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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


"Well, George," said another rotund citizen, whose avoirdupois
made necessary an almost alarming display of starched shirt
bosom, "how goes it with you?"

"Excellent," said the manager.

"What brings you over here? Youíre not a member of Custer."

"Good-nature," returned the manager. "Like to see the boys, you
know."

"Wife here?"

"She couldnít come to-night. Sheís not well."

"Sorry to hear it-nothing serious, I hope."

"No, just feeling a little ill."

"I remember Mrs. Hurstwood when she was travelling once with
you over to St. Joe-" and here the newcomer launched off in a
trivial recollection, which was terminated by the arrival of more
friends.

"Why, George, how are you?" said another genial West Side
politician and lodge member. "My, but Iím glad to see you again;
how are things, anyhow?"

"Very well; I see you got that nomination for alderman."

"Yes, we whipped them out over there without much trouble."

"What do you suppose Hennessy will do now?"

"Oh, heíll go back to his brick business. He has a brick-yard, you
know."

"I didnít know that," said the manager. "Felt pretty sore, I
suppose, over his defeat."

"Perhaps," said the other, winking shrewdly.

Some of the more favoured of his friends whom he had invited
began to roll up in carriages now. They came shuffling in with a
great show of finery and much evident feeling of content and
importance.

"Here we are," said Hurstwood, turning to one from a group with
whom he was talking.

"Thatís right," returned the newcomer, a gentleman of about
forty-five.

"And say," he whispered, jovially, pulling Hurstwood over by the
shoulder so that he might whisper in his ear, "if this isnít a good
show, Iíll punch your head."

"You ought to pay for seeing your old friends. Bother the show!"

To another who inquired, "Is it something really good?" the
manager replied:

"I donít know. I donít suppose so." Then, lifting his hand
graciously, "For the lodge."

"Lots of boys out, eh?"

"Yes, look up Shanahan. He was just asking for you a moment
ago."

It was thus that the little theatre resounded to a babble of
successful voices, the creak of fine clothes, the commonplace of
good-nature, and all largely because of this manís bidding. Look
at him any time within the half hour before the curtain was up, he
was a member of an eminent group-a rounded company of five or
more whose stout figures, large white bosoms, and shining pins
bespoke the character of their success. The gentlemen who
brought their wives called him out to shake hands. Seats clicked,
ushers bowed while he looked blandly on. He was evidently a
light among them, reflecting in his personality the ambitions of
those who greeted him. He was acknowledged, fawned upon, in a
way lionised. Through it all one could see the standing of the
man. It was greatness in a way, small as it was.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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