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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser


Chapter XX
THE LURE OF THE SPIRIT: THE FLESH IN
PURSUIT


Passion in a man of Hurstwoodís nature takes a vigorous form. It
is no musing, dreamy thing. There is none of the tendency to sing
outside of my ladyís window-to languish and repine in the face of
difficulties. In the night he was long getting to sleep because of
too much thinking, and in the morning he was early awake,
seizing with alacrity upon the same dear subject and pursuing it
with vigour. He was out of sorts physically, as well as disordered
mentally, for did he not delight in a new manner in his Carrie, and
was not Drouet in the way? Never was man more harassed than he
by the thoughts of his love being held by the elated, flush-
mannered drummer. He would have given anything, it seemed to
him, to have the complication ended-to have Carrie acquiesce to
an arrangement which would dispose of Drouet effectually and
forever.

What to do. He dressed thinking. He moved about in the same
chamber with his wife, unmindful of her presence.

At breakfast he found himself without an appetite. The meat to
which he helped himself remained on his plate untouched. His
coffee grew cold, while he scanned the paper indifferently. Here
and there he read a little thing, but remembered nothing. Jessica
had not yet come down. His wife sat at one end of the table
revolving thoughts of her own in silence. A new servant had been
recently installed and had forgot the napkins. On this account the
silence was irritably broken by a reproof.

"Iíve told you about this before, Maggie," said Mrs. Hurstwood.
"Iím not going to tell you again."

Hurstwood took a glance at his wife. She was frowning. Just now
her manner irritated him excessively. Her next remark was
addressed to him.

"Have you made up your mind, George, when you will take your
vacation?"

It was customary for them to discuss the regular summer outing at
this season of the year.

"Not yet," he said, "Iím very busy just now."

"Well, youíll want to make up your mind pretty soon, wonít you,
if weíre going?" she returned.

"I guess we have a few days yet," he said.

"Hmff," she returned. "Donít wait until the seasonís over."

She stirred in aggravation as she said this.

"There you go again," he observed. "One would think I never did
anything, the way you begin."

"Well, I want to know about it," she reiterated.

"Youíve got a few days yet," he insisted. "Youíll not want to start
before the races are over."

He was irritated to think that this should come up when he wished
to have his thoughts for other purposes.

"Well, we may. Jessica doesnít want to stay until the end of the
races."

"What did you want with a season ticket, then?"

"Uh!" she said, using the sound as an exclamation of disgust, "Iíll
not argue with you," and therewith arose to leave the table.

"Say," he said, rising, putting a note of determination in his voice
which caused her to delay her departure, "whatís the matter with
you of late? Canít I talk with you any more?"

"Certainly, you can talk with me," she replied, laying emphasis on
the word.

"Well, you wouldnít think so by the way you act. Now, you want
to know when Iíll be ready-not for a month yet. Maybe not then."

"Weíll go without you."

"You will, eh?" he sneered.

"Yes, we will."

He was astonished at the womanís determination, but it only
irritated him the more.
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PinkMonkey Digital Library-Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser



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