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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Drouet jumped from one easy thought to another as he caught
Hurstwoodís eye. He felt but very little misgiving, until he saw
that Hurstwood was cautiously pretending not to see. Then some
of the latterís impression forced itself upon him. He thought of
Carrie and their last meeting. By George, he would have to
explain this to Hurstwood. Such a chance half-hour with an old
friend must not have anything more attached to it than it really
warranted.

For the first time he was troubled. Here was a moral complication
of which he could not possibly get the ends. Hurstwood would
laugh at him for being a fickle boy. He would laugh with
Hurstwood. Carrie would never hear, his present companion at
table would never know, and yet he could not help feeling that he
was getting the worst of it-there was some faint stigma attached,
and he was not guilty. He broke up the dinner by becoming dull,
and saw his companion on her car. Then he went home.

"He hasnít talked to me about any of these later flames," thought
Hurstwood to himself. "He thinks I think he cares for the girl out
there."

"He ought not to think Iím knocking around, since I have just
introduced him out there," thought Drouet.

"I saw you," Hurstwood said, genially, the next time Drouet
drifted in to his polished resort, from which he could not stay
away. He raised his forefinger indicatively, as parents do to
children.

"An old acquaintance of mine that I ran into just as I was coming
up from the station," explained Drouet. "She used to be quite a
beauty."

"Still attracts a little, eh?" returned the other, affecting to jest.

"Oh, no," said Drouet, "just couldnít escape her this time."

"How long are you here?" asked Hurstwood.

"Only a few days."

"You must bring the girl down and take dinner with me," he said.
"Iím afraid you keep her cooped up out there. Iíll get a box for
Joe Jefferson."

"Not me," answered the drummer. "Sure Iíll come."

This pleased Hurstwood immensely. He gave Drouet no credit for
any feelings toward Carrie whatever. He envied him, and now, as
he looked at the well-dressed, jolly salesman, whom he so much
liked, the gleam of the rival glowed in his eye. He began to "size
up" Drouet from the standpoints of wit and fascination. He began
to look to see where he was weak. There was no disputing that,
whatever he might think of him as a good fellow, he felt a certain
amount of contempt for him as a lover. He could hood-wink him
all right. Why, if he would just let Carrie see one such little
incident as that of Thursday, it would settle the matter. He ran on
in thought, almost exulting, the while he laughed and chatted, and
Drouet felt nothing. He had no power of analysing the glance and
the atmosphere of a man like Hurstwood. He stood and smiled
and accepted the invitation while his friend examined him with
the eye of a hawk.

The object of this peculiarly involved comedy was not thinking of
either. She was busy adjusting her thoughts and feelings to newer
conditions, and was not in danger of suffering disturbing pangs
from either quarter.

One evening Drouet found her dressing herself before the glass.

"Cad," said he, catching her, "I believe youíre getting vain."

"Nothing of the kind," she returned, smiling.

"Well, youíre mighty pretty," he went on, slipping his arm around
her. "Put on that navy-blue dress of yours and Iíll take you to the
show."

"Oh, Iíve promised Mrs. Hale to go with her to the Exposition to-
night," she returned, apologetically.

"You did, eh?" he said, studying the situation abstractedly. "I
wouldnít care to go to that myself."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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