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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Chapter XII

Mrs. Hurstwood was not aware of any of her husband’s moral
defections, though she might readily have suspected his
tendencies, which she well under-stood. She was a woman upon
whose action under provocation you could never count.
Hurstwood, for one, had not the slightest idea of what she would
do under certain circumstances. He had never seen her thoroughly
aroused. In fact, she was not a woman who would fly into a
passion. She had too little faith in mankind not to know that they
were erring. She was too calculating to jeopardise any advantage
she might gain in the way of information by fruitless clamour. Her
wrath would never wreak itself in one fell blow. She would wait
and brood, studying the details and adding to them until her power
might be commensurate with her desire for revenge. At the same
time, she would not delay to inflict any injury, big or little, which
would wound the object of her revenge and still leave him
uncertain as to the source of the evil. She was a cold, self-centered
woman, with many a thought of her own which never found
expression, not even by so much as the glint of an eye.

Hurstwood felt some of this in her nature, though he did not
actually perceive it. He dwelt with her in peace and some
satisfaction. He did not fear her in the least-there was no cause for
it. She still took a faint pride in him, which was augmented by her
desire to have her social integrity maintained. She was secretly
somewhat pleased by the fact that much of her husband’s property
was in her name, a precaution which Hurstwood had taken when
his home interests were somewhat more alluring than at present.
His wife had not the slightest reason to feel that anything would
ever go amiss with their household, and yet the shadows which
run before gave her a thought of the good of it now and then. She
was in a position to become refractory with considerable
advantage, and Hurstwood conducted himself circumspectly
because he felt that he could not be sure of anything once she
became dissatisfied.

It so happened that on the night when Hurstwood, Carrie, and
Drouet were in the box at McVickar’s, George, Jr., was in the
sixth row of the parquet with the daughter of H. B. Carmichael,
the third partner of a wholesale drygoods house of that city.
Hurstwood did not see his son, for he sat, as was his wont, as far
back as possible, leaving himself just partially visible, when he
bent forward, to those within the first six rows in question. It was
his wont to sit this way in every thea-tre-to make his personality
as inconspicuous as possible where it would be no advantage to
him to have it otherwise.

He never moved but what, if there was any danger of his conduct
being misconstrued or ill-reported, he looked carefully about him
and counted the cost of every inch of conspicuity.

The next morning at breakfast his son said:

"I saw you, Governor, last night."

"Were you at McVickar’s?" said Hurstwood, with the best grace
in the world.

"Yes," said young George.

"Who with?"

"Miss Carmichael."

Mrs. Hurstwood directed an inquiring glance at her husband, but
could not judge from his appearance whether it was any more than
a casual look into the theatre which was referred to.

"How was the play?" she inquired.

"Very good," returned Hurstwood, "only it’s the same old thing,
‘Rip Van Winkle’."

"Whom did you go with?" queried his wife, with assumed

"Charlie Drouet and his wife. They are friends of Moy’s, visiting
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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