitting in a rocking-chair
reading, and happened to look out at the time.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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