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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Chapter XVII
A GLIMPSE THROUGH THE GATEWAY: HOPE
LIGHTENS THE EYE


The, to Carrie, very important theatrical performance was to take
place at the Avery on conditions which were to make it more
noteworthy than was at first anticipated. The little dramatic
student had written to Hurstwood the very morning her part was
brought her that she was going to take part in a play.

"I really am," she wrote, feeling that he might take it as a jest; "I
have my part now, honest, truly."

Hurstwood smiled in an indulgent way as he read this.

"I wonder what it is going to be? I must see that."

He answered at once, making a pleasant reference to her ability. "I
havenít the slightest doubt you will make a success. You must
come to the park to-morrow morning and tell me all about it."

Carrie gladly complied, and revealed all the details of the
undertaking as she understood it.

"Well," he said, "thatís fine. Iím glad to hear it. Of course, you
will do well, youíre so clever."

He had truly never seen so much spirit in the girl before. Her
tendency to dis-cover a touch of sadness had for the nonce
disappeared. As she spoke her eyes were bright, her cheeks red.
She radiated much of the pleasure which her under-takings gave
her. For all her misgivings-and they were as plentiful as the
moments of the day-she was still happy. She could not repress her
delight in doing this little thing which, to an ordinary observer,
had no importance at all.

Hurstwood was charmed by the development of the fact that the
girl had capabilities. There is nothing so inspiring in life as the
sight of a legitimate ambition, no matter how incipient. It gives
colour, force, and beauty to the possessor.

Carrie was now lightened by a touch of this divine afflatus. She
drew to herself commendation from her two admirers which she
had not earned. Their affection for her naturally heightened their
perception of what she was trying to do and their approval of what
she did. Her inexperience conserved her own exuberant fancy,
which ran riot with every straw of opportunity, making of it a
golden divining rod whereby the treasure of life was to be
discovered.

"Letís see," said Hurstwood, "I ought to know some of the boys in
the lodge. Iím an Elk myself."

"Oh, you mustnít let him know I told you."

"Thatís so," said the manager.

"Iíd like for you to be there, if you want to come, but I donít see
how you can unless he asks you."

"Iíll be there," said Hurstwood affectionately. "I can fix it so he
wonít know you told me. You leave it to me."

This interest of the manager was a large thing in itself for the
performance, for his standing among the Elks was something
worth talking about. Already he was thinking of a box with some
friends, and flowers for Carrie. He would make it a dress-suit
affair and give the little girl a chance.

Within a day or two, Drouet dropped into the Adams Street resort,
and he was at once spied by Hurstwood. It was at five in the
afternoon and the place was crowded with merchants, actors,
managers, politicians, a goodly company of rotund, rosy figures,
silk-hatted, starchy-bosomed, beringed and bescarfpinned to the
queenís taste. John L. Sullivan, the pugilist, was at one end of the
glittering bar, surrounded by a company of loudly dressed sports,
who were holding a most animated conversation. Drouet came
across the floor with a festive stride, a new pair of tan shoes
squeaking audibly at his progress.

"Well, sir," said Hurstwood, "I was wondering what had become
of you. I thought you had gone out of town again."

Drouet laughed.

"If you donít report more regularly weíll have to cut you off the
list."

"Couldnít help it," said the drummer, "Iíve been busy."
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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