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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Anyhow," said Carrie, "I shouldnít want to get married as long as
he is here. I wouldnít want to run away."

The suggestion of marriage struck Hurstwood forcibly. He saw
clearly that this was her idea-he felt that it was not to be gotten
over easily. Bigamy lightened the horizon of his shadowy
thoughts for a moment. He wondered for the life of him how it
would all come out. He could not see that he was making any
progress save in her regard. When he looked at her now, he
thought her beautiful. What a thing it was to have her love him,
even if it be entangling! She increased in, value in his eyes
because of her objection. She was something to struggle for, and
that was everything. How different from the women who yielded
willingly! He swept the thought of them from his mind.

"And you donít know when heíll go away?" asked Hurstwood,
quietly.

She shook her head.

He sighed.

"Youíre a determined little miss, arenít you?" he said, after a few
moments, looking up into her eyes.

She felt a wave of feeling sweep over her at this. It was pride at
what seemed his admiration-affection for the man who could feel
this concerning her.

"No," she said coyly, "but what can I do?"

Again he folded his hands and looked away over the lawn into the
street.

"I wish," he said pathetically, "you would come to me. I donít like
to be away from you this way. What good is there in waiting?
Youíre not any happier, are you?"

"Happier!" she exclaimed softly, "you know better than that."

"Here we are then," he went on in the same tone, "wasting our
days. If you are not happy, do you think I am? I sit and write to
you the biggest part of the time. Iíll tell you what, Carrie," he
exclaimed, throwing sudden force of expression into his voice and
fixing her with his eyes, "I canít live without you, and thatís all
there is to it. Now," he concluded, showing the palm of one of his
white hands in a sort of at-an-end, helpless expression, "what shall
I do?"

This shifting of the burden to her appealed to Carrie. The
semblance of the load without the weight touched the womanís
heart.

"Canít you wait a little while yet?" she said tenderly. "Iíll try and
find out when heís going."

"What good will it do?" he asked, holding the same strain of
feeling.

"Well, perhaps we can arrange to go somewhere."

She really did not see anything clearer than before, but she was
getting into that frame of mind where, out of sympathy, a woman
yields.

Hurstwood did not understand. He was wondering how she was to
be persuaded-what appeal would move her to forsake Drouet. He
began to wonder how far her affection for him would carry her.
He was thinking of some question which would make her tell.

Finally he hit upon one of those problematical propositions which
often dis-guise our own desires while leading us to an
understanding of the difficulties which others make for us, and so
discover for us a way. It had not the slightest connection with
anything intended on his part, and was spoken at random before
he had given it a momentís serious thought.

"Carrie," he said, looking into her face and assuming a serious
look which he did not feel, "suppose I were to come to you next
week, or this week for that matter-tonight say-and tell you I had to
go away-that I couldnít stay another minute and wasnít coming
back any more-would you come with me?"

His sweetheart viewed him with the most affectionate glance, her
answer ready before the words were out of his mouth.

"Yes," she said.

"You wouldnít stop to argue or arrange?"

"Not if you couldnít wait."

He smiled when he saw that she took him seriously, and he
thought what a chance it would afford for a possible junket of a
week or two. He had a notion to tell her that he was joking and so
brush away her sweet seriousness, but the effect of it was too
delightful. He let it stand.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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