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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


There had been something so personal, so subtle, in each meeting
between them, both when Drouet was present and when he was
absent, that Carrie could not speak of it without feeling a sense of
difficulty. She was no talker. She could never arrange her
thoughts in fluent order. It was always a matter of feeling with
her, strong and deep. Each time there had been no sentence of
importance which she could relate, and as for the glances and
sensations, what woman would reveal them? Such things had
never been between her and Drouet. As a matter of fact, they
could never be. She had been dominated by distress and the
enthusiastic forces of relief which Drouet represented at an
opportune moment when she yielded to him. Now she was
persuaded by secret current feelings which Drouet had never
understood. Hurstwoodís glance was as effective as the spoken
words of a lover, and more. They called for no immediate
decision, and could not be answered.

People in general attach too much importance to words. They are
under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of
fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the
argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and
desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is
removed, the heart listens.

In this conversation she heard, instead of his words, the voices of
the things which he represented. How suave was the counsel of
his appearance! How feel-ingly did his superior state speak for
itself! The growing desire he felt for her lay upon her spirit as a
gentle hand. She did not need to tremble at all, because it was
invisible; she did not need to worry over what other people would
say-what she herself would say-because it had no tangibility. She
was being pleaded with, persuaded, led into denying old rights
and assuming new ones, and yet there were no words to prove it.
Such conversation as was indulged in held the same relation-ship
to the actual mental enactments of the twain that the low music of
the orchestra does to the dramatic incident which it is used to
cover.

"Have you ever seen the houses along the Lake Shore on the
North Side?" asked Hurstwood.

"Why, I was just over there this afternoon-Mrs. Hale and I. Arenít
they beautiful?"

"Theyíre very fine," he answered.

"Oh, me," said Carrie, pensively. "I wish I could live in such a
place."

"Youíre not happy," said Hurstwood, slowly, after a slight pause.

He had raised his eyes solemnly and was looking into her own. He
assumed that he had struck a deep chord. Now was a slight chance
to say a word in his own behalf. He leaned over quietly and
continued his steady gaze. He felt the critical character of the
period. She endeavoured to stir, but it was useless. The whole
strength of a manís nature was working. He had good cause to
urge him on. He looked and looked, and the longer the situation
lasted the more difficult it became. The little shop-girl was getting
into deep water. She was letting her few supports float away from
her.

"Oh," she said at last, "you mustnít look at me like that."

"I canít help it," he answered.

She relaxed a little and let the situation endure, giving him
strength.

"You are not satisfied with life, are you?"

"No," she answered, weakly.

He saw he was the master of the situation-he felt it. He reached
over and touched her hand.

"You mustnít," she exclaimed, jumping up.

"I didnít intend to," he answered, easily.

She did not run away, as she might have done. She did not
terminate the inter-view, but he drifted off into a pleasant field of
thought with the readiest grace. Not long after he rose to go, and
she felt that he was in power.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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