Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser

Part 2 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

clothes, and looked at Carrie through the dining-room door, "how
did you make out?"

"Oh," said Carrie, "it's pretty hard. I don't like it."

There was an air about her which showed plainer than any words
that she was both weary and disappointed.

"What sort of work is it?" he asked, lingering a moment as he
turned upon his heel to go into the bathroom.

"Running a machine," answered Carrie.

It was very evident that it did not concern him much, save from
the side of the flat's success. He was irritated a shade because
it could not have come about in the throw of fortune for Carrie
to be pleased.

Minnie worked with less elation than she had just before Carrie
arrived. The sizzle of the meat frying did not sound quite so
pleasing now that Carrie had reported her discontent. To Carrie,
the one relief of the whole day would have been a jolly home, a
sympathetic reception, a bright supper table, and some one to
say: "Oh, well, stand it a little while. You will get something
better," but now this was ashes. She began to see that they
looked upon her complaint as unwarranted, and that she was
supposed to work on and say nothing. She knew that she was to
pay four dollars for her board and room, and now she felt that it
would be an exceedingly gloomy round, living with these people.

Minnie was no companion for her sister--she was too old. Her
thoughts were staid and solemnly adapted to a condition. If
Hanson had any pleasant thoughts or happy feelings he concealed
them. He seemed to do all his mental operations without the aid
of physical expression. He was as still as a deserted chamber.
Carrie, on the other hand, had the blood of youth and some
imagination. Her day of love and the mysteries of courtship were
still ahead. She could think of things she would like to do, of
clothes she would like to wear, and of places she would like to
visit. These were the things upon which her mind ran, and it was
like meeting with opposition at every turn to find no one here to
call forth or respond to her feelings.

She had forgotten, in considering and explaining the result of
her day, that Drouet might come. Now, when she saw how
unreceptive these two people were, she hoped he would not. She
did not know exactly what she would do or how she would explain
to Drouet, if he came. After supper she changed her clothes.
When she was trimly dressed she was rather a sweet little being,
with large eyes and a sad mouth. Her face expressed the mingled
expectancy, dissatisfaction, and depression she felt. She
wandered about after the dishes were put away, talked a little
with Minnie, and then decided to go down and stand in the door at
the foot of the stairs. If Drouet came, she could meet him there.
Her face took on the semblance of a look of happiness as she put
on her hat to go below.

"Carrie doesn't seem to like her place very well," said Minnie to
her husband when the latter came out, paper in hand, to sit in
the dining-room a few minutes.

"She ought to keep it for a time, anyhow," said Hanson. "Has she
gone downstairs?"

"Yes," said Minnie.

"I'd tell her to keep it if I were you. She might be here weeks
without getting another one."

Minnie said she would, and Hanson read his paper.

"If I were you," he said a little later, "I wouldn't let her
stand in the door down there. It don't look good."

"I'll tell her," said Minnie.

The life of the streets continued for a long time to interest
Carrie. She never wearied of wondering where the people in the
cars were going or what their enjoyments were. Her imagination
trod a very narrow round, always winding up at points which
concerned money, looks, clothes, or enjoyment. She would have a
far-off thought of Columbia City now and then, or an irritating
rush of feeling concerning her experiences of the present day,
but, on the whole, the little world about her enlisted her whole

The first floor of the building, of which Hanson's flat was the
third, was occupied by a bakery, and to this, while she was
standing there, Hanson came down to buy a loaf of bread. She was
not aware of his presence until he was quite near her.

"I'm after bread," was all he said as he passed.

The contagion of thought here demonstrated itself. While Hanson
really came for bread, the thought dwelt with him that now he
would see what Carrie was doing. No sooner did he draw near her
with that in mind than she felt it. Of course, she had no
understanding of what put it into her head, but, nevertheless, it
aroused in her the first shade of real antipathy to him. She
knew now that she did not like him. He was suspicious.

A thought will colour a world for us. The flow of Carrie's
meditations had been disturbed, and Hanson had not long gone
upstairs before she followed. She had realised with the lapse of
the quarter hours that Drouet was not coming, and somehow she
felt a little resentful, a little as if she had been forsaken--
was not good enough. She went upstairs, where everything was
silent. Minnie was sewing by a lamp at the table. Hanson had
already turned in for the night. In her weariness and
disappointment Carrie did no more than announce that she was
going to bed.

"Yes, you'd better," returned Minnie. "You've got to get up
early, you know."

The morning was no better. Hanson was just going out the door as
Carrie came from her room. Minnie tried to talk with her during
breakfast, but there was not much of interest which they could
mutually discuss. As on the previous morning, Carrie walked down
town, for she began to realise now that her four-fifty would not
even allow her car fare after she paid her board. This seemed a
miserable arrangement. But the morning light swept away the
first misgivings of the day, as morning light is ever wont to do.

At the shoe factory she put in a long day, scarcely so wearisome
as the preceding, but considerably less novel. The head foreman,
on his round, stopped by her machine.

"Where did you come from?" he inquired.

"Mr. Brown hired me," she replied.

"Oh, he did, eh!" and then, "See that you keep things going."

The machine girls impressed her even less favourably. They seemed
satisfied with their lot, and were in a sense "common." Carrie
had more imagination than they. She was not used to slang. Her
instinct in the matter of dress was naturally better. She
disliked to listen to the girl next to her, who was rather
hardened by experience.

"I'm going to quit this," she heard her remark to her neighbour.
"What with the stipend and being up late, it's too much for me

They were free with the fellows, young and old, about the place,
and exchanged banter in rude phrases, which at first shocked her.
She saw that she was taken to be of the same sort and addressed

"Hello," remarked one of the stout-wristed sole-workers to her at
noon. "You're a daisy." He really expected to hear the common
"Aw! go chase yourself!" in return, and was sufficiently abashed,
by Carrie's silently moving away, to retreat, awkwardly grinning.

That night at the flat she was even more lonely--the dull
situation was becoming harder to endure. She could see that the
Hansons seldom or never had any company. Standing at the street
door looking out, she ventured to walk out a little way. Her
easy gait and idle manner attracted attention of an offensive but
common sort. She was slightly taken back at the overtures of a
well-dressed man of thirty, who in passing looked at her, reduced
his pace, turned back, and said:

"Out for a little stroll, are you, this evening?"

Carrie looked at him in amazement, and then summoned sufficient
thought to reply: "Why, I don't know you," backing away as she
did so.

"Oh, that don't matter," said the other affably.

She bandied no more words with him, but hurried away, reaching
her own door quite out of breath. There was something in the
man's look which frightened her.

During the remainder of the week it was very much the same. One
or two nights she found herself too tired to walk home, and
expended car fare. She was not very strong, and sitting all day
affected her back. She went to bed one night before Hanson.

Transplantation is not always successful in the matter of flowers
or maidens. It requires sometimes a richer soil, a better
atmosphere to continue even a natural growth. It would have been
better if her acclimatization had been more gradual--less rigid.
She would have done better if she had not secured a position so
quickly, and had seen more of the city which she constantly
troubled to know about.

On the first morning it rained she found that she had no
umbrella. Minnie loaned her one of hers, which was worn and
faded. There was the kind of vanity in Carrie that troubled at
this. She went to one of the great department stores and bought
herself one, using a dollar and a quarter of her small store to
pay for it.

"What did you do that for, Carrie?" asked Minnie when she saw it.

"Oh, I need one," said Carrie.

"You foolish girl."

Carrie resented this, though she did not reply. She was not
going to be a common shop-girl, she thought; they need not think
it, either.

On the first Saturday night Carrie paid her board, four dollars.
Minnie had a quaver of conscience as she took it, but did not
know how to explain to Hanson if she took less. That worthy gave
up just four dollars less toward the household expenses with a
smile of satisfaction. He contemplated increasing his Building
and Loan payments. As for Carrie, she studied over the problem
of finding clothes and amusement on fifty cents a week. She
brooded over this until she was in a state of mental rebellion.

"I'm going up the street for a walk," she said after supper.

"Not alone, are you?" asked Hanson.

"Yes," returned Carrie.

"I wouldn't," said Minnie.

"I want to see SOMETHING," said Carrie, and by the tone she put
into the last word they realised for the first time she was not
pleased with them.

"What's the matter with her?" asked Hanson, when she went into
the front room to get her hat.

"I don't know," said Minnie.

"Well, she ought to know better than to want to go out alone."

Carrie did not go very far, after all. She returned and stood in
the door. The next day they went out to Garfield Park, but it
did not please her. She did not look well enough. In the shop
next day she heard the highly coloured reports which girls give
of their trivial amusements. They had been happy. On several
days it rained and she used up car fare. One night she got
thoroughly soaked, going to catch the car at Van Buren Street.
All that evening she sat alone in the front room looking out upon
the street, where the lights were reflected on the wet pavements,
thinking. She had imagination enough to be moody.

On Saturday she paid another four dollars and pocketed her fifty
cents in despair. The speaking acquaintanceship which she formed
with some of the girls at the shop discovered to her the fact
that they had more of their earnings to use for themselves than
she did. They had young men of the kind whom she, since her
experience with Drouet, felt above, who took them about. She
came to thoroughly dislike the light-headed young fellows of the
shop. Not one of them had a show of refinement. She saw only
their workday side.

There came a day when the first premonitory blast of winter swept
over the city. It scudded the fleecy clouds in the heavens,
trailed long, thin streamers of smoke from the tall stacks, and
raced about the streets and corners in sharp and sudden puffs.
Carrie now felt the problem of winter clothes. What was she to
do? She had no winter jacket, no hat, no shoes. It was difficult
to speak to Minnie about this, but at last she summoned the

"I don't know what I'm going to do about clothes," she said one
evening when they were together. "I need a hat."

Minnie looked serious.

"Why don't you keep part of your money and buy yourself one?" she
suggested, worried over the situation which the withholding of
Carrie's money would create.

"I'd like to for a week or so, if you don't mind," ventured

"Could you pay two dollars?" asked Minnie.

Carrie readily acquiesced, glad to escape the trying situation,
and liberal now that she saw a way out. She was elated and began
figuring at once. She needed a hat first of all. How Minnie
explained to Hanson she never knew. He said nothing at all, but
there were thoughts in the air which left disagreeable

The new arrangement might have worked if sickness had not
intervened. It blew up cold after a rain one afternoon when
Carrie was still without a jacket. She came out of the warm shop
at six and shivered as the wind struck her. In the morning she
was sneezing, and going down town made it worse. That day her
bones ached and she felt light-headed. Towards evening she felt
very ill, and when she reached home was not hungry. Minnie
noticed her drooping actions and asked her about herself.

"I don't know," said Carrie. "I feel real bad."

She hung about the stove, suffered a chattering chill, and went
to bed sick. The next morning she was thoroughly feverish.

Minnie was truly distressed at this, but maintained a kindly
demeanour. Hanson said perhaps she had better go back home for a
while. When she got up after three days, it was taken for
granted that her position was lost. The winter was near at hand,
she had no clothes, and now she was out of work.

"I don't know," said Carrie; "I'll go down Monday and see if I
can't get something."

If anything, her efforts were more poorly rewarded on this trial
than the last. Her clothes were nothing suitable for fall
wearing. Her last money she had spent for a hat. For three days
she wandered about, utterly dispirited. The attitude of the flat
was fast becoming unbearable. She hated to think of going back
there each evening. Hanson was so cold. She knew it could not
last much longer. Shortly she would have to give up and go home.

On the fourth day she was down town all day, having borrowed ten
cents for lunch from Minnie. She had applied in the cheapest
kind of places without success. She even answered for a waitress
in a small restaurant where she saw a card in the window, but
they wanted an experienced girl. She moved through the thick
throng of strangers, utterly subdued in spirit. Suddenly a hand
pulled her arm and turned her about.

"Well, well!" said a voice. In the first glance she beheld
Drouet. He was not only rosy-cheeked, but radiant. He was the
essence of sunshine and good-humour. "Why, how are you, Carrie?"
he said. "You're a daisy. Where have you been?"

Carrie smiled under his irresistible flood of geniality.

"I've been out home," she said.

"Well," he said, "I saw you across the street there. I thought it
was you. I was just coming out to your place. How are you,

"I'm all right," said Carrie, smiling.

Drouet looked her over and saw something different.

"Well," he said, "I want to talk to you. You're not going
anywhere in particular, are you?"

"Not just now," said Carrie.

"Let's go up here and have something to eat. George! but I'm
glad to see you again."

She felt so relieved in his radiant presence, so much looked
after and cared for, that she assented gladly, though with the
slightest air of holding back.

"Well," he said, as he took her arm--and there was an exuberance
of good-fellowship in the word which fairly warmed the cockles of
her heart.

They went through Monroe Street to the old Windsor dining-room,
which was then a large, comfortable place, with an excellent
cuisine and substantial service. Drouet selected a table close by
the window, where the busy rout of the street could be seen. He
loved the changing panorama of the street--to see and be seen as
he dined.

"Now," he said, getting Carrie and himself comfortably settled,
"what will you have?"

Carrie looked over the large bill of fare which the waiter handed
her without really considering it. She was very hungry, and the
things she saw there awakened her desires, but the high prices
held her attention. "Half broiled spring chicken--seventy-five.
Sirloin steak with mushrooms--one twenty-five." She had dimly
heard of these things, but it seemed strange to be called to
order from the list.

"I'll fix this," exclaimed Drouet. "Sst! waiter."

That officer of the board, a full-chested, round-faced negro,
approached, and inclined his ear.

"Sirloin with mushrooms," said Drouet. "Stuffed tomatoes."

"Yassah," assented the negro, nodding his head.

"Hashed brown potatoes."




"And a pot of coffee."

Drouet turned to Carrie. "I haven't had a thing since breakfast.
Just got in from Rock Island. I was going off to dine when I saw

Carrie smiled and smiled.

"What have you been doing?" he went on. "Tell me all about
yourself. How is your sister?"

"She's well," returned Carrie, answering the last query.

He looked at her hard.

"Say," he said, "you haven't been sick, have you?"

Carrie nodded.

"Well, now, that's a blooming shame, isn't it? You don't look
very well. I thought you looked a little pale. What have you
been doing?"

"Working," said Carrie.

"You don't say so! At what?"

She told him.

"Rhodes, Morgenthau and Scott--why, I know that house. over here
on Fifth Avenue, isn't it? They're a close-fisted concern. What
made you go there?"

"I couldn't get anything else," said Carrie frankly.

"Well, that's an outrage," said Drouet. "You oughtn't to be
working for those people. Have the factory right back of the
store, don't they?"

"Yes," said Carrie.

"That isn't a good house," said Drouet. "You don't want to work
at anything like that, anyhow."

He chatted on at a great rate, asking questions, explaining
things about himself, telling her what a good restaurant it was,
until the waiter returned with an immense tray, bearing the hot
savoury dishes which had been ordered. Drouet fairly shone in
the matter of serving. He appeared to great advantage behind the
white napery and silver platters of the table and displaying his
arms with a knife and fork. As he cut the meat his rings almost
spoke. His new suit creaked as he stretched to reach the plates,
break the bread, and pour the coffee. He helped Carrie to a
rousing plateful and contributed the warmth of his spirit to her
body until she was a new girl. He was a splendid fellow in the
true popular understanding of the term, and captivated Carrie

That little soldier of fortune took her good turn in an easy way.
She felt a little out of place, but the great room soothed her
and the view of the well-dressed throng outside seemed a splendid
thing. Ah, what was it not to have money! What a thing it was
to be able to come in here and dine! Drouet must be fortunate.
He rode on trains, dressed in such nice clothes, was so strong,
and ate in these fine places. He seemed quite a figure of a man,
and she wondered at his friendship and regard for her.

"So you lost your place because you got sick, eh?" he said.
"What are you going to do now?"

"Look around," she said, a thought of the need that hung outside
this fine restaurant like a hungry dog at her heels passing into
her eyes.

"Oh, no," said Drouet, "that won't do. How long have you been

"Four days," she answered.

"Think of that!" he said, addressing some problematical
individual. "You oughtn't to be doing anything like that. These
girls," and he waved an inclusion of all shop and factory girls,
"don't get anything. Why, you can't live on it, can you?"

He was a brotherly sort of creature in his demeanour. When he had
scouted the idea of that kind of toil, he took another tack.
Carrie was really very pretty. Even then, in her commonplace
garb, her figure was evidently not bad, and her eyes were large
and gentle. Drouet looked at her and his thoughts reached home.
She felt his admiration. It was powerfully backed by his
liberality and good-humour. She felt that she liked him--that
she could continue to like him ever so much. There was something
even richer than that, running as a hidden strain, in her mind.
Every little while her eyes would meet his, and by that means the
interchanging current of feeling would be fully connected.

"Why don't you stay down town and go to the theatre with me?" he
said, hitching his chair closer. The table was not very wide.

"Oh, I can't," she said.

"What are you going to do to-night?"

"Nothing," she answered, a little drearily.

"You don't like out there where you are, do you?"

"Oh, I don't know."

"What are you going to do if you don't get work?"

"Go back home, I guess."

There was the least quaver in her voice as she said this.
Somehow, the influence he was exerting was powerful. They came
to an understanding of each other without words--he of her
situation, she of the fact that he realised it.
"No," he said, "you can't make it!" genuine sympathy filling his
mind for the time. "Let me help you. You take some of my

"Oh, no!" she said, leaning back.

"What are you going to do?" he said.

She sat meditating, merely shaking her head.

He looked at her quite tenderly for his kind. There were some
loose bills in his vest pocket--greenbacks. They were soft and
noiseless, and he got his fingers about them and crumpled them up
in his hand.

"Come on," he said, "I'll see you through all right. Get yourself
some clothes."

It was the first reference he had made to that subject, and now
she realised how bad off she was. In his crude way he had struck
the key-note. Her lips trembled a little.

She had her hand out on the table before her. They were quite
alone in their corner, and he put his larger, warmer hand over

"Aw, come, Carrie," he said, "what can you do alone? Let me help

He pressed her hand gently and she tried to withdraw it. At this
he held it fast, and she no longer protested. Then he slipped
the greenbacks he had into her palm, and when she began to
protest, he whispered:

"I'll loan it to you--that's all right. I'll loan it to you."

He made her take it. She felt bound to him by a strange tie of
affection now. They went out, and he walked with her far out
south toward Polk Street, talking.

"You don't want to live with those people?" he said in one place,
abstractedly. Carrie heard it, but it made only a slight

"Come down and meet me to morrow," he said, "and we'll go to the
matinee. Will you?"

Carrie protested a while, but acquiesced.

"You're not doing anything. Get yourself a nice pair of shoes
and a jacket."

She scarcely gave a thought to the complication which would
trouble her when he was gone. In his presence, she was of his
own hopeful, easy-way-out mood.

"Don't you bother about those people out there," he said at
parting. "I'll help you."

Carrie left him, feeling as though a great arm had slipped out
before her to draw off trouble. The money she had accepted was
two soft, green, handsome ten-dollar bills.

Chapter VII


The true meaning of money yet remains to be popularly explained
and comprehended. When each individual realises for himself that
this thing primarily stands for and should only be accepted as a
moral due--that it should be paid out as honestly stored energy,
and not as a usurped privilege--many of our social, religious,
and political troubles will have permanently passed. As for
Carrie, her understanding of the moral significance of money was
the popular understanding, nothing more. The old definition:
"Money: something everybody else has and I must get," would have
expressed her understanding of it thoroughly. Some of it she now
held in her hand--two soft, green ten-dollar bills--and she felt
that she was immensely better off for the having of them. It was
something that was power in itself. One of her order of mind
would have been content to be cast away upon a desert island with
a bundle of money, and only the long strain of starvation would
have taught her that in some cases it could have no value. Even
then she would have had no conception of the relative value of
the thing; her one thought would, undoubtedly, have concerned the
pity of having so much power and the inability to use it.

The poor girl thrilled as she walked away from Drouet. She felt
ashamed in part because she had been weak enough to take it, but
her need was so dire, she was still glad. Now she would have a
nice new jacket! Now she would buy a nice pair of pretty button
shoes. She would get stockings, too, and a skirt, and, and--
until already, as in the matter of her prospective salary, she
had got beyond, in her desires, twice the purchasing power of her

She conceived a true estimate of Drouet. To her, and indeed to
all the world, he was a nice, good-hearted man. There was
nothing evil in the fellow. He gave her the money out of a good
heart--out of a realisation of her want. He would not have given
the same amount to a poor young man, but we must not forget that
a poor young man could not, in the nature of things, have
appealed to him like a poor young girl. Femininity affected his
feelings. He was the creature of an inborn desire. Yet no
beggar could have caught his eye and said, "My God, mister, I'm
starving," but he would gladly have handed out what was
considered the proper portion to give beggars and thought no more
about it. There would have been no speculation, no
philosophising. He had no mental process in him worthy the
dignity of either of those terms. In his good clothes and fine
health, he was a merry, unthinking moth of the lamp. Deprived of
his position, and struck by a few of the involved and baffling
forces which sometimes play upon man, he would have been as
helpless as Carrie--as helpless, as non-understanding, as
pitiable, if you will, as she.

Now, in regard to his pursuit of women, he meant them no harm,
because he did not conceive of the relation which he hoped to
hold with them as being harmful. He loved to make advances to
women, to have them succumb to his charms, not because he was a
cold-blooded, dark, scheming villain, but because his inborn
desire urged him to that as a chief delight. He was vain, he was
boastful, he was as deluded by fine clothes as any silly-headed
girl. A truly deep-dyed villain could have hornswaggled him as
readily as he could have flattered a pretty shop-girl. His fine
success as a salesman lay in his geniality and the thoroughly
reputable standing of his house. He bobbed about among men, a
veritable bundle of enthusiasm--no power worthy the name of
intellect, no thoughts worthy the adjective noble, no feelings
long continued in one strain. A Madame Sappho would have called
him a pig; a Shakespeare would have said "my merry child"; old,
drinking Caryoe thought him a clever, successful businessman. In
short, he was as good as his intellect conceived.

The best proof that there was something open and commendable
about the man was the fact that Carrie took the money. No deep,
sinister soul with ulterior motives could have given her fifteen
cents under the guise of friendship. The unintellectual are not
so helpless. Nature has taught the beasts of the field to fly
when some unheralded danger threatens. She has put into the
small, unwise head of the chipmunk the untutored fear of poisons.
"He keepeth His creatures whole," was not written of beasts
alone. Carrie was unwise, and, therefore, like the sheep in its
unwisdom, strong in feeling. The instinct of self-protection,
strong in all such natures, was roused but feebly, if at all, by
the overtures of Drouet.

When Carrie had gone, he felicitated himself upon her good
opinion. By George, it was a shame young girls had to be knocked
around like that. Cold weather coming on and no clothes. Tough.
He would go around to Fitzgerald and Moy's and get a cigar. It
made him feel light of foot as he thought about her.

Carrie reached home in high good spirits, which she could
scarcely conceal. The possession of the money involved a number
of points which perplexed her seriously. How should she buy any
clothes when Minnie knew that she had no money? She had no
sooner entered the flat than this point was settled for her. It
could not be done. She could think of no way of explaining.

"How did you come out?" asked Minnie, referring to the day.

Carrie had none of the small deception which could feel one thing
and say something directly opposed. She would prevaricate, but
it would be in the line of her feelings at least. So instead of
complaining when she felt so good, she said:

"I have the promise of something."


"At the Boston Store."

"Is it sure promised?" questioned Minnie.

"Well, I'm to find out to-morrow," returned Carrie disliking to
draw out a lie any longer than was necessary.

Minnie felt the atmosphere of good feeling which Carrie brought
with her. She felt now was the time to express to Carrie the
state of Hanson's feeling about her entire Chicago venture.

"If you shouldn't get it--" she paused, troubled for an easy way.

"If I don't get something pretty soon, I think I'll go home."

Minnie saw her chance.

"Sven thinks it might be best for the winter, anyhow."

The situation flashed on Carrie at once. They were unwilling to
keep her any longer, out of work. She did not blame Minnie, she
did not blame Hanson very much. Now, as she sat there digesting
the remark, she was glad she had Drouet's money.
"Yes," she said after a few moments, "I thought of doing that."

She did not explain that the thought, however, had aroused all
the antagonism of her nature. Columbia City, what was there for
her? She knew its dull, little round by heart. Here was the
great, mysterious city which was still a magnet for her. What
she had seen only suggested its possibilities. Now to turn back
on it and live the little old life out there--she almost
exclaimed against the thought.

She had reached home early and went in the front room to think.
What could she do? She could not buy new shoes and wear them
here. She would need to save part of the twenty to pay her fare
home. She did not want to borrow of Minnie for that. And yet,
how could she explain where she even got that money? If she
could only get enough to let her out easy.

She went over the tangle again and again. Here, in the morning,
Drouet would expect to see her in a new jacket, and that couldn't
be. The Hansons expected her to go home, and she wanted to get
away, and yet she did not want to go home. In the light of the
way they would look on her getting money without work, the taking
of it now seemed dreadful. She began to be ashamed. The whole
situation depressed her. It was all so clear when she was with
Drouet. Now it was all so tangled, so hopeless--much worse than
it was before, because she had the semblance of aid in her hand
which she could not use.

Her spirits sank so that at supper Minnie felt that she must have
had another hard day. Carrie finally decided that she would give
the money back. It was wrong to take it. She would go down in
the morning and hunt for work. At noon she would meet Drouet as
agreed and tell him. At this decision her heart sank, until she
was the old Carrie of distress.

Curiously, she could not hold the money in her hand without
feeling some relief. Even after all her depressing conclusions,
she could sweep away all thought about the matter and then the
twenty dollars seemed a wonderful and delightful thing. Ah,
money, money, money! What a thing it was to have. How plenty of
it would clear away all these troubles.

In the morning she got up and started out a little early. Her
decision to hunt for work was moderately strong, but the money in
her pocket, after all her troubling over it, made the work
question the least shade less terrible. She walked into the
wholesale district, but as the thought of applying came with each
passing concern, her heart shrank. What a coward she was, she
thought to herself. Yet she had applied so often. It would be
the same old story. She walked on and on, and finally did go
into one place, with the old result. She came out feeling that
luck was against her. It was no use.

Without much thinking, she reached Dearborn Street. Here was the
great Fair store with its multitude of delivery wagons about its
long window display, its crowd of shoppers. It readily changed
her thoughts, she who was so weary of them. It was here that she
had intended to come and get her new things. Now for relief from
distress; she thought she would go in and see. She would look at
the jackets.

There is nothing in this world more delightful than that middle
state in which we mentally balance at times, possessed of the
means, lured by desire, and yet deterred by conscience or want of
decision. When Carrie began wandering around the store amid the
fine displays she was in this mood. Her original experience in
this same place had given her a high opinion of its merits. Now
she paused at each individual bit of finery, where before she had
hurried on. Her woman's heart was warm with desire for them.
How would she look in this, how charming that would make her!
She came upon the corset counter and paused in rich reverie as
she noted the dainty concoctions of colour and lace there
displayed. If she would only make up her mind, she could have
one of those now. She lingered in the jewelry department. She
saw the earrings, the bracelets, the pins, the chains. What
would she not have given if she could have had them all! She
would look fine too, if only she had some of these things.

The jackets were the greatest attraction. When she entered the
store, she already had her heart fixed upon the peculiar little
tan jacket with large mother-of-pearl buttons which was all the
rage that fall. Still she delighted to convince herself that
there was nothing she would like better. She went about among
the glass cases and racks where these things were displayed, and
satisfied herself that the one she thought of was the proper one.
All the time she wavered in mind, now persuading herself that she
could buy it right away if she chose, now recalling to herself
the actual condition. At last the noon hour was dangerously
near, and she had done nothing. She must go now and return the

Drouet was on the corner when she came up.

"Hello," he said, "where is the jacket and"--looking down--"the

Carrie had thought to lead up to her decision in some intelligent
way, but this swept the whole fore-schemed situation by the

"I came to tell you that--that I can't take the money."

"Oh, that's it, is it?" he returned. "Well, you come on with me.
Let's go over here to Partridge's."

Carrie walked with him. Behold, the whole fabric of doubt and
impossibility had slipped from her mind. She could not get at
the points that were so serious, the things she was going to make
plain to him.

"Have you had lunch yet? Of course you haven't. Let's go in
here," and Drouet turned into one of the very nicely furnished
restaurants off State Street, in Monroe.

"I mustn't take the money," said Carrie, after they were settled
in a cosey corner, and Drouet had ordered the lunch. "I can't
wear those things out there. They--they wouldn't know where I got

"What do you want to do," he smiled, "go without them?"

"I think I'll go home," she said, wearily.

"Oh, come," he said, "you've been thinking it over too long.
I'll tell you what you do. You say you can't wear them out
there. Why don't you rent a furnished room and leave them in
that for a week?"

Carrie shook her head. Like all women, she was there to object
and be convinced. It was for him to brush the doubts away and
clear the path if he could.
"Why are you going home?" he asked.

"Oh, I can't get anything here."

They won't keep you?" he remarked, intuitively.

"They can't," said Carrie.

"I'll tell you what you do," he said. "You come with me. I'll
take care of you."

Carrie heard this passively. The peculiar state which she was in
made it sound like the welcome breath of an open door. Drouet
seemed of her own spirit and pleasing. He was clean, handsome,
well-dressed, and sympathetic. His voice was the voice of a

"What can you do back at Columbia City?" he went on, rousing by
the words in Carrie's mind a picture of the dull world she had
left. "There isn't anything down there. Chicago's the place.
You can get a nice room here and some clothes, and then you can
do something."

Carrie looked out through the window into the busy street. There
it was, the admirable, great city, so fine when you are not poor.
An elegant coach, with a prancing pair of bays, passed by,
carrying in its upholstered depths a young lady.

"What will you have if you go back?" asked Drouet. There was no
subtle undercurrent to the question. He imagined that she would
have nothing at all of the things he thought worth while.

Carrie sat still, looking out. She was wondering what she could
do. They would be expecting her to go home this week.

Drouet turned to the subject of the clothes she was going to buy.

"Why not get yourself a nice little jacket? You've got to have
it. I'll loan you the money. You needn't worry about taking it.
You can get yourself a nice room by yourself. I won't hurt you."

Carrie saw the drift, but could not express her thoughts. She
felt more than ever the helplessness of her case.

"If I could only get something to do," she said.

"Maybe you can," went on Drouet, "if you stay here. You can't if
you go away. They won't let you stay out there. Now, why not
let me get you a nice room? I won't bother you--you needn't be
afraid. Then, when you get fixed up, maybe you could get

He looked at her pretty face and it vivified his mental
resources. She was a sweet little mortal to him--there was no
doubt of that. She seemed to have some power back of her
actions. She was not like the common run of store-girls. She
wasn't silly.

In reality, Carrie had more imagination than he--more taste. It
was a finer mental strain in her that made possible her
depression and loneliness. Her poor clothes were neat, and she
held her head unconsciously in a dainty way.

"Do you think I could get something?" she asked.

"Sure," he said, reaching over and filling her cup with tea.
"I'll help you."

She looked at him, and he laughed reassuringly.

"Now I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go over here to
Partridge's and you pick out what you want. Then we'll look
around for a room for you. You can leave the things there. Then
we'll go to the show to-night."

Carrie shook her head.

"Well, you can go out to the flat then, that's all right. You
don't need to stay in the room. Just take it and leave your
things there."

She hung in doubt about this until the dinner was over.

"Let's go over and look at the jackets," he said.

Together they went. In the store they found that shine and
rustle of new things which immediately laid hold of Carrie's
heart. Under the influence of a good dinner and Drouet's
radiating presence, the scheme proposed seemed feasible. She
looked about and picked a jacket like the one which she had
admired at The Fair. When she got it in her hand it seemed so
much nicer. The saleswoman helped her on with it, and, by
accident, it fitted perfectly. Drouet's face lightened as he saw
the improvement. She looked quite smart.

"That's the thing," he said.

Carrie turned before the glass. She could not help feeling
pleased as she looked at herself. A warm glow crept into her

"That's the thing," said Drouet. "Now pay for it."

"It's nine dollars," said Carrie.

"That's all right--take it," said Drouet.

She reached in her purse and took out one of the bills. The woman
asked if she would wear the coat and went off. In a few minutes
she was back and the purchase was closed.

From Partridge's they went to a shoe store, where Carrie was
fitted for shoes. Drouet stood by, and when he saw how nice they
looked, said, "Wear them." Carrie shook her head, however. She
was thinking of returning to the flat. He bought her a purse for
one thing, and a pair of gloves for another, and let her buy the

"To-morrow," he said, "you come down here and buy yourself a

In all of Carrie's actions there was a touch of misgiving. The
deeper she sank into the entanglement, the more she imagined that
the thing hung upon the few remaining things she had not done.
Since she had not done these, there was a way out.

Drouet knew a place in Wabash Avenue where there were rooms. He
showed Carrie the outside of these, and said: "Now, you're my
sister." He carried the arrangement off with an easy hand when it
came to the selection, looking around, criticising, opining.
"Her trunk will be here in a day or so," he observed to the
landlady, who was very pleased.

When they were alone, Drouet did not change in the least. He
talked in the same general way as if they were out in the street.
Carrie left her things.

"Now," said Drouet, "why don't you move to-night?"

"Oh, I can't," said Carrie.

"Why not?"

"I don't want to leave them so."

He took that up as they walked along the avenue. It was a warm
afternoon. The sun had come out and the wind had died down. As
he talked with Carrie, he secured an accurate detail of the
atmosphere of the flat.

"Come out of it," he said, "they won't care. I'll help you get

She listened until her misgivings vanished. He would show her
about a little and then help her get something. He really
imagined that he would. He would be out on the road and she
could be working.

"Now, I'll tell you what you do," he said, "you go out there and
get whatever you want and come away."

She thought a long time about this. Finally she agreed. He
would come out as far as Peoria Street and wait for her. She was
to meet him at half-past eight. At half-past five she reached
home, and at six her determination was hardened.

"So you didn't get it?" said Minnie, referring to Carrie's story
of the Boston Store.

Carrie looked at her out of the corner of her eye. "No," she

"I don't think you'd better try any more this fall," said Minnie.

Carrie said nothing.

When Hanson came home he wore the same inscrutable demeanour. He
washed in silence and went off to read his paper. At dinner
Carrie felt a little nervous. The strain of her own plans were
considerable, and the feeling that she was not welcome here was

"Didn't find anything, eh?" said Hanson.


He turned to his eating again, the thought that it was a burden
to have her here dwelling in his mind. She would have to go
home, that was all. Once she was away, there would be no more
coming back in the spring.

Carrie was afraid of what she was going to do, but she was
relieved to know that this condition was ending. They would not
care. Hanson particularly would be glad when she went. He would
not care what became of her.

After dinner she went into the bathroom, where they could not
disturb her, and wrote a little note.

"Good-bye, Minnie," it read. "I'm not going home. I'm going to
stay in Chicago a little while and look for work. Don't worry.
I'll be all right."

In the front room Hanson was reading his paper. As usual, she
helped Minnie clear away the dishes and straighten up. Then she

"I guess I'll stand down at the door a little while." She could
scarcely prevent her voice from trembling.

Minnie remembered Hanson's remonstrance.

"Sven doesn't think it looks good to stand down there," she said.

"Doesn't he?" said Carrie. "I won't do it any more after this."

She put on her hat and fidgeted around the table in the little
bedroom, wondering where to slip the note. Finally she put it
under Minnie's hair-brush.

When she had closed the hall-door, she paused a moment and
wondered what they would think. Some thought of the queerness of
her deed affected her. She went slowly down the stairs. She
looked back up the lighted step, and then affected to stroll up
the street. When she reached the corner she quickened her pace.

As she was hurrying away, Hanson came back to his wife.

"Is Carrie down at the door again?" he asked.

"Yes," said Minnie; "she said she wasn't going to do it any

He went over to the baby where it was playing on the floor and
began to poke his finger at it.

Drouet was on the corner waiting, in good spirits.

"Hello, Carrie," he said, as a sprightly figure of a girl drew
near him. "Got here safe, did you? Well, we'll take a car."

Chapter VIII


Among the forces which sweep and play throughout the universe,
untutored man is but a wisp in the wind. Our civilisation is
still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, in that it is no longer
wholly guided by instinct; scarcely human, in that it is not yet
wholly guided by reason. On the tiger no responsibility rests.
We see him aligned by nature with the forces of life--he is born
into their keeping and without thought he is protected. We see
man far removed from the lairs of the jungles, his innate
instincts dulled by too near an approach to free-will, his free-
will not sufficiently developed to replace his instincts and
afford him perfect guidance.

He is becoming too wise to hearken always to instincts and
desires; he is still too weak to always prevail against them. As
a beast, the forces of life aligned him with them; as a man, he
has not yet wholly learned to align himself with the forces. In
this intermediate stage he wavers--neither drawn in harmony with
nature by his instincts nor yet wisely putting himself into
harmony by his own free-will. He is even as a wisp in the wind,
moved by every breath of passion, acting now by his will and now
by his instincts, erring with one, only to retrieve by the other,
falling by one, only to rise by the other--a creature of
incalculable variability. We have the consolation of knowing
that evolution is ever in action, that the ideal is a light that
cannot fail. He will not forever balance thus between good and
evil. When this jangle of free-will instinct shall have been
adjusted, when perfect under standing has given the former the
power to replace the latter entirely, man will no longer vary.
The needle of understanding will yet point steadfast and
unwavering to the distinct pole of truth.

In Carrie--as in how many of our worldlings do they not?--
instinct and reason, desire and understanding, were at war for
the mastery. She followed whither her craving led. She was as
yet more drawn than she drew.

When Minnie found the note next morning, after a night of mingled
wonder and anxiety, which was not exactly touched by yearning,
sorrow, or love, she exclaimed: "Well, what do you think of

"What?" said Hanson.

"Sister Carrie has gone to live somewhere else."

Hanson jumped out of bed with more celerity than he usually
displayed and looked at the note. The only indication of his
thoughts came in the form of a little clicking sound made by his
tongue; the sound some people make when they wish to urge on a

"Where do you suppose she's gone to?" said Minnie, thoroughly

"I don't know," a touch of cynicism lighting his eye. "Now she
has gone and done it."

Minnie moved her head in a puzzled way.

"Oh, oh," she said, "she doesn't know what she has done."

"Well," said Hanson, after a while, sticking his hands out before
him, "what can you do?"

Minnie's womanly nature was higher than this. She figured the
possibilities in such cases.

"Oh," she said at last, "poor Sister Carrie!"

At the time of this particular conversation, which occurred at 5
A.M., that little soldier of fortune was sleeping a rather
troubled sleep in her new room, alone.

Carrie's new state was remarkable in that she saw possibilities
in it. She was no sensualist, longing to drowse sleepily in the
lap of luxury. She turned about, troubled by her daring, glad of
her release, wondering whether she would get something to do,
wondering what Drouet would do. That worthy had his future fixed
for him beyond a peradventure. He could not help what he was
going to do. He could not see clearly enough to wish to do
differently. He was drawn by his innate desire to act the old
pursuing part. He would need to delight himself with Carrie as
surely as he would need to eat his heavy breakfast. He might
suffer the least rudimentary twinge of conscience in whatever he
did, and in just so far he was evil and sinning. But whatever
twinges of conscience he might have would be rudimentary, you may
be sure.

The next day he called upon Carrie, and she saw him in her
chamber. He was the same jolly, enlivening soul.

"Aw," he said, "what are you looking so blue about? Come on out
to breakfast. You want to get your other clothes to-day."

Carrie looked at him with the hue of shifting thought in her
large eyes.

"I wish I could get something to do," she said.

"You'll get that all right," said Drouet. "What's the use
worrying right now? Get yourself fixed up. See the city. I
won't hurt you."

"I know you won't," she remarked, half truthfully.

"Got on the new shoes, haven't you? Stick 'em out. George, they
look fine. Put on your jacket."

Carrie obeyed.

"Say, that fits like a T, don't it?" he remarked, feeling the set
of it at the waist and eyeing it from a few paces with real
pleasure. "What you need now is a new skirt. Let's go to

Carrie put on her hat.

"Where are the gloves?" he inquired.

"Here," she said, taking them out of the bureau drawer.

"Now, come on," he said.

Thus the first hour of misgiving was swept away.

It went this way on every occasion. Drouet did not leave her
much alone. She had time for some lone wanderings, but mostly he
filled her hours with sight-seeing. At Carson, Pirie's he bought
her a nice skirt and shirt waist. With his money she purchased
the little necessaries of toilet, until at last she looked quite
another maiden. The mirror convinced her of a few things which
she had long believed. She was pretty, yes, indeed! How nice
her hat set, and weren't her eyes pretty. She caught her little
red lip with her teeth and felt her first thrill of power.
Drouet was so good.

They went to see "The Mikado" one evening, an opera which was
hilariously popular at that time. Before going, they made off
for the Windsor dining-room, which was in Dearborn Street, a
considerable distance from Carrie's room. It was blowing up
cold, and out of her window Carrie could see the western sky,
still pink with the fading light, but steely blue at the top
where it met the darkness. A long, thin cloud of pink hung in
midair, shaped like some island in a far-off sea. Somehow the
swaying of some dead branches of trees across the way brought
back the picture with which she was familiar when she looked from
their front window in December days at home.
She paused and wrung her little hands.

"What's the matter?" said Drouet.

"Oh, I don't know," she said, her lip trembling.

He sensed something, and slipped his arm over her shoulder,
patting her arm.

"Come on," he said gently, "you're all right."

She turned to slip on her jacket.

"Better wear that boa about your throat to night."

They walked north on Wabash to Adams Street and then west. The
lights in the stores were already shining out in gushes of golden
hue. The arc lights were sputtering overhead, and high up were
the lighted windows of the tall office buildings. The chill wind
whipped in and out in gusty breaths. Homeward bound, the six
o'clock throng bumped and jostled. Light overcoats were turned up
about the ears, hats were pulled down. Little shop-girls went
fluttering by in pairs and fours, chattering, laughing. It was a
spectacle of warm-blooded humanity.

Suddenly a pair of eyes met Carrie's in recognition. They were
looking out from a group of poorly dressed girls. Their clothes
were faded and loose-hanging, their jackets old, their general
make-up shabby.

Carrie recognised the glance and the girl. She was one of those
who worked at the machines in the shoe factory. The latter
looked, not quite sure, and then turned her head and looked.
Carrie felt as if some great tide had rolled between them. The
old dress and the old machine came back. She actually started.
Drouet didn't notice until Carrie bumped into a pedestrian.

"You must be thinking," he said.

They dined and went to the theatre. That spectacle pleased
Carrie immensely. The colour and grace of it caught her eye.
She had vain imaginings about place and power, about far-off
lands and magnificent people. When it was over, the clatter of
coaches and the throng of fine ladies made her stare.

"Wait a minute," said Drouet, holding her back in the showy foyer
where ladies and gentlemen were moving in a social crush, skirts
rustling, lace-covered heads nodding, white teeth showing through
parted lips. "Let's see."

"Sixty-seven," the coach-caller was saying, his voice lifted in a
sort of euphonious cry. "Sixty-seven."

"Isn't it fine?" said Carrie.

"Great," said Drouet. He was as much affected by this show of
finery and gayety as she. He pressed her arm warmly. Once she
looked up, her even teeth glistening through her smiling lips,
her eyes alight. As they were moving out he whispered down to
her, "You look lovely!" They were right where the coach-caller
was swinging open a coach-door and ushering in two ladies.

"You stick to me and we'll have a coach," laughed Drouet.

Carrie scarcely heard, her head was so full of the swirl of life.
They stopped in at a restaurant for a little after-theatre lunch.
Just a shade of a thought of the hour entered Carrie's head, but
there was no household law to govern her now. If any habits ever
had time to fix upon her, they would have operated here. Habits
are peculiar things. They will drive the really non-religious
mind out of bed to say prayers that are only a custom and not a
devotion. The victim of habit, when he has neglected the thing
which it was his custom to do, feels a little scratching in the
brain, a little irritating something which comes of being out of
the rut, and imagines it to be the prick of conscience, the
still, small voice that is urging him ever to righteousness. If
the digression is unusual enough, the drag of habit will be heavy
enough to cause the unreasoning victim to return and perform the
perfunctory thing. "Now, bless me," says such a mind, "I have
done my duty," when, as a matter of fact, it has merely done its
old, unbreakable trick once again.

Carrie had no excellent home principles fixed upon her. If she
had, she would have been more consciously distressed. Now the
lunch went off with considerable warmth. Under the influence of
the varied occurrences, the fine, invisible passion which was
emanating from Drouet, the food, the still unusual luxury, she
relaxed and heard with open ears. She was again the victim of
the city's hypnotic influence.

"Well," said Drouet at last, "we had better be going."

They had been dawdling over the dishes, and their eyes had
frequently met. Carrie could not help but feel the vibration of
force which followed, which, indeed, was his gaze. He had a way
of touching her hand in explanation, as if to impress a fact upon
her. He touched it now as he spoke of going.

They arose and went out into the street. The downtown section
was now bare, save for a few whistling strollers, a few owl cars,
a few open resorts whose windows were still bright. Out Wabash
Avenue they strolled, Drouet still pouring forth his volume of
small information. He had Carrie's arm in his, and held it
closely as he explained. Once in a while, after some witticism,
he would look down, and his eyes would meet hers. At last they
came to the steps, and Carrie stood up on the first one, her head
now coming even with his own. He took her hand and held it
genially. He looked steadily at her as she glanced about, warmly

At about that hour, Minnie was soundly sleeping, after a long
evening of troubled thought. She had her elbow in an awkward
position under her side. The muscles so held irritated a few
nerves, and now a vague scene floated in on the drowsy mind. She
fancied she and Carrie were somewhere beside an old coal-mine.
She could see the tall runway and the heap of earth and coal cast
out. There was a deep pit, into which they were looking; they
could see the curious wet stones far down where the wall
disappeared in vague shadows. An old basket, used for
descending, was hanging there, fastened by a worn rope.

"Let's get in," said Carrie.

"Oh, no," said Minnie.

"Yes, come on," said Carrie.

She began to pull the basket over, and now, in spite of all
protest, she had swung over and was going down.

"Carrie," she called, "Carrie, come back"; but Carrie was far
down now and the shadow had swallowed her completely.

She moved her arm.

Now the mystic scenery merged queerly and the place was by waters
she had never seen. They were upon some board or ground or
something that reached far out, and at the end of this was
Carrie. They looked about, and now the thing was sinking, and
Minnie heard the low sip of the encroaching water.

"Come on, Carrie," she called, but Carrie was reaching farther
out. She seemed to recede, and now it was difficult to call to

"Carrie," she called, "Carrie," but her own voice sounded far
away, and the strange waters were blurring everything. She came
away suffering as though she had lost something. She was more
inexpressibly sad than she had ever been in life.

It was this way through many shifts of the tired brain, those
curious phantoms of the spirit slipping in, blurring strange
scenes, one with the other. The last one made her cry out, for
Carrie was slipping away somewhere over a rock, and her fingers
had let loose and she had seen her falling.

"Minnie! What's the matter? Here, wake up," said Hanson,
disturbed, and shaking her by the shoulder.

"Wha--what's the matter?" said Minnie, drowsily.

"Wake up," he said, "and turn over. You're talking in your

A week or so later Drouet strolled into Fitzgerald and Moy's,
spruce in dress and manner.

"Hello, Charley," said Hurstwood, looking out from his office

Drouet strolled over and looked in upon the manager at his desk.
"When do you go out on the road again?" he inquired.

"Pretty soon," said Drouet.

"Haven't seen much of you this trip," said Hurstwood.

"Well, I've been busy," said Drouet.

They talked some few minutes on general topics.

"Say," said Drouet, as if struck by a sudden idea, "I want you to
come out some evening."

"Out where?" inquired Hurstwood.

"Out to my house, of course," said Drouet, smiling.

Hurstwood looked up quizzically, the least suggestion of a smile
hovering about his lips. He studied the face of Drouet in his
wise way, and then with the demeanour of a gentleman, said:
"Certainly; glad to."

"We'll have a nice game of euchre."

"May I bring a nice little bottle of Sec?" asked Hurstwood.
"Certainly," said Drouet. "I'll introduce you."

Chapter IX


Hurstwood's residence on the North Side, near Lincoln Park, was a
brick building of a very popular type then, a three-story affair
with the first floor sunk a very little below the level of the
street. It had a large bay window bulging out from the second
floor, and was graced in front by a small grassy plot, twenty-
five feet wide and ten feet deep. There was also a small rear
yard, walled in by the fences of the neighbours and holding a
stable where he kept his horse and trap.

The ten rooms of the house were occupied by himself, his wife
Julia, and his son and daughter, George, Jr., and Jessica. There
were besides these a maid-servant, represented from time to time
by girls of various extraction, for Mrs. Hurstwood was not always
easy to please.

"George, I let Mary go yesterday," was not an unfrequent
salutation at the dinner table.

"All right," was his only reply. He had long since wearied of
discussing the rancorous subject.

A lovely home atmosphere is one of the flowers of the world, than
which there is nothing more tender, nothing more delicate,
nothing more calculated to make strong and just the natures
cradled and nourished within it. Those who have never experienced
such a beneficent influence will not understand wherefore the
tear springs glistening to the eyelids at some strange breath in
lovely music. The mystic chords which bind and thrill the heart
of the nation, they will never know.

Hurstwood's residence could scarcely be said to be infused with
this home spirit. It lacked that toleration and regard without
which the home is nothing. There was fine furniture, arranged as
soothingly as the artistic perception of the occupants warranted.
There were soft rugs, rich, upholstered chairs and divans, a
grand piano, a marble carving of some unknown Venus by some
unknown artist, and a number of small bronzes gathered from
heaven knows where, but generally sold by the large furniture
houses along with everything else which goes to make the
"perfectly appointed house."

In the dining-room stood a sideboard laden with glistening
decanters and other utilities and ornaments in glass, the
arrangement of which could not be questioned. Here was something
Hurstwood knew about. He had studied the subject for years in his
business. He took no little satisfaction in telling each Mary,
shortly after she arrived, something of what the art of the thing
required. He was not garrulous by any means. On the contrary,
there was a fine reserve in his manner toward the entire domestic
economy of his life which was all that is comprehended by the
popular term, gentlemanly. He would not argue, he would not talk
freely. In his manner was something of the dogmatist. What he
could not correct, he would ignore. There was a tendency in him
to walk away from the impossible thing.

There was a time when he had been considerably enamoured of his
Jessica, especially when he was younger and more confined in his
success. Now, however, in her seventeenth year, Jessica had
developed a certain amount of reserve and independence which was
not inviting to the richest form of parental devotion. She was in
the high school, and had notions of life which were decidedly
those of a patrician. She liked nice clothes and urged for them
constantly. Thoughts of love and elegant individual
establishments were running in her head. She met girls at the
high school whose parents were truly rich and whose fathers had
standing locally as partners or owners of solid businesses.
These girls gave themselves the airs befitting the thriving
domestic establishments from whence they issued. They were the
only ones of the school about whom Jessica concerned herself.

Young Hurstwood, Jr., was in his twentieth year, and was already
connected in a promising capacity with a large real estate firm.
He contributed nothing for the domestic expenses of the family,
but was thought to be saving his money to invest in real estate.
He had some ability, considerable vanity, and a love of pleasure
that had not, as yet, infringed upon his duties, whatever they
were. He came in and went out, pursuing his own plans and
fancies, addressing a few words to his mother occasionally,
relating some little incident to his father, but for the most
part confining himself to those generalities with which most
conversation concerns itself. He was not laying bare his desires
for any one to see. He did not find any one in the house who
particularly cared to see.

Mrs. Hurstwood was the type of woman who has ever endeavoured to
shine and has been more or less chagrined at the evidences of
superior capability in this direction elsewhere. Her knowledge
of life extended to that little conventional round of society of
which she was not--but longed to be--a member. She was not
without realisation already that this thing was impossible, so
far as she was concerned. For her daughter, she hoped better
things. Through Jessica she might rise a little. Through
George, Jr.'s, possible success she might draw to herself the
privilege of pointing proudly. Even Hurstwood was doing well
enough, and she was anxious that his small real estate adventures
should prosper. His property holdings, as yet, were rather
small, but his income was pleasing and his position with
Fitzgerald and Moy was fixed. Both those gentlemen were on
pleasant and rather informal terms with him.

The atmosphere which such personalities would create must be
apparent to all. It worked out in a thousand little
conversations, all of which were of the same calibre.

"I'm going up to Fox Lake to-morrow," announced George, Jr., at
the dinner table one Friday evening.

"What's going on up there?" queried Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Eddie Fahrway's got a new steam launch, and he wants me to come
up and see how it works."

"How much did it cost him?" asked his mother.

"Oh, over two thousand dollars. He says it's a dandy."

"Old Fahrway must be making money," put in Hurstwood.

"He is, I guess. Jack told me they were shipping Vegacura to
Australia now--said they sent a whole box to Cape Town last

"Just think of that!" said Mrs. Hurstwood, "and only four years
ago they had that basement in Madison Street."

"Jack told me they were going to put up a six-story building next
spring in Robey Street."

"Just think of that!" said Jessica.

On this particular occasion Hurstwood wished to leave early.

"I guess I'll be going down town," he remarked, rising.

"Are we going to McVicker's Monday?" questioned Mrs. Hurstwood,
without rising.

"Yes," he said indifferently.

They went on dining, while he went upstairs for his hat and coat.
Presently the door clicked.

"I guess papa's gone," said Jessica.

The latter's school news was of a particular stripe.

"They're going to give a performance in the Lyceum, upstairs,"
she reported one day, "and I'm going to be in it."

"Are you?" said her mother.

"Yes, and I'll have to have a new dress. Some of the nicest
girls in the school are going to be in it. Miss Palmer is going
to take the part of Portia."

"Is she?" said Mrs. Hurstwood.

"They've got that Martha Griswold in it again. She thinks she
can act."

"Her family doesn't amount to anything, does it?" said Mrs.
Hurstwood sympathetically. "They haven't anything, have they?"

"No," returned Jessica, "they're poor as church mice."

She distinguished very carefully between the young boys of the
school, many of whom were attracted by her beauty.

"What do you think?" she remarked to her mother one evening;
"that Herbert Crane tried to make friends with me."

"Who is he, my dear?" inquired Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Oh, no one," said Jessica, pursing her pretty lips. "He's just a
student there. He hasn't anything."

The other half of this picture came when young Blyford, son of
Blyford, the soap manufacturer, walked home with her. Mrs.
Hurstwood was on the third floor, sitting in a rocking-chair
reading, and happened to look out at the time.

"Who was that with you, Jessica?" she inquired, as Jessica came

"It's Mr. Blyford, mamma," she replied.

"Is it?" said Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Yes, and he wants me to stroll over into the park with him,"
explained Jessica, a little flushed with running up the stairs.

"All right, my dear," said Mrs. Hurstwood. "Don't be gone long."

As the two went down the street, she glanced interestedly out of
the window. It was a most satisfactory spectacle indeed, most

In this atmosphere Hurstwood had moved for a number of years, not
thinking deeply concerning it. His was not the order of nature
to trouble for something better, unless the better was
immediately and sharply contrasted. As it was, he received and
gave, irritated sometimes by the little displays of selfish
indifference, pleased at times by some show of finery which
supposedly made for dignity and social distinction. The life of
the resort which he managed was his life. There he spent most of
his time. When he went home evenings the house looked nice.
With rare exceptions the meals were acceptable, being the kind
that an ordinary servant can arrange. In part, he was interested
in the talk of his son and daughter, who always looked well. The
vanity of Mrs. Hurstwood caused her to keep her person rather
showily arrayed, but to Hurstwood this was much better than
plainness. There was no love lost between them. There was no
great feeling of dissatisfaction. Her opinion on any subject was
not startling. They did not talk enough together to come to the
argument of any one point. In the accepted and popular phrase,
she had her ideas and he had his. Once in a while he would meet
a woman whose youth, sprightliness, and humour would make his
wife seem rather deficient by contrast, but the temporary
dissatisfaction which such an encounter might arouse would be
counterbalanced by his social position and a certain matter of
policy. He could not complicate his home life, because it might
affect his relations with his employers. They wanted no
scandals. A man, to hold his position, must have a dignified
manner, a clean record, a respectable home anchorage. Therefore
he was circumspect in all he did, and whenever he appeared in the
public ways in the afternoon, or on Sunday, it was with his wife,
and sometimes his children. He would visit the local resorts, or
those near by in Wisconsin, and spend a few stiff, polished days
strolling about conventional places doing conventional things.
He knew the need of it.

When some one of the many middle-class individuals whom he knew,
who had money, would get into trouble, he would shake his head.
It didn't do to talk about those things. If it came up for
discussion among such friends as with him passed for close, he
would deprecate the folly of the thing. "It was all right to do
it--all men do those things--but why wasn't he careful? A man
can't be too careful." He lost sympathy for the man that made a
mistake and was found out.

On this account he still devoted some time to showing his wife
about--time which would have been wearisome indeed if it had not
been for the people he would meet and the little enjoyments which
did not depend upon her presence or absence. He watched her with
considerable curiosity at times, for she was still attractive in
a way and men looked at her. She was affable, vain, subject to
flattery, and this combination, he knew quite well, might produce
a tragedy in a woman of her home position. Owing to his order of
mind, his confidence in the sex was not great. His wife never
possessed the virtues which would win the confidence and
admiration of a man of his nature. As long as she loved him
vigorously he could see how confidence could be, but when that
was no longer the binding chain--well, something might happen.

During the last year or two the expenses of the family seemed a
large thing. Jessica wanted fine clothes, and Mrs. Hurstwood,
not to be outshone by her daughter, also frequently enlivened her
apparel. Hurstwood had said nothing in the past, but one day he

"Jessica must have a new dress this month," said Mrs. Hurstwood
one morning.

Hurstwood was arraying himself in one of his perfection vests
before the glass at the time.

"I thought she just bought one," he said.

"That was just something for evening wear," returned his wife

"It seems to me," returned Hurstwood, "that she's spending a good
deal for dresses of late."

"Well, she's going out more," concluded his wife, but the tone of
his voice impressed her as containing something she had not heard
there before.

He was not a man who traveled much, but when he did, he had been
accustomed to take her along. On one occasion recently a local
aldermanic junket had been arranged to visit Philadelphia--a
junket that was to last ten days. Hurstwood had been invited.

"Nobody knows us down there," said one, a gentleman whose face
was a slight improvement over gross ignorance and sensuality. He
always wore a silk hat of most imposing proportions. "We can
have a good time." His left eye moved with just the semblance of
a wink. "You want to come along, George."

The next day Hurstwood announced his intention to his wife.

"I'm going away, Julia," he said, "for a few days."

"Where?" she asked, looking up.

"To Philadelphia, on business."

She looked at him consciously, expecting something else.

"I'll have to leave you behind this time."

"All right," she replied, but he could see that she was thinking
that it was a curious thing. Before he went she asked him a few
more questions, and that irritated him. He began to feel that
she was a disagreeable attachment.

On this trip he enjoyed himself thoroughly, and when it was over
he was sorry to get back. He was not willingly a prevaricator,
and hated thoroughly to make explanations concerning it. The
whole incident was glossed over with general remarks, but Mrs.
Hurstwood gave the subject considerable thought. She drove out
more, dressed better, and attended theatres freely to make up for

Such an atmosphere could hardly come under the category of home
life. It ran along by force of habit, by force of conventional
opinion. With the lapse of time it must necessarily become dryer
and dryer--must eventually be tinder, easily lighted and

Chapter X


In the light of the world's attitude toward woman and her duties,
the nature of Carrie's mental state deserves consideration.
Actions such as hers are measured by an arbitrary scale. Society
possesses a conventional standard whereby it judges all things.
All men should be good, all women virtuous. Wherefore, villain,
hast thou failed?

For all the liberal analysis of Spencer and our modern
naturalistic philosophers, we have but an infantile perception of
morals. There is more in the subject than mere conformity to a
law of evolution. It is yet deeper than conformity to things of
earth alone. It is more involved than we, as yet, perceive.
Answer, first, why the heart thrills; explain wherefore some
plaintive note goes wandering about the world, undying; make
clear the rose's subtle alchemy evolving its ruddy lamp in light
and rain. In the essence of these facts lie the first principles
of morals.

"Oh," thought Drouet, "how delicious is my conquest."

"Ah," thought Carrie, with mournful misgivings, "what is it I
have lost?"

Before this world-old proposition we stand, serious, interested,
confused; endeavouring to evolve the true theory of morals--the
true answer to what is right.

In the view of a certain stratum of society, Carrie was
comfortably established--in the eyes of the starveling, beaten by
every wind and gusty sheet of rain, she was safe in a halcyon
harbour. Drouet had taken three rooms, furnished, in Ogden
Place, facing Union Park, on the West Side. That was a little,
green-carpeted breathing spot, than which, to-day, there is
nothing more beautiful in Chicago. It afforded a vista pleasant
to contemplate. The best room looked out upon the lawn of the
park, now sear and brown, where a little lake lay sheltered.
Over the bare limbs of the trees, which now swayed in the wintry
wind, rose the steeple of the Union Park Congregational Church,
and far off the towers of several others.

The rooms were comfortably enough furnished. There was a good
Brussels carpet on the floor, rich in dull red and lemon shades,
and representing large jardinieres filled with gorgeous,
impossible flowers. There was a large pier-glass mirror between
the two windows. A large, soft, green, plush-covered couch
occupied one corner, and several rocking-chairs were set about.
Some pictures, several rugs, a few small pieces of bric-a-brac,
and the tale of contents is told.

In the bedroom, off the front room, was Carrie's trunk, bought by
Drouet, and in the wardrobe built into the wall quite an array of
clothing--more than she had ever possessed before, and of very
becoming designs. There was a third room for possible use as a
kitchen, where Drouet had Carrie establish a little portable gas
stove for the preparation of small lunches, oysters, Welsh
rarebits, and the like, of which he was exceedingly fond; and,
lastly, a bath. The whole place was cosey, in that it was
lighted by gas and heated by furnace registers, possessing also a
small grate, set with an asbestos back, a method of cheerful
warming which was then first coming into use. By her industry
and natural love of order, which now developed, the place
maintained an air pleasing in the extreme.

Here, then, was Carrie, established in a pleasant fashion, free
of certain difficulties which most ominously confronted her,
laden with many new ones which were of a mental order, and
altogether so turned about in all of her earthly relationships
that she might well have been a new and different individual.
She looked into her glass and saw a prettier Carrie than she had
seen before; she looked into her mind, a mirror prepared of her
own and the world's opinions, and saw a worse. Between these two
images she wavered, hesitating which to believe.

"My, but you're a little beauty," Drouet was wont to exclaim to

She would look at him with large, pleased eyes.

"You know it, don't you?" he would continue.

"Oh, I don't know," she would reply, feeling delight in the fact
that one should think so, hesitating to believe, though she
really did, that she was vain enough to think so much of herself.

Her conscience, however, was not a Drouet, interested to praise.
There she heard a different voice, with which she argued,
pleaded, excused. It was no just and sapient counsellor, in its
last analysis. It was only an average little conscience, a thing
which represented the world, her past environment, habit,
convention, in a confused way. With it, the voice of the people
was truly the voice of God.

"Oh, thou failure!" said the voice.

"Why?" she questioned.

"Look at those about," came the whispered answer. "Look at those
who are good. How would they scorn to do what you have done.
Look at the good girls; how will they draw away from such as you
when they know you have been weak. You had not tried before you

It was when Carrie was alone, looking out across the park, that
she would be listening to this. It would come infrequently--when
something else did not interfere, when the pleasant side was not
too apparent, when Drouet was not there. It was somewhat clear
in utterance at first, but never wholly convincing. There was
always an answer, always the December days threatened. She was
alone; she was desireful; she was fearful of the whistling wind.
The voice of want made answer for her.

Once the bright days of summer pass by, a city takes on that
sombre garb of grey, wrapt in which it goes about its labours
during the long winter. Its endless buildings look grey, its sky
and its streets assume a sombre hue; the scattered, leafless
trees and wind-blown dust and paper but add to the general
solemnity of colour. There seems to be something in the chill
breezes which scurry through the long, narrow thoroughfares
productive of rueful thoughts. Not poets alone, nor artists, nor
that superior order of mind which arrogates to itself all
refinement, feel this, but dogs and all men. These feel as much
as the poet, though they have not the same power of expression.
The sparrow upon the wire, the cat in the doorway, the dray horse
tugging his weary load, feel the long, keen breaths of winter.
It strikes to the heart of all life, animate and inanimate. If
it were not for the artificial fires of merriment, the rush of
profit-seeking trade, and pleasure-selling amusements; if the
various merchants failed to make the customary display within and
without their establishments; if our streets were not strung with
signs of gorgeous hues and thronged with hurrying purchasers, we
would quickly discover how firmly the chill hand of winter lays
upon the heart; how dispiriting are the days during which the sun
withholds a portion of our allowance of light and warmth. We are
more dependent upon these things than is often thought. We are
insects produced by heat, and pass without it.

In the drag of such a grey day the secret voice would reassert
itself, feebly and more feebly.

Such mental conflict was not always uppermost. Carrie was not by
any means a gloomy soul. More, she had not the mind to get firm
hold upon a definite truth. When she could not find her way out
of the labyrinth of ill-logic which thought upon the subject
created, she would turn away entirely.

Drouet, all the time, was conducting himself in a model way for
one of his sort. He took her about a great deal, spent money
upon her, and when he travelled took her with him. There were
times when she would be alone for two or three days, while he
made the shorter circuits of his business, but, as a rule, she
saw a great deal of him.

"Say, Carrie," he said one morning, shortly after they had so
established themselves, "I've invited my friend Hurstwood to come
out some day and spend the evening with us."

"Who is he?" asked Carrie. doubtfully.

"Oh, he's a nice man. He's manager of Fitzgerald and Moy's."

"What's that?" said Carrie.

"The finest resort in town. It's a way-up, swell place."

Carrie puzzled a moment. She was wondering what Drouet had told
him, what her attitude would be.

"That's all right," said Drouet, feeling her thought. "He doesn't
know anything. You're Mrs. Drouet now."

There was something about this which struck Carrie as slightly
inconsiderate. She could see that Drouet did not have the
keenest sensibilities.

"Why don't we get married?" she inquired, thinking of the voluble
promises he had made.

"Well, we will," he said, "just as soon as I get this little deal
of mine closed up."

He was referring to some property which he said he had, and which
required so much attention, adjustment, and what not, that
somehow or other it interfered with his free moral, personal

"Just as soon as I get back from my Denver trip in January we'll
do it."

Carrie accepted this as basis for hope--it was a sort of salve to
her conscience, a pleasant way out. Under the circumstances,
things would be righted. Her actions would be justified.
She really was not enamoured of Drouet. She was more clever than
he. In a dim way, she was beginning to see where he lacked. If
it had not been for this, if she had not been able to measure and
judge him in a way, she would have been worse off than she was.
She would have adored him. She would have been utterly wretched
in her fear of not gaining his affection, of losing his interest,
of being swept away and left without an anchorage. As it was,
she wavered a little, slightly anxious, at first, to gain him
completely, but later feeling at ease in waiting. She was not
exactly sure what she thought of him--what she wanted to do.

When Hurstwood called, she met a man who was more clever than
Drouet in a hundred ways. He paid that peculiar deference to
women which every member of the sex appreciates. He was not
overawed, he was not overbold. His great charm was
attentiveness. Schooled in winning those birds of fine feather
among his own sex, the merchants and professionals who visited
his resort, he could use even greater tact when endeavouring to
prove agreeable to some one who charmed him. In a pretty woman
of any refinement of feeling whatsoever he found his greatest
incentive. He was mild, placid, assured, giving the impression
that he wished to be of service only--to do something which would
make the lady more pleased.

Drouet had ability in this line himself when the game was worth
the candle, but he was too much the egotist to reach the polish
which Hurstwood possessed. He was too buoyant, too full of ruddy
life, too assured. He succeeded with many who were not quite
schooled in the art of love. He failed dismally where the woman
was slightly experienced and possessed innate refinement. In the
case of Carrie he found a woman who was all of the latter, but
none of the former. He was lucky in the fact that opportunity
tumbled into his lap, as it were. A few years later, with a
little more experience, the slightest tide of success, and he had
not been able to approach Carrie at all.

"You ought to have a piano here, Drouet," said Hurstwood, smiling
at Carrie, on the evening in question, "so that your wife could

Drouet had not thought of that.

"So we ought," he observed readily.

"Oh, I don't play," ventured Carrie.

Book of the day: